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Last Call for 4.9.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day’s politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The COVID-19 pandemic has left businesses struggling to survive and first responders exhausted.

The crisis has left so many in need of help that choosing who and how to do so can quickly devolve into paralysis by analysis.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, however, is presenting a novel approach to helping those affected by the novel coronavirus: buying gift cards and sending them to the nurses, doctors and EMTs on the front lines.

Businesses get much-needed sales, first responders get a vital morale boost, donors’ sense of helplessness is abated. A win-win-win.

Keeping the card for yourself is fine, too. A little cash flow for strapped businesses could prove a make or break in the coming weeks.

The “My Spot Challenge” was launched in Hillsborough County and the AFP Foundation got the ball rolling with a $100,000 donation. All the gift cards in Round 1 will head to first responders. Part of the funds will be delivered to businesses to help them cover staffing costs.

Public participation is encouraged — those who choose to do so can help build momentum by sharing their efforts on Twitter with the #SharetheLoveGetaCard hashtag and issuing a friendly challenge to their followers.

“This challenge is about doing everything we can to support our community in these tough times. We’re encouraging everyone to pitch in and help their favorite local business by picking up a gift card, sharing on social media and challenging their friends to do the same,” said AFP-FL Director Skylar Zander.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has received a list of candidates to succeed former Judge James Hankinson on the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court.

The recommendations were forwarded to the Governor’s desk by the circuit’s Judicial Nominating Commission on Thursday.

Six applicants made the cut: Georgia Cappleman, Anna “Dina” Foster, Lisa Barclay Fountain, Jason Jones, Lance Neff and Layne Smith.

With the recommendations in, the Governor has 60 days to make a selection. That could be extended, however, given the current crisis.

Last month, DeSantis announced he would push back the date for nominating new justices to the Florida Supreme Court until May 1. The reasoning: his focus on combating the coronavirus outbreak had left him unable to diligently examine the nominees.

If the crisis wanes, and the appointment deadline is adhered to, the decision will be made by early June.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 16,323 FL residents (+440 since 10 a.m. Thursday)

— 503 Non-FL residents (+22 since 10 a.m. Thursday)

Origin:

— 1,329 Travel related

— 3,429 Contact with a confirmed case

— 948 Both

— 10,617 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 2,298 in FL

Deaths:

— 371 in FL

Evening Reads

Anthony Fauci lowers U.S. coronavirus death forecast to 60,000, says social distancing is working” via Dan Keemahill, Erin Mansfield, Dinah Voyles Pulver, Nicholas Wu and Dian Zhang of USA TODAY

Donald Trump preparing to announce second task force focused on economic recovery” via Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, Jim Acosta and Vivian Salama of CNN

Federal Reserve unveils details of $2.3 trillion in programs to help support the economy” via Jeff Cox of CNBC

HHS: Federal stocks of protective equipment nearly depleted” via Michael Biesecker of The Associated Press

Florida surge in jobless claims continues for 3rd week” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Neal Dunn tests positive for coronavirus” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO

Coronavirus quarantine violators can be jailed without bond in some Florida counties. Critics worry it could expose more to infection” via the Orlando Sentinel

Gov. Ron DeSantis signs Legislature’s tax cut package” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

Gov. DeSantis signs bill making it harder to place constitutional amendments on ballot” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Donald Trump condemns vote-by-mail, but the Florida GOP is counting on it to win” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

Trump’s wild claims of voter fraud blow back on campaign aide” via Matt Dixon and Marc Caputo of POLITICO

VP talk could intensify with Kamala Harris fundraising moves” via Bill Barrow of The Associated Press

Hurricanes, cyber risks — and virus — imperil Florida vote” via Bobby Caina Calvan of The Associated Press

Quote of the Day

“We have said repeatedly that we want people to be spiritually together, but socially distanced. As you keep God close during these important religious days, make sure you continue to keep COVID-19 away.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on attending religious services in the coronavirus era. 

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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