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Last Call for 7.13.20 — 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

Breaking — A Florida lobbyist who attended a recent Republican fundraiser near Jacksonville has tested positive for COVID-19. The lobbyist attended an event at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club on Thursday and Saturday.

Speaker-designate Chris Sprowls confirmed the situation.

“I have called every member present and we are in the process of calling every attendee to notify them. We are encouraging all of them to self-quarantine and/or get tested as soon as possible. While there were precautions made available, further gatherings in the near future have been canceled,” Sprowls said.

Among those in attendance were future House Speaker Paul Renner, Reps. Cord ByrdWyman DugganElizabeth Fetterhoff, Jason FischerTom Leek, and Clay Yarborough and House District 18 candidate Sam Garrison.

The Republican Party of Florida sponsored the event. Sprowls, Renner and Rep. Daniel Perez hosted. Organizers say precautions were taken at that event.

Full story here.


More voters than ever are expected to use mail ballots in 2020.

If the coronavirus lingers and that proves true, the Democrats have built up an advantage.

The Florida Democratic Party announced Monday that a million registered Democrats have either renewed their vote-by-mail registrations or signed up for the first time, giving the party a 423,379-voter advantage over registered Republicans.

That’s nearly half again more than the 300,000-voter gap FDP touted two weeks ago. By comparison, just 8,800 more Democrats than Republicans used mail-in ballots last presidential election.

“In an election that will be decided on the margins, the Florida Democratic Party is committed to making sure every single voter in Florida is able to vote safely and securely this November,” FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo said.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to organize thousands of volunteers to do the important work of enrolling their friends and neighbors into vote-by-mail. We are thrilled by the incredible energy we are seeing on the ground and today we are proud to announce that 1 million more Democrats have enrolled in vote-by-mail to elect Joe Biden this November!”

FDP said hitting the milestone took more than 3.8 million phone calls, texts to 4.1 million voters and volunteers completed 19,404 shifts.

The party also highlighted an edge in luring new votes — as it stands, FDP has registered more voters than the Republican Party of Florida this cycle and is tracking ahead of its 2018 numbers by about 15,000 registrations.


Tallahassee attorney Benjamin J. Gibson has been elected Chair of the 1st District Court of Appeal Judicial Nomination Commission.

Gibson was selected among the nine members of the nonpartisan commission, which provides the Governor with recommendations to fill vacant judgeships.

Gibson is a partner at the Tallahassee office of Shutts & Bowen and was appointed to a four-year term on the 1st DCA Judicial Nominating Commission in 2018 by then-Gov. Rick Scott.

He also has ties to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, serving as General Counsel on the transition team and advising the Governor on the appointment of three Florida Supreme Court Justices.

In addition, Gibson has counseled the Governor’s office on issues relating to ethics, financial disclosure, public records and the Sunshine Law. He also personally advised Scott on more than 120 judicial appointments to Florida’s trial courts, District Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

In private practice, Gibson serves as Vice-Chair of the Shutts & Bowen’s Appellate Practice Group and focuses on representing corporate, political and government clients in appellate, litigation, and administrative matters as well as government affairs.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 278,667 FL residents (+12,548 since Sunday)

— 3,768 Non-FL residents (+76 since Sunday)


— 2,904 Travel related

— 75,365 Contact with a confirmed case

— 2,810 Both

— 197,588 Under investigation


— 18,498 in FL


— 4,381 in FL

Unemployment Numbers

As of Sunday:

Total claims: 3,024,968

— Confirmed unique claims: 2,798,244

— Claim verification queue: 228,486

— Claims processed: 2,569,758

— Claims paid: 1,686,911 (+11,056 since Thursday)

Total paid out: $9.8 billion (+$256 million since Thursday)

Evening Reads

Donald Trump has dragged America back to full-on Lost Cause craziness” via Diane Roberts of the Florida Phoenix

Why Joe Biden has his eye on Karen Bass” via Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic

White House says Republican National Convention to ‘move forward’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Trump’s aides moved to undercut Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert” via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times

The Supreme Court’s big rulings were surprisingly mainstream this year” via Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux of FiveThirtyEight

Sanctions from Communist China won’t silence Marco Rubio’s criticisms” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

State tallies 12,624 new coronavirus cases, second-highest to date” via WFLA 8

Ron DeSantis offers no end to bar shutdown” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida

DeSantis calls on FEMA to help relieve Florida’s nurse shortage” via Christine Jordan Sexton of News Service of Florida

New York will fine travelers from Florida $2,000 if they don’t follow coronavirus rules” via 10 Tampa Bay

At college health centers, students battle misdiagnoses and inaccessible care” via Jenn Abelson, Nicole Dungca, Meryl Kornfield and Andrew Ba Tran of The Washington Post

The rising sun: Danny Perez is learning the lessons José Oliva never did” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer to face ethics commission hearing” via Dan Christensen of the Florida Bulldog

Council member felt threatened by message from St. Petersburg police union chief” via Josh Solomon of the Tampa Bay Times

Key West issues a stricter mandatory mask law as COVID-19 cases rise” via Gwen Filosa of the Miami Herald

Quote of the Day

“Any stimulus should be directed at the root cause of our recession: dealing with COVID. I know it isn’t popular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country. My son was tested recently; we had to wait five to seven days for results. My daughter wanted to get tested before visiting her grandparents but was told she didn’t qualify. That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic.” — Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, on the next coronavirus stimulus.

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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.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

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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