Last Call for 9.8.20 — 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

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is ramping up her fundraising machine. Not for her 2022 ambitions, whatever those may be, but to help other Democrats win election in November

Fried, Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, pulled in more than $20,000 in each of the last two months and has tossed a decent chunk to candidates running for offices across the state — incumbent Reps. Joy Goff-Marcil and Jennifer Webb, both are running for reelection in competitive districts, received donations last month.

The individual contributions follow a mid-July pledge to help Florida Democrats’ slate of legislative candidates purchase access to VAN, voter database service used by Democratic campaigns across the country.

On Tuesday, Fried upped her commitment to helping the party take control of city halls and gain ground in the state Legislature by telling supporters she’d use every dollar raised by her committee this month to support down-ballot Democrats.

“To turn Florida blue, we have to vote for Democrats at every level of government — from Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris to our mayoral and state legislative candidates who are committed to the same Democratic values we are,” she wrote in a fundraising email.


ExcelInEd is asking parents to sign a petition demanding Florida schools stay open as the state’s largest teacher union fights against the brick-and-mortar reopening mandate in court.

“In America, a high-quality education is a right. Unfortunately, the teachers union disagrees. The teachers union is suing the state to stop students and teachers from returning to their classrooms. The unions are playing politics with our students and their families,” the petition states.

“If the unions win, working families, especially single moms and dads, will be forced to make difficult decisions between feeding their children or educating their children. Students with disabilities will experience the greatest harm — losing essential services that could have a lifelong impact on their independence and success,” it concludes.

So far, 355 people have signed the petition. Among them is Erika Donalds, a school choice advocate and the wife of congressional candidate and current state Rep. Byron Donalds.

“Parents deserve to choose the best education environment for their students, whether that be in class or virtual. I support giving options to all families,” she wrote.

Her sentiment echoes those from the top level of ExcelInEd, with CEO Patricia Levesque telling the media that reopenings align with the organization’s core tenet: ensuring each child has access to a quality education that fits their needs.

“A blanket ban on the option to go to school would be devastating to families and students. And it would leave more students behind, disproportionately harming children whose families don’t have the stay-at-home options that others do,” Levesque said.

“The teachers union lawsuit hurts students who need in-person instruction — whether they are very young children, students with special needs or those whose parents must work outside the home. I believe parents know what environment would work best for their child and they deserve access to all options.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 642,775 FL residents (+1,797 since Monday)

— 7,317 Non-FL residents (+26 since Monday)


— 4,971 Travel related

— 219,905 Contact with a confirmed case

— 5,293 Both

— 412,606 Under investigation


— 40,195 in FL


— 12,067 in FL

Evening Reads

How Donald Trump’s billion-dollar campaign lost its cash advantage” via Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times

Trump to expand oil drilling moratorium for Florida” via Ben Lefebvre, Zack Colman of POLITICO

Poll: Trump and Joe Biden are tied in battleground Florida” via Mark Murray of NBC News

Trump campaign ‘super confident’ in Florida victory” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Great American comeback or fresh start: Trump, Biden release dueling Florida ads” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

There are promising signs everywhere. Yet Florida Dems remain ‘terrified.’” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO

Biden is struggling to win Miami Latinos, new poll finds. Will it cost him Florida?” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald

Florida reports fewest new COVID-19 case since June” via the staff of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Ron DeSantis itching to reopen just about everything but Florida’s government” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel 

DeSantis takes aim at challenge to Supreme Court pick” via Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida

DeSantis names Rob Bradley, others to water district boards” via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida

Florida State University reports spike in the number of students testing positive for COVID-19” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat

Quote of the Day

“To the extent that Thompson’s petition implicates both a public right and the institutional integrity of this Court, allowing an amendment would serve the public interest.” — The Florida Supreme Court, approving Rep. Geraldine Thompson’s request to revise her complaint challenging Renatha Francis’ appointment to the court.

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