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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 9.21.20

Here’s your AM rundown of people, politics and policy in the Sunshine State.

Matt Gaetz’s new book, “Firebrand: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the MAGA Revolution,” drops tomorrow and we have a preview of three Florida-centric chapters. In today’s Chapter 10, entitled Sports Fan, the 37-year-old Congressman argues that, despite our differences, Americans are all on the same team. Here are a few highlights:

— “Sports allow those of us who grew up too fat, too slow, or too uncoordinated to admire talent in others that we do not ourselves possess. Unjealous admiration of our fellow Americans who can do things we can only dream of is heartwarming and unifying. We end up loving them even though we don’t know them (we do the same with politicians, but I digress). … We are part of the team. … Perhaps there is a reason sports and politics so often collide. … Are we surprised, then, that race and sports and politics often end up as featured ingredients in the gumbo of our spiciest national conversations?

In his new book, Matt Gaetz shows he has developed a flair for the dramatic. Image via AP.

— “Newcomers are not always to be shunned, but they will have to prove themselves, like new teammates on a top-tier sports team. … Don’t tell me that it’s hateful. … It is normal to want that team of some 330 million to thrive and perfectly normal to be peeved at those who insult it, tear it down, or don’t really want to be a working part of it at all.

— “I saw the news that José Fernández died on ESPN from a D.C. hotel room. … When ESPN switched from the news of Fernández’s death to the (Colin) Kaepernick kneeling protests, I was triggered … and soon tweeting. ‘To all who will kneel during the anthem today — just remember how Jose Fernandez risked his life for the chance to stand for it.’ Instant outrage! I was only a candidate for Congress but had already made my first Washington headlines. ‘Racist!’ proclaimed the woke Left and Twitter blue-checkmark brigade. The PC police had an apprehension in progress. Screw them. I stand by the tweet.

— “I was fighting for a team called America when I made that first Tucker Carlson appearance. If you saw it and heard a hint of anger, I’m sure you also sensed the love. If you’re a sports fan, you’re familiar with that combination.”

To read the entire chapter, visit FloridaPolitics.com.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@realDonaldTrump: @GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!

@TomBrady: Rest In Peace to a legend. A role model. A fighter for justice and equal rights. We should all aspire to live our lives as principled as RBG lead hers. We should all aim to bring a little more love to this world.

@DollyParton: She was small in stature but even the tallest looked up to her. Her voice was soft but her message rang loud and clear and will echo forever. Thank you, RBG. Rest In Peace. Respectfully, Dolly Parton

@KTumulty: A Republican pollster just told me that this court fight could motivate young women to turn out this year. “They may not vote for [Joe] Biden, but they will vote for Ruth [Bader Ginsburg].”

@RepValDemings: Republicans are now saying “we can’t have a 4-4 court on Election Day.” But that’s exactly what they did when Merrick Garland was nominated. Any reporter who takes this bad-faith argument seriously should be rightly shamed.

@RepJoeKennedy: If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It’s that simple.

@TheKarami: Iran’s constitution is so obscure. the head of state who is elected by another body appoints lifetime positions who get to choose whether millions of people have health care or if abortions are legal. no wait that’s the US

@Redistrict: The best news for [Joe] Biden in the four live-interview polls taken so far in Sept. (Fox, Marist, NBC/WSJ, Monmouth) may be that his numbers are holding steady among 1) seniors and 2) non-college whites — the two groups where [Donald] Trump badly needs to get closer to his ’16 numbers.

Tweet, tweet:

@ByTimReynolds: Florida State will be unranked in Miami week for the fourth consecutive year, the longest such streak by the Seminoles since 1973-77.

— DAYS UNTIL —

First presidential debate in Indiana — 8; Preakness Stakes rescheduled — 12; Ashley Moody’s 2020 Human Trafficking Summit — 15; first vice presidential debate at the University of Utah — 16; NBA season ends (last possible date) — 22; second presidential debate scheduled in Miami — 24; NBA draft — 25; Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” premieres — 25; NBA free agency — 27; Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum — 29; HBO debuts 2000 presidential election doc ‘537 Votes’ — 30; third presidential debate at Belmont — 31; 2020 General Election — 43; “Black Widow” premieres — 46; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 51; The Masters begins — 52; “No Time to Die” premieres — 60; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 60; College basketball season slated to begin — 65; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 72; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 72; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 95; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 139; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 152; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 284; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 305; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 313; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 413; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 509; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 562; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 743.

— RBG —

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, champion of gender equality, dies at 87” via Nina Totenberg of NPR — Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87. “Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.” Architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation’s highest court, becoming its most prominent member.

RIP to an icon of American jurisprudence … and feminism.

A ‘precise female’” via Edith Roberts of The Washington Post — The most gratifying words of praise I’ve ever received were also the tersest: “Just right,” penciled in the margin of a draft opinion I had written as a clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The author of those words, Ginsburg, died on Friday at the age of 87. She will be remembered as a woman who always knew exactly what she wanted to say and who worked tirelessly to get everything she did just right. In conversation, she often paused for long spaces of time as she considered her next words, making you think she had finished with her train of thought. To fill what you assumed was an awkward silence, you blurted out some ill-considered words, then listened as she proceeded gracefully to her logical conclusion, unfazed by your clumsy interruption. Her editing style was, well, just as focused. This slow talker, ruthless editor and die-hard romantic wanted to make sure that every woman could find her best place.

The Ginsburg fandom was never frivolous” via Megan Garber of The Atlantic — Ginsburg herself saw her life experience — the discrimination she faced, as a woman and a mother — as essential to her interpretation of the Constitution. She knew in her bones what it is to be seen, by other people and by the law, as less than. (“If you want to understand how an underestimated woman changed the world and is still out there doing the work,” the introduction to the book Notorious RBG reads. “We got you.”) She took for granted that wisdom is not a matter of separation from the facts of everyday life; wisdom comes from a deep acquaintance with those facts. “As we live, we can learn,” she noted. She added: “It’s important to listen.”

Ginsburg had a vision for America. Her colleagues thwarted it.” via Linda Hirshman of The Washington Post — Ginsburg believed in the Constitution and the Supreme Court that enforced it. Even when she was just Ruth (Kiki) Bader, she learned from her mentor, Cornell’s great civil libertarian Robert Cushman, that American salvation lay in the rule of law and the institutions set up to protect it. Cushman was resisting the terrible depredations of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. She went to law school because she learned from him that the law could help in ways no other power could. This was a very strategic form of idealism. When her feminist law students alerted her to the myriad ways the law discriminated against women, she did not go to the streets; she went to the law library and put together the first course and casebook on women and the law.

—“How Ginsburg’s death could jeopardize the Affordable Care Act” via Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post

How Jewish history and the Holocaust fueled Ginsburg’s quest for justice” via Gillian Brockell of The Washington Post — The Passover story we retell is replete with miracles. But unlike our ancestors in their Exodus from Egypt, our way is unlikely to be advanced by miraculous occurrences. In striving to drain dry the waters of prejudice and oppression, we must rely on measures of our own creation, upon the wisdom of our laws and the decency of our institutions, upon our reasoning minds and our feeling hearts. And as a constant spark to carry on, upon our vivid memories of the evils we wish to banish from our world. In our long struggle for a more just world, our memories are among our most powerful resources. May the memory of those who perished remain vibrant to all who dwell in this fair land, people of every color and creed.

What Ginsburg taught me about being a stay-at-home dad” via Ryan Park of The Atlantic — During my year at the Court, I sought to understand how the Boss (as clerks tend to refer to their justices at the Court) managed to successfully balance her family and career. She shared many tactical pointers, offering her views on the virtues of au pairs over other forms of child care, the advantages of having an extended period between children, and the art of recognizing and cultivating a child’s interests and talents. But the most important and enduring advice she gave was the most seemingly banal: “be a good partner” and “take breaks.” What the data show, I think, is that “having it all” — even at different times — may well be impossible for most people.

—“Ron DeSantis orders flags at half-staff for Ginsburg” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

—”Ginsburg remembered at Fort Lauderdale vigil: ‘It’s been devastating’” via Megan O’Matz of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Donald Trump says he will move ‘without delay’ to fill Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat” via Robert Barnes, Seung Min Kim and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — Trump said Saturday that he will nominate a woman in the next week to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, opening a ferocious political battle that could transform the nation’s highest court and alter the presidential election. At a rally Saturday night in Fayetteville, N.C., Trump told supporters that he had not yet chosen a nominee, but “it will be a woman, a very talented, very brilliant woman.” The crowd chanted “Fill that seat!” Even as flags were lowered to half-staff and mourners filled the plaza of the Supreme Court where Ginsburg served for 27 years as a liberal icon, the President and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell contemplated her successor. As he was leaving the White House on Saturday evening, Trump said that an announcement could come within a week and that he prefers a Senate vote before the election.

Donald Trump vows to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg with another female justice. Image via Getty.

Flashback — Trump “saving” Judge Amy Barrett for Ginsburg seat” via Jonathan Swan and Sam Baker of Axios 

Trump considers Miami-born judge Barbara Lagoa for Ginsburg’s seat” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — Trump is considering Lagoa, a Miami-born federal appellate court judge, for a spot on the Supreme Court following the death of Ginsburg on Friday, according to multiple news reports. Lagoa, a 52-year-old Cuban American raised in Hialeah, currently serves on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. She is on a list of possible Supreme Court replacements that Trump published earlier this month. Lagoa is one of two women on Trump’s shortlist along with Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, according to news reports. As he departed the White House on Saturday for a political rally in North Carolina, Trump said his pick would “most likely” be a woman. While he said he does not personally known Lagoa, Trump said he knew she was “highly respected” in Miami.

Florida Republicans: Nominating Lagoa could clinch state for Trump” via Gary Fineout, Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon of Politico — Leading Florida Republican politicians are launching an all-out effort to convince President Trump to nominate federal Judge Lagoa to the U.S. Supreme Court — a move they say would boost his reelection chances in the must-win swing state. The biggest names in the Florida GOP are working behind the scenes to advocate for Lagoa: U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have sprung into action, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida campaign director Susie Wiles and the president’s former impeachment defense lawyer, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

—“Five things to know about Lagoa, rumored to be on Trump’s shortlist for Supreme Court” via Eileen Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The reason why Trump might delay replacing Ginsburg” via Tim Alberta of POLITICO — If there’s one Republican who could be convinced that filling the sudden Supreme Court vacancy is a bad idea, it’s Trump. There’s no question that the passing of Ginsburg, the trailblazing liberal justice who died Friday at age 87, gives the GOP an opportunity that appears too good to pass up. By replacing Ginsburg with a conservative jurist, Republicans would cement a durable right-wing majority on the high court, one that could deal crippling blows to the left on issues ranging from gun laws to affirmative action to abortion rights. It would seem a no-brainer to any conservative ideologue: With Trump trailing in the polls, and fewer than seven weeks until Election Day, Republicans should act immediately to lock down one branch of the federal government.

—”Lindsay Graham — an institutionalist turned Trump loyalist — will play a central role in Supreme Court battle” via Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim

What Republican Senators say in private” via Edward Isaac-Dovere of The Atlantic — Republican Senators have two choices: They can support a President they think is a threat to American democracy while also violating Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s invented 2016 rule about not confirming justices in an election year, or they can oppose Trump, enraging both him and their progressively cultish base. “If they try to shove something through, I think you’re going to see some of these Republicans who hate Trump fall on the horrible sword of ‘This country is dangerously divided right now; the hypocrisy is horrible; if we do something like this, it will tear the country apart,’” says Joe Walsh, the former Republican representative from Illinois.

Arizona Senate race could play crucial role in confirmation” via Jonathan J. Cooper of The Associated Press — If Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly wins a seat in the U.S. Senate, he could take office as early as Nov. 30, shrinking the GOP’s Senate majority at a crucial moment and complicating the path to confirmation for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Kelly has maintained a consistent polling lead over Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat held by John McCain, who died in 2018. Because the contest is a special election to finish McCain’s term, the winner could be sworn in as soon as the results are officially certified. Other winners in the November election won’t take office until January. Trump has pledged to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, a liberal icon who died Friday, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell vowed that Trump’s nominee “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Joe Biden’s court vacancy plan: More talk of health care and the pandemic” via Shane Goldmacher, Katie Glueck and Thomas Kaplan of The New York Times — For months Biden has condemned Trump as a failed steward of the nation’s well-being, relentlessly framing the 2020 election as a referendum on the President’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, confronted with a moment that many believe will upend the 2020 election, the death of Ginsburg and the prospect of a bitter Supreme Court confirmation battle, Biden’s campaign is sticking to what it believes is a winning strategy. Campaign aides said Saturday they would seek to link the court vacancy to the health emergency gripping the country and the future of health care in America. While confirmation fights have long centered on hot-button cultural divides such as guns and especially abortion, the Biden campaign, at least at the start, plans to chiefly focus on protecting the Affordable Care Act and its popular guarantee of coverage for people with preexisting conditions.

Republicans are usually more fired up over the Supreme Court. Now, polls say Democrats are.” via Sahil Kapur of NBC News — National and battleground state surveys taken before Ginsburg died showed that voters trust Biden more than Trump to pick a Supreme Court nominee and that Democrats rate the court as more important to their votes than Republicans do. A Fox News poll this month found that likely voters trust Biden over Trump by 52% to 45% in nominating the next Supreme Court justice. A Marquette Law School national poll that was completed three days before Ginsburg died found that 59% of Biden voters rated the Supreme Court as “very important” to their votes; 51% of Trump voters said the same. Among Democrats, 56% said the next appointment was “very important,” higher than the 48% of Republicans who said the same.

— SALLY —

Hurricane Sally: 600 rescued, 1 believed dead of generator fumes, disaster aid likely “forthcoming’” via Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal — There’s no official date on when a federal official will declare Hurricane Sally a “major disaster” and release the floodgate of federal funds needed for long-term recovery and restoration efforts in Northwest Florida. Still, after touring the damage in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties on Saturday, a contingent of state, local and federal officials said the declaration will likely be coming soon. “I was just on the phone with the chief of staff at the White House, and there’s no delay in the processing of that (major disaster declaration),” U.S. Rep. Gaetz said at a news conference Saturday. “It just takes a little bit more time, when you don’t have a windstorm event, to assess the damage that individuals and businesses have encountered. But it is absolutely my expectation after talking with the White House moments ago, that will be forthcoming.”

It may take a little time to declare Hurricane Sally a ‘major disaster.’ Image via AP.

Early Sally damage assessments show $29 million in damage to roads and public buildings” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — More than 24 hours after Hurricane Sally made landfall, nearly $29 million of damage has been assessed to public infrastructure in Escambia County and Pensacola, but that number is likely to grow. Officials from both Escambia County and the city of Pensacola have been out making initial assessments of damage to roads, bridges and public buildings. In just the first day, Escambia County has found at least $21 million in damage to public infrastructure, according to county spokeswoman Laura Coale.

Grande Lagoon neighborhood hit by Sally struggles in aftermath of powerful storm surge” via Colin Warren-Hicks of the Pensacola News Journal

—“‘Once you go, you’re hooked for life’: Paradise recovering from significant Hurricane Sally damage” via Madison Arnold of the Pensacola News Journal

‘What do we do?’: Days after Sally, barges stuck in yards of Pensacola Bay homeowners” via Jake Newby of the Pensacola News Journal — Many Pensacola residents impacted by Hurricane Sally are still assessing wind and water damage left in the wake of the Category 2 storm. But only a select few also have the misfortune of dealing with massive runaway barges that washed ashore and settled in their yards. Homeowners said at least four barges remain lodged in the yards of homes located off the shore of Pensacola Bay. Joanne Nisewonger and her husband experienced in real-time the sights and sounds of a barge blasting through their seawall and bouncing against their and their neighbor’s fencing like a pinball. 

Panama City, Bay County better prepared for Sally with lessons from Michael” via Jacqueline Bostick of the Panama City News-Herald — In the first 24 hours of dry weather, local officials made their initial assessments on storm preparation and damage from a sluggish Hurricane Sally that drenched the Panhandle last week. Considering Bay County was outside its direct path, the category 2 hurricane made an unanticipated impact. A floodgate of waters rushed up to 3 feet in some areas, resulting in crumbled roads, fallen trees, sewer sanitation overflows and flooding catastrophic enough that fire departments responded to more than a dozen of home rescues. FEMA officials were on the ground assessing damage on Friday. Bay County Emergency Management Specialist Frankie Lumm expects support for individual and public assistance. “To be honest, we weren’t supposed to get anything at all,” Lumm said regarding storm damage. “So, we have more damage from the initial onset because we weren’t supposed to get as much (rain and wind) as we did.”

Lineworkers come from 24 states to help Pensacola get the power back on” via Kirsten Fiscus of the Pensacola News Journal — Since Tuesday, before Hurricane Sally made landfall in Gulf Shores, Alabama, Duke and his fellow lineman have been responding to various locations across Escambia and Santa Rosa counties working on downed power lines. He and the nearly 8,000 linemen in the area will easily work 100 hours during storm recovery. It’s a job marked by long hours, dangerous conditions, and the possibility of more troublesome hot and distressed residents. The goal is to have 95% of customers’ power restored by the end of Tuesday, said Gordon Paulus, a spokesman for Gulf Power. By Saturday afternoon. About 80,000 customers were still without power across Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The process by which crews restore power is fairly regimented. First and foremost power is restored to critical resources, like hospitals, first responder stations and water plants. Crews begin at a substation and follow a feeder power line from the station to assess the damage. Once they understand the extent of the repairs needed, they create a plan and get to work.

Escambia desperately awaits ‘major disaster’ declaration from FEMA for Sally recovery” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Local governments are faced with a huge cleanup bill from Hurricane Sally if the federal government doesn’t declare the storm a “major disaster.” Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley said at a news conference Friday that the county would likely not be able to pay for the cleanup and recovery cost without aid from the federal government. “We’re talking a lot of money to provide the recovery and response that’s needed, certainly more than the county probably has,” Gilley said. “And so that’s why it’s extremely important.” Escambia County and the city of Pensacola have teams assessing the damage to buildings from Hurricane Sally, and have so far found an initial assessment of nearly $29 million to public infrastructure.

Escambia County is waiting for a ‘major disaster’ declaration that opens the door for federal aid. Image via WBTM.

Escambia leaders plead with public to stay off roads, be patient at gas pumps” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County leaders are pleading with the public to stay off the roads as crews work to restore power and respond to emergencies. “Please, please, please, do not be on the roads if it’s not an emergency, and you don’t have to,” Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley said Friday morning during a news conference. “We have had a couple of accidents at intersections due to the fact that obviously there are still outages with our traffic signals, and people sometimes just don’t follow the four-way stop rules.” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said people should only leave their homes to get fuel or food or if it is an emergency.

Tweet, tweet:

Officials expect three weeks needed to repair Bob Sikes Bridge leading to Pensacola Beach” via C.D. Davidson-Hiers of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County officials expect to reopen another lane of the Bob Sikes Bridge leading to Pensacola Beach in a week and estimate the entire bridge will reopen in three weeks or less. “We expect engineering to be complete today and the notice to proceed by end of day (Monday),” Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender said on Sunday of crews beginning work to refortify the bridge after Hurricane Sally. Officials closed the southbound bridge lanes after the hurricane caused heavy storm erosion. Officials also put a checkpoint at the base of the bridge on the northern side, slowing traffic to allow only residents and those with commercial business on the island to pass.

Walton County Fire Rescue saves 8 pets from flooded Darlington home” via Savannah Evanoff of the NWF Daily News — Floodwaters filled and surrounded a woman’s home Wednesday, leaving no way for her many pets to escape. Luckily, members of Walton County Fire Rescue were nearby and led the rescue of eight pets. Lonnie Thomas, a firefighter and emergency medical technician for Walton County Fire Rescue, carries a caged cat while evacuating eight pets from a woman’s home in Darlington flooded after Hurricane Sally. Jeremy Radney, the Fire Rescue training division chief, was assisting with a wreck off U.S. Highway 331 when lieutenants called him to Darlington to check on three houses that were flooded. Hers was one of them. The other homeowners opted to stay instead of evacuating and didn’t need help, he said. “She drove up on the car and she told us her house was there,” Radney said. “We were told by the neighbors that basically no one lived there. That wasn’t the case. It was her house.”

Why thousands of starfish washed up on Navarre Beach after Sally” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — Thousands of starfish washed up on Navarre Beach after Hurricane Sally, a grim parting gift from the tropical cyclone that devastated the Florida Panhandle last week. The starfish washed up overnight Friday and were discovered Saturday morning, according to Danny Fureigh, chief of Navarre Beach Fire Rescue. Fureigh said he’s seen such a phenomenon once before, a few years ago, but never anything of this magnitude. “There are thousands and thousands of them,” he said, noting that they were present pretty much from the Turner House (the lifeguard headquarters) all the way to Opal Beach. Fureigh suspects the mass starfish beaching has something to do with water toxicity following the hurricane. The water quality was so bad Friday that Navarre lifeguards flew double red flags.

— THE MODELS —

To get a reasonable idea of how the presidential race is playing out, state polling is the way to go — particularly in battleground states like Florida. There are outlets that offer a poll of polls, gauging how Trump or Biden are doing in select areas, then averaging the polls to get a general idea of who leads nationwide. Sunburn will be updating these forecasts as they come in:

CNN Poll of Polls: As of Sunday, the CNN average gives Biden the lead at 51% compared to 44% for Trump. The CNN Poll of Polls tracks the national average in the race for President. They include the most recent national telephone polls which meet CNN’s standards for reporting and which measure the views of registered or likely voters. The poll of polls does not have a margin of sampling error.

FiveThirtyEight.com: As of Sunday, Biden has moved up to a 77 in 100 chance of winning compared to Trump, who has a 23 in 100 shot. FiveThirtyEight also ranked individual states by the likelihood of delivering a decisive vote for the winning candidate in the Electoral College: Pennsylvania leads with 32.8%, while Florida comes in second with 13.8 %. Other states include Wisconsin (9.8%), Arizona (6.6%), Michigan (5.8%), North Carolina (4.8%), Nevada (3.7%) and Minnesota (3.1%).

In polls of recent polling, Joe Biden is maintaining a lead.

PredictIt: As of Sunday, the PredictIt trading market has Biden in the lead, at $0.58 a share, with Trump moving up slightly to $0.46.

Real Clear Politics: As of Sunday, the RCP average of polling top battleground states gives Biden a lead over Trump 49.2% to 43.9%. Nearly every recent poll used in the RCP model has Biden up from anywhere between 5 and 9 points.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball: The Trial-Heat and Convention Bump Forecasting Models have an excellent record for accurate predictions of the presidential elections going back to 1992. Forecasting models depend on applying electoral history to the current election, but 2020 is historically abnormal (at least, in the period since 1948). The greatest challenge for forecasting this year is how the catastrophic second quarter GDP should be treated. Based on Trump’s approval ratings, in general, and on the economy, as well as the projected third-quarter GDP growth rates, the forecasts should depend exclusively on the preference polls, and they point to another extremely close election.

The Economist: As of Sunday, their model thinks Biden is very likely to beat Trump in the Electoral College. The model is updated every day and combines state and national polls with economic indicators to predict a range of outcomes. The midpoint is the estimate of the electoral-college vote for each party on Election Day. According to The Economist, Biden’s chances of winning the electoral college around 7 in 8 or 87%; Trump’s chances are around 1 in 8 or 13%. They still gives Biden a 97% chance of winning the most votes, with Trump at only 3%.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Ginsburg’s death crystallizes the choice in November as no other issue can” via Dan Balz of The Washington Post — In a year that has included impeachment, a pandemic, economic turmoil and a reckoning on race, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg crystallizes the choice in November as perhaps none of the other issues can. Nothing quite captures the national disquiet over the future of the country as the passing of one of the most iconic and best-known jurists in history and the vacuum that her death has now created. If there was hope that the November election might result in an outcome that could begin to settle the country, the odds of that lengthened with the first reports on Friday night of her death after a long battle with cancer. For those on the left, the passing of the revered justice is a potentially cataclysmic event, opening up the possibility that her seat on the court could be filled by someone who would cement a conservative majority for years. For those on the right, the vacancy to be filled presents the rarest of opportunities to fulfill a decadeslong drive to change the court for a generation or more.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is mobilizing the electorate on both sides. 

Ginsburg’s death draws big surge of donations to Democrats” via Brian Slodysko of The Associated Press — Democrats raised more than $71 million in the hours after Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg’s death, demonstrating how the liberal icon’s passing and the contentious nomination fight that lies ahead have already galvanized the party’s base. The jaw-dropping sum was raised by 9 p.m. Saturday after news of her death broke late Friday, according to a donation ticker on the website of ActBlue, the party’s online fundraising platform. The 2020 campaign, which will decide control of the White House and the Senate, had already delivered record-shattering fundraising totals for the Democrats, a sign of the motivation within the party to rebuke Trump on Election Day. But Ginsburg’s death brought new impetus to the campaign, particularly after Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell both pledged to move forward with finding a new justice.

Voting begins in Florida as military families, overseas residents cast ballots by fax” via the Miami Herald — Voting is quietly underway in the Florida presidential election. The race between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden won’t be decided until Nov. 3, and millions of mail ballots won’t be sent to in-state addresses until next week. But by Thursday, dozens of military families living away from home and Florida residents living overseas had already cast their ballots. At least 81 UOCAVA ballots — an acronym referring to the 1986 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act — have been returned, according to the Florida Division of Elections. Of the votes received, 42 were cast by Democrats, 29 by Republicans.

After a tumultuous month of news, Biden maintains national lead over Trump” via Mark Murray of NBC News — After a month of political conventions, fresh controversies, more protests and additional deaths from the coronavirus, the 2020 presidential race remains where’s it’s been for months with Biden leading Trump nationally by nearly double digits, and with a majority of voters opposing the President. Those are the results of a new poll, which finds Biden ahead by 8 points among registered voters, 51% to 43%, with more than 50% of voters disapproving of Trump’s job performance and with Trump holding the advantage on the economy and Biden holding the edge on the coronavirus. What’s more, the poll shows that close to 90% of voters have firmly made up their minds, and that seven-in-10 believe the upcoming debates aren’t that important in deciding their vote.

Biden’s polling lead nears magic number” via Steven Shepard of POLITICO — All summer long, we’ve been warned: Yes, Biden is ahead in the polls, but so was Hillary Clinton. There’s one key difference that’s often overlooked, though. Biden is much closer to the magic 50% mark, both nationally and in key Electoral College battleground states. That puts Trump in a significantly worse situation, needing to not only attract skeptical undecided voters but also peel supporters away from Biden, whose poll numbers have been remarkably durable. According to the latest RealClearPolitics average, Biden is sitting at 49.3% in national surveys and has a 6.2 percentage point lead over Trump. That’s significantly higher than Clinton’s 44.9% mark this time four years ago, which was good for only a 1 point lead.

Joe Biden’s polling is approaching the magic number of 50%. Image via AP.

Cash-strapped Trump campaign awaits a bailout from big donors” via Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO — Republican Party megadonors are racing to bail out Trump’s cash-strapped reelection campaign, with a newly formed super PAC pouring a further $25 million into battleground states. Preserve America is set to begin running a trio of TV commercials savaging Biden as Republicans express growing alarm over the President’s absence from the airwaves. Trump — who went dark for part of August and has since canceled advertising in key states — is being outspent more than 2-to-1 by Biden this week, according to the media tracking firm Advertising Analytics.

Trump campaign manager didn’t vote for his boss in 2016 — or at all” via Colby Itkowitz of The Washington Post — Trump’s campaign manager didn’t vote for his boss in the last presidential election. He didn’t vote at all. The last time Bill Stepien voted, according to public records, was in 2015, when he lived in New Jersey and was registered there. Stepien registered to vote in Washington, D.C., where he has been living since 2017, at the end of July, two weeks after he was tapped to take over Trump’s reelection bid. Stepien, a onetime aide to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, first joined Trump’s team in August 2016. A senior campaign official said Stepien requested an absentee ballot that never arrived, so he did not vote in 2016. He was not registered in either New Jersey or Washington to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

From door knockers to flotillas: Trump campaign claims high energy in Florida” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Florida campaign brain trust for Trump‘s reelection bid say they’re seeing supporters’ enthusiasm riding high, as reflected in crowds, canvassing efforts, volunteers, turnouts, and even in boat parades. Susie Wiles, Florida senior adviser to the campaign and a longtime go-to for Republicans’ Sunshine State must-win efforts, says she’s perhaps seeing more enthusiasm than in 2016 when tens of thousands of volunteers, all zealous to help, turned out to drive Trump’s surprise victory. “It could be a bigger number than in 2016. That was the most I had ever seen, but it is more than it was then,” Wiles said.

Will Florida’s referendums help or hurt Trump?” via Skylar Swisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — It’s a political chess move used by strategists on both sides of the aisle: Put referendums on the ballot that fire up your voters and get them to the polls. This year is no different in Florida. And with Trump and Biden in a dead heat, every vote matters in the fiercely fought election battleground. On one side, Amendment 1 would change the state constitution to specify that only citizens can vote in elections in Florida. It wouldn’t have much practical effect since noncitizens are already barred from voting under state law, but it’s an issue that will play well with Trump’s supporters. On the other side, Amendment 2 would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026, a progressive priority that could energize more liberal voters who aren’t excited by Biden.

Trump may approve drug imports from Canada in move aimed at Florida” via Phil Galewitz of the Tampa Bay Times — Over the objections of drugmakers, the Trump administration is expected within weeks to finalize its plan that would allow states to import some prescription medicines from Canada. Six states, Colorado, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Vermont, have passed laws allowing them to seek federal approval to buy drugs from Canada to give their residents access to lower-cost medicines. But industry observers say the drug importation proposal under review by the administration is squarely aimed at Florida — the most populous swing state in the November election. Trump’s support of the idea initially came at the urging of DeSantis, a close Republican ally.

A deal on drug prices undone by White House insistence on ‘Trump Cards’” via Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times

We’re not gonna be manipulated.’ Cracks form in Donald Trump’s Cuban-American base” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — Amid evidence Trump has significantly expanded his support among Miami-Dade’s traditionally conservative Cuban exile community, a counter-movement is afoot to show that there are thousands of Cuban-Americans in Florida who believe the president does not have their best interests at heart. Prominent exiles like former Republican Party of Florida chairman Al Cardenas  criticized Trump’s authoritarian streak. Luis Santeiro, the Cuban-American head writer of the ground-breaking 1970s Spanglish TV sitcom “¿Que Pasa, USA?” warned in an opinion piece  “when we label someone we disagree with a communist, a fidelista or a reactionary, we only echo the intransigence of the regime we fled.”

2020 has been a big year for Trump in Jupiter. Will it help in November?” via Sam Howard of The Palm Beach Post — A four-piece band rocked out to songs lambasting CNN and Democrat Biden. People, some with flags bearing Trump‘s name, swarmed the corner of Alternate A1A and U.S. 1. The crowd buzzed as it awaited a split-second glimpse of Trump in his motorcade. This is Jupiter in 2020. When the President visited town this month, it became the latest installment in a year that has commanded attention toward his supporters in the Jupiter area. A red outlier in reliably blue Palm Beach County, Jupiter has been inextricably linked to the President in 2020. In addition to the presidential visit, which attracted a few hundred people near the busy street corner, there have been large Trump boat parades that kicked off near the Jupiter Inlet. The President owns a golf club in Jupiter. And in January, the President’s supporters packed Jupiter’s Lighthouse Diner for a chance to be featured on Fox News’ signature morning show, a Trump personal favorite.

Donald Trump is a big hit in Jupiter. Will the rest of Florida follow suit? Image via AP.

Trump-Biden race may hinge on how Pinellas County swings on COVID-19” via Margo Snipe and Phil Galewitz — Betty Jones voted for Trump in 2016, but the lifelong Republican has her doubts she will do it again this year. The federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed about 200,000 Americans and forced older adults to restrict their activities has her contemplating a leadership change. “(It) makes me unsure,” said Jones, 78, of Largo. Before COVID-19, she said, she would have definitely voted for Trump. Polls show many people will have the pandemic and its public health and economic consequences on their minds when they cast their votes.

Trump visiting Jacksonville Thursday for campaign stop” via Andrew Pantazi of The Florida Times-Union — Trump‘s campaign announced he will be visiting Jacksonville next Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Jacksonville International Airport. The doors open for the event at 4 p.m. Registration is available at the President’s campaign website.

Man arrested after pro-Trump flagpole shoved at Orange Park girl” via Dan Scanlan of The Florida Times-Union — A 67-year-old man was arrested this week after a 12-year-old girl was hit in the face by a flagpole during a Trump rally in Orange Park, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said. Norbert Eugene Logsdon Jr. of Orange Park was charged Wednesday afternoon with abuse of a child without great bodily harm and released on bail, jail records show. The incident, captured on video by the child’s mother, occurred near a shopping center at Blanding and Loch Rane boulevards, the arrest report said. A group of people were having a sidewalk support event for the Republican President, waving signs and flags just after 5:30 p.m., the report said. The mother was headed with her daughter to get some fast food when they passed the supporters. The mother yelled something as they sat in a turn lane waiting to get into the restaurant. Logsdon “got upset” and shoved his flagpole through the open right-front passenger window, the report said.

Jill Biden planning vote turnout bus tour in Florida” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Former Second Lady Jill Biden is planning a bus tour rolling in Florida starting Tuesday to promote vote turnout efforts to support her husband‘s campaign for President. On Tuesday she will launch the “Turn Up and Turn Out the Vote Virtual Bus Tour” event in South Florida with the Congressional Black Caucus featuring U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami Shores. The event will kick off at a location to be announced, at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. The effort will focus on Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan for racial equity and outline the ways Floridians can cast their ballots. Attendees will learn how to engage in volunteer opportunities with the Biden for President Campaign to mobilize their communities in addition to familiarizing themselves with the Voter Protection Program, the campaign stated in a news release.

A congressional district in Maine and one in Nebraska could decide the presidency” via Paul Kane of The Washington Post — A pair of military veterans representing swing districts in Congress have more than just their own reelection campaigns to think about in the final 45 days before ballots are counted. Reps. Don Bacon and Jared Golden come from states in which presidential electoral votes are awarded partly on the basis of results in each congressional district, making their individual campaigns all the more important, respectively, to Trump and Biden. And, as the map unfolds this fall, it’s not implausible to see the entire presidential campaign coming down to their respective districts. “Yeah, this could be the tiebreaking vote,” Bacon said in an interview outside the Capitol this week.

— 2020 — 

Big issues and big money set tone for constitutional amendment campaigns” via John Kennedy of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — While the race for the White House dominates Florida politics, a half-dozen proposed constitutional amendments set for the same November ballot could have a dramatic effect on state elections and household incomes. These down-ballot items won’t grab voters’ attention like the clash between Trump and Biden. But some of these campaigns are driven by the same degree of dark money intrigue, outsize personalities and culture conflicts as the presidential contest. Consider Amendment 2, which would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15. The pay raise is the brainchild of John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer whose firm’s $4.6 million basically financed the ballot campaign, just as he did with medical marijuana measures in 2014 and 2016. “Our polling has been good,” Morgan said. “And I think it will pass because the pandemic has helped, not hurt. Think of it: There’s a new phrase in our vocabulary: essential workers. We have a much greater appreciation of essential workers.”

John Morgan is the big money behind Amendment 2.

Happening today — The Florida Chamber of Commerce will hold a conference call with business leaders. Among the topics are a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage and a COVID-19 update, 2 p.m. Registration at flchamber.com.

Cable networks aid felons voting effort” via The News Service of Florida — An effort to pay court-ordered costs for felons who have served their time behind bars is getting a $250,000 boost from MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central, the cable networks announced on Friday. The money will go to a “Fees and Fines” fund created by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in response to a controversial state law requiring felons to pay court-ordered “legal financial obligations” to be eligible to vote. The donation by ViacomCBS came a week after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2019 state law, which was aimed at carrying out a 2018 constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to felons “upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole and probation.”

Happening today — Rep. Margaret Good, the Democrat challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in Florida’s 16th Congressional District, will hold an online event joined by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, 7 p.m. Reporters may contact alex@margaretgood.com for more information.

Despite controversial comments, survey shows Brian Mast leading Pam Keith in CD 18” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A new St. Pete Polls survey has Republican Rep. Mast with an 8-point lead over his Democratic opponent, Keith. Mast earned 50% support in the survey, which ran on Friday, Sept. 18. Keith received 42% support. Nonparty affiliated candidate K.W. Miller pulled in just over 2%. Another 5% of respondents were undecided. Mast holds a lead despite earning rebukes over recently-unearthed comments from around a decade ago where he joked about sleeping with 15-year-olds and rape. People on both sides of the political spectrum have called for Mast to resign over those comments. Mast has apologized for the social media posts and resisted calls to step down. Despite the controversy, Mast’s 8-point lead sits outside the survey’s 2.9-percentage-point margin of error. The survey sampled 1,149 likely voters inside Florida’s 18th Congressional District. The poll showed Keith underperforming Democratic presidential candidate Biden inside CD 18. Biden is earning 48.5% support as compared to 48.2% for Trump.

Brian Mast takes a solid lead over Pam Keith.

— LEG. CAMPAIGNS —

Outside poll finds Donald Trump, Ana Maria Rodriguez with comfy leads in SD 39” via Jason Ogles of Florida Politics — A third-party poll shows Republican Rodriguez leading Democrat Javier Fernandez by six percentage points in Senate District 39. More alarming for most Democrats, the same poll shows Trump beating Biden there by the same margin. A poll by The Tyson Group shows Republicans dominating a generic ballot in the predominantly Hispanic district. If true, that means gains among South Florida Hispanics made by Democrats under President Barack Obama have largely wiped away. Results of the survey show Trump winning 48% of the district vote to Biden’s 42%, with 62% of Hispanic voters favoring the Republican incumbent and only 28% picking the Democrat. That’s in a district Democrat Clinton won 53% to Trump’s 43% in 2016.

Republican Ana Maria Rodriguez is holding a comfortable lead in SD 39, a district Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Al Griffiths looks to unseat Erin Grall who’s seeking her third term” via Colleen Wilson of Treasure Coast Newspapers — After seeing no Democrat opposition to Grall, Griffiths entered the race. “I just decided to do it,” said Griffiths, 71. “At least (to) give Democrats a choice.” It’s time to end the one-party control in Florida, Griffiths said, noting similar campaigns to vote out incumbent Republicans throughout the state. Griffiths, vice chairman of the Indian River County Democratic Executive Committee, said he never expected to run his own political campaign, but wanted to give voters a choice. For her part, Grall, 43, said many of the issues she prioritizes are nonpartisan. The Legislature’s Republicans and Democrats work together on many of the bills she sponsors, she said.

—”Endorsement: Coastal Broward voters should return Rep. Chip LaMarca to Florida House” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”Endorsement: In rematch for Florida House District 89, Mike Caruso is better prepared” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Florida reports a higher number of new COVID-19 cases — 3,573 — but fewer deaths at 62” via Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald — Florida’s Department of Health on Saturday confirmed 3,573 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s known total to 681,233. That figure represents the most new cases since Sept. 11, when the state reported 3,650 cases. There were 62 Florida resident deaths announced, bringing the resident death toll to 13,287. The number of deaths has fallen to less than 100 in a day for the first time since Sept. 14. One new nonresident death was announced, bringing the nonresident toll to 163.

Florida COVID-19 cases appear to be leveling off after summer surge” via Eileen Kelley of the South Florida SunSentinel —The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Florida is holding steady since peaking in July — when more than 15,000 new cases were reported in a single day. The state on Sunday added 2,521 new cases and the number of new reported deaths was in the single digits at nine. The state’s positivity rate stands at 4.64% for new tests reported in the previous 24-hour period. This is the ninth straight day that the rate has been below 5%, generally considered a key target figure when making decisions about resuming daily activities.

How Florida’s long-term care facilities are managing the COVID-19 virus” via Amy Keller of Florida Trend — In mid-March, as Florida began to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, DeSantis issued a temporary ban on visitors to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where roughly 155,000 Floridians live. At the time, the state had 77 COVID cases, but it was already becoming clear that the virus hit the elderly and infirm harder than younger, healthier people. Weeks earlier, the virus had ravaged a Seattle-area nursing home, killing dozens of residents. Florida officials worried the same would happen here if they didn’t take steps to protect its most vulnerable citizens. During a news conference announcing the changes, Mary Mayhew, secretary of the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), noted the facilities weren’t equipped to deal with virulent respiratory pathogens in the same way that hospitals were, nor were they expected to.

COVID-only nursing homes cited for infection control problems” via John Pacenti and Holly Baltz of the Palm Beach Post — DeSantis’ touted the state’s own solution back in May to relieve hospitals: Seniors who still tested positive for the novel coronavirus but were well on the road to recovery. Florida ended up designating 23 isolation centers before DeSantis’ administration abruptly — and surprisingly — reversed course, announcing it was shutting down the project by stopping admissions at all the facilities by Oct. 1. The isolation centers were quite lucrative for the industry at taxpayers’ expense. Yet, one-third of the isolation centers picked had spotty records on infection control or financial issues that could affect the care of the patients most vulnerable to the disease, a Palm Beach Post investigation found.

Ron DeSantis abruptly canceled a program to place coronavirus infected seniors in COVID-only facilities.

Florida’s smallest counties getting second round of CARES Act funding” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Counties with fewer than half a million residents will receive a second round of CARES Act funding from the state, the latest in a series of distributions started in June to total $1.3 billion in federal assistance. DeSantis announced the second batch of cash Friday, which will send $255 million to 55 of the state’s 67 counties. That’s on top of $318.8 million sent in June to the selection of counties. Counties above the 500,000 population threshold already received $2.5 billion from the United States Treasury. To win funding from the second disbursement, counties must show how they spent the initial set of aid. The counties must also outline a spending plan for the additional funds. Additional disbursements beyond this second round will be considered on a reimbursement basis, according to the Governor’s Office. That’s because the state is responsible for repaying the federal government for ineligible expenditures.

Special needs students struggle to adapt to on-screen, hands-off learning amid pandemic” via Linda Robertson and Colleen Wright of the Miami Herald — For about 14% of the Miami-Dade student population, those enrolled in Exceptional Student Education or ESE programs with a wide range of disorders and disabilities, adjustments are tough. They and their teachers are obligated to follow blueprints called Individualized Education Plans mandated by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. They need routine, repetition, predictability and hands-on personal instruction to thrive. Many receive physical, occupational and speech therapy daily at school. Social skills can degrade rapidly if autistic or anxious kids slip into their isolation comfort mode. Nor can teachers teaching from afar read students’ physical cues and nuances to help them behave appropriately in social situations.

— CORONA LOCAL —

New plan has some Broward students returning Oct. 5, others a week later on Oct. 12” via Brooke Baitinger of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Not every student in Broward County will return to campus on Oct. 5, according to the latest version of Broward schools’ reopening plan. The Broward school district now proposes a two-stage approach: some students would return Oct. 5, and others one week later on Oct. 12. Staff will use the additional week to figure out how to space students with physical distance to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The school board will discuss the plan on Tuesday. Students at elementary and K-8 schools would return Oct. 5, if the plan is finalized as it reads now. A typical classroom can seat about 14 students while maintaining social distancing, so school staff will need to figure out how much extra space is needed for when middle and high school students return on Oct. 12, according to the document.

Palm Beach County Commissioner rips critics for attack on COVID-19-positive daughter” via Hannah Morse of The Palm Beach Post — After Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay announced Tuesday that her youngest daughter was in the emergency room with COVID-19, an anti-mask advocate posted screenshots claiming to show the hypocrisy of McKinlay pushing coronavirus safety precautions on the public while letting her own daughter defy them. In response, McKinlay shot back with a fiery missive of her own. “To All the Assholes out there who think my daughter’s old video lip-syncing a silly song with one of her best friends that she recorded with her roommate in her living room a few weeks ago who assume WRONGLY that she was out in Orlando while having COVID, you are SICK,” McKinlay posted on her County Commission Facebook page.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley rips critics for an attack on her COVID-positive daughter.

Eviction moratorium keeps Miami illegal Airbnb in business despite court order” via Taylor Dolven of the Miami Herald — The four-bedroom, four-bathroom house at 130 SW 24th Road had new people coming in and out nearly every day. It is a full-time vacation house rented to tourists on Airbnb, in violation of the city’s code. In July, a judge granted Miami-Dade police the power to physically remove the tenant from the property. But the tenant, in this case, is Vacayo Inc., a California-based short-term rental management company that helps landlords benefit from “the booming cottage industry” of Airbnb. The state’s eviction moratorium and the county’s emergency order are meant to prevent making tenants homeless during the pandemic. But for tenants who are actually short-term rental companies, the measures are providing a loophole to keep business booming.

— MORE LOCAL —

FSU threatens suspensions for students flouting its COVID-19 guidelines” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Florida State University President John Thrasher has an ultimatum for students flouting the university’s COVID-19 precautions: Do it again and you’re suspended. “I want to reiterate that violations to our health and safety protocols, both on and off-campus, are subject to serious disciplinary action,” Thrasher said Friday in a campus message. “Students who endanger the community with actions such as hosting or attending a large party or gathering will be subject to suspension.” He also announced new policies regarding football game days would be forthcoming. That comes after scores of what appeared to be student fans were caught on camera maskless during last Saturday’s Georgia Tech game. Thrasher’s warning also comes as hundreds of FSU students are testing positive for coronavirus, with a 12.9% positivity rate for test results through Sept. 11, according to the university.

Florida State football coach Mike Norvell announces he’s tested positive for COVID-19” via Curt Weiler of the Tallahassee Democrat — Norvell has tested positive for COVID-19. The first-year head coach announced Saturday via a statement shared by FSU that he tested positive in Friday’s round of testing after testing negative in each of the previous two tests earlier this week. Norvell’s required quarantine is expected to extend past next weekend, meaning he won’t be on the sidelines for the Seminoles’ game at Miami Sept. 26. FSU Athletic Director David Coburn, in another statement, said he has no reason to believe the Miami game is in jeopardy at this point. The CDC recommends anyone with a positive coronavirus test isolate for 10 days. Norvell also announced deputy head coach Chris Thomsen will be in charge of the team as it prepares to face the Hurricanes.

— CORONA NATION —

CDC drops controversial testing advice that caused backlash” via Mike Stobbe of The Associated Press — U.S. health officials on Friday dropped a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and said anyone who has been in close contact with an infected person should get tested. The CDC essentially returned to its previous testing guidance, getting rid of language posted last month that said people didn’t need to get tested if they didn’t feel sick. That change had set off a rash of criticism from health experts who couldn’t fathom why the nation’s top public health agency would say such a thing amid the pandemic. It was “not consistent with the basic principles of controlling an epidemic,” said Dr. Silvia Chiang, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Brown University who applauded the change announced Friday. The C.D.C. now says anyone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes should get a test. In a statement, the agency called the changes a “clarification” that was needed “due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield dropped a controversial piece of coronavirus guidance and now suggests anyone in close contact with an infected person should get tested. Image via AP.

Trump acknowledges that distribution of an authorized vaccine for ‘every American’ may not be until next year.” via The New York Times — Trump sought on Friday to recalibrate his assurances on vaccine availability, acknowledging that authorized doses might not be widely available in the United States until next spring even if distribution starts earlier. Speaking at the White House, Trump said that once a vaccine is authorized, “distribution will begin within 24 hours after notice.” He added: “We will have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year. And likely much more than that. Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month, and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April.” The President had said earlier that a vaccine would be available to “the general public immediately” once it is authorized, and although he held firm on that pledge, he acknowledged that it would take perhaps months from that point to distribute vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans.

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

State jobless rate drops to 7.4%” via Jim Turner of The News Service of Florida — That represented a major decrease from an adjusted 11.4% mark in July amid an accelerated push to reopen businesses. The new rate, an estimate from mid-August, projected 753,000 Floridians were jobless from a labor force of 10.138 million people. The state lost nearly 1.18 million nonagricultural jobs from February to April as the pandemic hit, but it has gained back 631,600, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. The new figures provide a snapshot of the state before DeSantis recently allowed Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties to join the second phase of an economic reopening effort that began in early June.

Florida’s jobless rate has dipped considerably in August. Image via AP.

Federal aid for Florida’s unemployed has run out. What’s next?” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — Despite months of pandemic-induced chaos, Florida hasn’t fallen off the economic cliff. There are policy reasons for that, experts say: Gov. Ron DeSantis has largely erred on the side of keeping businesses open. Since April, the state has had an eviction and foreclosure moratorium on the books. And the federal government has given Floridians billions in unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic. But starting this week, that last, crucial factor — federal unemployment assistance — will be missing from Florida wallets.

Six months of pandemic have profoundly changed Florida’s restaurants” via Helen Freund of the Tampa Bay Times — Across the country, about 100,000 restaurants have either closed permanently or long-term. Close to 3 million employees in the restaurant sector remain out of work. In Florida, roughly 598,000 restaurant workers were furloughed or laid off during the shutdown. When the state shut down, Tampa Bay restaurants had been operating at limited capacity for a few weeks. David Benstock, the owner of downtown St. Petersburg Italian restaurant Il Ritorno, recalls having this thought: Tear everything up and hope it doesn’t last too long. “The only thing that you really can do is control your costs,” Benstock said. So Benstock laid off 31 employees at Il Ritorno, and a few more at his neighboring salad spot, Greenstock.

— MORE CORONA — 

COVID-19 grows less deadly as doctors gain practice, drugs improve” via Olivia Raimonde of Bloomberg — COVID-19 continues to kill close to 1,000 Americans a day. But for those who develop dangerous cases of the infection, advances in medical care and the growing experience of doctors are improving the chances of survival. Since the first case arrived in the U.S. at the start of the year, medical professionals have gone from fumbling in the dark to better understanding which drugs work — such as steroids and blood thinners, and the antiviral medicine remdesivir. The allocation of intensive medical resources has improved. And doctors have learned to hold off on the use of ventilators for some patients, unlike with many other severe respiratory illnesses. Doctors and experts say that improved medical tactics and earlier treatment are helping improve the outcomes for very sick patients, said Andrew Badley, head of Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Research Task Force.

Nearly 11,000 people have been exposed to the coronavirus on flights, the CDC says” via Ian Duncan of The Washington Post — The CDC investigated 1,600 cases of people who flew while at risk of spreading the coronavirus, identifying nearly 11,000 people who potentially were exposed to the virus on flights. But though the agency says some of those travelers subsequently fell ill, in the face of incomplete contact tracing information and a virus that incubates over several days, it has not been able to confirm a case of transmission on a plane. That does not mean it hasn’t happened, and recent scientific studies have documented likely cases of transmission on flights abroad. “An absence of cases identified or reported is not evidence that there were no cases,” said Caitlin Shockey, a spokeswoman for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.

Millions of children may miss pandemic food aid as states scramble to meet new Trump administration mandate” via Helena Bottemiller Evich of POLITICO — It was a program that had been running remarkably smoothly after being set up quickly during a pandemic. The little-known program, called Pandemic-EBT, or P-EBT, was created by Congress earlier this year to help make up for free and subsidized meals that children were missing while schools were either shut down or run virtually due to coronavirus. Now, it appears most states will not have the option to give more aid this month. The problem is that the Agriculture Department has made it too cumbersome to distribute another round of benefits before funding runs out on Sept. 30. Congressional leaders and the White House have failed to get anywhere close to a deal on another round of stimulus aid, and Congress has yet to pass a spending bill to keep the government funded past the end of the fiscal year.

Where are all the kindergartners? Pandemic creates rare gap year” via Mackenzie Mays of POLITICO — Given the choice, parents have sought alternatives, especially essential workers who need child care to stay employed. School administrators are imploring families to enroll their kindergartners, fearing a loss of attendance-based dollars. And while affluent families can still find ways to give their 5-year-olds enrichment activities, low-income children may be losing out on a full year of instruction. “Some parents are leaving their kids in their current pre-K or child care programs but a lot of parents don’t have that option, so where are these kids?” said Patricia Lozano, executive director of Early Edge California. “Kindergarten is not mandatory, so some parents think it’s not a big deal. It is. A year for a 5-year-old is a long time.”

Uncertainty around the safety of schools is leaving many parents to forgo kindergarten for their children, causing a learning gap.

Sweden spared surge of virus cases but many questions remain” via David Keyton of The Associated Press — Whether on trains or trams, in supermarkets or shopping malls, places where face masks are commonly worn in much of the world, Swedes go about their lives without them. When most of Europe locked down their populations early in the pandemic by closing schools, restaurants, gyms and even borders, Swedes kept enjoying many freedoms. The relatively low-key strategy captured the world’s attention, but at the same time, it coincided with a per capita death rate that was much higher than in other Nordic countries. Now, as infection numbers surge again in much of Europe, the country of 10 million people has some of the lowest numbers of new coronavirus cases and only 14 virus patients in intensive care. Whether Sweden’s strategy is succeeding, however, is still very uncertain. Its health authorities, and in particular chief epidemiologist Dr. Anders Tegnell, keep repeating a familiar warning: It’s too early to tell, and all countries are in a different phase of the pandemic.

— STATEWIDE —

Siren —Incoming House speaker warns of ‘deep budget cuts’ coming to Florida government programs” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Florida’s incoming House speaker warned members of the South Florida Business Council this week that in order to weather the “massive financial hit” the state sustained from the pandemic, there will need to be “significant cuts to the budget.” Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican who is in line to become the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives for two years in November, hinted that the budget austerity needed to recover from the coronavirus-induced recession would take “three to four years to get back to where we are,” but he was optimistic Florida would be in better shape than other states. “We’ve had an obviously massive financial hit to the state, not unlike the businesses we’ve seen interrupted or closed during this period of time in COVID, which is going to create a significant challenge for us,’’ Sprowls told the virtual webinar of about 250 members of the council, which includes members of the chambers of commerce in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Chris Sprowls is putting out a warning: Major budget cuts could be on the way.

What Kevin Cate & Jamie Grant are reading — “DeSantis signs bill welcoming dozens of new specialty license plates” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — DeSantis signed a bill on Friday which, among other things, will introduce dozens of new specialty license plates onto the road. The bill, sponsored by former Rep. Grant, paves the way for 32 new specialty license plates, establishes a cap of 150 specialty license plates and formalizes a discontinuation process for low performing specialty license plates. HB 1135 also authorizes the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to issue specialty license plates for fleet and motor vehicle dealer vehicles. Among the new plates to soon hit Florida roads: a redesigned Special Olympics tag; a “Live the Dream” license plate, an “In God We Trust” tag and a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag plate. Notably, the bill will also create specialty plates for out-of-state universities for the first time in state history.

What Steve Vancore is reading — “DeSantis signs measure banning import and export of shark fins” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — DeSantis has signed a measure into law banning the import and export of shark fins in Florida. Sen. Travis Hutson sponsored the bill, but the measure is named after the late Kristin Jacobs. She sponsored the House version of the bill. Jacobs passed away in April, almost exactly one month after the Legislature approved the legislation, after a yearslong battle with cancer. “This bill’s really important to the state,” Jacobs said as the Legislature approved a final version of the bill. Jacobs prioritized banning the shark fin trade. Toward the end of the legislative process, Rep. Toby Overdorf offered an amendment renaming the bill the “Kristin Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act.” That amendment was approved.

DeSantis announces another $50M for spring restoration” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Florida’s springs are receiving an additional $50 million for restoration and recovery projects across the state. That funding, announced Friday by DeSantis, comes on top of $100 million allocated for springs last year. Together, the Governor touted the combined spending as the largest two-year investment for springs in the Sunshine State’s history. More than 20 projects statewide will benefit from the latest disbursement, including those for land acquisition, septic and sewer conversion, and enhanced water monitoring. “Florida’s springs are integral to both our economy and environment,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Our state is home to more large springs than any other state in the nation and they serve as a fun source of recreation for our residents and visitors to enjoy. The projects announced today continue our mission to restore and protect our water quality throughout Florida.”

Happening today — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried hosts a virtual “Florida Cupboard Meeting” to discuss issues ahead of a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, 10 a.m. The event will be shown on The Florida Channel.

‘Everything below the lake is full’: Corps mulls Lake O releases ahead of storms” via Adriana Brasileiro of the Miami Herald — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that it may need to move water out of Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie estuary to make room for possible rainfall from storms in the Atlantic. “We are looking at the need to make releases relatively soon,” said Col. Andrew Kelly, Jacksonville District Commander, during a briefing on the status of water management activities in South Florida. “Everything below the lake is full. There isn’t a whole lot of room to move water south of the lake.” Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the Atlantic Friday morning, while Hurricane Teddy, a powerful Category 4 storm, is continuing to move toward Bermuda. Also on hurricane forecasters’ radar: Post-tropical Cyclone Paulette is moving in the faraway Atlantic, a small low-pressure system is nearing Portugal and a new tropical wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa by early Saturday.

Happening today — Public Service Commission will consider a proposed settlement involving utility costs stemming from Hurricane Michael. Florida Public Utilities Company sustained heavy damage in the 2018 hurricane and is seeking a settlement with the Office of Public Counsel, 11 a.m., floridapsc.com/Conferences/AudioVideoEventCoverage.

Assignment editors — Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Finance and Investment Committee will meet in advance of a Board of Governors meeting Wednesday, 1 p.m., citizensfla.com. Call-in number: 1-786-635-1003. Code: 94898904895.

This Florida prison is now partners with ICE in enforcing immigration crackdown” via Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — A select group of correctional officers at a Northwest Florida prison is set to take part in a federal immigration program that will allow officers to interrogate any detainee who they believe is in the country illegally and process them for potential immigration violations. Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch signed the agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in mid-August, though corrections officials only made the formal partnership public on Friday. The push to participate in the program began a year and a half ago, at the request of Gov. DeSantis, who has long embraced Trump’s hard-line immigration policies.

Last month, Florida Corrections Secretary Mark Inch signed an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help crack down on immigration. Image via Colin Hackley.

R. Jai Gillum considered whether to remain engaged to Andrew Gillum after learning of his bisexuality” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — When Andrew came out as bisexual on the “Tamron Hall Show,” wife R. Jai defended their “marriage covenant.” She remained the picture of a steadfast spouse as her husband discussed a marriage-threatening scandal on national television. She specifically addressed her husband’s sexuality, expressing concern that the world would scrutinize it through a lens of ignorance. People “can wrap their heads around gay,” but don’t understand bisexuality. But host Tamron Hall also revealed in an online after-show that R. Jai also confided it was a journey to reach that understanding herself. In fact, R. Jai revealed she had to come to grips with the realities of marrying a bisexual man before she could follow through with her engagement. Hall did not play clips from that portion of a lengthy prerecorded interview with both Gillums. But she shared details dating back to when the Tallahassee couple were still just dating that R. Jai Gillum revealed to her on the record.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Ginsburg’s death leaves Obamacare in greater danger than ever” via Susannah Luthi of POLITICO — The new vacancy increases the likelihood the court could undercut protections for preexisting conditions, especially if Trump can quickly install a new justice, or drag out the legal fight. The Trump-supported challenge to the Affordable Care Act was largely shrugged off when Texas and a band of conservative-leaning states claimed the law was rendered unconstitutional after Congress eliminated the tax penalty for skipping health insurance. Obamacare will have one less ally on the conservative-dominated bench when the Supreme Court considers the law’s fate this fall. Here’s how the case could play out: Two conservative justices save the law; a tie, followed by legal limbo; the insurance protections are axed, the rest stays; a legislative rescue.

— LOCAL NOTES —

‘Our kids aren’t growing up’: Epidemic of gun violence scars, kills Tallahassee’s Black children” via Nada Hassanein of the Tallahassee Democrat — In Tallahassee’s low-income neighborhoods, gun violence is cutting short the lives of Black children and creating lasting trauma in survivors. It’s perhaps one of the most alarming health disparities among kids in Tallahassee: at least 50 children have been injured or killed by a firearm in Leon County over the past decade, according to law enforcement records. Roughly a fifth of the incidents were fatal. Tallahassee Police Department records show all the children were Black, except three. Leon County Sheriff’s Office has not yet returned an inquiry into details on four cases as of Friday afternoon. About a third of those shootings occurred in the impoverished 32304 ZIP code, and about a quarter of the victims, including Noonie, lived there, the highest count of any ZIP code in the county. Most of the remaining shootings were tied to other ZIP codes in high-poverty Frenchtown, Southside and Bond neighborhoods.

Happening today — Fried and Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey will hold a joint news conference on National Clean Energy Week, 12:30 p.m., Tallahassee City Hall, 300 South Adams.

— SMOLDERING — 

Dwindling ranks and declining public trust plague police agencies amid summer of protests” via Mark Berman and Jessica Wolfrom of The Washington Post — Police forces are suffering from diminishing ranks, slumping morale, and declining public support as the nation nears the end of a long, fraught summer defined by protests against policing tactics and racial injustice. Agency leaders and experts say the months of demonstrations have left officers strained and departments struggling to both recruit officers and keep the ones they have. The Portland Police Bureau in Oregon lost 49 officers to retirement in August, more than during all of 2019. The Atlanta Police Department, which became the focus of protests after a police shooting this summer, said about 140 officers have resigned so far this year, up from 80 during the same period last year. “Our workforce, in general, is pretty emotionally and physically fatigued,” said William H. “Skip” Holbrook, the police chief in Columbia, South Carolina.

New racial justice target: Defund the police foundations” via Zachary Warmbrodt of POLITICO — Wall Street banks and other big corporations are under pressure to cut ties with nonprofit police foundations, which racial justice activists say are increasingly funding law enforcement practices that fuel violence against Black people. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chevron are among the businesses that watchdogs are targeting for making donations to the privately run foundations associated with local police departments. Color of Change, an online racial justice group with 7 million members, is calling on the companies to sever their relationships with the foundations, which for some police departments have become a resource for surveillance technology, SWAT team guns, armor, drones and K-9 dogs. Critics say the gifts by the nonprofits to police departments escape public accountability. “Our end goal is to have an intervention on the funneling of private money into police forces and into policing,” said Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice campaigns at Color of Change.

Racial justice protesters now focusing on defunding police associations. Image via AP.

Here’s what newly released records show about how prosecutors handled Jacksonville protests” via Andrew Pantazi of The Florida Times-Union — In the wake of federal prosecutors’ decision to drop one of the final prosecutions against a Jacksonville protester, a high-profile arrest involving a supposed Molotov cocktail, new video and emails continue to shed light on the failings of police when they arrested dozens of protesters on May 30 and 31. The Jacksonville State Attorney’s Office has since dropped the prosecutions of 63 out of 66 arrests of those prosecuting police violence. The office also vacated convictions for those who pleaded guilty and reduced the charges of one other. Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney’s Office dismissed its prosecution of Ivan Zecher, who was accused of carrying a Molotov cocktail. The State Attorney’s Office said in a court document only that it dropped the cases “based upon the law, the facts, and the circumstances involved.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s motion only said they wanted Zecher’s case dismissed.

National group denounces ‘intolerant Left,’ rallies for Donald Trump in Sarasota” via Emily Wunderlich of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The rallying cry was clear on Sunday: America needs saving from what activists described as the “destruction and division” being promoted by the left wing. The “Rescue America” rally, hosted by the #WalkAway campaign, stopped by Marina Jack Bayfront Park in Sarasota for a boat flotilla, march and car caravan. Dozens of watercraft from yachts to jet skis propelled through the Sarasota Bay, greeted by a swarm of flags and cheers from supporters on the John Ringling Causeway.

Black Lives Matter and back the blue protesters meet outside South Tampa CVS” via Ray Roa of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay —  Local Black Lives Matter and “back the blue” demonstrators came face to face in South Tampa on Saturday. The meeting happened outside of a Howard Avenue CVS store, which is just a few blocks away from where a Sept. 15 auto collision led to the arrest of two protesters. The same collision also involved a pharmacist who was driving home from work before she called 911 to complain about the protesters blocking traffic, express that she felt endangered and make clear that, “If I have to, I’m going to run over them.”

— TOP OPINION —

Don’t be a hypocrite, Marco Rubio, reject push to replace Ginsburg before election” via the Miami Herald editorial board — U.S. Sen. McConnell would only wear the description “hypocrite” like a badge of honor. Anyway, it’s more civil to not call names. However, Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s resolute vow to hold a vote, even before the Nov. 3 election, on any nominee Trump chooses to replace the almost irreplaceable Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, is a complete 180 from his obstinate pledge in 2016 to not hold hearings on Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. That was a presidential election year, too. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died about nine months out from the election. Obama put forth the supremely qualified Garland, who never got a Senate hearing because, as McConnell said at the time, “The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next President nominates, whoever that might be.”

— OPINIONS —

If Mitch McConnell pushes through a nominee, President Biden should pack the court” via Jill Filipovic of The Washington Post — For liberals, Ginsburg’s death brings shock, that an icon is gone, that she didn’t make it until the next presidency — and terror: Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who in 2016 blocked Obama from filling a Supreme Court seat vacated about nine months before the presidential election, says he will permit Trump to fill one left empty less than two months before this year’s election. McConnell announced hours after Ginsburg’s death that he would attempt to push a new justice onto the bench. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he said. Democrats have only one play here: If Trump and McConnell jam an appointee through, it is not enough for Democrats to raise hell about the hypocrisy, the duplicity and the Republican refusal to play by McConnell’s own rules. It is not enough to target every Republican senator who goes along.

When will DeSantis listen to his own voters on ex-felons’ voting rights?” via Duncan Hosie of the Orlando Sentinel — On Sept. 11, DeSantis and state Republican leaders won their legal battle to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people with prior felony convictions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit embraced Republican politicians’ specious arguments that ex-felons should be required to pay all fines and fees before voting. This decision dealt a blow to Floridians who care about racial justice and basic principles of democracy. The ruling also spited an unlikely and less discussed constituency: Republican voters. This story starts in 2018 when DeSantis and Republican politicians campaigned against Amendment 4. The ballot measure abolished the permanent disenfranchisement of people convicted of most felonies. Vowing to be a “tough on crime” Governor, DeSantis opposed the initiative. Republican voters disagreed with him. Before Election Day, poll after poll showed a clear majority of Florida Republicans supported Amendment 4. Support among Florida Republicans climbed to 62%.

Perry Thurston: JNC needs reform after the botched Florida Supreme Court appointment” via Florida Politics — Leave it to an uber-partisan and ideological Governor to politicize what should have been an apolitical process: selecting a qualified Black jurist for a seat on the state’s highest court. So, for the first time in 41 years, the Florida Supreme Court has no Black justice. There’s a reason no Black jurist now sits on the High Court: Gov. DeSantis. He had several chances to make it happen and simply blew it. He had options as the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) that vets Supreme Court nominees had several Black jurists under consideration. None of those better-qualified candidates made the cut. Unfortunately, the way Florida selects judges is a big part of the problem.

— TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Students at Florida State University who made a mockery of social distancing when they return for the fall semester, are now finding out their football coach has COVID-19. Party on, Seminoles …

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— The state health department reports 2,500 new cases of coronavirus … that’s a total of almost 684,000 infections in Florida since the start of the pandemic. The state also reported nine more fatalities from COVID — … raising the death toll to 13,459.

The Governor rarely mentions COVID casualties; he’d rather talk about nonhuman metrics like positivity rates or emergency department admissions. And DeSantis says there’s been no surge or spike in cases since the reopening of schools

— It’s been a week since bars were allowed to reopen; DeSantis says there’s no sign of trouble there.

 — COVID-19 crippled the state economy, creating the largest job loss in Florida history. But the market is rebounding. The jobless rate in August was 7.4 rate … four points lower than July.

— Residents of Northwest Florida continue the cleanup from Hurricane Sally. Damage estimates are starting to roll in … including losses in the agriculture industry.

— The Governor travels to Weeki Wachee to talk about restoring Florida’s springs. And since he brought the kids, he had to schedule a side trip.

— Finally, checking-in with two Florida men: One is promising to kick people out of his bar if they wear a face mask. The other is accused of assaulting a 13-year-old girl with a flagpole holding a Trump banner.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

HBO to debut 2000 presidential election doc ‘537 Votes’ on Oct. 21” via Trey Williams of The Wrap — HBO Documentary Films on Friday said it will debut “537 Votes,” a new feature documentary chronicling the political machinations that lead to the unprecedented, contested outcome of the 2000 presidential election, on October 21. The 2000 presidential election led to a chaotic voter recount in Florida that ended with George W. Bush winning by a razor-thin margin. The documentary, from director Billy Corben and his producing partner Alfred Spellman with Adam McKay and Todd Schulman at Hyperobject Industries executive producing, will be debut on HBO and HBO Max. “Usually, important movies that people need to see can feel like medicine, but Billy and Alfred are simply incapable of being anything but entertaining and funny,” McKay said in a statement.

HBO is creating a new documentary on the 2000 election, and the role Florida played.

Is your county safe for trick-or-treating during COVID-19? New Harvard map can tell you” via Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald — As the first Halloween of the COVID-19 pandemic era, county leaders have to weigh in on what they will allow. Even though the number of new cases and deaths has trended down in recent weeks compared to surges in late June and after the July Fourth holiday it’s highly unlikely that South Florida will celebrate Halloween like it’s 2019. Will we welcome the kind of Halloween bacchanalia of years past on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road Mall or even the traditional trick-or-treating around neighborhoods? According to Patricia Abril, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office and Mayor Carlos Giménez, Halloween plans in the county have yet to be decided. “We should know by Oct. 15 where we are heading as far as infection rates and hospitalizations and also flu season before making any decisions about Halloween,” she said. And Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said “the city will not be issuing any special permits for activations or Halloween parties this year.”

—”24 creative Halloween costumes kids can wear with masks” via USA Today

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

We’re sending belated happy birthday wishes to Rep. Jason Shoaf, former Reps. Jamie Grant and Frank White, Beau BeaubienKevin Debry, Florida Politics contributor Drew Dixon, top consultant Steve Marin, and Governors Club general manager Barry Shields, Celebrating today are Rep. Mike Grieco, former Sen. Denise Grimsley, our pal Chris Dudley, and Carlo Fassi of The Southern Group.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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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, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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