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Last Call for 9.28.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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

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

First Shot

The polls are tightening, but Joe Biden’s campaign says it’s well-positioned to flip Florida and by extension the White House in November.

In a Monday memo, the campaign said it’s seeing strong support in Duval County and in Central Florida counties such as Orange, Osceola and Seminole, where the pandemic has led to unemployment rates higher than the statewide average by several points.

Despite the coronavirus-induced recession, voters have thus far leaned toward Trump on economic issues. However, the Biden campaign believes it can win the economic argument in tourism-reliant areas.

“Joe Biden is the clear choice to lead Floridians forward. Florida’s economy — particularly in Central Florida and coastal communities that depend on tourism — cannot recover until the pandemic is under control and only Joe Biden has a plan to beat COVID-19 and build our economy back better,” the memo reads.

“Joe Biden has an ambitious plan to create millions of good-paying jobs for working-class Floridians by investing in a clean energy future that will also build climate-resilient infrastructure that can withstand rising seas and more frequent extreme weather events.”

Though confident, the campaign acknowledged the coin-flip nature of statewide races in Florida — Donald Trump won by about a point in 2016 and Barack Obama did likewise four years prior. And in 2018, when Democrats went one for five in statewide races, Team Biden cast the narrow losses in the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races in an optimistic light.

“Joe Biden is in a strong position to build off Democrats’ growing strength in the Florida suburbs, particularly in localities like Duval and Seminole counties that flipped blue in 2018. Biden is also uniquely situated to narrow margins in traditional Republican strongholds like Sumter County, home to the Villages, thanks to his strong support with Florida seniors,” the memo asserts.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 692,962 FL residents (+728 since Sunday)

— 8,340 Non-FL residents (+10 since Sunday)

Origin:

— 5,704 Travel related

— 251,699 Contact with a confirmed case

— 5,974 Both

— 429,585 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 43,606 in FL

Deaths:

— 14,207 in FL

Evening Reads

Donald Trump, Joe Biden prepare for debate on coronavirus, Supreme Court fight” via Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey of The Wall Street Journal

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale looked drunk and agitated in police standoff. Then his cop friend showed up to help.” via Mario Ariza of the Sun-Sentinel

Democrats ask full court to hear ballot order fight” via Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida

Florida Democratic Party launches digital ads to lift down-ballot candidates” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Democratic groups to canvas for votes, backed by Mike Bloomberg money” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

How Trump’s taxes compare to those of other Presidents” via Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post

How a conservative 6-3 majority would reshape the Supreme Court” via Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Laura Bronner of FiveThirtyEight

Healthy U.S. economy failed to narrow racial gaps in 2019” via Christopher Rugaber of The Associated Press

Engage or proceed? Debating Trump, the unpredictable aggressor” by Sarah Lyall of The New York Times

Officials report 738 COVID-19 cases in Florida, fewest since June” via Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis is risking Floridians’ lives to benefit Trump” via Zak Cheney-Rice of New York magazine

Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s ‘very concerning’ that Florida is reopening bars and restaurants at full capacity” via NBC News

Lenny Curry extends Jacksonville mask mandate another 30 days for COVID-19” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union

DeSantis’ justice-screening panel blamed for Renatha Francis’ fiasco and all-white Supreme Court” via Noreen Marcus of FloridaBulldog.org

Pressure builds as Florida advocates call for utility, housing relief” via Malena Carollo of the Tampa Bay Times

Andrew Gillum pans reopening, says DeSantis ‘decided which lives matter to him’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

A peek at billionaire Harry Sargeant III, a somewhat mysterious figure in FL GOP circles and elsewhere” via Lucy Morgan of Florida Phoenix

‘Why are we pretending it’s all over?’ Miami restaurants wrestle with new COVID rules” via Carlos Frias of the Miami Herald

Gibbs High School reports first COVID-19 case as district approaches 100 total cases” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“The Governor of Florida has decided which lives matter to him. People of color, seniors and those with preexisting conditions are more likely to die from COVID. Wear a mask, socially distance, avoid crowds and large indoor gatherings.” — Andrew Gillum, on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ coronavirus response.

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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.
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