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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.12.20

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

Just off embargo — The Democratic National Committee is amping up its Latino outreach effort in the Sunshine State with a volley of print and radio ads in the Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville media markets.

“Latino communities across Florida have a critical voice in this election — that’s why we are reaching out directly to these voters and ensuring they have the tools they need to make their plan to vote,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez.

“We have seen how this administration’s failed response to the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the lives and livelihoods of Latinos in our country. Under [President Donald] Trump, Latinos have experienced more than 42,000 deaths due to COVID-19, millions of jobs lost under his recession, and the erosion of America’s values as a nation of immigrants. We must vote for leaders who will work to help our communities. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be those leaders.” 

The six-figure campaign will see print ads run in Diario Las Americas, El Nuevo Herald, El Sol Miami, La Gaceta and Hola Noticias. The radio ads will air on El Show de Piolin and El Show de Alex “El Genio” Lucas.

All the ads direct voters to VoyAVotar.com — the DNC’s newly updated Spanish-language voter participation hub, where voters can register to vote, check their voter registration, and make a plan to vote, whether in person or by mail.

To listen to the ad, click on the image below:

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Just off embargo — Everytown for Gun Safety, Florida Watch to ramp up spending in major state Senate races — Everytown for Gun Safety, a national group pushing for additional gun regulation, is putting forward $100,000 for digital ads supporting Democratic candidates in three high-profile Senate races. The digital campaign will target open contests in Senate Districts 9, 20 and 39. Democrats are seeking seats currently under GOP control in all three districts. The money will come from Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund. The group is partnering on those ads with the progressive organization Florida Watch. In addition, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is donating $50,000 to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and another $10,000 to the Florida Democratic Party.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@RealDonaldTrump: The Fake News, @CNN, MSDNC, the failing @nytimes, and the rest, are working overtime spewing every lie in the book to make sure they can demean and disparage, at the highest level possible, to try and win an election for a man who is totally unqualified to be your President, S.J.

@LukeRussert: Good morning, the hypothetical Biden court-packing scenario is getting more media attention than the POTUS & VP not committing to a peaceful transfer of power shall they lose. That is wrong. Nothing else matters.

@PBump: Trump deciding on a closing-argument double-whammy: the Commission on Presidential Debates is unfair and let’s see Hillary Clinton‘s emails. Working-class joes sitting at diners across the Rust Belt are thrilled to hear their issues being addressed.

@JakeTapper: [Anthony] Fauci appears in new Trump campaign ad saying “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.” Fauci tells @kaitlancollins: “The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago …

Tweet, tweet:

 

@EmmyA2: It’s bizarre that “how will they spend the money?” has become the ubiquitous question in response to record Dem fundraising. Campaigns *never* have enough money. There is always more outreach, more turnout, and, now more than ever, more vote protection to do. Every dollar counts.

@Local4News: After much discussion in our newsroom, we’ve decided that moving forward, we will be using the term “domestic terrorism” or “domestic terrorist,” rather than militia. We feel these words better define the subjects of the investigation.

@PresidentFuchs: UF remains fully and firmly committed to following CDC guidelines (cdc.gov/coronavirus/20 …) for every part of our campus from classrooms to athletic venues as well as the guidance (coronavirus.ufhealth.org/screen-test-pr …) of our own experts at @UFHealth and local and state health officials.

@WerderEDESPN: The business side of the NFL: The injury risk that Dak Prescott accepted when rejecting multiyear offers to play on the one-year franchise tag becomes an untimely reality. He was having a record-setting season.

— DAYS UNTIL —

Amazon’s annual Prime Day begins — 1; Apple announces new iPhone — 1; NBA season ends (last possible date) — 2; stone crab season starts — 3; Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” premieres — 4; NBA free agency (tentative) — 6; Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum — 8; HBO debuts 2000 presidential election doc ‘537 Votes’ — 9; third presidential debate (tentative) at Belmont — 10; “The Empty Man” premieres — 11; 2020 General Election — 22; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 29; The Masters begins — 31; NBA draft — 37; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 39; College basketball season slated to begin — 44; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 51; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 51; “Death on the Nile” premieres — 66; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 74; Greyhound racing ends in Florida — 80; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 118; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 128; “Black Widow” rescheduled premiere — 143; “No Time to Die” premieres (rescheduled) — 172; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 263; Disney’s “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” premieres — 270; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 284; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 292; Disney’s “Eternals” premieres — 389; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 392; Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” premieres — 424; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 488; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 541; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 722.

— 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. Some outlets offer a poll of polls, gauging how Trump or Biden are doing in select areas, then averaging the surveys 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 has former Vice President Biden remains at 53% compared to a steady 42% for Trump. The CNN Poll of Polls tracks the national average in the presidential race. They include the most recent national telephone surveys meeting 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 an 86 in 100 chance of winning compared to Trump, who slipped a bit to a 14 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 23.7%, while Florida is second with 15.8%. Wisconsin dropped to third with 15.4 % Other states include Michigan (10.3%), Minnesota (5.3%), Arizona (4.9%), North Carolina (4.8%) and Nevada (3.3%).

PredictIt: As of Sunday, the PredictIt trading market has Biden dropping to $0.66 a share, with Trump rising a bit to $0.39.

Key polling shows Joe Biden widening his lead.

Real Clear Politics: As of Sunday, the RCP average of polling top battleground states has Biden leading Trump 51.9% to 42.1%. The RCP average also has Biden averaging at +9.8 points ahead.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball — In recent days, Biden’s significant lead nationally has widened. The state-level numbers generally have been bad for the president, too: for instance, Monmouth University pegged Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania earlier this week at around 10 points; the pollster’s previous Keystone State survey had Biden up only a few points based on different turnout models. In other words, one of the better state-level polls for Trump in a key state was reversed in fresher polling. The President needs the election to get closer to have a reasonable chance of once again pulling off an upset. That can still happen, but it is not happening now.

The Economist: As of Sunday, their model predicts 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 has remained steady at better than 9 in 10 (92%) versus Trump with less than 1 in 10 (8%). They still give Biden a 99% chance (better than 19 in 20) of winning the most votes, with Trump at only 1% (less than 1 in 20).

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Post-ABC poll: Joe Biden maintains lead nationally over Donald Trump” via Scott Clement, Dan Balz and Emily Guskin of The Washington Post — According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, Biden is favored by 54% of likely voters, with Trump favored by 42%. Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen receives 2% support, and Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins is at 1%. National polls reflect the status of the popular vote and not the state-by-state contests for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Still, no candidate has won an electoral-college majority while losing the popular vote by a margin like Trump’s current deficit.

National polling puts Joe Biden firmly ahead of Donald Trump.

Huge absentee vote in key states favors Democrats so far” via Reid J. Epstein, Nick Corasaniti and Stephanie Saul of The New York Times — The yawning disparities in voting across Wisconsin and several other key battlegrounds so far are among the clearest signs yet this fall that the Democratic embrace of absentee voting is resulting in head starts for the party ahead of Election Day. For Republicans, the voting patterns underscore the huge bet they are placing on high turnout on Nov. 3, even as states like Wisconsin face safety concerns at polling sites given the spikes in coronavirus cases. The Democratic enthusiasm to vote is not limited to Wisconsin. Ballot return data from heavily Democratic cities like Pittsburgh; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Tampa, and the long lines of cars waiting at a Houston arena to drop off ballots, are signs that many voters have followed through on their intentions to cast ballots well ahead of Nov. 3.

Trump addresses supporters gathered at the White House in first public event since virus infection.” via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — Trump greeted several hundred supporters gathered on the South Lawn of the White House from a balcony on Saturday as he is trying to recover forward movement in his campaign for reelection with just three weeks to go. Calling it a “peaceful protest” in honor of “law and order,” Trump made his first significant public appearance since he was hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus. “I’m feeling great!” Trump told the crowd, which was organized by his supporter Candace Owens, who has led a “Blexit” movement to prompt Black voters to leave the Democratic Party.

—“Trump returns to public campaigning, falsely claiming that the virus that infected him is ‘disappearing’” via Toluse Olorunnipa of The Washington Post

‘It’s too little, too late.’ Trump’s push to give federal aid to crucial 2020 voting blocs undermined by uneven execution” via Jeff Stein of The Washington Post — Presidents have traditionally sought to deliver material economic benefits to their constituents to win reelection, but Trump’s latest efforts to throw money at key electoral constituencies, with or without congressional approval, stand out as uniquely aggressive in the modern presidency, according to longtime budget experts. But it is not clear that Trump’s efforts to throw money at key voting groups will in fact sway voters to his side, in part because the execution of these programs has often proved either uneven or nonexistent.

Trump is in debt. We can’t ignore the national security risks that come with that.” via Michael Morell and David Kris for The Washington Post — There is a powerful reason nearly all federal employees with access to classified information turn over deeply personal details about their lives and finances to security experts: Debts and other vulnerabilities can create weaknesses that our nation’s adversaries could exploit. Multiple studies have shown that, while betrayal of one’s country is a crime that has complex psychological underpinnings, money is a leading motivator. And paying off large, unsustainable debts is often a driver of an interest in money. As former national security officials of the government, we have no special insight into Trump’s financial condition, but if the recent news accounts are correct, his financial situation presents a significant counterintelligence risk.

Strapped for cash, Trump yanks TV ads in key states as Biden spending surges” via Michael Finnegan and James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times — Trump stopped all of his television and radio advertising in three states and substantially reduced it in four others in recent weeks after his lackluster fundraising left him unable to match a surge in spending by Biden. Trump’s retreat from Ohio, Iowa and New Hampshire reflect his struggle to change the dynamics of a race that polls suggest he is on track to lose. In the six weeks since his party’s national convention, Trump’s campaign has yanked more than $17 million in ads he’d previously booked in those states. Two of them, Ohio and Iowa, are must-wins for the Republican president. Polls show him running almost dead even with the former Vice President in both.

Biden builds on his economic populist message and dodges questions on the Supreme Court.” via Nick Corasaniti and Katie Glueck The Washington Post — Swinging through a county in Pennsylvania that voted for Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012, Biden made a direct pitch to union and blue-collar workers on Saturday afternoon, in a speech laden with economic populist tones. “There’s going to be such a race for job creation for unions, you’re not going to believe it,” Biden said, in a speech that was slightly truncated to escape the looming rainstorms. “The only power we have is union power. You’re the guys who keep the barbarians on the other side of the gate from taking everything.”

Biden visit Monday caps push into Ohio, once a long shot” via Julie Carr Smyth and Thomas Beaumont of The Associated Press — Biden is set to make his first general election campaign visit Monday to Ohio, signaling the former Vice President’s hopes of winning the state Democrats lost by a significant margin in the 2016 election. The Biden campaign said the former Vice President plans an afternoon campaign speech in Toledo, then will head to Cincinnati for a voter mobilization event. Vice President Mike Pence also plans a “Make America Great Again” campaign stop in Columbus on Monday, as he filled in for Trump, who has been sidelined from the campaign trail recently after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Assignment editors — On Tuesday, Biden will make a campaign swing through Florida, with events that will be both pooled and livestreamed. He will visit Pembroke Pines to make remarks on his vision for older Americans, later attending an event in Miramar to encourage Floridians to develop a plan to vote. Media interested in joining the pooled events should visit JoeBiden.com for times, information, and to access the livestream. Media interested in receiving print pool reports of the events should sign up for the Biden for President press list at joe.link/presslist.

Ready for Sanford rally, Trump insists he’s free of virus. But some medical experts express concern” via Orlando Sentinel staff reports — Trump on Sunday declared he was healthy enough to return to the campaign trail Monday night with a rally in Sanford, but some medical experts are questioning if he’s rushing back too quickly after his COVID-19 infection. “I’m immune” from the virus, Trump declared in a Fox News interview Sunday. He added, “The President is in very good shape to fight the battles.” Trump’s first campaign rally outside of Washington since his infection will happen at Orlando Sanford International Airport. The rally was originally scheduled for Oct. 2 but was postponed after the President tested positive for the virus.

Claiming he is free of COVID-19, Donald Trump will make a quick campaign stop in Sanford. Image via CNN.

Assignment editors — Ahead of Trump’s Sanford rally, the Florida Democratic Party will host a virtual news conference with Rep. Shevrin Jones, Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley, Miami Gardens Councilwoman Katrina Wilson, and others, 10 a.m. Registration available here.

“‘It’s a Trojan horse.’ Donald Trump Jr., Marco Rubio rally Miami Hispanics as race tightens” via Biana Padro Ocasio — A day after a massive caravan of Donald Trump supporters rolled across Miami-Dade County, Trump’s eldest son brought the president’s campaign back to Miami for a “Fighters Against Socialism” bus-tour stop intended to rally Trump’s Hispanic supporters. The event at the Wings Over Miami Museum at the Tamiami Airport on Sunday evening was headlined by Donald Trump Jr., U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal, and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who railed against Democratic candidate Joe Biden, casting an image of Democrats as radical leftists who cannot stand against regimes in Venezuela, Cuba and China.

Protégé of the president, Ron DeSantis looks to repay Trump in nation’s biggest tossup state” via John Kennedy for the Tallahassee Democrat — More than two years after a tweet endorsement from Trump helped rocket barely known congressman DeSantis to the Florida Governor’s Mansion, the president’s protégé is spending this election season eagerly trying to pay him back. DeSantis, a three-term Congressman, now Governor of the nation’s largest presidential battleground state, has echoed and amplified the White House at every step of the fight against the coronavirus. DeSantis has defended his relationship with Trump, saying it’s helped the state gain millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, needed tests, and financial reimbursement for state and local governments.

Pam Bondi promises Trump will visit Florida ‘multiple, multiple times’ before election” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Former Attorney General Bondi, appearing on Fox and Friends just after 6:30 a.m. Sunday, compelled the audience to “get ready to see President Trump,” including “multiple times in Florida.” One such visit, a Monday foray to Sanford for an airport hangar rally, has already been slated. That event was rescheduled from the week before when it was postponed due to the President’s coronavirus diagnosis. Trump’s doctors claim the President is no longer contagious. In that context, Bondi’s assurances suggest more scheduled stops are in the works. “He has so many events scheduled, in Florida and around the country,” Bondi said. “Get ready to see President Trump coming to an airport near you.”

Caravan participants support Trump, demand liberation of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua” via Mario J. Pentón of the Miami Herald — Thousands of people took to the streets of Miami on Saturday for what was billed as an Anti-Socialist and Anti Communist Caravan to demand the liberation of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua and “warn” the United States about the dangers of socialism. The Patriotic Organizing Committee, made up of Cuban exile organizations like the Brigade 2506 and the Directorio Democratico, said there was no party involvement in the rally, although the majority of the participants carried signs supporting Trump.

J.C. Planas: Trump is the socialist” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — As Trump Jr. leads a “Fighters Against Socialism” bus tour through Florida on behalf of his father’s reelection campaign, former Republican Rep. Planas declared that Trump is the one acting like a socialist dictator, not Biden. “The truth, is Donald Trump is a socialist because he has done things that are anti-capitalist,” said Planas, who represented Miami in the House of Representatives from 2002-10. “When you use the government to go after people you hate, this is the divisiveness that leads to totalitarianism in all the world. If you look at the history of the world, it is always people like Donald Trump who have brought dictatorial regimes upon countries.”

Is Donald Trump the real socialist? Image via AP.

Pro-Biden caravan snakes its way through Miami, ends with a visit from ‘Fauci’ the dog” via Monique O. Madan of the Miami Herald — As a campaign banner dangled from the top of a crane that towered over a parking lot near Tropical Park in Southwest Miami-Dade, hundreds of people cheered as a 1,000-vehicle caravan arrived. The decorated procession snaked its way from all corners of the county, including Miami Springs, Cutler Bay, Doral, West Kendall and downtown Miami. U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala – a Democrat running for reelection in Florida’s 27th Congressional District – was one of thousands to participate in what grassroots organizers called one of the region’s largest pro-Biden events.

Kamala Harris faces sexism and racism as online commenters label her ‘Black Hillary’” via David Lightman and Lara Korta of the Miami Herald — Despite all the fury on social media about the fly on Mike Pence’s head and Harris’ demeanor, analysts say the vice presidential debate is unlikely to alter the state of the presidential race. Yet the attacks on Harris afterward were particularly harsh. The comments during and after Wednesday’s debate were full of complaints that the Democratic vice-presidential candidate was too snarky, catty, and had an annoying voice. Many took issue with her facial expressions.

Jamaicans in Florida energized by Harris on 2020 ticket” via Adriana Gomez Licon of The Associated Press — Trump and Biden are entering the final stretch of the campaign in a fierce battle for Latino voters who could sway the results in Florida and determine who wins the White House. But in this ultimate battleground state where nearly 10 million voters participate in elections often decided by a mere percentage point, other communities could suddenly become critical. That’s where the booming Black Caribbean community centered in Broward County comes in. Voters in this Democratic stronghold are eager to defeat Trump but say they are even more energized to turn out in support of California Sen. Harris, Biden’s running mate whose father is Jamaican.

— NEW ADS —

In a new campaign ad, Trump’s own coronavirus infection takes center stage.” via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — Trump’s campaign has started airing a television ad focused on his coronavirus infection, an attempt to reset the way voters view the President on a major issue in the election. A majority of voters have a negative view of Trump’s handling of the virus, according to public opinion polls. The spot seeks to use his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as evidence that he is on top of a virus he has repeatedly played down. “President Trump is recovering from the coronavirus, and so is America,” the ad’s narrator says.

Trump ad slams Biden’s ‘despacito’ economic record — Trump 2020 launched a new Spanish-language ad titled poking Biden’s “culturally incompetent attempt at Hispanic outreach” by playing the song “Despacito.” The campaign said the song is “a fitting reminder of Biden’s lethargic economy” and notes that the Hispanic poverty rate reached record highs when Biden was VP while it has reached record lows during Trump’s tenure. The ad will run on TV in “key markets” across the country, the campaign said.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Trump ad touts President’s ‘leadership throughout the pandemic’ — A new Trump campaign ad, titled “Carefully,” assures Americans that “Trump is recovering from the coronavirus and so is America.” It goes on to praise the President’s leadership amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, claiming he “continues to fight for the American people, with a strong focus on our nation’s seniors and rebuilding our economy.” A second ad, “Disastrous,” warns that Biden’s plans to address the pandemic would be a step backward for the country. Both sports will run in “key broadcast and cable networks” nationwide.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

 

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Cindy McCain vouches for Biden in new ad — A new Biden campaign ad features McCain, the widow of U.S. Sen. John McCain, making the case for the former VP despite their political differences. “My husband knew Joe Biden a long time. They traveled thousands of miles together visiting troops overseas and they developed the kind of friendship you don’t see too often in the Senate. They disagreed on almost everything, they’d fight like hell on the floor, and then they’d go eat lunch together because they always put their friendship and their country first,” she says in the ad. “Now more than ever we need a President who will put service before self.” The ad will air nationwide.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Priorities USA Action focuses on health care in new ad — Priorities USA Action is releasing a new digital ad, “Closer Than Ever,” highlighting Trump’s “failure to protect the health care of the American people.” The ad focuses on the administration’s attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act and its efforts “to gut Medicare and Medicaid.” It asserts that “133 million people with pre-existing conditions could lose their health care.” Priorities USA Action said it is on track to spend $200 million on ads against Trump. The new ad will air in both English and Spanish in Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Independence USA PAC blasts trump for ‘plan to terminate health care’ — A political committee tied to billionaire Mike Bloomberg is airing a new ad in Florida targeting the Trump administration’s efforts to strip Americans of their health care. “If Trump gets his way, over eight million Floridians with preexisting conditions, like cancer and diabetes, could lose their health care. People over 50 could face an Age Tax — forced to pay more for care,” the ad says. “Losing our health care during a pandemic … haven’t we lost enough?” The ad is part of Bloomberg’s $100 million commitment to help Biden win Florida. It will run statewide on broadcast and cable.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

— SCOTUS WATCH —

Amid pandemic and presidential race, Supreme Court confirmation hearing will be unprecedented” via Richard Wolf of USA TODAY — Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a Notre Dame Law School professor for nearly two decades, can expect Democrats to ask why Trump and Senate Republicans should move her nomination amid a pandemic that has sidelined senators, White House staff and even the President himself. She can expect to hear complaints that Republicans are rushing her confirmation at near-record speed just days before a presidential election. She can expect to be contrasted with the women’s rights pioneer she would succeed, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As Ginsburg’s successor, Barrett could take the court so far to the right that liberal interest groups are demanding Democrats add more justices if they regain the levers of political power in Washington.

Hectic: A presidential race, a pandemic, and now a Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett. Image via AP.

Senators weigh COVID-19 risk for Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court hearing” via Mark Sherman, Lisa Mascaro, Mary Clare Jalonick and Mike Balsamo of The Associated Press — Supreme Court nominee Barrett vows to be a justice “fearless of criticism” as the split Senate charges ahead with confirmation hearings on Trump’s pick to cement a conservative court majority before Election Day. Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, draws on faith and family in her prepared opening remarks for the hearings, which begin Monday as the country is in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic. She says courts “should not try” to make policy, and believes she would bring “a few new perspectives” as the first mother of school-age children on the nine-member court.

How Democrats hope to defeat Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination” via Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine of POLITICO — Immediately after paying their respects to Ginsburg, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Biden huddled in the Capitol to make sure their party was united in the campaign against her successor. Amid the GOP’s unprecedented push to fill a Supreme Court vacancy right before the election, the top Democratic leaders agreed: The party’s sights would not shift from health care. “This is the No. 1 issue that the American people care about. And it is at direct stake with this Supreme Court nominee given her past statements, given the balance on the court,” Schumer said in a telephone interview. “Early on, I got together with Pelosi and Biden and that’s what we said: ‘We’re going to focus on that above all.’”

How Amy Coney Barrett played a role in Bush v. Gore — and helped the Republican Party defend mail ballots” via Beth Reinhard and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post — Barrett was just three years out of law school, a 28-year-old associate at a boutique Washington law firm when she was dispatched to Florida to help George W. Bush’s legal team rescue thousands of Republican absentee ballots. The litigation was a sidebar to the central drama of the 2000 presidential contest, but a loss in the case could have cost Bush the presidency. Barrett’s work on the case serves as a reminder of how aggressively the Republican Party has sought to harness mail voting for years, in contrast to Trump’s relentless attacks on the practice.

Marco Rubio rails against Democrats’ ‘developing nations’ court-packing scheme” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — On the eve of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of Barrett, the President’s third high court pick, a Republican from Florida is talking about a “developing nations” plan from Democrats. Sen. Rubio, in a weekend interview on the Fox News Channel’s “Watters’ World,” denigrated Democratic desires to expand the U.S. Supreme Court if presidential nominee Biden wins the election next month. “I want people to understand, this is not going to end at nine or — I mean, we can have a Supreme Court one day that has like 15 or 18 people, 19 people every time some party gets elected, and you don’t like the makeup of the court, you just add, you know, two more people to it. I mean, that’s what they do in the developing nations. That would be ridiculous,” Rubio told host Jesse Watters.

Marco Rubio sees the threat of ‘court-packing’ as a ‘Third World’ ploy.

Ron DeSantis suggests Biden, Harris will pack Supreme Court with ‘left-wing activists’” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Gov.  DeSantis suggested  Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will add more Justices to the Supreme Court if they were to win the presidential election. “If they weren’t going to go in that direction, wouldn’t Biden and Harris just say: no, we don’t support that?” DeSantis told Fox News’ Mark Levin. “It’s not popular with the public and the fact that they won’t answer tells me that’s what they want to do.” The Governor’s postulation comes after several Democrats proposed court packing as a counter-punch to the Republican effort to appoint Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day.

Paul Renner backs Trump’s push to fill SCOTUS vacancy” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Rep. Renner chairs the Judiciary Committee in the Florida House, and in that context, he has a unique perspective on what’s happening in the same committee in the U.S. Senate. Renner lines up with his fellow Republicans who seek to expedite the process and seat Barrett on the Supreme Court. While the nomination has roiled Democrats, Republicans have been known to emerge from nomination fights with justices that disappoint the base. Renner contended that the opinions of justices only change if they change “in terms of what they described as their philosophy during the confirmation process.” The goal, he reiterated, was not to get a “conservative vote on the court,” but to get someone who backs the Constitution and rule of law.

— VOTERS ARE VOTING —

— 2020 — 

Joe Gruters, Terrie Rizzo argue ‘top two’ primary system won’t ease hyperpartisanship” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Rizzo and Gruters joined forces Friday to oppose a constitutional amendment that would create an open primary system in Florida. The rare show of bipartisanship came during the Florida Tiger Bay Club 2020 Election Series, where the pair disputed claims that Amendment 3 would ease partisan tensions. While both leaders acknowledged the era’s hyperpartisan nature, neither viewed Amendment 3 as a remedy. “I think going forward we will see an opportunity and have more candidates who reach across the aisle and work together because we have to do this in order to heal our country,” Rizzo said during the forum. “This amendment, however, is not the one to do that.”

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Terrie Rizzo and Joe Gruters team up to argue against Amendment 3.

Alan Cohn drops $200K on CD 15 ad buy — Democratic congressional candidate Cohn put down $204,435 for broadcast ads in the race for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. The buy, placed through Sage Media Planning, will keep Cohn’s ads running on Tampa area networks through Oct. 19. Meanwhile, Republican nominee Scott Franklin placed a $31,600 broadcast buy through Mentzer Media Services. His flight also runs through Oct. 19. The pair are running for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, who Franklin beat in the primary. The district has a sizable Republican lean, though it is the Democrats’ top flip target in Florida this cycle.

Another poll shows Vern Buchanan leading Margaret Good by double digits” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — A new poll of Florida’s 16th Congressional District shows Republican U.S. Rep. Buchanan with a double-digit lead over Democratic state Rep. Good. The Data Targeting survey found that Buchanan would earn more than 50% of the vote if the election were held today. Most of that is hard support — 46% would definitely vote for the incumbent. Another 5% said they would probably vote for him, while 2% are leaning that way. The bottom line: Buchanan leads 52%-37%, with 9% undecided. The measure comes a couple of days after Good released an internal poll showing her within striking distance of Buchanan. Despite optimism on the Democratic side, past election results in the district more closely resemble Buchanan’s numbers than Good’s.

— LEG. CAMPAIGNS —

José Javier Rodríguez continues to easily outpace Ileana Garcia in SD 37 fundraising” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Sen. Rodríguez is continuing to dominate Republican candidate Garcia in fundraising, according to the latest financial reports in the Senate District 37 race. Those reports showed Sen. Rodríguez added more than $82,000 through his campaign from Sept. 19-Oct. 2. Garcia collected around 10% of that total, collecting $8,300. Nonparty affiliated candidate Alex Rodriguez again raised nothing and has not actively raised money since entering the race in June. Garcia also waited until early June to enter the contest. With the blessing of Senate GOP leadership, she pulled in nearly $34,000 in her first 12 days as a candidate.

José Javier Rodríguez is easily outpacing Republican challenger Ileana Garcia in the SD 37 cash race.

—“SD 39 candidates each spend more than $70K during latest two-week reporting period as race enters final stages” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

‘Powder Kagan:’ HD 29 Democrat amused by nickname Republicans gave her” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — “That cracks me up,” said Tracey Kagan, the Democrat running in House District 29. She referred to the nickname slapped on her by the Republican Party of Florida in a new mailer sent to Seminole County voters making her look like a radical, riotous street protester. The RPOF mailer is not intended to amuse anyone. It mixes scary pictures of riotous street protests from somewhere outside Florida with pictures of Kagan appearing at one or two protests in Central Florida. The text suggests that Kagan’s appearance at Black Lives Matter protests this past summer makes her the kind of radical who wants to burn cities and defund the police.

Phil Moore tries again to unseat incumbent Randy Fine” via Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon of Florida Today — The race to represent south Brevard in the Florida legislature pits Rep. Fine against Democrat Moore, a rematch of the 2018 vote. Fine, who handily fended off a primary challenge in what turned into Brevard’s ugliest race, also decisively beat Moore in their first matchup two years ago, taking in 55.1% of the vote to Moore’s 44.9%. Once again, Moore has his work cut out for him. Fine, a two-term incumbent, has raised a whopping $286,000 this election cycle primarily from corporations and business interests, about a third of his war chest came from individual contributions. Moore has brought in just over $22,000 — over 80% of which are individual contributions.

Jennifer Webb, other Democrats attacked by GOP over state party’s PPP loan” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida Republicans are attacking Democratic legislative candidates based on the state Democratic Party’s receipt of a government pandemic relief loan, since returned. And they’re apparently spending heavily to press that attack in Pinellas where Republican Linda Chaney is challenging state Rep. Webb. Webb, who has been considered the front-runner, said she believes Republicans may be spending up to $1 million to defeat her, based on the volume of mailers and TV ads she’s seen. The attack is also being used against Democrat Julie Jenkins, who’s challenging Republican state Rep. Jackie Toledo in what’s expected to be a tight race in Tampa.

Jennifer Webb

Jennifer Webb is facing Republican attacks over Democratic acceptance of PPP funds.

—“Chip LaMarca still outraising Democratic challenger as he spends nearly $120K in newest HD 93 reports” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Republican Demi Busatta Cabrera edges Jean-Pierre Bado in new HD 114 fundraising filings” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Busatta Cabrera added just over $18,500 in the most recent fundraising period, narrowly topping her Democratic opponent in House District 114. Her counterpart, Bado, was just over $1,000 short of Busatta Cabrera’s haul. He raised just over $17,300 for the period, which covered activity from Sept. 19-Oct. 2. GOP Rep. Renner‘s political committee, Conservatives for Principled Leadership, sent a maxed-out $1,000 donation to Busatta Cabrera’s campaign. The Southern Group‘s PC also gave Busatta Cabrera a $1,000 check. She received several max donations from various real estate and construction PACs as well.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Delayed COVID-19 report adds 180 Florida deaths, 12 in area” via Clayton Freeman of The Florida Times-Union — After a delay of more than one day, unprecedented since the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, the Florida Department of Health reported 180 additional deaths statewide and 12 for the area in Sunday’s daily report. In all, the state has recorded 15,552 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in Florida. The department said the process of removing duplicated results would last a day. The state added 5,570 positive tests compared to Friday’s daily report, a span of 48 hours rather than 24, while positivity rates — skewed by the unusual test volume of results — behaved erratically (sharply higher in results received Friday, sharply lower Saturday) amid the highest test volume in the past month.

You can’t kneecap your own society’: Ron DeSantis defends reopening amid pandemic” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Gov.  DeSantis spoke frankly Sunday in defense of his decision to reopen the Sunshine State amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “We wanted society to function,” DeSantis said on the Life, Liberty & Levin talk show. “You can’t burn down the village in order to save it.” Since the onset of the pandemic, the first-term Governor has faced sharp criticism for his handling of the pandemic, particularly in regard to schools. Florida schools and universities closed in March as the COVID-19 pandemic began to grip the state. In July, however, DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran ordered schools to reopen.

What Adam Babington is reading — “At Disney World, ‘worst fears’ about virus have not come true” via Brooks Barnes of The New York Times — In July, one infectious disease expert said Walt Disney World’s reopening was a “terrible idea” that was “inviting disaster.” Social media users attacked Disney as “irresponsible” and “clueless” for pressing forward, even as coronavirus cases surged in Florida. A few aghast onlookers turned Disney World marketing videos into parody trailers for horror films. Attendance has been lower than anticipated. As tumultuous as the three months since the reopening have been, however, public health officials and Disney World’s unions say there have been no coronavirus outbreaks among workers or guests. So far, Disney’s wide-ranging safety measures appear to be working.

The ‘worst fears’ about Disney World reopening failed to materialize. Image via AP. 

Pensacola court bounces back from Sally damage, plans to restart trials Monday” via Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal — Despite water intrusion in Pensacola’s downtown courthouse during Hurricane Sally, trials are set to resume on Monday. Robin Wright, trial court administrator with Florida’s First Judicial Circuit, said Thursday that the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building on West Government Street sustained water damage to its central elevators, a first-floor legal library and various rooms and offices throughout the facility. Wright said, for the most part, most of the damage has been repaired over the past three weeks.

‘Epic fail’ by Broward schools could endanger students returning to class, union says” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald — More students will be returning to the classroom this week in Broward County and keeping them safe from COVID-19 isn’t the only concern teachers have. The Broward Teachers Union is worried that people could be less aware they are driving in school zones this week while students are arriving at or being dismissed from school because Broward County Public Schools procrastinated in telling cities and municipalities to activate the flashing lights system in school zones. The flashing lights found around school zones notifies drivers to slow down, usually to 15 mph, because students are either arriving at or being dismissed from school.

Seminole County public schools set to welcome back more than 4500 students” via Matt Reeser and Jeff Levkulich of WFTV — As Seminole County schools close out the first 9 weeks of classes many teachers are preparing for students to return to the classroom. While the number of students returning is still lower than normal the district thinks teachers will be able to handle the changes. “We are still not at 50% and even with the 4500 that are returning to us on Monday our schools still have the ability to do what they have been doing,” said district spokesperson Michael Lawrence. The district says the real challenge could come in January when more Seminole Connect and virtual students are expected to return to face-to-face learning.

— COVID 45 —

Trump reportedly wanted to rip open his button-down to reveal a Superman T-shirt to surprise people when he left the hospital” via David Choi of Business Insider — Trump, who contracted the coronavirus earlier this month, floated an idea to surprise observers by ripping open his button-down shirt to reveal a Superman T-shirt underneath, according to a New York Times report published Saturday. Trump made several calls during his stay at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last week, in which he proposed the idea of first appearing physically weak to observers, people familiar with the matter reportedly said. Upon leaving the hospital, he would rip open his dress shirt to reveal a shirt with the famous Superman logo, according to The Times.

Donald Trump wanted to make a real show out of his bout with COVID-19.

Hope Hicks returned to the White House to pull Trump across the finish line. Then coronavirus hit.” via Sarah Ellison and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — When she returned to the White House on March 9 after two years away and a lucrative stint in corporate PR, Hicks was supposed to be a talisman to re-create the magic of Trump’s against-the-odds 2016 campaign. When a reporter broke the news of Hicks’ coronavirus diagnosis last week, it exposed a contagion at the White House that has presented Trump with his biggest challenge at the defining moment of his presidency. It has placed exactly the kind of scrutiny on Hicks that she abhors and put her movements at the center of a conversation about the president’s handling of the nation’s most deadly pandemic in a century.

Trump fans will never wear masks, horrified COVID-19 task force admits” via Erin Banco and Asawin Suebsaeng of The Daily Beast — As Trump received treatment for the coronavirus at Walter Reed Medical Center last week, he and his aides worked on the stagecraft for his big return home. It needed to be showy and it would require television networks to have their cameras pointed at the White House during the beginning of their prime-time shows. For the White House the goal was simple: Put Trump on national television to underscore that the president, despite being infected with a deadly virus, was strong enough not to wear a mask. For scientists, doctors, and even those who work on the president’s response to the pandemic, it was a calamity.

— CORONA NATION —

WHO discourages lockdowns as U.S. hospitalizations continue climb; 11 states set records for new COVID-19 cases” via John Bacon of USA TODAY — A USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data through late Saturday shows 11 states set records for new cases for a seven-day period — Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah. Nationwide, a fourth consecutive day of more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases represents a streak not seen in two months. The U.S. has now reported more than 7.7 million cases and almost 215,000 deaths since the first U.S. case was confirmed Jan. 21. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and benefactor of the Gates Foundation, warns that the nation must be ready for “lots of additional deaths” if COVID-19 testing does not improve.

What Richard Corcoran is reading — “Schools aren’t super-spreaders” via Emily Oster of The Atlantic — In early August, the first kids in America went back to school during the pandemic. Many of these openings happened in areas where cases were high or growing: in Georgia, Indiana, Florida. Parents, teachers, and scientists feared what might happen next. Many assumed that school infections would balloon and spread outward to the broader community, triggering new waves. On social media, people shared pictures of high schools with crowded hallways and no masking as if to say I told you so. It’s now October. We are starting to get an evidence-based picture of how school reopenings are going and the evidence is pointing in one direction. Schools do not, in fact, appear to be a major spreader of COVID-19.

School reopening has not become the super-spreading event some feared. Image via AP.

When will things go back to normal? Experts say that’s the wrong question amid COVID-19” via Joel Shannon of USA Today — The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and left countless people longing for a pre-pandemic way of life. That desire is likely only further straining our mental health. “Our brains really are very eager to get back to normal, to get back to January 2020,” Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts, said. But that’s simply not possible, Tsipursky said. Some losses in recent months are permanent. The dark cloud of coronavirus risk, meanwhile, will continue to linger, possibly for years. Tragically, for hundreds of thousands of Americans, a pre-pandemic life would include a loved one who has died of COVID-19 this year.

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

The pandemic is pushing people to financial ruin. And the worst hardships lie ahead” via David Lyons and Andrew Boryga of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A growing number of unemployed Floridians, their finances shredded, are struggling to pay for their homes and feed their families as COVID-19 pushes the economy to the brink that many have feared since spring. Nearly seven months after the coronavirus shattered businesses, disrupted industries and forced hundreds of thousands of working Floridians to the sidelines, South Florida’s social safety net is severely frayed. Emergency U.S. government benefit programs begun in March have expired or are near exhaustion. And there is no immediate sign that more federal relief is imminent as feuding politicians in Washington remain stalemated in negotiations.

The pandemic is leading many Americans to financial ruin. Image via The Washington Post.

Cruise CEOs, Vice President Mike Pence talk COVID-19 and cruises in restart effort” via Taylor Dolven of the Miami Herald — CEOs from the four largest cruise companies met via phone with Pence Friday in an effort to get the industry operating again. According to a White House readout of the call, the group discussed a published proposal from Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings that the companies say will allow cruises to resume safely in the U.S. The proposal calls for 74 protocols including testing all passengers between five days and 24 hours before boarding, requiring passengers and crew members to wear masks, lowering doctor-to-passenger ratio on ships and upgrading air-conditioning systems.

— MORE CORONA — 

The world crosses an ominous milestone, recording more than 1 million new cases in three days.” via Aishvarya Kavi of The New York Times — The world recorded more than one million new cases of the coronavirus in just the last three days, the highest total ever in such a short span, a reflection of resurgences in Europe and the United States and uninterrupted outbreaks in India, Brazil and other countries. The number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide. Deaths and hospitalizations in some countries are also beginning to rise, a warning signal of the widespread impact of the current wave. The pandemic has sickened more than 37 million people and more than one million people have died globally, according to a New York Times database.

The world recorded more than one million new cases of the coronavirus in just three days, the highest total ever in such a short period. Image via AP.

COVID’s comeback is bigger but less deadly, at least for now” via John Lauerman, Suzi Ring, and Jonathan Levin of Bloomberg — Infection rates are spiraling across much of the European continent. Over the past month, France has reported about 340,000 new cases, close to half the country’s cumulative total since the outbreak began. Yet deaths have risen by less than 1,800 — a rate of about 0.5% — after the country previously recorded more than 30,000. In the U.S., the seven-day average of new cases climbed to 46,824 Thursday, the most since Aug. 19, according to the most recent Johns Hopkins University data. One trouble spot is New York City, where outbreaks in a handful of neighborhoods and suburbs have stirred fears that the former U.S. virus epicenter could see a second act.

Strength does not beat viruses” via Ed Yong of The Atlantic — On Monday, as Trump left the hospital, Sen. Kelly Loeffler tweeted a doctored clip of the President tackling and punching the wrestler Vince McMahon. In the edited version, McMahon’s face has been replaced with a picture of a virus. In the Western world, bouts of illness are regularly described as “battles.” Viruses and other pathogens are “enemies” to be “beaten.” Patients are encouraged to “be strong” and praised for being “fighters.” Equating disease with warfare, and recovery with strength, means that death and disability are linked to failure and weakness. That “does such a disservice to all of the families who have lost loved ones, or who are facing long-term consequences,” says Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University.

U.S. COVID-testing plan aims to open New York-London travel by holidays” via Andrew Tangel, Alison Sider and Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal — U.S. officials are aiming to open travel between New York City and London with shortened traveler quarantine periods as soon as the holidays, according to people familiar with the matter. The growing availability of COVID-19 tests in the U.S. has prompted officials at the Transportation Department, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to revive efforts to establish safe travel corridors between the U.S. and international destinations, the people said. Establishing those routes would require travelers to be tested for COVID-19 before their flight and again upon arrival, allowing them to avoid lengthy quarantines at their destinations.

— STATEWIDE —

This Florida lawmaker’s political committee worth $700K basically went into hibernation” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A political committee chaired by a retiring Republican Senator in April reported nearly $700,000 in cash on hand. Then it effectively went into hibernation. As a challenging atmosphere awaits many candidates in November, there’s growing irritation at resources that can’t be reached. Protect Florida Families Fund, formed in February 2019 and chaired by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, raised more than $854,000 — before sending a disbandment letter to the Division of Elections. A short message from PAC Financial Management in March asked the state to “cancel the political committee registration” for the relatively young committee. State records now list the committee’s status as “closed.”

A PAC set up by Lizbeth Benacquisto has gone into hibernation, along with $700K. Image via Colin Hackley.

Florida’s most powerful pro-police lobbying group is an anti-reform force” via Jerry Iannelli of The Appeal — DeSantis proposed legislation last month that would allow cops to charge people with felonies for appearing at a “violent” protest and allow anyone who “organizes” a “violent or disorderly assembly” to be charged under the RICO Act. Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz was standing behind DeSantis at the news conference. Schultz is president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, arguably the most powerful anti-criminal justice reform and pro-police lobbying group in Florida. “They are, without question, the most powerful lobby group that consistently opposes sentencing reform in Tallahassee and consistently lobbies for new felonies, new sentencing enhancements, new mandatory minimums, and opposes anything that might roll that back the war on drugs,” said Greg Newburn, the Florida state policy director for FAMM.

Personnel note: Vivian Myrtetus appointed to Commission on Human Relations — DeSantis on Friday named Myrtetus to the Commission on Human Relations. Myrtetus is currently the Senior Government Relations Manager for e-scooter rental company Lime. Previously, she served as the CEO of Volunteer Florida. Myrtetus, a San Francisco State University alumna, and serves on also holds a seat on the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services and was the founding board chair of the Florida Technology Council. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

AppointedJohn Watret, Linda Reiter, Edward Pozzuoli and Robert Kornahrens to the Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees; Doug Bournique, Jon “Chris” Peterson, Jr. and Cole Oliver to the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board.

— D.C. MATTERS —

The swamp that Trump built” via The New York Times — Campaigning for President as a Washington outsider, Trump electrified rallies with his vows to “drain the swamp.” But Trump did not merely fail to end Washington’s insider culture of lobbying and favor-seeking. He reinvented it, turning his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway’s new backrooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign. Interviews with nearly 250 business executives, club members, lobbyists, Trump property employees and current or former administration officials provide a comprehensive account of how well Trump’s customers fared with his government and how the President profited from his reinvented swamp.

Donald Trump didn’t drain the swamp; he reinvented it.

— LOCAL NOTES —

Aboard Shad Khan’s megayacht, council members briefed on Lot J deal” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — Khan and his close advisers invited several members of the Jacksonville City Council last week aboard his megayacht, Kismet, to receive private briefings about the upcoming announcement that taxpayers would help provide half the financing, more than $200 million, for Khan’s long-sought mixed-use private development on Lot J next to TIAA Bank Field, according to city officials with knowledge of the meetings. The cluster of meetings, several of which were done individually with council members, though not all of them, aboard the 312-foot, 28-crew vessel represented a last-minute, hard sell just days before the formal announcement Monday from Lenny Curry and Khan.

Shad Kahn’s megayacht Kismet recently hosted some Jacksonville City Council members to discuss Lot J development. 

Oil only washed up on half-mile stretch of Johnson Beach on Perdido Key, source still unknown” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Oil discovered on Johnson Beach on Perdido Key in the days after Hurricane Sally impacted only a half-mile area, and officials are still waiting for a sample to be processed to identify the source, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Kelly Thorkilson and Adam Davis with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program’s policy board Wednesday that an assessment team had found only a half-mile area that was impacted by oil. The oil was “very old, weathered oil” Thorkilson and Davis told the policy board, according to a news release posted on Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program’s Facebook page.

— TOP OPINION —

A national security reckoning” via Hillary Clinton for Foreign Affairs — In a year marked by plague and protest, Americans are reckoning with long-overdue questions about racial justice, economic inequality, and disparities in health care. The current crisis should also prompt a reckoning about the United States’ national security priorities. The country is dangerously unprepared for a range of threats, not just future pandemics but also an escalating climate crisis and multidimensional challenges from China and Russia. Its industrial and technological strength has atrophied, its vital supply chains are vulnerable, its alliances are frayed, and its government is hollowed out. The COVID-19 crisis should be a big enough jolt to rouse the country from its sleep, so that it can summon its strength and meet the challenges ahead.

— OPINIONS —

There’s no question we’ll be living in a different world post-pandemic” via David Ignatius of The Washington Post — Some aspects of life will return to the way they were before, but many won’t. A September study of 13,200 Americans by the Pew Research Center reported that 51% believed their lives would remain changed in major ways. Researchers offer some baseline predictions. Technology will allow people to work, shop and study remotely, and many people will continue the habits they’ve acquired since March. Nimble companies and workers will race ahead; others may be left behind. Racial and economic inequalities may deepen unless they’re addressed forcefully.

Amateur hour at the Trump White House” via John F. Harris and Daniel Lippman of POLITICO — Nearly everyone remembers the old cliché: If you can’t trust someone to get the little things right, how can you ever count on them to do the big things? Trump had better hope that bromide doesn’t apply to him. As his presidency lurches toward a climactic judgment on Nov. 3, the little things lately have rarely gone more pervasively or embarrassingly wrong. Recent days, in the wake of Trump being stricken with coronavirus, have highlighted just how the lurching improvisation that is a familiar phenomenon around Trump has entered a different phase. The professionals around the President aren’t merely laboring to contain and channel the disruptive politician they work for. Very often they are amplifying the chaos.

The debate commission went too far. Its time is up.” via Hugh Hewitt of The Washington Post — In February 1987, the Democratic and Republican parties announced the creation of a Commission on Presidential Debates, seizing control of the general election debates from the League of Women Voters. I’ve inveighed against the commission before because it is obviously biased to the left, so patently “of, in, by and for” the Beltway, as have been many of its moderators. Biden is most definitely the Beltway’s candidate, and the commission tried Thursday morning to gift him the high ground as it did with Chris Wallace in the first debate. I never suspected that it would grab for the controls in such a naked and frankly vulgar way.

I will hold the President accountable for endangering and dividing America” via Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for The Washington Post — When I addressed the people of Michigan on Thursday to comment on the unprecedented terrorism, conspiracy, and weapons charges against 13 men, some of whom were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me, I said, “Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan.” I’m not going to waste my time arguing with the President. But I will always hold him accountable. Because when our leaders speak, their words carry weight. When our leaders encourage domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions.

— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Both sides of the presidential race are asking themselves what’s going to happen when Patient Zero leaves the COVID-19 hot spot (known as the White House) to address thousands of followers at a campaign rally in Sanford. It’s happening one day after the state reported a significant increase in the number of new infections and fatalities … but it may have been a glitch.

 Also, on today’s Sunrise:

Donald Trump Jr. hits the road in Florida, kicking off a bus tour against “socialism, communism, and radicals” (you know … Democrats). It’s called the “fighters against socialism” tour and Ultimate Fighting Championship star Jorge Masvidal introduced Junior by saying something really “classy.”

— More on Don Jr.’s spiel on the Sunrise Soapbox.

— DeSantis showed up in Calhoun County with a big check from the feds to help rebuild the only hospital in the area, which Hurricane Michael wrecked.

— Also, a deep dive into the Governor’s latest visit to the Panhandle to deal with the aftermath of Michael. It’s been two years and they’re still rebuilding. But Florida was lucky over the weekend when Hurricane Delta missed us completely — and DeSantis tempted fate by suggesting we may get out of this hurricane season without more damage.

— And finally, a Florida Man is going to federal prison for an investment he peddled on Shark Tank.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Much of America has stopped celebrating Columbus Day, but the explorer remains revered in Italy” via Stefano Pitrelli of The Washington Post — As Americans feud over whether Columbus Day should remain a federal holiday — or whether the man who first charted the trans-Atlantic route in 1492 should be remembered as a colonial oppressor — in Italy, Columbus is still held in high esteem. Italians tend to think of him as the sum of their best qualities: ingenuity, courage and resilience. The disconnect might have to do with a lack of knowledge among Italians about the more objectionable aspects of Columbus’s life and legacy. But scholars say there’s also a national defensiveness that has gotten in the way of further understanding.

Christopher Columbus’ popularity may be on the decline in the States, but he is still a big deal in Italy. Image via AP.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Happy birthday to our dear friend, the powerhouse Sen. Lauren Book, Rep. Shevrin Jones, former Rep. Jimmie Smith, Allyce Heflin, Jimmy Midyette, and Doug Kaplan of Gravis Marketing. Belated best wishes to good ol’ Dave Mica.

___

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.
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Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
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