Last Call for 10.21.20 — 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

Gov. Ron DeSantis is underwater and the pandemic is dragging down President Donald Trump according to a new poll.

Spectrum Networks teamed up with Ipsos to conduct its first-ever Spectrum News Poll in Florida, finding that 42% of Floridians approve of DeSantis while 46% disapprove.

The souring view of the Governor comes alongside disapproval for most of his major pandemic-era stances — 52% say he’s bungled the state response, the same number say school reopenings are unsafe, and two-thirds believe there should be a statewide mask mandate.

Asked whether they feel safe with the current level of reopening, just 44% answered in the affirmative.

Likewise, Trump’s coronavirus response was in the negative with 53% disapproving of his public comments on mask-wearing and social distancing. On jobs and the economy — traditionally his strong point — Trump is underwater 42%-39%.

Spectrum News and Ipsos also found a majority (53%) of Floridians are concerned about the possibility of mail-in voting fraud, which the President has claimed is common despite copious evidence to the contrary. Broken down by party, 72% of Republicans and 42% of Democrats said they worried about mail ballot fraud.

The poll was conducted Oct. 7-15 and received responses from Florida adults, 83% of whom said they were either likely to vote or had already voted. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.


Today saw another $230K in ad buys made in congressional and major local contests across Florida. Here’s a preview of what you can expect to see while channel surfing.

Miami-Dade Mayor: The Miami Dade Democratic Party made a $41K cable buy supporting Daniella Levine Cava for Mayor. The ads will run on CNN, DISC, HALL, LMN, and MSNBC through Oct. 26. Levine Cava and committees backing her have now spent $822K on ads. Republican Esteban Bovo and backing groups have spent $746K.

CD 4: Republican U.S. Rep. John Rutherford spent $57K on a broadcast flight from Oct. 20-26 in the Jacksonville market. He has now spent $696K on ads this cycle. Democratic challenger Donna Deegan has spent $424K.

CD 14: Republican Christine Quinn spent $19K on radio ads airing through Election Day in the Tampa market. This is her first media expenditure of the election. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor has spent $9K on ads.

CD 15: Democrat Alan Cohn added $62K to a broadcast run ending Oct. 26 in the Tampa market. He has now spent $939K on ads. Republican Scott Franklin has spent $550K on ads, including $72K this week.

CD 18: Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast made a $43K broadcast and cable buy for ads running Oct. 21-25 in the West Palm Beach market. He has now spent $1.2M on ads this cycle. Democratic challenger Pam Keith has spent $673K.

CD 26: The DCCC made an $8K radio buy supporting Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell in the Miami market. The DCCC, Mucarsel-Powell campaign and outside groups have spent more than $13M on ads supporting the incumbent. Republican Carlos Gimenez and committees backing him have spent about $10M.

Voters are Voting

Total ballots cast: 3,675,327

Voted by mail: 2,954,359

— Democrats: 1,428,664

— Republicans: 900,828

— NPA/Other: 624,867

Voted early: 720,968

— Democrats: 279,968

— Republicans: 321,007

— NPA/Other: 119,993

Evening Reads

Barack Obama goes full throttle for Joe Biden” via Holly Otterbein of POLITICO

‘I’m busting my butt’: Rick Scott locks in on keeping GOP’s U.S. Senate majority” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

More than one quarter of voters have cast ballots” via The News Service of Florida

Scott pushes partisan case for Amy Coney Barrett on Senate floor” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Canvassing in a swing state in a pandemic” via Mitch Perry of Spectrum News

Senate Democrats block slimmed-down relief bill as Capitol Hill rancor worsens” via Erica Werner and Seung Min Kim of The Washington Post

Worried about COVID-19 in the winter? Alaska provides a cautionary tale” via Mike Baker of The New York Times

Laurel Lee blasts attempt to scuttle constitutional amendment” via Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida

Ivanka Trump stumps on school choice, defends father’s COVID-19 response.” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Tampa Bay law enforcement agencies plan for subtle presence at polls to help combat voter intimidation” via Evan Donovan of News Channel 8

Jaguars partnering with elections office to provide secure mail ballot drop box at TIAA Bank Field” via John Reid of the Florida Times-Union

Emails threatening Democratic voters circulate in Collier, Lee counties” via David Dorsey of the Fort Myers News-Press

Florida coronavirus numbers delayed, state to shift how it investigates after Palm Beach reports 50 new deaths” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel

Will there be a stimulus deal before Election Day? Florida families left waiting, struggling” via Josh Sidorowicz of WTSP

Cook Political Report now favors Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in CD 26 as new dueling ads drop” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“There will be no elimination of COVID-19 data available to the public. There is no plan to change reporting frequency or depth anytime in the near future. That is all.” — DeSantis communications director Fred Piccolo, in response to reports the state would report case numbers less frequently.

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