Connect with us

Emails & Opinions

Here’s Brunch, a pop-up, weekend email about final weeks of the 2020 campaign — 10.25.20

Your Sunday buffet of Florida politics, sports, culture & more.

Good Sunday morning.

🎂 — Happy 40th birthday to Mr. Tampa, Mike Griffin

👍👎 — Click here to read who are the Political Winners and Losers of the Week in Florida politics.

🍸 — Yes, bartender, I would love a Christmapolian

⚾ — Rays Up! The Tampa Bay Rays win in an “instant classic” Game 4 of the World Series, with a wild, walk-off 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Arlington, Texas. The Series is currently tied 2-2. Game 5 begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time and will be carried on FOX and MLB TV.

Tampa Bay Rays celebrate their win against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the World Series in Arlington, Texas. Rays defeated the Dodgers 8-7 to tie the series 2-2 games. Image via AP.

— The last 24 hours —

With the election just nine days away, every day in Florida is sure to bring plenty of political news. Here’s what went down in Florida on Saturday.

Florida Man Donald Trump casts his ballot — Trump joined scores of others to vote early in West Palm Beach Saturday, lauding the experience as “perfect.” He said he cast his ballot “for a guy named Trump.”

“It was a very secure vote. Much more secure than when you send in your ballot. Everything was perfect. Very strict,” Trump said. He also took the opportunity to play up his performance at the polls, in which he is notably lagging, albeit by slight margins. “I hear we’re doing very well in Florida and everywhere else,” the President concluded.

But not everyone was so pleased with the President’s visit to the polls Saturday. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign had a flurry of campaign activity Saturday, which will continue into Sunday to counter the President’s Florida Push.

He has no plan. That was the take-away for Biden for President Deputy campaign manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfeld regarding Vice President Mike Pence holding rallies in Lakeland and Tallahassee.

Donald Trump casts his ballot Saturday in West Palm Beach before heading on a marathon campaign swing. Image via AP.

— “This administration has no plan to contain the spread of the virus or to get the nearly half a million Floridians still looking for a job back to work,” she said. “But here’s the good news: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do.”

Obama madness. The former President was in North Miami Saturday for a car rally to stump for Biden. The socially-distanced event was markedly different from the Trump-world rallies, where mask-wearing often appears optional.

Make a plan. Throughout the weekend, the Biden campaign hosted events throughout the state, encouraging voters to make a plan to vote as early voting begins in all 67 counties. Events include virtual phone banks, “Ridin’ with Biden” car parades and “Souls to the Polls” events.

Bloomberg keeps showing the money. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg funded an ad through Independence USA PAC urging Democratic voters to cancel out Trump’s Saturday vote by casting a ballot of their own … for Biden. The ad started running on MSNBC in all Florida media markets Saturday.

Rocket Man Pence? Supporters rocked out to Elton John’s Rocket Man while waiting for him to speak in Lakeland, in between bursts of “four more years” chants. It might have seemed an odd musical choice for some, though considering the lack of masks at the rally, others might find quiet delight in one particular line in the song: “And all this science I just don’t understand.”

Usually, the Sunshine State. Speaking in Tallahassee Friday night after supporters spent an hour waiting in the rain for the delayed rally, Pence rallied supporters with all the usual lines, attacking socialized health care and painting a picture of chaos under a Biden/Harris administration. “With Joe Biden, you got 47 years of all talk, no action,” Pence said, borrowing a line from Trump’s debate against Biden Thursday night.

— Breaking down the vote —

Going into Saturday, overall turnout in Florida was 36.8% (Democrats — 43.3%, Republicans — 37.0%, Other — 27.7%).

Approximately 364K more ballots were cast on Saturday. This represented mostly in-person early votes, although some of the election supervisors updated their vote-by-mail counts throughout the day.

That 364K increased turnout to 39.1% (Democrats — 45.7%, Republican — 39.8%, Other 29.6%).

A caveat: Saturday’s numbers DO NOT INCLUDE Miami-Dade or Sarasota counties because they don’t update in real-time.

Early turnout has been impressive so far, with many more people yet to vote. Image via AP.

Based on the numbers posted to the Division of Election for votes cast through 10-23.

Republicans still have 49% of their 4-of-4 voters left to cast a ballot (922,267) compared to Democrats who have 35.1% of their 4-of-4 voters left to cast a ballot (548,625) — that’s advantage Republicans by 373,642.

Republicans still have 60% of their 3-of-4 voters left to cast a ballot (542,346) compared to Democrats who have 49% of their 3-of-3 voters left to cast a ballot (461,506) — that’s advantage Republicans by 80,840.

On a percentage basis, Republicans have an advantage among 2s, 1s, and 0s. Still, Democrats have 284,381 more of these low propensity voters left to cast a ballot than Republicans in terms of raw votes. However, with the Republican surge in voter registration — Republicans have a 69,725 voter advantage among new voters since book close 2018.

Bottom line: Republicans have cut into the 592K lead that the Democrats have on VBMs, ending the week with a 227K advantage on in-person early voting. The next effect of this is that the Democrats lead by approximately 364K ballots cast.

— Hispanic turnout trends — 

Like most demographic groups, turnout among Hispanic voters is up in 2020. But that increase lags the surge among White and Black voters. And Cuban voters — who lean more Republican than Hispanics as a whole — appear to be the primary drivers for the increase among Hispanics.

The brief: Unite The Country PAC CEO Steve Schale, Hawkfish CEO Josh Mendelsohn, and Latino Victory Fund Chairperson Luis A. Miranda Jr. spoke to reporters Friday to breakdown trends among the Hispanic vote.

Going up: “Latino turnout in Florida is up at this point,” Schale said. “Typically, if you try to compare this election to a previous cycle, voters of color tend to enter the voting process a little bit later.” He said this increase was another sign there was “more diversity earlier in the election” in 2020.

To watch the Zoom discussion, click on the image below:

El Cambio: Mendelsohn confirmed that 2020 stands as an outlier when it comes to the Hispanic vote. “Of all ethnic subgroups, Hispanics have by far the highest rate of sitting on their absentee ballots,” he explained.

Not so fast, Dems: Hispanics overall tend to lean Democrat. But Schale pointed to indicators that dampen this news for Dems. “That turnout, right now, is being driven disproportionately by Cubans, which disproportionately are older and disproportionately a little bit more Republican.”

Continuing the push: Miranda, whose group is backing Democrats such as presidential nominee Joe Biden, said the goal is to continue reaching out to other Hispanic subgroups as the early voting period continues. “Everything that we can do to remind people that this is a voting cycle — not [just] Nov. 3 — it’s important that we do.”

Added Miranda, “The Tampa to Orlando corridor is key. When we see that area is over performing, then we know we are doing much better for our democratic candidates in Florida and ultimately can get the electoral vote.”

— Final Florida push —

America First Action PAC, an outside group supporting Trump‘s reelection bid, appeals to small business owners in a new ad campaign ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Biden bashing: “It makes me nervous that Joe Biden is going to raise taxes in this economy,” says one of several speakers in the new ad. “Joe Biden has no idea how to run our country, how to fix anything,” adds another.

Tax truths: Biden has said he’s not seeking to raise taxes on individuals making less than $400,000 per year. That could still affect small businesses that have revenue or assets exceeding that benchmark. However, it should be noted that the President cannot unilaterally raise taxes, and a GOP Senate could block any such proposal.

Big bucks: The ad is part of a $10 million surge from America First Action PAC across several battleground states in the closing week-plus of the campaign. The group has spent $22 million total in Florida this cycle.

To watch the latest America First ad, click on the image below:

 

— No ‘Jexodus’ among Jewish voters —

Florida Republicans are hoping for a so-called “Jexodus” in the 2020 presidential election, where Jewish voters alter their tendency to support Democratic candidates and vote to reelect the President instead. A new survey of Florida’s Jewish population shows that’s unlikely to happen.

Biden up big: Biden leads Trump among likely Jewish voters in Florida by a 73%-22% margin. That’s according to a GBAO Strategies poll commissioned by J Street, a liberal pro-Israel organization.

Above-average: Biden’s vote share is slightly above the historical average for Democrats, which sits around 70%. That’s according to exit poll data from past presidential contests cited by GBAO’s Jim Gerstein dating back to 1972.

Republicans are hoping to peel away Jewish voters from Joe Biden, with little success. Image via AP.

Explaining the data: Gerstein reasoned Biden’s advantage could come from general distaste with Trump in several key areas, as shown in surveys of Americans overall. “How that relates to Jewish voters, it could be just that they’re part of the overall American electorate observing the same things and they’re even moving further,” Gerstein said, “or there are specific things relative to White nationalism, anti-Semitism that could be providing that bump.”

On GOP’s hope for Jexodus: “That could not be more wrong,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, citing the new poll numbers. “The only movement that I think you will find from 2016 and from 2018 to today is that Jewish voters are abandoning Donald Trump and moving even more into the Democratic column and supporting Joe Biden.”

The survey ran from Oct. 12-14 and sampled 600 likely Jewish voters. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. A survey of Jewish voters in Pennsylvania also found similar results.

— Looking for action —

The polls say Biden is ahead in the presidential race, and bettors say the same according to the most up-to-date betting lines published by BoyleSports.

There was no ‘Trump Bump’ after Thursday’s debate, according to the oddsmaker. Rather, Biden is now as favoured as he ever has been.

Biden’s odds: The former VP now sits at 4/9, up from 8/13. For those who don’t insert an unnecessary U in “favorite,” the current line equates to a -225 in the American system or a 69% implied probability. If the numbers aren’t explicit enough, the former VP is red-hot among bettors.

Joe Biden is the odds-on favorite, according to bookies. Image via AP.

The President’s odds: Trump now has a 7/4 chance of winning a second term, which is the equivalent of a 175 in American odds or a 36% chance. At the last check-in, Trump had 6/4 odds.

The narrative, courtesy of BoyleSports spox Sarah Kinsella: “With just over a week until voters take to the polls, Biden is now the 4/9 favorite from 8/13, the shortest price he has been since being confirmed as the Democratic candidate. Trump’s chances of a second term have been eased to 7/4 from 6/4 as he continues to trail in the national polls.”

Seeking a massive payday? BoyleSports is giving Kamala Harris 200/1 odds to be sworn in as the 46th POTUS in January. VP Mike Pence has 500/1 odds. If either comes to fruition, it certainly wouldn’t be the oddest thing to happen in 2020.

Broward Souls to the Polls — 

The Equal Ground Education Fund (EGEF) is looking to mobilize Black voters in Broward County by hosting a “Souls to the Polls” this afternoon. Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry is backing the effort throughout Florida.

When and Where: The gathering will take place at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Center from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. The Broward event is part of EGEF’s efforts in 25 counties across Florida.

Tyler Perry is backing a Broward ‘Souls to the Polls’ campaign.

On hand: Pastor Joel Wise will join local community leaders and elected officials to drive up support in an election expected to hit historic turnout levels. Sunday afternoon’s event is also set to feature gospel choirs.

Stay safe: The socially-distanced event will encourage individuals to listen from their vehicles. Attendees can also drop off mail-in ballots during the meeting.

EGEF describes itself as a “Black-led nonpartisan, nonprofit, working on building Black political power in Florida.” The group is expected to spend $500,000 on these events this cycle.

— Mariachi en Miami Lakes — 

Feel like early voting could be improved with some mariachi music? “Fuera Trump,” an effort looking to increase Hispanic turnout to boost Biden, agrees.

What’s going down: “Volunteers with the Fuera Trump campaign will ‘serenade’ early voters,” according to a Fuera Trump release. Other volunteers will also lead canvassing efforts in the area.

When and where: The serenade will take place at the Miami Lakes Community Center at 15151 NW 82 Ave from 4-7 p.m. That site serves as an early voting location inside the county.

Members of Mijente are calling to ‘fuera Trump.’

The background: Mijente, which describes itself as “a national organizing hub for Latinx and Chicanx voters,” helped launch the Fuera Trump campaign. Mijente partnered in the effort with New Florida Majority and FLIC Votes in Florida.

Fuera Trump organized a car caravan last Sunday in the region. That event was also paired with a canvassing operation. This past week, volunteers have knocked on more than 125,000 doors and spoken to around 30,000 voters across Florida, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina.

— What Voters Vote? —

Amendment 3 offers in its title to let “All Voters Vote” in primary elections, but a good chunk of voters need to approve the measure first. A St. Pete Polls survey, commissioned by Florida Politics, shows a referendum falling short of passage.

Half-life: The proposal only enjoys 37% support right now, while 44% plan to vote no. This means the amendment has barely half the voter support it needs to pass and no room to reach a 60% threshold.

— Indy indifference: While voters without party affiliation seem a target audience for the proposal, 36% of self-identified independents are ready to reject the measure. About 46% do like the idea, though.

— Ruffled Republicans: While the measure closely splits Democrat voters (41% favor it, 40% oppose), the strongest rejection of the measure comes from GOP voters. A full 53% hate the idea of a jungle primary, while just 29% would give the change a spin.

— Murphy laying claim to Seminole County —

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy wants Seminole County, the bulk of her district, and she wants it not just for herself but for her party.

The two-term congresswoman, who actually lives in Orange County, is putting $250,000 of her campaign money into various get-out-the-vote efforts in Seminole County.

Beneficiaries include fellow Democratic women running there, including Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil, SD 9 candidate Patricia Sigman, HD 28 candidate Pasha Baker, HD 29 candidate Tracey Kagan and several in county races. Nearly all of them have been running, in various ways, as Murphy protégés, following her playbook to knock off entrenched Seminole County Republicans.

Stephanie Murphy is helping her fellow Central Florida Democrats.

Seminole County’s an archetype for suburban districts where moderate women voters could make a huge difference for Democrats. “Seminole County is an epic battleground for Florida’s future, and I’m all in,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s bet: $150,000 for get-out-the-vote mailers, $40,000 for digital advertising, and $60,000 for field staff.

— Face to face —

A testy race in Florida’s 16th Congressional District may have seen tension reach a climax at a Friday debate in Palmetto. Congressman Vern Buchanan and state Rep. Margaret Good shared a stage and frequently took personal jabs.

Grab that money: Pressed repeatedly on businesses tied to him receiving $7 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, Buchanan noted Good’s law firm also collected money. “Money goes to employees, not to the owners, so let me tell you that you did benefit. Otherwise, you’d have been unemployed,” he said.

Vern Buchanan and Margaret Good debate on Oct. 23.

Time out: The Democratic challenger questioned his legislative record and said she hadn’t seen much come to CD 16. She dismissed dollars for restoration projects as reactive. ”Mr. Buchanan has been there for 14 years, and yet he has not taken any of that initiative to ensure that we have good water from the get-go,” she said.

Who’s corrupt?: Buchanan pushed back on suggestions he personally enriched himself and said Good, in fact, was the corrupt official on stage, citing campaign finance missteps made by the campaign. That referred to Florida Politics reporting on state political committee funding on the race and on the potential use of statehouse staff for politics on government time.

— Must-see TV —

The cash is still flowing to TV stations. Here’s a preview of what you can expect to see while channel surfing.

SD 9: The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee made an $11K broadcast buy supporting Republican Jason Brodeur. The ads will air Oct. 26-27 in the Orlando market. FRSCC has now spent 3.64M on ads this cycle. Democratic nominee Patricia Sigman and committees backing her have spent $2.38M.

SD 39: FRSCC spent $27K on cable ads backing Republican Ana Maria Rodriguez. The ads will air through Election Day in the Miami market. FRSCC has spent $2.15M on SD 39 ads this cycle. Democratic nominee Javier Fernandez and committees backing him have spent $541K.

Javier Fernandez and Ana Maria Rodriguez take the SD 39 battle to the airwaves.

CD 13: Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist spent $11K on broadcast ads airing from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 in the Tampa market. Crist has now spent $1.82M on ads this cycle. Republican challenger Anna Paulina Luna has spent $772K on ads.

CD 16: Republican U.S. Rep. Buchanan added $6K to a broadcast buy running through Election Day in the Tampa market. Buchanan has now spent $1.4M on ads this cycle. Democratic challenger Good has spent $1.56M.

CD 18: Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast spent $220K on broadcast and cable ads running through Election Day in the West Palm Beach media market. This brings his total for the election to $1.51M. Democratic challenger Pam Keith added $42K to her broadcast flight running Oct. 24-27. She has spent $766K on ads this cycle.

— Brunching out —

What’s for breakfast? If you’re in Tallahassee, you have lots of choices, whether you’re after a basic platter of bacon and eggs (available just about anywhere) or something more exotic like Moroccan baked eggs (at Kool Beanz Cafe).

To help you satisfy your craving for the best dish to start your morning, here are 10 of our top breakfast choices. Restaurants often change their menus, so if you’re looking for a specific dish, you might want to call first to see if it will be available. Thanks to Tallahassee Table readers for many of these suggestions.

 — Biscuit Bowl, with veggie sausage gravy, sauteed peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach and scallions with either fried eggs or a tofu scramble (plus other vegan/vegetarian choices) at The Bark, 507 All Saints St.; 850-900-5936.

 — Blackened chicken hash browns, with grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms, topped with feta cheese and eggs, at Uptown Cafe, 1325 Miccosukee Rd.; 850-219-9800.

  Chimichurri steak and eggs, a petite filet with chimichurri sauce, a fried egg and breakfast potatoes, at Blu Halo, 3431 Bannerman Rd.; 850-999-1696.

Crabcake Benny (or any Benny), smothered with a Cajun hollandaise sauce, garnished with scallions at The Egg, 3740 Austin Davis Dr., 850-765-0703; 300 S. Duval St., 850-907-3447.

Eggs Hussarde, a variation on eggs Benedict, with poached eggs, roasted tomato and smoked ham on an English muffin with a marchand de vin sauce, hollandaise and sauteed vegetables at Sage, 3534 Maclay Blvd. South; 850-270-9396.

Fried chicken with sweet potato waffles, spicy honey and pecan butter at Kool Beanz, 921 Thomasville Rd.; 850-224-2466.

Fried pork chops (smothered chops after 11 a.m.), cheese grits and eggs at Olean’s Cafe, 1605 S. Adams St.; 850-521-0259.

Olean McCaskill, owner of Olean’s Cafe for more than two decades. Olean’s a soul food restaurant that attracts a lot of politicians. Image via Tallahassee Table.

House roasted corned beef and hash with russet potatoes, green peppers and onions topped with two eggs at Lofty Pursuits, 1355 Market St.; 850-521-0091.

The Skeeter skillet with country fried steak, sauteed onions and sausage gravy — or go for the BeeBee veggie skillet at Canopy Road, 1779 Apalachee Pkwy., 850-727-0263 plus other locations.

Sweet Piggy Hash with house-brined pork shoulder, two eggs, sweet potatoes, mixed peppers, onions, spinach and cheddar cheese (Big Dave’s Plate is a classic with great pancakes) at Grove Market Cafe, 1370 Market St.; 850-894-5060.

via Tallahassee Table.

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 Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also 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.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

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

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.