Joe Biden will win the presidency next week, but he won’t win Florida, according to an informal poll of the state’s top political experts.
The Florida Influencer Poll asked 150 of the most in-the-know politicos in the state about the election. More than 60% said Biden would prevail over President Donald Trump, whether the results come on Election Day or slowly trickle in the weeks after.
Meanwhile, 37% of Influencers are betting that Trump will get four more years. Just 1% expect postelection shenanigans to obscure the results.
The confidence in Biden spanned party lines, with 94% of Democrats, 71% of NPAs, and nearly half of Republicans leaning toward the former Vice President.
Still, few believe Biden can bring it home in Florida.
Polls have shown a tightening race in the Sunshine State, with most measures showing Trump behind by no more than a couple of points.
Nearly two-thirds of Influencers — 84% of Republicans, 35% of Democrats and 71% of NPAS — expect POTUS’ upswing to continue through Election Day when he’ll land Florida’s 29 electoral votes.
If Influencers go two-for-two on the big questions, it would be only the third time in modern history that Florida didn’t back the national winner. The other two were JFK in 1960 and Bill Clinton in 1992.
On the homefront, Influencers say the Republican majority in the Florida Senate is a safe one.
The split is currently 23-17, advantage GOP, and about a third of Influencers believe Republicans will either maintain or grow their majority after the elections.
With a 36% plurality, a 22-18 split was the most popular choice, followed by a 21-19 split at 19%.
Asked about individual races, Influencers say Democratic Rep. Loranne Ausley is a lock in SD 3. At the same time, 64% believe Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez will keep SD 39 red, and 61% say former Rep. Jason Brodeur will do the same in SD 9.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@realDonaldTrump: Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd.
—@JessicaTaylor: The final total is never known on Election Day.
—@Redistrict: A few days out, the picture of this race is pretty clear: 1) Biden’s lead (52%-43%) larger & more stable than [Hillary] Clinton‘s in ’16 2) Far fewer undecided/third party voters than ’16 3) District-level polls (which showed big problems for Clinton in ’16) back up national/state polls
—@mcimaps: Look folks. Let’s just make this clear: Any comparison from 2016 does NOT WORK considering the massive changes in voting method behavior this year. I’ve seen DEM and GOP spin taking advantage of this. Don’t fall for it
—@doug_hanks: Miami-Dade’s Elections Department predicts 80% turnout for the Nov election — up from 72% in 2016. If that’s correct, half of the votes are already in. Sun’s total of 656,761 ballots by mail and early in-person equal 52% of the projected total of about 1.2M votes by Nov 3.
—@KevinCate: 80% turnout in Miami Dade would make it a quick night & win for @JoeBiden
—@ByronDonalds: Great News! This morning I tested negative for COVID-19, and I tested positive for antibodies! I want to thank you all for the prayers and supportive messages over the past 11 days. I am now officially back on the campaign trail. 8 days to go, and I need your vote!
When an @instagram follower, former student, and constituent is a product of our GOTV efforts geared towards Black Men in South Florida, these are the messages that makes you smile and work harder…. pic.twitter.com/TWxd6vKSaE
— Shevrin Jones (@ShevrinJones) October 26, 2020
Thank you to my amazing colleagues for coming to support my re-election efforts. With your support I’m confident we will win this seat in November! #ToledoForTampa #Tampa #FlaPol pic.twitter.com/6IFzRPq4Eo
— Jackie Toledo (@ToledoForTampa) October 26, 2020
— DAYS UNTIL —
2020 General Election — 7; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 14; FITCon Policy Conference begins — 16; The Masters begins — 17; NBA draft — 21; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 24; College basketball season slated to begin — 29; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 36; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 36; the Electoral College votes — 48; “Death on the Nile” premieres — 51; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 59; Greyhound racing ends in Florida — 65; the 2021 Inauguration — 85; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 103; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 114; “Black Widow” rescheduled premiere — 128; “No Time to Die” premieres (rescheduled) — 157; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 248; Disney’s “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” premieres — 255; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 269; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 277; Disney’s “Eternals” premieres — 374; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 377; Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” premieres — 409; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 473; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 526; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 707.
— 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 performing 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 Monday, the CNN average has Biden staying steady at 52% compared to an equally 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 Monday, Biden is still at an 87 in 100 chance of winning compared to Trump, who is also remaining at a 12 in 100 shot. FiveThirtyEight also ranked individual states by the likelihood of delivering a decisive vote for the winning candidate in the Electoral College: Pennsylvania leads with 32.8%, while Florida is now second at 13.1%. Wisconsin is third with 10.4%. Other states include North Carolina (6.4%), Michigan (6.4%), Arizona (6.1%), Minnesota (5.3%) and Nevada (2.7%).
PredictIt: As of Monday, the PredictIt trading market has Biden rising to $0.63 a share, with Trump dropping two cents to $0.40.
Real Clear Politics: As of Monday, the RCP average of General Election top battleground state polling has Biden leading Trump 50.8% to 43%. The RCP General Election polling average has Biden at +7.8 points ahead.
The Economist: As of Monday, their model predicts that 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 is around 19 in 20 (95%) versus Trump with around 1 in 20 (5%). They still give Biden a greater than 99% chance (better than 19 in 20) of winning the popular vote, with Trump at less than 1% (less than 1 in 20).
— PRESIDENTIAL —
“Election night’s most-crucial number is votes yet to be counted” via Mark Niquette of Bloomberg — This election night, there’s a new statistic that may be the most important number for people trying to figure out whether Trump or Biden won the presidency. Election officials in key battleground states and at The Associated Press are adopting a new measure to estimate how much of the vote has yet to be counted. With unprecedented mail-in voting this year because of the pandemic, the vote count will be more fragmented, and results could be delayed in key swing states. That means the traditional number political analysts watched on election night — the percent of precincts reporting — won’t capture the scope of the outstanding votes.
“Donald Trump campaign flouted agreement to follow health guidelines at rally, documents show” via Shawn Boburg of The Washington Post — The start of Trump’s rally was still hours away when it became clear that his campaign would not keep its promise. In the days leading up to the Sept. 30 event in Duluth, Minnesota, local officials had privately pressed the campaign to abide by state public health guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, documents show. In response, the campaign signed an agreement pledging to follow those rules, limiting attendance to 250 people. On the day of the rally, however, Trump supporters flooded onto the tarmac at Duluth International Airport. They stood shoulder to shoulder, many without masks.
“Trump’s campaign made stops nationwide. Coronavirus cases surged in his wake in at least five places.” via Erin Mansfield, Josh Salman and Dinah Voyles Pulver of USA Today — As Trump jetted across the country holding campaign rallies during the past two months, he didn’t just defy state orders and federal health guidelines. He left a trail of coronavirus outbreaks in his wake. The President has participated in nearly three dozen rallies since mid-August, all but two at airport hangars. An analysis shows COVID-19 cases grew faster than before after at least five of those rallies. Together, those counties saw 1,500 more new cases in the two weeks following Trump’s rallies than the two weeks before.
“The coronavirus is pushing women out of work and away from Trump” via Molly Hensley-Clancy of BuzzFeed News — Across the country, the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately driven women out of the workforce, hitting female-dominated industries or forcing couples to choose between higher and lower wage earners to provide child care. Just days from the next presidential election, there is another yawning gap between men and women: support of Trump. In Wisconsin, women favor Biden over Trump by a 17-point margin. White women with college degrees have shifted their allegiances to Democrats; they back him by 18 points in Wisconsin. “Suburban women, please vote for me,” Trump has begged them, a line he says is a joke but one he has repeated at nearly every campaign rally in the last two weeks. “Suburban women, you’re supposed to love Trump.”
“Caution and confidence keep Joe Biden close to home in final days” via Natasha Korecki and Marc Caputo of POLITICO — Biden’s strategy is a sign of confidence and caution: The former Vice President has stuck with his plan of running a slow-but-steady race premised on the idea that Trump steps all over himself when he’s out campaigning and best to keep making the election a referendum the President’s behavior. That, plus minimizing the threat of a COVID-19 infection. “The biggest threat to Joe Biden is COVID. He can’t get it,” said Brad Coker, a pollster for Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, whose last presidential survey showed Biden leading narrowly Trump in Florida.
“Melania Trump to travel to Pennsylvania in final stretch of campaign” via Brooke Singman of Fox News — Melania Trump is hitting the campaign trail this week, traveling to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to speak directly to voters before they cast their ballots in the final stretch before Election Day. The First Lady is traveling to Atglen, Pennsylvania. Tuesday, for what will be her first solo campaign stop this year, where she will participate in a campaign event with the former counselor to Trump, Kellyanne Conway. “Melania Trump’s solo visit to Pennsylvania in the final days of the 2016 campaign was pivotal to winning the state — and winning the election,” Conway, Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, told Fox News. “Now she returns as First Lady, to highlight how her platform has helped Pennsylvanians and to make the case for four more years of freedom, opportunity, prosperity and security.”
“Jared Kushner’s unhelpful reminder to Black Americans” via Eugene Scott of The Washington Post — Kushner went on Fox News Monday and pretty well encapsulated why, for all the talk about his father-in-law, Trump, making inroads with men of color ahead of the presidential election, the Republican Party continues to struggle with Black voters. Kushner, a White House aide, was asked about working with hip-hop artist Ice Cube on the Trump campaign’s Platinum Plan for Black America. The statement suggests that Trump is more invested in improving Black Americans’ lives than Black Americans are themselves. This would be news to many Black Americans, considering Trump’s history of denigrating and insulting so many of them before entering the White House.
“Trump campaign says Biden ‘leaving votes on the kitchen table’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and senior adviser Jason Miller were confident in the President’s performance across the map. One reason for optimism, said Stepien, is that it’s “really hard” to convert traditional Election Day voters to early voters. “Democrats are leaving absentee votes on the table because they don’t have a ground game … leaving votes on the kitchen table,” Stepien said. Stepien noted that the GOP has cut into a sizable Democratic edge in ballots received in Florida for seven straight days. A 19-point lead at the start of early voting has dwindled to “less than 6%,” he said, and that will continue “every single day because we have the best grassroots operation ever created.”
“Florida’s top prosecutor once sued Donald Trump. Now she’s fighting for his reelection.” via Gary Fineout of Politico — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody ran on a promise to keep her office out of politics. Two years later, she’s become one of Trump’s biggest surrogates in the nation’s biggest swing state. Moody, a former college Democrat whose family once sued Trump over a condominium dispute, has jumped into conservative causes with gusto, attending presidential campaign rallies and stepping out as a defender for the GOP president. She’s making appearances on right-wing media and has become a voice for the Republican Attorneys General Association.
“No, Biden did not confuse George W. Bush and Trump” via Meg Kelly of The Washington Post — The video clip that Republican National Committee rapid response director Steve Guest tweeted late Sunday night seemed to be the stuff of opposition researcher’s dreams. Just 27 seconds long, it appeared to show Biden criticize former President Bush as the person he is running against — not Trump. By beginning the clip after the moderators were removed from the screen, viewers have no idea that Biden could have been referring to George Lopez, who had originally asked the question. “He was addressing George Lopez, the interviewer, as is a common practice,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said.
“Barack Obama to hold drive-in rally in Orlando on Tuesday; Biden plans trips to Broward, Tampa on Thursday” via Mark Skoneki and Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Biden will be back in Florida on Thursday, traveling to Broward County and Tampa as part of an in-person blitz underway in the final full week of campaigning before Election Day on Nov. 3. The trip comes as former President Obama prepares a campaign stop for Biden in Orlando on Tuesday. Obama’s event will be a drive-in rally similar to one held for vice-presidential candidate Harris at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on Oct. 19. Details on Biden’s stops on Thursday will be revealed later, the campaign said Monday.
“Nikki Fried hopes to redefine ‘Florida Man’ in Biden’s push for labor vote” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Fried hopes the Sunshine State can reclaim the Florida Man label with high turnout for Biden. Florida’s lone statewide-elected Democrat addressed reporters alongside union leaders Monday before casting her ballot at the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office in Tallahassee. Across the state Monday, the Biden campaign hosted multiple events to win over voters from working-class families, a group the President made inroads with in 2016. Union leaders held a virtual labor rally and phone bank Monday. Working families and unions held a news conference in Orlando as well.
“Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried votes early, stumps for Biden” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — Fried is calling on Florida’s working families to flood early voting sites between now and Sunday. Fried, the only Democrat to hold a statewide office, is solidly behind the Biden-Harris ticket, in part because they have a plan for worker safety, she said. Meantime, Trump’s and Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ response to the coronavirus pandemic has been an “abject failure,” Fried added: “The failures of Donald Trump and enablers like Ron DeSantis have led to more than a million Floridians losing their jobs.”
“Fried says Republicans are breaking ranks with Trump” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Fried on Monday suggested that Republican voters in Florida are breaking ranks with Trump at the polls. “A Republican ballot doesn’t mean that they’re voting for Trump,” she told MSNBC. “About every three out of four Republican voters that I’ve spoken to and NPAs are voting for Joe Biden.” Fried’s remarks came in response to a question about the surge of Republican voters turning out during Florida’s in-person early voting period. As of Monday morning, Republicans led Democrats in early voting by more than 254,000 votes cast. In all, however, Democrats remain ahead by more than 354,000 votes cast.
— NEW ADS —
Trump campaign ad says ‘narco-terrorists’ want Biden victory — A new Spanish-language ad from the Trump campaign claims Biden is the preferred candidate among Venezuelan narco-terrorists. The ad, “Chavistas,” points to Diosdado Cabello, a member of the bloc who is facing drug trafficking charges in the U.S. and is “one of dictator Nicolás Maduro’s top thugs.” Per the ad, Cabello hopes the U.S. turns toward socialism and thinks that Biden can make it happen. The Trump campaign asserts that Cabello is “another in a long line of Latin American Castrochavistas to support Biden’s campaign, among them the so-called “Chavista wing of the Democrat Party,” which purportedly includes Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
“Biden targets older voters with an ad claiming that Trump poses a threat to Social Security.” via Shane Goldmacher of The New York Times — Biden’s campaign has returned to a familiar Democratic refrain in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign: promising to protect Social Security and accusing Trump of undermining the program. One of Biden’s Social Security ads is narrated by an older voter in a long-sleeved union shirt, identified as “Mike” from Wayne County, Michigan. “Donald Trump — he’s talking about messing with my Social Security?” says Mike. “Them guys think it’s monopoly money?” he asks defensively as video flashes of the President with some of his administration officials. “No, it’s our money. We worked for it. You don’t get to play with my financials.”
There are a lot of 2020 ads about Social Security currently airing, including this one from the Biden campaign pic.twitter.com/WGoXUVKess
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) October 26, 2020
America First Action PAC says Biden turned his office into ‘pot of gold’ — The pro-Trump America First Action PAC debuted a new ad claiming Biden profited off the vice presidency. The ad, titled “The Big Guy,” relies on unverified emails supposedly sourced from Hunter Biden’s laptop to label the former VP as corrupt. “A criminal investigation, an alleged Chinese influence investment, and family scheme to make millions. Hunter wanted a fat bag of Communist cash and a sweet deal for the ‘Big Guy.’ Now, his former business partner says it’s true,” the ad narrator says. “Hunter called Joe for sign off on his deals, turning the Office of the Vice President into a pot of gold, bankrolling the ‘Big Guy’ with Communist cash. That’s the Biden family business.”
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
Priorities USA Action, Latino Victory Fund call Trump ‘weak’ in new ad — Priorities USA Action and Latino Victory Fund released a new Spanish-language ad calling Trump “weak and ineffective” and highlighting Biden’s “proven track record of strong, decisive and effective leadership.” The ad is part of billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s $100 million effort to help Biden win Florida. “Very Strong” will air on cable and broadcast Spanish-language television in Miami. It will also run statewide on social and streaming video platforms in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, specifically targeting Latino voters in English and Spanish.
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
— VOTERS ARE VOTING —
“Voter turnout could approach 1992 mark” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — Floridians might approach the highest voter-turnout rate for a general election in at least half a century, as more than 41 percent of eligible voters have already cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election. With the second week of early voting underway, the state Division of Elections reported Monday morning that 6,018,430 ballots had been cast at early voting sites and by mail. In all, Florida has 14,441,860 voters registered for the election. The 1992 presidential contest had the highest modern turnout rate at 83 percent. As of Monday morning, registered Democrats had submitted nearly 1.79 million votes by mail, while 766,794 had used in-person early voting, according to numbers posted online by the Division of Elections. About 1.02 million Republicans had used early voting, while nearly 1.18 million had voted by mail.
— 2020 —
“Facebook prepares measures for possible election unrest” via Jeff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman of The Wall Street Journal — Facebook teams have planned for the possibility of trying to calm election-related conflict in the U.S. by deploying internal tools designed for what it calls “at-risk” countries, according to people familiar with the matter. The emergency measures include slowing the spread of viral content and lowering the bar for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts, the people said. Previously used in countries including Sri Lanka and Myanmar, they are part of a larger tool kit developed by Facebook to prepare for the U.S. election. Facebook executives have said they would only deploy the tools in dire circumstances, such as election-related violence, but that the company needs to be prepared for all possibilities, said the people familiar with the planning.
“Twitter launches warnings on election misinformation and delays” via Orion Rummler of Axios — Twitter will start pinning notices to the top of all U.S. Twitter users’ timelines warning that results in next week’s election may be delayed and that they may encounter misinformation on mail-in voting. Delayed election results are expected across many states that are handling unprecedented amounts of absentee and mailed ballots, which Trump has baselessly called “very dangerous” and “corrupt.” In an “Axios on HBO” interview, Trump warned that “lots of things can happen” with voting by mail if the presidential race isn’t decided on election night. His comments ignore the long history and widespread secure use of mail-in voting.
“Suffering from election anxiety? Here’s how experts say you can cope with the stress” via TJ Macias of the Miami Herald — While Americans are already beset with anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s something else that is weighing heavily on their minds as well: the 2020 presidential election. According to the American Psychological Association, a significant number of people are suffering from what’s known as “election anxiety” during this election. While stress was rampant during the 2016 showdown between Trump and Clinton, it’s at an all-time high during this year’s race between Trump and Biden. “More than two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) say that the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life, a large increase from the 2016 presidential election when 52% said the same,” the association said.
“Homestead and veteran’s amendments on smooth road toward approval” via Laura Cassels of Florida Phoenix — Proposed Constitutional Amendments 5 and 6, tweaking property-tax laws, wouldn’t cost much, and they wouldn’t change much, according to state analysts. Still, they have appeal and likely will pass with no trouble. Voters have already been marking their ballots, by mail or at early-voting polling places, and other residents plan to decide on Election Day, Nov. 3. Not everyone is a supporter: The League of Women Voters of Florida recommends voting against both measures, standing on its long-held principle that local elected officials should set property-tax policies in response to their communities’ changing needs, and not by enshrining statewide measures in Florida’s Constitution.
“Florida Democrats expand push to fix flawed mail-in ballots” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — Florida Democrats have launched an offensive to track and quickly fix rejected vote-by-mail ballots as they work to seize every last vote in the swing state a week ahead of Election Day. The raw number of rejected ballots that Democrats can hope to cure is small, maybe in the thousands, but in a state where races are decided on the thinnest of margins, they could be enough to sway the outcome. “The curing process could play a huge role in how this whole thing shakes out,” said incoming House Democratic Leader Evan Jenne, who is helping coordinate his party’s state house races. “We will leave no stone unturned, and these types of things are a really important part of that strategy.”
“Who is Peter Antonacci, the Republican in charge of presidential voting in overwhelmingly Democratic Broward County?” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Performing in the perpetual circus of Florida elections, Antonacci is swinging on a trapeze — while juggling flaming torches above a pool of alligators. Each move he makes is scrutinized by packs of lawyers, watched by the media, and analyzed by politicians. The slightest mistake could tar his decadeslong career in government, bring national embarrassment to Broward County — and could even affect who becomes the next President. Antonacci, 71, is the Republican sent 23 months ago to take over the running of elections in Broward — the county with more Democratic registered voters than any other in the state. The job gives him the authority to make momentous decisions, many unilaterally if he chooses.
— LEG. CAMPAIGNS —
“Republicans hold 2 to 1 advantage in House campaign fundraising” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republicans running for state House seats had raised and spent more than twice as much money on their campaigns as did Democrats, at least through the Oct. 16 campaign finance reports. In the 95 House districts with active races between Republicans and Democrats, the average Republican candidate had raised about $194,000 and spent about $140,000 through Oct 16. The Democrats in those races had raised an average of about $93,000 and spent about $64,000. The Republican candidates had about $50,000 cash left in hand on Oct. 16. Democrats averaged $29,000 apiece. The campaign finance fundraising and spending totals examined by Florida Politics do not include any outside money being spent on any campaigns.
“Independent candidate in Jason Brodeur-Patricia Sigman race backed by ads linked to GOP consultant” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — A secretive group behind ads for a little-known independent candidate in the fiercely competitive state Senate race that pits Republican Jason Brodeur against Democrat Patricia Sigman has ties to a GOP consultant in Tallahassee. Recent mailers tout Jestine Iannotti, a third candidate in the District 9 race who has not sat for interviews and issued a press release requesting ‘privacy’ during her campaign. The ads make progressive promises with wording about climate change and holding police accountable.
“Dolores Guzman responds to false claims in Republican ad” via Mark Harper of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — The Republican Party of Florida ad has falsely claimed a second Democratic House candidate from Volusia County has taken a position on police funding that she has not taken. An attack on Dolores Guzman, Democratic candidate for House District 27, uses the same language and images as a similar ad against Democrat Patrick Henry, who’s running for the House District 26 seat. Both claim the candidates support “defund the police” efforts, with a voice-over claiming, “Here’s the proof.” The ad then shows an image of the names of candidates who’ve signed a pledge for Future Now Fund.
“Elizabeth Fetterhoff massively outspends Patrick Henry in early October” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — In the final buildup to Election Day, Rep. Fetterhoff posted her most successful fundraising period of this cycle. As of Oct. 16, the DeLand Republican’s campaign account held $29,757 in cash on hand. Still, Henry, who she unseated in House District 26 in 2018, holds the money advantage with $49,855 in the bank. That’s largely because Fetterhoff started blasting the district with media buys. The incumbent spent $172,564 on the race between Oct. 3 and 16, including $155,200 with Mentzer Media on advertising and other media efforts. In eight days, Florida will learn if that helps her hold on to a seat she won by a mere 61 votes. A Florida Politics-commissioned poll conducted on Oct. 5 found her trailing 2 percentage points, but that came before her recent marketing blitz.
“Left-leaning PAC spends big to unseat Florida Republicans, but sits one race out” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — A national left-leaning group pledged to spend nearly $12 million by Election Day to try to flip seats in the Florida Legislature for Democrats, six times the amount the group spent two years ago and, this time, with an intensified focus on Central Florida. The political action committee known as Forward Majority is pouring money into 22 races across the state, including four House contests in Orange, Seminole and Brevard counties — three with Republican incumbents and one open seat. But there’s one notable exception. Forward Majority is sitting out the race for House District 42, an open seat based in Osceola and Polk counties where Democrat Barbara Cady is up against Republican Fred Hawkins Jr.
—“Mike Caruso adds nearly $57K to top Jim Bonfiglio in newest HD 89 fundraising” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics
“Miami Herald rescinds HD 114 endorsement of Jean-Pierre Bado” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Bado has topped his Republican opponent, Demi Busatta Cabrera, in overall fundraising for the first time in the House District 114 campaign. But Bado also suffered a loss in the endorsement race after the Miami Herald swapped its recommendation over to Busatta Cabrera. When the Herald originally recommended Bado last week, the Democrat touted the decision on Twitter, as did Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo. Bado linked to the original article, which has since been taken down, while Rizzo offered her congratulations to the first-time candidate.
— DOWN BALLOT —
“Hillary Clinton endorses Daniella Levine Cava for Miami-Dade County Mayor” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Clinton is backing Cava in the race for Miami-Dade County Mayor. “Local leadership is critical to moving our country forward,” Clinton said in a statement released Monday morning. “That’s why I’m proud to support Daniella Levine Cava for Miami-Dade Mayor. She is prepared, she is qualified, and she is ready to shatter glass ceilings as the county’s first woman Mayor.” Clinton served as First Lady during Bill Clinton‘s administration from 1993-2001. She then represented New York in the U.S. Senate after running and winning in 2000 for the seat.
“Two Miami-Dade Commissioners want to be Mayor. Should you vote based on their votes?” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — As two county Commissioners readied their runs for county Mayor in the fall of 2018, a big highway vote approached that they’d still be talking about in the final weeks of the 2020 election. The question facing Esteban “Steve” Bovo Jr. and Cava was whether to change county land-use rules to extend the 836 toll expressway southwest into Kendall, a 13-mile route far enough west that it would cross the building boundary known as the Urban Development Boundary. Residents in suburban neighborhoods around the proposed “Kendall Parkway” urged commissioners to vote “yes” as a way to ease the gridlock in communities miles from the pricey Metrorail and Metromover systems funded by countywide taxes.
“In vote on Duval school sales tax, questions rise about keeping promises, budgets” via Steve Patterson and Emily Bloch of the Florida Times-Union — Duval County’s school system has big plans if voters OK a new half-penny sales tax. Nineteen elementary schools and three high schools will be built new, a $1.9 billion master plan says. So will special education centers, a junior-senior high in Baldwin, and a middle school in New Town. Scores of existing schools will be refurbished and outfitted with equipment that can transform classrooms. But what if the tax passes and some of the big projects don’t materialize? School Board Chair Warren Jones said some ministers asked him that recently, and he understands why. “Government has made a lot of promises, and has not always kept them,” Jones said.
— CORONA FLORIDA —
“Florida adds 3,377 COVID-19 cases, 20 deaths with Monday’s report” via Florida Politics staff reports — Florida confirmed 3,377 more COVID-19 diagnoses and 20 deaths tied to the disease in a report released Monday by state health officials. Overall, 782,013 people, including 10,024 nonresidents, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Florida. The death toll increased to 16,449 plus 203 nonresidents. Over the weekend, the Sunshine State added 6,856 new cases and 89 deaths among residents while revising the nonresident death toll down one. Reports released Sundays and Mondays typically include fewer new cases, deaths and hospitalizations because new data from those reports largely encompass weekends. The latest data update includes cases detailed between Sunday morning and Monday morning.
“Florida has received 1.4 million rapid tests” via The News Service of Florida — The federal government is shipping the tests weekly. The first batch was distributed to Florida beginning Sept. 28, when the state received 420,507 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Point of Care SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests. Federal officials awarded a $760 million contract in late August to Abbott for delivery of 150 million rapid tests. Meanwhile, the federal government has posted how 30 states and the District of Columbia will distribute their supplies. Florida was not included in that report, though Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he is sending them to senior centers, senior communities and schools. Florida is expected to receive 6.4 million rapid tests under the agreement with Abbott.
“Court asked to reconsider school reopening fight” via Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida — The Florida Education Association and other plaintiffs asked an appeals court Monday to reconsider a decision that backed DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran in a battle about reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorneys for the statewide teachers’ union and other plaintiffs filed two similar motions asking for a rehearing by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal or by the full appellate court. The move came after the panel on Oct. 9 overturned a circuit judge’s ruling that Corcoran violated the Florida Constitution when he issued a July order aimed at reopening schools. At least in part, the plaintiffs have argued that the order violated a constitutional guarantee of “safe” and “secure” public education.
“Parents sue Sarasota County School Board over requirement that students wear masks” via Laura Finaldi of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — A group of Sarasota County parents has sued the Sarasota County School Board, arguing that its policy requiring children to wear masks while at school denies them their right to an equal education. The 59-page lawsuit was filed Oct. 21 in Sarasota County by Amy Cook, Gustavo Collazo, Nicholas Eastman and Catherine Gonzales. The School Board is named as the defendant. Several Sarasota County School Board members did not immediately return requests for comment on Monday. Board member Caroline Zucker said the board had not received a copy of the lawsuit as of Monday afternoon.
“Deadline set in mask ordinance challenge” via The News Service of Florida — An attorney for Leon County Republican Chairman Evan Power faces a new deadline to file a brief in a challenge to a county ordinance requiring people to wear face masks — or the case could be dismissed. The 1st District Court of Appeal on Friday gave Power’s attorney, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, 20 days to file an initial brief. The move came after attorneys for Leon County said Sabatini had missed an Oct. 8 deadline. Power and Sabatini went to the appeals court this summer after a Leon County circuit judge upheld the constitutionality of an ordinance requiring people to wear face masks to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“COVID-19: Ongoing need for emergency food, housing assistance ‘grim’ in Northeast Florida” via Beth Reese Cravey of The Florida Times-Union — Calls to the United Way of Northeast Florida’s 2-1-1 crisis hotline rose 246% from May through September, mostly because of people seeking food and help with rent, mortgage and utility payments to stave off eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeff Winkler, the agency’s head of basic needs, tracks those requests for assistance from the United Way and similar requests made to other area nonprofits. Seven months into the pandemic, the extent of need is “grim” and predicted to remain so into 2021 unless state and federal relief is extended and community support rises, he said. Overall, the hotline has seen a 118% increase in call volume year-over-year January to September.
“Leon County Schools will distribute over 32,000 Chromebooks by Thanksgiving” via Casey Chapter of the Tallahassee Democrat — Students in Leon County Schools will have their Chromebooks in hand before Thanksgiving break, Superintendent Rocky Hanna told parents in a Monday virtual announcement. District officials will begin distributing all of the devices to the county’s roughly 32,000 public school students on Monday, Nov. 2. Hanna said the district will hand out Chromebooks to school sites starting with Title I schools. “We talked about equity — this is equity,” Hanna said, referring to the School Board’s conversations during various meetings in recent weeks about providing a uniform education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The laptops cost the school district $10.5 million, a purchase that was approved by the School Board in early June.
“‘Bored’ Seminole firefighter broke quarantine after COVID-19 positive, went to party, agency says” via Grace Toohey of the Orlando Sentinel — A Seminole County firefighter broke his mandated, paid quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 this summer, when he went out on his boat with friends and to a party, according to Seminole County Fire Department records. Firefighter Joseph Piambino was suspended for three days without pay last month after SCFD leaders determined he had ignored directives to quarantine for 14 days after he had symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19, according to records from his administrative investigation, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel in a public records request. Multiple SCFD colleagues reported Piambino’s quarantine-breaking activities because he posted two videos on his Instagram story.
— CORONA NATION —
“As the coronavirus surges, it is reaching into the nation’s last untouched areas” via Karin Brulliard of The Washington Post — In Montana, which boasts just seven people per square mile, active cases have more than doubled since the start of the month. Officials are warning of crisis-level hospitalization rates and strains on rural health care. In Wyoming, which ranks 49th in population density, the National Guard has been deployed to help with contact tracing. Those two states, along with the low-density states of Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota, now have some of the nation’s highest per capita caseloads. Even Alaska, the least-crowded state, is logging unprecedented increases, including in rural villages. The bulk of these states’ cases are clustered in their relatively small cities, but infections are fanning out.
“Mark Meadows under fire as Trump chief of staff for handling of pandemic and other crises” via Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — Meadows, after seven months on the job, has developed a close and durable relationship with Trump, who regularly calls his top aide eight or 10 times a day, according to current and former administration officials. He has largely avoided the will-he-won’t-he-be-fired chatter that dominated the tenures of his three predecessors. But with Trump trailing Biden and the coronavirus pandemic surging again, Meadows’s uneven handling of the pandemic response and other West Wing crises has dismayed many staffers and campaign officials, who say he has largely proved to be an ineffective chief of staff, serving instead more as a political adviser and confidant. Meadows provoked controversy again on Sunday when he broadly declared defeat in the fight against the coronavirus.
“Astra-Oxford shot produces immune response in older adults” via Suzi Ring of Bloomberg — A COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca PLC has produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly, those at highest risk of severe illness. Findings on blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated robust immune responses in healthy adults ages 18 to 55, Astra said Monday. Older patients have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in those over 60. Astra shares rose as much as 1.4% in London. The Astra-Oxford vaccine candidate is one of several front-runners in the race for protection against the virus.
— CORONA ECONOMICS —
“Large corporate landlords have filed 10,000 eviction actions in five states since September” via Gretchen Morgenson of NBC News — In early September, Cristina Velez lost her job running the staffing team on a COVID-19 treatment trial. Faced with a $2,440 rent bill on the Boca Raton home she shares with her daughter, Velez began calling her landlord, Progress Residential, to ask whether it would give her time to come up with the money. “I told them I was affected by Covid, but it didn’t matter to them,” Velez said. “They are not very patient.” On Sept. 8, Progress gave her an ultimatum — pay the rent or deliver the premises.
“Rick Scott says tourists won’t come back to Florida until virus is in check” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Scott returned to the Fox Business Network Monday morning again, calling for people in Florida to take the coronavirus seriously. Until the virus is beaten, the Senator said in the 11 a.m. hour of “Varney and Company,” the economy can’t fully recover because tourism can’t come back. The comments come as cases are on the upward swing in Florida and nationwide. On Monday, nearly 3,400 more cases were registered in Florida, with 20 more confirmed deaths from the pandemic, which has taken 16,449 lives. “I think it’s clear we all have to take this seriously,” Scott told host Stuart Varney. “We haven’t beaten it.”
— MORE CORONA —
“As holidays near, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, putting families in a quandary about celebrations and travel” via Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post — The anticipated surge in interstate travel, family gatherings and indoor socializing is expected to facilitate the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This isn’t like the run-up to Memorial Day or Independence Day: Barbecues outdoors, or pool parties, aren’t on the itinerary of many people. The fall and winter holidays are homey by nature. Respiratory viruses thrive in dry, warm indoor conditions in which people crowd together. The statistical peak of flu season typically comes close on the heels of Christmas and New Year’s. Colder weather is already driving people indoors.
— STATEWIDE —
“DeSantis drafts John Davis to lead Florida Lottery” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — DeSantis on Monday appointed Davis as Secretary of the Florida Lottery. “John has extensive experience in the public and private sectors and is involved in his community, donating his time and talents to help kids and vulnerable Floridians succeed,” DeSantis said. “His business focus and passion for student-success will serve him well as he takes over this important department.” Davis now works as executive vice president of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, a job he has held since 2018. In a news release from the Governor’s office, Davis focused on the lottery’s ties to funding public education through ticket sales.
“Hurricane Zeta: Pensacola bracing for rain, tornadoes, storm surge” via Jake Newby of the Pensacola News Journal — More than a month after Hurricane Sally caught many Pensacola residents off guard, Northwest Florida is again bracing for a storm that is making its way toward the Gulf Coast this week. Shortly after 2 p.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center confirmed that Zeta had officially strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane. According to the NHC’s 4 p.m. update, Zeta was about 90 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and was moving northwest at about 10 miles per hour. If the current trajectory holds, the Pensacola area can expect up 2 inches of rain Wednesday evening and the threat of isolated tornadoes, as well as heavy surf and rip currents along the coast.
“Panhandle attorney Michelle Anchors returns to the Florida Commission on Ethics” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — A past chair of the Florida Commission on Ethics will resume duties as a commissioner on the board that polices state government officials and employees for breaches of the public trust. On Monday, Senate President Bill Galvano announced his appointment of Michelle Anchors to the panel, which is based in Tallahassee. Anchors, who served as the commission’s chair in 2017-18, also had a 20-year law partnership with Lawrence Keefe, now the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. When Keefe was appointed two years ago by Trump, the firm rebranded itself as AnchorsGordon in Fort Walton Beach.
— TAXES = TRICKS —
Is Halloween candy a trick or a treat? Both, if you’re buying it in Florida! Groceries are generally exempt from the Florida sales tax, but candy can get confusing. Most of the candy that trick-or-treaters collect, and adults hand out (and eat), is subject to the 6% state sales tax and any applicable local option sales tax, so long as it costs at least ten cents. Other food items that are “similar to candy” are also taxable, including candy apples, chewing gum and breath mints (except those containing aspirin, laxative, or antacids), cotton candy, fruit-flavored sticks, jelly beans, licorice, and lollipops.
Then it gets tricky. Chocolate and glazed or sugarcoated fruit are taxable, but chocolate chips and glazed fruit are exempt when “advertised or normally sold for use in cooking or baking.” Frosting, powdered sugar, and items used to decorate baked goods are also exempt.
One of these treats is a trick: marshmallow candy is taxable; marshmallows are exempt.
Ice cream and frozen yogurt are exempt if sold in containers larger than one pint, but it is taxable if sold in pints (sorry, Ben & Jerry) or smaller sizes. Popsicles, fudgesicles, frozen fruit bars, and other frozen novelties are taxable.
These goodies for trick-or-treaters are a real treat, as they are tax-free: cookies (even if chocolate-coated), nutrition bars, cracker jacks, fruit rollups, chips, cheese puffs, granola and cereal bars, nuts, and pretzels. All these treats can be covered in chocolate, candy, honey, or yogurt and remain tax-free.
If you want to celebrate Halloween with something truly scary, read the Florida Administrative Code concerning groceries’ taxation. TRICK OR TREAT!
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Trump fights in court to block pandemic food aid for lowest-income Americans” via Helena Bottemiller Evich of POLITICO — Residents of Pennsylvania and California have sued Trump’s Agriculture Department over a policy that has kept roughly 40% of households who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from receiving any emergency benefits during the pandemic. After being ordered by a federal judge last week to proceed with the Pennsylvania case payments, the department is continuing to appeal. The Agriculture Department says that it’s simply following the law. A representative noted that a California court recently sided with USDA on a procedural matter. “It’s almost like they’re singing that old song ‘Wishin’ and Hopin’,’ because they’re not dealing with reality,” said Ellen Vollinger, legal director at the Food Research & Action Center, of USDA.
“U.S. intelligence won’t brief Florida delegation on ‘spoofed’ emails tied to Iran” via Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — The office of Director of National Intelligence turned down the Florida congressional delegation’s request to be briefed on the claim that foreign governments have targeted voters to sow disinformation in the upcoming election, including through hundreds of emails sent to Florida voters last week. Florida U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy, a Central Florida Democrat, and Michael Waltz, a Republican from Northeast Florida, had asked for an FBI briefing for the delegation to find out more about the “nature and extend of Iranian and Russian efforts to undermine the 2020 election in our state.”
— LOCAL NOTES —
“Pensacola begins removal of Confederate monument Monday” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Crews on Monday began work to remove the statue of the soldier atop Pensacola’s Confederate Monument in Florida Square. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson told the News Journal that the crews are working to remove the 8-foot statue atop the monument. Work to remove the rest of the 129-year-old monument will continue through next week, city spokeswoman Kaycee Lagarde said. “The contractor will be required to remove the monument carefully to preserve it, so we don’t have an exact timeline,” Lagarde said. “Due to the age of the monument, there are a lot of unknowns as far as the makeup of each section and how it will be removed.”
“Mayor’s budget panel approves Lot J borrowing and Independent Life building grant” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — The Mayor’s Budget Review Committee approved borrowing up to $208.3 million for the Lot J development and authorized a $3 million grant for restoration of the old Independent Life building. The borrowing for Lot J involves the city paying $50 million of the cost for an entertainment district, providing a $65.5 million no-interest loan to the development team lead by Jaguars owner Shad Khan, $77.7 million in infrastructure improvements, and a $15.1 million contingency for the city’s maximum cost of overruns in infrastructure construction. The committee approved the debt amount for the proposed Lot J development without discussion. Still, City Council members and the Council Auditor’s office have just begun to dig into the complex legislation.
“Duval County Canvassing Board proposes election rules updates” via Andrew Pantazi of The Florida Times-Union — The Duval County Canvassing Board canceled a Monday meeting where it planned to discuss proposed changes to their procedures in response to last week’s criticisms of the board’s restrictions. Last week, the board refused to allow photography or video-recording of the canvassing process, and it refused to allow observers to object to the board’s determinations of voter intent. The proposals Monday morning ahead of a planned meeting addressed the two rules, though the proposed changes are unclear. The changes will allow observers to speak only if the board recognizes them. It would allow photography of only select ballots through a convoluted process involving a numbering system allowing people to photograph a review of every nine ballots or so.
“St. Johns River deepening on track to cost $100 million less than original estimate” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Aimed at enabling Jacksonville’s port to handle massive cargo ships from Asia, the dredge is headed toward an anticipated price of $380 million for deepening 11 miles of the river between the ocean and the Blount Island terminal, compared to the initial estimate of $484 million, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The final tab won’t be nailed down until the next phase of deepening finishes in 2022, but as it stands now, the lower expense for the overall project will likewise reduce the city of Jacksonville’s share of the cost.
“Sign of the times: Commissioners returning to City Hall for first meeting since March” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — City Commissioners will return to City Hall for the first time since March for an in-person meeting Wednesday. The public will also have the opportunity to level their concerns face-to-face with commissioners. Masks are required inside the building and capacity inside the chambers will be limited to allow room for social distancing. Clear partitions will separate commissioners on the dais and the city attorney and treasurer will have their own spots on the floor during the meeting. Instead of a podium where public comment will be taken, a single microphone will be set up to limit touchpoints. Besides in-person comment, public input can be submitted in a written format or through the city’s virtual format made available months ago.
“Mother takes plea in April 2016 starvation death of 13-month-old daughter in The Acreage” via Eliot Kleinberg of The Palm Beach Post — Kristen Meyer is set to go to prison for 19 years in the 2016 starvation death of her 13-month-old daughter, Tayla Aleman. In Palm Beach County Circuit Court on Monday, Meyer agreed to plead guilty to a lesser offense of felony aggravated manslaughter of a child. She originally faced first-degree murder charges and, if convicted, the death penalty. Meyer also agreed to testify for prosecutors in the future, including against her husband, Alejandro Aleman. He is charged with first-degree murder and could be sentenced to death if convicted. Records show DCF had been following the Alemans since 2013.
“Brightline woos SunRail to share an east-west rail route” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — Brightline is building a $2.7 billion extension from South Florida to Orlando’s airport and is in the planning stage of extending rail from the airport to Tampa. Some of the Tampa corridor, according to Brightline, might also serve as a significant segment of a SunRail corridor that would cross east and west across Central Florida. “Our planned expansion to Tampa presents a unique opportunity to accomplish that,” Brightline spokeswoman Katie Mitzner said in an emailed statement. “Together, with local elected officials and FDOT, we are exploring a public-private partnership that would expand SunRail and meet the growing transportation needs of the region.” Brightline officials are otherwise saying little about their offer to form a partnership with SunRail.
“Complaint: Fort Lauderdale commissioner bullied homeless into leaving their camp” via Noreen Marcus of the Florida Bulldog — An activist says a Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner used bullying tactics to force homeless people to abandon their tent community on public property. After spending months at a camp behind a Salvation Army shelter off Broward Boulevard, some returned to the streets, where COVID-19 roams freely. Jeff Weinberger filed a complaint Sept. 22 with the Broward County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that accuses Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Robert McKinzie of ramming a pickup truck into a tent at the camp. The complaint says McKinzie told Luke McCloud, the homeless man who owned the tent, “This is my property,” apparently referring to the campsite.
— TOP OPINION —
“The Trump administration’s COVID-19 message: You’re on your own. Try not to die.” via Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post — “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” There you have it from Trump’s chief of staff, announcement of failure, incompetence and cold indifference. You’re on your own, America. Try not to die. When Meadows said those words on CNN Sunday morning, he was stating the obvious: The Trump administration never mounted more than a halfhearted attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, and now has simply given up. There are many, many reasons Americans should vote Trump out of the White House, but perhaps the most urgent is his refusal — or perhaps his inability — to face the reality of COVID-19. This election is literally a choice between life and death.
— OPINIONS —
“Public shouldn’t have to fight to get COVID-19 information” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — Newspapers should not have to involve attorneys to get their hands on basic public health information. But sure enough, that’s what the Orlando Sentinel was forced to do to get a copy of a weekly status report the White House Coronavirus Task Force sends to each of the state’s governors. DeSantis’ office should have been posting these reports every single week for the whole state to see. Instead, it’s been keeping them secret. This should come as a surprise to no one, journalists or everyday Floridians alike. The DeSantis administration has set new standards for obstructing public information release, and that’s saying something considering he succeeded Scott.
“If Pennsylvania Republicans do the right thing, they might avert an Election Day disaster” via The Washington Post editorial board — The underlying problem in Pennsylvania’s election process is a state law barring election officials from even starting to process, let alone count, mail-in ballots before Election Day. County election officials have begged the legislature to allow them before Nov. 3 to begin sorting and verifying mail-in ballots. As it is, they expect to spend much of Election Day opening envelopes, break to tally results from in-person voting, then get back to counting absentee votes. Statements from state officials that most votes will be counted by the weekend after Election Day are not reassuring, given that Trump has already indicated he will spin reporting delays as evidence of fraud.
— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —
Florida’s Department of Health is reporting 20 new deaths and almost 3,400 new cases of COVID-19. The state’s death toll has now reached 16,652.
Also, on today’s Sunrise:
— Biden’s campaign is making a final push to get out the early vote in Florida, appealing to working families who have been hit hard during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as first responders who face layoffs after risking their lives to do their jobs.
— Agriculture Commissioner Fried is the only Democrat holding statewide office, so she’s the de facto leader of Florida Democrats. During the ongoing election, her biggest concern can be summarized with just two words — “voter suppression.”
— Florida Politics’ publisher and editor-in-chief Peter Schorsch discusses the new issue of INFLUENCE Magazine spotlighting 100 influential players who work behind the scenes in Florida politics. Who’s No. 1?
— And finally, checking in with someone who wants to flip the script on Florida Man.
To listen, click on the image below:
— ALOE —
“Stanley Cup visits children’s cancer center in Tampa” via Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press — This wasn’t like any other year when the NHL champions could take the Stanley Cup wherever they want. This visit to the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, was staged outside, where Tampa Bay Lightning players Steven Stamkos and Ryan McDonagh kept alive one of the sport’s greatest traditions despite a pandemic and brought some joy to families going through a harder fight than the competition for the 35-pound chalice. “It’s difficult times right now and you’re trying to navigate that, but you still want people to feel that happiness that thing brings whenever you’re around it,” Stamkos said.
“How Disney will tweak Epcot’s holiday celebrations” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney already announced that Candlelight Processional, the popular retelling of the Christmas story featuring mass choir, live orchestra and celebrity narrator, would not be happening at the theme park this year. Along with Candlelight, not listed for 2020 are the holiday storytellers found in multiple pavilions or the holiday overlay that debuted at Living With the Land last year. The pandemic has upended other Disney holiday traditions, including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the white-light treatment to Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom.
“Disney World entrance archways getting makeovers” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — The arches that span the roadways leading into Walt Disney World are getting new looks, the resort announced Monday. The structures, flanked by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse characters, are primarily yellow and red now. The new look will lean on a rich blue, gray and golden scheme meant to echo the recent paint job at Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle. A rendering provided by Disney suggests that the wording will change from “Where Dreams Come True” to “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” The concept also seems to lose the castle-in-the-clouds centerpiece atop the arch. Work has begun on the new color scheme, which also appears at the Magic Kingdom auto plaza booths. The project will be completed in phases.
“Apple developing smaller AirPods Pro, revamped entry-level model” via Mark Gurman and Debby Wu of Bloomberg — Apple Inc. is planning updates to its AirPods earbuds next year, seeking to capitalize on the success of a product that has become an important source of growth. According to people familiar with the plans, the Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on two new models: third-generation entry-level AirPods and the second version of the AirPods Pro earbuds. The models will join other new Apple audio devices like the HomePod mini and upcoming over-ear headphones. The company has also weighed launching another smart speaker that would sit between the HomePod mini and the original version in the lineup.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Happy birthday to devoted Sunburn reader and GOP activist extraordinaire Deborah Cox Roush and the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Alexis Muellner.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.