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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.29.20

Who’s up, down, in and out — your morning tipsheet on Florida politics.

Good Thursday morning

🦠 — New spike?: For the first time since COVID-19 landed on American soil, the seven-day rolling daily average for new U.S. cases of the virus reached 70,000. The record comes as hospitalizations reach midsummer peak levels and deaths continue to inch upward, a delayed indicator of the virus’ severity. With less than one week before the election, that’s not a headline the Donald Trump camp wants to see.

🗳Not that needle: As Trump’s campaign talks up the potential for a vaccine soon, political watchers aren’t expecting a different needle. Four years ago, Hillary Clinton supporters watched The New York Times needle in horror and Trump fans in excitement as it showed now-President Trump running away with the election in real-time. Now such measures are being ditched, a recognition of the uncertainty facing voters come election night. It’s another sign that vote-watchers might not just be in for a long night, but possibly days or even weeks of uncertainty in the presidential outcome of this election.

🔥Hot off embargo: A Telemundo Poll measuring the state of the Latino vote in Florida finds Trump wanting, with 48% indicating support for Biden and just 43% backing Trump. Another 7% are still undecided. That’s a big deal for both campaigns as Trump seeks to capitalize on Latino votes, particularly in Cuban-rich South Florida. At the same time, Biden keeps his eye on other Hispanic demographics, such as the Puerto Rican community in Central Florida. The poll shows both candidates reaching their intended audiences, with Latinos breaking for Biden at 53% to 37% in Central Florida and tied in Southeast Florida.

⚠️ — Welcome to Tampa, but a word of caution: As Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden prepare to have rare dueling rallies in Tampa, the welcome mat will be rolled out, but there are some caveats: Trump should probably avoid touting his plan to dismantle health care to a city with nearly 15% of its population uninsured. And for Biden, well, he might want to mention it.

🚗Did someone say free food?: Uber is getting creative with its Get Out the Vote efforts, offering not only discounted rides to and from polling places but free food at polls with long lines. The ride-share giant is partnering with food trucks in select Orlando and South Florida areas to provide in-line munchies, and voters can get up to half off rides to vote. The promotion runs Oct. 29-Nov. 1 and on Election Day.

🥓 — Can you tell a Trump fridge from a Biden fridge?: The New York Times wants to know. The paper published an online quiz complete with photos of well-stocked (and some not-so-well-stocked refrigerators) with the option to guess whether the contents belong to a Trump supporter or a Biden supporter. While Chobani and kale tend to give away Biden supporters and bologna turned out to be 💯 Trump, be careful with Budweiser, it might not be what you think.

Can you tell the difference between a ‘Trump’ fridge and a ‘Biden’ fridge? A new quiz tests your skill. Image via Reuters.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@RealDonaldTrump: COVID, COVID, COVID is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th. when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.

@DDiamond: Trump repeatedly claims that the U.S. media has a special fixation on coronavirus, which will go away postelection. But a scan of global newspapers reveals that COVID remains a top story virtually everywhere — understandably!

@NateSilver538: There’s no sign of tightening. Also, no sign of widening. We have 34 post-debate polls, and the average change is … 0.1 points toward Trump.

@Forecaster: It really is noteworthy (I think) that Clinton’s edge was collapsing at this point in 2016 … There’s basically no sign of that for Biden right now. His lead is holding in all the data I’m seeing.

@DaveWeigel: How is COVID affecting the election in the Midwest? Anecdotes aren’t data but two candidates I was set to cover in the next three days canceled their events after coming in contact with infected people.

@BethMatugaFundraising in #Florida means you get not one but TWO opportunities to have a panic attack, one on Thursday night & one the subsequent Tuesday

— DAYS UNTIL —

2020 General Election — 5; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 12; FITCon Policy Conference begins — 14; The Masters begins — 15; NBA draft — 19; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 22; College basketball season slated to begin — 27; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 34; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 34; the Electoral College votes — 46; “Death on the Nile” premieres — 49; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 57; Greyhound racing ends in Florida — 63; the 2021 Inauguration — 83; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 101; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 112; “Black Widow” rescheduled premiere — 126; “No Time to Die” premieres (rescheduled) — 155; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 246; Disney’s “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” premieres — 253; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 267; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 275; Disney’s “Eternals” premieres — 372; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 375; Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” premieres — 407; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 471; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 524; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 705.

— 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 Wednesday, the CNN average still has Biden 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 Wednesday, Biden remains at an 88 in 100 chance of winning compared to Trump, who slipped slightly to an 11 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 36.7%, while Florida is now second at 9.2%. Michigan is now third with 8.9%. Other states include Wisconsin (7.4%), Arizona (6.9%), North Carolina (5.9%), Minnesota (4.2%) and Georgia (3.7%).

Less than a week away and Joe Biden still hold the lead. Image via AP.

PredictIt: As of Wednesday, the PredictIt trading market has Biden dropping a penny to $0.63 a share, with Trump holding steady at $0.41.

Real Clear Politics: As of Wednesday, the RCP average of General Election top battleground state polling has Biden leading Trump 50.6% to 43.5%. The RCP General Election polling average has Biden at +7.1 points ahead.

The Economist: As of Wednesday, 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 better than 19 in 20 (97%) versus Trump with less than 1 in 20 (3%). 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 —

Donald Trump’s campaign depends on his supporters putting their health at risk” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — At this point, nearly 70,000 people in the United States are testing positive for the novel coronavirus every day. More than 800 people are dying. In short, this is one of the most dangerous times for the country over the course of the year’s pandemic. And, increasingly, Trump is hinging his campaign on his supporters, ignoring the swelling crisis. He does so rhetorically, of course. Over and over, he has insisted that the country is “rounding the corner” on the virus, a message he has offered both as the number of new cases increases and as it fades. 

Donald Trump rallies put many attendees at risk. Image via AP.

Trump campaign shifts Florida ad spending burden to RNC” via Gregory Korte of Bloomberg — Trump’s campaign has slashed its advertising budget in Florida, relying on the Republican National Committee to carry the message there as the president’s reelection effort moves resources to the industrial northern states that carried him to victory in 2016. Since Labor Day, Trump has cut $24 million from his national ad budget, while Biden has added $197 million. Biden has outspent Trump three-to-one over that time nationally. The president’s campaign still has $350,275 budgeted to spend on ads in Florida through Election Day but has canceled $5.5 million in the final two weeks of the campaign, the data showed.

Joe Biden makes late push to flip the Senate” via James Arkin and Christopher Cadelago of POLITICO — Biden hammered throughout the primary that he was Democrats’ best bet not only to beat Trump but flip the Senate and return his party to broader power in Washington. Now, in the final week of the election, Biden is throwing his weight into that pitch. In Georgia, he campaigned with Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the top Democrats running in the rapidly changing state’s dual Senate races. Meanwhile, his wife, Jill Biden, was in Maine stumping with Sara Gideon, the party’s candidate facing longtime GOP Sen. Susan Collins. And on Friday, Biden will make his first stop in Iowa since the caucuses.

Biden vows not to make ‘false promises’ about pandemic” via The Associated Press — Biden said he’s “not running on the false promises of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch” but would prioritize science, while Trump used the race’s final days to keep up a whirlwind campaign schedule aimed at focusing on anything but the coronavirus. The Democratic presidential nominee tried to keep the focus on health care, arguing that a Supreme Court conservative majority stretched to 6-3 by newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett could dismantle the Barack Obama administration’s signature health law and leave millions of Americans with preexisting conditions devoid of insurance coverage. 

Biden and Barack Obama will campaign together in Michigan on Saturday, in their first in-person appearance together.” via Thomas Kaplan and Glenn Thrush of The New York Times — Former President Obama will join Biden in the crucial battleground of Michigan on Saturday for their first joint appearance on the campaign trail in 2020. In its announcement on Wednesday, the Biden campaign did not say where in Michigan the two men would be appearing, which is consistent with its pattern of leaving the precise location and times of events unannounced until the last minute. But Obama sees his role as motivating Black voters and young people, two key groups that tend to have relatively low turnout rates. Several previous events have been clustered in the Detroit area.

Biden and Democratic Senate candidates gain in Georgia, a Monmouth poll finds.” via Michael Cooper of The New York Times — Biden’s late-in-the-race trip yesterday to Georgia, a state that has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1992, struck some members of both parties as curious. But a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday highlighted the dynamic that emboldened the campaign to make the gambit, finding that Biden had gained ground on Trump and held a small, statistically insignificant edge over the president among likely voters. Among all registered voters in Georgia, the poll found, Biden is supported by 50% and Trump by 45%. And among the voters that the pollsters categorized as likely to vote in a high-turnout election, Biden has the edge over Trump by 50% to 46%.

Rick Scott to run Florida TV ad attacking Biden and Harris” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Scott isn’t on the 2020 ballot. Still, voters in Florida will get a glimpse of the senator on their TV screens this weekend. Scott announced Wednesday that he would run a TV ad titled “Don’t Give Up” through his leadership PAC, Let’s Get to Work. While staring direct-to-camera, Scott, wearing his trademark Navy cap, attacks Democratic presidential nominee Biden and Kamala Harris before urging voters to support Trump. “Democrats have a radical plan for America,” Scott says in the ad, before going on to attack Biden and Harris on Medicare-for-all, the Supreme Court, guns and socialism.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Steve Schale: Black voter turnout could rival Obama elections” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The numbers of Black voters casting ballots by mail or at early voting sites so far is leading Democratic strategists to suggest final Black turnout numbers could rival historic levels seen in the 2008 and 2012 elections that put Obama in the White House and kept him there for a second term. “I think it will look a lot like what Obama did in 2012,” Schale said Wednesday in a Zoom press briefing with the Democratic-allied analytics firm Hawkfish and the BlackPAC political action committee. The math is complicated. What’s more, Schale, who this year serves as chief executive of the Unite The Country PAC, cautioned that absolutely nothing occurring in 2020 voting trends has any precedent that could lead to easy assumptions.

The election’s big twist: the racial gap between Republicans and Democrats is shrinking.” via Nate Cohn of The New York Times — American politicians have often sought to exploit the nation’s racial and ethnic divides for political gain. During the Trump era, voters are not responding as expected. According to An Upshot analysis, the gap in presidential vote preference between white and nonwhite voters has shrunk by 16 percentage points since 2016, as Biden gains among White voters, and Trump makes inroads with Black and Hispanic voters. Trump’s exploitation of resentments over immigration and race helped fuel his 2016 victory, but similar tactics this time have not had the same effect.

After supporting Trump by one vote in 2016, a Wisconsin community reassesses” via Peter Kendall of The Washington Post — Oshkosh is a political hot spot, a city of 67,000 in one of the key counties that twice backed Obama and then helped elect Trump. It’s also a coronavirus hot spot, a place with rapidly increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and health department updates warning of a “sustained uncontrolled spread that is threatening all aspects of community life.” “As Oshkosh goes, so goes Wisconsin, I think,” said David Siemers, a political-science professor at the local University of Wisconsin campus. He expects the outcome to turn on an age-old question in politics: “Are people doing better?” And like local officials, who report long lines and strong turnout in early voting, he thinks the answer will hinge on the pandemic.

Supreme Court won’t speed a do-over on Pennsylvania’s ballot deadlines” via Adam Liptak of The New York Times — SCOTUS on Wednesday refused a plea from Pennsylvania Republicans to put their request to halt a three-day extension of the deadline for receiving absentee ballots on the fast track. The move means the Court will not consider the case, which could have yielded a major ruling on voting procedure, until after Election Day. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who joined the court on Tuesday and might have broken an earlier deadlock in the case, did not cast a vote. The court’s brief order gave no reason for declining to expedite consideration of the case. In a separate statement, Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said the court may still consider the case after the election.

Supreme Court leaves NC absentee ballot deadline at Nov. 12” via Mark Sherman and Jonathan Drew of The Associated Press — The Supreme Court will allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted up to nine days after Election Day, in a win for Democrats. By a 5-3 vote Wednesday, the justices refused to disturb a decision by the State Board of Elections to lengthen the period from three to nine days because of the coronavirus pandemic, pushing back the deadline to Nov. 12. The board’s decision was part of a legal settlement with a union-affiliated group. Republicans had asked the high court to step in. Under the Supreme Court’s order, mailed ballots postmarked on or before Election Day must be received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 to be counted.

Early voters form a long line while waiting to cast their ballots at the South Regional Library polling location in Durham, N.C. Image via AP.

Slow mail, including plunge in Philadelphia, alarms Democrats” via Todd Shields of Bloomberg — The USPS on Wednesday reported a slide in on-time service, including a steep drop in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia, with deadlines for mailed ballots less than a week away. In a court filing, USPS delivered 70% of First Class mail on Oct. 27 within the three-day window to be considered on-time, down 6% from previous days. On-time service in the Philadelphia area was 43%, compared with an on-time rate of roughly 80% in early October. The worsening performance follows months of alarm and litigation over slowed mail after operational changes ordered by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. A federal judge late Tuesday ordered DeJoy to immediately expand mail delivery with extra trips and later deliveries.

Federal judge orders USPS to lift limits on extra trips & overtime one week before election” via Tarik Minor of News4Jax — A federal judge issued a sweeping new set of orders for the United States Postal Service leadership, reversing the limits Postmaster General DeJoy imposed. The judge ordered that U.S. postal workers were to be informed of the new rules by 9 a.m. Wednesday to make sure they’re are allowed to do whatever is necessary to deliver America’s ballots on time. Al Friedman, the Florida State Association of Letter Carriers president, said USPS employees are already working long hours with a drastic increase in political mailings. “I’ve got carriers that by the time Friday comes, they’re into the 70-hour range for the week,” Friedman said.

Labor union group among top Facebook ad buyers — WorkMoney, a nonprofit connected to the U.S. labor movement, has been one of the biggest political ad buyers on Facebook in recent months. As reported by Mark Scott and Zach Montellaro of POLITICO, the group was one of the top-10 political advertisers in Florida until mid-October. According to data compiled by the New York University Ad Observatory, the committee has spent $1.5 million on Facebook ads in Florida. WorkMoney ads ask voters to fill out online polls, which request personal information like cellphone numbers, employment status and addresses. The group sends texts and other communications critical of the Trump administration’s and Congress’ pandemic response to people who sign up through the ads.

Jeering sign-wavers. Caravans of honking trucks. Voter intimidation or free speech?” via Abigail Hauslohner of The Washington Post — Jeering sign-wavers, caravans of honking trucks flying Trump 2020 flags, and charged political rhetoric have become the increasingly common backdrop to early voting across the country, particularly in swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. Some of the loud displays, often from Trump supporters and particularly frustrating to Democrats, have prompted local law enforcement agencies to station officers near polling places to keep the peace. In some locations, they have sparked allegations of voter intimidation and fears of tinderbox confrontations on the cusp of escalation in the run-up to Election Day next week.

Paid by Marva Preston, Republican, for Florida Senate.

— NEW ADS —

Pro-Trump PAC tries to connect Biden to Chinese business deal — America First Action PAC is releasing a new ad Friday that amplifies accusations from Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Biden’s son. The ad title, “Blatant Lies,” is not a reference to whether Bobulinski’s accusations are factual despite their unverified status. Instead, the ad assumes Bobulinski is truthful and that Biden, his brother Jim, and his son Hunter hammered out a lucrative deal with a Chinese energy company in 2017. The PAC asserts: “Biden is not running for President to serve the American public, he’s running to enrich himself and his family. If Biden wins, China wins.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Independence USA PAC launches two new ads in Florida — Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC launched two other ads this week, “Like We’ve Never Seen It” and “Middle Class First.” Both TV ads will run statewide on broadcast and cable. The first highlights Trump’s continued downplaying of the virus and mishandling the pandemic. The second focuses on Biden’s record of cutting taxes as Vice President and his plan to cut taxes for the middle class if elected. “With less than a week until Election Day, we are doing everything we can to make sure voters in Florida understand the clear choice they have in this election,” Bloomberg said. “It’s either four more years of Donald Trump’s failed leadership — worsening the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic — or a fresh start with Joe Biden.”

To watch “Like We’ve Never Seen It,” click on the image below:

To watch “Middle Class First,” click on the image below:

Independence USA pushes back against socialism and communism misinformation in Spanish-language ad Independence USA PAC launched a new Spanish-language ad, “Ellos Lo Son,” pushing back against the narrative that Biden is a Trojan horse for socialist and communist policy. The ad features Carlos Alberto Montaner, a Cuban-born anti-communist who is an ex-political prisoner and expert on the rise of socialism and communism. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not socialists or communists,” he says in the ad. “I’ve spent many, many years as an exile, and I recognize perfectly those that are the friends of liberty. Here they are.” The TV ad will run in the Miami market on broadcast and cable. It is part of Mike Bloomberg’s $100 million commitment to flip Florida blue.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

545 separated children featured in Lincoln Project, People For the American Way ad, ‘Cruel’” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — With reports that the federal government can’t find the parents of 545 children split from their families at the southern border, a new ad from The Lincoln Project and People For the American Way are targeting Trump as intentionally cruel. Law enforcement has separated thousands of families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Court documents show the Trump administration lost track of those children’s parents, two-thirds of whom were deported to Central America. Over the tune of “Rock-a-bye Baby,” as the gears of a music box stop turning, the narrator questions what trauma those children face and what will become of them.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

— VOTERS ARE VOTING —

— 2020 — 

Cigarette giant Reynolds American gave $80,000 in 2018 to secretive group now behind controversial constitutional amendment” via Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel — Cigarette giant Reynolds American Inc. gave $80,000 in 2018 to the secretive group that now wants to make it harder to amend Florida’s constitution, according to tax records obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. The North Carolina-based Big Tobacco company, which makes Newport and Camel cigarettes and Vuse e-cigarettes, is the first known corporate contributor to Keep Our Constitution Clean Inc., the nonprofit that has spent more than $9 million in support of a proposed amendment that, if approved by voters, would require all future constitutional amendments to go through two statewide votes. The proposed amendment is No. 4 on this year’s ballot.

Wingman PAC drops pro-Scott Franklin ad blasting Alan Cohn as tax-and-spend liberal” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — A political committee supporting Franklin for Florida’s 15th Congressional District is out with a new television ad contrasting Franklin’s platform with Cohn. The ad, “Contrast” paints Cohn as a tax and spend liberal who would hurt Florida families while boosting Franklin as a small-business owner who knows how to get the economy to work. The Wingman PAC, established by a group of Franklin’s personal friends, is behind the ad. “In Florida, we’re working to get back on track, but liberal Alan Cohn would make it harder on us,” the ad begins. The ad dropped Wednesday on broadcast, cable and digital in CD 15, which includes parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Who is policing political texts in the final days of election? Wireless companies are trying” via Sarah Krouse and Emily Glazer of The Washington Post. Presidential campaigns seek to blast out millions of text messages in the days leading up to the election. Still, they are facing increasingly stringent rules from wireless carriers about those dispatches. Text messages have become a more critical tool for political campaigns that have shrinking avenues to voters. They get voters’ attention better than email and other forms of communication, campaigns and political groups say. Campaigns have cut back on door-to-door canvassing during the coronavirus pandemic, and social media platforms are stepping up efforts to limit political content.

Uber to offer discounted rides, free food at polling places on Election Day” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Uber announced several new initiatives Wednesday to support voters on Election Day. The Get Out The Vote initiative will help riders register to vote (though it’s too late to register for this election,) provide voters discounted rides to the polls, and offer free food to voters while waiting in lines on Election Day. “Uber’s unique Get Out The Vote initiative is helping people register to vote, offering discounted rides to and from the polls, and feeding people while in line to vote at their polling place,” said Uber Head of Federal Affairs Danielle Burr. “We are proud to utilize the power of our platform to help American citizens exercise their right to vote this Election Day.”

On a St. Petersburg block, neighbors stay neighborly despite opposing signs” via Christopher Spata of the Tampa Bay Times — Outside, the neighbors smile and wave to each other and talk about dogs, which may outnumber humans on this short stretch of 49th Avenue North. The block turns heads due to how many opposing political signs fill the yards. At one end, two homes with multiple signs for one presidential candidate sit sandwiched between four houses with signs for the other guy. At the other end, a lone house flips back to the other candidate. It really is a lot of signs in a row.

— LEG. CAMPAIGNS —

State GOP funnels money to committees” via News Service of Florida — With less than a week before Tuesday’s General Election, the Republican Party of Florida has funneled $1 million to four political committees that had not previously raised any money, according to finance information filed Wednesday. The party sent $250,000 checks to committees such as Conservatives Standing Proudly for Common Sense, Protecting Florida’s Progress, Conservative for Florida and Unifying Leadership for Florida. The committees were registered last month with the state Division of Elections but did not have any financial activity until reporting the state party contributions Wednesday.

Money floods into Florida’s down-ballot races — A network of progressive groups is inundating Florida House races with loads of cash. Most of the money, about $12 million, has come in through Democratic super PAC Forward Majority. As reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida, the influx has put Republicans — who hold a near-insurmountable majority in the chamber — on defense. Nearly $8 million of the Forward Majority money has been used to buy TV ads in 18 House districts. The ads target Republicans for their votes on health care bills they allege would strip coverage from people with preexisting conditions.

Florida Democrats expect a Senate battleground sweep” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Florida Democrats are confident they’ll head into the 2021 Legislative Session with 19 Senators, according to a fresh polling update issued by the party’s Senate campaign arm. Republicans currently hold 23 seats in the 40-member Florida Senate. Two of those Republican-held seats are being hotly contested this cycle and internal polling teased by Florida Senate Victory indicates both are heads-up contests. The first target is Senate District 9, a Central Florida-based seat where Republican former Rep. Jason Brodeur faces Democratic labor attorney Patricia Sigman. Florida Senate Victory says its polling, conducted by GQR Polling, shows the race is tied, 42%-42%. The Senate District 39 race between GOP Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Democratic Rep. Javier Fernández is also tied, 43%-43%.

Loranne Ausley challenges ‘Republican lies’ with new TV ad” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — With less than a week before Election Day, Democratic Rep. Ausley released a new TV ad Tuesday addressing the “Republican lies” being told to Senate District 3 voters about her campaign. “I know you’ve heard all the Republican lies about me on TV, on radio, and in your mailbox,” she says in the 30-second ad. “My campaign never took a dime of PPP money, and in the Legislature, I fought for millions more in Hurricane Michael relief funding.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Scott Plakon fights back against preexisting conditions charge” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Rep. Plakon has joined the ranks of other Republican lawmakers defending their 2019 votes on a bill involving insurance coverage for preexisting conditions. Democratic opponents charges that their votes on Senate Bill 322 last year was actually a vote against preexisting coverage. The health insurance bill — now law — was carried by incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson. It assured coverage of preexisting conditions, not prevented it, Plakon said, using Republicans’ argument from the start for that bill. This would assure Floridians’ coverage should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act. Plakon said he sent cease-and-desist letters to Orlando TV stations, asking them to stop running Democrat Tracey Kagan’s TV commercial blasting Plakon on health care issues. 

Spending surges in HD 110 ahead of campaign’s final stretch” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Democrat Annette Collazo and Republican Alex Rizo both set high marks in campaign spending as the race for the House District 110 seat nears its close. Collazo spent around $67,000 from Oct. 3-16, while Rizo spent around $43,000. The competitors are seeking the seat held by Republican House Speaker José Oliva, who is term-limited. Collazo’s biggest single expenditure was a $45,000 payment to the Virginia-based firm Screen Strategies Media for advertising costs. She also put money toward Facebook ads, canvassing expenses and credit card processing costs for online donations.

Jim Mooney outraises Clint Barras in HD 120, but still trails in available cash” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Mooney is looking to turn the tide in the House District 120 money game, as he topped his Democratic opponent in fundraising for the first time since the General Election began. Mooney added just under $45,000 from Oct. 3-16. Barras raised more than $26,000. Barras has significantly boosted his fundraising capacity following the late August Primary Election. Barras was unopposed on the Democratic side, while Mooney competed in a close three-way primary to secure the GOP nomination. Once the Barras-Mooney General Election matchup was set, Barras consistently led in fundraising by tapping into out-of-state donors through online fundraising services.

— DOWN BALLOT —

Miami-Dade Mayor candidates try to reach new voters in crunchtime for election” via Glenna Milberg of Local 10 — By morning in West Kendall, there were fist bumps for Steve Bovo. In the afternoon in the Gables, chants for Daniella Levine Cava. The two candidates for Miami-Dade County Mayor have just six days left to whip every possible vote for the nonpartisan position. So, Levine Cava (a progressive Democrat) and Bovo (a conservative Republican) have been working what would be their bases and reaching for the other side. It’s a county where, of the votes already in, 26% have been from people who have no party affiliation. About 42% of the votes already cast in Miami-Dade are from registered Democrats; 31% from Republicans.

Daniela Levine Cava and Steve Bovo are trying to squeeze every nonpartisan vote in the homestretch.

Poll shows Pat Kemp poised to keep Commission position” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — A new poll shows Kemp poised for victory next week over fellow incumbent Sandra Murman. A St. Pete Polls survey out Wednesday shows Democrat Kemp leading Republican Murman 46% to 41% with 14% either undecided or unwilling to indicate their preference. The two are vying for the District 6 seat, which Kemp currently holds. Murman currently represents District 1 but is leaving that seat due to term limits. Kemp’s five-point lead is well outside the poll’s 3.5% margin of error. Democrats have a significant advantage in voter registration, with 362,119 of the county’s 920,860 eligible voters, 39%, registered as Democrats. 

Poll shows James Satcher coasting into Manatee Commission seat” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Satcher heads into next Tuesday the heavy favorite in a Manatee County Commission contest. A St. Pete Polls survey commissioned by Florida Politics shows if the District 1 election were held today, about 58% of voters would pick Satcher. About 35% instead pick Democrat Dominique Shauntel Brown, while about 8% remain undecided. Pollsters included responses from 344 likely voters, all surveyed on Oct. 16. That gives the poll a 5.3% margin of error. Satcher’s edge falls well beyond that; in fact, he’s far enough beyond 50% that even accounting for a polling error, he still can’t be touched. That’s going to disappoint Democrats, who saw an opportunity to compete in the seat.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Florida adds 4,115 coronavirus cases and 66 deaths Wednesday” via Romy Ellenbogen of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida’s weekly average number of coronavirus cases increased Wednesday again, as the state logged 4,115 additional infections over a 24-hour period. According to the Florida Department of Health, Wednesday’s caseload brought the weekly average to about 3,895 coronavirus cases announced per day. Since March, there have been 790,426 total recorded infections. The state also announced 66 deaths Wednesday. Over the last seven months, 16,775 people across Florida have died from the virus. The weekly death average decreased to about 52 people announced dead per day.

COVID-19 is claiming more lives than official data indicates” via Mario Ariza of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Patrick Hidalgo died on the second day of March, in his apartment, at 41 years old, after complaining to his family of waking up in the middle of the night and gasping for breath. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner attributed the death of this former Obama staffer to heart disease. His family says it was COVID-19. Hidalgo isn’t counted as a virus death in Florida, but he illustrates that the pandemic has claimed far more people than the official death count indicates. Today, official coronavirus deaths stand at 16,505 in Florida. Yet the true number of dead from the pandemic could be up to 25% higher.

Florida changes COVID-19 data on the percent of tests coming back positive” via Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald — Before the pandemic, so-called “test positivity” was a little-known infectious disease statistic. But over the past few months, scores of concerned people have had their eyes on the data point, which measures the rate at which Florida’s COVID-19 tests come back positive and can help spot upticks in virus transmission. There are numerous ways to calculate the metric, and Florida has used a relatively rare method of filtering out residents who have already tested positive before. That, in effect, resulted in a lower rate and created a discrepancy in total testing numbers compared with other popular pandemic data trackers.

Trio of doctors condemn Trump, Ron DeSantis COVID-19 efforts” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — A trio of Florida physicians speaking for the Committee to Protect Medicare accused Trump and DeSantis of pursuing a herd immunity strategy and denounced it Wednesday as irresponsible, frustrating, and heartbreaking. “It’s beyond frustrating … to let our state be taken over by a preventable virus,” Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist and Florida state lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare, told reporters during a Zoom press briefing. Though Trump and DeSantis both have said they are not pursuing herd immunity, some of Trump’s advisers have suggested it as a route. 

Dr. Bernard Ashby of Miami is blasting Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis for their lack of coronavirus plans.

State outlines plan to provide COVID-19 vaccine” via Christine Sexton of The News Service of Florida — State officials outlined a three-phase vaccination rollout under a draft plan Florida was required to submit to the federal government this month. When the supply of COVID-19 vaccinations becomes more plentiful, the state will enter the second phase of the plan, including county health departments opening mass vaccination clinics. Also, the Florida Department of Health and the state Division of Emergency Management “might open such clinics to ensure there is equitable distribution of the vaccine, in the same way COVID-19 testing was made available,” the report said. In the second phase, hospitals willing to partner with the state would provide vaccinations to inpatients and outpatients who seek care in emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and outpatient clinics.

— CORONA LOCAL — 

Hundreds of students at three Miami-Dade public schools quarantined due to COVID” via David Goodhue and Colleen Wright of the Miami Herald — Hundreds of Miami-Dade high school students at Miami Senior High School and Barbara Goleman Senior High in Miami Lakes, as well as dozens of teachers at each of those schools, have been quarantined because of increased cases of COVID-19, according to the teachers union. Additionally, a teacher at Palmetto Middle School in Pinecrest told the Miami Herald that more than 200 students and 24 teachers there are quarantined for two weeks. Miami-Dade school district officials said they could not confirm the exact number of students and employees who’ve been told to quarantine because of ongoing investigations and contact tracing.

Four Broward football games canceled due to COVID-19” via Adam Lichtenstein of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Four Broward County football games have been canceled due to COVID-19. Cypress Bay’s season opener against Everglades and their second game against Western, as well as South Plantation vs. Nova, have been canceled, according to Broward County Public Schools spokeswoman Cathy Brennan. Boca Raton Christian vs. Pompano Beach was also canceled after a Blazers player tested positive, according to Boca Raton Christian athletic director John White. According to athletic director Jason Hively, a Nova coach tested positive for the virus, forcing that cancellation. Broward County and Palm Beach County public schools are beginning their football seasons this week after a two-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pinellas-Pasco public defender: Coronavirus too big a risk for trials to resume” via Kathryn Varn of the Tampa Bay Times — Hours after jury selection began Tuesday for the first criminal trial held in Pinellas County since the coronavirus appeared in Florida, Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger sounded the alarm. Conditions inside and outside the Pinellas Criminal Justice Center were too risky to hold a jury trial, he argued in an emergency petition submitted Tuesday to an appeals court. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 were rising in Pinellas. The assistant state attorney prosecuting Tuesday’s case had contacted a colleague who tested positive days after they saw each other. And the defendant was brought into the courtroom from the Pinellas County jail, where dozens of inmates have tested positive. The 2nd District Court of Appeal denied the petition Wednesday.

Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger says coronavirus makes it impossible to resume trials.

Okaloosa health director warns county is ripe for COVID-19 outbreak” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News — COVID-19 cases, positivity rates, and coronavirus-related hospitalizations all have been increasing for the past two weeks. In the direst message she’s delivered to county officials in months, Okaloosa Department of Health Director Dr. Karen Chapman said she no longer is urging, but prescribing “that all residents practice personal protective measures to protect yourself and others.” As of Tuesday, 6,244 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the county, and through Oct. 25, the increase in new cases for the previous week had been 369, a jump of 72 cases from the week before.

— CORONA NATION —

Lilly announces agreement with U.S. government to supply 300,000 vials of investigational neutralizing antibody in an effort to fight COVID-19” via Eli Lilly & Co — Lilly announced today an initial agreement with the U.S. government to supply 300,000 vials of bamlanivimab 700 mg, an investigational neutralizing antibody, for $375 million. The U.S. government will accept the vials of bamlanivimab if the FDA grants it an Emergency Use Authorization. Lilly submitted a request for a EUA for bamlanivimab to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients to the FDA in early October. The initial agreement is for delivery over the two months following a EUA. Also, it provides the option for the U.S. government to purchase up to an additional 650,000 vials through June 30, 2021.

Eli Lilly is seeking emergency use authorization for antibody treatment.

Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations” via Sam Baker of Axios — Coronavirus hospitalizations are rising much more dramatically in places that don’t require people to wear a face mask, according to a new Vanderbilt University analysis. The findings reinforce what experts have been saying for months: Masks and mask mandates work. They will not vanquish the coronavirus on their own, but they help. A lot. Coronavirus hospitalizations are up across the board, both nationwide and in Tennessee. But they’re rising far more modestly in places that require masks. The Vanderbilt analysis compares Tennessee hospitals based on how many of their patients come from counties with mask requirements. In hospitals where at least 75% of patients are subject to a local mask requirement, COVID hospitalizations are at about the same level now as they were on July 1.

Some Americans refuse to wear masks even as their hometowns become COVID-19 hot spots” via Joel Achenbach and Lori Rozsa of The Washington Post — Resistance to mask-wearing and other efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus has hardened in the final days before the presidential election, demonstrating how the pandemic has been politicized and posing a daunting challenge to the nation’s medical experts. The refusal to go along with expert health guidance has persisted even in parts of the country that see soaring caseloads and hospitalizations. This week, that was driven home when the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Deborah Birx, toured North Dakota, which has had more coronavirus infections per capita than any other state and over the past month has experienced a stunning surge in hospitalizations and deaths.

Many who refuse to wear masks live in areas with huge spikes in COVID-19 cases. Image via AP. 

The hidden COVID-19 health crisis: Elderly people are dying from isolation” via Suzy Khimm of NBC News — When the pandemic hit, long-term care facilities across the country shut their doors to visitors and largely kept residents to their rooms, suspending most group activities and communal meals to protect residents from COVID-19. The effort to shield elderly, frail and disabled residents from the coronavirus has created another wrenching health crisis: The confinement meant to protect the most vulnerable is also threatening their lives. While there is no comprehensive tally of older adults dying from causes linked to social isolation and confinement, the evidence is mounting that restrictions related to COVID-19 are taking a toll on their health. 

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

U.S. states face biggest cash crisis since the Great Depression” via Heather Gillers and Gunjan Banerji of The Wall Street Journal — Nationwide, the U.S. state budget shortfall from 2020 through 2022 could amount to about $434 billion, according to data from Moody’s Analytics, the economic analysis arm of Moody’s Corp. The estimates assume no additional fiscal stimulus from Washington, further coronavirus-fueled restrictions on business and travel, and extra costs for Medicaid amid high unemployment. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, that’s greater than the 2019 K-12 education budget for every state combined, or more than twice the amount spent that year on state roads and other transportation infrastructure. Even after rainy day funds are used, Moody’s projects 46 states coming up short, with Nevada, Louisiana and Florida having the greatest gaps as a percentage of their 2019 budgets.

The U.S. is facing economic issues that rival the Great Depression. Image via AP.

Jacksonville readies $5.3 million relief for ‘sleeping giant’ of eviction and foreclosure” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Duval County residents and small-business owners facing the threat of eviction or foreclosure because of lost income and paychecks during the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for help from a $5.3 million program being launched by the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Bar Association. The money will help confront the building financial pressure on people who have lost income during the pandemic and fell behind on paying rent, which United Way of Northeast Florida administrator Jeff Winkler has called a “one of the sleeping giants of 2021 we’re going to have to face.”

— MORE CORONA —

Study suggests flu shots help people with COVID-19” via News Service of Florida — People who received flu vaccinations in the year before testing positive for the novel coronavirus were nearly 2.5 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 and more than three times less likely to be admitted to a hospital intensive care unit, according to a UF study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. The findings are based on a review of information from electronic health records of 2,000 patients at UF Health who tested positive for COVID-19 between March and August. More investigation is needed to confirm the findings, but if confirmed, they would boost flu vaccination efforts, said Arch G. Mainous III, the study’s senior author.

Flu vaccinations could help COVID-19 patients. Image via AP.

Furniture, bikes and cooking supplies: What people are buying during the pandemic” via Helen Carefoot of The Washington Post — The early days of the novel coronavirus outbreak saw people stocking up on groceries, cleaning supplies and bulk items. And although spending among U.S. consumers dipped in April, it is slowly recovering, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey. Many people are looking for items that can make their time at home more comfortable or, at the very least, palatable. “In uncertain times, there’s some comfort people can find in the physicality or realness of items they buy, because everything else can feel uncertain and undetermined,” said Elias Aboujaoude, clinical professor of psychiatry and director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford University’s medical school in California.

— STATEWIDE —

State may order students back to classrooms in January” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The state of Florida may force all students to return to school buildings in January, even as COVID-19 cases are increasing. About 37% percent of Florida students are attending school virtually this year, many because they fear they won’t be safe at school. The state is deciding whether they will continue to have that option after the current semester. Taryn Fenske, the spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Education, said a decision would be made within a few weeks about whether parents will retain the ability to keep their children at home after January, based on enrollment data from individual school districts.

How cops who use force and even kill can hide their names from the public” via Kenny Jacoby of USA Today and Ryan Gabrielson of ProPublica — With his left wrist handcuffed to the bed, a man started swinging his right arm wildly. To get the suspect “under control,” a deputy pepper-sprayed him in the face. The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office provided a copy of the use-of-force report in response to a public records request. Blacked out was one crucial detail: the deputy’s name. Under Marsy’s Law, the deputy was entitled to privacy, officials said. He’d suffered a battery: The flailing suspect had been attached to a pulse monitor, and the wire hit near the deputy’s shoulder.

— D.C. MATTERS —

‘Anonymous’ senior Trump official revealed as ex-DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor” via Orion Rummler of Axios — Taylor publicly claimed to be the author of the anonymous New York Times Op-Ed that described a “resistance” within the Trump administration working to thwart Trump’s agenda. Taylor already publicly endorsed Biden in a video funded by Republican Voters Against Trump in August, accusing the president of wanting to “exploit the Department of Homeland Security for his own political purposes and to fuel his own agenda.” The highly anticipated reveal of who wrote the 2018 op-ed comes just six days before Election Day.’

Former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor announced he is behind the scathing anti-Donald Trump op-ed and book published under the pen name ‘Anonymous.’ Image via NBC News.

FBI agents back Christopher Wray in letters to Trump, Biden and warn that firing him could ‘damage’ bureau” via Kevin Johnson and David Jackson of USA Today — FBI agents voiced their support for Wray, warning Trump and Biden that his untimely removal could “undermine stability” within the federal government’s premier law enforcement agency. The action by the FBI Agents Association, representing 14,000 active and retired agents, comes as Trump is weighing several key staff changes after the election, including the dismissal of Wray, who has served just more than three years of a 10-year term following the abrupt removal of James Comey in 2017.

Spotted Brian Ballard on the list of New York Magazine’s “The Winners of Trump’s Washington” as one of 51 insiders who succeeded under the presidency. “Ballard’s mystique flows from the fact that his clients really do get results; one of them, GEO Group, scored a number of big contracts after signing with Ballard,” the magazine writes. “He’s a top Trump fundraiser, and Ballard’s clients are patrons of Trump properties.”

— LOCAL NOTES —

Western Panhandle remains under tropical storm warning as Hurricane Zeta crashes Louisiana” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Hurricane Zeta made landfall over Louisiana on Wednesday, making it the latest storm to strike the region in what has been an active Atlantic Hurricane Season. Tropical-storm-like conditions are expected to impact Florida’s western Panhandle region through early Thursday. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. The National Hurricane Center also cautioned Gulf Coast residents of possible tornadoes and storm surge. Notably, early voting locations will be closed in several Panhandle counties as Zeta grazes the region.

After passing through Mexico, Hurricane Zeta makes landfall in Louisiana. Image via AP.

Georgia, Florida will each get $600,000 from city for Nov. 7 game at TIAA Bank Field” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — The University of Georgia and the University of Florida will each get $600,000 from the city of Jacksonville for playing their annual rivalry game at TIAA Bank field during this virus-disrupted football season. The total of $1.2 million to the teams won approval Tuesday from Jacksonville City Council members who said the Georgia-Florida game is a tradition the city must safeguard. “This is a tough year for everybody, but I think what we’re doing is establishing a lot of goodwill between the city of Jacksonville, the University of Florida, and the University of Georgia in trying to make things as whole as we can under the circumstances,” City Council member Ron Salem said.

Walt Disney World layoffs slash entertainment, leaving big shows in limbo” via Matthew J. Palm of the Orlando Sentinel — Walt Disney World laid off entertainers from its highest-profile shows Tuesday night in what some described as a “bloodbath” as the scale of the layoffs rocked the Central Florida arts community. The deluge of pink slips showed the theme park has no foreseeable plans to remount marquee attractions such as “Festival of the Lion King” or “Finding Nemo: The Musical,” both of which have been dark since COVID-19 shut the parks this spring. Even the cast of the venerable “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” dinner show, which has run since 1974, wasn’t immune from the latest round of Disney dismissals. The entertainment cuts — which number in the hundreds — are part of Disney’s 28,000 companywide layoffs in late September.

— TOP OPINION —

‘I’m absolutely expecting him to do something weird’: How Trump could end his presidency” via Garrett M. Graff of POLITICO — What might Trump do with the final 77 days of his presidency if he loses? Conversations with presidential legal experts, Constitutional scholars and national security officials identified six areas where Trump could do real damage to the country, his successor or presidential traditions — a list informed both by his past executive actions as well as the considerations he’d face as he considered a life outside the White House for him and his family. From a last-minute resignation to guarantee himself legal immunity to destroying historic records to launching a war, there’s reason to wonder if a Trump transition might actually be the start of the wildest chapter of an already controversial presidency.

— OPINIONS —

Facebook and Twitter deserve scrutiny, not a Senate smackdown” via Joe Nocera of Bloomberg — Until Wednesday’s Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act — which shields social media companies from legal liability for the content posted on their platforms — one could be forgiven for believing that reforming or eliminating it was worthy of serious debate. But then came Wednesday’s hearing, which featured Facebook’s, Twitter’s and Google’s CEOs as witnesses. While the legal immunity bestowed upon Big Tech by Section 230 is certainly worth grappling with, that’s not what took place at the hearing. Not even close. It is completely reasonable to reexamine Section 230, which became law before these platforms even existed. It is a policy area that deserves real congressional hearings, from which might emerge fresh ideas.

They’re shady cowards who think you’re stupid. Dark money groups pour millions into Florida races.” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — There’s a lot to loathe about politics. But I particularly loathe the scheming cowards — the people who spend gobs of money trying to tell you how to vote but are too yellow-bellied to put their own names behind it. For the most part, these are people and companies who know that, if they used their own names, they’d hurt their cause. We’re seeing these dark-money cowards scheming on a particularly intense level in the heated SD 9 race. Why? This time the group — with GOP connections — is trying to get independents to support a little-known third-party candidate. Again, why? It comes back to the same principle as before: Republicans seem to know a lot of voters simply don’t like Brodeur.

— ON TODAY’S SUNRISE —

Despite all the official assurances about cybersecurity during the election, a Florida Man hacked the Governor.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— A new study from the Centers for Disease Control says the death toll from COVID-19 could be 25% higher than the official count. Our current death toll is 16,775, but this report says the real number could be as high as 21,000.

— The Florida Department of Health reports 66 more fatalities and 4,115 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday … bringing the statewide total to more than 790,000 infections.

— Just how important is Florida in the 2020 election? Both presidential candidates are campaigning here today. Biden is holding events in Broward County and Tampa. Trump will also be in Tampa for a Make America Great Again rally.

— As early voting continues in the Sunshine State, the folks at Common Cause say they’re getting about 1,000 calls a day from Florida voters looking for help casting their ballots. Representatives from Common Cause talk about voting in Florida.

—There’s lots of talk about how enthused voters are this year, but the head of BlackPAC says there’s something more. She says Black voters in Florida are angry with Trump and determined to make a change.

— Amendment 3 will remain on the ballot. The Florida Supreme Court has rejected a last-minute challenge to the amendment that would allow everyone to vote in the primaries regardless of party registration.

— And finally, a Florida woman made more than $100 returning thousands of items to Amazon over a five-year period. She thought she found a loophole in the return process; detectives call it grand theft.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Rare, 4-foot-wide jellyfish spotted on Florida beach” via Ben Hooper of UPI — Experts said a massive 4-foot-wide jellyfish spotted by a Florida man taking a run on a beach is known as a “pink meanie.” Still, the discovery is rarer than it is dangerous. Anatoli Smirnov of Naples said he was jogging along Vanderbilt Beach in Collier County snapped a photo when he spotted what appeared to be a gigantic, 4-foot-wide jellyfish on the shoreline. Smirnov joked to WFLA-TV that he “almost got eaten by giant jellyfish” while out for his run. He said he goes running on the beach frequently but had never before seen such a large jellyfish. James Douglass, a marine biologist at Florida Gulf Coast University, said the photo depicts a jellyfish known as a “pink meanie,” but it isn’t more dangerous than its much-smaller cousins.

A huge ‘pink meanie’ jellyfish washes up in Florida. Image via UPI.

Missing dog turns up in Florida 6 years after it was stolen from Texas family” via Christian De La Rosa of WPLG Local 10 — A San Antonio family was certain they would never see their beloved pet again, after it was stolen from their yard six years ago. The dreams of that family are coming true as the missing canine was found in South Florida. For six years, a picture of King the Chihuahua circulated social media. “I posted everywhere I could, all the animal shelters in San Antonio and surrounding areas,” said Debi Vazquez. Fast forward several years of heartbreak to Sunday, and a FaceTime call from the Humane Society of Broward County where King was surrendered. The family drove 19 hours from San Antonio to Fort Lauderdale for a reunion.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to state Reps. Melony Bell and George Moraitis, Kristen Bridges of GrayRobinson, Rivers Buford IIIAnthony Pardal, and Caroline Rowland.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson. Oh everything you

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.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
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