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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.4.20

Coffee is for closers. So is Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Donald Trump wins Florida” via Dara Kam News Service of Florida — In a tumultuous race that could help determine the fate of the White House, Trump led Joe Biden in the battle for Florida’s 29 electoral votes. With about 93% of the votes counted by 10 p.m., the Republican President had more than a three percentage-point advantage over his Democratic rival, prompting Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida GOP leaders to declare Trump the winner. Trump’s lead over Biden in Florida appeared to top the President’s 1.2 percentage-point victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Despite Democrats’ prediction of a “blue wave,” Republican candidates appeared to make gains up and down the ticket, including in two closely watched South Florida congressional races where incumbent Democrats were poised to be ousted by GOP challengers.

Trump claims victory and that ‘they’ are trying to steal election as tallies continue” via The Associated Press — Trump claimed victory in a news conference early Wednesday morning and said he would go to the Supreme Court in order to stop further counting of ballots. He also claimed in a tweet that “they are trying to STEAL the Election.” He did not clarify who ‘they’ were. Twitter flagged the post as misleading almost immediately. Millions of votes are still uncounted and a winner has not been declared in the election. There is also no evidence of widespread voter fraud, despite Trump’s claims. As of early Wednesday morning, Trump had won Florida, the nation’s most prized battleground state, as well as Texas. Races were too early to call in some of the other fiercely contested and critical states on the map, including North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump touts a preemptive ‘win’ Wednesday morning — before all votes are counted.

Once again, a nation cuts it too close for comfort” via John F. Harris of POLITICO — Before Election Day, Democrats had an answer for how they intended to deal with President Donald Trump’s hold on his most-devoted partisans, or the possibility of widespread challenges to absentee ballots, or the fear that conservative judges might come to the aid of Republicans with supportive court rulings. The answer was that they were going to soar over all these obstacles by mobilizing their own partisans to devastating effect. In 2020, unlike 2016, they weren’t going to cut it close. Well, so much for that plan.

Election Day 2020: Economy, coronavirus and race split U.S. electorate” via John McCormick and Chad Day of the Wall Street Journal — The portrait of America revealed in Tuesday’s presidential election was one of a deeply divided nation split between men and women, white and nonwhite voters, urban and rural residents, college graduates and those who didn’t graduate from college, and differing views on the importance of controlling the coronavirus pandemic versus preventing further damage to the economy. A national voter survey conducted for The Wall Street Journal showed President Donald Trump with his strongest support among men, white voters without a college degree, rural residents and those who said the government should put a higher priority on the economy.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@NateSilver: I think people need to put PA/MI in a different mental bucket than AZ/WI/NV/GA/NC. In PA/MI, much more of the vote is uncounted, and it’s likely to take a while before it is counted. In those other states, we have a more finite sense of what’s in and what’s outstanding.

@BenNYT: I don’t love the way TV presents the numbers but they are genuinely doing a good job, across networks, projecting patience and telling people this will take a while.

@RonDeSantisFL: President @realDonaldTrump is up in Florida by almost 400,000 votes with more than 90% of precincts reporting. Why haven’t networks called the race? It’s a done deal and the refusal to recognize the obvious speaks volumes about the (lack of) objectivity of these outlets.

@marcorubio: Dem wipeout in Miami-Dade #Florida. Two Dem House incumbents lost. Multiple state legislative seats go from Blue to Red. Trump cut the Democrat margin of victory by over half from 2016.

@AshleyMoodyFL: So incredibly proud of @realdonaldtrump’s big win in Florida. This is a team win for all who worked hard throughout the campaign because they believed in his commitment to #MAGA

@JoeGruters: We crushed the Democrats on the ground, in voter registration and by turning out our voters. Florida delivered for our home state President @RealDonaldTrump. Thank you to Gov @RonDeSantisFl, The Trump Florida Victory Team, the @RNC and all of the @FloridaGOP Local Party leaders.

@ChrisSprowls: Amazing night for Florida House Republicans. Congratulations to our Republican incumbents, all of whom are coming back, and the amazing Republican candidates from all over the state of Florida.

@AnnaForFlorida: I’m saying it now. We need a whole new direction for the @FlaDems. We are losing too many incredible down-ballot elected officials and candidates right now and it’s not OK. I know we have the potential to be better and do better. We do it every day here in #HD47.

@Book4Senate: @AnnaForFlorida COULDN’T AGREE MORE! @FlaDems is in desperate need of new leadership if we hope to gain future ground. Tonight’s losses shouldn’t have happened. @oscarjb2 — you up for the challenge? Your tried & true & battle-tested leadership is needed now more than ever.

@JimmyPatronis: Push forward policies and ideas that are agreeable with the Florida Voters. I don’t blame you for wanting heads to roll but your ideas aren’t right for Florida Families. #JustSaying #flapol

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@FredPiccoloJr: Will be very curious to see how Jewish voters split between POTUS and Biden. Moving the embassy, the Golan, peace deals, etc. seems there’s never been a more pro-Israel President.

@AsteadWesley: just an absolute shellacking in Miami

@NewsbySmiley: Adjectives being used by Democrats tonight about what’s happening in Miami-Dade: “shellacked” … “f*cked” … “so bad” … “Democratic debacle” … and, once again, “f*cked”

Tweet, tweet:

@mcimaps: I definitely need to move to the Western states. That is God’s country

@culvert: On SD37 race: The @MDCElections confirmed 11,000 vbm ballots countywide, a number of which are in SD37, need to be processed and counted. Given the closeness of the race and the Dem advantage we saw in VBM voting, once those results come in, we will offer comments on next steps.

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@StephenAtHome: The human body was not made to expend this much energy thinking about Pennsylvania.

— DAYS UNTIL —

NBA 2020-21 training camp — 6; Apple announces new Macs with Apple chips — 6; FITCon Policy Conference begins — 8; The Masters begins — 8; NBA draft — 14; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 16; College basketball season slated to begin — 21; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 28; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 28; the Electoral College votes — 40; “Death on the Nile” premieres — 43; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 51; Greyhound racing ends in Florida — 56; the 2021 Inauguration — 76; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 94; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 106; “Black Widow” rescheduled premiere — 120; “No Time to Die” premieres (rescheduled) — 149; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 240; Disney’s “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” premieres — 247; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 261; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 269; Disney’s “Eternals” premieres — 366; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 369; Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” premieres — 401; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 465; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 518; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 699.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Joe Biden’s campaign manager calls Donald Trump’s desire to stop counting ballots ‘outrageous’” via Derrick Bryson Taylor of The New York Times — Biden’s team on Wednesday described as “outrageous” President Trump’s stated desire to stop the counting of votes before several key states had delivered final results. “It is a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens,” Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, said in a statement. She added that the president’s comments were “unprecedented” because never before had a commander in chief sought to strip Americans of their voice in an election.

Will Biden’s focus on the ‘blue wall’ states win him the election?” via Lisa Lerer of The New York Times — For Biden, it has always been about Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. From the start of his presidential campaign until the final day of the race, Biden maintained his bet that winning the White House would come down to rebuilding the Democrats’ once-solid “blue wall” in those three states that crumbled in 2016. As of early Wednesday, Biden had the edge in Arizona and he remained competitive in Georgia. But even if he wins both of those states, he would still need to prevail in at least one of the blue-wall states.

Again defying the odds, Trump beats Biden in Ohio” via Darrel Rowland of The Columbus Dispatch — He did it again. Defying polls, pundits and pugnacious Democratic opposition, Trump has won bellwether Ohio for a second time. Whether that launches him to another national victory is not yet settled — and may not be for some time. Although hundreds of thousands of votes will remain uncounted for a couple of weeks in Ohio, Trump holds what is considered an insurmountable lead over Biden among ballots already tallied. With most of the state’s voting areas tabulated, the Republican incumbent’s margin now stands at about 450,000 votes. That gives him a current 8-point lead — matching the spread of his surprise win in 2016.

Donald Trump pulls off a surprise win in Ohio. Image via AP.

Final Wisconsin presidential election results unlikely before tomorrow” via Will Cioci of The Daily Cardinal — Election officials do not expect to know which presidential candidate will win Wisconsin before early tomorrow morning. Milwaukee’s vote count, which could significantly shift the results, is not expected before 5 a.m. Wednesday. According to The New York Times, 62% of the estimated vote total has been reported as of 11 p.m. Trump leads Biden 51.6% to 46.8%. However, about 67% of uncounted votes are in counties won by Clinton in 2016. 2.2 million votes have been reported. At 9 p.m., Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said election officials are now working tirelessly to count every ballot, but some larger jurisdictions are predicting they will count into the morning in order to do the job right. 

Nevada, where Joe Biden narrowly leads, will not update results until Thursday” via Jenny Gross of The New York Times — Nevada, where Biden held a narrow lead early Wednesday, will not announce any new updates on election results until 9 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday, state election officials said. So far, all in-person votes and all mail-in ballots through Nov. 2 have been counted, the election division of the secretary of state’s office said in a tweet on Wednesday morning. Mail-in ballots received on Election Day, mail-in ballots received over the next week and provisional ballots still need to be counted.

— PRESIDENTIAL IN FLORIDA —

‘This is Trump country’: Florida is a battleground no more” via Matt Dixon, Gary Fineout, Marc Caputo of POLITICO — Democrats, already on defense in Florida, were overrun Tuesday. Two congressional incumbents fell to Republican challengers, and the party’s hope of cutting into GOP dominance in the state Legislature failed to materialize. The losses were made even more painful because they were centered in Miami-Dade County, a Democratic stronghold with a diverse and politically complex electorate that state Democrats long have relied on to maintain any power and that Joe Biden needed to win. Instead of the Hispanic community delivering Florida to Biden, it turned to Trump, who had used the Black Lives Matter and defund-the-police movements to paint his opponent as extreme. Miami-Dade Democrats had sounded the alarm about Biden’s standing in the county, but were ignored by campaign officials who thought that the loss of the Cuban American vote there could be made up elsewhere with white voters. “It’s proof positive Democrats couldn’t rebut the socialist attack and that the Biden campaign just didn’t know what it was doing,” said Alejandro Miyar, a Biden donor and Democratic strategist from Miami. Republicans turned out in large numbers in Miami-Dade Tuesday, eroding Democrats’ advantage. Biden won the county by roughly 7 percentage points compared to Hillary Clinton’s 30-point victory in 2016. Elsewhere, Biden did well with suburban communities, the elderly and military voters. But Trump countered those gains with his showing among Hispanics and rural Florida residents, said Matthew Isbell, a Democratic data cruncher who had raised red flags about Biden’s chances in Miami. “Dade is a bloodbath,” Isbell tweeted 30 minutes after polls closed. “Florida will go for Donald Trump. I’m calling it.” Conservatives trounced Democrats in nearly every contested race up and down the ticket. Republicans took two high-profile Florida Senate races, nearly 10 state House races, and knocked off two incumbent U.S. House Democrats, Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. Democrats were defeated in four of five statewide races in 2018 and have held no power in Tallahassee, the state capitol, for nearly three decades.

How Miami Cubans disrupted Joe Biden’s path to a Florida win” via Sabrina Rodriguez of POLITICO — President Donald Trump’s obsession with Cubans has paid off. After four years of non-stop outreach to Miami’s Cuban exile community, Trump cruised to victory in Florida thanks to their heavy turnout that also helped the GOP flip two Congressional seats and win big in state House and Senate races. Cuban Americans have long been Republican leaning but began drifting toward the Democratic fold during Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaigns and Hillary Clinton’s run in 2016, when she blew Trump away in Miami-Dade.

In Little Havana, Trump finds the support he needed.” via The New York Times — Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade County celebrated Trump’s strong showing in Florida along the iconic Southwest Eighth Street near Little Havana. Trump was relying on strong support from Cuban American Republicans in the state.

Joe Biden’s troubles in Miami-Dade began early.

At a Hialeah polling place, dueling salsa music, taunts of ‘comunista,’ and shy voters” via Yadira Lopez, Linda Robertson, Samantha J. Gross and Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald — Late Tuesday morning, the sounds of “Pa fuera, pa la calle” from speakers on a truck of Biden supporters clashed with the “Yo voy a votar por Trump” tune coming from a rival car outside the polling place at the JFK Library in Hialeah. As the Biden pickup drove through the parking lot, a cluster of Trump supporters with bullhorns quipped “Aqui llegaron los comunistas de Miami,” “Miami’s communists are here.” But voters in line were much coyer. Hialeah is a Republican bastion where more than half the 240,000 residents are Cuban. It is also a place where Democrats have repeatedly fallen short of challenging conservative politicians, up and down the ticket.

— 2020 —

Florida retains Supreme Court justice, appellate judges” via The News Service of Florida — Florida voters agreed to return 23 appellate judges to the bench, as well as Supreme Court Justice Carlos Muñiz. DeSantis appointed Muñiz to the state Supreme Court last year.

The Florida Bar each year asks its members to rate justices and judges who are up for retention votes. The survey asks lawyers whether they think justices and judges have considerable or limited knowledge and whether they should be retained.

While the confidential survey showed that Muñiz should be retained, he had the lowest approval among 3,626 attorneys who participated in the poll. Seventy-one percent of respondents said that the justice should be retained.

Just one other judge — 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Rachel Norby — scored 71% on The Florida Bar poll.

Second District Court of Appeal Judge Morris Silberman earned the highest score on the poll, with 90% of attorneys saying he should be retained. State law requires Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges to be placed on the ballot for retention in nonpartisan elections within the first year of appointment. Judges and justices thereafter appear on the ballot every six years.

Florida voters overwhelmingly retained all of the appellate court judges up for retention this year, including Nordby and five other 1st District Court of Appeal judges — Joseph Lewis Jr., Scott Makar, Tim Osterhaus, Clay Roberts and Adam Tannenbaum.

In addition to Silberman, 2nd District Court of Appeal Judges Drew Atkinson, Daniel H. Sleet and Andrea Teves Smith were retained on Tuesday. Five judges from the 3rd District Court of Appeal — Judges Monica Gordo, Eric William Hendon, Fleur Jeannine Lobree, Thomas Logue and Bronwyn Catherine Miller — were retained.

Voters also retained 4th District Court of Appeal Judges Alan O. Forst, Mark W. Klingensmith and Martha C. Warner.

Fifth District Court of Appeal Judges Kerry I. Evander, John M. Harris, Richard B. Orfinger, Meredith Sasso, and F. Rand Wallis also were retained.

Florida becomes the first state in the South to vote yes on a $15 minimum wage” via Emily Stewart of Vox — Florida voters have said yes to increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15. They did so by approving Amendment 2, which increases the state’s minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 by September 30, 2026. Florida’s yes vote on Amendment 2 makes it the first state in the South and the eighth state in the country to raise its minimum wage to $15. According to Fight for $15, a group that advocates on behalf of a $15 minimum wage, Virginia is the only southern state that has increased its minimum wage recently, but to $12, not $15. The left-leaning Florida Policy Institute estimates that Amendment 2’s passage will result in a wage increase for 2.5 million workers in Florida — in other words, it’s likely to make a big impact on people’s lives.

Amendment 4, creating a new hurdle for ballot measures, fails with Florida voters” via John Kennedy of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Voters turned back Amendment 4, a measure which would require future constitutional amendments to be approved by voters twice — at successive general elections, where they would have needed at least 60% approval. Amendment 4, which also had to clear the 60% threshold, was actually being rejected by a majority of Florida voters. The proposed amendment was backed by a murky organization called Keep Our Constitution Clean, which spent $9 million to hire signature-gathering firms to get on the ballot. Opponents, including the Florida League of Women Voters and ACLU of Florida, warned that if approved by voters, the new requirement could derail any future amendments by making them jump through two election hoops — increasing the cost and odds for failure.

Initiative to open primary elections in Florida appears headed for failure” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — The proposed amendment, also known as All Voters Vote, needed 60% or more of the vote to become part of the state constitution. As of 11 p.m., it had just under 57% with 10.1 million votes tallied. “When the counting is done, more Floridians will have voted for Amendment 3 than Donald Trump or Joe Biden,” said Glenn Burhans Jr., chairman of All Voters Vote. “We are encouraged by the clear message sent by nearly 6 million Floridians; they want electoral reform for the 5.7 million nonparty affiliated voters — including 1.5 million minority voters — who are shut out of the process. We hope that lawmakers will take heed and enact measures to let all voters vote in taxpayer-funded elections.”

A normal Election Day in South Florida — meaning our political civil war was decidedly civil” via Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — My fellow South Floridians, I can’t believe what I’m about to type considering all we went through leading up to this election, considering all we wondered about heading into Election Day and considering what we still might go through if there’s ballot-counting ahead. But here goes: Tuesday was, uh, normal, wasn’t it? It was also, uh, civil for a country at uncivil political war. Right? No violence. At least that anyone heard of. No long lines or voter suppression, beyond some wacko robocalls. All across South Florida, where we’re accustomed to sudden outbreaks of weird on Election Day, there was nothing to tempt a late-night monologue.

Andrew Gillum Forward Florida PAC gives over $100K to political campaigns in October” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — In the final month leading up to Tuesday’s general election, Forward Florida, the political committee of Gillum, shelled out $120,000 to various committees and one campaign. That leaves Forward Florida with nearly $800,000 of the $3.9 million it collected since it was created in February 2016. About $3 million of that represented unspent donations to Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign; after his 2018 loss to DeSantis, he said he would rededicate those funds to voter registration efforts. Gillum, a former Mayor of Tallahassee, remains chair of the committee, which has been inactive in recent months.

— CONG. CAMPAIGNS —

Republicans clinging to Senate majority as Dems under-perform” via Andrew Desiderio and James Arkin of Politico — Democrats’ path to a Senate majority has narrowed dramatically as the party underperformed expectations in a handful of the most expensive races in the country, but control of the Senate remains undecided with a handful of states still too close to call. Though Democrats expanded the battleground map in the fall and ran closer than expected to GOP incumbents, they fell short in their second- and third-tier targeted races like South Carolina, Texas and Kansas — states where the party raised and spent nine-figure sums.

North Florida favorites Matt Gaetz, Neil Dunn, Al Lawson win new terms” via Bob Sparks of Florida Politics — Those representing Panhandle districts in Congress had little difficulty winning another term on Election Night. Three members from the election class of 2016 return for two more years. In District 1, Gaetz easily cruised to a third term with a big victory over Democrat Phillip Ehr. The district carries a 2-to-1 voter registration advantage for Republicans, making Ehr’s climb strictly uphill. Gaetz is also one of the more well-known members of Congress, not only in the district but nationwide. Dunn returns to Congress after pitching a shutout against write-in candidate Kim O’Connor. Dunn polled nearly 300,000 votes. Lawson has won a third term in Congress after turning aside a challenge from Republican Gary Adler.

Panhandle favorites Matt Gaetz and Neal Dunn are going back to Congress.

Kat Cammack cruises to victory in CD 3” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Cammack won the election for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday night. As of 8:45 p.m., she led her lone challenger, Democrat Adam Christensen by about 50,000 votes, or 55% to 45%. Due to CD 3’s strong Republican lean, Cammack had been favored in the election. Still, her victory on Tuesday makes it official: She will replace her old boss, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, in Washington. “As your next Congresswoman, I have been entrusted to represent each and every person who calls Florida’s Third Congressional District home, and for that, I am incredibly honored. In January, I will take an oath to the United States Constitution, not a political party, and I vow to represent all Americans,” Cammack said.

U.S. House District 4: John Rutherford defeats Donna Deegan to win reelection” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Republican U.S. Rep. Rutherford extended his undefeated winning streak in campaigns Tuesday by defeating Democratic challenger Deegan in the most hotly-contested campaign for Florida’s 4th Congressional District in years. Deegan proved to be an effective fundraiser, but Rutherford was in step with the overwhelmingly Republican district. With 74% of precincts reporting, Rutherford was leading Deegan 61%-39%. The makeup of Florida’s 4th Congressional District favors Republicans, with 49% of voters registered with the GOP compared to 28% as Democrats. The district covers much of Duval County and extends into Nassau and St. Johns counties, including St. Augustine.

Michael Waltz, Bill Posey, Dan Webster cruise to victory” via Bob Sparks of Florida Politics — Central Florida also had several incumbents winning their races by big margins. Among those was Waltz, who soundly defeated Orlando attorney Clint Curtis in Florida’s 6th Congressional District. Waltz, who has become a regular commentator on Fox News programs, won a second term by winning 60% of the vote. Curtis survived a primary challenge against educator Richard Thripp. Also on the ballot as a write-in candidate was former Democrat U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who did not receive a single vote. The district covers St. Johns, Volusia, Flagler and Lake County with a Republican registration edge of 50,000. Waltz’s GOP colleague, U.S. Rep. Posey, won a seventh term in Congress, defeating Kennedy Space Center engineer Jim Kennedy, a resident of Merritt Island. The Rockledge Republican garnered 61% of the vote in Florida’s 8th Congressional District.

Stephanie Murphy wins third term in CD 7” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The congresswoman once dubbed “the girl rescued at sea” is now on her way to becoming what her predecessor had been until she ended his career: A veteran member of Congress. Democratic Rep. Murphy brushed off an election challenge from Republican Dr. Leo Valentin Tuesday, winning her third term in the kind of campaign candidates usually run in safe districts. Murphy’s victory, by an unofficial early return of 58% to 41%, also accentuates the evolution of her district from red to purple to blue. Independent candidate William Garlington of Oviedo siphoned off 1%. Her coattails were heavily sought by similar candidates running within her district, Democratic women seeking to win in Senate District 9 and House Districts 28, 29, 30 and 47.

Darren Soto, Val Demings, win third terms in Congress” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Soto of Kissimmee and Val Demings of Orlando won third terms in Congress. Demings, who spent much of the past year in the national spotlight, easily dispatched a formidable Republican challenger in lawyer and former congressional aide Vennia Francois to win Florida’s 10th Congressional District in western Orange County. Soto, Florida’s only Puerto Rican congressman, defeated Army veteran Bill Olson to win Florida’s 9th Congressional District representing southern Orange County, Osceola County, and eastern Polk County. Unofficial early results showed Demings leading Francois 64% to 36% in CD 10.

Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy and Val Demings have easily won reelection.

Charlie Crist sails to easy victory over Anna Paulina Luna, but not as easy as thought” via Kate Bradshaw of Florida Politics — Democratic U.S. Rep. Crist delivered a sound victory to Democrats over GOP challenger Luna. Crist had a solid 53% of the vote to Luna’s 47%, with all precincts reporting. While Crist’s victory is resounding, it was the first major competition he’s faced since first being elected to Congress in 2016 over then-incumbent David Jolly. It’s a margin far less than polls or previous elections suggested. Polling the week before the election showed voters in the district favoring Crist by 17 points.

Kathy Castor, Gus Bilirakis claim easy reelection in safe congressional districts” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Two Tampa Bay area members of Congress easily reclaimed their seats Tuesday in General Election battles in safe districts. Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor sailed to easy victory night over Republican challenger Christine Quinn. Castor bested Quinn 62% to 38% in the race for Florida’s 14th Congressional District representing parts of Hillsborough County, based on early votes. It’s the second time Castor has denied Quinn a shot at Capitol Hill after beating her in 2016 62% to 38%. U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican, beat his challenger, Democrat Kimberly Walker, 59% to 41% in Florida’s 12th Congressional District in north Pinellas County, with early votes and 20% of precincts reporting.

Scott Franklin holds onto CD 15 for the GOP, bests Alan Cohn” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Republicans held onto a seat in Congress late Tuesday night after Lakeland City Commissioner Franklin edged out investigative journalist Cohn in the race for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. Franklin bested Cohn in all three CD 15 counties — 52.76% to 47.24% in Hillsborough; 59.98% to 40.02% in Polk and 53.63% to 46.37% in Lake. “I’m excited about the task ahead,” Franklin said in a statement. “I do want folks who did not vote for us to know that I’m looking forward to representing everyone in this district. When I joined the Navy, you put the uniform on and you go get the job done. You put your differences aside, and you accomplish the mission. That’s what I plan to do.”

— “Joe Henderson: Scott Franklin’s win in CD 15 was no surprise” via Florida Politics

Congressman Vern Buchanan wins eighth term in CD 16” via Zac Andrson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Buchanan emerged victorious from another bruising election, winning an eighth term in Florida’s 16th Congressional District after defeating Margaret Good by double digits in a contentious and expensive contest between two candidates who trashed each other while preaching comity and bipartisanship. Seen as a rising star among Florida Democrats after she flipped a Sarasota state House seat that President Donald Trump carried, Good gave the GOP congressman from Longboat Key another tough race, raising more than $3.1 million to take him on. But in the end, she fell short by a significant margin, showing Buchanan’s strength as a candidate and the difficulty Democrats have making inroads in a district that has 47,726 more Republicans.

Greg Stuebe wins big in Southwest Florida congressional race” via Bob Sparks of Florida Politics — Rep. Steube officially won a second term with 65% of the vote. The Sarasota Republican defeated Democrat Allen Ellison in Florida’s 17th Congressional District. The victory was expected in a heartland district peppered with signs promoting Steube and Trump. This was a rematch of sorts, though it marked Ellison’s first appearance on a physical ballot. Ellison served as the replacement nominee in 2018 for April Freeman, who died shortly before the election. He secured the Democratic nomination without opposition this year. 

Greg Steube notched a solid win for a second term in Congress.

Byron Donalds officially heading to Washington after CD 19 victory” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Donalds is officially headed to Washington. The state lawmaker won an open seat in Florida’s 19th Congressional District over Democrat Cindy Banyai. Donalds was the heavy favorite in the deep-red district. Early in the night, he led his opponent with 58.25% of the vote in Lee County and 63.8% of the vote in Collier. “Huge victory tonight!,” Donalds tweeted. “I’m truly humbled and honored. Big thank you to my family, #TeamDonalds and our hardworking volunteers that knocked doors, waved signs and made calls to ensure Southwest Florida had a proven Conservative. I look forward to serving you in Washington!”

South Florida Dems cruise to reelection in safe Congressional seats” via Bob Sparks of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach, the delegation’s longest-serving member as well as its co-chair, is returning for a 15th term in CD 20 after a blowout victory over Republican Greg Musselwhite. In CD 22, veteran Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton was rewarded with another term in the House after rolling to an easy win over Republican James Pruden. Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston returns to Washington after a big victory over Republican Carla Spalding in CD 23. And CD 24 has reelected Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens for a sixth term.

Lois Frankel swats off challenge from provocateur Laura Loomer” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Frankel easily defeated her internet provocateur Loomer in a race that drew national attention mostly thanks to the Republican candidate’s history of hateful commentary. Voters followed Twitter, Facebook and Uber in denying Loomer a platform for her rhetoric. With all early and vote-by-mail ballots in and 16 of 411 precincts counted, Frankel won 64% of the vote to Loomer’s 35%, crushing her nearly two-to-one. The outcome of the race should surprise no one. A St. Pete Polls survey of likely voters in CD 21, commissioned by Florida Politics, found Frankel ahead 61% to 33%, with independent Charleston Malkemus pulling in 2%.

Carlos Giménez defeats Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Florida’s 26th Congressional District” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Republican Miami-Dade Mayor Giménez defeated Democratic Rep. Mucarsel-Powell in Florida’s 26th Congressional District on Tuesday night, a major victory for the GOP in Florida’s most competitive U.S. House race. Gimenez, who was endorsed by Trump, will head to Washington after winning his first partisan race in a political career that dates back to 2004. Gimenez’s victory shows that Republicans still have a strong base of voters in Miami’s western and southern suburbs. “When I first ran for Mayor, they didn’t think I was going to win that, too,” Gimenez said. “I promise you I’ll be a much more effective congressperson and reach across the aisle. I won’t be as partisan as my predecessor.”

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has lost to former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez. Image via AP.

Congressional Leadership Fund statement on Giménez’s victory” via the Congressional Leadership Fund — Congressional Leadership Fund released the following statement on the election results in Florida’s 26th Congressional District. “South Florida is tired of the dysfunction in Washington and tonight they elected the perfect man in Giménez to bring people together and get the job done,” said CLF President Dan Conston. “A Cuban immigrant, former firefighter and successful Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Mayor Gimenez knows just what it takes to clean up Washington, rebuild our economy, and fight for middle-class families.” Congressional Leadership Fund spent more than $4.1 million on TV and digital advertising in support of Gimenez.

— SENATE CAMPAIGNS —

Republicans keep edge in Senate” via Jim Turner of The News Service of Florida — Republicans appeared set to retain, maybe even grow, their majority in the state Senate as lawmakers head toward two years of grappling with a coronavirus-damaged budget and redrawing political boundaries. Sen. José Javier Rodriguez was down by a handful of votes as he tried to fend off a challenge from Republican Ileana Garcia in Miami-Dade County’ Senate District 37. But no other seats were on the verge of flipping. “Floridians cast their ballots in record numbers, making their voices heard up and down the ballot across the state,” incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson, said in a statement

Loranne Ausley fends off Marva Preston in SD 3” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Senate District 3 will remain blue for at least another four years. The historically left-leaning district on Tuesday elected Ausley over GOP newcomer Marva Preston. “My family and I spent the last day of the campaign together touring this beautifully diverse 11-county district,” Ausley said in a statement. “Having spent my life in the Big Bend, it is truly an honor that the citizens of Senate District 3 have put their trust in me to serve as their next Senator.” Preston is a Crawfordville native and retired police officer. As a candidate who’s never held an elected office, her campaign focused on a “history of service,” which included time as a homicide detective, public investigator, and an ordained minister.

Loranne Ausley has defeated GOP newcomer Marva Preston.

Randolph Bracy, Linda Stewart, Victor Torres win Senate reelection” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Orange County Democratic Sens. Bracy, Stewart, and Torres were easily reelected Tuesday, sending the trio back to Tallahassee for second full terms. Bracy, of Ocoee, defeated Joshua Adams of Winter Park by an unofficial early vote tally of 65% to 35%. Stewart, of Orlando, defeated Josh Anderson of Orlando by an unofficial early vote tally of 61% to 39%. Torres, of Orlando, defeated Lou Minnis of Gotha by an unofficial early vote of tally 56% to 41%, with independent candidate Mike James taking 3%. There was little suspense in any of the contests as all three districts give Democrats significant advantages in voter registration and none of the Republicans put up robust campaigns.

Brevard County Republicans hold Senate, House seats” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican Sen. Debbie Mayfield and Republican Reps. Tyler Sirois, Thad Altman, and Randy Fine coasted to reelections in Brevard County. The Republican sweep again thwarted Democrats’ hopes that they might make inroads in Brevard, once a county that had been shading purple but which has moved back toward deep red. Mayfield, of Indialantic, won a second term representing Senate District 17 covering southern Brevard and northern Indian River County, by defeating Scot Fretwell of Vero Beach. There also was an independent candidate in the contest, Phillip Snyder of Palm Bay. Unofficial early voting results showed Mayfield with 61%, Fretwell with 36%, and Snyder with 3%.

Danny Burgess bests Kathy Lewis for SD 20” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Republican Burgess beat Democrat Lewis in the state’s only Special Election this year in Senate District 20. Burgess earned 65% of the Polk County vote and 59% of the Pasco County vote, while Lewis raked in about 51% of Hillsborough County, according to unofficial early results. That amounts to a 55%-45% lead overall. The race between the two came to be after the early resignation of Sen. Tom Lee. The seat was not supposed to be up for election until 2022.

Southwest Florida returns Republican legislators to Tallahassee” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Southwest Florida voters returned a number of Republican incumbents to Tallahassee and added a few new members to its delegation. A couple of well-known Republicans will arrive with new titles. Rep. Ray Rodrigues bested Democrat Rachel Brown in SD 27. And former Rep. Jim Boyd also won a Senate seat against Democrat Anthony Eldon. He will represent SD 21. Most of the new faces for the region hail from Lee County, where term limits turned over most of the delegation. Republican Adam Botana prevailed in HD 72 Republican Mike Giallombardo will represent HD 77. Fort Myers Republican Jenna Persons will represent HD 78. And Naples Republican Lauren Melo will take over HD 80.

Ray Rodrigues is on his way to the Senate.

Lori Berman, Shevrin Jones, Tina Polsky clinch Senate wins Tuesday” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Polsky will take over SD 29 outgoing Democratic Sen. Kevin Rader. With 44% of precincts reporting, Polsky led Republican candidate Brian Norton 58%-42%. In SD 31, Democratic Sen. Berman is securing reelection with a win over Republican challenger Tami Donnally. With 34% of precincts reporting, Berman is besting Donnally 65%-35%. And in SD 35, Democratic Rep. Jones is moving on to the Senate after eight years in the House. With 18% of precincts reporting, Jones is securing 97% of the vote against write-in candidate Darien Hill.

SD 37 race between Sen. José Javier Rodríguez and Ileana Garcia headed to a recount” via Ryan Nichol of Florida Politics — The race for Senate District 37 looks to be in recount territory as votes continue to be tallied. The race features Republican Garcia competing against Democratic Sen. Rodríguez. According to Tuesday’s unofficial results, Garcia leads Rodríguez 48.53%, 104,533 votes, to 48.52%, 104,512 votes. That is right around the 0.5 percentage point window to trigger an automatic recount. As of the latest numbers, Garcia leads Sen. Rodríguez by just 21votes out of 215,411 cast. Nonparty affiliated candidate Alex Rodriguez secured 2.96% of the vote, 6,366 votes. Senate Republicans hoped Garcia could put the Senate District 37 seat in play, as the GOP was playing defense in other high-profile Senate races. They got their wish.

Republican Ana Maria Rodriguez prevails in hotly-contested SD 39 race” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican Rep. Rodriguez is moving onto the Senate after topping Democratic Rep. Javier Fernández in the race for Senate District 39. With 29% of precincts reporting, Rodriguez secured 55% of the vote compared to 43% for Fernández. Nonparty affiliated candidate Celso Alfonso earned just 2%. Fernández conceded Tuesday night. “Even though I am disappointed in tonight’s results, I am buoyed by the knowledge that we ran a campaign we could be proud of that focused on the problems facing the people of South Florida,” Fernández said.

— HOUSE CAMPAIGNS — PART 1 —

Democrats suffer stinging defeats in FL state House races” via Ana Ceballos, Bianca Padro Ocasio, Samantha J. Gross and David Goodhue of the Miami Herald — Florida Democrats suffered stinging defeats Tuesday night, as Republicans trounced them in contested races that solidified the long-standing GOP majority in the Florida House. Republicans blocked Democrats from making any gains in the chamber despite investing $1.8 million to target voters with no party affiliation over the course of the election cycle and having outside progressive groups flood key races with millions of dollars that put the GOP on defense in areas across the state, including Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In South Florida, Democrats were unable to flip any competitive seats and appeared to be on the verge of losing two seats to Republicans by late Tuesday night. Overall, Democrats had a significantly weaker showing than in the 2018 midterms.

Republican Wyman Duggan headed to another term in Democratic-plurality HD 15” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — In the most purple district in Northeast Florida, the November election between Duggan and Democratic challenger Tammyette Thomas promised to be a photo finish. But ultimately it looks to be the incumbent’s night, despite a D+3 lean in the district that made Republicans nervous going into Election Day. With 37 of 39 precincts counted, Duggan is up by 8%, drawing more than 53% of the vote, and continuing a strong night for Republicans in the state. A late St. Pete Polls survey of the district showing Duggan up 10 suggested headwinds for Thomas, but she was able to keep it close.

Wyman Duggan is taking another term in Tallahassee.

Elizabeth Fetterhoff defends HD 26 in rematch with Patrick Henry” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Round Two goes to Fetterhoff. The DeLand Republican defeated Democrat Henry, and this time by a sizable enough margin to avoid a recount. With 32 of 39 precincts and all early and mail ballots counted, she led the former House Representative with 52.6% of the vote. Henry held the seat for two years after winning in 2016 but lost to Fetterhoff in 2018 by 61 votes. He suggested before the election if the seat stays red this year, it could be redrawn so that no Democrat can win in 2022. With redistricting on the agenda in 2021, the next legislative class will decide if HD 26 remains a swing district or gets reshaped to benefit one party or the other.

David Smith holds on to win HD 28” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican Rep. Smith survived a strong challenge and an apparent blue wave in Seminole County Tuesday to win a second term representing House District 28. Smith, a consultant and retired Marine colonel from Winter Springs, defeated Democratic nonprofit executive Pasha Baker of Sanford. Unofficial early results show Smith with 52% of the vote and Baker with 46%. The victory comes despite a surge in Democratic voting in other contests across Seminole County, and a concerted effort by several outside groups to help flip legislative districts throughout the county. Baker provided strong opposition, a businessperson with deep ties in Sanford, particularly in the African American community there, and prior experience running for Sanford Mayor.

Scott Plakon overcomes Tracey Kagan to win HD 29” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — In one of the more bruising battles in Florida, Republican Rep. Plakon has held off Kagan to win reelection in House District 29 in Seminole County. In unofficial results, Plakon, a Lake Mary publisher, defeated Kagan, a Longwood criminal defense lawyer, by a vote of 51% to 47%. Independent candidate, Juan Rodriguez of Lake Mary, peeled off 3%. Plakon won by more votes than Rodriguez received, so his candidacy could not have changed the outcome of the election. This election was a rematch of their 2018 contest. Plakon improved on the 51% to 49% victory margin he had that year.

Joy Goff-Marcil wins rematch with Bob Cortes in HD 30” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Goff-Marcil proved that her 2018 upset of Republican Rep. Cortes was no fluke. Goff-Marcil did it again, winning reelection in House District 30 by defeating Cortes, 53% to 47% according to unofficial early returns. The victory was a rebuke of Republicans’ efforts in HD 30, as Cortes had looked like a solid reelection candidate the first time, and was determined to make a comeback this time. HD 30 represents a narrow swath of north-central Orange and south-central Seminole counties, including parts of Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Maitland, Eatonville, and Winter Park. Goff-Marcil won majorities in both counties, taking 56% in Orange and 52% in Seminole.

Fred Hawkins Jr. wins open seat in HD 42” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Longtime Osceola County Commissioner Hawkins Jr. overcame a midyear arrest and challenges of his record from his Democratic opponent to win House District 42 in a tight, hotly contested election Tuesday. In unofficial results, Hawkins, a St. Cloud business owner, overcame Lake Wales community activist and consultant Barbara Cady by a vote of 47% to 46%, with independent candidate Leroy Sanchez pulling 7%. The win keeps the seat in Republican hands. The district covers much of Osceola County and parts of eastern Polk County.

Geraldine Thompson squeaks out reelection in HD 44” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Thompson, of Orlando, defeated Republican business owner Bruno Portigliatti, 52% to 48%, based on unofficial early returns. The victory gives Thompson a second term in HD 44, after she had previously served in HD 39 and then in the Senate. Tuesday’s election was another setback for Orange County Republicans, who saw in Portigliatti a candidate who appealed to more of the party base than Rep. Bobby Olszewski had. Thompson ousted Olszewski to flip the seat in 2018. Portigliatti had tried to paint Thompson as a career politician, but she made that work somehow. While insisting she’s also a businessperson, Thompson maintained she has the skills to speak to voters from either end of the district’s economic spectrum.

Geraldine Thompson squeaks out a win in HD 44.

Daisy Morales keeps HD 48 in Democrats’ hands” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Morales has won the open seat for Orange County’s House District 48, while incumbents held onto Orange County-based House seats in adjacent House Districts 47, 49, and 50. Morales, a Supervisor on the Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District, defeated Republican business owner Jesus Martinez by an unofficial early vote tally of 65% to 35% in HD 48, in southeastern Orange County. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani won a second term by defeating Republican challenger Jeremy Sisson in HD 47 in central and eastern Orange County, by an unofficial early vote tally of 59% to 41%. 

Andrew Learned keeps HD 59 blue with win over Michael Owen” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Democrats will hold onto Florida House District 59 after a fierce battle in an open race. Learned earned 51% of the vote to Republican Owen‘s 49% with 45 of 47 precincts in Hillsborough County, which entirely encompasses the district, reporting. Both candidates had crossover appeal in the Hillsborough seat that swung to Democrats just two years ago. The district is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Adam Hattersley, who vacated it to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, who he replaced in HD 59 in 2018. Hattersley subsequently lost the Democratic primary to Alan Cohn.

Jackie Toledo will keep HD 60 seat, bests Julie Jenkins” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Republican incumbent Toledo will keep House District 60 after besting Democrat Jenkins. Toledo raked in 54% of the vote, while Jenkins received 46%. This win comes even though polls predicted a victory for Jenkins, according to a survey of HD 60 voters from St. Pete Polls released Monday. Although Toledo had a significant lead in campaign funding — raking in $541,140 since the start of her campaign — Jenkins reported significant individual contributions, giving credence to her grassroots campaign.

Traci Koster leads in Florida House District 64 race” via Malena Carollo of the Tampa Bay Times — First-time Republican candidate Koster widened her early lead over Democratic opponent Jessica Harrington in the race for the Florida House District 64 seat. Koster had 54% of votes as of 8:15 p.m., while Harrington counted 46%. All Hillsborough County precincts had reported, as did 97% of Pinellas County precincts. Neither candidate returned multiple requests for comment. The seat, which covers much of northwest Hillsborough County and runs from the Veterans Expressway west to McMullen Booth Road in Pinellas County, was previously held by Republican Jamie Grant, who withdrew from the race to take the state’s chief information officer position.

— HOUSE CAMPAIGNS — PART 2 —

Chris Latvala keeps HD 67 seat” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Latvala will keep his seat in House District 67 after a difficult campaign season health-wise. Latvala took the race easily, earning 57.06% of the votes from the Pinellas County district. His Democratic opponent, Dawn Douglas, mustered 42.94% of the vote. In a statement on his win posted to the incumbent’s Facebook page, Latvala said: ”To the Constituents of House District 67 — Thank you for electing me as your State Representative once again. I will work hard my final 2 years in the House to make you proud.” The two candidates went head-to-head once before in 2018 when Latvala won with 54% of the vote to Douglas’ 46%, a margin of about 4,900 votes. The district is an even split between parties, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats by just a couple of hundred voters.

Chris Latvala gets to keep his seat.

Jennifer Webb suffers blistering loss against Republican Linda Chaney” via Kate Bradshaw of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Webb will, apparently, not be serving a second term. With 92% of precincts reporting, Webb secured just 48% of the vote to GOP challenger Linda Chaney‘s 52%. Going into Election Night, Webb took nothing for granted — despite dramatic polling and fundraising leads or the seemingly paltry campaign coffers of her opponent, a former St. Pete Beach City Commissioner. That’s because, in Florida politics, there’s always more to the story — especially in swing districts like hers, Florida’s 69th House District, which mainly covers coastal areas of Pinellas County. She was right to not claim early victory, suffering a scorching loss as Republicans throughout Pinellas County overperformed Tuesday night.

Fiona McFarland defeats Drake Buckman, flips HD 72 red” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Republican McFarland won a close election in House District 72, delivering a battleground win for Republicans. She defeated Democrat Buckman who raised significantly more in the race. The district went for Republicans as recently as 2016, but flipped blue in a Special Election and has stayed that way. With unofficial final results in, McFarland led with 54.67% of the vote to Buckman’s 45.33%. In the final stretch of the race, Buckman had more cash left in the bank, but had spent far less along the way. Financial reports through Oct. 29 showed McFarland with around $22,443 in cash on hand to the Democrat’s $52,224.

Dana Trabulsy unseats Delores Hogan Johnson in HD 84” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Republicans finally flipped House District 84 as Trabulsy unseated Democratic Rep. Hogan Johnson. That’s a crummy birthday present for the incumbent but good news for the Republican majority in Tallahassee. With all precincts counted, unofficial early results showed Trabulsy winning with 45,522 votes to Hogan Johnson’s 40,398. That means the Republican won with just shy of 53% of the vote. Hogan Johnson first won this seat in 2018 after fending off Republican Mark Gotz, but by just 1,880 votes out of 65,724 cast. This year, Trabulsy emerged from a party primary to take on the incumbent, with the state party determined to flip the seat red.

Mike Caruso wins again in HD 89 rematch” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican Rep. Caruso is headed for a second term in the House after topping Democratic candidate Jim Bonfiglio in House District 89. With 84% of precincts reporting, Caruso led Bonfiglio 55%-45%. Polling, fundraising and voter registration data all pointed to a close race in HD 89, the district which houses Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Residents also expected a nail-biter just by looking at the most recent election in the district, which runs up the coast of Palm Beach County. In 2018, the race was one of several in the state to head to a mandatory recount. After all the ballots were tallied, Caruso escaped over Bonfiglio by just 32 votes out of more than 78,000 votes cast.

Chip LaMarca retains HD 93 seat with win over Linda Thompson Gonzalez” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican Rep. LaMarca is headed for a second term in the House as he held off Democrat Thompson Gonzalez in House District 93. With 93% of precincts reporting, LaMarca led Thompson Gonzalez 55%-45%. Broward County’s reputation as a deep-blue county is certainly warranted. It’s arguably the most Democratic-leaning of all large counties in the state. Amid that sea of blue though sits HD 93. House District 105, which extends upward from Miami-Dade County into Broward, is also represented by a Republican. But LaMarca’s district is the only House district fully contained inside Broward to be served by a Republican.

David Borrero holds open HD 105 seat for Republicans” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — After Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez vacated the House District 105 seat to run for the Senate, Borrero held the seat for the GOP with a win over Maureen Porras. With 96% of precincts reporting, Borrero is ahead of Porras by a 54%-46% margin. Rodriguez secured the House District 105 seat in 2018, topping Democrat Javier Estevez in an open contest by just 417 votes. Borrero and Porras faced primary fights before securing their respective nominations in the race. Borrero is a Sweetwater City Commissioner while Porras works as an immigration lawyer. The district spans Broward and Miami-Dade counties and stretches all the way across the state to the West Coast, encompassing parts of Collier County as well.

David Borrero keeps HD 105 in Republican hands. 

Republicans hold House Speaker’s seat with Alex Rizo win in HD 110” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief Tuesday night as Rizo topped Democratic candidate Annette Collazo in the race for House Speaker José Oliva‘s seat in House District 110. With 100% of precincts reporting, Rizo is ahead of Collazo 60%-40%. Both candidates have a background in public education. Collazo is a teacher who earned an economics degree from Florida International University. Rizo is a former teacher who served as an administrator in the Miami-Dade Public Schools system. Collazo was quick to catch up in the money game thanks to a surge of out-of-state donations.

Vance Aloupis secures second term in HD 115” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Aloupis staved off Democrat Franccesca Cesti-Browne, keeping Miami-Dade’s House District 115 in Republican control. With 58 of 59 precincts reporting, Aloupis is leading with 57% of the vote to Cesti-Browne’s 43%, a margin of about 12,000 votes. HD 115 produced one of the closest results in the House two years ago, with Aloupis taking over the seat from term-limited Republican Michael Bileca with a 1-point victory over Democrat Jeffrey Solomon, which equated to about 600 votes. In 2020, the competition was just as fierce, with Cesti-Browne raising $256,000 as of Oct. 29. That’s still well short of the $470,000 raised by Aloupis, though it is more than double the $110,000 Solomon recorded in 2018.

Republican Anthony Rodriguez repeats victory in HD 118” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Republican Rep. Rodriguez defeated Democrat Ricky Junquera, giving him a second term serving House District 118. With 60% of precincts reporting, Rodriguez is topping Junquera 60%-40%. Democrats and Republicans have wrestled over the House District 18 seat since Frank Artiles ditched it for a 2016 Senate run. Artiles, a Republican, left the seat open in 2016, allowing Democratic candidate Robert Asencio to turn the seat blue in a race that went to a recount. That swap was short-lived, however, as it reverted to Republican control in 2018. Rodriguez ousted Asencio by 2 percentage points.

Anthony Rodriguez grabs another victory in HD 118.

The best of the rest: A rundown of House undercards in Tampa Bay and South Florida” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — The race between Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew and Democrat Jared West played out as expected, with Killebrew earning his third term in office by a comfortable margin. Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure held on to Hillsborough-based HD 58, earning 56% of the vote in a head-to-head with Democrat CL Townsend with all precincts reporting. Republican Rep. Rick Roth will get a third term representing Palm Beach County’s House District 85. Republican Demi Busatta Cabrera flipped House District 114 after four years of Democratic control. Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin has secured a second term representing Miami-Dade’s House District 119.

Republican Jim Mooney succeeds Holly Raschein in HD 120” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Mooney has held the House District 120 seat for Republicans after defeating Democrat Clint Barras. With 92% of precincts reporting, Mooney is topping Barras 55%-45%. Mooney was the hand-picked successor of choice for outgoing Rep. Raschein. Raschein endorsed Mooney in May, months before the August Republican primary. Raschein selected Mooney among a field of three GOP candidates. Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, whose Senate District 39 covers much of the same territory as HD 120, also backed Mooney. He eventually secured the Republican nomination in a razor-thin race. Barras is the vice president of business development for Two Oceans Digital. He’s also served as vice-chair of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

— DOWN BALLOT —

Miami-Dade has elected its first woman as county Mayor: Daniella Levine Cava” via Douglas Hanks and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Levine Cava was elected Miami-Dade Mayor on Tuesday, the first woman to win the office and the victor in a campaign that upended the power of demographics in favor of partisan loyalty in a county where Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans. She’s the first candidate without Hispanic roots to win a county mayoral race since the early 1990s and the first Democrat since 2000. In two weeks, she replaces the current term-limited Mayor, Giménez, who has held the post for nine years. The county commissioner from South Miami-Dade positioned herself as her party’s choice in the officially nonpartisan contest against fellow commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo Jr., a Cuban American Republican who embraced Trump.

Daniella Levine Cava makes history as the first woman elected Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Image via Twitter.

Fort Lauderdale keeps Dean Trantalis as Mayor, Steve Glassman as Commissioner” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Mayor Trantalis easily won reelection despite a spirited challenge from attorney Ken Cooper, who blamed him for everything from traffic gridlock to a series of embarrassing sewage spills. In turn, Trantalis knocked Cooper for not paying his property taxes in a timely fashion. In District 2, incumbent Glassman trounced Kyle Gibson, a pastor at the African Methodist Episcopal Church who ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2014 and 2018 and for the Florida House in 1996.

Ric Bradshaw wins fifth term as Palm Beach County sheriff” via Eileen Kelley of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Sheriff Bradshaw won a fifth term in office Tuesday, opening the door for him to become the longest-serving sheriff in Palm Beach County’s history. Through his campaign, Bradshaw touted his decades of law enforcement experience, 15 of those years as sheriff. The 72-year-old Democrat defeated Republican challenger Lauro Diaz. Bradshaw said the win was really a win for the men and women who are served by the Sheriff’s Office. He said he was happy that he will continue to be sheriff for another four years and to surround himself with the men and women who put on the uniform each day.

Wife of Parkland shooting victim joins school board, plus other Broward election results” via Carli Teproff of the Miami Herald — Broward’s school board will now have a second member who lost a loved one in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Debra Hixon, whose husband, Chris, was killed, held a solid lead Tuesday night over opponent Jeff Holness. She will now join Lori Alhadeff, who lost her daughter Alyssa in the shooting, on the nine-member board. Also, Democrat Harold Fernandez Pryor, who worked as a prosecutor before leaving for private practice, held a hefty lead in the state attorney seat as of Tuesday night over Republican challenger Gregg Rossman. Gordon Weekes was a shoo-in for the public defender’s seat, only facing a write-in candidate in Tuesday’s election.

With COVID-19 at issue, Dave Kerner reelected to Palm Beach County Commission” via Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In a vote of approval for his guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kerner was reelected for a second term on the Palm Beach County Commission. Kerner, a Democrat who also serves as county mayor, retained the District 3 seat by defeating Republican Jonathan Maples and write-in candidate Maria Garcia. District 3 includes parts of Boynton Beach and Lake Worth Beach. In 2016, Kerner won 70% of the vote in the District 3 race. He lagged behind those numbers this year, coming in at 60%.

Republican incumbents sweep Pinellas constitutional office races’” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Incumbents, all Republicans, won the day in Pinellas County constitutional office races with the Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections all emerging victorious Tuesday night. Republican Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus bested her Democratic challenger, Dan Helm, with 57% to 43% of the vote, based on early vote counts and 65% of precincts reporting. DeSantis appointed Marcus, the former chief deputy supervisor, in May to replace Deborah Clark who announced she was retiring earlier this year. The race was the tightest of three constitutional offices on the General Election ballot this year. Marcus raised more than $135,000 while Helm brought in just shy of $98,000.

Democrats win 5-3 majority on Hillsborough County Commission after Pat Kemp, Harry Cohen victories” via Kate Bradshaw of Florida Politics — The partisan makeup of the Hillsborough County Commission will shift to 5-2 for Democrats after Hillsborough County Commissioner Kemp defeated fellow Commissioner Sandra Murman Tuesday night in the countywide District 6 race. With all precincts reporting, Kemp won with 53% of the vote. That victory, paired with Democrats Cohen and Gwen Myers winning in Districts 1 and 3, respectively by 51% to 49% and 72% to 28% margins, gives Democrats one more seat on the dais. Their majority is currently 4-3, but Murman’s seat will shift to Democratic control. Both listed the ongoing pandemic as their top concern at the moment (and both said science should factor into actions).

Lynn Gray only incumbent to survive Hillsborough School Board purge” via Kate Bradshaw of Florida Politics — By a 54% to 46% margin, incumbent board member Gray defeated former board member Sally Harris in the race for the District 7 seat on the Hillsborough County School Board. This is a countywide seat for which Gray sought a second term. Harris was a member of the school board from 2014 to 2018. It’s been a tough year for Hillsborough School Board incumbents. None of the three running for reelection in 2020 received the 50% primary threshold vote that would have prevented a runoff, and Gray was the only incumbent to prevail Tuesday, as Tammy Shamburger and Steve Cona were given the boot.

Lynn Gray is the only incumbent to survive a purge of the Hillsborough County School Board.

Monique Worrell claims State Attorney’s Office in Orlando” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — In 2016 Aramis Ayala came out of nowhere with big outside money to win a stunning upset for the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando, becoming the first Black State Attorney in Florida’s history, the first true progressive in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, and a highly controversial reformer. History is repeating. Worrell, with her progressive, reformer platform, strong rhetoric, assertive demeanor, and widespread street credibility, may make many of Ayala’s critics miss her. Worrell, a former law professor and criminal justice reform crusader, completed her stunning rise from relative obscurity Tuesday by defeating her last remaining opponent, independent candidate Jose Torroella by 66% to 34%, in unofficial early tabulations of the two-county vote.

Orange County voters put environmental protections into charter” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Orange County overwhelmingly putting two strong and controversial environmental protections into the county charter. Voters approved Question 1 by an unofficial early vote tally of 89% for and 1% against. That creates an Orange County Charter amendment to prohibit pollution of the Wekiva River, the Econlockhatchee River, and all other natural waters of Orange County. Voters also approved Question 2 by an unofficial early vote tally of 86% for and 14% against. That creates an Orange County Charter amendment protecting the Split Oak Forest from being degraded by any actions of the Orange County Commission.

Ed Brodsky reelected as 12th Circuit State Attorney” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — State Attorney Brodsky won reelection in Florida’s 12th Judicial Circuit. It brings to a close an eventful political season for the Sarasota Republican where he faced challenges from ex-employees from the right and the left. On Tuesday, he beat Democrat Betsy Young soundly. With all of Sarasota County precincts, most of Manatee and the early and vote-by-mail reported in rural DeSoto, Brodsky led with 279,995 votes to Young’s 199,623. “It’s been my absolute honor to serve as State Attorney and I am steadfast in my commitment to seeking to enhance public safety in our community every day,” Brodsky said.

Duval County Schools Sales Tax: Officials celebrate sweeping win at River City Brewing watch party” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — With more than 67% of votes in favor, Duval County’s public schools across the county will receive $1.9 billion in public funding for school maintenance and new technology in the form of a half-cent sales tax. School board members, education stakeholders and Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene watched poll numbers stream in at River City Brewing Company in Southbank. “Instructionally, our schools are now an incredible asset to our community, and as we rebuild them structurally, they will be a major economic driver when we need it most,” Superintendent Greene said at the watch party. 

JEA Referendum: Voters approve split between Mayor, City Council in JEA board picks” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — Voters overwhelmingly approved changing Jacksonville’s charter to give the City Council power to appoint four of JEA’s governing board members. The shift weakens the board’s control by the Mayor’s Office, which for generations controlled appointments to the utility, subject to council approval. The change gives council presidents a chance to make lasting impressions on the multibillion-dollar utility, but it won’t be easy for any president to reshape the board in her image. Council picks will be phased in for four-year terms, one per year beginning at the end of February. That’s when veteran JEA member Bobby Stein is scheduled to finish a rump term and Council President Tommy Hazouri will decide whether to reappoint him or choose a successor.

Fort Myers elects Kevin Anderson as Mayor” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Fort Myers City Councilman Anderson bested Dunbar leader Jacquelyn McMiller in the race to succeed Randy Henderson as Mayor. With all precincts tabulated and all votes cast before Election Day in, Anderson led 17,582 to 15,411, or with 53.29% of the vote. The election, prompted by Henderson’s resignation this year to run for Congressends a historic political year in the Lee County seat, months after a bust of Robert E. Lee came down in the city’s downtown. But it will not close with the election of the city’s first Black Mayor, as Democrats had hoped.

Kevin Anderson is moving up from Fort Myers Councilman to Mayor. Image via Facebook.

Incumbent Kurt Browning headed to third term as Pasco superintendent” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — Despite discontent that led two employees to challenge him, Pasco County school superintendent Browning appeared well on his way to a third term in office as vote tallies showed him with a strong lead over challenger Cynthia Thompson. The Republican incumbent led no-party candidate Thompson, a Bayonet Point Middle School graduation enhancement teacher, with 65% of the vote Tuesday with all precincts reporting and some mail ballots still uncounted. Historically, the margins have shifted little from the initial reports in Pasco County’s local races. This year could be different though, given the high use of mail-in ballots, which could be submitted until 7 p.m. and must be verified.

Key Biscayne votes to spend $100 million to protect itself from sea-level rise” via Alex Harris of the Miami Herald — This election season in Key Biscayne, it all came down to a $100 million bond meant to help the vulnerable island community protect sinking property values in the face of rising seas. On election night, voters soundly approved the measure, which some critics called a “blank check.” The island community is particularly vulnerable to the two feet of sea-level rise expected by 2060, as well as storm surge from hurricanes strengthened by climate change. But the main concern in the village is property values. They’ve dropped nearly 5% in three years, and although no one has directly linked it to sea-level rise, multiple studies indicate that climate change risk is affecting property values in Miami-Dade County.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

COVID-19 worsens in Florida, with 4,637 new cases, 56 deaths and more people hospitalized” via Marc Freeman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Florida’s key coronavirus indicators worsened Tuesday with signs the virus is spreading more out of control across the state. According to state health department data, as another 4,637 people tested positive for COVID-19, the seven-day average for new cases (4,341) rose to its highest level since Aug. 20. Hospitalizations for a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 have increased 6.1% in the past week statewide. It’s a nearly 20% increase just in Broward County, which had 251 patients midday Tuesday, up from 210 the previous week.

White House coronavirus task force: Florida now in red zone for rate of new cases” via Naseem S. Miller of the Orlando Sentinel — The rate of new COVID-19 cases in Florida has been increasing steadily week over week since early October, pushing the state into the red zone, according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force report for the fourth week of October. The state currently ranks 31st in the nation for new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. It remained in the yellow zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 5% and 8%, ranking 33rd in the nation. There was a slight increase in test positivity and no decline in week-over-week new hospital admissions, the report said.

Gulf offers break the customers hit by pandemic” via The News Service of Florida — Gulf Power will give a break to some customers who are behind on their electricity bills because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Northwest Florida utility said residential, and small-business customers might be eligible for bill credits up to $200. To qualify, customers would have to pay outstanding balance amounts minus the bill credits. For example, a customer who owed $600 would have to pay $400, with a $200 bill credit making up the remainder, according to an announcement from Gulf. The plan is similar to an effort announced in September by Gulf’s sister utility, Florida Power & Light.

— CORONA NATION —

With winter coming and Donald Trump still in charge, virus experts fear the worst” via Michael Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times — Regardless of the election’s outcome this week, President Trump will be the one steering the country through what is likely to be the darkest and potentially deadliest period of the coronavirus pandemic, and he has largely excluded the nation’s leading health experts from his inner circle. Trump will still have control of the nation’s health apparatus and the bully pulpit that comes with the Oval Office until Jan. 20, as infections approach 100,000 a day and death rates begin to rise as hospitals are strained to their breaking points.

As rich countries hoard potential coronavirus vaccine doses, rest of world could go without” via Emily Rauhala of The Washington Post — Rich countries have already snapped up billions of doses of potential coronavirus vaccines, potentially leaving developing countries without enough supply for years to come, a new study shows. An analysis from researchers at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center found that high- and middle-income countries have already purchased 3.8 billion doses, with options for 5 billion more. As a result, relatively wealthy nations will likely be able to vaccinate their entire populations, with billions of others relegated to the back of the line. People in low-income countries could be waiting until 2024.

NFL could add two more playoff teams if the season is cut short because of the coronavirus” via Mark Maske of The Washington Post — The NFL competition committee is considering proposing a contingency to owners by which two additional teams would qualify for the playoffs if regular-season games are lost to the coronavirus pandemic and can’t be made up, according to two people familiar with the league’s inner workings. If it is enacted, the proposal would have 16 teams qualify for the playoffs this season instead of 14. The contingency is not tied to any specified number of games or weeks of the regular season being lost, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the NFL made no official announcement. Competition committee members spoke Monday by conference call and discussed the proposed resolution. 

The NFL is considering adding two additional teams for the playoffs if regular-season games are lost to the coronavirus. Image via AP.

Cruise lines opt to not sail until 2021” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — Cruise lines have thrown in the towel for 2020. Member companies of lobbying group Cruise Lines International Association, which includes Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and most others, have agreed to continue their voluntary suspension of sailing from U.S. ports until 2021. While the lines are no longer under the no-sail order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many lines now fall under a new “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order” issued by the CDC on Oct. 31.

How Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be different in 2020 due to COVID-19” via Alex Biese of USA Today — The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade celebration is still happening this year. But, like pretty much every other tradition and institution that has continued in 2020, it will look and feel a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air from 9 a.m. to noon ET Thursday, Nov. 26, on NBC. While the festivities have historically drawn massive crowds to Manhattan’s streets, this year, all activity will be focused on the Herald Square area of Midtown, and the only way to watch will be on television. “For New Yorkers who typically see it live and in person, this change for them is that they are going to experience it the same way the rest of the country experiences it,” said Susan Tercero, the parade’s executive producer.

— STATEWIDE —

Judge says schools should be blocked from vouchers” via News Service of Florida — An administrative law judge Tuesday recommended that the state bar two Orlando private schools from voucher programs after the schools employed an administrator who could not pass a background screening. Judge Hetal Desai issued a 24-page recommended order that said the Lion of Judah Academy, which operates two campuses, should be prevented from taking part in the programs. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued administrative complaints against the schools this year after the Department of Education found out that an administrator, Lorene Walker, had pleaded no contest to a 1994 felony drug charge that prevented her from passing the background screening.

Richard Corcoran is withholding vouchers for a school that hired a staffer who could not pass a background check.

Hurricane Eta could threaten Florida” via News Service of Florida — Residents of southern Florida are being advised to keep an eye on Hurricane Eta, which on Tuesday evening was making landfall along the coast of Nicaragua. The National Hurricane Center projected Eta will reemerge in the Caribbean Sea before heading north toward Cuba and potentially affecting Florida over the weekend as a tropical storm. “While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, magnitude, and location of possible impacts from wind and rainfall, interests in Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys should monitor the progress of Eta through the week,” the National Hurricane Center said at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The track of the storm put South Florida in the middle of the forecast cone on Sunday afternoon.

Ashley Moody seeks to scuttle red-light camera case” via The News Service of Florida — Attorney General Moody’s office asked the Florida Supreme Court to reject a case about whether a South Florida city’s red-light camera program violates state traffic laws. Motorist Lee Stein went to the Supreme Court in September after the 3rd District Court of Appeal backed the city of Aventura in the dispute — one of the numerous legal fights in recent years about red-light cameras in the state. A panel of the South Florida appeals court in June overturned a Miami-Dade County judge’s ruling against the city. The dispute stems from Stein receiving a citation for failing to stop at a red light in 2014 and focuses on Aventura’s guidelines in deciding whether to cite motorists based on camera images.

Tampa Electric bills to increase” via News Service of Florida — Pointing primarily to higher costs of natural gas for power plants, Tampa Electric Co. said Tuesday that customer bills will increase in January. The announcement came after the Florida Public Service Commission approved a series of projected costs for the utility, including the costs of fuel. A residential customer who uses 1,000-kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will pay $105.25 starting in January, an increase of $7.56 a month from current bills, according to the company. Utilities use 1,000-kilowatt-hours a month as a common benchmark, though actual customer electricity usage varies. Commercial and industrial customers, whose bills are calculated differently than residential bills, will see increases of between 7% and 11%.

— LOCAL NOTES —

Regulators back TECO solar project” via The News Service of Florida — State regulators approved a plan by Tampa Electric Co. to add a solar-energy project in Polk County, the fourth phase in an effort by the utility to build solar facilities. The Florida Public Service Commission signed off on what is known as the Durrance solar project, which is slated for 463 acres of agricultural land in Polk County. Tampa Electric in 2017 reached a base-rate agreement that allowed it to return to the Public Service Commission to seek approval to recover costs from customers for four phases of solar-energy projects. The Durrance project is the fourth phase and is expected to cost $68.6 million for 45.7 megawatts of solar-energy capacity, a Public Service Commission staff recommendation said.

— TOP OPINION —

The presidency has come to occupy too much space in the American psyche” via David Von Drehle of The Washington Post — Maybe Election Day is the worst possible day to write this. Maybe it’s the best day. President of the United States is a big job for sure, an important job. But if you take the idea of self-government at all seriously, the job of citizen is big and important, too. By allowing the presidency to consume so much of our mental bandwidth — head of state, chief executive, national mascot, social media star, celebrity in chief, team captain of a political faction, field marshal in the culture wars and executive producer of the national conversation — we haven’t left much room for our own initiative. There is more to the job of citizen than simply to cast a vote every four years.

— OPINIONS —

The election has actually been the most normal thing about 2020” via David Byler of The Washington Post — In these strange times, four time-tested political patterns have held. First, it’s become clear that not even an event as seismic as the COVID-19 pandemic can break our partisan tribalism. Neither Trump’s failures nor his supposed accomplishments have unsettled the stasis that increasingly defines our politics. Second, even taking the rigidity of the United States’ partisan divide into account, Trump’s attempt to win a second term is a referendum — just like so many other campaigns. Third, though the world has changed since 2016, the underlying contours of the American electoral map haven’t shifted much. Finally, remember: Like many recent races, this contest is still relatively close. We live in an era of tight elections.

Either Trump or Biden will win. But our deepest problems will remain” via Yuval Levin of The New York Times — Even in a time of bitter partisanship, we know we need more than the right person in power. Each party treats the other as a mortal threat to America’s future, and so persuades its voters that electing the wrong president would make things worse. But that doesn’t help us see how to make things much better. If you think our country has bigger problems than just the people you disagree with, then you’re likely to find that they aren’t swept away by an election victory. In fact, these problems now make it difficult for us to have traditional policy arguments.

— ALOE —

Big turkeys could be rare birds at Thanksgiving dinner this year” via Austin Fuller of the Orlando Sentinel — The traditional fat Thanksgiving turkey could become another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic this year. Retail giant Walmart is stocking more turkey breasts as people plan to get together in smaller groups. Shoppers also are expected to hit the stores earlier in November for their holiday dinners to avoid crowds at the grocery store. “This year has brought rapid and constant change in every facet of our daily lives, and we know Thanksgiving celebrations will be no exception,” Jacqui Lyons, a divisional merchandise manager at Walmart, wrote online. “The sprint to Thanksgiving is likely going to be spread over a greater number of days, and the largest turkey in the freezer is less likely to be the star.”

Big turkeys may be in short supply for the holidays.

Disney World teases 15 holiday treats for 2020” via Cortney Moore of Fox News — From Nov. 6 to Dec. 30, Magic Kingdom Park will welcome five menu items. The park’s classic Orange Bird Christmas is making its return, which is made from orange-scented white chocolate mousse and orange curd and will be available for purchase at Sunshine Tree Terrace. However, the rest of the lineup appears to be new, including gingerbread-flavored Chip and Dale Christmas Churros topped with apple pie filling and chocolate chips at Westward Ho and a confetti Christmas tree and Mickey Mouse baked good known as Twice Upon a Cupcake at Main Street Bakery. There will also be a blue sugar cookie-based Let it Snow Taco that’s filled with salted caramel and spiced chocolate mousse.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Celebrating today are lobbyists Robert Beck and Carlos Cruz, Angela Dempsey, former Sen. Steve Geller, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, Jamie Jacobs, and good ol’ Joe Marino.

___

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

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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