Last Call for 5.3.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is set to make a “major announcement” tomorrow at 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg — possibly his entry into the 2022 race for Governor.

For the past few months, the former Republican Governor and 2014 Democratic nominee has floated the idea of making another run.

Though there have been whispers he’d make another bid for a year or more, the first indication from the man himself came earlier this year.

He’s since ramped up the rhetoric, issuing news releases critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis and controversial legislation championed by Republicans last Session.

Perhaps the most concrete evidence that tomorrow is launch day came last week, when Crist opened a state-level political committee named “Friends of Charlie Crist.”

Though Crist has raised a decent for his reelection campaign in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, he would not be able to use it to run for state office. Likewise, funds raised through his new committee could not be used to run for the U.S. House or U.S. Senate.

If Crist does take the plunge, he’d be the first major Democratic candidate in the race.

He’d likely face Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is also widely expected to run for the job and who has released a string of digital ads slamming DeSantis and the Legislature over medical cannabis policy and the recently signed online sales tax.

Though the Governor’s Mansion has eluded Democrats for two decades now, a gubernatorial campaign may end up being a safer option than reelection for Crist.

His 2020 reelection wasn’t close, per se, but it was closer than it had been in past cycles and CD 13 is also the only Congressional District in Florida rated as evenly divided on the Cook Political Report partisan index — and that’s before the Republican Legislature sets about on redistricting later this year.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 2,203,807 FL residents (+3,012 since Sunday)

— 42,046 Non-FL residents (+63 since Sunday)

Origin:

— 17,611 Travel related

— 879,006 Contact with a confirmed case

— 24,003 Both

— 1,283,187 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 90,889 in FL

Deaths:

— 36,009 in FL

Vaccinations:

— 14,704,166 Doses administered

— 8,915,278 Total people vaccinated

— 2,567,339 First dose

— 559,051 Completed one-dose series (+2,638 since Sunday)

— 5,788,888 Completed two-dose series (+17,005 since Sunday)

Evening Reads

Joe Biden says he will raise refugee cap from 15,000 to 62,500, after widespread criticism for extending Trump-era levels” via Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post

Ron DeSantis signs bill banning vaccine ‘passports,’ suspends local pandemic restrictions” via Allison Ross of the Tampa Bay Times

DeSantis blames vaccine hesitancy on persistent federal mask guidelines” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Millions are saying no to the vaccines. What are they thinking?” via Derek Thompson of The Atlantic

The FDA is set to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those 12-15 years old by early next week.” Noah Weiland, Sharon LaFraniere and Apoorva Mandavilli of The New York Times

Charlie Crist’s bid for Governor faces early threats” via Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

As businesses flock to South Florida, has Fort Lauderdale fallen behind in luring them?” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

American politics now has two big racial divides” via Perry Bacon Jr. of FiveThirtyEight

Florida Republicans rushed to curb mail voting after Trump’s attacks on the practice. Now some fear it could lower GOP turnout.” via Amy Gardner of The Washington Post

Ten dead issues as Legislative Session ended” via Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida

What you need to know about pending changes to Florida insurance laws” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Robert Wexler on shortlist to serve as Biden’s Ambassador to Israel” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

‘Black America’s attorney general’ Ben Crump seems to be everywhere” via The Associated Press

She was supposed to perform in an Epcot show at Disney. Instead, a brain injury upended her life.” via Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel

Bill and Melinda Gates, who run one of the world’s largest philanthropies, plan to divorce after 27 years” via Jay Greene of The Washington Post

First GameStop, now a Jersey delicatessen” via Zach Helfand of The New Yorker

Quote of the Day

“The fact is, we’re no longer in a state of emergency.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, issuing an executive order to suspend local pandemic restrictions.

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