Last Call for 5.11.21 — 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

Senate President Wilton Simpson hasn’t launched a campaign for Agriculture Commissioner, but if he does, he has the most coveted endorsement a Florida Republican could want.

Former President Donald Trump issued a statement Tuesday backing Simpson for the Cabinet post currently held by Nikki Fried, a Democrat widely expected to run for Governor.

“Wilton Simpson has done an outstanding job as President of the Florida State Senate, and I hope he runs for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2022 — he will have my Complete and Total Endorsement! Wilton has been a great supporter and worked hard to get many good Conservatives elected in Florida,” Trump wrote. “He helped us grow our Republican majority in the Florida State Senate and gave us a historic win in Florida in the 2020 Presidential Election. Wilton will never let the great people of Florida down!”

Simpson proved to be a deft strategist, helping to build the Republican majority in the Senate to 23-17 in an election cycle where Democrats were expected to wrest a seat or two from GOP control.

In a statement to Florida Politics, Simpson thanked Trump for the endorsement but held off on announcing his plans for 2022, when he will face term limits in the Senate.

“I am grateful to President Trump for this encouragement. Having just completed a very successful Session, I am back home with my family, running my family farm. I have not yet decided whether I will continue to serve our state as an elected official beyond my term as Senate President,” Simpson said.

“If I do run, it would be an honor to represent our farmers who deserve a strong voice in our Government. President Trump has always stood with hardworking blue-collar American workers and generational family farms like mine. It is an honor that he would stand with me should I run for Agriculture Commissioner.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 2,232,820 FL residents (+3,253 since Monday)

— 42,545 Non-FL residents (+10 since Monday)

Origin:

— 17,918 Travel related

— 893,924 Contact with a confirmed case

— 24,295 Both

— 1,296,683 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 92,348 in FL

Deaths:

— 36,547 in FL

Vaccinations:

— 15,863,565 Doses administered

— 9,350,957 Total people vaccinated

— 2,194,160 First dose

— 9,048Completed one-dose series (+9,048 since Monday)

— 6,512,608 Completed two-dose series (+59,694 since Monday)

Evening Reads

To vaccinate younger teens, states and cities look to schools, camps, even beaches” via Abby Goodnough and Jan Hoffman of The New York Times

3 explanations for the vaccine slowdown” via Derek Thompson of The Atlantic

Americans up and moved during the pandemic. Here’s where they went.” via Yan Wu and Luis Melgar of The Wall Street Journal

Interior Department approves first large-scale offshore wind farm in the U.S.” via Joshua Partlow of The Washington Post 

Gas pipeline hack leads to panic buying in the Southeast” via Clifford Krauss and Niraj Chokshi of The New York Times

Gov. Ron DeSantis says federal government needs to ‘step up’ on Texas pipeline cyberattack” via Haley Brown of Florida Politics

DeSantis calls for a ‘normal school year’ in the fall” via Skyler Swisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

NAACP and ACLU add national clout to courtroom fight against FL’s new ‘anti-riot’ law” via Laura Cassels of the Florida Phoenix

 “VISIT FLORIDA backs show to boost Tampa Bay” via Jim Turner of News Service of Florida

DeSantis raises $14 million, then says campaigns are too long” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

DeSantis signs bill expanding private school voucher programs” via Gray Rohrer and Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel

Lawmakers, alumni, school officials back Richard Corcoran for FSU president” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

Corcoran among FSU presidential candidates headed to first-round interviews” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“In my nomination letter, I was referred to as a ‘young John Thrasher,’ a comparison that is an honor and a legacy that I would be proud to carry forward for FSU.” — Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, on his consideration for FSU president.

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