Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.12.21

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Good morning: Here's your first look at the issues behind today's Florida politics.

Good Friday morning.

First in Sunburn — Associated Industries of Florida is announcing Adam Basford will serve as its new vice president of government relations, effective Dec. 1.

“I’m pleased to have Adam joining us to lead AIF’s government relations team,” said Brewster Bevis, president of AIF. “His strong relationships with Florida leaders, deep experience navigating complex policy issues, and understanding of Florida politics will serve AIF and its members well. I look forward to working with him closely as we continue to advocate on behalf of Florida’s business community for policies that will promote job growth and prosperity in our great state.”

Congratulations to Adam Basford, now helping AIF give voice to Florida business.

Basford comes to AIF from the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, where he has worked for the past 17 years. Since 2012, he has held the title of legislative affairs director at FFBF.

In that role, Basford was tasked with lobbying the Legislature on all things agriculture. The diverse industry spans several policy silos, and Basford has found himself lobbying for everything from Hurricane Michael relief to the recently passed “Right to Farm” expansion aimed at curbing lawsuits against ag businesses.

Like the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, AIF advocates for a broad slate of interests. Known as “The Voice of Florida Business” in the Sunshine State, the organization includes members from every corner of the state and every segment of Florida’s private sector.

“I am excited for this opportunity to become a part of the well-respected AIF team, who I have worked closely with for many years,” Basford said. “It has been an honor to advocate on behalf of Florida’s agricultural community, and now I look forward to putting my knowledge and relationships to good use helping to fight for Florida’s job creators.”


First in SunburnA recent polling memo from what is expected to be a hotly-contested Republican primary in Florida’s House District 12 has been obtained by Florida Politics, and former Rep. Lake Ray starts in a solid position facing his main primary opponent, Jessica Baker.

While both candidates are showing strong early fundraising and local support, Ray is up by 18 points in the overall primary for the seat in Duval County currently held by soon-to-be state Sen. Clay Yarborough.

Lake Ray and Jessica Baker could make for a barnburner of a Republican Primary in HD 12.

Cygnal, the nationally-respected polling firm rated #1 in the country for two straight cycles by Nate Silver’s 538 service, noted in a memo, “As there will not be serious primary opponents for (Gov. Ron) DeSantis or (Sen. Marco) Rubio, it is safe to assume that turnout will be low. Therefore, it is important to look at those respondents that are most likely to vote. Ray leads those who have voted in the past four primary elections 44% to 6% and those that voted in the past three of four primary elections 34% to 9%. This can be understood as Ray benefiting from a more engaged and informed electorate that always or almost always votes.”

Baker is relatively unknown, and Lake Ray has room to grow as well. Yarborough endorsed Ray, while Mayor Lenny Curry endorsed Baker, whose husband Tim is a well-known Curry political operative. With both candidates armed to the teeth with cash and endorsements, this will be a very hot primary to watch.

DeSantis has a 91% favorable rating, and Donald Trump has a net favorable rating at plus 77% in the ultrasafe R district, which will be altered in lines but not likely to change in temperament or performance. The poll was conducted Nov. 1-2, 2021, measuring 350 likely voters in the Republican primary with a MOE of +/- 5.18.


Just off embargo Progress Pinellas launches new ad supporting Eric Lynn for CD 13 Progress Pinellas is sponsored by Lynn’s family, friends and supporters to emphasize his long-standing record in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. The group’s first ad, “Hometown Kid” will begin airing Sunday during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. “Eric is running for Congress to fight Republicans’ attacks on us,” the ad says. “Eric is a force and his lifelong roots in St. Pete and Pinellas County are exactly what we need to fight for us in Washington, D.C.,” said Progress Pinellas Board Member Susan Schwartz. In the Democratic Primary, Lynn, a former senior adviser in the Barack Obama administration, faces Reps. Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner-Goolsby.

To view the ad, click on the image below:


First in SunburnShevrin Jones launches Senate reelection bid with ‘Shared Future’ ad — On Friday, Jones announced he will seek another term in Senate District 35. The declaration featured “Our Shared Future” a video highlighting the Miami Gardens Democrat’s commitment to fighting for the issues important to Floridians. “For me, this is deeply personal and about the friends I’ve grown up with, the neighbors I’ve talked to while knocking doors, the small businesses that are the backbone of our communities, and every family in our region,” Jones said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve focused on delivering direct, meaningful impact for our communities. While we have made incredible progress, there is still a lot of work ahead as we recover from the pandemic, safeguard civil rights and our democracy, and look to the future to build pathways to prosperity and opportunity for every Floridian.”

To watch “Our Shared Future,” click on the image below:


Spotted — At the Veterans Day K9s for Warriors Charity Breakfast in Tallahassee DeSantis, Slater Bayliss, Al Cardenas, Cameron Cooper, Rory Diamond, Tom DiGiacomo, Brett Doster, Jamie Grant, Craig Hansen, Rob Johnson, Mike La Rosa, Frank Mayernick, Tony Mendola, Jason Nauman, Casey Reed, Jon Rees, Steve Schale, Stephen Shiver, Craig Smith, Sarah Suskey, and Brett Thompson.

Honoring warriors — both two and four-legged.


Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@GeorgeTakei: If we permit vigilantes to come to tense conflict areas armed with assault-style rifles and to claim self-defense after KILLING people — even though they made themselves willing combatants in the danger zone — God help us all. We will have lost all reason.

@GrayRohrer: Sign of the times for Democrats in Florida: Republican Wilton Simpson just raised more for his Agriculture Commissioner campaign ($1.6 million) last month than all three Dem candidates for Governor raised for their campaigns combined ($1.4 million)

@UnrealZachWard: Yes, I live just north of Tallahassee, so it seems normal and appropriate that I am voting for Congressional candidates that are from downtown Jacksonville.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:


Miami at FSU — 1; Special Session on vaccine mandates begins — 3; ExcelinEd National Summit on Education begins — 6; ‘Hawkeye’ premieres — 12; FSU vs. UF — 15; Florida Chamber 2021 Annual Insurance Summit begins — 19; Jacksonville special election to fill seat vacated by Tommy Hazouri’s death — 25; Steven Spielberg’s ’West Side Story’ premieres — 28; ’Spider-Man: No Way Home’ premieres — 28; ’The Matrix: Resurrections’ released — 40; ’The Book of Boba Fett’ premieres on Disney+ — 47; Private sector employees must be fully vaccinated or tested weekly — 53; CES 2022 begins — 54; NFL season ends — 58; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 60; Florida’s 20th Congressional District Election — 60; Special Elections in Senate District 33, House District 88 & 94 — 60; Florida TaxWatch’s 2022 State of the Taxpayer Day — 61; Joel Coen’s ’The Tragedy of Macbeth’ on Apple TV+ — 63; NFL playoffs begin — 64; XXIV Olympic Winter Games begins — 84; Super Bowl LVI — 93; Daytona 500 — 100; CPAC begins — 104; St. Pete Grand Prix — 105; ‘The Batman’ premieres — 111; ’Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 175; ’Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 196; ’Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 203; ’Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 239; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 250; ’Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 329; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 364; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 367; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 399; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 462; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 623. ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 707; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 987.


Florida redistricting proposals mark ‘a good start,’ says expert” via Andrew Pantazi of The Tributary — The Senate released its first eight drafts, and the first signs are that the maps won’t be the gerrymandered nightmare that fair-districts advocates feared. “This is surprising,” said Michael McDonald, a UF political scientist who specializes in redistricting. “This looks like an attempt to comply with the Fair Districts Amendments while trying to eke out as much advantage as they can. … This isn’t the bloodbath we’re seeing in other states.” The four congressional proposals differ only slightly from each other, and the four state Senate proposals are mostly the same. Redistricting chair Sen. Ray Rodrigues said staff who drew the maps “faithfully adhered to the objective standards that were provided to them by the Senate Committee on Reapportionment.”

Here they are, the first drafts of Florida history.

Princeton gives Florida Senate’s initial redistricting efforts a solid ‘B’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Most pundits agree the first redistricting drafts published in Florida appear less aggressively gerrymandered than some expected. But how fair were the products? The Princeton Gerrymandering Project found when it comes to treating both parties fairly, things appear relatively on track. The Senate Reapportionment Committee staff published its first drafts, with four proposed maps for Florida’s 28 congressional districts and four for the Florida Senate. All eight maps earned a grade of B in terms of partisan fairness, the most prominent grade on the university-issued report card. In all cases, the maps found there was a “slight Republican advantage,” but not one so severe it constituted a poor assessment.

Nonpartisan watchdog group gives good marks to initial redistricting maps — RepresentUs, in partnership with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, scored the four-sets of initial staff-drawn Florida senate and congressional maps — grades range from “C” to “B.” “While these staff-drawn maps still preserve the political interests of the party in power, they are less extreme gerrymanders than we’ve seen in other states. We’ll be watching carefully as partisan politicians get their hands on them,” said senior campaign director Joe Kabourek. “Transparency is also a major concern. The Florida Legislature is not required to hold public hearings or take public comment despite the fact that nearly 80% of Floridians support a transparent process.” View the grades here.

Senate maps put Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch in same congressional district” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Right now, CD 21 includes West Palm Beach and spans south on Florida’s coast to Delray Beach. It’s represented today by Frankel. Deutch represents CD 22, which stretches from Boca Raton down to coastal Fort Lauderdale. Both districts reach inland to around the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. But two plans in the Florida Senate would re-imagine CD 21 and CD 22 as slender, neighboring districts that span greater distances from north to south. CD 21 becomes a complexly inland district stretching from conservative Wellington to liberal Margate. Meanwhile, CD 22 under these drafts would run the coastline from West Palm Beach to the Miami-Dade line. That likely means a change from two solidly Democratic districts to one that’s deeper blue and another that’s more competitive.

Janelle Perez campaign eyes post-redistricting SD 40, leaving Ileana Garcia unopposed in SD 37” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A Nov. 2022 showdown over Senate District 37 between incumbent Republican Sen. Garcia and Democratic challenger Perez may no longer happen if the Florida Legislature approves preliminary state redistricting plans. Garcia would still be running to keep her seat in SD 37, which upon proposed redistricting would shrink to only cover a small portion of Miami-Dade County’s coast, including parts of Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables and Sweetwater. But Perez, who lives in Pinecrest, would instead run to succeed Sen. Annette Taddeo in SD 40, which would move from covering landlocked, unincorporated areas in southwest Miami-Dade to encompassing the coastal cities of Homestead, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami and Key Biscayne.

Janelle Perez is giving Ileana Garcia the side-eye.

Michael Grieco could soon be a Senate candidate following release of Senate redistricting maps — Rep. Grieco tells Florida Politics he is “seriously considering” running for SD 37 after the release of Wednesday’s maps. In each of the four proposed Senate maps, current SD 37 candidate Janelle Perez would instead be placed in Senate District 40. Incumbent SD 37 Sen. Ileana Garcia, a Republican, remains inside her district. But the makeup appears much more friendly to Democrats, leaving open a clear lane for a serious challenge to Garcia. Of course, those proposed maps could still be changed going forward. Still, Grieco plans to make a final decision on the potential jump in “days, not weeks.”

Redistricting proposals would place Polk County in new U.S. House district” via Gary White of The Ledger — Polk County would sit within a single, newly created congressional district under proposed plans released Wednesday afternoon by a Florida Senate committee. The Redistricting Committee revealed four proposed congressional maps, and all four put Polk County inside the new District 28. U.S. House District 15, currently held by Rep. Scott Franklin, a Lakeland Republican, would shrink to cover northeast Hillsborough County. That makes it likely Franklin would run in the new District 28.


As Gov. Ron DeSantis plays hardball on DEP Secretary, 2019 comments signal support for open process” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics+ — DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — two potential General Election opponents in the 2022 gubernatorial race — have gone back and forth over DeSantis’ choice for the new head of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). But a look back at comments made in 2019 gives Fried some support in her push for a more open process — and those comments came from DeSantis himself. DeSantis picked Shawn Hamilton to serve as DEP Secretary. Hamilton has yet to appear before the Cabinet for a public hearing, as stipulated under the 2015 Weidner Settlement Agreement. That settlement, which the state agreed to, required public hearings of certain appointments, regardless of whether the Cabinet had a vote.

Ron DeSantis plays hardball for his DEP pick, despite what he said in 2019.

Florida prisoners ‘inches away’ from emergency release” via Adam Walser of WFTS — A critical staffing shortage within Florida’s state prisons threatens the safety of officers, inmates, and the public. The ABC Action News I-Team uncovered the crisis in corrections is also costing taxpayers millions in overtime, reducing programs to educate, and train inmates. It also may trigger a mass release. A critical staffing shortage within Florida’s state prisons threatens the safety of officers, inmates, and the public. The staffing shortage is triggering the closure of prisons, work camps, and work release centers, forcing the state to pack inmates into hellishly hot facilities, where some have to sleep on floors. Florida lawmakers will return to Tallahassee for the 2022 legislative session with a mandate to fix Florida’s overcrowded, understaffed and dangerous prisons. And while many may think prison reform won’t impact them, they would be wrong.

🚔Two strikes and prison forever: Florida has one of the strictest anti-crime policies in the nation. Not to be outdone by other states passing “three strikes” rules allowing repeat offenders to serve life sentences even for nonviolent crimes, Florida passed a “two strikes” rule. It allows the state to seek the maximum sentence for crimes if the person committed a felony within three years of leaving prison. About 2,100 Florida prisoners serving life sentences without parole are there because of the law. A Marshall Project investigation found the rule has been disproportionately applied to Black felons, who account for 75% of those sentenced under it. Read more about the rule here.

Mystery group behind attack ads in Central Florida Senate race strikes settlement with election officials” via Jason Garcia and Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — The terms of the proposed “consent order” between Stephen Jones, the chair of Floridians for Equality and Justice, and the Florida Elections Commission are confidential for now. The Commission — which is run by a panel appointed by DeSantis — is scheduled to vote on the agreement at its meeting next week and the agreement will become public if it’s approved. Floridians for Equality and Justice surfaced last summer during the Democratic Primary in Senate District 9 in Seminole and Volusia counties. Records show it spent at least $160,000 on ads that included mailers attacking Patricia Sigman, who was widely considered the strongest Democratic contender in the race and promoting a lesser-known challenger as a more-progressive alternative.

Telehealth treatments for injured workers declining in 2021, report shows” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2021, workers’ compensation insurance carriers have paid 29,517 telehealth bills submitted by an array of health care providers authorized to treat injured patients, from medical doctors and advanced registered nurse practitioners to licensed mental health counselors. That’s a near 33% reduction from the 41,090 telehealth workers’ compensation claims that had been submitted during the first nine months of 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In all, by the end of 2020, 64,749 telehealth bills had been filed to workers’ compensation carriers by providers who treated workers injured on the job. And as the number of telehealth claims filed this year has dropped so has the total aggregate amount paid to health care providers.


Rick Roth warns Palm Beach School Board about critical race theory” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Roth came to the Palm Beach County School Board with a question and a warning about an issue that’s roiling school districts across the country. It’s called critical race theory and the West Palm Beach Republican told a joint meeting between the legislative delegation and the School Board Wednesday that he’s hearing concerns it’s happening in the same schools both he and his children call their alma mater. And it’s a concern that might cause an exodus from public schools, he said. Superintendent Mike Burke said the district does not teach critical race theory to Palm Beach County students.

Rick Roth gives Palm Beach County schools an exodus warning.

Anna Eskamani files bill to remove restrictions on how Orange County can spend tourism taxes” via Caroline Glenn of the Orlando Sentinel — When Orange County agreed to give up to $125 million to Universal Orlando to help pay for a new road, county leaders claimed they couldn’t use the millions of dollars they collect each year in hotel taxes for that purpose. Although a 3-year-old state law lets counties spend hotel taxes on road construction, Orange County said their hands were tied by a restriction. Commissioners ended up promising to pay Universal from property taxes and impact fees instead, money that could be spent on other crucial government services. House Bill 6075 filed by state Rep. Eskamani, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House’s tax committee, would repeal that part of the law that kept Orange County from using hotel taxes.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Mario Bailey, Carlos Cruz, Converge Public Strategies: Goodwill Industries of South Florida, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals

Brian Ballard, Adrian Lukis, Monica Rodriguez, Ballard Partners: LifeScience Logistics, Miami Learning Experience School

Matt Bryan, David Daniel, Jeff Hartley, Teye Reeves, Smith Bryan & Myers: Turo

Brooke Evans, The Mayernick Group: Hanley Foundation

Jon Johnson, Darrick McGhee, Johnson & Blanton: Clean Okeechobee Waters Foundation

Jonathan Johnson, Hopping Green & Sams: Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District

Mark Kruse, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Fidelity Information Services

Debbie Mortham, Mortham Governmental Consultants: Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges



Florida ordered 90,000 doses of the child vaccine. Texas ordered 1 million.” via Ian Hodgson and Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida health officials say they preordered approximately 90,000 child-size doses of the Pfizer vaccine. That’s enough to fully vaccinate 3% of Florida’s approximately 1.7 million children ages 5 to 11. Texas, another Republican-led state, preordered 1 million doses, enough to fully vaccinate over 17% of the state’s children in the same age group. California preordered 860,000 doses, enough to fully vaccinate 13% of kids there. Florida, the third-most populated state, ordered the least of the nine states where data was available.

Was Florida’s decision to prioritize antibody treatments the right call?” via Christopher Heath of WFTV — In mid-August Florida, reached its peak in new COVID-19 cases. About a month later, the state hit its peak in hospitalizations and deaths. With Florida in the grip of one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the country, the state began setting up monoclonal antibody sites to treat those who were infected. At its 25 sites, Florida treated more than 135,000 people with the antibodies. About 55% of those people were unvaccinated. “What you see there is what I call reactive medicine,” said Dr. Isaiah Cochran, an Orlando physician. “The antibodies help, but you are able to infect others and may not know it by the time you start to show symptoms.”

Was Florida’s prioritizing Regeneron the right call? Image via AP.

Nursing home staff vaccination rates up; COVID-19 deaths down” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Nearly 59% of the state’s nursing home staff are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, a 5 percentage point jump in vaccination rates from the previous month. With 58.5% of staff vaccinated, Florida ranks No. 46 in the nation in the percentage of vaccinated nursing homes staff, with Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri and Oklahoma trailing in the four-week period ending Oct. 17. The AARP Florida report, dubbed the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard, also shows 150 Florida nursing facilities have met the industry stated standard to have 75% of staff vaccinated. That means that about 80% of Florida’s nursing homes have not met the industry standard.

Thank you, Mayor Jerry Demings, for displaying real leadership during COVID-19” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — Demings held numerous briefings, flanked by Dr. Raul Pino, the unflappable director of Florida’s Department of Health in Orange County. The pair consistently offered straightforward information and advice about how residents could try to remain healthy as the virus swept across the state. And Demings always offered something else, nearly as important: Empathy for the victims and their families, conveying his experiences at funerals and at hospitals. What a contrast to the peevish, self-centered news conferences called by DeSantis who, instead of focusing on the scope of public suffering and what to do about it, picked fights with political enemies. We don’t thank politicians often enough, as Demings did. He was a tireless advocate for testing, masking, social distancing and vaccines.

— 2022 —

Gambling amendment campaigns plow another $22 million into drives” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Gambling interests’ efforts to get Florida voters to consider expanding casino gambling and sports betting are raising the stakes, pouring another $22 million into their campaigns in October. The cash infusion fuels frenetic petition drives by Florida Education Champions, a committee backed by the fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel seeking to expand sports betting in Florida; and by Florida Voters In Charge, a committee backed by Las Vegas Sands Corp. seeking to create opportunities for casinos in North Florida. Between them, they’ve spent more than $32 million over four months.

Personnel note: Charlie Crist adds Carlos Carrillo as Senior Labor Adviser Carrillo has joined Crist’s gubernatorial campaign as Senior Labor Adviser. Carrillo has more than 30 years of experience in organized labor. He has worked as a field representative for the National AFL-CIO and as a senior field representative for Florida. He also served as Labor & Veterans Vote Director for Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. “I am thrilled to welcome Carlos to our team, a showcase of our campaign’s commitment to the labor movement, union workers, and a Florida that fights for all,” Crist said. “The hundreds of thousands of working families who call the Sunshine State home deserve to have their voices heard and a Governor who will fight alongside them for the rights, pay, and quality of life they deserve.”

Assignment editorsCrist will join a group of Miami-Dade leaders for a news conference announcing their endorsement of his bid for Governor, 11 a.m., RSVP to [email protected] for location.

Charlie Crist staffs up, racks up endorsements. Image via Facebook.

Election supervisor: Delayed mail might have delivered different result in CD 20 Primary Election” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The latest count shows just five votes separate the two top vote-getters in last week’s Democratic Primary Election for CD 20, so it’s easy to believe that 287 ballots that were delayed in the mail might have delivered an entirely different outcome. Broward County Elections Supervisor Joe Scott told the Broward County legislative delegation this week the ballots his office received after the Primary Election on Nov. 2 were postmarked before that day. Some of them were stamped as early as Oct. 21. Scott urged lawmakers to push for changes in election law that would make votes postmarked by Election Day count, even if they arrive at their destination well after the election is over.

Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan wars to primary Matt Gaetz, promising to ‘restore dignity’” via Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner — A veteran and special operations pilot during the Iraq and Afghan wars will on Thursday announce his campaign to challenge embattled Rep. Gaetz in the Republican primary, promising to “restore dignity” to the Panhandle district. Bryan Jones, a CV-22 Osprey pilot and small-business owner, told us, “I feel it is time to begin a new path of service, one that will help restore dignity and honor to Florida’s 1st District — because the people of this district are good, honest, hardworking people, and they deserve a congressman who reflects their values and who will fight for their beliefs and their freedoms.”

Bill Young widow Beverly Young endorses Amanda Makki in CD 13” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Young endorsed Makki’s campaign Wednesday, choosing her over fellow Republican Anna Paulina Luna, a veteran herself. Her husband, Bill Young, served CD 13 from 1971 until he died in 2013. Beverly Young has been involved in races before, endorsing former U.S. Rep. David Jolly, who succeeded her husband. But she later soured on Jolly and announced plans to run against him in 2016, plans that never came to fruition. The timing of Young’s endorsement is significant. Bill Young was known throughout the district as a staunch supporter of the veteran community. His name graces myriad buildings throughout Pinellas County, including the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Bay Pines.

—”Clay Yarborough at nearly $600K on hand for unopposed state Senate bid” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“Jennifer Bradley now at more than $450,000 for state Senate reelection” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“Reggie Gaffney outpaces Tracie Davis in October SD 6 fundraising chase” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Kamia Brown surpasses Geraldine Thompson in SD 11 fundraising” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The $4,525 that Democratic Rep. Brown raised for her Senate District 11 campaign might not be impressive by Senate campaign standards, but it was $4,525 more than her rival, Democratic Rep. Thompson, raised in the month. With that, Brown, whose Senate campaign essentially started rolling in September after slumbering most of the summer, is pulling away financially from Thompson, whose fundraising campaign has not yet started rolling. Brown heads into November with a total of $46,325 raised and about $30,000 still in the bank. Thompson’s only campaign money is reported in her old House reelection campaign fund, which showed a balance of about $8,000 heading into November, pretty much unchanged since June.

—“Tina Polsky pulls in nearly $32K in October to defend SD 29 seat” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—”Manny Diaz Jr. adds $36K to defend SD 36, half from tobacco, pharma, health care sectors” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

—“Ana María Rodríguez adds $45,000 for SD 39 defense” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

—“Speaker-designate Paul Renner rakes in $170K in October for reelection campaign” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“David Smith, Anna Eskamani turn on fundraising efforts” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Jackie Toledo raises $100K+ in October — Tampa Republican Rep. Toledo raised $103,125 for her HD 60 reelection campaign last month and now has $255,535 on hand between campaign and political committee. Toledo said she is “humbled by the support.” She added, “My work on bills like reducing the costs of prescription drugs and eradicating human trafficking are examples of why it is important for me to continue to represent the Tampa Bay region.” Toledo was elected to the House in 2016. She is currently running unopposed for a fourth term in the Hillsborough County-based seat. The current HD 60 has a GOP lean — Toledo was reelected by 10 points last year — though that could change when maps are redrawn ahead of the 2022 election.

—”Chip LaMarca raises $83K in October, marking highest monthly fundraising this cycle” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—”Hillary Cassel nets another $65K in October, grows HD 99 cash lead” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Save the date:



COVID-19 hot spots offer sign of what could be ahead for U.S.” via Carla Johnson of The Associated Press — While trends are improving in Florida, Texas and other Southern states that bore the worst of the summer surge, it’s clear that delta isn’t done with the United States. COVID-19 is moving north and west for the winter as people head indoors, close their windows and breathe stagnant air. “We’re going to see a lot of outbreaks in unvaccinated people that will result in serious illness, and it will be tragic,” said Dr. Donald Milton of the University of Maryland. In recent days, a Vermont college suspended social gatherings after a spike in cases tied to Halloween parties. Boston officials shut down an elementary school to control an outbreak. Hospitals in New Mexico and Colorado are overwhelmed.

Are hot spots in the North a sign of things to come? Image via AP.

Ten states sue the U.S. over the vaccine mandate for health care workers.” via Reed Abelson of The New York Times — The new suit claims that the rule issued last week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services “threatens with job loss millions of health care workers who risked their lives in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to care for strangers and friends in their communities.” The 10 states also argue that the rule “threatens to exacerbate an alarming shortage of health care workers, particularly in rural communities, that has already reached a boiling point.” Federal officials said they could not comment on pending litigation. In a statement, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said that “there is no question that staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health.”

Top Biden health officials push to make coronavirus booster shots available to all adults” via The Washington Post — Anxious about a surge of coronavirus infections enveloping Europe as cases tick up in the United States, senior health officials in the Biden administration are pressing urgently to offer vaccine booster shots to all adults. But support for the renewed push is not unanimous. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has expressed caution about making extra shots so broadly available now, according to several officials familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Booster shots are most popular in poorly vaccinated states where coronavirus rages” via Dan Keating, Fenit Nirappil and Katie Shepherd of The Washington Post — The rate at which fully vaccinated residents are getting the shots is highest in the states that also have high rates of new coronavirus cases, including Alaska, North Dakota and Montana, according to a review of state data by The Washington Post. In swathes of the country where health officials will not impose mask and vaccine mandates to curb the virus’s spread, or have had their powers stripped away by Republican state lawmakers or Governors, boosters are one of the few shields left for those worried about contracting and spreading the virus. Just over half of Montana’s population has been fully vaccinated, ranking 35th in the nation, but nearly 1 in 5 of vaccinated Montanans received boosters, ranking second in the nation.

A judge says Texas’ ban on mask mandates violates the rights of students with disabilities.” via Eduardo Medina of The New York Times — A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates in schools violates the rights of students with disabilities, clearing the path for districts in the state to issue their own rules for face coverings, a decision that could affect more than 5 million students. The ruling comes after months of politicized disputes over measures at the state level opposing mask-wearing policies that had been intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Judge Lee Yeakel, who made the ruling in the suit filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, determined that the order from the Governor violated the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act because it put children with disabilities at risk.


With travel ban lifted, international buyers could make the South Florida real estate market even hotter” via Amber Randall of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In Florida, foreign buyers make up about 5% of the dollar volume of sales. Experts believe that with travel restrictions lifted, they’ll be making their way to South Florida to buy a home or condo. “An enlarged buyer pool looking to purchase when the inventory is at all-time lows will likely ignite the competitive bidding processes,” said Bonnie Heatzig, executive director of luxury sales with Douglas Elliman in Boca Raton. Most foreign buyers looking to purchase properties in Florida come from five countries: Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela, according to a report from the Florida Realtors. South Florida is the most popular among foreign buyers, with the tri-county area getting about 52% of buyers, the report noted.

South Florida real estate is only getting hotter.


‘Stretched too thin’: With staff ‘exhausted,’ schools cancel class or return to remote learning” via Trevor Hughes of USA Today — School districts across the nation are temporarily closing or switching back to remote learning as school administrators struggle with empty classrooms, driverless buses and understaffed cafeterias caused by widespread teacher exhaustion, coronavirus concerns and the Great Resignation. Michigan has in recent weeks seen at least eight schools shut down or return to online learning because of staff shortages. In Florida, Brevard Public Schools said it would extend its Thanksgiving break, while public schools in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, give teachers and students an extra day off for Veterans Day.

Back to the virtual classroom. Image via AP.

SDF hospital: Stress over vaccination seen as main cause of side effects” via Seita Watanabe of Yomiuri Shimbun — Anxiety over the vaccination itself is believed to be the cause of the vast majority of side effects experienced among those vaccinated against the novel coronavirus at a mass vaccination site in Tokyo, an analysis by the Self-Defense Forces Central Hospital has found. About 90% of the acute-phase side effects experienced by 2,930 people after receiving the vaccine at the Defense Ministry-administered vaccination site were believed to stem from stress accompanying anxiety over the vaccination. Those in the younger age group made up the largest share of those affected, according to the analysis carried out before the site in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, is scheduled to close at the end of this month.

Israel holds ‘war games’ to prepare for more lethal COVID-19 strain” via Gwen Ackerman of Bloomberg — Israel on Thursday began a nationwide drill to test its readiness in the event of an outbreak of a new, more lethal COVID-19 variant. The exercise, war-gamed over three sessions to simulate the passage of time after a potential flare-up, will test the resilience of systems that determine lockdown policies, monitor variants, offer economic support for citizens, enforce quarantines and watch border crossings. “While the situation of coronavirus in the world is deteriorating, Israel is safe and protected,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement. “In order to maintain this, and to safeguard the continuity of normal life, we must continue to closely monitor the situation and prepare for any scenario.”


Joe Biden pays tribute to veterans, ‘the soul of America,’ at Arlington National Cemetery” via Amy B Wang of The Washington Post — Biden paid tribute to the nation’s service members, calling the duty to care for its veterans America’s “one truly sacred obligation” and describing presiding over Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery as the single greatest honor he had been afforded in office. “All our veterans past and present, we thank you. We honor you. And we remember always what you’ve done for us,” Biden said in a speech to about 650 people after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Biden remembered three prominent veterans who died in recent weeks: former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, a Republican and a friend; Gen. Raymond Odierno, who helped devise Iraq War strategy; and former Sen. Max Cleland, a Vietnam War veteran.

Joe Biden honors those who served, both living and dead. Image via @USArmyOldGuard/Twitter.

Dems to White House: The only prescription is more Biden” via Laura Barron-Lopez of POLITICO — After months of deference to Congress, Biden moved more assertively last week to shepherd half his domestic agenda into law. With the other half still in limbo, Democrats want some of that Biden punch again. Outside groups fear that congressional Democrats could come up short on Biden’s social spending package. They are concerned that moderates in the House may end up buckling if the budget scores on the bill come back worse than anticipated. And there is residual anxiety that one of the two wavering Senate Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — could vote “no” over concerns about inflation and long-term debt. The clearest solution to avoiding this, they argue, is more Biden.

Biden appointing infrastructure chief” via Hans Nichols and Jonathan Swan of Axios — Biden plans to install a point-person in charge of infrastructure to ensure his administration properly implements its trillion-dollar legislation, two sources familiar with the plans tell Axios. Biden and his top aides know they need to flawlessly execute on their mammoth plan. It may be Biden’s best — and, perhaps, only remaining — opportunity to show voters Democrats can deliver major changes to improve people’s lives. A source with direct knowledge of the appointment said the new role would be called the “infrastructure implementation coordinator.” The goal is to streamline the grant-and-spending process and prevent fraud as the $1.2 trillion in funding is dispersed. It’s not yet known who Biden will pick to fill the job, but if history is a guide, it will be somebody he’s known for a long time and trusts implicitly.


Democrats sell infrastructure bill, push for Biden backup” via Will Weissert, Thomas Beaumont, and Heather Hollingsworth of The Associated Press — Traffic whizzing behind her, Rep. Sharice Davids gathered reporters at a transportation facility along U.S. 69 in eastern Kansas this week to celebrate the surge of federal money headed in her state’s direction. The massive infrastructure package passed last week means $2.6 billion for Kansas roads, some of the largest investments in them since President Dwight Eisenhower, once a Kansan himself, supported the construction of the national highway system in the 1950s.

Democrats passed the infrastructure bill; now they have to sell it. Image via Reuters.

Democrats’ lofty tax agenda imperiled by resistance from within” via Jeff Stein of The Washington Post — Democrats swept into power earlier this year promising to raise tax rates on corporations and the wealthy to pay for their ambitious social agenda. Both have been dramatically pared back, with a suite of their initial ideas on taxes in particular imperiled by resistance from within the party. To meet the demands of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the White House agreed to drop a proposed 3% tax on taxpayers earning over $5 million, instead agreeing to target the higher tax to those earning more than $10 million, two people familiar with the matter said on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal negotiations. The move exempted roughly 35,000 of the wealthiest Americans, or approximately 0.02% of the richest 1%, from the new levy.

‘I hope it’s a fever that will break’: GOP wrestles with infrastructure vote backlash” via David Sanders of POLITICO — It’s the party against critical race theory, “woke-ism” and vaccine mandates. And now, it would seem, the Republican Party is against bridges and roads. The ferocity of the reaction against the 13 House members who voted with Democrats on the House-passed infrastructure bill appeared to signal a new stage in the party’s evolution, marking the GOP as so reflexively anti-Biden that even spending on infrastructure — an issue that Trump once obsessed over as President — is too radioactive to support. “That’s the way the place works now,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who served as National Republican Congressional Committee chair. “That’s what we have devolved to.”

Tweet, tweet:

Marco Rubio wants to ban these contributions for ballot initiatives” via Alex Daugherty and Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — On Nov. 2, the FEC ruled that foreign donors can contribute to state-based ballot initiatives and referendum campaigns — potentially opening the door for foreigners to influence U.S. policy. Eight states have laws on the books banning such donations but federal law does not prohibit foreign contributions to referendums and ballot initiatives. Florida is not one of the eight states that explicitly ban the practice. Immediately after the FEC ruling, Rubio said he plans to introduce legislation that would ban any foreign donations for U.S. ballot initiatives. Rubio, the highest-profile Republican to announce opposition to the ruling that was backed by the FEC’s GOP Commissioners, said the prospect of Chinese or Russian involvement, in particular, is worrying.

For Veterans Day, Sen. Rick Scott joined Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7721 to thank Florida veterans for their service. Image via Rick Scott’s Office.


Pressure builds on Mark Meadows to cooperate with Jan. 6 Committee as White House rejects his executive privilege claims” via Jacqueline Alemany and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post — The House Select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on The Capitol and the White House are ramping up the pressure on Meadows to cooperate with the probe into the insurrection as the committee zeros in on Trump’s inner circle. White House Deputy Counsel Jonathan Su sent a letter to Meadows’s lawyer, George Terwilliger III, Thursday morning notifying him that Biden will not assert executive privilege or immunity over the documents and deposition requested by the House Select committee related to his client.

Mark Meadows gets a stern warning from the Jan. 6 Committee.

Prosecutors recommend ‘QAnon Shaman’ Jacob Chansley be sentenced to more than four years in prison“ via Joseph Pisani of The Wall Street Journal — U.S. prosecutors are recommending that Chansley, the self-described “QAnon Shaman” who stormed The Capitol on Jan. 6 wearing a Viking hat with fur and horns, serve 51 months in prison for his role in the attack. Chansley, 34 years old, was one of the most recognizable participants in the riot, roaming the halls of The Capitol shirtless with a painted face and holding a 6-foot spear. He pleaded guilty in September to obstruction of an official proceeding. The felony charge typically carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. Under a plea agreement with the government, Chansley faces a potential sentence of 41 to 51 months. The judge isn’t bound by that sentencing range. In their court filing Tuesday to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, prosecutors recommended the maximum prison sentence under the agreement.


Donald Trump allies are pushing for ‘stay away’ strategy in some 2022 races” via Gabby Orr of CNN — Trump is expected to maintain a prolific schedule of campaign rallies to boost Republicans in next year’s midterms. But on the heels of Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin‘s victory in Virginia, accomplished without a single Trump cameo, some of the former President’s aides and allies warn there could be parts of the country where he may now be encouraged to keep his distance. The “stay away strategy,” as one aide described it, would involve Trump steering clear of states or districts where a confluence of factors could mean his presence might sabotage Republican chances. The approach assumes an unusual level of deference from the prideful ex-President, who has long insisted his support is the most essential ingredient in any Republican candidate’s quest for victory.

Staffers suggest that Donald Trump take a hands-off approach.

Federal appeals court temporarily delays release of Trump’s Jan. 6 records sought by US House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection” via Nomaan Merchant of The Associated Press — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday granted an administrative stay sought by Trump. The stay is intended to give the court time to consider Trump’s arguments against the release of documents, which was otherwise scheduled for Friday without a court order. The House is seeking Trump’s call logs, draft speeches and other documents related to Jan. 6, when supporters of the former President stormed The Capitol to try to stop the certification of his loss to Biden. Biden waived executive privilege on the documents. Trump then went to court arguing that as a former President, he still had the right to exert privilege over the records and that releasing them would damage the presidency in the future.

Chris Christie takes a jab at Trump for losing last year’s election” via John Wagner of The Washington Post — Christie took at a jab at Trump for losing last year’s election, signaling a willingness to spar with the former President as they both consider 2024 White House bids. “I’m not gonna get into a back-and-forth with Donald Trump,” Christie said. “But what I will say is this: When I ran for reelection in 2013, I got 60% of the vote. When he ran for reelection, he lost to Joe Biden.” “I’m happy to have that comparison stand up, because that’s the one that really matters,” Christie added. Christie, who at times has had a friendly relationship with Trump, including last year when he advised him ahead of debates with Biden, was responding to a taunt earlier this week from Trump.

‘We killed Herman Cain’: Trump staffers say they blame themselves for Cain’s COVID-19 death after he attended Tulsa rally” via Oma Seddiq of Business Insider — When news hit that former Republican presidential candidate Cain died of COVID-19 a month after he attended Trump’s rally in Tulsa last summer, many of the President’s campaign staffers blamed themselves for his death, according to a new book. “We killed Herman Cain,” one senior Trump staffer reportedly told ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who also attended the Tulsa event on June 20, 2020. That’s according to an excerpt of ABC News’ chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl‘s forthcoming book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” published in Vanity Fair on Thursday. The book is slated to come out on Nov. 16.

They raised millions for Trump, spent barely any of it on him. Now they’re indicted.” via Caitlin Oprysko of POLITICO — For the last five years or more, Matt Tunstall has used the name and likeness of Trump and other politicians to ostensibly raise money for a network of political action committees. But he’s been accused of pocketing most of the money himself and on Wednesday, his so-called scam PAC operation finally caught up to him. In an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, federal prosecutors charged Tunstall and Robert Reyes with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to lie to the Federal Election Committee. They allege that of the roughly $3.5 million raised by the PACs they ran during the 2016 election, “only approximately $19 were distributed to any candidate’s authorized campaign committee or to any political cause, while a total of more than $1.5 million was used to benefit” the PAC operators themselves.


Orange Elections Supervisor foils fake ballot in Orlando’s election” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Of more than 12,000 ballots cast in Orlando’s city council elections last week, one vote caught the attention of the Supervisor of Elections office when it was rejected by a vote-counting machine. Upon further review, it mostly looked like any other ballot. What it did not have were exact matching bar codes that line the perimeter of an official ballot. The combination of lines and black boxes unique to each election tells a voting machine how to scan an official ballot. This particular ballot, deemed fake by Supervisor of Election Bill Cowles’ office, had incorrect markings, and only on the top and bottom instead of all four sides. It also was printed on lighter-weight paper, Cowles confirmed with the company that does the office’s printing.

Bill Cowles is good at spotting fakes. Image via Orlando Sentinel.

John Dingfelder officially denies key allegations in public records suit” via Daniel Figueroa IV of Florida Politics — Tampa City Council member John Dingfelder denied key allegations in a lawsuit accusing him of intimidation and improper communication of public information, according to documents filed in Hillsborough County Court. The suit was filed on Oct. 11 by Stephen Michelini, a Tampa-based development consultant. In the filing, Michelini accused Dingfilder of using his wife’s email account to conduct public business and of intimidating Michelini when he made a public request for those emails. Michelini filed an amended complaint against Dingfelder on Oct. 19. The council member responded on Nov. 3 denying most of the allegations. Dingfelder would not, however, elaborate. “I stand by whatever is in there,” Dingfelder said. “Whatever we filed in court.”

Francis Suarez says Miami residents will be getting Bitcoin ‘yield’ in digital wallets” via Rob Wile and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Miami residents may soon be getting a Bitcoin “yield” thanks to the MiamiCoin project. In an interview with cryptocurrency news site, Suarez said he was planning to convert the millions of dollars in proceeds MiamiCoin has created into a Bitcoin “dividend.” “We’re going to be the first city in America to give a Bitcoin yield as a dividend directly to its residents,” Suarez said. “We’re going to create digital wallets for our residents, and we’re going to give them Bitcoin directly from the yield of MiamiCoin.” The wallets would be set up with a third-party vendor, he said.

Opa-locka Mayor abruptly resigns during Commission meeting, citing ‘corruption’” via Aaron Liebowitz of the Miami Herald — Mayor Matthew Pigatt abruptly announced his resignation during a City Commission meeting Wednesday, marking the latest twist of fate for a city trying to overcome years of corruption and political chaos. Following a public comment period, Pigatt rose from his seat at the dais to deliver a prepared statement of his resignation. “I will not be a figurehead for corruption,” Pigatt said. Pigatt’s resignation was not on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. During his statement, Pigatt made repeated references to continued corruption within the city’s government despite his best efforts to root it out. He did not provide any details.

Matthew Pigatt has had enough.

Tallahassee police to release less information, fewer alerts about crime to public” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — Amid a recent rash of gun violence, the Tallahassee Police Department is changing its public alert procedure to focus on crimes that lead to deaths and life-threatening or multiple injuries, effectively reducing the number of times it will immediately notify the public. The new guidelines are effective immediately. It emphasizes two things: A new incident alert procedure and its “social first” model, which asks reporters not to follow up on news releases or Tallahassee Online Police Statistics (TOPS), TPD’s real-time online crime map. The biggest change is the criteria for an incident alert, commonly posted on social media, notifying the public about an incident for both knowledge and safety.

FSU might cut these five degree programs” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — The colleges overseeing the programs requested they be dropped following years of low enrollment or being inactive. If approved, the removal will go into effect in summer 2022: Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, currently has no students enrolled because it was suspended in 2017; Master’s in Nursing, phased out as the professional standards of the advanced nursing industry has left those type of programs behind nationwide; Master’s In History and Philosophy of Science, suspended since 2020 after a new major program was made to replace it; Master’s and Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Humanities, dropped following low enrollment and underperformance.


The Democrats need to go back to school” via James Hohmann of The Washington Post — A week after Republicans won the Virginia Governor’s race, it is increasingly obvious that Fox News and red Twitter did not invent parental anger about what’s been happening in public schools. Efforts to lower academic standards and scale back educational opportunities in the name of racial equity are backfiring on liberals from coast to coast, including in the bluest big cities in America. Eliminating gifted and talented programs has become fashionable on the left, based on well-intentioned desires to close the achievement gap for African American and Latino students, but it’s alienating many parents. Complicating matters is the fact that, as of 2018, roughly a quarter of San Francisco’s children already attend private schools, compared to 9% in California.


Elon Musk once again proves the need for a billionaire tax” via Helaine Olen of The Washington Post — Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, would like us to think he takes personal finance and investment advice from Twitter. He recently polled his 63 million followers on the social media platform about whether he should sell part of his stake in Tesla. “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,” he wrote. More than 3.5 million votes later, the sells decisively won.

Florida GOP aims to placate anti-vaxxers. DeSantis gets to chest-thump in the end” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Florida’s special legislative session, called by DeSantis to undermine new federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates, begins Monday. Conspicuously absent from the bills lawmakers will consider are the governor’s proposals to punish businesses by making them liable for medical harm arising from mandatory vaccination and to strip them from COVID-19 legal protections if they impose a mandate. In many ways, this special session is little more than a public performance designed to show that Republicans are protecting “freedom,” meaning, a small number of unvaccinated workers at the expense of everyone else. All of that comes courtesy of Florida taxpayers, who are footing the bill to send more than 100 lawmakers to Tallahassee outside their regular annual session that starts in just two months.

DeSantis should know that a road might not just be a road” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics — DeSantis is often dismissive when he believes an issue is unimportant or won’t benefit him politically. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework would address systemic racism in highway design. DeSantis’ response was telling. “I heard some stuff, some weird stuff from the Secretary of Transportation trying to make this about social issues,” DeSantis said. “To me, a road’s a road.” Maybe he should ask former Sen. Arthenia Joyner about that because she has firsthand knowledge about what a road is or isn’t. After Tampa accepted federal dollars to build Interstate 275 and Interstate 4, the government took her family’s home by eminent domain to build roadways that went right through the heart of a thriving Black community.

Congressional special election shows the need for ranked choice voting” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — In 1992, as ever since, the Democratic Primary was the decisive election in what is now CD 20. Alcee Hastings won it in a runoff with 22,046 votes and held the seat without serious challenge until his death on April 6 this year. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination to succeed him in the canvass scheduled Friday will claim the prize with fewer than 12,000 votes. Most of the voters this time will have favored someone other than the winner, whose credibility in Congress could be diminished by such a pitiful showing of support. It doesn’t have to be this way. As we reported recently, New York City had splendid success with ranked choice voting in its June primary for Mayor and other local offices.


A Florida lawmaker and media organizations go head-to-head with the DeSantis administration in a lawsuit over COVID-19 data.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— The Mayor of a small South Florida city abruptly resigns, blaming ongoing corruption.

— Today’s Sunrise Interview is with Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, whose public records request to the Florida Department of Health for daily local COVID-19 data was denied; now he is part of an ongoing lawsuit against the state.

To listen, click on the image below:


Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues affecting the region.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Rob Lorei hosts a roundtable with Tampa Bay Times senior deputy editor Amy Hollyfield, businessman Stanley Gray, La Gaceta editor and publisher Patrick Manteiga and Adam Goodman, Edward R. Murrow Sr. Fellow at Tufts University.

In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A discussion about National Adoption Day and Month; the costs, process, and misconceptions regarding adopting a child in Florida. Joining Walker are Nicole Musgray, Associate Executive Director in Seminole County, Embrace Families; and Yolanda Demont, Adoption Program Manager, Children’s Home Society of Florida.

Political Connections Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A look ahead to the Special Session on COVID-19 mandates; a one-on-one interview with Rep. Fentrice Driskell on the Special Session; and a recap of Rubio’s visit to Tampa Bay to commemorate veterans.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: A discussion with Agustín Gutiérrez, Mexican Consulate — Orlando, on immigrants, immigration, work visas, and the work situation in Central Florida.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Host Gary Yordon talks with Dr. Ed Moore.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Jacksonville City Council members Michael Boylan, LeAnna Cumber and Joyce Morgan; Michael Sampson II of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee.

— ALOE —

Prayers for Winter — “‘Dolphin Tale’ star illness prompts aquarium to close one day” via Curt Anderson of The Associated Press — The Clearwater Marine Aquarium said in a statement it will shut its doors Friday “to create the best possible environment” for medical staff to treat Winter, a 16-year-old female bottlenose dolphin suffering from a gastrointestinal infection. “The dedicated CMA animal care experts are consulting with top animal care and veterinary specialists in the country and exploring all possible options to save Winter’s life,” the statement said. The aquarium plans to reopen Saturday. James “Buddy” Powell, president of the aquarium, told reporters the one-day closure will allow staff “to do nothing but focus on Winter’s health.” Winter has previously experienced intestinal issues — not uncommon among dolphins — but such problems have never affected her like this, Powell said.

Godspeed to an honest-to-goodness Florida movie star. Image via Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Thanksgiving air travel on track to exceed pre-pandemic levels” via Karl Evers-Hillstrom of The Hill — Bookings for Thanksgiving flights are up 78% from last year and 3.2% from 2019, according to data from Adobe Digital Insights, which tracked online reservations at major airlines through Nov. 7. “After a year where many were unable to see their friends and families for Thanksgiving, we are expecting busy airports this month,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights. “The holiday uptick is also driving up prices online, and consumers should start thinking about Christmas travel pretty soon.” The analysis found that September and October bookings were 13% and 10% lower than pre-pandemic levels, respectively. But air travel has rebounded in recent weeks as COVID-19 cases decline.

Counting down in style: What’s new in Advent calendars” via Katie Workman of The Associated Press — For lovers of Advent calendars, there are lots of new, fun and unusual ways to count down to Christmas. Show up for Thanksgiving dinner with one of these and know that the recipient will be getting daily treats all month long. Maison Du Chocolat makes a Holiday Ornament Advent Calendar designed to hang on the tree. Vinebox has created 12 Nights of Wine: Women Winemakers Holiday Edition Boxes. For the coffee lover, check out the new Bean Box Twelve Mornings of Coffee calendar. The puppies and kittens can have their own little holiday countdown! There are many products out there, including Purina’s two versions for dogs: 12 or 24 days of treats that include chew bones and snacks.


Celebrating today are former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, Taylor Biehl, state Rep. Nick DiCeglie, Megan Fay, Shawn Frost, Lindsay Harrington, Jackie Pons, and Gray Rohrer. Belated birthday wishes to Pierce Schuessler at the Department of State. Celebrating this weekend are Speaker-to-be Sam Garrison and big-time lobbyist David Ramba.


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

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as 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. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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 @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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