Last Call for 12.16.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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

Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida endorsed Senate President Wilton Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner on Thursday.

“We have known Sen. Simpson throughout his entire legislative career and are thrilled to announce our endorsement of him in his race for Commissioner of Agriculture,” said Gary H. Griffin, ABCFL’s Board Chair and the CEO of B&I Contractors.

“Construction is a heavily regulated industry with rules that may change based on who is funding the project or where it is being built. Senate President Simpson has worked with us continuously to establish regulatory frameworks that are streamlined, uniform and transparent while maintaining a strong focus on public safety.”

Though two other Republicans are vying to replace Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried in the Cabinet post, Simpson was considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination well before he entered the race three months ago.

That’s largely because of he received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who carried Florida in 2020.

Simpson’s strong fundraising operation — he had about $8 million banked on Nov. 30 — combined with GOP voter registrations gains and the party’s historically strong advantage in midterm elections make him the clear favorite in the General Election. It doesn’t hurt that his professional background is in agriculture, either.

“Our industry is made up of as many small businesses and startup companies as it is big and well-established corporations. It is critical that the marketplace in Florida be as competitive as possible so that your smaller companies have exposure to as many opportunities as your bigger corporations,” said ABCFL lobbyist Carol Bowen. “Senate President Simpson continues to work with us to ensure that anti-competitive regulations don’t exist to benefit the few over the many.” 

ABC Gulf Coast Chapter President and CEO Steve Cona III added, “While construction is one of the top economic drivers in Florida, we are also in desperate need of attracting our next generation of skilled workers to the industry.

“Ensuring there are opportunities to compete for work and access apprenticeship and workforce education is something Senate President Simpson supports. The Senate President knows that success doesn’t only come from a college education and that Apprenticeships are a great way to build a productive and successful future in Florida.” 

Evening Reads

Ron DeSantis chides 6th Circuit for not taking up vaccine mandate case as full court” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Gov. DeSantis delivers trucking education funds to Nassau County” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Donald Trump-Bill O’Reilly event at Amway Center sold just 5,406 tickets, despite predictions of sellout” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

Frank Artiles’ lawyer again trying to shield records from public view in sham candidate case” via Samantha J. Gross of the Miami Herald

The CDC’s flawed case for wearing masks in school” via David Zweig of The Atlantic

Senate Democrats begin to concede $2 trillion economic package may be delayed into 2022” via Tony Romm of The Washington Post

DeSantis dominates another 2024 GOP primary poll sans Trump” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Board of Education Chair Tom Grady found not guilty of federal misdemeanor” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

GOP Rep. Anthony Sabatini: A Florida House outcast the conservative base adores” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

Chris Sprowls, Wilton Simpson celebrate Bernie McCabe Courthouse, announce location” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

How politics are determining what stove you use” via Brad Plumer and Hiroko Tabuchi of The New York Times

Carol Baskin yanks lawsuit against Netflix and ‘Tiger King’ producers over sequel” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

Citrus County Commissioners take wait-and-see approach on turnpike” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“They should have just taken it as a full court, decided it on an expedited basis. And then we could have just moved on.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on a federal appeals court decision to refer the vaccine mandate case to a three-judge panel.

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