Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 5.17.22

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Get up to speed fast. Here’s your AM review of the news driving Florida politics.

Good Tuesday morning.

A new projection from AdImpact predicts Florida will have the most political ad spending at $593 million for the 2022 election cycle, barely edging out California’s projected $592 million spend.

The report projects total ad spending across the U.S. to near $9 billion between gubernatorial, congressional, and down-ballot contents.

Get your remotes ready for a record-breaking campaign ad season.

Overall, AdImpact forecasts $6.1 billion in TV and radio ads, $1.3 billion in Facebook and Google ads, and $1.5 billion in Connected TV (CTV) ad spending, which is played by devices that connect to — or are embedded in — a television, such as an Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV.

That projection matches the overall spending for 2020, a presidential election year, and more than doubles the 2018 Midterms, when spending fell just shy of $4 billion.

Why the boost? The report points to platforms like Facebook that campaigns can use as fundraising tools, since the media can market candidates to a “highly polarized electorate.” Sites such as ActBlue and WinRed also make donating to candidates more accessible.

At $214 million, Florida ranks fourth in the country for predicted Senate race spending.

Florida ranks third for gubernatorial ad spending, expected to reach $166 million by November — Gov. Ron DeSantis has already raised more than half of that and has more than $105 million in the bank.

Finally, the Sunshine State came in fourth for U.S. House ad spending, which AdImpact predicts will reach $75 million.

Look for a full report today on

As if Democrats did not have enough problems in Miami-DadeReversing Donald Trump measures, U.S. will expand flights to Cuba and resume family reunifications” via Michael Wilner and Nora Gamez Torres of the Miami Herald — The Joe Biden administration is restoring flights to Cuban cities other than Havana and reestablishing a family reunification program suspended for years, following recommendations of a long-anticipated review of U.S. policy toward Cuba. The administration will also allow group travel for educational or professional exchanges and lift caps on money sent to families on the island. The policy changes come after a months-long review that began in earnest after a series of protests roiled the island nation on July 11, prompting a new round of U.S. sanctions on Cuban officials.


Happening today — Look for former Secretary of State Laurel Lee to officially join the crowded Republican Primary for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.


If today were Election Day, Jane Castor would earn a second term as Tampa Mayor.

According to an internal poll obtained by Florida Politics, 58% of Tampa voters said they would back the incumbent Democrat when she’s on the ballot during next year’s municipal elections.

In addition to being above the 50% mark 10 months out from the 2023 election, Castor sports a strong favorability rating, with two-thirds of those polled saying they find her favorable personally.

Jane Castor remains popular and could easily win re-election if the ballot were held today.

That puts her ahead of most other politicians, including Biden and DeSantis, and far ahead of the City Council and Trump.

Her popularity figures come alongside Tampanians’ generally positive outlook on the future of their city.

According to the poll, 45% of voters say the city is headed in the “right direction,” while just 15% say it’s headed in the “wrong direction.” Additionally, more than half of those polled (52%) say the quality of life in the city is improving compared to about a quarter who said it’s getting worse.

Currently, Castor is not facing a significant challenger in her re-election bid. A handful of area politicians have been floated as potential challengers, such as Hillsborough Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez and City Councilmember Bill Carlson, have quelled speculation they would mount a bid.

The incumbent also has a head start in fundraising, with about $125,000 on hand in her affiliated political committee, Tampa Strong.

However, there are several months before the qualifying period for the Municipal Election ends on Jan. 20.

The poll had a sample side of 609 likely Municipal Election voters. Of the total, 483 gave their responses online via a text message invitation and 123 responses were collected through phone interviews.

The Tampa mayoral election will be on March 7. If no candidate secures a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters for the nonpartisan seat will face off in an April 25 runoff.


There was not a ton of activity today for those glued to a livestream on Day One of the Dan Markel murder trial.

For hours straight, prosecutors and defense attorneys interviewed prospective jurors one by one, off-screen and privately. But for those watching a little more closely, the payoff was a few items of interest and curiosity.

Judge Robert Wheeler instructed the first set of prospective jurors on sequester rules and provided a game plan for how the process of selection would go. In this, Wheeler told jurors they’d be asked about their prior exposure to the case, but more importantly, they’d be asked if they can “eliminate or disregard anything” they’ve heard previously to “render an impartial verdict” based only on the evidence presented in the courtroom.

Katherine Magbanua’s retrial starts with a civics lesson. Image via WFSU.

“In other words,” Wheeler asked, “can you presume Ms. (Katherine) Magbanua is innocent as the law requires?”

Our justice system’s presumption of innocence may be in part what Wheeler alluded to in his next set of comments, underscoring the value and meaning of civic duty.

“Just as we enjoy the privileges and protections of this country, we also have duties,” he said. “One of those includes jury service.”

“You’ll probably never be called on again to do something like this,” Wheeler told the jury pool.

Read the Florida Politics rundown of Day One — and continuing coverage — here.


CongratulationsErin Daly Ballas of Public Affairs Consultants and her husband James Ballas celebrate their 8th anniversary!


@APStyleBook: We don’t use the term manifesto in reference to a racist diatribe. It glorifies racist hatred. Other terms such as diatribe, screed or writings can work instead.

@ChipRoyTX: Hey, race-baiting leftists, I am much more opposed to liberal white “replacements” coming to Texas & perfectly happy to have “brown” people you all like to endanger for your political games legally come! Tell you what, how about you leave & we swap in 10 “brown” people!

@LizCheney: The House GOP leadership has enabled White nationalism, White supremacy, and antisemitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.

@RandolphBracy: According to @AP, 1 in 3 American adults now believe an effort is underway “to replace native-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains” I’m tired of seeing people lose loved ones because of hateful rhetoric spread by people who know better.

@BenjySarlin: I’ve said this since almost the week after the election, but we’re in a bizarre moment where two of the biggest political trends on the right are A) Great Replacement talk going mainstream, B) Republicans legit psyched about their growing ability to win nonwhite voters.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@KevinCate: It’s officially a million degrees in Florida until at least November.

@TamaraLush: I’m allergic to literally anything that grows out of the ground in Florida. Yay.


Property insurance Special Session begins — 6; 2022 Florida Chamber Prosperity & Economic Opportunity Solution Summit — 8; ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ starts on Disney+ — 8; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 10; Hyundai Air and Sea Show National Salute to America’s Heroes, sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association — 11; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 16; California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota hold midterm Primaries — 21; ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ premieres — 24; Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ premieres — 31; 2022 Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit — 42; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 52; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 63; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 65; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 84; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 92; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 96; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 106; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 108; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 114; 2022 Emmys — 118; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 142; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 160; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 161; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 161; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 178; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 184; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 188; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 188; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 189; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 211; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 275; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 293; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 311; 2023 Session Sine Die — 353; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 353; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 381; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 437; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 521; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 682; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 801.


It’s Primary Election Day. Not in Florida, of course, but we know our readers love politics so much that they’ll be paying attention to elections in Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania. The die-hards may even tune in to see what’s going on in Idaho, which is indeed one of the 50 states — we double-checked. The main storyline of Tuesday’s elections is whether Trump’s endorsement still carries the weight it did when he was President. Heading into Tuesday, he’s batting .800 this month, with his lone miss being in the Nebraska Governor race. Trump-backed Republicans, Dr. Mehmet Oz included, are hoping that was an aberration. We’ll know come Wednesday morning.

Time to see just how helpful a Donald Trump endorsement is. Image via AP.

16 GOP Primaries to watch in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Oregon” via Nathaniel Rakich of FiveThirtyEight — Tuesday is the busiest Election Day of the year so far, as five states — Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania — hold their 2022 Primaries. And for the GOP, it will be another test of whether to move on from Trump. Coming off Nebraska last week — his first loss of the year — Trump has endorsed candidates in seven major Primaries on Tuesday, which should give us a more precise answer as to his power in the party. And even in races where Trump has no skin in the game, Republicans are considering nominating someone in his incendiary, illiberal mold, making it harder for the GOP to pick up seats in November. Here are the 16 Republican Primaries to keep an eye on.

Leading GOP candidates in Pennsylvania were in Washington on Jan. 6” via Colby Itkowitz and Rosalind S. Helderman of The Washington Post — A top candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary participated in the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, the day the U.S. Capitol was attacked. So, too, did a surging candidate for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. And so did one of the Republican contenders to be the state’s Lieutenant Governor. The trio is part of a phalanx of Republican candidates nationwide who so strongly embraced Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him that they traveled to Washington to participate in the rally that preceded the violent attack on the Capitol, temporarily disrupting congressional certification of Biden’s victory.

Kathy Barnette scrambles Pennsylvania GOP Senate Primary, drawing Trump’s ire” via John McCormick of The Wall Street Journal — Barnette, an Army Reserve veteran and commentator, is surging in part because of a rise from poverty that includes being the product of sexual assault, something she has said helped forge her fierce opposition to abortion. Her rise has brought a new intensity of criticism from her rivals and even Trump. The former President, who is backing celebrity surgeon Oz, has said Barnette is sure to fail in the fall if she is the nominee. Limited polling suggests a tight GOP race, with Barnette, Oz and former hedge-fund executive David McCormick all potentially within striking distance of a win on Tuesday, when the Pennsylvania race will be the highest-profile among primaries in five states from coast to coast.

GOP Senate candidate Barnette spotted marching with Proud Boys on Jan. 6” via Anna Venarchik of the Daily Beast — Though there has been no evidence that Barnette ever entered the Capitol building, some Proud Boys in the photo were later arrested and indicted on a charge of breaking in and assaulting police, NBC News reports. Barnette’s campaign told NBC: “Kathy was in DC to support Trump and demand election accountability. Any assertion that she participated in or supported the destruction of property is intentionally false. She has no connection whatsoever to the Proud Boys.”

A Republican megadonor scrambled to stop Doug Mastriano in the Pennsylvania Governor’s race.” via Blake Hounshell of The New York Times — Jeff Yass, a Pennsylvania-based financier and a major Republican donor, had a straightforward request for Bill McSwain, a trailing candidate in that state’s GOP Primary for Governor. During a phone call last Tuesday, he asked: Will you consider dropping out? Yass urged McSwain to evaluate the risk that if he stayed in the race, his candidacy could split the vote in a way that would help Doug Mastriano, a conspiracy-theory-minded state Senator who leads polls ahead of the Tuesday Primary. Many Republican leaders and donors have worried that if Mastriano wins the nomination, he will saddle the Republican Party with a candidate who might easily be defeated by Josh Shapiro, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, who is running uncontested on the Democratic side of the race.

The strange post-Trump politics of the Pennsylvania Republican Primaries” via Benjamin Wallace-Wells of The New Yorker — The operating theory of just about every Republican race in 2022 has been that Trump’s endorsement will clear the field. When his endorsement of Oz didn’t, it required new theories to explain why. I heard among Pennsylvania politicos that Oz, a Muslim who has hosted television programs that have introduced, not unsympathetically, children who are committed to gender transition, is simply a terrible fit to inherit a nativist, socially conservative political movement. A second explanation is coalitional. David McCormick, who, in 2018, had endorsements from just about everyone else who mattered in conservative politics. The third explanation was the most intriguing: The conservative grassroots were evolving in ways that Trump could not always direct or control.

—”How Trump’s Dr. Oz endorsement could cost the GOP in Pennsylvania” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post

GOP Senate candidate in North Carolina thrives as two key backers squabble” via Jazmine Ulloa and Michael C. Bender of The New York Times — The former President’s branded “complete and total endorsement” doesn’t guarantee victory in a Republican primary. However, this year, operatives working in Senate campaigns said that playing up Trump’s imprimatur is the single most effective message in intraparty battles. In North Carolina, Ted Budd proves the potency of pairing the former President’s endorsement with another from one of Trump’s on-again, off-again allies: the Club for Growth. But in North Carolina, Budd was battling former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker after Trump announced his endorsement in June. Budd appeared to separate from the pack, helped by an $11 million advertising campaign from the Club for Growth mostly revolving around the former President’s endorsement.

Trump backs embattled lawmaker Madison Cawthorn ahead of GOP Primary” via Natalie Andrews of The Wall Street Journal — Trump posted on his Truth Social account that Cawthorn had made “foolish mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again.” He added: “Let’s give Madison a second chance!” On Tuesday, voters in the GOP primary will decide whether to send the youngest lawmaker in the House back for a second term. Trump’s support could give Cawthorn a last-minute boost while also testing the political power of Trump. Cawthorn has been at the center of a series of headline-grabbing blunders and indiscretions, including twice having a gun confiscated at the airport, being repeatedly pulled over by highway police and making comments about sex parties and drug use that angered GOP colleagues.

—”The easiest way Republicans could stop Cawthorn from winning” via Patrick J. McGinnis of POLITICO

Donald Trump urges voters to give Madison Cawthorn another chance.

Oregon voters, angry over crime and inflation, create tough race for Kurt Schrader” via Eliza Collins and Chad Day of The Wall Street Journal — The list of things people are unhappy about is long in this competitive Oregon district where longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Schrader is facing a serious primary challenge for his newly reconfigured U.S. House seat. The centrist Democrat — one of a dwindling number of fiscally conservative members of the party known as Blue Dogs — must make it through a May 17 Primary where he faces a challenge from his left over not doing more to move the Democratic agenda through Congress. If he makes it to the General Election, Schrader will face a political environment favoring the Republican Party. Election forecasters say Democratic House seats like his were once seen as long shots for a GOP win are now in play.

Where megadonors are spending big money to shape the Democratic Party’s future” via Elena Schneider of POLITICO — House Democratic primaries are drawing record cash — even as they’re almost guaranteed to lose their majority. The combatants include everything from industry groups to progressive organizations like Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party — and, especially, super PACs backing more moderate candidates, like one formed by AIPAC and another supported by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Even with Democrats likely to be in a relatively powerless House minority next year, they are trying to shape the future of the Party in Congress to a degree not seen before. The battle lines are not always neatly ideological — the biggest-spending group is Protect Our Future, a super PAC backed almost entirely by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, which has endorsed candidates from both wings of the party.

— 2022 —

‘Off to the races’: Ron DeSantis defends Cord Byrd Secretary of State appointment” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Florida will soon be off to the races in defending election integrity with Rep. Byrd leading the Department of State, DeSantis said Monday. DeSantis appointed Byrd on Friday to succeed Secretary of State Lee, whose resignation takes effect Monday. When Byrd takes over on Tuesday, DeSantis will have someone largely viewed as an ally leading the department that heads election efforts when he appears on the ballot for re-election in November. DeSantis was asked about concerns from Democrats, who were quick to call into question Byrd’s character and his proximity to conspiracy theories that Trump won the 2020 election.

—“DeSantis responds to criticism calling Secretary of State pick ‘most frightening appointment to date’” via Travis Gibson of News4Jax

Ron DeSantis gives Cord Byrd his full backing.

—”Nevada Democrat goes negative on DeSantis’ abortion restrictions” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Happening tonight:

Charlie Crist gives $100,000 to party mobilization effort — U.S. Rep. Crist contributed $100,000 to the Florida Democratic Party’s Blue Shift program. That makes the St. Petersburg Democrat the first candidate for Governor this election cycle to back the grassroots organization initiative. “I’m proud to be a part of the most coordinated voter mobilization effort in Florida history,” he said. “As Democrats, we will work together to win, so we can build a Florida all Floridians are proud to call home.” Blue Shift aims to register and mobilize more Democrats to vote in the midterm election, where Crist is seeking the nomination to challenge Gov. DeSantis.

Assignment editorsNikki Fried will host a roundtable discussion on Florida’s rising cost of living and how the affordability crisis affects seniors; roundtable at 9 a.m.; news conference at 9:50 a.m., Westwood Condo Community Clubhouse, 1440 Westwood Drive, Tallahassee. RSVP with Caroline Korba, [email protected] or (908) 752-1795.

—”Democrats are scarce, Republicans run the gamut of ideology in race to succeed U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

—”America First CD 9 candidate Scotty Moore gets boost from Mark Meadows” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Florida veteran pledges to spend millions in Tampa Bay-area congressional race” via Emily L. Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — The crowded Republican primary for Florida’s 15th Congressional District is getting a new face, as Jerry Torres, a Green Beret veteran and retired defense contractor, announced Monday he is entering the race. Torres has never run for office and just moved to Lakeland about a month ago, he said, after spending the prior few months living in Siesta Key, and before that, near Cape Coral. But he’s willing to go big on his race — he’s already set aside $5 million and is willing to spend up to $15 million if needed, he said. That figure would rank among the highest sums a candidate has ever dedicated toward a U.S. House race.

Jared Moskowitz lands Gun Sense Candidate Distinction — Broward County Commissioner Moskowitz was awarded the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate Distinction for his work on gun violence prevention in the state House. He is currently the only candidate running for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District to earn the designation. “I have cried with parents who lost their children. I have stood up to the NRA and proudly earned an ‘F-minus’ rating for my efforts. Our community was forever changed by the MSD shooting, but my promise to the children and teachers who survived and to those who lost loved ones is that I will never stop fighting to prevent future tragedies. I’m proud to stand with Moms Demand Action in this fight,” he said.

— MORE 2022 —

—”Race to replace Ramon Alexander in Florida House: Who’s in and who’s out” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat

‘Clerical error’ blamed for questionable Chris Smith donation to Barbara Sharief” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Former Broward County Commissioner Sharief accepted $1,000 in April from a supposed Fort Lauderdale-based company called Chris Smith LLC. The problem is, there is no company with that name active in Florida. Sharief’s campaign told Florida Politics on Monday the issue is due to a soon-to-be-corrected “clerical error.” Sharief, a health care executive in private life, is mounting a Primary challenge against Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book. Chris Smith LLC was one of three maxed-out donations of $1,000. The address listed next to the donation is for a property belonging to former state Sen. Smith, who now works as a lobbyist for Fort Lauderdale law firm Tripp Scott, and his wife, Lauderhill City Manager Desorae Giles-Smith.

Barbara Sharief is forced to walk back a questionable donation, blaming it on human error.

Blaise Ingoglia picks up endorsement from Ted Cruz — Texas U.S. Sen. Cruz on Monday endorsed Ingoglia for Florida Senate District 11. “Blaise is a fighter who will work to secure the border, he will stand up to Big Tech, and he will defend our Second Amendment rights. I ask my fellow conservatives to join me in supporting him,” Cruz said. Ingoglia responded, “It is an honor to gain the endorsement from one of our party’s strongest conservative voices. Sen. Cruz is a staunch advocate fighting against government overreach, pushing for more transparency and preserving our Constitution. I am humbled by his support. SD 11 covers all of Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties as well as part of Pasco. Ingoglia is currently unopposed.

DeSantis endorses Bryan Ávila for Senate” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Just two weeks into his Senate campaign, House Speaker Pro Tempore Ávila has secured an endorsement from Florida’s most powerful elected executive, DeSantis. In a Monday afternoon Twitter post, DeSantis announced he is backing Ávila’s bid to replace Hialeah Republican Sen. Manny Díaz Jr. in Senate District 39. DeSantis appointed Díaz in late April to replace Richard Corcoran as Education Commissioner.

Janelle Perez adds $51K to SD 38 bid with AFSCME boost” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Perez raised more than $51,000 in April toward her campaign for the open seat representing Senate District 38. Most of the money came from a labor union that endorsed her last month. Perez has raised about $438,000 since she initially filed to run for Congress in August. She’s since refocused her effort on the Legislature’s upper chamber and spent about $31,000. As of April 30, she had roughly $407,000 between her campaign account and political committee, Democracy and Freedom. Her most significant gain was a $40,000 donation from the American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the nation’s largest trade union of public employees.

—”DeSantis officially endorses Paul Renner’s re-election to Florida House” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Happening tonight:

Trevor Mallory drops campaign to support Michele Rayner in HD 62 run” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Mallory, president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, has announced he will drop his campaign for House District 62 to support Rayner in her re-election. Rayner announced earlier Monday that she is stopping her congressional campaign to seek re-election in the state House. Mallory entered the state House race in October 2021, following Rayner’s jump into the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District last June. Mallory said in a statement that it was “in the best interest of the district” to end his campaign and support the incumbent. He also scrutinized the new legislative district maps championed by Republican leadership, going as far as to allege gerrymandering.

Trevor Mallory steps out of Michele Rayner’s way. Image via The Gabber.

First on #FlaPol — “‘I will stay focused’: David Richardson ends HD 106 campaign, will remain on Miami Beach Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — After a series of Democratic campaign changes, some actual and others rumored, Richardson, a Miami Beach Commissioner, is staying put on the City Commission. Richardson announced Monday afternoon that he will not resume the campaign he launched in early March for House District 106, nor will he follow through on a since-contemplated bid for the Miami-Dade County Commission. Instead, he said he will continue to represent Miami Beach Commission Group 6 as voters wished him to do when they elected Richardson to a four-year term in November 2019.

Happening tonight:


State will likely take over Disney World’s Reedy Creek, DeSantis says” via Skyler Swisher and Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — The state will likely assume control of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, rather than local governments absorbing it, DeSantis said Monday. DeSantis said he is working on a proposal that the Legislature will likely consider after the November elections. Reedy Creek, which encompasses Disney World and neighboring properties, is set to dissolve on June 1, 2023. The Governor’s Office hasn’t released a written plan detailing how breaking up Disney World’s private government will unfold.

DeSantis backs $125M to address nurse shortage — DeSantis on Monday said he would support a $125 million appropriation in the 2022-23 budget aimed at addressing the nursing shortage in Florida. Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida reports that $100 million will go to the Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education Fund, and another $25 million will go to the Linking Industry to Nursing Education Fund. The former incentivizes schools to train more nurses, and the latter is to train nursing instructors. The state will also be matching contributions to training programs made by health care providers. “We already have a huge amount of interest in this program,” DeSantis said during a news conference at Seminole State College. “They invest a dollar, and we invest a dollar, and everyone wins.”

Ron DeSantis announces a new program to help shore up the health care workforce. Image via the Governor’s Office.

DeSantis tells Florida to ‘not worry’ about Disney’s debt: ‘I have the biggest budget surplus we’ve ever had.’” via Yahoo News — DeSantis announced $125 million in funding for nursing and claimed the Florida government is going to take care of Disney’s debt while speaking at Seminole State College, Sanford, Florida today. The Walt Disney Co.’s self-government status will be repealed and the Reedy Creek Improvement District will be dissolved in 2023, leaving the local taxpayers with more than $1 billion in bond debt. But DeSantis and his administration insisted that the people of Florida will not be burdened with more taxes. He went on to say that Florida has the lowest per capita tax burden and assured that, “I have the biggest budget surplus we’ve ever had. There would be no basis to ever do any type of raising taxes.”

In wake of abortion rights protests, DeSantis signs bill banning residential picketing” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Protesting on people’s lawns will soon be illegal thanks to a new law signed by DeSantis. Residential picketing has marched into the national debate this month as abortion rights supporters stake out the homes of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justices. The protests began following the leak this month of a draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Although the Legislature passed the anti-picketing bill (HB 1571) in March, the bill signing plays into the national conversation around the First Amendment, the right to privacy, and obstruction of justice. DeSantis signed the measure Monday.

New law will shield law enforcement vehicles’ comings and goings from public view” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — DeSantis signed a law Friday that will exempt law enforcement vehicles’ geolocation information from the public record. After DeSantis signed the measure (SB 1046), the sponsor of the House version (HB 773) applauded the move. Democratic Rep. Matt Willhite, who represents inland Palm Beach County, says it will shield law enforcement personnel and their families from unnecessary risk. “Police officers often take their law enforcement vehicle home — where their families live,” Willhite said.

—“New law could mean a change in firefighters for some Bradenton residents” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

Florida regulators to consider trio of property insurance hikes as Special Session looms” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — State property insurance regulators will review three companies’ large rate requests, including one of nearly 50%, on Tuesday, one week before the Legislature meets in a Special Session to consider bills designed to stabilize the creaking market. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation will hold a hearing Tuesday afternoon to consider the request, which, if approved, would take effect starting July 1 for new and existing policies. OIR will also conduct hearings Tuesday for two smaller companies, First Floridian Auto and Home Insurance Company and KIN Interinsurance Network, seeking increases of 22.9% and 25.1%, respectively, for homeowners’ policies.

Managed care plans have questions about Medicaid bid, but state won’t say what they are” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Florida health care officials have received questions from Medicaid managed care plans that may be interested in providing health care to the millions of Floridians who rely on the safety net program for their care. But the agency isn’t immediately making those inquiries available to the public for review. Florida requires most Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll in managed care plans to receive their benefits. The managed care plans are tasked with providing all Medicaid-covered services, except for dental care. That makes the multi-year contracts awarded on a competitive bidding basis the most lucrative in the state, worth tens of billions to the Medicaid-managed care plans that submit winning bids.

Happening today — The Florida Elections Commission meets, 8:30 a.m., Room 306, House Office Building.


How some students are protesting law dubbed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ as graduation nears” via Brooke Batinger of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Some high school seniors are looking to leave their last mark as they go off to live new lives as college students or go out into the workforce. For some, that means speaking out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, known among critics as Don’t Say Gay, and speaking up in favor of LGBTQ+ rights. It remains to be seen how many, if any, students will speak out at South Florida’s upcoming graduation ceremonies, though students already have been outspoken at demonstrations they’ve led in recent months. To prevent similar speeches this year, Broward high schools formed small committees of faculty and administrators to review speeches before graduation ceremonies. Before that policy, only the school’s principal approved speeches.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ will bring fireworks at graduations across Florida.

Death row inmates promised more humane treatment after lawsuit settlement” via Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times — A recent settlement in a long-running federal lawsuit that challenged the often decadeslong isolation of Florida’s death row prisoners comes with a promise of more humane treatment for the state’s condemned. In late April, U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard approved the settlement. The Florida Department of Corrections agreed to allow eligible death-sentenced prisoners to spend more time outside their cells, with some able to hold prison jobs within the death row housing unit. The agreement also guarantees access to mental health care, including psychiatric care, among other provisions.

Climate change is heating up Florida. That could bring more wildfires, new report warns” via Alex Harris of the Miami Herald — When Hurricane Michael tore through North Florida in 2018 as a Category 5 storm, it left more than 3 million acres of felled trees in its wake. Those largely untouched trees were the perfect fuel for three simultaneous wildfires that raged through the region in March. The Chipola Complex fires turned the skies smoky and blood red, destroyed two homes, prompted the evacuation of a thousand more and consumed more than 30,000 acres of forest before firefighters got it under control. Research from First Street Foundation released Monday suggests that as climate change warms the planet, the risk of wildfires like those in Florida could double by mid-century.

Florida gas prices just keep soaring, hit record average of $4.50” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Gasoline prices in Florida soared last week, setting a record of $4.50 per gallon Monday morning. The latest apex easily surpasses the $4.38 mark set in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine and sent worldwide oil and gas prices into chaos. The old, pre-2022 record price of a gallon of gasoline in Florida was $4.08, set back in 2008. Florida’s average price jumped about 32 cents in the past week. The state average is now $1.60 per gallon higher than a year ago.


Joe Biden starts conceding that the bygone era of D.C. may, indeed, be gone” via Jonathan Lemire of POLITICO — The fever didn’t break. And for the Biden White House, efforts at bipartisanship have finally taken a back seat. To the frustration of many Democrats and some of his closest advisers, Biden has steadfastly spent more than a year in office insisting on trying to work across the aisle with Republicans. It’s produced some notable legislative successes. But it’s also been colored by a fair dose of in-your-face GOP obstructionism. Now, more than a year later, Biden no longer believes that most Republicans will eventually drop their fealty to Trump and show a willingness to engage. He admitted he was wrong.

Joe Biden is lamenting the end of a bygone era. Image via AP.

Biden to confront the racism he’s vowed to fight in visit to Buffalo after mass shooting” via Chris Megerian of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — When Biden talks about his decision to run against Trump in 2020, the story always starts with Charlottesville. He says the men with torches shouting bigoted slogans drove him to join what he calls the “battle for the soul of America.” Biden is facing the latest deadly manifestation of hatred after a White supremacist targeted Black people with an assault rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, the most lethal racist attack since he took office.

Six months in, Biden’s infrastructure plan has 4,300 projects” via The Associated Press — Six months after the signing of Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure package, the government said Monday there are 4,300 projects underway with more than $110 billion in funding announced, milestones the administration is publicly heralding as midterm politics intensify. White House senior adviser Mitch Landrieu said the roads, bridges, and other projects are laying “a foundation for tremendous growth into the future.” Landrieu said Biden and members of his administration had made more than 125 trips to highlight the bipartisan investments in infrastructure. He declined to predict how much the storytelling will resonate with voters as construction starts.

Biden plunges into the risky politics of student loan debt” via Annie Linskey, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Jeff Stein and Seung Min Kim of The Washington Post — With Biden now moving closer to an executive order canceling some portion of student debt, Republicans are seizing on the issue to burnish their favored portrait of the two parties: Democrats, they say, champion the privileged elites, while Republicans support America’s down-to-earth workers. Liberals respond that a comprehensive loan cancellation program would provide critical help for struggling Latino, Black and young people amid a tough economy. More recently, Biden has signaled that any debt forgiveness plan would include sharp limits.

New dad Pete Buttigieg says baby formula shortage ‘is very personal’” via María Luisa Paúl of The Washington Post — Transportation Secretary Buttigieg is among the parents scouring stores, refreshing websites and enlisting relatives’ help to snag containers of highly sought-after baby formula during the nationwide shortage. “This is very personal for us,” Buttigieg said. “We’ve got two 9-month-old children; baby formula is a very big part of our lives.” Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, like millions of parents, have been left scrambling to find the product that is vital to the healthy development of many babies. Supply chain crunches tied to the coronavirus pandemic had already strained the country’s formula stock, an issue that was further exacerbated by a major product recall in February.

What Rick Scott is reading‘A magnet for rip-off artists’: Fraud siphoned billions from pandemic unemployment benefits” via Tony Romm and Yeganeh Torbati of The Washington Post — The more than $5 trillion approved since the start of the pandemic has become a wellspring for criminal activity, allowing fraudsters to siphon money away from hard-hit American workers and businesses who needed the help most. The exact scope of the fraud targeting federal aid initiatives is unknown, even two years later. Testifying at a little-noticed congressional hearing this spring, a top watchdog for the Labor Department estimated there could have been “at least” $163 billion in unemployment-related “overpayments,” a projection that includes wrongly paid sums as well as “significant” benefits obtained by malicious actors. So far, the United States has recaptured just over $4 billion of that.

Marco Rubio warns Miami about Chinese influence campaign” via Jimmy Quinn of National Review — Sen. Rubio warned Miami Mayor Francis Suarez that the Chinese Communist Party is continuing its efforts to influence local government officials. While there has been previous concern about Chinese influence efforts at the state and municipal levels, Rubio’s letter this week to Suarez, the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, followed a recent incident in his city. The presence of Chinese state media in Florida is relatively robust compared with some other states. Four Florida-based media outlets participated in a Chinese state media-backed national forum in 2019.

‘The devil’s job’: Lake Worth Beach cleric, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel call for action in wake of Buffalo shooting” via Liz Balmaseda of The Palm Beach Post — After a mass shooting took the lives of 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket Saturday, the local county sheriff called it a “straight-up racially motivated hate crime.” On Sunday, the alleged actions of the 18-year-old White shooter echoed inside a Palm Beach County church. Buffalo authorities say the supermarket shooter, who wore military gear and a helmet camera to livestream his crimes, targeted the store for its predominantly Black clientele. Writings attributed to suspect Payton Gendron reveal a devotion to White supremacist dogma, including the so-called “great replacement” theory.

Another mass shooting, another round of calls to do something — anything. Image via AP.

—“Parkland father blames DeSantis, other Republicans for Buffalo shooting” via Khaleda Rahman of Newsweek

In a first, U.S. government green-lights American investment in private business in Cuba” via Nora Gámez Torres of the Miami Herald — In what appears to be a first in more than six decades, the U.S. has authorized an American company to finance and invest in a private business in Cuba, an unprecedented move that could open the gate to American investment to help Cubans on the island gain economic independence from the state. The U.S. embargo on Cuba, in place since 1960, prohibits most financial transactions involving Cuban nationals or entities unless they fall under an exception or are authorized by a license. The people behind the recent initiative believe this is the first time the U.S. government has authorized direct financing and investment in a Cuban private enterprise.

Abbott says agreement reached to reopen baby formula plant” via Zeke Miller and Matthew Perrone of the Orlando Sentinel — Infant formula maker Abbott says it’s reached an agreement with U.S. health officials to restart production at its largest domestic factory, a key step toward easing a nationwide shortage tied to the plant’s shutdown earlier this year. Abbott did not immediately detail the terms of the agreement reached with the Food and Drug Administration, which has been investigating safety problems at the Sturgis, Michigan, facility. The consent decree is a binding legal agreement between the company and the federal government. After production resumes, Abbott has said it will take at least eight weeks to begin shipping new product to stores.

‘One of the greatest mysteries of our time’: Congress to hold UFO hearing next week” via Bryan Bender of POLITICO — A House committee will hold a public hearing on UFOs next Tuesday for the first time in decades, as Congress presses the Pentagon and other national security agencies for more answers on reports of mysterious aircraft violating protected airspace. The session before the House Intelligence Committee’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee comes five months after the National Defense Authorization Act required the military to establish a permanent UFO research office and take a series of other steps to collect and investigate reports of “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Supreme Court agrees with Ted Cruz, strikes campaign contribution limit” via Robert Barnes of The Washington Post — The Supreme Court split along ideological lines in striking another campaign finance restriction Monday, agreeing with Republican Sen. Cruz’s challenge to federal limits on the use of postelection contributions to repay a candidate’s loan to his campaign. It was the latest Supreme Court decision to knock out a part of the landmark 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, popularly known as the McCain-Feingold Act, and reemphasized the court’s view that many restrictions on campaign finance are unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment’s protection of political speech.

Sentencing for Matt Gaetz ‘wingman’ delayed until August” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — Former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, once referred to as Gaetz’s “wingman,” will likely be sentenced in August, according to an order filed on Monday by U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell. Greenberg initially faced 33 criminal counts, but prosecutors cut a deal with him last year, reducing the charges to six in exchange for Greenberg’s cooperation in multiple inquiries, including into the GOP Congressman. Greenberg’s case has been on hold since February, and the judge has approved a handful of sentencing extensions as Greenberg, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges including stalking, fraud, and sex trafficking a minor, worked with federal prosecutors. Gaetz got pulled into the investigation as part of the broader probe into Greenberg.


UNF trustees select USF business school dean as University’s seventh President” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — The University of North Florida (UNF) board of trustees ended up looking to Tampa for UNF’s next university president, and voted unanimously to select Moez Limayem, the Lynn Pippenger Dean in the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida (USF). Limayem’s professional accomplishments are many, as expected from a university president candidate. In his past 10 years as Dean, Limayem was responsible for raising more than $126 million for USF, including a number of multimillion-dollar gifts, along with helping raise the freshman retention rate to 95% and leading USF’s efforts in career preparation, internships and talent development.

Congratulations to USF dean Moez Limayem, the next president of UNF.

Tallahassee firefighters union endorses Kristin Dozier, Adner Marcelin in city contests” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — Tallahassee Professional Firefighters (TPF) announced it was endorsing Dozier, a Tallahassee mayoral Candidate, and Marcelin, a City Commission candidate during the 2022 election cycle. The TPF is the local chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters union that represents firefighters in the Tallahassee Fire Department and Wakulla Fire-Rescue Department. Their endorsement comes with a $1,000 donation to each candidate through the union’s PAC, The Big Bend Professional Firefighter and Paramedics PAC. Union members will also go door-knocking for endorsed candidates beginning in July.


Lawsuit against Orlando Gudes alleges sexual favors for political access, pedophilia and feeling immune from punishment” via Daniel Figueroa of Florida Politics — A lawsuit filed Monday in Hillsborough County Court levied startling accusations against a Tampa City Council Member already embroiled in a sexual harassment investigation that corroborated allegations he abused a former legislative aide. That aide and her teenage daughter are suing Gudes over defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit adds to the 18 instances Trenam Law found more than likely to have occurred in an independent investigation by accusing Gudes of wanting to exchange sexual favors for political access; engaging in “pedophiliac” behavior and feeling immune from punishment, while creating a hostile and abusive work environment.

Higher interest rates threaten hot Orlando home market, despite record prices in April” via Trevor Fraser of the Orlando Sentinel — Mortgage interest rates hit their highest number in more than a decade, leading experts to see signs of a slowdown, a new report says. But that didn’t stop Orlando’s median home price from setting its third monthly record in a row in April. The median in metro Orlando jumped to $370,000, up $75,000 year-over-year. Homes spent an average of 24 days on the market, down from 27 in March. But one limiting factor was that interest rates on a 30-year fixed loan hit an average of 4.9%, a 66% jump from the previous year and their highest rate since 2009. On Sunday, the national rate had soared to 5.57%.

Orlando’s housing market remains white hot — for now.

School Board candidate says she’s fighting a ‘spiritual war’” via The West Volusia Beacon — Volusia County School Board candidate Jaclyn Carrell is making no secret of her reasons for running. She told the host of an online radio program she is embroiled in a “spiritual war” to defend “Western civilization.” Carrell’s remarks were broadcast on The Buff Show, an online radio program. Carrell told host Matt Buff that her decision to run for the District 1 seat came when she was among parents trespassing from a School Board meeting in October 2020 for refusing to comply with the School District’s mask mandate.


‘A proven leader’: María Elvira Salazar endorses Kevin Marino Cabrera for Miami-Dade Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Government relations specialist Cabrera continued racking up big-time Republican endorsements Monday when his campaign announced U.S. Rep. Salazar is backing his bid to take the District 6 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission. Salazar called Cabrera “a proven leader” who boasts “all the necessary private sector experience to fight” for District 6 residents. “Kevin is running for all the right reasons: (to) enhance our quality of life, ensure our streets and neighborhoods are safe, and tackle our community’s affordability crisis,” she said. “I am confident he will be an independent voice for the residents of District 6.”

Kevin Marino Cabrera keeps racking up high-profile endorsements.

Surprise: Charter Review Commission kills proposal to recall school board members” via Ralph Chapoco of Florida Today — The one issue before Brevard County’s Charter Review Commission that fired people’s imaginations and ignited competing passions more than any other is now dead. Public Defender Blaise Trettis’ proposal to recall Brevard Public Schools board members was dropped by the Commission Thursday and will no longer be considered. The unexpected result, created by a double whammy of the absence of key supporters of the recall proposal at the Thursday meeting, and a sudden rule change that enabled a handful of votes to kill a measure if there was no interest to keep considering it, came as a surprise to everyone at the meeting.

Broward schools shake-up would cut academic jobs and boost public relations” via Scott Travis of Florida Politics — Broward schools may cut more than $1 million in academic positions while boosting public-relations efforts by $218,000, under a proposed district shake-up from Superintendent Vickie Cartwright. A reorganization plan, which Cartwright says would save $2.3 million, also overhauls the duties of administrators. The plan would eliminate 26 administrator positions but then creates 23 new positions, for a net cut of three positions.

Home fraud ‘is out of control.’ Inside the crackdown that just led to two arrests” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The homeowners are dead. But their true heirs have been stiffed out of their rightful inheritance in an elaborate effort to steal entire houses in South Florida, investigators say. Authorities on Monday arrested two women they say got control of two homes in Cooper City by using forged and falsified documents. The women profited by $510,000 for the sale of the homes, investigators said. Investigators say the women identified the homes of dead people and then gained control of the homes through probate court. Fraud investigators with the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office pledged this is just the beginning, with more arrests expected. Every day, they hear from more people who tell of strangers trying to claim their family’s home.


There are two endgames in Ukraine. Both carry big risks.” via Ross Douthat of The New York Times — Two scenarios loom for the next six months of war. In the first, Russia and Ukraine trade territory in small increments, and the war gradually cools into a “frozen conflict” in a style familiar from other wars in Russia’s near abroad. However, there is another scenario in which this dilemma diminishes because the stalemate breaks in Ukraine’s favor. With sufficient military aid and hardware, Ukraine can turn their modest counteroffensives into major ones and push the Russians back not just to prewar lines but potentially out of Ukrainian territory entirely. It’s also the future where Russian nuclear escalation suddenly becomes much more likely than it is right now.


John Durham has already won” via Ankush Khardori of POLITICO — Special counsel Durham — the prosecutor who was appointed in 2019 by Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation in the wake of the (Robert) Mueller report — finally gets to present his case to a jury in federal court. Since Durham’s appointment, however, a clear dynamic has dominated his investigation — namely, a palpable desire among right-wing operatives, commentators and media outlets to use Durham’s work, no matter how thin or nebulous the underlying evidence may be, to try to vindicate the theory that Trump was grievously victimized by the Democratic Party to defeat him and later hobble his presidency. It has become increasingly clear that the proceeding is unlikely to offer any sort of definitive resolution to the most politically consequential questions at issue.

What if Democrats had made the economy even worse?” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — Biden likes to blame inflation on the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine — or, as he says, “(Vladimir) Putin’s price hike.” But the fact is, Biden’s own actions, and those of his party, have also contributed significantly to the rise in the cost of living that is making it harder and harder for many people to make ends meet. And that rise, in turn, is feeding terrible pessimism among the public about the state of the country. Even some liberal commentators admit that Biden and Capitol Democrats fed inflation by passing enormous spending bills, measures that provided far more stimulus to the economy than needed. That was certainly true of the giant $1.9 trillion “COVID-19 relief” bill called the American Rescue Plan.

Young Americans are stressed. They are angry. And they can swing Congress.” via John Della Volpe of The New York Times — Millions of newly minted college graduates are about to enter a scorching job market, but many are still held back by feelings of hopelessness and depression. Less than one in 10 Americans between 18- and 29-years-old describe ours as a “healthy democracy.” Most are convinced that both political parties cater to elites over people like them and that our politics cannot meet the challenges of the times. More than anything, “happiness and stability” are what youth seek, but even that appears out of reach at a time when they’re readying to launch. Young Americans are more likely to vote when they see a tangible difference between the parties and feel the consequences of election outcomes.

How we can reimagine the teaching profession for the 21st century in Florida and U.S.” via Jeb Bush for the Miami Herald — Schools are struggling to hire enough teachers across the country, and long-term trends suggest the problem could worsen. Those interested in being teachers must spend years in college classes, then take certification exams before entering the classroom with maybe a semester’s worth of on-the-job training. This system is not setting up these educators or the students they’re expected to serve for success. It forces new teachers to start their careers with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and little hands-on experience. The system prioritizes seat time with a professor in a college classroom over hands-on training alongside an experienced educator in an actual classroom.

Don’t rush divestment of Florida’s shares in Russian companies” via The Palm Beach Post editorial board — It’s tempting to say Florida should join the rush to divest from Russian companies to protest the Ukraine invasion. The move to rid the state retirement plan of its Russian shares would fit within the broader international effort to punish Russia for its aggression, deprive it of money to prolong its unprovoked war, and isolate it in shame from the community of nations outraged by Putin‘s bloodlust. However, by divesting too quickly, the state would shoot itself in the foot financially, enrich those it wants to punish, and do little to force Russia’s military to stand down. DeSantis has been slow to act, weakly suggesting that the Legislature draft a bill that would let the state divest holdings in countries that “are hostile to American interests.”

— ALOE —

Travel site names Key West hotel one of the best beachfront hotels in the U.S.” via Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald — There are more than 95,000 miles of coastline in the United States. So it stands to reason there would be quite a few beachfront hotels. And one of the best is in Key West, according to a popular digital travel magazine. Trips to Discover has named its 15 best beachfront hotels in the country, and the Southernmost Beach Resort in Key West is on the list. Located on the southern side of Duval Street, the resort, which underwent a $15 million renovation in late 2021, “is an upscale property with enchanting ocean views,” the magazine writes, adding that it “spans 6 acres in the historic Old Town, facing the Atlantic, complete with three palm-fringed pools with private cabins, a secluded sunbathing pier, and hammocks that are strung between the palm trees.”

One of the best-kept secrets in Key West is no longer a secret.

Michelin Guide to reveal which Florida restaurants will receive stars on June 9” via Helen Freund of the Tampa Bay Times — The wait is almost over: On June 9, Tampa chefs and restaurant owners will finally find out whether they snagged a coveted Michelin star. Michelin star recipients will find out “in real time” during a live ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes. “Bib Gourmand,” “Sommelier of the Year,” and “Exceptional Cocktails” awards will also be announced at the ceremony, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. in Orlando. Until now, the guide, arguably the most widely respected restaurant ratings system in the world, has never included Florida. Only restaurants from Orlando, Tampa and Miami were included in this round.


Celebrating today is Deputy Chief Financial Officer Julie Jones, former Tampa Bay Times reporter, now at Axios Denver John Frank, Shannon Gravitte, VP for Public Affairs at AdventHealth, former lobbyist Karen Skyers and Jeff Wright.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, 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, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

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