Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.6.22

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Here's your AM rundown of people, politics and policy in the Sunshine State.

Good Wednesday morning.

According to the latest FiveThirtyEight summary of polling across the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis is heavily favored to win re-election, and Florida’s congressional delegation will be more than two-thirds Republican.

This updated election forecast suggests the marquee races will be blowouts — and not just by Sunshine State standards.

Assuming U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is the Democratic nominee for Governor, which appears likely based on Primary polls, DeSantis is expected to win 54%-42%.

The outlet predicts a 12-point spread in the race between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings as well.

New polling shows Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio looking pretty strong for re-election.

As of now, FiveThirtyEight is leaving little room for an upset. Its model simulated the election 40,000 times, finding the Republicans would 94% of the time.

The same model produced a similarly tilted down-ballot result.

According to the forecast, Florida’s U.S. House delegation will comprise 20 Republicans and eight Democrats, a three-seat loss for Democrats despite Florida adding the 28th District.

FiveThirtyEight does make some interesting divinations as far as Primary results go, such as anointing Rep. Jackie Toledo as the expected nominee in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

Still, it expects there will be little competition after Aug. 23.

As it stands, the closest federal race in the state will be in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, where Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, the Democratic front-runner, has an 85% chance to dispatch Republican Jim Pruden on Election Day.


As Mayor Lenny Curry approaches the end of his second term, Jacksonville voters say they want the city to move in a different direction and that they believe Donna Deegan is the candidate who can make that happen.

According to FrederickPolls, Deegan is leading the crowded field for Jacksonville Mayor with 30% support among likely voters in the March 2023 election.

“This poll shows the real connection, and confidence Donna has built across the Jacksonville community,” said Pat McCollough, Deegan’s campaign manager. “It is further proof of our momentum that Donna’s track record, message of real change, and vision of a Jacksonville that works for everyone is resonating with voters in every section of the city.”

Donna Deegan takes a solid polling lead in the Jacksonville mayoral race.

The top-line figure puts Deegan 13 points ahead of Sen. Audrey Gibson and Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Davis, each at 17%.

Deegan, a Democrat, leads among voters of her party as well as among independent voters. She also fared well among Republicans, placing third of eight candidates among GOP voters. Broken by race, the poll shows that 60% of White voters who are Democrats or independents prefer Deegan. Meanwhile, 35% of Black voters told the pollster she was their top pick.

Voters were also asked whether they want the city to “change directions” or “continue moving in the same direction” as it has under Curry, with 61% saying they were ready for a fresh approach at city hall.

“Donna Deegan is the clear front-runner with a direct path to making the runoff in this crowded field of competitors,” said Keith Frederick of FrederickPolls. “Her broad and deep support is stable; built upon a foundation of trust and familiarity achieved from decades of service to the community.”


The Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking is bringing on Robyn Metcalf Blank as Director of Special Projects.

“Robyn’s experience and passion will be a tremendous asset as we form partnerships with local service providers, advocates and task-forces with a goal of increasing statewide awareness and training on human trafficking,” said Executive Director Erin Collins.

Blank brings over a decade of experience advocating and developing solutions to improve outcomes for Florida’s most vulnerable children.

Robyn Metcalf Blank’s experience will help educate the public on human trafficking.

She previously served as the Statewide Director for the Open Doors Outreach Network, providing care and support services to survivors of sex trafficking aged 10-24 throughout the state. She also served as the Associate Executive Director for the American Children’s Campaign, advocating for policy changes benefiting Florida children.

Blank currently serves on the board of directors for the National Florida State University Alumni Association. She has volunteered with the Junior League of Tallahassee, Guardian Ad Litem and Relay for Life and previously served on the FSU College of Social Work Alumni Group board of directors.

She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work as well as a master’s degree in public administration from FSU. She was named a 2020 Notable Nole by the FSU Alumni Association and in 2016, she received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the FSU College of Social Work.


@BrianMastFL: One year ago, the White House bragged that the cost of 4th of July BBQs was down 16 cents. This year, it was up more than $10. They must have forgot to tweet that.

@LeaderBookFL: Judge (John) Cooper’s injunction to protect a woman’s access to health care lasted < 1 hr before the state filed its draconian appeal. There is a battle waging in FL & across the country to fleece citizens’ freedoms under archaic, conservatively stacked constitutional interpretations.

@MarcACaputo: It’s not just the media watching DeSantis’s war chest. It’s (Donald) Trump as well, and it could contribute to an early announcement by the former President

@jacobogles: This has felt like the longest qualifying week ever.

@Conservemillen: There’s nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to do and no one to live for. This has been true in every place for all of time. Our young men are drowning in idleness, purposelessness & godlessness and we’re paying for it.

@SecretaryPete: Sometimes, an airline will offer you points or miles as compensation, but you are entitled to a cash refund when your flight is canceled. When deciding whether to accept miles, it’s helpful to know their value, which varies, but often is estimated at 1 to 1.5 cents per mile.

Tweet, tweet:


‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 2; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 13; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 14; 2022 Sunshine Summit begins — 16; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 23; The 10-day Florida Python Challenge kicks off — 30; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 34; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 42; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 43; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 46; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 56; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 56; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 58; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 64; 2022 Emmys — 68; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 71; 22-23 NHL season begins — 97; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 110; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 111; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 111; ‘Black Panther 2′ premieres — 128; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 130; FITCon 2022 begins — 134; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 134; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 138; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 138; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 139; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 147; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 147; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 163; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 226; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 244; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 261; 2023 Session Sine Die — 303; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 303; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 331; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 499; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 632; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 751.


Florida’s abortion law can move forward after state issues appeal” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO — Florida appealed a state court judge’s ruling that temporarily halted the state’s new abortion law, with lawyers from Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office asking a state appeals court to overturn the judge’s decision.

The state appeal of Leon County Circuit Judge Cooper’s decision triggered an automatic nullification of his ruling as the case winds through the court system.

Cooper wrote in the official order handed down Tuesday that the plaintiffs had presented witnesses who were more credible than those offered by Moody’s office and questioned the constitutionality of the ban. One of the witnesses who testified, Dr. Shelly Hsiao-Ying Tien, told the court that 15 weeks was not enough time for people to address whether to keep a pregnancy.

Ashley Moody files an appeal, so the 15-week abortion ban is back on.

Abortion rights groups have used Florida’s privacy right to block most new abortion restrictions since the state Supreme Court ruled on the issue in 1989. The Court now has a conservative majority, and that argument was struck down in April by Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey when she upheld the law from 2015 that requires abortion patients to wait 24 hours before they can go through a procedure.

But Dempsey’s decision only applies to lower court cases. DeSantis and other Republican state leaders want the 15-week ban to be reviewed by the state Supreme Court because the impact of a high court decision will be statewide.

State changing abortion reporting rules to reflect 15-week ban” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Florida’s health care regulators are moving ahead with required rule changes needed to implement the state’s new law banning abortions after 15 weeks, despite a court injunction seeking to prevent it from taking effect. That injunction, issued Monday, has already been lifted due to the state’s decision to appeal. That means the new law does remain in effect. The Agency for Health Care Administration announced it is revising the monthly forms providers must submit to the state in the wake of the new law.

— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis tops Donald Trump, Joe Biden in 2024 odds market” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — DeSantis routinely downplays the prospects of running for President in 2024, but that hasn’t stopped betting markets from favoring him over the two most recent Americans to have held the nation’s highest office. Less than two weeks after DeSantis overtook Trump in PredictIt’s 2024 betting marketplace, has proclaimed the state’s Republican Governor the odds market leader. The site, intended to provide residents with updates on legal sportsbooks, gives DeSantis an implied 25% chance for the presidency over Trump’s 23% and President Biden’s 15%.

The odds are in Ron DeSantis’ favor.

Could DeSantis use $100M re-election money in presidential race?” via CBS News Miami — Few people noticed when the Federal Election Commission deadlocked last month over whether U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds in 2020 had broken a law intended to keep the money raised for a state campaign out of federal elections. But election lawyer Brett Kappel immediately thought of one person who could benefit greatly from the outcome: DeSantis. At the end of May, DeSantis was sitting on $111 million — more money than any candidate has ever needed to win an election in the Sunshine State. Kappel believes that the FEC’s inaction against Donalds could give DeSantis a blueprint for how to raise money for a prospective presidential campaign while still running for Governor. “Every time the FEC deadlocks on one of these innovative financial structures, it’s a big neon sign saying, ‘Do this! You can get away with it!'” Kappel said.

Poll shows Lee Co. voters like DeSantis, but still want Trump as 2024 GOP nominee” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Victory Insights, a polling firm with a presence in Naples, polled likely Republican Primary voters from June 30 through July 1 on their feelings about Trump, DeSantis, and Donalds. DeSantis holds the highest favorability ratings by far. About 73% of respondents gave a “very positive” review of DeSantis, compared to 54% who said the same of Trump. Meanwhile, 13% had a “very negative” opinion of Trump, compared to 9% for DeSantis. For Donalds, 46% said they had a “very positive” opinion and 10% a “very negative” opinion. About 15% were neutral on the Congressman, considerably higher than the 2% with no opinion on DeSantis and 6% with no feeling on Trump.

Joe Rogan says he refuses to host Trump on his podcast soon after saying DeSantis would make a good President” via Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider — “I’m not a Trump supporter in any way, shape, or form,” Rogan told Lex Fridman on “The Lex Fridman Podcast.” “I’ve had the opportunity to have him on my show more than once. I’ve said no every time.” He added: “I don’t want to help him. I’m not interested in helping him.” Though Rogan has shunned Trump, he appears to have a favorite Republican: He said a week ago that he thought DeSantis “would work as a good President.” He said the Trump era would be “one of the weirder times when people look back historically about the division in this country.”

Assignment editors — Crist will join Haitian faith and community leaders for a meet and greet to discuss the issues facing Haitian communities throughout Florida, 7 p.m., North Lauderdale. Location upon RSVP at [email protected].

Homebuilders back Wilton Simpson for Agriculture Commissioner — The Florida Home Builders Association PAC has endorsed Senate President Simpson in the Agriculture Commissioner race. FHBA CEO Rusty Payton said Simpson, a Trilby Republican, “has fought to ensure that Floridians can pursue the American dream by working tirelessly to keep housing affordable.” Payton also praised Simpson for working “to remove unnecessary, burdensome regulations that impede the success of Florida’s many local business owners.” FHBA represents more than 8,000 members in Florida’s construction industry. Simpson is the only prominent Republican running for Agriculture Commissioner. He will face the winner of a three-way Democratic Primary in the General Election.

Matt Gaetz challenger drops out of race, leaves one-on-one GOP Primary” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Bryan Jones, a Republican challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Gaetz in Florida’s 1st Congressional District, has withdrawn from the race seven weeks ahead of the Primary Election. In a news release from his camp, the Air Force veteran cited the candidacy of Marine Corps veteran Mark Lombardo as a contributing factor in his decision. Lombardo, a Republican and retired FedEx executive, filed to run in June and pledged to spend $1 million of his own money on his campaign. Jones’ departure from the race clears the way for Lombardo to go head-to-head with Gaetz.

Scotty Moore back on Primary ballot for Congress, judge rules” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Moore, a Republican congressional candidate, is back on the ballot in next month’s primary, with the winner taking on incumbent Darren Soto. Moore, disqualified from the race last month after a filing error, sued the Florida Department of State in hopes of getting back on the ballot. His complaint alleged the oath form he signed for state candidates was similar to the federal form he should have filled out and that he wasn’t given an opportunity to correct the error. The state had previously listed Moore as “qualified” for the seat.

Scotty Moore gets an electoral reprieve.

League of Conservation Voters endorses Maxwell Frost for CD 10 — LCV is endorsing Democratic congressional candidate Frost in the race for Florida’s 10th Congressional District. In a bulk endorsement, LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said Frost and other candidates the PAC is backing are “environmental and conservation champions” and that “these leaders will deliver on climate action, clean energy, jobs, democracy, and justice for all communities.” Frost is running in a packed Democratic Primary to succeed U.S. Rep. Val Demings in the Central Florida district. His opponents include former U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Corinne Brown, as well as state Sen. Randolph Bracy. The new CD 10 spans much of eastern Orange County and is expected to perform Democratic in November.

Alan Cohn raised $100K in first 14 days as a CD 15 candidate” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Cohn raised more than six figures in his first two weeks on the trail. The veteran broadcaster announced he raised $100,000 before the close of the second quarter of 2022. He reported the total 14 days after filing for the open seat in Florida’s 15th Congressional District. “Our campaign has what it takes to win this swing seat in November,” Cohn said. “We have the message, the momentum, and have now shown that we will certainly have the money. It’s unfortunate that these races are so expensive, but if you want to reform the system, you have to win first. That’s exactly what we’re on track to doing.”

— MORE 2022 —

Wyman Duggan backs Chet Stokes in HD 16” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Stokes scored a key endorsement Tuesday in his bid for the House District 16 seat. Stokes, running in the new HD 16 that includes the beaches and eastern portions of Duval County, was endorsed by Rep. Duggan, the Westside Republican who will be the senior member of the Duval delegation after the 2022 election. “Chet Stokes is the business leader and genuine conservative we need in Tallahassee. He will use his private sector experience and conservative values to fight for Northeast Florida families. I am proud to endorse him and look forward to serving with him in the Legislature,” Duggan said.

Wyman Duggan gets stoked for Chet Stokes.

Lawsuit filed challenging Austin Brownfield’s eligibility in HD 57” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The state of Florida qualified a state House candidate for office who changed parties in the last year. After that, a voter filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County courts to boot him from the ballot. Brownfield filed as a candidate in House District 57, but it appeared he was doomed to be disqualified because he switched parties in March. The problem for Brownfield is a new state law that requires candidates to be registered as members of their chosen political parties for at least 365 days before qualifying. But the Division has so far allowed Brownfield to remain a qualified candidate for the seat.

GOP backs Linda Chaney with $49K” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The Florida GOP gave Rep. Chaney a $49,000 boost in June, bringing her total fundraising to $216,235 as she runs for re-election to House District 61. Chaney, who picked up a challenger in the final week of qualifying, accumulated the total between her campaign and affiliated political committee, Friends of Linda Chaney. The Florida Republican Party’s $49,000 donation makes up 85% of Chaney’s most recent fundraising period, in which she collected $58,650. The most recent campaign finance period spans from June 1 through June 17.

Ruth’s List Florida backs Patricia Hawkins-Williams, Dotie Joseph for state House” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Abortion rights group Ruth’s List Florida has endorsed South Florida Reps. Hawkins-Williams and Joseph for re-election to the Florida House. The organization, which recruits, trains and backs candidates in the Sunshine State who support abortion rights, announced the endorsements Tuesday. “We are thrilled to lend our support to these remarkable women leaders,” Ruth’s List Florida Vice President of Political and Programs Kayla vanWieringen said in a statement.

Kevin Cabrera slams ‘do-nothing politicians,’ touts Trump ties in new Miami-Dade Commission ad” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Cabrera is aiming at “do-nothing politicians,” touting his “Miami-Dade first” agenda and ties to Trump in a new TV spot supporting his Miami-Dade County Commission candidacy. The 30-second ad, airing in both English and Spanish, features Cabrera speaking directly to the camera interspersed with various b-roll shots, including a picture with Trump and several clips of him Cabrera and his wife, state Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera. According to a spokesperson from the campaign, the video can now be seen on “cable systems” throughout Miami-Dade’s 6th Commission District, where Cabrera is running.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:


Tropics watch: National Hurricane Center watching three tropical waves in Atlantic basin” via Cheryl McCloud of the Naples Daily News — After Tropical Storm Colin popped up as an unwelcome holiday surprise Saturday off the coast of the Carolinas, the tropics are now quiet. According to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, no new tropical cyclones are expected over the next five days. But as the weekend proved, conditions can change rapidly. More Saharan dust is helping to prevent tropical activity. The Hurricane Center is monitoring three tropical waves in the Atlantic basin, including two in the Caribbean. In the Pacific, Hurricane Bonnie has grown into a major Category 3 storm, with 115-mph winds. It’s the first major hurricane of the eastern Pacific hurricane season.

Tweet, tweet:

Florida COVID-19 update: New omicron subvariant is most dominant strain in U.S.” via Devoun Cetoute of the Miami Herald — In the past seven days, the state has added 9,686 cases and 51 deaths per day, on average, according to calculations of data published by the CDC. Over the past three weeks, on average, 87 fewer cases were logged each day in Florida. Cases are continuing to stagnate. As of July 5, more than 14,523,072 people are fully vaccinated in Florida. The state has logged at least 6,526,305 cases and 76,031 deaths since the pandemic began in March 2020. The two new omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are spreading throughout the United States. From June 27-July 2, the BA.5 strain has become the most dominant strain in the U.S., accounting for 53.6% of cases. According to CDC data, the BA.4 accounted for 16.5%, remaining the third most dominant strain.

Half a million more vaccinated for COVID-19 in two weeks” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — COVID-19 vaccinations in the state jumped by more than 500,000 in the last two weeks, but that now includes children younger than 5, while deaths are up and cases remain steady. There were 148,314 new coronavirus cases recorded over the last two weeks among Florida residents, bringing the cumulative total to 6,493,977. With 795 more fatalities on record, 75,891 Florida residents have died.

Experts question science behind decision to not order COVID-19 vaccines for kids” via Tristan Wood of City & State FL — Florida is the only state that hasn’t ordered COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5, butting heads with the federal government and reducing vaccine access to hundreds of thousands of families. The Florida Department of Health decided not to recommend the vaccines for children. Some experts say the rationale behind the decision is based on misinterpretations and misrepresentations of the studies they cited and issues they discussed in their guidance in March. The department’s decisions, these experts say, are based less in science and more in politics, increasing the odds that Florida children get sick with COVID-19.

State data: Nearly 5K COVID-19 workers’ comp claims filed in 2020 remain open” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Nearly 5,000 people who filed COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claims in 2020 have cases that remain open. As of May 30, 29,836 COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims initially filed in 2020 had been closed, and $58,891,866 in claims were paid to employees infected on the job to cover their lost wages and medical treatment, according to data maintained by the Department of Financial Services (DFS). Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis heads DFS.

Happening today — The Florida Gaming Control Commission meets, 10 a.m. Meeting link here. Call-in number: 1-866-899-4679. Code: 951538269.

One year in: Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation hails progress in corridor” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — A year after Florida passed landmark legislation to help fill in a statewide wildlife corridor, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation is hailing key land preservation purchases that highlight early progress. On July 1, 2021, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act (SB 976) went into effect to make policy and create incentives to stitch together conservation of wildlife habitats in the 18 million acres identified as a Florida wildlife corridor including 10 million acres already under conservation protection. The bill, a priority of Senate President Simpson, was carried by Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur and Republican Rep. Keith Truenow.


Biden awards Medal of Honor to 4 for Vietnam heroism” via The Associated Press — Biden bestowed the nation’s highest military honor to four Army soldiers for their heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the Vietnam War. Biden presented the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Edward N. Kaneshiro, Specialist Five Dwight W. Birdwell, Specialist Five Dennis M. Fujii, and retired Major John J. Duffy. In the East Room of the White House, Biden praised their heroism and lamented that they hadn’t received appropriate recognition until now. “Not every service member has received the full recognition they deserve,” Biden said. “Today, we’re setting the record straight.”

Joe Biden honors those who ‘went far and above the call of duty.’

Capitol Hill braces for Big Tech showdown” via Karl Evers-Hillstrom, Sylvan Lane and Aris Folley of The Hill — Lobbying both for and against legislation to crack down on U.S. tech giants is intensifying as the Senate enters a critical month for the antitrust bills. All eyes are on Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who will need to decide whether to prioritize measures to regulate Google, Apple, Amazon and Meta over other key bills before the August recess. To run out the clock, Big Tech allies are warning Senate Democrats that their voters expect progress on other pressing issues entering November’s elections. Smaller companies that support the bills are making the case that regulating Big Tech is a winning midterm issue.

New Interior offshore drilling plan draws mixed reviews” via Benjamin J. Hulac of Roll Call — The Biden administration’s latest offshore oil and gas drilling plan drew swift pushback from environmentalists and Democratic allies in Congress over its proposals for potential new drilling sites and from at least one industry group for a “lack of clear signals” to energy markets. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved the option of 11 potential new lease sales — 10 in the Gulf of Mexico and one in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, south of Anchorage. Interior’s proposed plan is not final and will go through a public comment period. It suggests several options for the number of lease sales to hold for the period, including none.

Justice Dept. sues Arizona over voting restrictions” via Nick Corasaniti and Glenn Thrush of The New York Times — DOJ sued Arizona over a new state law requiring proof of citizenship to vote in a presidential election, saying the Republican-imposed restrictions are a “textbook violation” of federal law. It is the third time the department under Attorney General Merrick Garland has challenged a state’s voting law and comes as Democratic leaders and voting rights groups have pressed Garland to act more decisively against measures that limit access to the ballot. Arizona’s law, which Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed in March, requires voters to prove their citizenship to vote in a presidential election, like showing a birth certificate or passport. It also mandates that newly registered voters provide proof of address.

— JAN. 6 —

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, on Jan. 6 panel, shares profane threats sent to his office” via Eugene Scott of The Washington Post — Rep. Kinzinger shared profanity-filled threats and other obscenities that his office has received during the hearings by the House select committee into the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters. “Threats of violence over politics has increased heavily in the last few years,” Kinzinger tweeted. “But the darkness has reached new lows. My new interns made this compilation of recent calls they’ve received while serving in my DC office.” Callers left racist comments and disputed the investigation’s facts while wishing harm to the lawmaker’s family.

Adam Kinzinger faces threats of violence over his role on the Jan. 6 commission. Image via AP.

Rudy Giuliani testimony sought in Trump election probe” via The Associated Press — The Georgia prosecutor investigating the conduct of Trump and his allies after the 2020 election is trying to compel former New York Mayor Giuliani and others to testify before a special grand jury. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed petitions with the special grand jury’s judge. Fulton County Superior Judge Robert McBurney signed a “certificate of material witness” for Giuliani and others, saying they have been deemed necessary to the investigation. Willis also filed petitions for five other potential witnesses.

Georgia grand jury subpoenas Lindsey Graham over calls” via Michael Macagnone of Roll Call — A grand jury in Georgia issued a subpoena Tuesday for U.S. Sen. Graham to testify next week as part of an investigation into potential criminal interference in the state’s 2020 elections. The special grand jury seeks testimony from the South Carolina Republican about at least two telephone calls he had with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Raffensperger’s staff, according to a certificate to secure an out-of-state witness. Georgia officials allege that during the telephone calls, Graham “questioned Secretary Raffensperger and his staff about reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” the certificate states.


Fort Lauderdale home vandalized with antisemitic graffiti, police say” via Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A Fort Lauderdale home was vandalized Saturday night, with swastikas spray-painted on its garage and a Ukrainian flag hung on the garage door, police said. A witness told police that they confronted the person spray-painting the home, and that person fled before police arrived, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said. Officers were called to the home on the 5800 block of Northeast 18th Terrace at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Last week, Boca Raton and Parkland residents had antisemitic flyers left in their yards. The Broward Sheriff’s Office and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are investigating those incidents.

A worrying trend: Antisemitic graffiti and flyers are becoming more frequent in South Florida.

Fireworks-related accidents take a toll across Broward, Palm Beach counties” via Chris Perkins and Angie DiMichele of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Fireworks-related mishaps on the Fourth of July and Tuesday claimed a few victims in Broward and Palm Beach counties, including an 8-year-old girl who was shot in the leg in Lauderhill, teens who lost fingers in West Palm Beach and an apartment fire in Lauderhill, officials said. On top of that, at least three suspected celebratory bullet incidents in Palm Beach County on Monday, along with an eye injury to a 9-year-old that didn’t require hospitalization. And those don’t include the man who lost a hand in a July 2 fireworks accident.

Miami man arrested in $230M HIV-drug scheme, then gains release from fed lockup” via Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald — Miami businessman Lazaro Hernandez was arrested in mid-June on charges of directing a $230 million scheme to distribute “adulterated and misbranded” HIV prescription drugs through a network of wholesalers and pharmacies to unsuspecting patients nationwide. Hernandez, 51, was released just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend on a $1.4 million bond and faces a mid-July arraignment in a federal indictment accusing him of conspiring to defraud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by selling falsely labeled drugs to patients with AIDS. His defense attorney, Marc Seitles, overcame opposition by federal prosecutions to the defendant’s bond, granted by Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. Records show that Hernandez was released from the Federal Detention Center on June 30.

A Miami and Orlando lawyer suspended after clients say he ‘misappropriated’ $57,000” via David J. Neal of the Miami Herald — Accusations of misappropriated funds — $50,000 in one transaction that allegedly involved his wife — and ghosting the Florida Bar after five clients filed grievances earned Miami lawyer Robert Pereda an emergency suspension that goes into effect July 17. The registered number for Pereda’s Rob Law firm office in Orlando’s Celebration area is disconnected. His LinkedIn page says he’s one of the founders of Miami Bankruptcy Group, but that firm’s website doesn’t list him as an attorney, nor is he in the staff photo. Rob Law’s address listed with the Florida Bar and state corporation records, 1420 Celebration Blvd., Suite 200, now also appears in state records as the address of the Foundation for Empowerment & Enlightenment via Literature & Education.

Charged with illegally practicing law, Miami man says he’s ‘Rosa Parks’ of mentally ill” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — Online, Ian Anthony Medina has boasted of his legal skills — graduating from Emory Law school, working with high-level prosecutors and gaining valuable “legal experience” in Florida. He even posted a photo of his Florida Bar card. But prosecutors say Medina is no lawyer, the Bar card was phony, and he ripped off clients who thought he was licensed. After one woman complained to the Bar, Medina allegedly sent a threatening text. “You will die today, b**ch,” he wrote, according to an arrest warrant. “Love, your attorney.” Medina, 28, of Miami Lakes, was arrested last weekend and charged with practicing law without a license, organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, and making false statements, all felonies.


Brightline train expansion to Orlando won’t include station on Disney property” via Julius Whigham II of the Palm Beach Post — Plans to expand the Brightline passenger-rail service to the Orlando area from South Florida will no longer include a stop at Disney Springs, officials announced this week. In November 2020, Brightline and The Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement to build a train station at Disney Springs, the corporation’s retail and restaurant complex along Interstate 4 south of the company’s theme parks. This past week, Brightline announced that in addition to expanding its service to Orlando International Airport, it now plans to build stations at the Orange County Convention Center and an alternate site near Disney Springs, but not on Disney-owned land.

Brightline won’t be stopping at Disney after all.

With Roe overturned, Tampa Bay docs see surge in sterilization patients” via Jack Evans of the Tampa Bay Times — Reproductive health care providers in Tampa Bay and around the U.S. are reporting spikes in interest in permanent birth control, driven in part by an unusual demographic: young, childless people. Search terms like “vasectomy” and “tubal ligation” have shot up since the Supreme Court ruling; the same terms had a smaller surge in early May, when a draft version of the opinion leaked.

Clearwater affordable housing project is dead; land could go to Scientology” via Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times — A long-awaited affordable housing project on a city-owned downtown parcel has been canceled, and the site could now be included in negotiations for a land swap with the Church of Scientology. Blue Sky Communities went under contract with the city in 2019 to build 81 apartments on the former fire station site at 601 Franklin St. It took the developer two years to obtain $17.5 million in tax credits from the state. As recently as February, Blue Sky CEO Shawn Wilson asked for and received $2 million from the Pinellas County Commission to cover a funding gap. Asked if the church had pressed Blue Sky to abandon its project, Wilson said, “I’m not comfortable making any further comment.”

Could consolidating schools help Brevard Public Schools’ budget challenges?” via Bailey Gallion of Florida Today — After a few tumultuous years of budget cuts, enrollment shifts, and teacher shortages, two Brevard County School Board members have brought up the possibility that Brevard Public Schools could consolidate its small community schools in the future to tackle the district’s budget woes. School Board Chair Misty Belford and member Katye Campbell discussed the possibility during a candidate debate last week when asked how to tackle BPS’ budget challenges. “I really cringe to talk about (consolidating schools), but I think as a community, we have to,” Belford said.

Hotlando: City Beautiful named sweatiest town in America” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — It’s not just the heat. It’s the humidity. It’s the crowds. It’s the propensity for outdoor exercise. And it’s the prospect of cooling off. With that in mind, a new listicle based on a study of weather, sweat factors and cooling-off opportunities in 200 of the largest cities in the United States has named Orlando the sweatiest place in America. The report, “10 Sweatiest Cities in America,” from the matchmaking platform, ranks Orlando just worse than Corpus Christi, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and New Orleans. Tallahassee is ranked fifth sweatiest; Cape Coral, eighth; and Jacksonville, 10th.


Recent antisemitic incidents in SWFL spark conversation, community activism” via Tomas Rodriguez of the Fort Myers News-Press — Naples resident Amy Becker was along Seagate Drive when she saw something on the ground that caught her attention. “I walked up to look at it … It was so weird,” Becker said. “And I picked it up. I couldn’t believe it.” Becker came across a series of leaflets containing various antisemitic statements, which were dropped off on driveways along the street and appeared to spread hate across the Florida coast, with reports from Miami to Jacksonville and Naples to Sarasota. Religious leaders and others urge victims to report these incidents to law enforcement while encouraging peace and unity throughout the community.

Venice Mayor told to kill himself in antisemitic email” via the Venice Gondolier — An unknown person using an anonymous email address sent Jewish slurs and antisemitic language to the Venice Mayor and told him to kill himself. The message was emailed to Mayor Ron Feinsod on Saturday and contained statements calling for Jews to leave Florida and the country, among other things. “We are looking into it,” said Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe. The Venice Police are working with the city’s computer experts to collect “metadata,” according to an email on the city server. Thorpe said the message was “concerning to us,” but nothing in the direct email was threatening.

Rod Feinsod is yet another victim of antisemitic hate speech.

Drownings: Children, ages 12 and 7, confirmed dead after struggling at FGCU lake Monday” via Michael Braun of the Fort Myers News-Press — Two children ages 12 and 7, taken from a lake at FGCU after struggling in the water Monday, have died, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday. A statement issued Tuesday afternoon by the Sheriff’s Office confirmed the deaths by drowning at Lake Como and said foul play was not suspected despite the incident remaining an active death investigation. “Sheriff Carmine Marceno and the entire Lee County Sheriff’s Office extends their sincere condolences to the family and first responders that responded to a drowning at 12081 FGCU Lake Parkway in Fort Myers,” the statement read.

Susan McManus leaves helm of Champions For Learning to pursue her own educational goals” via Nikki Ross of the Naples Daily News — For the first time in more than 29 years, McManus won’t be at the helm of Champions For Learning. In May, McManus retired from her position as president and CEO of the Collier County education foundation to pursue her own education, which entails completing her doctorate and returning to teaching. “It’s part of me, the organization, and always will be,” McManus said. “It’s been a really wonderful experience. I will always be very supportive of Champions For Learning.” McManus was one of the founding members of the Champions for Learning board in 1990, which at that time was called the Education Foundation of Collier County.

Sarasota County property values set record” via Barb Richardson of the Englewood Sun — A year ago, Sarasota County Property Appraiser Bill Furst reported that property values in the county had climbed a respectable 7.2% over the preceding year. Forget respectable this year. Fueled by a hot real estate market, Furst’s required July 1 report released Thursday showed values soaring a booming 17.76%, a bit above the almost 17% his preliminary report indicated in early June. That preliminary report had the valuation at $81.8 billion, while the final report set valuations at $82.5 billion. According to county records, the previous high market for property values was $62.7 billion in 2008, dropping to $39.1 billion in 2013 during the Great Recession.


How will Tallahassee spend $1M to stop shootings? Here’s what Commissioners are thinking” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — The city is proposing a $1 million investment to target gun violence in Tallahassee in the hopes of providing relief from the spate of shootings that have been plaguing the capital city. The issue is one the City Commission has looked to tackle for years as the number of reported shootings continues to climb. An analysis of gun violence across the county shows that since 2020, the number of shootings has increased. That year there were 72 reported. In 2021, there were 75. With six months still to go in 2022, there have been 72 shooting incidents across the county.

‘Mass fentanyl poisoning event’: Laced drugs in Gadsden claim nine lives over holiday weekend” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — A bad batch of drugs left nine people dead in Gadsden County over the holiday weekend. After two women were found dead of an apparent overdose Friday, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office put out an alert seeking the public’s help to warn others of the possibly polluted drug supply. An autopsy is pending for a final determination of the cause of death. “Here in Gadsden, I have not heard of any opioid poisoning here in the county as it relates to fentanyl,” said Sheriff Morris A. Young in a Facebook video.

New dashboard will track shelter beds available to Pensacola’s homeless population” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County has partnered with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and state Rep. Michelle Salzman’s office to create an online homelessness shelter dashboard. Salzman is calling on shelter providers that receive government funding to provide data for the dashboard. Similar to the county’s Emergency Medical Services Dashboard, the webpage is designed to give the public and first responders a real-time look at the services available for people facing homelessness, with the top-line number tracking the amount of shelter space currently available in the community.

Michelle Salzman is helping develop a way to connect people who are homeless with available shelters.

New Florosa fire station nearly complete after over a year of construction. Take a look inside” via Sierra Rains of the Northwest Florida Daily News — After nearly 20 years in the making, the Florosa Fire Control District is only weeks away from answering calls from its new station on U.S. Highway 98. The new single-story 7,763-square-foot station will be the third one to house Florosa’s Fire Department. Its first station was deemed uninhabitable after being slammed by hurricanes Erin and Opal in 1995. Firefighters then moved to a building at 1900 W. U.S. 98, but Florosa Fire Chief Mark Lee said they “quickly outgrew the capacity of that fire station.” The new station’s land, which now sits at the northeast corner of U.S. 98 and Casa Loma Drive, was purchased nearly 15 years ago.


Gavin Newsom’s TV ad slamming DeSantis fills a void among Democrats” via Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent of The Washington Post — Right now, the GOP is united in its determination to put more guns on the streets. Its state legislatures compete to pass the most draconian laws on abortion they can dream up. Its witch hunt against critical race theory morphed into an anti-LGBTQ crusade. It has given itself over to deranged lies about voter fraud conspiracies, the very lies that inspired the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and threaten to make fair elections impossible.

Meanwhile, Biden keeps talking about the Republicans of goodwill whose support he seeks.

One just doesn’t get the sense that their hair is on fire, which is how rank-and-file Democrats feel.

We think this is the context for the new, much-discussed move by Newsom. Over the weekend, he aired an ad on Fox News aimed ostensibly at Floridians living under DeSantis, the second most important Republican in the country after Trump.

The message here is that all these right-wing efforts add up to profoundly threaten the way of life that much of Blue America takes for granted. Why don’t we hear this big-picture case more often?

But he’s speaking into a real vacuum. Democratic voters crave signs that party leaders understand their frustration is bordering on panic. Newsom’s foray captures a sense that a generational turn among Democrats is needed for party leaders to communicate effectively about this pileup of perils. Consider that the most viral recent moments communicating this radicalization have been staged by younger Democrats, often quite effectively.


GOP’s ideological wars begin in Florida’s classrooms, and DeSantis, so far, is winning” via the Miami Herald editorial board — There is a concerted effort to blur the line between religion and state and interpret the history of the United States through a conservative Christian lens that whitewashes our past of slavery and segregation. Florida, thanks to DeSantis, is ground zero for such experimentation. As Richard Corcoran, former state Education Commissioner and DeSantis appointee, prophesied, “Education is our sword.” The push to insert Christianity into government isn’t new. But as the nation becomes more racially and culturally diverse and less religious, that push is in overdrive. The catch is that no one can accuse the state trainers of lying. Their strategy lives in the nuances of history, where data and facts can be interpreted or obscured to support a point of view.

Dark money’s sickening Supreme Court dividend” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — It is not too much of a stretch to say that the U.S. Supreme Court acted like a subsidiary of Koch Industries when it stripped the EPA of its ability to broadly regulate greenhouse gases. Last week’s decision, with inescapable implications for the entire field of government regulation, is the long-sought dividend for the billions of dollars in dark and disclosed campaign money that the nation’s oligarchs have invested in owning the government and controlling the courts for a half-century. Knowingly or not, the Federalist Society and the anti-abortion movement fronted for them.

The Supreme Court’s next move might cripple our democracy” via The Washington Post editorial board — The decision to hear Moore v. Harper could lead to an erosion of voting rights and an increasing likelihood of election interference. At issue is a North Carolina Supreme Court case holding that the state’s constitution precludes severe partisan gerrymanders; the argument the petitioners make is that state courts shouldn’t have any role in overruling federal election rules put into place by state legislatures. This so-called independent state legislature theory has found little sympathy from scholars but appears to have garnered more affection from the current slate of conservative justices — four of whom have suggested they are at least willing to entertain the idea. The consequences of such a ruling would be tremendous. Should the Supreme Court buy into this radical doctrine, governors and other state and local officials responsible for running elections might also end up with their hands tied.

Inflation is even worse than the official numbers suggest” via Henry Olsen of The Washington Post — If you’re having trouble grasping why inflation is so politically potent, consider that Americans who enjoyed a Fourth of July cookout paid 17% more for their food than last year. That’s a perfect illustration of a poorly understood aspect of inflation: For most Americans, the inflation they actually experience is often much worse than the 8.6% headline rate. Prices for the goods that people regularly purchase are rising much faster than for things they don’t. Food used at home, for example, rose by almost 12% over the past year, while gasoline prices jumped by nearly 50%. Prices for eggs skyrocketed by more than 32% in the last year.

— ALOE —

Artist’s Cinderella empowerment artwork highlight of 4,400 pieces on Disney Wish” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — With more than 4,400 pieces of artwork on board the new cruise ship Disney Wish, one would think it would be hard to identify the most stunning piece. For those who wandered up and down the stairwells of the ship that sailed its christening cruise last week, a piece titled “Cindys,” though, commanded attention. The print of what was originally a digital art piece by Nikkolas Smith of Los Angeles looks like an oil painting, and it shows 10 versions of the famous Disney princess helping one another climb from the depths of darkness over a cliffside with a shimmering castle in the back.

Disney Wish mixes fantasy and empowerment. Image via Disney.

Outback made Bloomin’ Onion NFTs. They were gone in 20 minutes.” via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — The baby onions are adorable, tiny little buds with big, shiny eyes. The teenage onions have props and a bit more personality, with their stalks tousled in different hairstyles. The adult onions are fully bloomed, with deep-fried petals fanned wide. That’s the life cycle of a Bloomin’ Bud, the name given to Outback Steakhouse’s first series of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Outback, the flagship brand of Tampa’s Bloomin’ Brands restaurant group, gave out more than 8,000 free digital images on June 23 in one of the company’s first big swings in metaverse marketing. Customers could redeem the NFTs for a free Bloomin’ Onion and two Dr. Peppers when the onions “bloomed” on June 27: National Onion Day.

Nudists aim to break skinny dip record at Blind Creek Beach, St. Lucie County” via Laurie K. Blandford of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Mark your calendars for what could be the most naked people swimming together, in one place, at one time, on the Treasure Coast. The Treasure Coast Naturists have organized its annual skinny dip for July 10 at Blind Creek Beach in St. Lucie County to try to break last year’s record number of 431 people simultaneously skinny dipping there, according to the nonprofit that promotes a clothing-optional lifestyle. According to Guinness World Records, the world record for the largest skinny dip was achieved by 2,505 women in Ireland in June 2018. According to VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, the nude beach is one of only three in Florida.


Celebrating today are Sen. Joe Gruters, former Rep. MaryLynn Magar, and Susanne Dudley.


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.

One comment

  • Christine Scott

    July 6, 2022 at 5:12 pm

    What is the source giving Moskowitz a 85% chance over Pruden?

    BTW, the above stat totally neglects an NPA’s chance in D23, this year, due to the particular circumstances of the race.

Comments are closed.


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