Last Call for 7.26.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

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

First Shot

President Joe Biden this week criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis and both of Florida’s U.S. Senators for opposing an assault weapons ban. Now, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is daring him to visit Florida and repeat the attack.

“I am asking for your prayers that (the President) will come to Florida to campaign against me,” Rubio said in a Tuesday tweet.

The incumbent Republican’s campaign then posited that Biden won’t show up in the Sunshine State because it would harm Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings’ chances of defeating Rubio in the fall.

“Demings votes for Biden’s agenda 100% of the time. Surely she must think her votes are reflective of Florida’s interests — despite the deep dissatisfaction Floridians have with Biden’s presidency and Democrat-controlled Washington,” a campaign email reads. “Like Marco said, we’re asking for your prayers!”

Biden’s presence on the campaign trail could indeed backfire. Recent polls show that his favorability rating is at an all-time low, with only 36% of Americans still in his corner.


Republican state Senate candidate Corey Simon is holding a campaign kickoff fundraiser at Proof Brewing in Tallahassee today.

The fundraiser runs 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the host committee includes dozens of the top lobbyists and Republican donors in the capital region.

Simon is running for Senate District 3, which is currently held by Democratic Sen. Loranne Ausley. Ausley holds a sizable fundraising lead with about $423,000 in the bank heading into July compared to about $62,000 for Simon.

Simon, a Broward County native, was an All-American defensive tackle at Florida State University and National Football League pro-bowler. At FSU, he played football on a scholarship and was a 1999 BCS National Champion before entering the NFL.

DeSantis drafted Simon in 2020 to be the CEO of Volunteer Florida, which administers AmeriCorps in Florida and joins Floridians looking to volunteer with organizations that need their help.

SD 3 currently contains Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties. Beginning in November, Calhoun County and Blountstown will join neighboring Senate District 2. In return, SD 3 will pick up Dixie, Lafayette and Suwannee counties in the East.


Anna DeCerchio, Deputy Chief of Staff under DeSantis, will be the new Chief of Staff at the Department of Environmental Protection.

“Anna has been integral to implementing Gov. DeSantis’ agenda since Day One of the administration. She is one of the administration’s top experts on environmental policy and we are excited she will continue to drive our agenda going forward as the Chief of Staff at the Department of Environmental Protection,” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said.

Additionally, the Governor’s office announced that Melissa Smith, who has led the Public Safety Unit in the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget for the past year, will now serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff overseeing the Governor’s efforts on public safety, transportation and environment agenda.

The Governor’s office said that DeCerchio and Smith will transition to their new roles next month.

Evening Reads

—“A new measure of the bleak, alarming partisan divide in America” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post

—“Why Democrats’ Midterm chances don’t hinge on Joe Biden’s approval rating” via Nathaniel Rakich and Humera Lodhi of FiveThirtyEight

—”Ron DeSantis says Biden can ‘barely read,’ but our Governor is no paragon of fluency” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

—“Kellyanne Conway urges DeSantis to give up on 2024 run” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“Ray Rodrigues among early state university chancellor applicants” via Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida

—“Florida Dep’t of Ed. to require schools to tell parents if overnight field trip stays are ‘separated by biological sex’” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics

—”Fifth-highest ranking U.S. House Democrat endorses Jared Moskowitz for Congress” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics

—”Candidates part ways with campaign consultant who posted ‘offensive video’ on Facebook” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat

—“The first fake Susie Wiles memo” via Mark Halperin of Wide World of News

—“Democrat effort to boot Jerry Torres from ballot proceeds; James Judge calls on him to quit“ via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“Florida man attempts to break into Space Force base to warn of alien-dragon space war” via Max Hauptman of Task & Purpose

Quote of the Day

“There is no doubt our policies are self-sacrificing and outdated, they leave us vulnerable.”

— Attorney General Ashley Moody, on Chinese interests purchasing land in Florida.

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