Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.9.22

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All the news that fits, and more — make Sunburn your first look at Sunshine State politics and policy news.

Good Tuesday morning.

How ’bout that scoop?

FBI searches Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump says” via Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney of POLITICO — The FBI has searched the Mar-a-Lago home of Trump, he said in a statement. “They even broke into my safe,” Trump said Monday in a lengthy statement describing it as a “raid.” It was not immediately clear why the agents were present at Mar-a-Lago, but he said it was “under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.” “After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” he said.


I recognize this email is supposed to be about Florida politics, but today is no ordinary day.

“Heat 2: A Novel” debuts today.

Michael Mann’s 1995 crime drama is my second favorite film of all time and, without a doubt, the movie I’ve re-watched most often.

Many other fans of “Heat” are working in #FlaPol, including the lobbyist Tony Glover, consultant Brad Herold, The James Madison Institute’s Sal Nuzzo, The Florida League of Cities’ James Miller, and many others.

Today is a day most fans of “Heat” never expected would ever come.

When the screen goes dark at the end of the movie, professional thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and most of his crew are dead, put in their graves either by police or rivals. The sole survivor, a wounded Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), leaves behind his wife and son to avoid capture.

The Los Angeles Police Department is bloodied, too, by a broad-daylight firefight outside a downtown bank. A robbery-homicide division detective, Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), has shot and killed McCauley mano-a-mano near the L.A. airport. Hanna had felt an affinity for McCauley, both professionals who sacrifice their personal lives to be true to themselves. They understood and respected each other.

In “Heat 2,” Mann and veteran thriller writer Meg Gardiner return to these complex and compelling characters — McCauley, Shiherlis and Hanna — but watching the movie first isn’t a must to enjoy the book, just a pleasure.

What can happen with one character dead, one on the lam and one emotionally drained? Mann and Gardiner play with time, weaving prequel tales for McCauley and Hanna with a present-day storyline for Shiherlis and Hanna. But such cleverness doesn’t overlook expanding these characters, and each one gets a new facet to a self-destructive trait: McCauley’s cynicism, Shiherlis’ sensation-seeking and Hanna’s anger.

Slick as a Neil McCauley heist and as intense as a Vincent Hanna chase, “Heat 2” is just dynamite. Mann and Gardiner have achieved a rarity with this novel: a screen-to-page sequel that stands tall on its own.

Do yourself a favor and start your day by watching the riveting trailer for the first film (the song in the background is the epic instrumental from Moby, “God moving over the face of the Water.”

To watch the Heat trailer, please click on the image below:

Michael Mann’s L.A. classic ‘Heat’ has a sequel, and it’s a novel. Here’s how he did it” via Jordan Riefe of the Los Angeles Times — “Heat 2” is an odd sort of novel: a debut by filmmaker Mann that happens to be a sequel to his 1995 film, “Heat.” But it does not, Mann insists, mark a return to the L.A. neo-noir classic. That’s because Mann never left it. So why the novel? It took some persuasion from Mann’s wheeling-and-dealing agent, Shane Salerno of the Story Factory, to decide this was the best format for a sequel. One of the obvious logistical snags in the way of making a film: time. All the actors were older, no longer age-appropriate. A novel allows Mann to revisit the era and his characters unfettered by casting decisions — never mind the contortions and delays of the development process.

—“‘Heat 2’: Why Mann’s sequel to his classic crime movie had to be a novel” via David Fear of Rolling Stone

Michael Mann on the prequel/sequel novel ‘Heat 2,’ and going deep on the life of cities” via CBS News — The detail-obsessed director has made a career of prompting audiences to feel for the characters in his films. But Mann is particularly adept at making moviegoers empathize with some of the most unsavory characters, including those in his celebrated bank robbery film, “Heat.” Mann said, “I had to learn L.A. for ‘Heat.’ I had been living there for 25 years, I thought I knew it, and I realized I did not know L.A. And so, we probably shot at more locations in L.A. in ’94 and in ’95 making ‘Heat’ than any other films before had shot.” Mann said he went out with the police answering emergency calls every weekend for six months preparing for that film.

—“Heat 2’ heating up into ‘a very large movie,’ says Mann” via Matt Schimkowitz of the AV Club

Mann’s damaged men” via Jonah Weiner of The New York Times — Mann’s specialty is the meticulous construction of major Hollywood entertainments: big-budget epics and thrillers rich with genre pleasures, rigged with dazzling set pieces and heavy on movie stars. As interested as he is in making movies for mass enjoyment, though, Mann is, by his own description, “not a journeyman director — these guys who go from gig to gig to gig. I need a really compelling reason to do something.” Mann’s artistic signature is to establish a core of painstaking realism, then create around it a heightened visual and emotional atmosphere that can edge, at times, into a kind of hallucinatory, macho camp. It’s an aesthetic Mann began exploring when he oversaw the epochal 1980s cop show “Miami Vice.”

Mann’s ‘Heat’ at 25: A newly relevant study in loneliness” via Marc Rivers of NPR — With things as bleak as they seem, Mann’s 1995 crime epic doesn’t promise the comforts of a good rom-com like When Harry Met Sally … or a classic family film like Finding Nemo, movies that offer the kind of happy ending we’re looking for these days. Nor does it provide the perverse pleasures of Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film Contagion; that film’s take on a global pandemic eerily mirrors our own and helps us imagine just how bad things could get. But Heat deals with a more existential kind of emptiness — one that becomes the film’s steady, plaintive bassline against the catchy melody of its cops-and-robbers plotting. And in its own strange and very specific way, it comforted me.

Why Heat is the greatest heist movie ever made” via Gerardo Valero of — “Heat” is the greatest heist movie ever made. It includes the best bank robbery scene ever filmed (by far) and also the most influential (think of “The Dark Knight” and “The Town”). Every part, no matter how small, is cast with a great actor. Mann drops them into the most believable environments with hardly (if any) filming taking place in studio sets, achieving a level of authenticity not unlike that which Steven Spielberg once accomplished by dropping his plastic shark into the real ocean. In “Heat,” Mann displays an uncanny ability to capture the sights and sounds of places and situations that make his characters and their activities utterly believable.

The story of Neil McCauley and the real heist that inspired Mann’s ‘Heat’” via Neil Patmore of ATI — On March 25, 1964, the Chicago police were in position outside a corner store on the city’s Southwest Side, ready to take down McCauley, a career criminal who had been released from federal prison just two years earlier. The police were led by a detective named Chuck Adamson, who’d recently met with McCauley over coffee and had infiltrated his gang. He knew that McCauley and his crew planned to rob the store. But even though McCauley had already walked away from one job when he learned that Adamson was on to him, he had no idea how thoroughly surrounded he was. Nor that his life story would later be turned into Michael Mann’s 1995 crime classic Heat.


It’s National Book Lover’s Day, and we’ll give you one guess which Florida politician views the annual unofficial holiday as Christmas in August.

The answer: Chris Sprowls.

Among the exiting House Speaker’s landmark achievements was the New Worlds Reading Initiative, which delivers books to grade schoolers struggling to learn how to read. And in his off time, he hosts a podcast featuring interviews with authors of bestselling books that have influenced his career in politics.

After a short break following its first season, Season 2 of the “Read, White & Blue” podcast debuts today.

Chris Sprowls jumps headfirst into Season 2 of his podcast.

Episode 1 features Vivek Ramaswamy, author of “WOKE, INC.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.” He and Sprowls discuss Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG investing, and the ways they believe it threatens democracy.

“The public policy we have passed out of the Florida House over the past two years has pushed Florida into a position of leadership on shifting the power back to citizens, parents and everyday Americans. On Season 2 of ‘Read, White & Blue,’ I explore with bestselling authors some of the best books about these issues — from ‘woke’ capitalism to children’s literacy to law and order,” Sprowls said. “National Book Lovers Day is the perfect time to listen to the podcast and check out the next book you should be reading.”

Further episodes will feature substantive discussions with authors such as Jonathan Issac (“Why I Stand”), James Patterson (“Run, Rose, Run”) and Kellyanne Conway (“Here’s the Deal”), among many others.

“Read, White & Blue” can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcast platforms, with new episodes posted every Tuesday morning.


Here are some other political thoughts:

👫👶 — The Trump administration’s family separation policy may not dominate headlines in 2022, but The Atlantic’s Caitlin Dickerson spent 18 months investigating it, and the final product is must-read journalism. The Atlantic’s national editor, industry veteran Scott Stossel, is not easily impressed, so his five-word take should carry some weight: “important and riveting and maddening.” Check it out ASAP.

🥊 — Can Democrats win for losing? According to the polls … Maybe. As Republicans continue notching wins on culture war issues such as restricting abortion rights — and refusing to restrict gun rights — voters are starting to get fed up, giving the Democrats a chance to counterpunch. If the trend continues, the GOP could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

🥇🥇🥇 Susie Wiles was key to Trump’s 2016 victory in Florida, and she managed the repeat in 2020. But can she pull off a Florida three-peat for the first presidential candidate since FDR? It’d be tough — especially if Gov. Ron DeSantis is in the mix — but we wouldn’t bet against her if she’s in charge of the Sunshine State theater in two years.

🚨 — There won’t be a truth and reconciliation commission for the “Big Lie” … in fact, Americans may get a sequel instead. According to an in-depth analysis by Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison of Bloomberg, whether the 2024 election can be stolen will essentially be decided by the November outcomes in five key states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The alarm bells are already blaring.

🤿 — National Democrats may be regaining momentum, but does the party really have a chance to win in Florida? Dara Kam, joined by State Attorney Dave Aronberg, examines the question in the second episode of her new podcast, “Deeper Dive with Dara Kam.” Hear Aronberg discuss his efforts battling the opioid crisis and the “sober homes” racket.


Tweet, tweet:

@marcorubio: Using government power to persecute political opponents is something we have seen many times from 3rd world Marxist dictatorships. But never before in America

@TracyWalder: As a former FBI agent, this is a big deal. We didn’t execute search warrants of this magnitude/scale unless we had a mountain of cause to back it up

Tweet, tweet:

@GaryGrumbach: The Georgia Senate runoffs were Jan. 5, 2021. The results got about four hours of coverage on the morning of January 6 before being wiped off the front pages but have been monumental for the (Joe) Biden administration’s priorities.

@ThirdWayMattB: I dunno, a platform of higher insulin prices, sunsetting Social Security and Medicare, and forcing 10-year-olds to give birth might NOT be popular.

@ChristinaPushaw: Every candidate running for Congress this year needs to go on the record about what they will do with the massive power grab the DC swamp just passed to terrorize and impoverish the American people. Will you defund the 87,000 new IRS agents or not?!

@NateMonroeTU: your creepiest haters will always read you so obsessively they make up theories explaining your two-day absence in the newspaper

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:


Early voting begins for Primaries — 4; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 8; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 9; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 12; 2022 Florida Primary — 13; launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 19; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 22; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 22; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 24; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 30; 2022 Emmys — 34; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 37; final season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 37; vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 58; deadline to register for General Election — 62; 22-23 NHL season begins — 63; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 77; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 77; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 78; Early voting begins for General Election — 81; 2022 General Election — 91; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 94; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 94; FITCon 2022 begins — 100; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 100; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 104; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 104; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 105; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 113; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 113; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 129; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 192; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 210; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 227; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies’ 23 conference begins — 252; 2023 Session Sine Die — 269; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 269; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 297; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 346; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 451; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 465; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 598; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 717; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 717; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 822; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 997.


Ron DeSantis to hit campaign trail to rally support for Donald Trump-endorsed candidates: ‘Unite and win’” via Brooke Singman of Fox News — DeSantis will travel to New Mexico, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio this month in support of GOP candidates, including Ohio Republican candidate for Senate JD Vance, Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, Arizona Republican candidate for Senate Blake Masters and GOP nominee for Gov. Kari Lake.

Turning Point Action is hosting and organizing the rallies with DeSantis to “unite” the Republican Party.

“Gov. DeSantis is America’s Governor and one of the most popular leaders in America,” Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point Action, told Fox News. “He has become the model for a new conservative movement that is willing to stand on principle and to actually fight on behalf of the values of his voters.”

Lake told Fox News that, “as an added bonus,” she “cannot wait to watch the media heads explode when their two favorite people to lie about join forces next.”

Ron DeSantis hits the campaign trail, this time as a headliner.

@MarcACaputo: This story/event are cleverly presented to take some of the air out of a DeSantis-Trump clash, which is more Acela Hivemind wishcasting than reality (for now?)

Evergreen — “DeSantis is ‘scarier’ opponent than Trump, say Democrats” via Amie Parnes of The Hill — Biden has repeatedly talked about taking on Trump. He still tells anyone who will listen that he’s the only Democrat who can defeat Trump, and he said last month that he wouldn’t be disappointed if Trump ran against him in 2024. But some Democrats say that if Biden does run for re-election, he also needs to actively target DeSantis and stop boxing himself into a Trump race. “To me, DeSantis is the scarier prospect,” one Democratic strategist said. “He’s a smarter version of Trump, he’s way more strategic, and he doesn’t have a hundred lawsuits at his feet.“

— 2022 —

DeSantis spends time, cash on other races, showing his confidence in re-election prospects” via Zac Anderson of the Tallahassee Democrat — DeSantis seems to think his re-election prospects are good enough that he can afford to spend his time and campaign money on other races. Voters in at least two Florida counties, Sarasota and Lee, have received mailers promoting local school board candidates paid for by the Governor’s political committee. Meanwhile, DeSantis is planning to headline rallies this month in New Mexico, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Ohio put on by Turning Point Action to support GOP candidates endorsed by Trump in those states.

Val Demings throws another $109K into TV ads — U.S. Rep. Demings has made a new ad buy for her U.S. Senate campaign. The likely Democratic nominee’s new flight cost $109,009 and will cover broadcast ads running Tuesday through Monday. The buy directs $90,430 to the Tampa media market and $18,570 to the Jacksonville media market. According to AdImpact, Demings’ campaign has now spent about $10.5 million on ads this cycle, including $2.8 million in the Tampa market and $735,007 in the Jacksonville market.

Val Demings gets another TV blast.

Charlie Crist spends another $127K on adsCrist’s political committee, Friends of Charlie Crist, has placed a $127,430 media buy. The flight, made through GMMB, covers cable ads airing today through Monday in seven media markets across the state. The largest chunk, $38,306, was directed to the Orlando media market. Another $31,653 was spent in the Tampa media market while $24,050 went to the Miami market. Crist’s ads will air across several cable channels, including AMC, BET, Bravo, CNN, Discovery, HGTV, MSNBC, TLC, TNT, USA and others.

Assignment editorsNikki Fried will hold a news conference in front of the Governor’s Mansion, calling on DeSantis to “support the rule of law and allow the Justice Department to do its job,” 9 a.m., 700 N Adams St, Tallahassee.

Assignment editors — Fried will visit an early voting location in Jacksonville to get out the vote, 12:15 p.m., 1826 Dunn Ave., Jacksonville. Details at [email protected].

Matching funds buoy Ashley Moody re-election fundraising” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Moody continues to marshal resources for November, raising almost $370,000 during the last full week of July fundraising, more than half that sum coming from Florida taxpayers. Moody raised $249,998 to her campaign account, spending under $35,000 between the week ending July 29. A full $232,428 of her weekly total came from campaign matching funds from Florida. She added another $119,000 to the account of her Friends of Ashley Moody political committee during the same week, spending under $3,000.

Marijuana company seeks to legalize pot through a ballot initiative” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO — Medical marijuana company Trulieve launched a new campaign to legalize pot in 2024 with a $5 million contribution toward a ballot initiative. The Tallahassee-based medical marijuana company filed paperwork with the Florida Department of State to form a new political committee called Smart & Safe Florida. The group proposes a ballot initiative asking voters to support expanding the state’s current medical marijuana law to allow the industry to sell pot products for recreational use.

To watch the announcement video, please click the image below:

— 2022: CONG —

More than $8M in outside cash has been spent in congressional Primaries since qualifying” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The spending includes more than $1.7 million spent by two groups to support Republican state Sen. Aaron Bean’s bid in CD 4, and more than $1 million spent mainly by one group to support Democratic organizer Maxwell Alejandro Frost in CD 10. Since ballot qualifying day June 17, outside groups have spent $283,000 attacking Rep. Demings in the Senate contest while others have spent $100,000 supporting the re-election of Sen. Marco Rubio. Very little outside money has come to the defense of Demings, at least through the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, which ran through last Friday. Between $100,000 and $1 million has been spent to support or oppose seven other candidates in five other congressional contests in Florida.

Mark Lombardo blasts Matt Gaetz in another round of TV ads” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Lombardo is ramping up his assault on incumbent U.S. Rep. Gaetz as the Marine Corps veteran and former FedEx executive attempts to unseat him in Florida’s 1st Congressional District. “Matt Gaetz is a liar who doesn’t respect women, generates falsehoods, promotes conspiracy theories, uses gimmicks to get TV airtime, and baits voters with racist and anti-gay siren calls,” Lombardo said in a prepared statement. “Matt Gaetz is a hypocrite and nothing but a me-first, professional politician who entangled himself in a child sex-trafficking investigation and then sought a pardon for ‘any and all’ crimes to keep himself out of jail.”

Gaetz drops $16K on broadcast flight — U.S. Rep. Gaetz made a $16,264 ad buy for his re-election campaign in Florida’s 1st Congressional District. The flight will place ads on broadcast TV in the Mobile media market starting Wednesday and continuing through Saturday. The new ad buy makes for $515,740 in ad spending to date for the incumbent Republican. Gaetz is facingLombardo in the Republican Primary. The challenger made another $55,000 buy over the weekend for a broadcast flight that began Monday and ends Sunday. Lombardo has spent $356,755 on ads to date.

Kat Cammack calls liberals ‘bird brains’ in new ad Republican U.S. Rep. Cammack is out with a new ad in her re-election bid in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District. The 30-second spot details the recent economic woes and pins the blame on Democrats before turning to Cammack’s pitch. “As the youngest Republican woman in Congress, I’ve fought to create more Florida jobs, secure the border, and protect the rights of gun owners and the unborn.” The ad is also something of a sequel to her 2020 “Chicken” spot — itself a remix of former U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho’s “Pigs” ad — in that she calls congressional Democrats “bird brains” and urges voters to “kick these dumb clucks out of the nest.”

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

Pro-Aaron Bean committee makes $26K ad buy in CD 4 — A political committee backing Bean’s campaign for Florida’s 4th Congressional District dropped another $26,291 on ads in the Jacksonville market. Keep Florida Red’s new flight covers ads airing Tuesday through Monday on Fox News. The committee also recently added money to a broadcast flight running concurrently with the cable ads. It has spent about $483,000 on CD 4 ads to date, nearly double the amount spent by Bean’s campaign. Bean is considered the leading GOP candidate in the race. CD 4 is expected to perform Republican in the General Election.

Michael Waltz spends $148K on ads — U.S. Rep. Waltz has placed a $148,025 TV buy for his re-election campaign in Florida’s 6th Congressional District. The buy, placed through American Media and Advocacy Group, covers broadcast ads that will air today through Aug. 29. The flight directs $96,039 to the Orlando media market and $51,985 to the Jacksonville media market. Waltz faces Charles Davis in the Republican Primary for CD 6. Libertarian Joe Hannoush is also running for the seat.

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick places new broadcast buy — U.S. Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick has booked another $9,499 in airtime for her re-election campaign in Florida’s 20th Congressional District. The new buy will air the incumbent Democrat’s ads on broadcast within the West Palm Beach media market. It began Saturday and runs through Friday. According to AdImpact, the Cherfilus-McCormick campaign has spent $256,251 on ads in the current election cycle.

— 2022: LEG. —

New Jason Brodeur ad highlights record on education — Sen. Brodeur has released a new digital ad highlighting his votes and views on education issues. The 30-second spot, titled “Parents, Teachers and Students,” sees the Sanford Republican speak his support for teacher pay raises, expanded dual enrollment and VocEd programs, and policies that give parents more say in their child’s education. “Parents, teachers, students — to strengthen education, we must support all three and that’s exactly what I’ll do in the Florida Senate,” Brodeur says in the ad. Brodeur faces lesser-known Republican Denali Charres in the GOP Primary for Senate District 10. The Republican nominee will go up against Democratic Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil in November. SD 10 is expected to be one of the more competitive Senate races this cycle.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

Nick DiCeglie releases education-focused ad — Republican state Senate candidate DiCeglie is running a new digital ad highlighting his commitment to school choice. Titled “Every Child Deserves a Great Education,” the ad mentions the current state Representative’s support for K-12 opportunity scholarships, teacher pay raises and school safety. “In the state Senate, I’ll fight for more technical and vocational training opportunities in our public schools because not every good career should require a college degree,” he says in the ad. “Every child deserves a good education, and that starts with us.” DiCeglie is the GOP nominee in Senate District 18, expected to perform Republican in the fall. He faces Democratic nominee Eunic Ortiz in the General Election.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

First in Sunburn — Raquel Pacheco launches first digital ad in SD 36 — Democratic Senate District 36 candidate Pacheco released her first digital ad of the election cycle. “As a child, I was forced to flee my country without my parents because of Fidel Castro and his communist military invasion. My journey as an immigrant child, my military service, and my willingness to stand up to dictators who want to be political here at home defines who I am,” she says in the ad. “As a veteran, I’m not afraid to take on tough fights because that’s what service to our country means. As a single mom and small-business owner, I know what it takes to fight — and I’m ready to fight for you.” Pacheco is running to unseat Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

Griff Griffitts trounces Brian Clowdus in July fundraising for HD 6” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — If fundraising is any indicator of who will win the race to replace Jay Trumbull in House District 6, Griffitts would defeat Clowdus by a landslide. The campaign has raised $339,000 overall and spent over $247,000. On July 29, he gave over $35,000 to the Front Line Agency for media campaign outreach and direct mail costs. Clowdus, meanwhile, has raised over $72,000 overall and spent over $61,000.

Race to represent Palm Beach County’s HD 93 sees cycle-high spending, fundraising” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Three out of the four Democrats running to represent inland Palm Beach County hit spending highs as the last weeks before the Primary melted away. Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Katherine Waldron has staked the most and raised the most in the race for the newly drawn seat representing parts of Wellington, Greenacres, Lake Worth and unincorporated Boynton Beach. Waldron, who works in sales and business, has $60,119 on hand, including the $62,000 she’s loaned her campaign.

DeSantis endorses ‘strong leader’ Juan Fernandez-Barquin for re-election” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — DeSantis is throwing his support behind Rep. Fernandez-Barquin’s re-election bid in House District 118. The Governor announced his endorsement of Fernandez-Barquin on Twitter, writing Monday that the twice-elected state lawmaker “has been a strong leader in protecting public safety and parental rights.” Fernandez-Barquin has proven himself a dependable ally to DeSantis in the Legislature, sponsoring or co-sponsoring “red meat” measures like the anti-riot bill (HB 1), Stop WOKE Act, and the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill that restricts classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation. He added: “I look forward to working with Juan to Keep Florida Free.”


New parental rights laws annoy but don’t faze these teachers” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — A sense of excitement permeated Sanders Memorial Elementary School as teachers and staff returned to campus, refreshed after a two-month summer break. Amid the enthusiasm for preparing classrooms, they couldn’t escape the political reality permeating Florida’s public schools as the first day of classes approached. Contentious new laws relating to the instruction of sex and gender, the provision of health services, and the selection of books took effect July 1. The Pasco County school district wanted to ensure faculty and staff had the information they would need to meet the latest expectations. So, for an hour last Wednesday, the discussion came to Sanders Memorial.

Black farmers feel left out of medical marijuana system” via Paul Nutcher of The Associated Press — Nearly six years ago, the Florida Legislature set aside a medical marijuana license for a Black farmer like John Allen to join the burgeoning industry. But the license still has not been issued by the Florida Department of Health. Twenty-two licenses have been issued but none so far to a Black farmer. The licenses have generated enormous revenues from some of the license holders, frustrating the Black farmers who wonder how they can catch up. Florida Black farmers like Allen have struggled to participate in the medical marijuana industry because of laws they say are too narrowly focused for them to get into the business.


Joe Biden schedule is heavy on Delaware, light on press interviews and golf” via Catherine Lucey of The Wall Street Journal — Biden’s schedule shows he has a fondness for travel to Delaware and the occasional game of golf and a cautious approach to formal interviews and news conferences. As the summer draws to a close, Biden plans to spend some time away in August, starting later this week with a trip to Kiawah Island, South Carolina. In his first 18 months in office, he traveled to Delaware 46 times and to Camp David 18 times. He played 15 rounds of golf, conducted 17 formal news conferences, and gave 20 sit-down interviews.

Joe Biden gets an itch to travel. Image via Reuters.

Biden’s policies have not revived Scranton. But few there blame him.” via Cleve R. Wootson Jr. of The Washington Post — If Biden’s election showed how far a self-described “kid from Scranton” could go, two years of his presidency have exposed the limits of what Biden, maybe any President, can do for a place like this. If Biden’s political goal is to help people like his former neighbors, it’s not clear he’s succeeded, at least not yet. “Scranton isn’t my home because of the memories it gave me — it’s my home because of the values it gave me,” Biden said. Many in Scranton dismiss the idea that Biden is responsible for the city’s struggles. The city has been on the losing end of tectonic economic shifts for more than a century.

Critics label Marco Rubio’s tweet on George Soros-backed prosecutors as antisemitic” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — U.S. Sen. Rubio came under fire after suggesting dealing with Soros-backed prosecutors should be the top priority in Congress. After Senate Democrats shot down an amendment Rubio offered, he took to Twitter to criticize prosecutors. “The Democrats just blocked my effort to try and force Soros-backed prosecutors to put dangerous criminals in jail,” Rubio said. The assertion that Soros, who is Jewish, secretly controls a network of powerful decision-makers drew criticism as promotion of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. “Marco Rubio, what is a Soros-backed prosecutor? Do you mean Jewish?” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, a Florida gun control activist.

— JAN. 6 —

U.S. Secret Service providing personal cellphone numbers of agents to oversight entities” via Jamie Gangel and Whitney Wild of CNN — Personal cellphone numbers of Secret Service agents have been provided to oversight bodies looking into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi would not confirm which oversight entities, but stressed USSS is in full cooperation as multiple inquiries are ongoing. Multiple sources said it is an unusual step to provide personal cellphone numbers of Secret Service agents to investigators.

Investigators make an unusual move with the Secret Service.


Trump wanted ‘totally loyal’ generals like Adolf Hitler’s, new book says” via Amy B. Wang of The Washington Post — Trump once told a top adviser that he wanted “totally loyal” generals like the ones who had served Hitler, unaware that some of Hitler’s generals had tried to assassinate the Nazi leader several times. Trump complained to John Kelly, then his chief of staff and a retired Marine Corps general, “why can’t you be like the German generals?” When Kelly asked which generals he meant, Trump replied: “The German generals in World War II.” “You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?” Kelly said. Trump didn’t believe him, the book says. “No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him,” Trump insisted.

Donald Trump is an admirer of Hitler’s generals.

Trump did flush ripped-up papers down the toilets, photos in upcoming book reveal” via Dave Goldiner of New York Daily News — Trump appears to have flushed ripped-up government documents down the toilet, after all, new photos revealed Monday. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman obtained the photos for “Confidence Man,” her forthcoming book on the Trump White House. “Some (Trump) aides were aware of the habit, which he engaged in repeatedly,” Haberman told Axios, which published the photos. “It was an extension of Trump’s term-long habit of ripping up documents that were supposed to be preserved.”

Trump targets top Wisconsin GOP lawmaker for not overturning election” via Patrick Marley of The Washington Post — One year ago this month, Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos sat on a private plane with Trump and updated him on the investigation he had launched into the 2020 election, even though there was no evidence of widespread fraud. Since then, Trump has repeatedly pressured Vos privately and publicly to find a way to overturn the election results. The 2020 results in Wisconsin still stand, showing that Biden won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. “Adam Steen is running to defeat your RINO speaker of the house, Robin Vos,” Trump said.


“Anything but ‘normal’: Lives of Parkland victims’ families marked by absence, anguish, sorrow” via Hannah Phillips of The Palm Beach Post — The sister of Alaina Petty doesn’t think she’ll ever truly love again, and Joaquin Oliver’s death has hardened his mother’s once-easy smile. Peter Wang’s family doesn’t celebrate the Chinese New Year anymore. It’s hard to celebrate anything without him. People often cried in the courtroom’s gallery while they listened to each family speak, nodding or grimacing, squeezing shoulders as parents and siblings returned from the stand. Jurors sometimes cried, too. Even the judge’s voice broke as she gave the jurors instructions again.

Another reminder of how difficult it has been for Parkland families to cope with the lingering effects of the trauma.

Law firm for Surfside accuses resident of defaming town attorney over LGBTQ flag advice” via Aaron Leibowitz of the Miami Herald — Ever since Surfside officials chose not to fly the LGBTQ Pride flag at Town Hall in June, resident Gerardo Vildostegui has been one of the town’s most outspoken critics. At public meetings and in a letter to the town’s law firm, he blasted Town Attorney Lillian Arango for what he says was a “completely inaccurate” interpretation of a relevant Supreme Court case and for “anti-LGBTQ politicking” and called on her to resign. Vildostegui, a former constitutional law professor, says he didn’t expect what came next. The town’s law firm, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, sent him a letter demanding that he stop making “defamatory” statements about Arango.

Miami’s plan to build tiny homes on Biscayne Bay island for homeless put on hold” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Miami’s proposal to place up to 100 tiny homes on Virginia Key for people experiencing homelessness, which led to opposition from the county and a weekend protest, has been put on hold. Mayor Francis Suarez and Commissioner Joe Carollo, who sponsored the concept, announced Monday afternoon that the city would hold off on pursuing a “transition zone” on the island’s northeastern shore for at least six months. Recently, Suarez and Carollo negotiated a deal to pause the effort while the city spends more to help agencies that work with people living on the street.


Joel Greenberg associates may plead guilty in fraud case, attorneys say” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Two associates of former Seminole County Tax Collector Greenberg plan to plead guilty to charges of taking part in a multimillion-dollar real estate fraud scheme, lawyers told a federal judge Monday. “We are in plea negotiations,” Amanda Daniels, a U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutor, said to U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell. In all, Keith Ingersoll and James Adamcyzk face 40 charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and engaging in fraudulent money transactions.

After fight, Universal CityWalk imposes weekend curfew for minors” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — A new curfew policy at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk entertainment district bars guests under 18 after 9 p.m. on weekend nights, with certain exceptions. The policy change comes after a July 23 fight between several people, identified by police as juveniles. Orlando police said no shots were fired during the incident and nobody reported any injuries. To remain at CityWalk past 9 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, visitors under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, be a guest at one of Universal’s hotels, or plan to see a movie at the property’s Cinemark movie theater.

Fights force a curfew at Universal’s CityWalk.

Orange County’s rent control law would be a first” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — If Orange County Commissioners put a rent-control referendum on the November ballot, they’ll be the first in Florida to try. Tenants struggling to pay monthly rents that have jumped an average of 30% in the past year are pleading for relief, rallying in support of a measure proposed by Commissioner Emily Bonilla to limit how much a landlord can jack up the cost of rental housing. The Commission, which kicked around Bonilla’s idea twice in June and at its July 26 meeting, will debate it again Tuesday with renters hopeful the board will finally decide to put the issue on the general-election ballot for voter approval as required by a 1977 state law.

New Hillsborough State Attorney reverses Andrew Warren, seeks death penalty in teacher slaying” via Mary Claire Molloy of the Tampa Bay Times — In one of her first acts in office, newly appointed Hillsborough State Attorney Susan Lopez reversed a decision by former top prosecutor Warren and will seek the death penalty against a man accused of killing a Hillsborough elementary school teacher. Prosecutors now will seek a death sentence for Matthew Terry, who is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Kay Baker. The 3rd-grade math and science teacher at Cypress Creek Elementary in Ruskin was stabbed to death near her home. Terry, her boyfriend at the time, was previously convicted in 2017 of stabbing his ex-girlfriend in Michigan.

Luis Viera files for re-election to Tampa City Council” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Tampa City Council member Viera is filing for re-election, making him the first incumbent on the Council to do so. The two-term Council member filed paperwork Friday to run in Tampa’s upcoming municipal election for March 7, 2023. All current Council seats will be up for election on that ballot, as members’ current terms expire April 30, 2023. When deciding if he should seek re-election, Viera determined that he wants to continue his work on accessibility and public safety, having been a longtime advocate for marginalized communities.

Tampa religious school to receive federal lunch funds after all” via Divya Kumar of the Tampa Bay Times — Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative legal firm representing Grant Park Christian Academy in a federal lawsuit, announced that state officials had informed the school it could continue participating in the lunch program based on a religious exemption in federal law. The lawsuit was filed in Tampa federal court July 27 against Biden and Fried, claiming the defendants were effectively taking food from the low-income children who attend the school. The school has 56 pre-K through eighth grade students, all of whom come from families below the federal poverty level.


Hearing delayed for vegan mom in starvation death of son” via The Associated Press — A vegan woman convicted of murder in the malnutrition death of her young son must wait a bit longer to learn her sentence. Sheila O’Leary, whose family followed a strict vegan diet, was convicted in June on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect, in the death of Ezra O’Leary. Her sentencing was postponed Monday to Aug. 15 in Lee County. Her husband, Ryan Patrick O’Leary, faces trial on the same charges this month. The boy weighed just 17 pounds and was the size of a 7-month-old baby, a police report said.


Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office systems knocked out for part of Sunday, limiting officers’ ability to arrest” via Andrew Pantazi of The Tributary — Some of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s internal systems shut down Sunday, affecting police officers’ ability to file arrest reports, due to “suspicious activity,” the city reported. The systems have since been restored, the city said. At least one arrest report Sunday noted the system outage as affecting officers’ ability to file reports. The outage also affected the office’s Computer-Assisted Dispatch system, one law-enforcement source told The Tributary. The office’s dashboard showing calls for service was down Sunday. Two sources had said Sheriff’s Office officials blamed the issue on a possible ransomware attack, which could last days, but Jacksonville Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes denied that it was ransomware.

Were hackers behind the JSO service outage?

For sale: Tallahassee-generated juice powers utilities across U.S., including Reedy Creek, FPL” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — While city leaders are adamant that the city utility is not for sale, its power is definitely on the market. Tallahassee generates more electricity than it uses so it sells some of it to the country’s largest utility corporation, Excelon, power cooperatives like the Florida Municipal Power Agency and even the Most Magical Place on Earth. The city sold close to 200,000-megawatt hours between October 2021 and June to a dozen separate energy companies worth nearly $9 million. The millions in dollars of sales result in savings among the city’s 130,000 utility customers.


DeSantis suspended me for no greater cause than ‘blind political ambition’” via Andrew Warren for the Miami Herald — For DeSantis, this is all political theater — let’s look tough and kick out of office a prosecutor who is a Democrat and who has embraced effective criminal-justice policies he doesn’t like.

This circus stunt is about much more than DeSantis’ blind political ambition.

First, this Governor has unleashed still another serious attack on democracy. I have been elected state attorney twice by Hillsborough County voters. No Governor — and as we have seen, no President — is so all-powerful they can set aside the results of fair elections. If voters determine I am not doing my job, they have a remedy. They can vote to replace me.

Second, DeSantis fundamentally and selectively ignores the discretion prosecutors have in setting priorities, deciding whom to prosecute for which crimes, and ensuring equal justice for all.

Third, such a unilateral political attack without one shred of evidence that I have done anything wrong should send chills through every elected official and public servant.

Will DeSantis arbitrarily remove elected school board members, law enforcement officers, firefighters or teachers who don’t share his political views? Will he remove an elected county property appraiser who sets home values too high for his liking? Or a Democratic state legislator who votes against one of his priorities?


86,852 new IRS employees” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — You’ve probably heard Republicans say the Inflation Reduction Act, the massive spending bill just passed by Democrats, includes provisions to hire 87,000 new IRS agents. The number seems too big to believe. The IRS has just 93,654 employees, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Why would Congress, in one bill, increase the IRS workforce by something like 92%? It’s not wise, but it is possible. And that is what 50 Senate Democrats and tiebreaking Vice President Kamala Harris did when they passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which gives roughly $80 billion to the IRS between now and 2031. (The name, “Inflation Reduction Act,” was a ruse to convince gullible voters that Democrats are actually doing something about inflation. The bill itself comprises expensive climate measures, prescription drug provisions, tax increases, and the initiative to increase IRS enforcement.)

Joe Henderson: Why would DeSantis campaign for election-deniers?” via Florida Politics — Fox News reported that DeSantis would travel to New Mexico, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Ohio this month to support GOP candidates. They include Ohio’s Vance, Pennsylvania’s Mastriano, and Arizona’s Lake. “Yeah, I do,” Vance said when asked if he believed in a stolen election. He wants to be a U.S. Senator. Supporting the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party is risky for the Governor. While these appearances could please the Trump wing, they also could make middle-of-the-road voters rethink whether they believe DeSantis is more than just another MAGA wing nut. If at least a couple of them lose, it dilutes his brand. If all three lose — a distinct possibility — DeSantis’ bold image becomes attached to losers.

Nathaniel Cunneen: Florida just lost its school choice crown — can we get it back?” via Florida Politics — In July, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the nation’s first universal-eligibility education savings account (ESA) legislation. This expansion will bring educational options to more than 1.1 million Arizona students, giving them access to accounts that can be used for private school tuition, online education, education therapies, or tutoring. For the first time in history, every student in Arizona will have access to educational options and an escape route from one-sized-fits-all systems. Although many students will be happy with their assigned public schools and stay, every family can access the education provider that meets their individual needs if the traditional system is not working. If Florida wants to regain its position as the top school choice state, we have some work to do in Tallahassee.


— ALOE —

Gas prices at lowest level since May and continuing to drop” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Average gas prices in Florida continued to drop further below $4 a gallon and analysts are predicting the trend will continue until and unless the southeastern U.S. finds itself in the path of a tropical storm or hurricane. Florida’s average $3.78 a gallon for unleaded regular was 14 cents cheaper than last Monday and $1.11 below the record high of $4.89 set June 13. Due to the higher cost of conducting business here, average gas prices in South Florida were again above the state average. Per-gallon prices averaged $3.86 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and $3.98 in Palm Beach County.

Huge, secluded Wyoming ranch once owned by Disney family lists at $71M. See the beauty” via David Caraccio of the Miami Herald — A secluded Wyoming ranch once owned by the Walt Disney family, surrounded by mountains and national forest, and located just 23 minutes from Yellowstone National Park, has hit the market for $71 million. Diamond G Ranch sits about 90 miles east of Jackson Hole, near the town of Dubois. The ranch spans about 5,000 deeded acres and contains a five-bedroom lodge that has served as the owner’s residence. Other structures include a log guesthouse with an enclosed porch and two log cabins. There’s an enormous century-old barn with storage on the first level and an office, boardroom and kitchenette upstairs. Another structure on the land is a 1,500-square-foot manager’s house with three bedrooms.

Get your checkbooks, a nice piece of Disney property is up for sale.


Celebrating today are Rep. Keith Truenow and my friend, the FHCA’s Emmett Reed. Also celebrating today are Rebekah Bydlak, Jaime Figueras, Mark Harper, and former lawmaker and former Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.


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

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