Last Call for 8.8.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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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

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and his top challenger, Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, continued pumping cash into ads, with both candidates making six-figure buys to start the week.

According to ad buy data, Rubio’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee booked a $527,180 TV flight that will cover broadcast ads in the Tampa, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville and Orlando media markets starting tomorrow and running through next Monday.

Demings, meanwhile, anted up another $109,009 for broadcast ads in the Tampa and Jacksonville media markets. Her new flight runs for the same dates as Rubio’s. Demings still holds a massive lead in overall ad spending with more than $10.5 million spent thus far.

While there is a gulf between the two candidates as far as spending, new polling from Progress Florida and Florida Watch shows the race is virtually tied, with each candidate earning 45% support among those polled. Notably, the poll assumes the GOP will have a four-point turnout advantage.

The results could indicate that Demings’ sustained ad blitz is producing results, as her campaign asserted Monday.

“Our momentum continues to grow as Chief Demings travels from the Panhandle to the Keys highlighting her American dream story and holding Rubio accountable for failing to deliver for Florida. This Nov., Floridians will send 27-year career law enforcement officer Val Demings to the United States Senate and end Marco Rubio’s nearly three-decade political career,” Campaign Manager Zack Carroll said.

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Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a one-minute “mini-doc” through her gubernatorial campaign, continuing her onslaught against her Democratic Primary rival, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.

The video, posted on Twitter, claims Crist is directly responsible for the rise of U.S. Sens. Rick Scott and Rubio.

“In May 2009, Charlie Crist announced a fateful decision,” a narrator says as the video opens before turning to file footage of then-Republican Gov. Crist’s decision to run for U.S. Senate rather than a second term as Governor.

Further clips show Crist congratulating Rubio for his victory in the 2010 U.S. Senate election as well as Crist declaring he would not challenge Scott in 2014, which he later did.

The story is nothing new for those who have followed Florida politics for the past decade, however, the Fried campaign suggests it’s time for Crist to move on — making that point with footage of Crist himself saying that following his loss to Scott. 

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The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association issued endorsements in all three Cabinet races on Monday.

“As the voice of the transportation construction industry, the FTBA board of directors is proud to endorse Ashley Moody for Attorney General, Jimmy Patronis for Chief Financial Officer and Wilton Simpson for Commissioner of Agriculture in the upcoming election so that they may continue their good work on behalf of all Floridians,” said Henry Mayfield, chair of the FTBA board of directors.

Mayfield had effusive quotes for each candidate, saying Moody “has fought on a daily basis to protect the rights of Florida businesses and residents,” that Patronis “has proven himself to be a strong leader dedicated to ensuring Florida not only remains the best state to do business, but also the best state to both live in and visit,” and that Simpson “made fiscally responsible infrastructure investments that help create jobs, improve the quality of life of Floridians and provide a return on investment for the state.”

FTBA president Ananth Prasad added, “Attorney General Moody, CFO Patronis and Simpson have each had a positive impact on our great state during their time in office. FTBA has worked closely with each over the years to ensure they understand how the transportation construction industry is key to supporting businesses, jobs, tourism and the vitality of our great state. The state’s road and bridge builders have appreciated their continued support and believe Florida needs their continued leadership. We are proud to endorse each of their campaigns.”

Evening Reads

—“Ron DeSantis to hit campaign trail to rally support for Donald Trump-endorsed candidates: ‘Unite and win’” via Brooke Singman of Fox News

—“DeSantis, businesses square off over Florida’s ‘anti-woke’ law” via Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida

—“DeSantis’ committee funding mailers backing School Board candidate faves throughout state” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“‘Constitutional’ sheriff movement escapes DeSantis’ scrutiny” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel

—“It’s hard to win a Senate race when you’ve never won an election before” via Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight

—“Val Demings said these radical activists would dismantle police in ‘very thoughtful’ way” via Colin Anderson of The Washington Free Beacon

—“Florida marijuana company seeks to legalize pot through a ballot initiative” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida

—“Black farmers feel left out of medical marijuana system” via Paul Nutcher of The Ledger/The Associated Press

—“Why most Americans aren’t paying attention to the monkeypox outbreak” via Alex Samuels and Zoha Qamar of FiveThirtyEight

—“‘They’re not gatekeepers anymore’: Meet the DeSantis spokeswoman who’s putting the media on defense” via Laurel Duggan of Daily Caller

—“Why the same temperature can feel different somewhere else” via Maggie Koerth of FiveThirtyEight

Quote of the Day

“All you have to do is Google ‘Florida sheriff not enforcing,’ and there are so many examples, mostly related to guns. If this is the game you are going to play and tell me it’s not political, you better start suspending those people, too.”

— Rep. Dan Daley, on Ron DeSantis suspending elected officials.

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