Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.16.22

Sunburn Orange Tally (7)
Coffee is for closers. So is Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Good Tuesday morning.

One more week until Florida’s Primary Elections.


Go grab a few grains of salt.

A new poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab claims Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has erased a nearly double-digit deficit in the Democratic Primary for Governor and now holds a 4-point lead over U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, 47%-43%.

Further, the same poll shows Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings would defeat Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio 48%-44% in November.

Both results fall outside the poll’s 3.4% margin of error.

Does that mean the leads are real? Absolutely not.

Grab your saltshakers.

One need only look to 2018 for evidence of UNF’s reliability. In the Governor’s race four years ago, the pollster had Andrew Gillum up by a touchdown in its final poll before Election Day, and though it correctly predicted the outcomes of the Attorney General race the poll was several points off from the result.

UNF’s most accurate poll that year was for U.S. Senate, where it found former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson up a point over now-U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.

In each case, UNF’s poll had a large share of undecided voters, most of whom went for the candidate UNF pegged as the underdog. That could very well happen again in the Governor race, where even Fried’s own polling doesn’t show her with a lead.

Sure, Fried’s internal polls show her catching up, but the campaign only last week was celebrating being down 7% to Crist.


Ballard Partners and The Southern Group were once again in a dead heat in Q2, with Ballard holding on to the No. 1 spot by a hair.

Between April 1 and June 30, the firm founded by Brian Ballard collected $3.65 million lobbying the Legislature and an additional $2.58 million lobbying the Governor, Cabinet and state agencies for a grand total of $6.23 million.

Ballard Partners has now held the top spot for two consecutive quarters after spending 2021 in second place behind The Southern Group.

The Southern Group, led by founder and Chair Paul Bradshaw, only narrowly missed the top spot — just $67,000 separated its grand total from Ballard Partners.

The firm’s reports show $3.79 million in earnings lobbying the Legislature, which was the highest total in the legislative branch in Q2. Executive earnings came in at $2.37 million for an overall total of $6.16 million for the reporting period.

Capital City Consulting held steady at No. 3 in the second quarter, reporting $4.75 million in lobbying pay.

The 12-member team led by Ron LaFace and INFLUENCE Magazine’s 2021 “Lobbyist of the Year,” Nick Iarossi, represented more than 200 clients last quarter and reported earnings of $2.59 million in the legislative branch and $2.16 million in the executive branch.

GrayRobinson climbed to the No. 4 spot in the first quarter and Q2 numbers show that it managed to hang on to the ranking with $2.65 million in earnings.

The team led by Dean Cannon solidified its position in the Top 5 last year and has since reported earnings in the ballpark of $2.7 million. It held steady at that level in Q2.

Ron Book and lobbying partners Rana Brown and Kelly Mallette rounded out the Top 5 with an estimated $2.45 million in pay. Though the trio slipped from the perennial No. 4 in the rankings, they remain the top-earning firm if team size is factored in.


Nationally respected educator and K-12 government relations consultant Thomas Cerra is joining Ballard Partners.

As the former deputy superintendent for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Cerra has built a national profile as a K-12 educator with a career that spans teaching, school-site administration as well as serving as a chief lobbyist, chief negotiator, and labor relations for the school district, which is one of the nation’s largest.

His experience also includes city, county, state, and federal government relations, as well as strategic planning and policy development.

For the past 26 years, he has been president of the educational consulting firm Florida School Services, Inc. His clients have included school districts, benefits providers, school design and construction and publishing and technology companies as well as an educational foundation. He has also served as a legislative lobbyist for M-DCPS for the past 26 years.

“Creating this strategic partnership with a nationally respected educator and consultant like Tom gives our clients direct access to his decades of experience in K-12 education as well as his broad national reach, especially in Florida and California,” said Ballard, the founder and president of Ballard Partners. “Our firms have jointly represented a number of school districts in recent years, and we are delighted to establish this more formal K-12 partnership with Tom.”


Good news about a great person — Ivette Arango O’Doski is launching a campaign for Coral Gables City Commission.

After more than 20 years of working with and for Miami-Dade County on economic development, legislative affairs, and other matters, O’Doski, a decades-long resident of Coral Gables, confirmed her candidacy Tuesday for a soon-to-be-vacated seat on the City Commission.

She’s the first to file for the race, which culminates in Coral Gables’ biennial General Election on April 11.

Happy (campaign) trails: Ivette O’Doski throws her hat into the ring.

“I wanted to let it be known early that I want the seat,” she said. “I see this as a wonderful opportunity for public service and to have a meaningful impact on Coral Gables not just now but for its future.”

A lawyer by training with ample experience in both the public and private sectors, O’Doski is running for the seat now held by Jorge Fors Jr., who is seeking a seat on the Miami-Dade Commission seat.

If elected, she plans on backing smart development standards that preserve Coral Gables’ character and architectural aesthetics while enabling it to grow.

To support that growth, she said she’ll make sure the city’s police and fire departments have the resources necessary to support that growth while preserving green spaces, parks and pedestrian areas.

Governmental transparency is also important, she said.

A former vice president of governmental, community and corporate affairs with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, O’Doski has run a consulting firm out of Coral Gables for the last seven or so years.


Here are some other nuggets:

🌎 — Americans are less worried about climate change now than they were three years ago, according to an AP-NORC poll. The survey found that just 35% of U.S. adults are “extremely” or “very” concerned about climate change, while only half say their actions have an impact on climate change.

🔎 — A focus group of Florida voters who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 says they wouldn’t back Gov. Ron DeSantis for President. While 12 voters may not represent the full range of views in the broader electorate, a focus group does provide some insight into what voters are thinking. The prevailing opinion: DeSantis is too extreme.

🤕 — Migrants held in a Backer County facility have filed a federal complaint alleging they faced racism and brutal physical abuse at the hands of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. One detainee said the beatings caused him to lose part of his hearing.

🎰 — If you’ve hit the jackpot on PredictIt, it might be a good time to cash out regulators are about to shut it down. But should they? Slate’s Bernard Stanford argues it should get a reprieve and explores the benefits of betting on — er, buying shares of — political outcomes.


@RSchooley: It’s a good state of affairs when an ex-President claims his passports were taken and everyone’s response is, “let’s hold on we’re not sure whether to believe him.”

@KariLake: Uh-oh! Twitter is on fire because I said President Trump & Gov @RonDeSantisFL both have “BDE” I stand by what I said.

Tweet, tweet:

@ChristinaPushaw: Things you hate to see: The Daily Beast wrote an article about how great South Walton is. It is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, a gem of Florida. But I don’t want brainwashed blue-haired Daily Beast content consumers to swarm it & destroy the vibes.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@GSMitter: One of our @jaxdotcom colleagues who was laid off made two pans of fudge and left them in the employee refrigerator on the day she came back to get her personal stuff — one with nuts and one without. Those are the quality of people @Gannett disposed of last week.


FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 1; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 2; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 5; 2022 Florida Primary — 7; launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 12; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 15; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 15; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 17; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 23; 2022 Emmys — 26; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 30; final season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 30; vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 51; deadline to register for General Election — 55; 22-23 NHL season begins — 56; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 70; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 70; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 71; World Series Game 1 — 73; Early voting begins for General Election — 75; 2022 General Election — 84; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 87; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 87; FITCon 2022 begins — 93; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 93; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 97; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 98; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 98; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 106; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 106; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 122; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 185; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 203; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 220; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies’ 23 conference begins — 245; 2023 Session Sine Die — 262; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 262; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 290; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 339; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 444; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 458; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 591; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 710; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 710; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 815; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 990.


Millions of dollars’ worth of attack ads pouring into Florida congressional races” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Nearly $3 million worth of attack ads were ordered by outside groups for Florida congressional contests, particularly Republican Anthony Sabatini in one district and rival Republicans Anna Paulina Luna and Kevin Hayslett in another.

All three of those Republican Primary Election candidates — Sabatini in Florida’s 7th Congressional District and Luna and Hayslett in CD 13 — saw the outside attacks begin last month.

Anthony Sabatini gets a fresh target for his back.

The attack spending continued among a variety of outside super political action committees pouring money all over the state.

Officially, none of the outside groups are affiliated with any of the candidates. They typically are allied with particular candidates, and that is apparent when they spend money to support a specific candidate, rather than to oppose one.

But when the money goes into attack ads, it’s not always clear whether the outside group is dedicated to promoting any particular opponent, especially when there are multiple candidates in the contest.

— 2022 —

Second through the door” via Tara Palmeri of Puck — On at least a superficial level, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago drama appears to have taken the wind out of the sails of other Republican hopefuls, but DeSantis and Glenn Youngkin are still two of the most in-demand GOP politicians to rally for Republican candidates across the country. DeSantis has been following Trump on almost all of his endorsements, even down to his former roommate, Adam Laxalt, who is running for Senate in Nevada. A political consultant tied to both Trump and DeSantis said the latter’s “second through the door approach” was typical. At one point, I heard DeSantis was flirting with endorsing Arizona gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson, whom Mike Pence picked in a regional proxy battle against Kari Lake, Trump’s favorite. But DeSantis eventually backed down on that one, presumably not wanting to butt up against Trump.”

Donald Trump may rain on his parade, but Ron DeSantis still shines.

Seminole Tribe gives $1 million to Ron DeSantis after getting exclusive sports betting rights” via Zac Anderson of USA Today — The Seminole Tribe of Florida gave $1 million to DeSantis’ re-election bid in August, adding to the $3 million the Tribe has given to the Republican Governors Association, a major DeSantis donor. DeSantis approved a gambling deal that gave the Tribe exclusive rights to offer sports betting in the state. Sports betting is estimated to be a multibillion market in Florida, so securing exclusive access to it could be extremely lucrative for the Tribe, although the deal is currently tied up in court. The Tribe has been giving big money to RGA, which acts as a pass-through that allows some of the largest special interests in Florida to funnel money to the Governor without as much scrutiny.

Nikki Fried attacks journalists over sugar industry story, claims they were paid by Sierra Club” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — Fried on Sunday accused Palm Beach Post reporters who wrote a story on her sugar cane burning policy of being paid by the Sierra Club. So far, she has not provided information supporting her claim. Her campaign staff offered no additional comment when contacted on Monday. She made the allegation during a “Roe the Vote” campaign stop in Tallahassee. She told reporters that the Sierra Club wanted a complete ban on cane burning, which she couldn’t legally do.

Fried makes $45K radio buy — Fried’s political committee, Florida Consumers First, has spent $45,034 on a radio ad campaign that began Saturday and will continue through the Primary Election. The buy, placed through Canal Partners Media, will put Fried’s ads on the air in the Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, and Tampa media markets.

Fried won’t back down in closing stretch of Governor’s race” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — She “Won’t Back Down,” according to a new advertisement coming to a TV screen near you with Primary Day closing in next week. Fried’s Primary campaign for Governor needs some good fortune, polls seem to indicate, but she’s going to have Tom Petty’s iconic earworm, “I won’t back down,” to make her case, playing behind a parade of women who pushed ahead. It’s part of her campaign’s closing statement. The advertisement “Shoulders” went viral when it was first released days after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health organization decision. That decision undid the nearly 50-year-old court precedent that established abortion rights up until 24 weeks of pregnancy.

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

Assignment editors — Fried will kick off her “Something New” bus tour in North Florida; 1 p.m. Eastern time/noon Central time, 1022 W 23rd St., Panama City; 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, Proof Brewing Co., 320 S. Monroe St. Tallahassee.

Charlie Crist spends another $627K on broadcast ads — U.S. Rep. Crist is throwing another $627,160 into broadcast ads ahead of the Democratic Primary for Governor. According to AdImpact, the new flight covers ads that will begin running statewide tomorrow and continue through Aug. 22. The buy spans seven media markets. At $191,345, the Orlando media market is getting the most attention. Miami follows at $170,805, then Jacksonville at $105,935, West Palm Beach at $105,260 and Tampa at $59,105. The campaign also put a couple of thousand dollars into the Ft. Meyers and Panama City markets. To date, Crist’s campaign and political committee, Friends of Charlie Crist, have spent about $4 million on ads combined. His chief Primary opponent, Fried, has spent about half as much between her campaign and committee accounts.

Crist internal polling shows 10-point lead on Fried” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Change Research survey results show 47% of likely Democratic voters favor Crist heading into the Aug. 23 Primary. By comparison, 37% prefer Fried. Another 10% say they remain undecided and another 6% declined to answer. Crist’s lead appears starker when surveying those who have already voted early by mail or early voting. Among those voters whose decision has already been made, 57% of respondents bubbled in for Crist and just 35% went for Fried. Either way, the poll shows Crist with a lead outside the poll’s 4.2% margin of error. Pollsters called voters from Aug. 12-14, reaching out using Dynamic Online Sampling and text messaging. Results were weighted based on age, gender, ethnicity, education and media market to reflect the state’s voter distribution.

Assignment editors — Crist will be joining Council member Delarian Wiggins, local Black business leaders and community members for a roundtable as part of his statewide “Hope for Florida” Tour; 3 p.m. Location upon RSVP at [email protected].

Why calling the Mar-a-Lago search a ‘raid’ is polarizing ‘disinformation,’ in DeSantis’ own words” via People — DeSantis has seemingly shifted his view of using terms like “raid” to describe a lawful search by federal agents. In December 2020, DeSantis aggressively pushed back when a reporter used the term “raid” to describe the search of a former state employee who was under federal investigation. In the days since Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was visited by the FBI executing a federal search warrant on Monday, DeSantis has seemingly shifted his tone, using the same word, “raid,” to describe a valid search process conducted in accordance with the laws of the U.S.

Fact check-altered Fox News segment showing Sean Hannity with DeSantis” via Reuters Fact Check — Social media users are sharing an altered video that appears to show a Fox News segment with host Hannity, DeSantis, and Lara Trump discussing an unidentified “raid.” The video begins with Hannity saying: “When this raid happened, and it was a raid …” before appearing to be interrupted by DeSantis, who disputes the use of the word “raid” — “It’s not a raid. With all due respect. It was not a raid. They were serving valid process in accordance with the laws and constitution of the United States and the state of Florida. They did it with integrity. They did it with honor. And to say it’s a raid, is disinformation …” This debate did not take place. Rather, the alleged segment is a product of splicing and combining separate videos from different topics on different dates and editing them together to make them appear as part of a single conversation.

To watch the faked video, please click on the image below:

DeSantis gets $150K one-day haul from State Farm agents” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — DeSantis got a huge wave of campaign cash last week from insurance agencies and entities aligned with State Farm; hundreds of contributions that come as insurance remains one of Florida’s seemingly unsolvable policy quagmires. On Aug. 1 alone, DeSantis’ political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, brought in nearly 2,000 separate checks from insurance agents or their firms, a huge single-day amount from any one industry. The total haul was nearly $155,000, a sizable chunk of the nearly $700,000 DeSantis has received from the industry throughout the 2022 midterms. It was part of an effort coordinated by State Farm to bundle checks from their agents to DeSantis’ committee.

—“Police chiefs back Ashley Moody’s re-election as Florida Attorney General” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—”Black legislators back Aramis Ayala for Attorney General” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

GOP slashes ads in key Senate battlegrounds” via Natalie Allison of POLITICO — As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan. The cuts, totaling roughly $13.5 million since Aug. 1. Republican nominees in critical states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, places the GOP must defend this fall, have failed to raise enough money to get on air themselves, requiring the NRSC to make cuts elsewhere to accommodate.

— 2022: CONG —

Val Demings spends another $101K on TV — Democratic U.S. Rep. Demings has made a new $101,260 broadcast buy through her U.S. Senate campaign. According to AdImpact, the new flight will air ads today through Monday and it directs $89,440 to the Tampa media market and $11,820 to the Orlando media market. Demings has now spent $12 million on ads this cycle compared to about $5 million in spending by Republican Rubio and the various political committees backing his re-election bid.

Video shows Demings’ security pushing man to ground outside event” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics Brevard County law enforcement are investigating whether Demings’ security wrongly pushed a man to the ground. Video obtained by Florida Politics shows two individuals pushing the man on Aug. 6 at a meet-and-greet event in Mims. Demings met with supporters at Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park, security blocked the individual from entering. Based on the dialogue captured on video, the individual appeared to be a video tracker who regularly follows the campaign. One clip shows two security guards, one of whom shouts, “don’t do it,” before the man is pushed down to the ground on the street. Another security staffer says: “You can’t get up. Stay down.” “What are you doing?” the man pushed to the ground asks. Clearly surprised, he uses an expletive as he again questions why guards are taking such action.

To watch a video of the incident, please click on the image below:

Harvard disavows survey released by CD 7 Republican Al Santos” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Harvard Business School disavowed and asked for a retraction of a survey that Republican congressional candidate Santos released purportedly showing him leading in Florida’s 7th Congressional District Republican Primary. Santos’ campaign put out a news release Monday morning entitled “Al Santos led the field in a new Harvard Business School Survey Model & Regressive Analysis on Florida Congressional District 7.” Attached was what appeared to be a poll summary, showing Santos on top, followed by Sabatini, Cory Mills and Brady Duke. The document included a couple of cursory sentences about survey dates, sample size and margin of error. But there was no letterhead on the document.

Marjorie Taylor Greene to campaign for Anthony Sabatini, Anna Paulina Luna” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Greene may not have any committee assignments, but she’s become a coveted campaign trail presence for congressional hopefuls. She will campaign in the coming days for Sabatini and Luna, their respective campaigns announced. Sabatini, a state lawmaker running in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, announced Greene will speak in support of his candidacy at an America First Rally in Volusia County. Details are still pending. “I want to pack our venue with America First patriots who want to DESTROY the deep state this November,” Sabatini said in a mailer announcing the rally.

‘You want to go to Congress and do what, steal?’ Accusations fly in Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Dale Holness rematch” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Voters last year picked Cherfilus-McCormick over Holness — by just five votes — to become South Florida’s newest member of Congress. Ten months later, they’re deciding all over again. Now, they’re engaged in a bare-knuckled rematch in the Aug. 23 Democratic Primary in the Broward-Palm Beach area 20th Congressional District. A third Democrat, Anika Omphroy, is also running. But it’s the showdown between the Congresswoman and Holness, a former Broward County Commissioner, that’s commanding all the attention. The campaign is blistering hot. Cherfilus-McCormick and Holness have been trading accusations in joint appearances, in advertising — and in a court case.

Committee spends another $30K on pro-Aaron Bean ads — A political committee called Keep Florida Red has booked a new cable flight supporting Bean in the Republican Primary for Florida’s 4th Congressional District. The $29,988 buy will run today through Monday and will place ads on Fox News, Hallmark, HGTV, History and Investigation Discovery. Bean is seen as the leading Republican in a three-person field seeking the GOP nomination for CD 4. The district is expected to perform Republican in November.

—”Bean outraising, outspending opponents in CD 4 GOP Primary” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics

Committee spends $87K bashing Sabatini — Political committee American Liberty Action PAC has spent $87,001 on a cable flight in the Republican Primary for Florida’s 7th Congressional District. The ads will run today through Monday in the Orlando market on channels including ESPN, Fox Business, Fox News and HGTV, among others. According to independent expenditure disclosures, the ads are being run to oppose Sabatini, one of several Republicans seeking the nomination in the Seminole- and Volusia-based district.

Maxwell Frost adds time to CD 10 flight — Democratic candidate Frost has added $2,200 to his broadcast buy in the Democratic Primary for Florida’s 10th Congressional District. The buy now totals $151,905 and covers ads running today through Monday in the Orlando media market. Frost is one of several Democrats seeking the nomination for the Central Florida seat currently held by Demings, who is running for Senate rather than re-election.

Maxwell Frost takes to the air, again.

Pro-Kevin Hayslett committee spends another $45K in CD 13 — A political committee supporting Hayslett in the Republican Primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District has booked another $45,325 in broadcast ads. According to AdImpact, the buy runs today through Primary Election Day in the Tampa media market. Stand for Florida has now spent $882,154 on ads in the CD 13 Primary. It is one of several committees pouring money into the race, with Club for Growth Action — which supports Luna — topping the list at $1.86 million spent.

Happening today — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will give a speech at a meeting of the Broward County Democratic Party, 7 p.m., The View at Colony West, 6850 N.W. 88th Ave., Tamarac.

— 2022: LEG. —

James Bush III wants ‘swift action’ against Jason Pizzo for calling him a ‘little b**ch’” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Rep. Bush is demanding “swift action” against Sen. Pizzo, a fellow elected Miami Democrat, for calling him “the Governor’s little b**ch.” Bush’s office said he will join “pastors, community leaders, and organizations” Tuesday to condemn a “derogatory statement” Pizzo made. “The community, along with Rep. Bush, are demanding swift action be taken against this blatantly disrespectful statement not only toward Rep. Bush but the woman (sic), families, children, and constituents in (House) District 109 and the entire State of Florida,” Bush’s office said. Bush’s office did not say what kind of action he and others are seeking against Pizzo.

Bad blood is brewing.

Jimmy Patronis endorses Joel Rudman for HD 3” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Patronis is throwing his support behind Dr. Rudman in the House District 3 race a week out from the Primary Election. “I have always appreciated members of the Florida House who bring subject material expertise to the legislative process,” Patronis said in a statement. “I think Dr. Rudman’s profession and knowledge will be of great benefit to bring down the cost of health care delivery in Florida.” Rudman has been a family doctor in Navarre for 17 years. In recent years he has been vocal about his opposition to mask mandates in Florida schools.

For a redrawn St. Petersburg, East Hillsborough House seat, a Democratic melee” via Colleen Wright of the Tampa Bay Times — Two veteran Democrats who have occupied the same House seat are facing off in the August Primary for Florida’s House District 62, while a newcomer hoping for his first political win hopes the newly drawn district works in his favor. Michele Rayner, a St. Petersburg Democrat, is now seeking a second term in the Legislature. After two years of serving District 70, the civil rights lawyer initially filed to run for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. But Rayner in May pulled out of that race citing a redrawn district that split St. Petersburg and is now running for the newly redrawn House District 62. Now, Rayner, 40, faces her predecessor in the Aug. 23 Primary.

—“Florida Education Association gives Michele Rayner $10K boost ahead of HD 62 Primary” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Tweet, tweet:

Ford O’Connell continues to outspend Tiffany Esposito, but his self-funding is running dry” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — O’Connell has spent nearly $200,000 running for a House seat. That’s almost $60,000 more than Esposito. But his spending comes almost entirely out of pocket, while donor support fuels her run. The House District 77 race pits O’Connell, a Fox Business personality, against Esposito, a local chamber of commerce leader. Through Aug. 5, Esposito raised $189,900 for her run, including $7,850 on or after July 30. In that reporting period, she spent $21,395.

— 2022: D-BALLOT —

‘Bundle of lies’: Duval School Board hopeful April Carney decries video linking her to Jan. 6 riot” via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union — The partisan edge to the Duval County School Board’s nonpartisan District 2 race has sharpened with Democrats circulating a video linking candidate Carney to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. “Rumors have been flying” about Carney’s presence at the Capitol, the Duval County Democratic Party’s Twitter account said last week while rolling out an online video that calls Carney dangerous. “Now we possibly have proof from April herself!” The 54-second video spends 13 seconds displaying a Facebook post that refutes claims that leftist Antifa activists stormed the Capitol followed by a reply bearing Carney’s name and photo answering “WRONG. I was there.”

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

Witness comes forward in Wayne Ivey election controversy as candidates call for investigation” via Eric Rogers of Florida Today — A witness has come forward to back up claims from one of two Brevard County candidates who said Sheriff Ivey tried to use offers of political jobs worth tens of thousands of dollars a year to get them to drop out of the election. The account from West Melbourne City Council member John Dittmore — a cousin and campaign adviser to District 2 School Board candidate Shawn Overdorf — adds additional details to the allegations leveled last month by Overdorf and District 2 County Commission candidate Chris Hattaway. The corroborating testimony comes as Overdorf and Hattaway are now calling for an investigation by state and federal authorities into their claims of electoral interference.

Former Mayor, Commissioner and lobbyist vie to be Key Biscayne’s next Mayor” via Tess Riski of the Miami Herald — Three longtime Key Biscayne residents are vying to be the village’s next Mayor, but first they need to make it to the November ballot. “It’s the first true battle we’ve had for how we’re going to operate as a village,” Mayor Mike Davey said. He was elected Mayor in 2018 and will reach the two-term limit. The four-mile-long barrier island, which is home to fewer than 15,000 residents, faces three pressing issues heading into this election cycle: the threat of rising sea levels; the fate of the Rickenbacker Causeway, which is the only road connecting Key Biscayne to the mainland; and the frayed relationships with the county and the city of Miami with the proposal to set up a temporary homeless camp on neighboring Virginia Key causing the most recent rift.


U.S. high-earning households flocking to Florida” via Mike Winters of CNBC — Looking at migration patterns between 2019 and 2020, personal finance website SmartAsset ranked all 50 states plus the District of Columbia based on the net migration of households earning $200,000 or more. Of the 10 states with the largest influx of high-earning households, nine are located in the Sun Belt, including the six highest-ranked states, starting with Florida. For this analysis, SmartAsset defines the Sun Belt as the general geographic region stretching across the Southeast and Southwest. Florida was by far the most popular destination, as the inflow of high earners was nearly four times that of Texas, the next highest-ranked state. Four of the top 10 states — Florida, Texas, Tennessee and Nevada — don’t have taxes at the state level.

>>>Gov. DeSantis will hold a press conference at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey. Education Commissioner Manny Diaz will also be there. 8:30 a.m.

DeSantis’ fellow GOP Governor slams suspension of State Attorney — Even one of DeSantis’ fellow Republican Governors is lambasting his recent move to suspend a twice-elected State Attorney Andrew Warren in an attempt to ensure his dangerous abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest is aggressively enforced. In the leaked audio, Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan can be heard addressing the Northside Conservative Club in Iowa, saying, “It’s a slippery slope on the decision of one elected official having the power to fire another elected official.”

To listen, please click on the image below:

Chief communications officer for Hillsborough County state attorney terminated from her job” via Justin Schecker of WFLA — There is more fallout from DeSantis’ decision to remove Warren from his job as the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County. The Chief Communications Officer who started her job in May claims she has been unlawfully terminated. Melanie Snow-Waxler has retained labor and employment attorney Ryan Barack. “This illegal firing is part of a troubling pattern of retaliation,” Barack said in a news release Monday.

Planned Parenthood wants Supreme Court to review appellate court decision not to enjoin abortion law’” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Planned Parenthood is gearing up to ask the state Supreme Court to weigh in on whether a Tallahassee appellate court should have blocked Florida’s new abortion law from taking effect. That law bans women and girls from getting abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. The 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee notified the Supreme Court on Aug. 15 that Planned Parenthood Southwest and Central Florida had filed a notice notifying it of its plans to ask the state’s high court to invoke its discretionary jurisdiction and review the July 21 appellate court ruling.

Health officials will follow new dosing strategy to stretch monkeypox vaccine for second shots” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Health officials said second shots of the monkeypox vaccine temporarily halted last week will now be rescheduled. With the monkeypox vaccine still in short supply, the Joe Biden administration is changing how the vaccine is administered to stretch the number of doses that can be given with one vial. Florida will follow the new dosing strategy. The Jynneos vaccine now will be given between layers of skin, what’s known as an intradermal injection, rather than into the muscle as had initially been done.

Housing Director: ‘Almost impossible’ to find affordable housing” via Mahsa Saeidi of WFLA — The housing crisis is so dire, some families say they are forced to sleep in cars and motels as they search for affordable units. “It is almost impossible for families to find affordable housing,” said Elisa Galvan. Currently, Elisa is the Housing Choice Voucher Director at the Pinellas County Housing Authority. For a quarter century, Elisa has helped families find a home. Listings are down because some landlords have dropped out of Section 8. The reason? HUD’s vouchers have not kept up with rent hikes in the Tampa Bay area.

Loved ones of prisoners banned from wearing #visitsmatter T-shirts” via Amanda Rabines of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — When Ann Beal Salamone went to visit her son in prison last week she wore a white T-shirt with “MY VISITS Matter” written in the center of a big red heart. As positive of an experience it was for Salamone, it won’t happen again under a new directive imposed by the Florida Department of Corrections. An Aug. 5 email from FDC’s assistant deputy secretary of institutions, Hope Gartman, alerted employees that messages like the one on Salamone’s T-shirt are “a potential threat to security.” The email singles out T-shirts created by Florida Cares, a nonprofit organization that advocates for people in prison and their loved ones.

Florida Cares created T-shirts in response to modifications to the visiting procedures that cut visitation hours. Image via Florida Cares.

Plunging prices at the pump: Gas falls another 14 cents in Florida; average gallon at $3.65” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Florida’s gas prices continued a multiweek decline in which they have fallen $1.24 per gallon since June. The average price for a gallon of gas in Florida Monday landed at $3.65, the lowest since March, according to AAA and the auto club group’s weekly briefing. AAA officials are predicting prices at the pump to continue their decline throughout the week, despite some gains in domestic oil markets. U.S. oil prices climbed by 3% last week, closing Friday at $92.09 a barrel. “The state average should continue moving lower, likely slipping into the $3.50s by the end of the week,” said AAA representative Mark Jenkins.


Between politics and poor pay, teachers are more strained than ever — and the numbers show it” via Sommer Brugal and Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — The debate about how to approach inevitable classroom discussions about topics that have been deemed inappropriate by some parents and politicians underscores the heightened awareness teachers have ahead of a new school year — one that will see a slew of new state laws that limit what they can teach and give parents an elevated role in decision-making. That is just one element that’s placed a strain on an already thin workforce across the state. In recent years, teachers have endured stagnant wages, skyrocketing living expenses in South Florida and a pandemic that placed them and their methods under a microscope. The result, teacher Laura Leigh Rampey said, is an atmosphere where teachers, especially young educators, are afraid to take risks.

Students return to schools reshaped by DeSantis’ anti-‘woke’ education agenda” via Steve Contorno of CNN — But as instruction began in most of Florida this past week, there are changes that make teachers anxious about the new school year. Contentious laws went into effect during the summer recess that restrict how schools teach topics linked to race and sexual orientation. New avenues were created for parents to sue teachers and challenge instructional materials. Math textbooks have been culled for traces of critical race theory. Schools for the first time will have to observe “Victims of Communism Day,” during which they will teach high schoolers anti-Communist lessons.

So-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law confuses some schools” via The Associated Press — Some Florida schools have moved library books and debated changing textbooks in response to a law critics call “Don’t Say Gay” and some teachers have worried that family pictures on their desks could get them in trouble. As students return from summer break, educators are cautiously adjusting and waiting to see how the new law governing lessons on gender and sexual orientation will be interpreted and enforced. The new law, championed by DeSantis, bans lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade as well as material that is not deemed age appropriate.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ is just the beginning of confusion among educators.

115 books in Collier Schools on LGBTQ+, race and sex get advisory label” via Nikki Ross of the Naples Daily News — There are 115 books in the Collier County School District that now bear advisory notices, both online and on physical copies of the books, after parents and community members challenged the content. The advisories were placed on the books in February and March in accordance with the state’s Parents’ Bill of Rights Law which gives parents rights relating to their minor child’s education, upbringing and health care. The books with advisory labels include those with LGBTQ+ characters, transgender characters, characters of color, sexual content and some are picture books for young children. The advisory does not prevent students from checking out the books but is visible to parents who look at the books their students check out.

Equality Florida slams Duval Schools for removing ‘Safe Space’ rainbow stickers amid ‘rebrand’” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — Some Duval Schools teachers say they spent their planning week peeling rainbow Safe Space stickers and posters that indicate LGBTQ allyship off their classroom windows, walls and doors ahead of students’ arrival Monday morning for their first day. Equality Florida, a statewide civil rights organization focused on the LGBTQ community, published a statement criticizing Duval County Public Schools officials for putting out guidance to principals that advised the removal of the rainbow signage.

Sarasota Schools freezes library book donations, purchases” via Steven Walker of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The Sarasota County School District has halted all donations and purchases of library book material until at least January 2023, according to guidance sent to all schools. The guidance was sent to school principals and shared with teachers just days before the start of classes on Wednesday. The change comes as HB 1467 took effect July 1, requiring all reading material in schools to be selected by an employee with a valid education media specialist certificate. HB 1467 was an education bill passed by the Legislature and signed by DeSantis. The law set term limits for School Board members, revised selection requirements for school materials and required meetings related to instructional material to be public.


Joe Biden to rally Democrats in Maryland next week” via Erin Cox of The Washington Post — Biden will speak at a Democratic National Committee event in Maryland next week, rallying voters ahead of November’s midterm elections. It will be Biden’s first political rally in months and will serve as the kickoff to his fall midterm push. DNC officials offered scant details of Biden’s Aug. 25 visit to the D.C. suburbs, so it was unclear whether the President would address contests nationwide or in Maryland. Democrats at the top of the ticket in Maryland are largely facing Trump-aligned opponents who face an uphill battle in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.

Joe Biden heads to Maryland to rally the troops.

—“Biden got the vibe shift he needed. Now he’s looking to make it count.” via Edward-Isaac Dovere of CNN

—“The same Biden suddenly looks different” via John Harwood of CNN

The untold history of the Biden family” via Adam Entous of The New Yorker — One of Biden’s skills as a politician is his ability to connect with working-class and middle-class Americans. In speeches, he often emphasizes his modest upbringing. And yet the anecdotes I heard about Biden’s father, Joseph Robinette Biden Sr., told a different story. He was working at a car dealership when his son was elected to the Senate, in 1972, but according to Jimmy Biden, one of the President’s younger brothers, his father’s idea of casual attire was a sport coat and an ascot. At one point, Biden Sr. had a lot of money, but he lost it all, for reasons that went mostly unexplained. “I never asked him much about his life, and he didn’t offer,” Biden wrote in his memoir.

Wall Street deal making faces greater scrutiny, delays under FTC’s Lina Khan” via Dave Michaels and Ryan Tracy of The Wall Street Journal — The Biden administration’s antitrust enforcers are throwing sand in the gears of Wall Street’s deal machine. Under Chair Khan, the Federal Trade Commission is questioning mergers that likely would have gone unchallenged in years past, a change Khan says is needed to prevent companies from building up too much power and stifling competition. “In all too many areas of our economy, including agriculture, airlines, health care, we’ve seen significant consolidation and reduction of competition,” Khan said. “Mergers have played a role in that.”

DNC ad slamming Rick Scott targets seniors on Social Security” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Social Security just turned 87. Now, Democrats are telling voters U.S. Sen. Scott wants it dead. A digital ad targets Florida seniors regarding a controversial Midterm agenda released in February by Scott, Chair of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. That plan originally called for all Americans to pay some income tax and for programs like Social Security to potentially sunset. Scott has since pulled those points from his plan. The ad will hit Sunshine State voters becoming engaged in politics; the ads started running just over a week ahead of statewide Primaries.


DOJ argues against release of probable cause affidavit behind FBI Donald Trump search” via Jane Musgrave of the Palm Beach Post — The U.S. Justice Department rejected calls to release a document that details what evidence it had when it made the request to search Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s home and private club in Palm Beach. In a 13-page response to a request made by dozens of news organizations, including The Palm Beach Post, federal prosecutors said releasing the probable cause affidavit would cause “irreparable harm” to the ongoing investigation. “If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a road map to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” federal prosecutors wrote.

Probable cause? We may never know. Image via AP.

Trump’s new argument on the Mar-a-Lago files is weak and insufficient” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — It’s not surprising that Trump’s latest effort to deflect criticism over his possession of White House documents at Mar-a-Lago was routed through writer John Solomon. During an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, Solomon read a statement that Trump’s team had sent him. “He had a standing order … that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them,” Solomon read. Solomon later wrote an article about this claim. In that article, he revealed one of the two flaws with this argument: there’s no evidence it’s true. The other flaw is that this assertion about a standing order is largely irrelevant to the legal question at hand.

—“Trump: ‘Temperature has to be brought down’ after Mar-a-Lago search” via Erin Doherty of Axios

Some Republicans make a more restrained case for defending Trump” via Luke Broadwater of The New York Times — On Sunday, more moderate voices in the party chastised their colleagues for broadsides against law enforcement, making a more restrained case for defending Trump while also carrying out oversight of the Justice Department. The calls for a more cautious tone came as threats emerged against law enforcement. Republicans have struggled to coalesce around a unified strategy to respond to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.

Trump-allied lawyers pursued voting machine data in multiple states, records reveal” via Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Aaron C. Davis and Amy Gardner of The Washington Post — A team of computer experts directed by lawyers allied with Trump copied sensitive data from election systems in Georgia as part of a secretive, multistate effort to access voting equipment that was broader, more organized and more successful than previously reported. The documents provide the first confirmation that data from Georgia’s election system was copied. Indications of a breach there were first raised by plaintiffs in the case in February, and state officials have said they are investigating.

Rudy Giuliani is target in Georgia criminal probe of possible interference in 2020 election, lawyer says” via Eugene Scott and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post — Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have told Giuliani’s lawyers that he is a target of their ongoing criminal probe into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, a Giuliani lawyer said. Attorney Robert Costello said that lawyers for the former New York Mayor were told by the office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis that Giuliani is a target of the ongoing probe. Giuliani has served as a lawyer for Trump.

—“Judge: Lindsey Graham must testify before Fulton grand jury” via Tamar Hallerman of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trump executive nears plea deal with Manhattan prosecutors” via Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum and Jonah E. Bromwich of The New York Times — A senior executive at Trump’s family business who was charged with participating in a years-long tax scheme is nearing a deal with Manhattan prosecutors but will not cooperate with a broader investigation into Trump. If it becomes final, a plea deal for the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, would bring prosecutors no closer to indicting the former President but would nonetheless brand one of his most trusted lieutenants a felon.

Allen Weisselberg is ready to make a deal.

MAGA fanatics have a new enemy: ‘TINOs’ — Trump In Name Only” via Kara Voght of Rolling Stone — In a banquet hall in suburban Detroit, Mark Forton railed against a gathering of “RINOs” 12 miles south of where he stood. The former chair of the Macomb County Republicans, ousted in a raucous coup back in April, asserted his rightful control of the party to the 300 loyalists, many clad in Make America Great Again apparel. His county convention, Forton said, was the “real” county party meeting to select delegates to send to the state convention at the end of the month. Forton’s assertions meant little to the Michigan Republican Party, which vowed to only recognize the dueling convention taking place elsewhere in the county, which has for decades been a national bellwether examined as an indicator of white middle America.

— JAN. 6 —

Some Capitol rioters try to profit from their Jan. 6 crimes” via Michael Kunzelman of The Associated Press — Facing prison time and dire personal consequences for storming the U.S. Capitol, some Jan. 6 defendants are trying to profit from their participation in the deadly riot, using it as a platform to drum up cash, promote business endeavors and boost social media profiles. A Nevada man jailed on riot charges asked his mother to contact publishers for a book he was writing about “the Capitol incident.” A rioter from Washington state helped his father hawk clothes and other merchandise bearing slogans such as “Our House” and images of the Capitol building. A Virginia man released a rap album with riot-themed songs and a cover photograph of him sitting on a police vehicle outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.


School shooter’s brain exams to be subject of court hearing” via Terry Spencer of The Associated Press — A defense mental health expert in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz can pinpoint when he realized the 23-year-old mass murderer still has “irrational thoughts” — the two were making small talk when Cruz began describing plans for an eventual life outside prison. Wesley Center, a Texas counselor, said that happened last year at the Broward County jail as he fitted Cruz’s scalp with probes for a scan to map his brain. The defense at hearings this week will try to convince Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that Center and other experts should be allowed to testify at Cruz’s ongoing trial about what their tests showed, something the prosecution wants to be barred.

Nikolas Cruz’s mental health is on trial, as well.

‘No vote, no voice’: Faith-based group encourages congregants to polls in Boynton Beach” via Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post — Around two dozen marchers, followed by a caravan of vehicles escorted by city police, walked up scorching North Seacrest Boulevard on Sunday afternoon to the polling station at Ezell Hester Community Center chanting a message for those thinking of sitting out election season: “No vote, no voice.” The event, best known as “Souls to the Polls” and organized by the faith-based organization Faith in Florida, was held to highlight the Aug. 23 Primary elections. Maria Cole lives in Juno Beach, but the upcoming election is important enough that she was in Boynton Beach on Sunday, braving the feels-like temperature of around 100 degrees.

Miami and Freedom Park developers hammer out deal’s benefits” via John Charles Robbins of Miami Today — Miami Freedom Park is one step closer to becoming a reality. At its last meeting, the Miami City Commission approved on first reading two planning and zoning requests related to Miami Freedom Park, the planned home for David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF soccer team. The vote was 4 to 1, with Commissioner Manolo Reyes casting the lone no vote. In April, he also voted no to a new lease of the city-owned property next to Miami International Airport to Miami Freedom Park LLC.

Feds award $25M safety grant for Brightline corridor” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In a major initiative to cut down on deaths and injuries along Brightline’s rail corridor, the U.S. Government has allocated $25 million for safety improvements between Miami-Dade and Brevard counties, railroad and government officials announced Monday. The money is helping to cover $45 million in measures that will include improvements at 328 roadway-railroad grade crossings and 33 miles of pedestrian protection features in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Brevard counties along the Florida East Coast Railway line, which is used by Brightline. Brightline currently serves the downtowns of Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami with a daily schedule that sees trains potentially reaching speeds of 79 mph.

College football national title game set to return to South Florida in 2026” via Francisco Rosa of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — For the second time in five years, South Florida is set to be the home of the college football national championship game. The College Football Playoff Management Committee announced Monday that it selected Hard Rock Stadium as the location for the 2026 title game. Hard Rock Stadium recently served as the host for the 2021 championship between Alabama and Ohio State. The game was far from its usual spectacle, however, as COVID-19 limited stadium attendance and required attendees to wear a mask. The committee is planning to pull out all the stops for the 2026 edition. “We are delighted to be returning to Miami,” executive director of the CFP, Bill Hancock, said in a statement.


Hillsborough’s new State Attorney wants to bring back Tampa’s racist ‘Biking While Black’ policy, leaders say” via Justin Garcia of Creative Loafing — Local Black leaders are speaking out after the newly-appointed Hillsborough State Attorney repealed a policy that was meant to help protect Black bicyclists and pedestrians from being targeted for certain charges. Yesterday, Hillsborough State Attorney for District 13 Susan Lopez reversed a policy that was intended to help prevent the disproportionate arrest of Black people in Tampa. The memo read, “effective immediately, any policy my predecessor put in place that called for presumptive non-enforcement of the laws of Florida is immediately rescinded. This includes the bike stop and pedestrian stop policy.”

Susan Lopez wants to reopen a dark chapter of policing in Tampa.

Police to probe Randy Fine’s report of transgender sex assault in Melbourne school” via Freida Fisaro of the Orlando Sentinel — Melbourne police will investigate a lawmaker’s allegation that a transgender student might have sexually assaulted a female student in a middle school bathroom over the summer, a rumored attack that Brevard County school district officials say did not happen. After reading Republican state Rep. Fine’s social media posts about the alleged assault on Thursday, police assigned two detectives to investigate the allegations, though they said they had received no previous word of an attack.

Son of Orange County sheriff arrested on DUI charge” via Amanda Rabines of the Orlando Sentinel — Chase Andrew Mina, son of Orange County Sheriff John Mina, was arrested over the weekend for allegedly driving under the influence, according to an arrest affidavit. Winter Garden police officer Sean Lefere found Chase Mina slumped over the steering wheel of a pickup truck at 11:39 p.m. Sunday with two open beers in the vehicle’s front cup holders, the report said. Mina admitted he had been drinking, and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot. He mumbled his words in a low, raspy voice, and his breath smelled of alcohol, the report added. According to the arrest affidavit, he refused to participate in field sobriety tests and refused to take a Breathalyzer test after initially agreeing to do so.

Orlando’s hottest of hot days will triple by 2052, study finds” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — Think of the doggiest days of summer, those most daunting for venturing beyond air conditioning, and then imagine what global warming will bring in three decades. Seven times a year now, on average, the heat index in Orlando hits nearly 108 degrees. Thirty years from now, it’s expected to feel that hot for 22 days a year. That’s the prediction from the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group that on Monday released its 30-year temperature outlook. The group focuses on evaluating fire, flood, heat, and other risks from climate change. “The United States faces a challenging problem of adapting to the extreme heat that is getting worse over time,” the foundation says in its report.

Happening today — Rep. Daisy Morales joins Farm Share and other organizations for a free food distribution event, 10 a.m., Meadow Woods Recreation Center, 1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle.


Michael Flynn tried to overturn an election. Now he’s trying to oust Sarasota’s GOP leader” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Gen. Flynn led efforts to overturn Biden’s victory. Now he’s trying to overthrow the GOP leadership in his home county, adding to the conservative push during the Trump years to move the party to the right. Trump’s first national security adviser, Flynn is one of the most prominent national figures in the GOP and continues to travel the country promoting conservative causes. He also has taken a strong interest in local politics. After Trump left office, Flynn relocated from Rhode Island to Florida and launched a nonprofit aimed at encouraging people to get involved at the grassroots level. Flynn’s motto: “Local Action = National Impact.”

From sedition to local GOP politics? Image via AP.

Have you received a call claiming missed jury duty? Here’s what to do.” via Tomas Rodriguez of the Naples Daily News — A string of scam phone calls targeting Florida residents for missing jury duty and seeking money for “fines” have raised red flags and sparked warnings from officials. Scammers request that residents pay a fine by purchasing a gift card to county clerks’ offices. The first related scam reports were recorded in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Collier County clerk’s office is among the local agencies alerting residents to be wary of the requests.


ACLU of Florida sues Leon County Clerk for violating Eighth Amendment” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is filing a lawsuit against Leon County Circuit Court Clerk Gwendolyn Marshall on behalf of the Tallahassee Bail Fund for excessive bail, excessive fines and due process. The lawsuit challenges a statute that “improperly confiscates charitable organizations’ money to punish them for helping accused persons access their freedom.” The 15-page complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee. The ACLU of Florida says Marshall’s enforcement of Florida Statute 903.286 wrongfully takes away charitable organizations’ money to “punish them for helping accused persons access their freedom.”

Gwendolyn Marshall faces the business end of a lawsuit.

Ben Folds joins Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra to headline 2023 Word of South” via the Tallahassee Democrat — Leon County Government, in partnership with Word of South, announces Folds will perform with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra at Cascades Park Capital City Amphitheater next spring. As part of the County Concert Series, Folds will headline the annual literature and music festival, on Friday, April 21, 2023. Tickets go on sale at noon Friday, Aug. 19, 2022. Widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of our generation, Folds created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums, multiple solo albums and numerous collaborative records.


Don’t take the Trump bait” via Andrew Sullivan of The Weekly Dish — I have no idea why the former President seems to have insisted on keeping boxes of highly classified documents he received in office, and then refused to give them all back. I don’t know why he resisted a subpoena on what seems like a routine request. It looks fishy — but with Trump, it always looks fishy. He acts like a criminal even when he isn’t committing a crime. He could be guilty, but he could also be innocent; or guilty of something not-so-bad.

Equally, I have no idea why the FBI really had no option but to do this — given its huge political risks. And it seems perfectly possible to me that the U.S. government’s fanatical protection of its own secrets has led to another stupid overreach by clueless prosecutors.

There is, of course, the rule of law; but there is also prosecutorial discretion. To go after a former President in such flamboyant fashion in a deeply polarized polity is an inherently political decision — and requires, above all else, prudence. One thing we’ve learned from the Establishment resistance to Trump is that it has more often than not both empowered him and weakened liberal democratic legitimacy. It almost never works with a man as slippery and shameless as Trump.

But it does offer a snapshot of where the culture of this democracy is, and it isn’t pretty. This is so much melodrama and so little politics. It’s 2016 — 2020 in an infinitely recurring loop. And the way out of this is not deeper into it.


That red wave is looking more like a ripple. Here’s why.” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — Suddenly, the 2022 midterms are looking much better for Democrats, and there’s a simple explanation: Trump is back on the ballot, metaphorically speaking. In the last few days, a historical anomaly has emerged, a glitch in the electoral matrix: For the first time in the modern era, momentum has shifted toward an incumbent President’s party at this point in a midterm election year. Democrats just gained a small (0.5 percentage points) advantage over Republicans in what’s known as the “generic ballot,” when voters are asked which party’s candidate they will support for Congress.

Leaving with nuclear secrets would be Trump’s dumbest, scariest stunt yet” via Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post — A defeated former President who was at the center of a failed coup allegedly walks out the door with nuclear secrets, refuses to give them back and then leaves a creepy, semi-threatening message for the attorney general, that’s apparently where we are. Trump and his apologists are as dangerous to our national security as spies and traitors who would spirit away our most closely held secrets. The Espionage Act seems tailor-made for this sort of case. Trump will have a tough time proving he didn’t know how highly classified the material was.

Trump’s antics made us so numb, we learned to ignore almost anything. But not this time” via the Miami Herald editorial board — This is different. We’ve become so numb, so accustomed to the sliding scale of right and wrong practiced by Trump that it can be hard to see where the line is anymore. But the news coming out of Mar-a-Lago after the FBI search is appalling. Our ex-President, according to the documents released Friday, is being investigated for potentially violating the Espionage Act. And obstruction of justice. And removing government records. There are reports these may be documents relating to nuclear weapons. That’s next-level stuff, even for Trump.

Fight back! Don’t allow Proud Boys sympathizers to hide in plain sight” via David Magnusson of the Miami Herald — We are at a crossroads. We are at a time where silence equals tacit complicity. Democracy requires that we show up. We cannot mail it in. When those with ties to the Proud Boys are embedded in a local political party’s executive board, with no objection or consternation from others on that board or, perhaps more damning, from elected officials of the same party, it must be called out. At least five members of the Republican Party’s local governing body, the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee, have ties to the Proud Boys.

Black voters remember: Crist showed up for us” via Sean Shaw, Shevrin Jones, Arthenia Joyner and Bobby Powell in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — When Black Floridians need a helping hand, or a seat at the table or an equal opportunity to build successful careers, Crist has been there. It did not matter if he was a Republican or Democrat. It did not matter if he was the Education Commissioner or the Attorney General, the Governor or a U.S. House member. He has a record of listening to our concerns, fulfilling his promises and supporting our mutual goals to build better lives for all Floridians. Let’s look at the record. As Governor in 2009, Crist appointed a second Black Justice to the Florida Supreme Court, James Perry.

UF’s lingering, self-inflicted damage” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — The University of Florida begins a new school year this month with some unfinished business. A new survey suggests that many faculty members haven’t moved on from the university’s mistake in self-censoring its own campus last year. The findings are a reminder that reputations are critical to institutions of higher learning — for their ability to attract talent, raise funds and improve their state and communities. The 32-question survey was sent to 2,000 faculty and yielded 623 responses, and overall, it painted a sobering picture of faculty morale. Many members said they would leave UF if they could, and a majority expressed little confidence in the university’s leadership. Nearly half had concerns about academic freedom.


— ALOE —

Meet the teenager who helped push toward cleaner energy” via Amy Green of NPR — For most of his 15 years, Levi Draheim led a beachy life on a barrier island on Florida’s east coast, swimming, surfing and sailing in the near shore waves. He dreamed of someday becoming a marine biologist. But Levi’s world is changing. “It’s kind of disappointing not being able to live on the barrier island anymore, because there’s so much fun stuff that I could do. Most of my friends, they live on the barrier island,” says Levi, now in Melbourne. “It’s a mix of disappointment and also frustration, frustration with leaders.”

Levi Draheim is a fresh face in the fight against climate change. Image via Our Children’s Trust.

Miami only Florida team in preseason AP poll with Gators, UCF earning votes” via Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel — Miami continues to ride a wave of optimism heading into the 2022 college football season, with the Hurricanes ranked No. 16 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday. It’s the third time in the past four years that UM started a season ranked in the preseason AP poll, but the first under new coach Mario Cristobal. UM was ranked No. 17 in last week’s preseason coaches’ poll, receiving 433 points. Other schools from the Sunshine State didn’t fare as well, with Florida, Florida State and UCF not cracking the top 25. UCF, which begins Year 2 under coach Gus Malzahn by hosting South Carolina State on Sept. 1, received 27 votes.

Farewell, Manhattan. Artisans who refurbish high-end handbags move to South Florida” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The New York Times headline sounded like a plaintive plea: “Who will repair their Birkins now?” The answer: It’s still Artbag, the venerable Manhattan re-furbisher of women’s high fashion handbags since the early 1930s. But as of last week, the father-son team of Donald and Chris Moore are now plying their highly skilled trade in Coral Springs. The Moores are small-business owners who are lifelong craftsmen with a customer list that spans generations of well-to-do women.

These two stunning lizards are gaining ground in South Florida: One runs on water, the other is a flamboyant redhead” via Bill Kearney of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — You might have noticed a few new reptiles on the block. One’s a flamboyant redhead who very well may have hitchhiked its way into town, the other can walk on water. And though they’re not total newcomers, they’re on the rise in South Florida and popping their scaly heads up in areas where they’ve never been seen before.\ As evidenced by Burmese pythons and ubiquitous iguanas, there’s a motley roster of nonnative reptile species surviving in Florida, three times the amount of indigenous species, but there are two in particular that are on the rise.

Heads up, hunters: Alligator hunting season kicks off” via Courtney Holland of WTSP — For everyone in the Sunshine State ready to get their hooks and lines out to hunt some alligators, it’s finally time. Starting at midnight on Aug. 15, hunters with the proper permit can head out to their designated areas during specific time slots to go after the scaly reptiles. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Statewide Alligator Hunt is a “highly sought after limited entry hunt …[with] often more than 15,000 applicants that will apply for approximately 7,000 permits.” Only those who received an Alligator Trapping License, an area-specific harvest permit and two CITES tags allowing them to harvest two alligators are properly signed up.


Celebrating today are Matt Choy, Robert “Hawk” Hawken, journalist Michael Grunwald, our friend Ben Kirby, C.J. Johnson, and political consultant Rockie Pennington.


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.

One comment

  • Josh Ham

    August 17, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    Sabatini is just pure awful. Received payments from pedo Greenberg.

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