Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.17.22

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

Good Wednesday morning.

As any of you who read this newsletter are aware, a poll of the Democratic Primary for Governor was released yesterday that has Nikki Fried leading Charlie Crist. I, like many, believe there are flaws with the methodology of this poll. So, I would like to do more polling of this race, especially since we ask those who already cast a ballot which candidate earned their vote.

But, as you know, good polling can be expensive.

Time for one last good Primary poll.

So, we’d like to see if there is any appetite for crowdfunding one more survey from St. Pete Polls. To do so, we need to raise $2,500 to run a poll this week.

Would you consider kicking in something to pay for that poll? If so, PayPal FP at We are setting a minimum contribution to this tip jar of $10, although we hope you will consider donating north of that. If we get enough money together, we’ll do the poll; if not, we’ll refund your money.

If you do put something in the kitty, we’ll include your name (if you want) in the stories about the polls. We’ll also — and perhaps more importantly — share with you the results of the survey the night before we publish the story (so long as you agree to keep the result confidential until we publish.)

Thanks, in advance, for being part of this.


Speaking of polls …

The Republican Primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District has turned into a dead heat between Anna Paulina Luna and Kevin Hayslett, but the presence of three other candidates on the ballot could play a big role in the outcome.

According to St. Pete Polls, Luna currently leads the pack with 37% support followed by Hayslett at 33.5%. However, 38.3% of those polled have already cast a ballot and Hayslett has banked a lead on those voters, with 39.4%-37.1%.

Down to the wire — and other candidates may turn the tide either way.

Luna’s lead over Hayslett among the 61.7% of CD 13 Republicans yet to vote is a slim 3.5%, and one in five voters who are still up for grabs aren’t picking either candidate — Amanda Makki is nabbing most of those votes.

Still, 13.2% of those who haven’t voted are undecided, leaving plenty of space for one candidate or another to surge in the final stretch.

Additionally, 2.4% of those who have voted wouldn’t share their pick with the pollster, and if that segment is tilted substantially in one candidate’s favor it could prove to be the difference-maker in a race where the eventual winner is expected to trap less than 40% of the vote.

The tight race reflects the massive amount of spending by Luna, Hayslett and the various political committees that are supporting them.

Stand for Florida, a committee backing Hayslett, has spent more than $800,000 to produce and air anti-Luna ads in the past week. Club for Growth Action, which is supporting Luna, spent nearly as much on TV, radio and mail ads attacking Hayslett.

Luna is also getting back up from far-right stars such as U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, the latter of which will head to the district to stump for Luna.


👋 — Christina Pushaw’s shift to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign was a kind way of saying “bye Felicia,” Mac Stipanovich writes. If you think he’s wrong, go ahead and name one other staffer on the Governor’s re-election team. He’ll wait.


@POTUS: The Inflation Reduction Act is now law. Giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Ensuring wealthy corporations pay their fair share in taxes. And taking the biggest step forward on climate in our history.

@GovRonDeSantis: @CaseyDeSantis and I are praying for the @MiamiDadePD officer who was shot in the line of duty last night. Florida stands with our law enforcement and will support the Miami-Dade police community during this difficult time.

@MikeBloomberg: The free exchange of ideas in classrooms is critical to higher education and democratic society. A new law in Florida seeks to limit open debate — and the future of the country rests on the commitment of higher-education leaders to defend it.

@MBeltranFL: @KirbyWTweets, I enjoyed reading your in-depth analysis as always. Bottom line is @AndrewWarrenFL has a good lawyer, but even @SLKLAW isn’t good enough to beat @GovRonDeSantis in @flcourts. So, mark my words, this isn’t going to be the 2nd exception.

@JamesUthmeier: The State of Florida is where Woke goes to die.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@Malika_Andrews: The NBA announced that no games will be played on Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, and encourage players and fans to vote in the midterms.

@Fineout: Noted this trend before but @AP last wk announced a plan to dismantle regional desks as part of new unified approach that furthers AP’s retreat from covering states. Internal memo: It’s abt “telling the story of the U.S. from states as opposed to ‘for’ specific state audiences.”


FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 1; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 4; 2022 Florida Primary — 6; launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 11; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 14; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 14; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 16; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 22; 2022 Emmys — 25; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 29; final season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 29; vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 50; deadline to register for General Election — 54; 22-23 NHL season begins — 55; Everglades Foundation ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 62; Everglades Foundation ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Governor) — 64; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 69; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 69; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 70; Early voting begins for General Election — 74; 2022 General Election — 83; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 86; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 86; FITCon 2022 begins — 92; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 92; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 96; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 96; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 97; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 105; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 105; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 121; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 184; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 202; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 219; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies’ 23 conference begins — 244; 2023 Session Sine Die — 261; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 261; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 289; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 338; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 443; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 457; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 590; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 709; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 709; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 814; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 989.


Florida court blocks teen from getting abortion, must continue pregnancy” via Oriana Gonzalez of Axios — The 16-year-old teenager, who court documents say is “parentless,” had sought appellate court approval to bypass a Florida law that requires that a minor get parental consent to get an abortion.

The teen said in her petition to bypass parental consent that she was “not ready to have a baby,” she does not have a job, she is “still in school” and the father is unable to assist her. Additionally, she argued that her legal guardian “is fine” with her decision to get an abortion.

Under the law, a health provider cannot provide an abortion to a minor unless they receive written consent from a parent or a legal guardian. Exceptions exist if the health provider believes there is a “medical emergency.”

Florida’s abortion laws come to a head with a 16-year-old ‘parentless’ patient. Image via AP.

A minor can petition a “judicial waiver” to go around the parental consent requirement. A lower Florida court had ruled that the teenager, who is unidentified, was not mature enough to decide to get an abortion. The teen then filed an appeal, and the appellate court upheld the earlier decision.

“The trial court found, based on the non-adversarial presentation below, that Appellant had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy. Having reviewed the record, we affirm the trial court’s decision,” the appellate court wrote.

Nikki Fried decries ‘judicial overreach’ in abortion ruling Following the circuit court ruling, Fried issued a statement through her gubernatorial campaign calling it “judicial overreach at its very worst.” She continued: “Upholding the decision of the 1st District Court of Appeal while wholly ignoring the special circumstances of parentless teenagers is dangerous, callous, and based on flimsy legal standing. If a person under the age of 18 is considered a minor, then how can she be ‘sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy’? Florida’s parental notification laws for abortion are deeply flawed and when I’m Governor, the law will finally be on the side of women.”

Lauren Book calls abortion ruling ‘unconscionable’ — Senate Democratic Leader Book said it was “unconscionable for the State of Florida to sentence a ‘parentless’ 17-year-old girl to continue an unwanted pregnancy after she stated she was not ready to have a baby, was pursuing her education, did not have a job, and that the father was unable to assist her.” She continued: “Just months shy of her 18th birthday and from legally being able to make this decision free from radical Republican overreach, I truly cannot fathom the court’s justification for finding this brave young woman ‘not sufficiently mature’ to choose what is best for herself, her body, and her future aside from pure political will or inability to separate church and state.”

— 2022 —

Poll shows Ron DeSantis edging out Donald Trump among Florida Republicans in imaginary 2024 matchup” via Antonio Fins of The Palm Beach Post — A poll issued Tuesday morning said the two most popular Republicans in Florida, and arguably in the country, would be in a virtual dead heat if the 2024 Presidential Primary were held in the Sunshine State today. Pollsters found DeSantis edging out Trump, 47% to 45%, among registered Republican voters in Florida. The survey also said that 7% of those asked chose a different candidate.


Crist’s campaign is releasing its final round of ads ahead of the Democratic Primary for Governor.

The lineup includes two 15-second TV spots. The first highlights Crist’s support among Democratic leaders such as Rep. Anna Eskamani and House Democratic Leader Designate Fentrice Driskell.

“Charlie Crist is the only candidate for Governor who vetoed anti-abortion legislation,” Eskamani says in the ad, which also features former Planned Parenthood President Barbara Zdravecky.

The second ad, entitled “Newspapers,” highlights the endorsements Crist has received from all of Florida’s major newspapers, including the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, and Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

“Newspapers across Florida have endorsed Charlie Crist, the Democrat with the best chance of defeating DeSantis,” the narrator says. “Where DeSantis divides, Crist unites.”

The narrator closes by calling Crist “the only choice for Governor.”

Crist’s campaign said the ads will air “in key media markets across the state, marking an aggressive paid communications strategy that will carry Crist through the final days of the Democratic Primary.”

To watch the ad, please click the images below:


Crist lands support from 50 North Florida faith leadersCrist’s campaign touted a collective endorsement from several dozen leaders at churches spanning Pensacola to Jacksonville. The support was announced as part of Crist’s “Hope for Florida” statewide tour, which is crisscrossing the state in the final week ahead of the Democratic Primary between him and Fried. “I am deeply honored to have the support of these incredible faith leaders from across North Florida as we work to restore decency, kindness, and respect back to Tallahassee,” Crist said. “It’s time to bring sunshine back to the Sunshine State because for the last four years under Gov. DeSantis, it’s been dark. Together, alongside these North Florida faith leaders, we truly will build a Florida that works for all Floridians.”

Faith leaders in North Florida are flocking to Charlie Crist.

Assignment editors — Crist continues his “Hope for Florida” Tour in South Florida, joined by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Crist will end his day by joining local Black community leaders for their Strolls to the Polls early voting event in Fort Lauderdale: 12:45 p.m., small-business visit, Hollywood; 1:45 p.m., Broward early vote event with Wasserman Schultz, Pembroke Pines; 3 p.m., early voting event, Weston; 5:30 p.m., Strolls to the Polls, Fort Lauderdale. Locations upon RSVP at [email protected].

Campaigning in Florida comes down to microtargeting Latino communities” via Carmen Sesin of NBC News — Ahead of the upcoming Florida Primaries, Fried recently released Spanish-language radio ads aimed at a wide variety of Latino voters. It’s a sign of how in the competitive Sunshine State, the stakes are high when it comes to battling for Hispanic voters. The ads use the voices of Fried supporters from different countries of origin and races: Colombian, Venezuelan, Dominican, Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Afro Latino. In the ads, supporters explain why they are voting for her.

— 2022: CONG —

Matt Gaetz plays defense in Northwest Florida Primary battle as ‘MAGA’ allies join forces” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Gaetz finds himself playing defense in his GOP Primary and has brought in “MAGA” allies in Congress to campaign in Northwest Florida. Gaetz brought Congressman Jim Jordon to Pensacola, which drew a packed crowd to the Sanders Beach Community Center. On Monday, Gaetz made three stops in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties with Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. Mark Lombardo, a former FedEx executive and Marine Corps veteran running against Gaetz, has pledged to spend $1 million of his own money to take on the incumbent. Gaetz also has another Primary challenger in Greg Merk, but Lombardo appears to be the bigger threat with more than $740,000 of funding for his campaign.

Lombardo ad suggests Gaetz is an ‘informant’ — In a new ad, Republican challenger Lombardo suggests that U.S. Rep. Gaetz is the informant who led the FBI to raid President Trump’s home. “Gaetz has a history of putting himself first and he reportedly has good reason to turn on President Trump in order to keep himself out of jail,” Lombardo said. “Remember, Gaetz asked Trump for a wide-ranging pardon. Trump said ‘no.’ Could Gaetz be out for revenge? Only Matt Gaetz and the FBI knows the truth.” The ad drops as Gaetz and Lombardo head into a head-to-head Republican Primary for Florida’s 1st Congressional District.

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

Gaetz boasts support from Trump in response to latest Lombardo attack ad” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics

Kat Cammack spends $25K on broadcast — Republican U.S. Rep. Cammack has placed a $24,804 broadcast buy in her re-election campaign for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District. According to AdImpact, the buy will put her ads on the air today through the Primary Election. The buy directs $20,500 toward the Jacksonville market, $2,979 to the Gainesville market and $1,324 to the Tallahassee market. Cammack faces nominal opposition in the Republican Primary and the new CD 3 is expected to vote overwhelmingly Republican in the fall.

The race to challenge Kathy Castor features three first-timers” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times — The race to challenge Castor in a congressional district that covers Tampa and parts of St. Petersburg features three political novices and an early dose of drama. James Judge, Sam Nashagh and Jerry Torres are first-time candidates vying to win the Republican Primary for the opportunity to challenge Castor. So far, the news in the campaign has revolved around ballot viability. Judge was temporarily removed from the ballot after a challenge to his filing paperwork, but a judge later reinstated him for the Primary.

Brady Duke drops $20K on cable ads — Republican candidate Duke has booked a $19,731 cable flight in the race for Florida’s 7th Congressional District. According to AdImpact, the media buy will cover ads airing today through Monday in the Orlando media market. The buy includes CNBC, ESPN, Fox Business, Fox News, and a handful of other cable networks. Duke is one of several Republicans seeking the opportunity to flip CD 7, held by exiting U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy. The Seminole- and Volusia-based district is expected to perform Republican in the General Election.

Brady Duke hits the airwaves to help turn CD 7 blue.

Maxwell Frost makes $12K broadcast buy — Democratic candidate Frost has placed a $12,300 ad buy. According to AdImpact, the new flight will cover broadcast ads that will air today through the Primary Election in the Orlando media market. Frost is one of several Democrats running for Florida’s 10th Congressional District. The seat is open due to U.S. Rep. Val Demings opting to run for U.S. Senate rather than re-election. It is expected to remain Democratic in November.

— 2022: LEG. —

Kelly Skidmore faces political newcomer in new district representing south PBC” via Hannah Morse of The Palm Beach Post — Hasan Zahangir of Boynton Beach, a 59-year-old former small-business owner before deciding to run, is challenging Skidmore in the Democratic Primary in August. He has never before run for public office but has served as a previous president of the Bangladeshi American Democratic Club. Zahangir said he decided to run because he is not a “career politician” and felt that those in office are not fulfilling promises.

Hasan Zahangir makes an ambitious entry into politics.

North Florida Justice PAC drops $25K on Jason Holloway ahead of Primary” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The North Florida Citizens for Justice PAC, is sending a $25,000 boost to Holloway. The PAC donated the funds to Holloway’s affiliated political committee, Keep Florida Red 2022. That funding comes at a vital time for the Republican candidate, as he heads into the Primary Election against former Rep. Kim Berfield and lawyer Jim Vricos. In the first week of August, Holloway collected $34,400 between his campaign and affiliated committee, as well as adding $9,600 via self-funding. Berfield raised $3,450 in the same period via her campaign. While Berfield has an affiliated political committee, Friends of Kim Berfield, it reported no fundraising in the latest period.

Andy Thomson’s campaign to represent south Palm Beach’s HD 91 draws broad support” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — First responders, businessmen, teachers, real estate agents, doctors, union workers and advocates for human rights are all joining together to back Thomson’s House bid. The endorsements come even though the Primary has not determined which Republican Thomson, a Democrat, will face. His rival will be either political novice Christina DuCasse or Highland Beach Town Commissioner Peggy Gossett-Seidman. The two candidates face off next week for the right to compete with Thomson in November.

Florida Elections Commission fines Anika Omphroy $3K for campaign finance violations” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Omphroy, a Lauderdale Lakes Democrat running for a U.S. House seat, was hit with a $3,000 fine by the Florida Elections Commission for violating campaign finance laws. The fines stem from actions taken during and after her 2018 run for office, in which she ran unopposed. She was accused of falsely certifying her final campaign finance report, which was overdrawn by $50 and didn’t contain small contributions of $100 made by herself that were reflected in bank records. Omphroy wasn’t present for the Commission hearing Tuesday.

— 2022: D-BALLOT —

Aaron Bell’s DUI arrest subject of opposition website” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — A new website went live recently detailing Nassau County Commissioner Bell’s arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in June. Everything on the site is public record, available through the Nassau County Clerk of Court. However, Bell avoided such a direct attack on himself in his District 2 re-election campaign up to this point. The site,, loads with dramatic text offset by Bell’s DUI mug shot, in which he’s smiling. It was registered with GoDaddy on Aug. 9.

To watch a video from the site, click on the image below:

School referendum must pass to protect our children’s futures” via Juliet Murphy Roulhac of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — This is crucial. Broward residents must vote yes on the school board referendum on the Aug. 23 ballot in order to provide Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) with adequate funding to educate our children. Even with stress about inflation, climate change, the war in Ukraine, gun violence and the ever-lingering pandemic, we cannot forget our children and the importance of educating today’s students so they can succeed in tomorrow’s world. Approximately 256,000 PreK-12 students and 110,000 adult students learn in 241 BCPS schools, centers and technical centers and 91 charter schools.

Wellington term limit ballot question has key opponent: Mayor Anne Gerwig, who says it’s personal” via Valentina Palm of The Palm Beach Post — A term limits question on the Aug. 23 ballot has the support of Wellington’s four village council members, but not of its Mayor. The measure would require Mayors to be out of office for at least one year before running for a seat on the village council. It would cap the terms a person can serve at four, two as a council member, followed by two as Mayor, and their length of service at 16 consecutive years. Mayor Gerwig thinks it’s a ploy to force her from office in the spring 2024 when her second term in the village’s top office ends.


DeSantis wants retired police, firefighters to be teachers” via Steven Lemongello and Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Describing college education programs as “overtaken by ideology,” DeSantis said he wants to expand a new law that allows military veterans to become classroom teachers to include retired first responders such as police, firefighters and EMTs. “We believe that the folks that have served our communities have an awful lot to offer,” DeSantis said. “And we’ve got people that have served 20 years and in law enforcement, they retire and some of them are looking for kind of the next chapter in their life. … Well, they’re not going to just sit around on their hands, they want to do something. So, we want to provide a pathway we want to incentivize them being able to help.”

Ron DeSantis feels the military would make better educators than college-educated teachers.

Happening today — Aides to DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet will meet in advance of an Aug. 23 Cabinet meeting, 9 a.m., Cabinet Meeting Room.

Lawmakers could defy DeSantis in Andrew Warren case. They likely won’t.” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — Warren might need the Florida Senate’s help. That’s bad news for him. If Warren, the former Democratic Hillsborough prosecutor whom DeSantis removed from office last week, wants his job back, he has a few options. He can challenge DeSantis’ order with a court motion arguing DeSantis has exceeded his executive authority. That means Warren’s fate will likely eventually be decided by the Florida Senate under a provision in the state constitution. Warren is at least the 166th state or county official suspended by a Florida Governor since 1999. Out of those cases, the Senate overrode a gubernatorial suspension just once.

Assignment editorsWarren will hold a briefing to update on the latest developments in his legal challenge to the Governor’s suspension order. Warren will be joined by his attorney, J. Cabou, co-chair of the White Collar and Investigations practice of the international law firm Perkins Coie, during news conferences in Tallahassee and Tampa: 9 a.m., DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tallahassee, Salon A, 101 S. Adams St., Tallahassee; 2:30 p.m., Hyatt Place Tampa Downtown, Waycross Room, 325 N. Florida Ave., Tampa.

Assignment editors — Reps. Ben Diamond, Dianne Hart and Susan Valdés will join activists to discuss how the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act will lower Floridians’ health care costs; 1 p.m. Location upon RSVP at [email protected].

Federal judge dismissed Diyonne McGraw’s lawsuit against DeSantis” via WCJB — McGraw suffered a loss in the courts just over a week before she runs for her old Alachua County School Board seat. Federal Court Judge Allen Winsor has granted a motion to dismiss McGraw’s lawsuit against DeSantis after he removed her from her seat on the board because she didn’t live in the district she represented. McGraw claimed DeSantis violated her due process right to have her vote counted. Winsor wrote that McGraw failed to prove that.

Jimmy Patronis slams Washington power grab: Nobody wants more IRS” via Fox Business — “We’re going to force all of these new IRS agents to be licensed, so we know who they are. And those fees, we are going to create a fund in order to create a defense mechanism for those being persecuted. And if we see the same thing we saw in 2013, where they targeted Tea Party groups, where they admitted they targeted Tea Party groups, we are going to create criminal charges to go after them. We’ve got to protect our citizens because the citizens of the state of Florida spend their money better than Washington does,” Patronis said during a TV interview.

Jimmy Patronis says no to more IRS agents. Image via @JimmyPatronis/Twitter.

A child has tested positive for monkeypox. What the state numbers show” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald — A child younger than 5 tested positive for monkeypox in Florida, state data show. The child lives in Martin County and is from newborn to 4 years old. At least seven children in the United States have tested positive for monkeypox. The United States confirmed its first two pediatric cases of monkeypox in July. Eight Florida teenagers between 15 and 19 are also considered to be confirmed or probable cases of monkeypox.

Happening today — A search committee of the Florida university system’s Board of Governors meets to seek a replacement for Chancellor Marshall Criser, who is stepping down at the end of the year, 11 a.m. Zoom link here.

Marijuana industry continues to sprout in Florida” via Business Observer — Cannabis-related stores have sure taken hold in Florida. The billion-dollar industry hasn’t slowed down any, which is more than ever clear by the amount of growth the businesses within the marijuana industry are experiencing. Illinois-based Cresco Labs Inc. recently opened a new medical cannabis dispensary in Cape Coral. The company is an integrated multistate operator and branded cannabis product wholesaler. The new store, Sunnyside Cape Coral, is the company’s first in north Lee County.

Elections panel issues $21K fine to committee connected to Associated Industries of Florida” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The Florida Election Commission has issued a $21,250 fine to a political committee that has received more than $1.7 million from entities connected to Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) in the last four years. The sanction stems from an $85,000 transfer from the Floridians for Economic Advancement committee to Citizens for a United Florida Inc. in January 2021. The transfer wasn’t reported in the committee’s finance reports to the state until November 2021. Floridians for Economic Advancement has received $5.8 million and spent $5.6 million since it was created in 2018. For such a sophisticated operation to have such a large payment go missing for nine months is suspicious, Commission Chair Nicholas Primrose said.


Parents feeling the strain of special education teacher shortage” via Jake Karalexis of Fox News — In 2019, 43 states reported a shortage in special education teachers. Last year, it jumped to 48. A lot of teachers left because of the pandemic. And that made it tougher on teachers who remained. “In the midst of COVID, so many teachers have retired that have been emotionally drained from the experience that we’ve been under,” said special education teacher Danielle Kovach. “The workload doesn’t go away.” The shortage has led to more schools using substitutes who sometimes aren’t fully certified to teach special education.

Schools face a special-ed teacher crisis.

Teacher shortage hits some Central Florida schools especially hard” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — A week into the new academic year OCPS and other Central Florida school districts all need teachers for many of their campuses and, like counterparts across Florida, all are struggling to find enough job candidates. The Osceola County school district posted the most vacancies of any local district, 256 openings Monday, including 20 at Liberty High School. Liberty needs algebra, geometry and reading teachers as well as several instructors for students with autism, among others. Osceola, which has a countywide instructional staff of 4,074, searched for teachers all summer and hired 646 new instructors before the first day of school on Aug. 10.

‘The summer lasted too long.’ Kids and parents thrilled to be back in school in Broward” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — The first day of classes for Broward County public schools led to a fashion-forward high schooler showing off her knee-high black leather boots while a kindergartner donned a spanking new “Minions” backpack and lunchbox set. “You can definitely feel the excitement. It feels more normal than it’s been for quite a while,” said Mark Kaplan, who started his fourth year as the principal of Coral Glades High School in Coral Springs, one of the largest in the county with about 2,800 students. More than 200,000 students in Broward County Public Schools returned to in-person learning Tuesday, the second year of in-person classes for all students amid the pandemic, coinciding with a rising number of monkeypox cases in South Florida, including a case of a child younger than 5 in Martin County.

Hernando schools slammed for silence, misleading statements on sexual battery” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A political committee tied to Blaise Ingoglia is hammering the Hernando County School District over its handling of an employee arrest. A mailer from the Government Gone Wild PAC scrutinizes a failure to notify parents of all the details when paraprofessional Dwaine Anton Francis was arrested in March 2021 at Suncoast Elementary School. Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican, has long had a fractious relationship with the local School Board, and earlier this year criticized the inclusion of sexually explicit books in district libraries. The state Representative is now a front-runner for a state Senate seat, facing only Green Party opponent Brian Patrick Moore.


Biden signs sweeping bill to tackle climate change, lower health care costs” via Amy B. Wang of The Washington Post — Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, an ambitious measure that aims to tamp down on inflation, lower prescription drug prices, tackle climate change, reduce the deficit and impose a minimum tax on profits of the largest corporations. At a bill signing ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House, Biden praised the legislation as among the most significant measures in the history of the country: “Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won, and the special interests lost.” His administration had begun amid “a dark time in America,” Biden added, citing the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and threats to democracy.

The U.S. takes a major step toward addressing climate change.

First Lady Jill Biden tests positive for coronavirus” via Amy B. Wang of The Washington Post — “After testing negative for COVID-19 on Monday during her regular testing cadence, the First Lady began to develop cold-like symptoms late in the evening,” her representative Elizabeth Alexander said in a statement. “She tested negative again on a rapid antigen test, but a PCR test came back positive.” “Close contacts of the First Lady have been notified,” Alexander said. “She is currently staying at a private residence in South Carolina and will return home after she receives two consecutive negative COVID tests.”

—“First Lady cancels Orlando visit after positive COVID-19 test” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel

Marco Rubio says supply chain needs mending but computer chip bill would have helped China” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — U.S. Sen. Rubio met with Jacksonville-based shipping companies to hear about their challenges with the global supply chain, but Rubio said after the meeting he has no regrets about opposing legislation signed last week by Biden for boosting production in the United States of computer chips. The use of those chips is so widespread that a global shortage of them slowed the pace of automobile manufacturing because new vehicles depend on semiconductors and that, in turn, contributed to a drop in the number of vehicles shipped through Jacksonville’s port.

In Tampa Bay, Rick Scott unveils bill to fight opioid epidemic” via Michaela Mulligan of the Tampa Bay Times — Thirteen area law enforcement officials served as a backdrop to Sen. Scott as the Florida Republican introduced a bill aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic in the country during a stop in Tampa Bay Tuesday. Called the “End Fentanyl Package Act,” the legislation would do four things, Scott told members of the media. First, the bill would allow health care providers to prescribe an “overdose-reversing drug,” he said. Second, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice would be able to issue grants to local governments in order for them to improve the tracking of opioid-related overdoses.

Rick Scott calls for backup to announce a new opioid bill.

Happening today — Scott will give a speech during the Flagler County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner. Expected attendees include U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, Sen. Travis Hutson and incoming state House Speaker Paul Renner, 5 p.m., Hammock Beach Resort, 200 Ocean Crest Dr., Palm Coast.

2 Republicans in Congress just violated a federal conflict-of-interest and transparency law” via Madison Hall and Dave Levinthal of Business Insider — Two congressional Republicans have violated a federal conflict-of-interest and transparency law, an Insider review of new financial disclosures found. Rep. Brian Mast and Sen. Scott, both of Florida, violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012. The law, in part, requires members of Congress to file disclosures within 45 days of making a stock transaction or other financial trade by the member or their spouse. Scott reported on Monday that he and his wife sold up to $450,000 in stock in Emida Corporation in September 2021, but he didn’t report the trade until more than a year after a federal deadline.

—“Scott says John Fetterman ‘lied’ about health amid stroke recovery” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics


If it’s Tuesday — “Liz Cheney loses her Primary in Wyoming to Trump-backed challenger” via Jonathan Allen of NBC News — U.S. Rep. Cheney, a onetime House GOP leader and a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was ousted in a Republican Primary Tuesday night. Speaking to supporters here at length about Trump and the events of Jan. 6, Cheney acknowledged that she had lost. She said she had called her challenger Harriet Hageman to concede while seeming to draw a contrast with Trump, who refuses to admit he lost the 2020 election. “This Primary election is over,” Cheney said. “But now the real work begins.”

Judge to weigh unsealing affidavit behind FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago” via Sadie Gurman of The Wall Street Journal — A federal judge in Florida will hear arguments over whether to make public the affidavit laying out what evidence led to the extraordinary FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, as investigators begin to pore over documents and other items seized from the sprawling private club. The affidavit would provide more detail about the FBI’s investigation than what is contained in the search warrant unsealed last week by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, which revealed that agents removed from the property 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities.

Will a judge help shed light on what went down in Mar-a-Lago? Image via AP.

FBI interviewed top White House lawyers about missing Trump documents” via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, the White House counsel and his deputy under Trump, were interviewed by the FBI in connection with boxes of sensitive documents that were stored at Trump’s residence in Florida after he left office, three people familiar with the matter said. Cipollone and Philbin are the most senior people who worked for Trump known to have been interviewed by investigators after the National Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department this year. The interviews are a sign of the intensity of the investigation into how sensitive government material left the White House.

Why Trump’s declassification claim might not be that outlandish” via Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney of POLITICO — Nearly 20 years ago, Justice Department prosecutors wrestled with the vexing question of whether President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney could unilaterally authorize Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby to leak to select journalists the key findings of a then-highly-classified intelligence communitywide report on Iraq’s efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Libby’s claim of the direct but unrecorded disclosure order from Bush and Cheney may have contributed to a decision not to charge Libby with releasing classified information.

After Mar-a-Lago search, can Dems run against Trumpism but not Trump?” via Marianna Sotomayor of The Washington Post — As a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst, Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s directive to Republican leaders was clear about their responsibility to speak out against the rising vitriol against federal law enforcement after a search for documents at Mar-a-Lago: “Shut that down.” But as a Democrat representing a Michigan swing district that favored Trump in 2020, Slotkin acknowledges that making Trump a focus of her campaign would not do her many favors when inflation and climbing prices remain front of mind for voters.

— JAN. 6 —

The universe of alleged Trumpworld criminality continues to expand” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — This week has already delivered two new developments in the galaxy of alleged and demonstrated criminality that surrounds Trump. First, attorneys for Trump’s longtime attorney Rudy Giuliani revealed that the former New York Mayor is a target of a criminal investigation in the state of Georgia centered on the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election in that state. Then we learned that Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is expected to plead guilty to charges that he underreported his income for 15 years.


Miami-Dade detective shot in head identified, remains in ‘extremely critical’ condition” via Charles Rabin and David Ovalle of the Miami Herald — Cesar Echaverry, the Miami-Dade police detective shot in the head on Monday night has been moved to a neurological intensive care unit and is in “extremely critical condition.” The email was the first official identification of Echaverry, the Robbery Intervention Detail unit detective gravely wounded during a confrontation with an armed robbery suspect on Monday night. The email was sent so that officers could donate to the Police Officers Assistance Trust, which will financially help his family. “Please keep the Echaverry family in your thoughts and prayers,” read the email from Annette McCully, the executive assistant to the police director.

Cesar Echaverry is fighting for his life.

Elected leaders, experts to speak at two-day ‘Middle-Class Summit’ in South Florida” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — For two days this week, a South Florida nonprofit plans to help local leaders guide residents up the economic ladder to join the middle class and tackle issues like rising health care costs, unaffordable housing and criminal justice reform. The 2022 Middle-Class Summit takes place Wednesday and Thursday at Seminole Hard Rock & Casino Hollywood. The event is open to the public. The summit’s organizer, Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of South Florida, describes it as an opportunity for community leaders to develop innovative answers to a variety of issues tied to economic status, including education, housing affordability, health care costs and criminal justice reform.


Orlando’s median home costs $380,000. You won’t believe what it was 10 years ago” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — This week, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the median home price in metro Orlando is now $380,900. What was the price here 10 years ago? $125,750. Over a similar 10-year period, from 2010 to 2020, how much did Orlando’s per capita income rise, from $33,677 to what? $48,223. Housing prices shot up more than 200% while income increased by less than 50%. If you know someone who doesn’t understand why Central Florida has a housing crisis, just show them those two statistics.

Orlando is quickly pricing itself out of the affordable real estate market.

First on #FlaPol — “Realtors sue to have Orange County’s rent control measure tossed from ballot” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Realtors and apartment owners have sued to get Orange County’s rent control measure thrown off the November General Election ballot. The suit, filed by the Florida Association of Realtors and the Florida Apartment Association, asks Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Orange County to declare that the rent control measure ordinance approved last week by the Orange County Commission is invalid because it did not prove a housing emergency, as is required by state law for such measures. The suit also asks the court to declare that the ballot language is “affirmatively misleading and fails to fairly inform voters of the chief purpose of the proposal in clear and unambiguous language.”

Tampa City Council backs raise of more than $20,000” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times — Their legislative aides earn more than the seven members of Tampa City Council. And that’s just one reason Council members said Thursday that they deserve a nearly 42% raise that would bring their salaries to $73,713, more than $20,000 than they currently make. The pay hike is scheduled to take place on Oct. 1 when the city’s nearly $2 billion budget comes into effect. That didn’t sit well with council member Luis Viera, who said he “strongly, strongly, strongly opposes” the raises taking effect before City Council elections next spring.

‘Excessively harsh.’ Bayshore driver cites Warren’s words in bid for new sentence” via Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times — A day after a judge sentenced Cameron Herrin to 24 years in state prison for causing a collision that killed a mother and daughter on Bayshore Boulevard, Hillsborough State Attorney Warren left a voicemail for Herrin’s attorney. The voicemail and later conversations Warren had with the defense attorney are the focus of a new effort to try to secure a reduced sentence for Herrin. Herrin’s lawyer, John Fitzgibbons, filed a court paper Tuesday in which he says Warren expressed dissatisfaction with the penalty a judge imposed.


Kevin Karnes denies romantic relationship drove promotion decisions” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Karnes had a sexual relationship with a woman who later enjoyed a significant promotion and pay raise. But an outside investigation determined prior romances played no role in hires or promotions in his office. “The findings of the independent audit speak for themselves; all claims against me were determined unsubstantiated,” Karnes said. “This was nothing more than an attempt of political theater resulting in the taxpayers of Lee County paying $13,500 to investigate claims that were both false and inaccurate.” Karnes on Aug. 23 faces opponent Liza King in a Republican Primary.

An audit finds Kevin Karnes’ romantic entanglement did not run afoul of ethics.


Money and accusations of dark money dominate the Tallahassee election cycle” via Margie Menzel WFSU — The amounts of money raised in the local election cycle are unprecedented, almost 2 million dollars for the City and County Commissions alone. And that’s just the dollars we know about. In the final week before Election Day, the money’s getting darker than ever. Follow the money. The money is flowing. And accusations of dark money are flying, meaning donations that can’t be traced because they went to a nonprofit that doesn’t disclose its donors. “I followed the money.” Bugra Demirel is the chair of Grow Tallahassee’s political action committee, which describes itself as pro-growth and pro-economic development.

The Tallahassee Mayor’s race is a pricy affair.

Jacksonville Beach turns down ballot item to put volunteer lifeguards back to work” via Matt Soergel of The Florida Times-Union — Voters in Jacksonville Beach will not be voting at the city’s next election to determine the fate of the Volunteer Life Saving Corps, which has patrolled the beach there since 1912. In an emotionally charged meeting Monday, the Jacksonville Beach City Council unanimously turned down a proposed ballot referendum that would have given voters in November the chance to approve having volunteer lifeguards go back on duty alongside paid Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue guards. Council members said they were concerned the referendum was not legally valid for several reasons.

‘It’s heart-wrenching’: Inflation leaves Panhandle residents in ‘desperate need’ of housing” via Sierra Rains of the Northwest Florida Daily News — One missed paycheck can mean the difference between a roof over someone’s head and living on the streets. It is a reality that many residents of Walton and Okaloosa counties have faced within the last few years as wage growth fails to keep up with the increased cost of living. The situation has been reflected in the high numbers of newly homeless individuals and families. Add to that, the lack of affordable housing is making it more difficult for those experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet.

Former Northwest Florida state Rep. Ken Boles dies at 89” via USA Today Network — Boles, a Milton native who served Northwest Florida for 14 years as a state representative, has died. Boles, who lived to be 89, represented state House District 5 from 1978 until 1982. At that time, the district encompassed Okaloosa County and parts of Escambia, Santa Rosa and Walton counties. He served on several House committees, including as chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Boles was born on Jan. 2, 1933. He was a licensed mortgage broker and a general contractor. A service is planned for Tallahassee National Cemetery, where he will be interred as an honorable Veteran.


Warning signs for the GOP’s Senate hopes” via Sarah Isgur, Andrew Egger, and Audrey Fahlberg of The Dispatch — Axios has a fascinating survey about which states Americans are considering moving to and why. Not surprisingly in our current culture, a lot of Americans are factoring some amount of partisanship into that decision. Here are some findings:

Republicans were more likely to consider moving to red states (51%) than blue states (20%) or swing states (28%). Democrats were more likely to consider moving to blue states (48%) than red states (25%) or swing states (27%).

More than half of Republicans (58%) and Democrats (55%) said they thought about moving to a state where the government better reflects their political and policy values, while 69% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans considered moving to a state that’s a closer match with their cultural and social values.

Of course, sitting in Connecticut dreaming of Florida isn’t the same thing as actually packing your bags — but some of these people will move over the next few years and the effect on our politics will almost certainly be more polarization and fewer competitive races. It will no doubt increase the temperature of debates around the Electoral College.

And this type of sorting can’t be fixed by creating nonpartisan redistricting boards, because it’s Americans gerrymandering themselves.


The American people deserve to know what the Justice Department is up to” via Ankush Khardori for The New York Times — This country has been consumed by a predictable form of asymmetric political and media warfare. Trump and his conservative supporters have loudly condemned the tactics and supposed political bias of prosecutors, while the investigators have remained silent. The American people deserve answers, and the Justice Department would be wise to give them some details, not only about the possible mishandling of records, which appears to have prompted the Mar-a-Lago search but also about its investigation into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The lack of authoritative information has created public confusion and uncertainty about law enforcement matters of the utmost seriousness.

A picture can be worth a thousand terrible words” via Martin Dyckman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The Parkland autopsy photos show massive carnage caused by high-velocity rounds from the killer’s AR-15. In one case described by a medical examiner, a bullet that struck a student’s rib broke into “multiple fragments” that “perforated the lungs, liver, kidney” before exiting on the victim’s left side. It’s as if politicians can’t tell the difference between a weapon of mass destruction and a BB gun. They might see it differently if they studied the crime scene and autopsy photos from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

It’s settled! Miami still is the Cuban sandwich capital of the world” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Every few years, there’s a brouhaha about the world-famous Cuban sandwich. Brouhaha over a sandwich? Well, the Cuban is no ordinary sandwich: slices of ham, mojo-roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and yellow mustard, all on Cuban bread, all layered precisely, cut diagonally, and pressed on a buttered grill. A new book aims to bring clarity to the true history of the Cuban sandwich and finds a way to give every city its due. In “The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers,” authors Andrew Huse, Bárbara Cruz, and Jeff Houck make it clear the story of the Cuban sandwich is indeed multilayered.

Dawn Shirreffs, Jason Mathis: In Florida’s climate crisis are you a sustainability leader?” via Florida Politics — Tens of thousands of properties are at risk in Florida from climate change and sea level rise. Others face the stark repercussions of energy insecurity. Chronic flooding, severe weather, and increased energy prices will impact everyone who lives in the Sunshine State. Our changing climate doesn’t just threaten the environment, it also threatens our economy. Forward-thinking sustainable projects must integrate into Florida’s infrastructure to protect our state. We already see a spike in solar installations, increased EV adoption, and a desire for energy-independent policies. The Environmental Defense Fund and the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership are highlighting these efforts in Pinellas County through the 2022 Sustainable Leadership Awards — to recognize development projects and local business leaders who are prioritizing sustainability as part of their business plans.


— ALOE —

‘Pent-up demand’ for cruises: Bookings increase as COVID-19 testing requirements are loosened” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A surge in cruise bookings on the day after Carnival Cruise Line announced that it was relaxing its COVID-19 testing requirements proves there’s a “pent-up demand” for cruising that has not yet been satisfied. On Friday, Carnival announced it would no longer require vaccinated passengers to take a COVID-19 test within three days of boarding cruises less than 16 days long, except on trips to Canada, Bermuda, Greece and Australia. Unvaccinated passengers will no longer have to submit to an “exemption request process” and will be allowed to board by simply presenting the results of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within three days of boarding.

American Airlines plans to fly from Miami to London in five hours” via David Koenig and Dylan Abad of WFLA — American Airlines agreed to buy up to 20 Boom supersonic jets that could fly passengers from Miami to London in just under five hours. At one point, the Concorde had been ferrying passengers from Miami about three times per week and crossed the Atlantic in three hours. Boom said its plane will have a top speed of 1.7 times the speed of sound, or about 1,300 mph, and carry between 65 and 80 passengers. The company said its plane will also fly entirely on sustainable aviation fuel, often made from plant material, which is currently in short supply and very expensive.

How fast does it take to get to London? American Airlines wants to make it in five hours.

Why is airline travel so miserable? Blame Florida” via Micah Maidenberg and Alison Sider of The Wall Street Journal — Airlines flying in and out of Florida one recent weekend had a lot to navigate. Over the Gulf of Mexico, military exercises restricted airspace for flights trying to go east and west. A thunderstorm encroached, threatening an important route over the Gulf. Short staffing at an air traffic-control center near Jacksonville limited north-south traffic. And a space rocket prepared to launch over the Atlantic, temporarily cutting off routes to the east. Such is the Florida obstacle course, jamming up airspace over some of the most popular vacation spots in the U.S. and cascading travel problems across the rest of the country.

Universal reveals entire Horror Nights lineup” via DeWayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Our trick-or-treat sacks runneth over. Universal Orlando has revealed the rest of its 2022 Halloween Horror Nights haunted house lineup, information about six fresh mazes, plus all five scare zones, two live shows, and Tribute Store theming. The new houses are original works. The four previously announced houses are based on Blumhouse films, the 1978 “Halloween” movie, Universal monsters, and the music of the Weeknd.


Best wishes to Sen. Ben Albritton, Rep. Vance Aloupis, and former Rep. Sharon Pritchett. Also celebrating today are photographer Kim DeFalco and the “Grim Reaper” Daniel Uhlfelder.


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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