Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.23.22 — Happy Election Day!

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Coffee is for closers. So is Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Good Tuesday morning.

Take a moment to look at The County Election by George Bingham.

Bingham painted a series of canvasses celebrating elections in newly created states along the Western frontier.

Here, gathered around the polling place is a crowd of characters, including the happy drunk whose vote has been bought with liquor and the downcast loyalist whose candidate has lost and who bows his head with more than a hangover. The sole African American, excluded from the voting process, stands at the left edge of the canvas serving hard cider. Women are notably absent from the scene.

The County Election by George Bingham.

Bingham himself was a disappointed politician, denied election to the Missouri statehouse in 1846 by crooked dealing. He swore never to get involved in politics again, but, in the end, he found himself addicted to the competition, was elected a legislator in 1848, and served as state treasurer during the Civil War.


A closing poll of likely Democratic Primary voters shows Charlie Crist is in position to win the Democratic Primary for Governor in a landslide.

St. Pete Polls conducted its final survey ahead of the Democratic Primary on who voters intend to choose as the Democratic nominee.

More than 59% said Crist, the former Republican Governor-turned-Democratic Congressman. Almost 30% said Nikki Fried, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner.

Another 11% remained undecided or declined to answer, but that leaves little room for the vote to swing before the final ballots are cast Tuesday.

It looks surprisingly good for Charlie Crist. Image via Colin Hackley.

That’s especially true because the majority (57%) of those polled said they had already cast their ballot. Crist’s lead was larger among that crowd, with 63% telling St. Pete Polls he had already received their vote compared to 31% who said they voted for Fried. The remaining 6% declined to answer.

Crist’s lead also spans most demographics, topping Fried among men 55%-34% and women 63%-26%. Additionally, Crist pulls support from 57% of White Democrats, 62% of Black Democrats and 61% of Hispanic Democrats.

Fried holds a 2-point lead in the Gainesville region, 42%-40%, and she’s tied with Crist in Panama City. However, Crist leads in every other region of the state.

Fried’s communications director, Keith Edwards, blasted the poll and said it was an attempt by Florida Politics to influence coverage of the Primary race. Florida Politics commissioned the poll.

“This is not an independent poll. It’s a campaign tactic attempting to influence your coverage of a race that even Charlie Crist’s team has admitted is close as hell. The only independent poll that has been released is the University of North Florida and it has Nikki Fried up by 4,” he said.

Charlie Crist, Nikki Fried make case to voters on Election Eve” via Roger Simmons, Steven Lemongello and Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — The two battled over who would be the best candidate to take on Ron DeSantis, who has amassed a $100 million-plus campaign fund and national political attention as a possible Presidential candidate in 2024. Crist planned to close his campaign by bringing his “Hope for Florida” tour to his hometown of St. Petersburg on Monday evening. Fried blasted Crist for his Republican past and accused him of being opposed to abortion rights, which Crist denied. Fried’s “Something New” tour was traveling the state from her home in Miami to Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. In their one debate, Crist said Fried’s attacks were an act of “desperation” from a candidate far behind in the race.

—”On eve of Democratic Primary, Crist eyes contest with Ron DeSantis” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Fried’s campaign prospects fade in prediction markets” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Affiliates of the Fried campaign continue to talk about a “wave” of support, but if one leading prediction market is right, it’s a flat surf. Action on the PredictIt platform shows what appears to be a final fade for Fried’s campaign, which she finished with a flurry of activity that does not appear to have impressed investors in the 2022 Democratic Primary market. The most recent hourly spot price for a “Yes” share for Fried is an anemic 6 cents, by far her lowest performance of the campaign on the platform. A “Yes” share was 13 cents just a few hours earlier. Crist “Yes” shares have been priced over 90 cents for a few hours, with the final push over the 90-cent threshold corresponding with the Fried dip.

Fried airs ‘Won’t Back Down’ ad on eve of Primary — Fried’s campaign is airing an ad featuring images of women’s rights advocates throughout history until the modern day. The ad, which uses “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty as the backing track, also includes footage of Fried speaking at a rally. “We have got to be standing on the shoulders of the women that came before us, really every little girl in Florida and across the country, we are doing this for you,” she says.

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

Tweet, tweet:

Assignment editors — Fried will vote in person at her local precinct: 7:30 a.m., Fellowship Presbyterian Church, 3158 Shamrock St. S, Tallahassee.

It’s decision time for voters in Tuesday’s Primary” via Steven Lemongello and Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — Floridians are heading to the polls Tuesday for the state’s Primary election, which will determine the Democratic candidate for Governor, both parties’ picks in several key congressional races and the winners of important local positions, including Orange County Mayor. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Crist and Fried are battling to represent the Democrats against DeSantis in November. Crist was scheduled to close his campaign by bringing his “Hope for Florida” tour to his hometown of St. Petersburg on Monday evening. Meanwhile, Fried’s “Something New” tour traveled the state from her home in Miami to Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.


The Jacksonville Mayor race isn’t on the ballot today, but Florida Politics’ Drew Wilson looked at the preparations Daniel Davis is making ahead of his entry into the race.

What he found will raise the eyebrows of anyone following the Mayor’s race.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce CEO is currently attempting to negotiate a deal with his employer that will allow him to continue collecting his salary while campaigning — and return to his job if he loses.

Daniel Davis wants to continue pulling a paycheck during his widely expected mayoral campaign.

According to members of the Jacksonville Chamber board, Davis is likely to get what he asks for despite concerns it could jeopardize the organization’s tax-exempt status or, in the event Davis loses, hurt the Chamber’s ability to work with whoever succeeds exiting Mayor Lenny Curry.

But it appears the die has been cast — after Florida Politics published the story, Davis sent out a “save the date” message for a likely campaign announcement on Sept. 8.

Why is Davis trying to hammer out an insurance policy? It’s possible that he’s read the tea leaves and knows that his mayoral campaign is not a sure thing with well-known Democrat Donna Deegan and conservative Jax Council member LeAnna Cumber are gaining traction in the race.

Read more about what’s going on in Davis’ orbit on Florida Politics.


The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Technology & Information Summit is set for next week at the Tampa Marriott Water Street.

The event will feature talks from thought leaders on emerging technology and panels with influential business leaders who are working in the technology and information fields.

The agenda includes segments on topics such as artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain technology and more.

The Florida-focused event will also dive into how the Sunshine State prepares for the arrival of technological advancement — one panel will outlay the role that the state’s universities can play in the “innovation ecosystem.”

That segment will feature Tom Waters, the assistant director of Startups & Business Development at USF Technology Transfer; Jim O’Connell, the Assistant VP for Commercialization at UF Innovate and Dr. Edgar Rodriguez, the president and CEO of Lacerta Therapeutics.

Dr. David Reed, the UF Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives, will later speak about “building an AI university.”

Other segments will cover how innovative technologies will shape the future of Florida’s cities — with some changes not far off on the horizon. One panel discussion on the topic will include Rasesh Thakkar, the senior managing director at Tavistock Group, and Syd Kitson, the chair and CEO of Kitson and Partners.

More information and registration details for the summit are available on the Florida Chamber’s website.


@RyanJReilly: Sen. Mitch McConnell correctly noted today that there’s “very little election fraud” in the United States, a fact that perhaps would’ve been useful to publicly and forcefully articulate, say, between Nov. 4, 2020, and Jan. 6, 2021.

@MaggieNYT: I’ve been getting a lot of pushback from a small group of advisers very close to (Donald) Trump for saying on CNN yesterday that we don’t know for sure that he’s running.

@JBouie: the idea that DeSantis represents a departure from trump is one of those very obviously silly ideas — the man has literally adopted trump’s posture and physical gestures — that nonetheless has real purchase among supposedly serious Republicans on here. … DeSantis is for Republicans who would prefer to take their shot of authoritarianism with the thinnest chaser of plausible deniability you can imagine … if there’s a difference between the two, it is that DeSantis seems to care about the Republican Party in a way that trump does not. which is to say that the issue for pro-DeSantis elites seems to be access more than anything else. … the other thing I’ll add is that it is worth considering whether his reputation for competence is enhanced by having a hard-right and extremely pliant legislature on his side.

@MarcACaputo: For some reason, the folks who now say we can’t use the word “raid” to describe the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club were silent when we described similar searches in re: Democrats like Reps Henry Cuellar & William Jefferson or DeSantis critic Rebekah Jones

@DrNealDunnFL2: Dr. (Anthony) #Fauci is conveniently stepping down before @HouseGOP can hold him accountable. Make no mistake, his resignation WILL NOT stop us from investigating his role & the origins of the #COVID19 pandemic

@DanRather: Dr. Fauci, thank you for your service. Please ignore the haters.

@Fineout: There’s been lots of attention on election law changes passed by Fla Leg — here’s 2 things to note for the 2022 election for those who like to keep tabs on results on Election Night … “Beginning at 7 p.m. on Election Day, the supervisor must, at least once every hour while actively counting, post on his or her website the number of vote-by-mail ballots that have been received and the number of vote-by-mail ballots that remain uncounted.” … “On Election Day, each supervisor … shall make live voter turnout data, updated at least once per hour, available on his or her website. Each supervisor shall transmit the live voter turnout data to the division, which must create … a real-time statewide turnout dashboard.”

@Scott_Maxwell: I hope I’m wrong, but I fear Central Florida could get a rough lesson or two tomorrow about the drawbacks of having no runoff system. A couple of congressional races where 20-25% of voters — from just one party — could decide the locked-in winner in November.

@MappingFL: My top preferences out of #FL10 tomorrow 1) (Maxwell) Frost or (Randolph) Bracy win 2) Any other non-(Corrine) Brown or (Alan) Grayson Dem wins 3) Broken nose 4) Brown wins 5) Kicked in the balls by an NFL punter 6) Grayson wins


Launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 5; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 8; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 8; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 10; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 16; 2022 Emmys — 19; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 23; final season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 23; vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 44; deadline to register for General Election — 48; 22-23 NHL season begins — 49; ‘Decision 2022: Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 56; ‘Decision 2022: Before You Vote’ TV debates (Governor) — 58; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 63; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 63; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 64; Early voting begins for General Election — 68; 2022 General Election — 77; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 80; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 80; FITCon 2022 begins — 86; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 86; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 90; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 90; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 91; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 99; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 99; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 115; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 178; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 196; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 213; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies’ 23 conference begins — 238; 2023 Session Sine Die — 255; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 255; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 283; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 332; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 437; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 451; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 584; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 703; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 703; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 808; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 983.


She was Florida Dems’ ‘new hope.’ Then a veteran pol stepped between her and DeSantis.” via Matt Dixon and Gary Fineout of POLITICO Florida — While Fried focused early on building up her profile on social media, particularly Twitter, Crist went on a charm offensive. He huddled with key blocks of the Democratic coalition and relied on them heavily when drawing up his policy positions. Crist — whose evolution on issues such as abortion and gun control has been scrutinized by Fried — took advice from those Democrats to change his stance on issues such as marijuana legalization, which he now favors.

Nikki Fried showed great promise for Florida Democrats. Then came Charlie Crist.

The strategy worked, and he picked up crucial endorsements from key lawmakers, such as state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Black Miami-area Democrat who supported Fried early in the race.

Fried’s campaign insists it can pull off an upset on Tuesday and drained bank accounts in a frenzied push in the final moments.

Fried believes money will flow into her campaign on Aug. 24 if she wins the Primary because her victory will be a “shot in the arm” that will attract national money and attention, she said in an interview at a recent campaign event. Fried also contended — amid loud pushback from the Crist campaign — that national donors will abandon the state if Crist wins.

During a campaign stop in Tallahassee last week, Fried said she had a “lot more to lose” than she did when she scored her upset win in 2018 to become the only Democrat elected to statewide office.

But she also acknowledged that she was surprised that Crist wound up being her Primary opponent.

— 2022 —

Florida’s primary election a referendum on Ron DeSantis after Governor gets heavily involved” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Gov. DeSantis isn’t on the Aug. 23 primary ballot, but many of his endorsed candidates are, and he’s taking significant steps to help them, making the election partly a referendum on Florida’s chief executive. Former President Trump has worked to transform the political landscape and build a loyal bench of supporters by endorsing in a wide range of races and traveling the country to boost those candidates. DeSantis is emulating that strategy in Florida.

—”8 things at stake in Florida’s Primary elections Tuesday” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times

—“Democrats to decide Tuesday who would be best to take abortion fight to DeSantis” via Steve Contorno of CNN

—”Planning to vote in the Florida Primary? Five things to know ahead of Election Day” via Grethel Aguila of the Miami Herald

—”Florida Primaries 2022: Some of the top races to watch in Tuesday’s election” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It’s time to make your voice heard. Please vote.

After early voting didn’t lure big crowds, officials hope for larger turnout Tuesday” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Election supervisors are hoping magic happens Tuesday at the polls to beef up some of the voting numbers. The polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. Election officials are reminding voters to make sure they’re heading to their assigned polling location Tuesday: That’s because due to redistricting changes, their polling location may have changed. So, voters may show up at the wrong polling location if they didn’t look closely at the polling-site details on their voter cards.

In 2024 preview, new laws for Primary could make it harder to cast ballots” via Rick Rouan of USA Today — Floridians will cast their Primary ballots Tuesday under new voting restrictions a judge once said were designed “to target Black voters,” the first such federal election under the new law. Voting rights advocates say the new rules make it harder to request and turn in absentee ballots and register voters as well as making it easier to challenge votes once cast. But supporters say the new rules are needed to combat voter fraud.

Primary election a referendum on DeSantis after Governor gets heavily involved” via Zac Anderson of USA Today Network — DeSantis isn’t on the Aug. 23 Primary ballot, but many of his endorsed candidates are, and he’s taking significant steps to help them, making the election partly a referendum on Florida’s chief executive. Trump has worked to transform the political landscape and build a loyal bench of supporters by endorsing in a wide range of races and traveling the country to boost those candidates. DeSantis is emulating that strategy in Florida. He has endorsed in at least 34 races and, like Trump, is following through with campaign help for his preferred candidates, including holding rallies for them, paying for advertising and donating directly to their campaigns.

DeSantis dons jumpsuit for ‘Top Gov’ ad — DeSantis released a new ad for his re-election campaign that sees him don pilot gear and outline the “rules of engagement” for “taking on the corporate media.” During the minute-long ad, DeSantis says one of his rules is not to fire unless fired upon, “but when they fire, you fire back with overwhelming force.” DeSantis, wearing aviator sunglasses, also commands the trainees on the fourth wall not to never back down from a fight and not to accept the media’s narrative. The ad closes with his son saying it’s time to “turn and burn.”

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

DeSantis taps donors Kenneth Griffin, Paul Tudor Jones in $142 million haul” via Bill Allison and Mark Niquette of Bloomberg — DeSantis has raised more money than Trump since the former President left office, relying on deep-pocketed donors rather than the small-dollar contributors he’ll need if he seeks the White House in 2024. DeSantis, running unopposed in Tuesday’s Primary as he goes for a second term, has amassed $142 million from the start of 2021 through Aug. 5 this year from donors including the hedge fund billionaires Griffin and Tudor Jones. Unlike Trump, who relies largely on a network of small-dollar donors to fund his post-presidential political operations, DeSantis has raised the bulk of his money from a small number of wealthy donors writing him giant checks.

Val Demings faces Democratic challengers ahead of expected matchup with Marco Rubio” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The U.S. Senate race in Florida may be shaping up as one of the most closely watched contests in the country. But a Democratic Primary leading into the race seems a forgettable formality. The contest, in many senses, felt over as soon as U.S. Rep. Demings announced she would challenge U.S. Sen. Rubio. A former Orlando Police Chief, shortlist running mate contender for Biden’s presidential campaign and one of the House managers for the first impeachment of Trump, her entry inspired immediate excitement. On Aug. 23, she faces three other Democrats: Ricardo de la Fuente, Brian Rush and William Sanchez.

Demings drops another $183K on broadcast — Demings’ campaign has spent $183,260 on a new broadcast ad flight in the U.S. Senate race. According to AdImpact, the buy covers ads that begin running today and continue through Monday. The buy directs $178,210 to the Tampa media market, $2,550 to the Jacksonville media market and $2,500 to the Miami market.

—“Poll: Aramis Ayala holds lead in Attorney General race but many voters remain uncommitted” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics.

Florida GOP outraises Sunshine State Democrats in lead-up to Primary nearly 5-to-1” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) pulled in almost five times as much money in the second quarter as the Florida Democratic Party (FDP), giving the GOP a significant edge as the parties head into the General Election season following Tuesday’s Primary. RPOF reported receiving $24.3 million from April 1 to Aug. 18, while the FDP reported $4.9 million. The largest single donor to RPOF was Kenneth Griffin, a hedge fund manager who owns residences in Palm Beach County and Coral Gables, who gave $5 million, more than the entire FDP haul.

Activists in Florida say Black voters have seen their political power curtailed” via Ashley Lopez of NPR — A combination of new election laws and congressional redistricting has made it harder for Black communities in Florida to organize and vote, activists say. Florida is among various Republican-led states that have passed laws since the 2020 election that place new restrictions on voters — as well as on third-party groups that play a crucial role in registering racial minorities in Florida. Ben Frazier and his small civil rights organization, the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, recently spent an afternoon in the city helping a group of older Black voters update their voter registration.

— 2022: CON’T —

Appeals court sides with Rebekah Jones, places her back on CD 1 ballot” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — A state appeals court has reversed a lower-court ruling that kicked Jones off the ballot in the Democratic Primary for Florida’s 1st Congressional District. Jones was removed from the ballot due to her not meeting party registration requirements in state law governing candidate eligibility. Her removal was later stayed by the court pending appeal. Florida law requires candidates to have been a registered voter of the party for which they are seeking the nomination for at least one year before the qualification deadline, which was in June.

The pendulum swings in Rebekah Jones’ favor.

Matt Gaetz and Mark Lombardo make closing arguments to voters” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Much as he has done throughout the last few months in which he campaigned alongside well-known MAGA figures, Gaetz stumped with Don Trump Jr. at Pensacola State College. Gaetz was also joined at the rally by Kimberly Guilfoyle, attorney and television news personality who is dating Trump Jr., and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who has been a conservative ally of Gaetz in Congress. With the campaign launched by Lombardo, Gaetz is facing his toughest primary challenge since he won the GOP nomination for the seat in 2016.

Activism, an in-your-face attitude and Uber driving: The making of a Gen Z politician in Florida” via Sabrina Rodriguez of POLITICO —It’s obvious he doesn’t fit the typical mold for a candidate for Congress — and he’s owning it. For starters, there’s his age, 25, the minimum to serve in the House. He’s Afro-Cuban in a state — and country — where a politician who is both Black and Latino is exceedingly rare. He hasn’t finished college, instead prioritizing his work in community organizing (abortion rights; gun control). He’s never held office. And he doesn’t come from wealth: When he’s not campaigning, he’s behind the wheel of his Kia Soul, clocking in hours for Uber to make ends meet. (His car is currently in the shop, which means he’s got even more time to devote to campaigning for Tuesday’s primary.)

Leon County’s Supervisor of Elections has a few predictions on the eve of the Primary election” via Tom Flanigan of WFSU — On the eve of the Aug. 23 Primary Election, Leon County Elections Supervisor Mark Earley was predicting a fairly strong voter turnout. “Our typical turnout in these elections is anywhere from 32 to 37%. Right now, we’re sitting at 17%. But again, if we have a nice, typical, normal turnout (on) Election Day, we should get well over the 30% range. So, paint me cautiously optimistic. We’ll see.”

—“What you need to know for Duval County’s Primary election” via Hanna Holthaus of The Florida Times-Union

Duval’s Black voters have mixed thoughts on congressional redistricting” via Will Brown of Jax Today — Tuesday’s Primary election will likely begin to close the book on a three-decade run of Black congressional representation in Jacksonville, as the region’s “minority access district,” Congressional District 5 currently represented by Democrat Al Lawson, becomes history. Two Black candidates, Democrats Tony Hill and LaShonda “LJ” Holloway, are running to replace Lawson, but election prognosticators consider the newly drawn District 4, which includes part of Lawson’s old district, to be “solid Republican,” and former Republican state Sen. Bean is seen as the front-runner in his Primary against Erick Aguilar and Jon Chuba.

Maxwell Alejandro Frost leads CD 10 field by double digits, poll shows” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A new poll shows Frost with a major lead in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Demings. Data For Progress released survey results showing 34% of likely Democratic Primary voters intend to vote for Frost. That’s a significant base of support in a 10-Democrat field, and a sizable lead over his next closest competitor, Bracy, who earned 18% of the vote. Former U.S. Rep. Grayson comes in third in the poll with 14% of the vote, the only other candidate to crack double digits. Former U.S. Rep. Brown shows with 6% of the vote.

—“Internal poll shows Calvin Wimbish on track to nomination in CD 10” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Alan Grayson spends $5K on cable — Democratic former Rep. Grayson has spent $5,000 on cable ads that began running Saturday and ended Monday. The ads ran on Comedy Central, Fox Business, Syfy, TLC, TWC and other cable networks. Grayson is one of several Democrats running for Florida’s 10th Congressional District. CD 10 is a Central Florida-based seat currently represented by Demings, who is running for Senate rather than re-election. The district is expected to elect a Republican in November.

Assignment editors — Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, joined by Sens. Jones, Jason Pizzo and Janet Cruz, holds a Primary Election Night Victory Party: 7 p.m., Agave Bandido, 14531 SW 5th St., Pembroke Pines. RSVP with Claire VanSusteren, (352) 281-9056.

—“Miami Beach voters have some quality-of-life issues on their ballots” via the Miami Herald editorial board.

These Republican candidates in Palm Beach County laud roles, attendance in Jan. 6 events” via Stephany Matat of The Palm Beach Post — One participated in a Jan. 5, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington. Another was outside the U.S. Capitol the next day as a riot temporarily stopped the counting of 2020 Presidential electoral votes to officially declare Biden the nation’s 46th President. This year’s Primary Election, which takes place Tuesday, has drawn Republican candidates who feature connections to the Jan. 6 events, an attack that a congressional committee has called a coup attempt, on their political résumés. But the GOP congressional hopefuls in Palm Beach County eagerly cite their support for the spirit of Jan. 6, which some say was an event in defense of “election integrity.”

Nonpartisan School Board races may look more partisan when votes come in Tuesday — but maybe not?” via Danielle J. Brown of Florida Phoenix — DeSantis has broken the mold for endorsing candidates in local school board races that would connect to his conservative ideology, though the boards are supposed to be nonpartisan. But now that Primary Election Day is approaching Tuesday, Floridians will see if the high-profile endorsements will add a partisan layer to school boards or keep the long-standing status quo. Over the weekend, DeSantis attended the campaign rallies of several local board races that he has endorsed over the past few weeks. In all, DeSantis has endorsed 30 candidates.

School Board races — party neutral no more. Image via AP.

Hillsborough County school leaders make final push to voters on millage proposal” via Mary O’Connell of WFTS — People in Hillsborough County will be asked to cast their vote Tuesday on a one mil increase to support Hillsborough County Schools. District leaders made a final hour push to voters one day before the Primary Election. Jennifer Hart is a Hillsborough County third grade teacher who’s been in the profession for 18 years. “Teachers are a special breed because they care so much about their job. They will jump through any hoop. They will figure it out. They will make it happen for their students,” said Hart.

Publix heiress funds Florida school board races through Moms for Liberty PAC” via Tess Riski of the Miami Herald — Julie Jenkins Fancelli is helping fund some of Florida’s most competitive school board races. Campaign finance records show that in June, Fancelli donated $50,000 to the Florida-based Moms for Liberty political action committee. Moms for Liberty is a growing parents’ rights group that is mobilized around conservative issues such as mask mandates and classroom instruction materials related to gender and race. The group has garnered support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was the keynote speaker at the Moms for Liberty National Summit last month. The organization has a laser focus on school boards.


Florida did not ban ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ contrary to widely shared claim” via Lydia Nusbaum of Florida’s Voice — DeSantis’ Press Secretary clapped back at a false claim that Florida banned To Kill a Mockingbird in public schools while a California school system pulled the book from its curriculum. “The State of Florida has not banned To Kill a Mockingbird,” Press Secretary Bryan Griffin said. “In fact, Florida RECOMMENDS the book in eighth grade.” “To Kill a Mockingbird” is on the list for Florida’s B.E.S.T standards English Language Arts list. Griffin’s response came after a popular Twitter account tweeted the incorrect information Sunday, which received more than 1,000 retweets.

Nope. Not banned. Recommended.

Results from first ‘intellectual freedom’ survey released — Results from a survey of university students’ political beliefs showed a skew toward liberals, although the survey was completed by just 2% of state university students. As reported by Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida, Republican lawmakers will likely use the survey data to reinforce their concerns that state universities are biased against conservatives. A law passed this year requires the survey be given every year and that the responses be voluntary. It aims to measure so-called “intellectual freedom” on college campuses.

Critics say DeSantis plan weaponizes state workers’ pension fund in an anti-woke crusade” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — DeSantis plans to deploy the $199-billion Florida Retirement System Tuesday to the front lines of a 2022 culture war, midterm election. DeSantis, who has emerged as a leading warrior against what he and his supporters call a woke agenda and “ideological corporate power,” wants to prohibit the state from considering what are known as environmental, social governance (ESG) standards when investing state money in companies. ESG is a 20-year-old movement to encourage corporate responsibility by encouraging investment in companies that have policies addressing issues like climate change, human rights and racial injustice.

—”Teachers afraid, confused as DeSantis politicizes curriculum” via Yahoo News

DeSantis’ election security team probed FL voters for fraud in heavily Democratic counties” via Issac Morgan of Florida Phoenix — Following DeSantis’ new election security office charging 20 Florida residents with felonies connected to alleged voter fraud, state data show those individuals are in Florida’s largest voting strongholds, with about 40 to 48% Democrats in five urban counties. So far, the state’s investigation has resulted in arrests in those populated counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Orange and Hillsborough counties. In all five of those counties, Democrats have much higher voter registration compared to Republicans. Florida voters go to the polls Tuesday for Primary elections.

Assignment editors — Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie and other South Florida leaders will hold a news conference to highlight the 30-year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew: 10 a.m., Homestead Air Reserve Base — Heritage Hall/Falcon’s Nest, 29050 Coral Sea Blvd., Homestead.

Fried: Jeanette Nuñez should apologize or resign for comments on immigrants from Cuba” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Two days after audio of Nuñez discussing plans to move “illegal” Cuban migrants from Florida to Delaware drew sharp censure on social media, Fried is calling on Nuñez to apologize or resign. At a Monday news conference in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Fried again took aim at Nuñez, whom she castigated this past weekend shortly after the clip from Spanish-language radio station WURN made its rounds on Twitter. “What she said was so cruel,” Fried said.

Assignment editors — Fried will hold a press gaggle immediately following the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting: Capitol Courtyard. RSVP to [email protected].

Citizens Property Insurance hits 1 million policies as rates set to increase starting in fall” via Hannah Morse of The Palm Beach Post — Florida’s insurer of last resort has surpassed 1 million policies for the first time since 2013. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. hit the milestone earlier this month, and as of Aug. 12, it stands at 1,005,000 policies. The state-backed government entity was established two decades ago by the Florida Legislature to provide coverage to property owners who cannot find insurance in the private market. “When the market is healthy, Citizens gets smaller as private companies take advantage of good market conditions,” said Citizens spokesperson Michael Peltier. “When the market is in challenging times, we grow.”

He quit under fire from board to aid kids with brain injuries. Now he’s on Florida insurance board” via Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald — Last year, after a searing Miami Herald investigation of a program created to provide health care for children who suffered catastrophic brain injuries at birth, Charlie Lydecker resigned under fire as board chair of the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association. Few expressed regrets at seeing Lydecker, his colleagues on the board, and the executive director, depart as part of a sweeping makeover. Those who considered the changes appropriate included Jimmy Patronis, who said bluntly: “NICA has got to do better.”

Jimmy Patronis says NICA can ‘do better.’ Image via Colin Hackley.

Enrollment in Medicaid continues to grow, but economists predict $1.25B surplus” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Florida’s Medicaid program continues to grow as more residents are expected to turn to the safety net program for health coverage. But despite a projected rise in enrollment, state economists say the growth will not cause a major budget disruption for state legislators this year. Florida economists released their revised projected enrollment and expenditures for the state fiscal year this week. And while enrollment in the program is expected to grow by 5.5%, the panel looking at the numbers agreed there will be a $1.25 billion general revenue surplus.

‘His brain was irretrievably broken’: Florida school shooter was damaged even before birth, defense attorney says” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — His actions were indefensible. Inexcusable, his lawyer said Monday. In an 86-minute opening statement, Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill walked a tightrope, portraying Nikolas Cruz as a victim from the womb, where his prenatal nutrition consisted of “Colt 45, Cisco wine, crack cocaine and cigarettes,” while making it clear that no one is trying to justify the 17 murders he committed on the Parkland campus.

Citing anti-Asian racism, Orange County NAACP President resigns” via Desiree Stennett of the Orlando Sentinel — Less than six months after taking over the post as president of the Orange County branch of the NAACP, Dr. Vanessa Toolsie, the organization’s first South Asian leader, has resigned. She cited ongoing “racist marginalization” from other NAACP leaders and members as her reason for leaving. Toolsie, who was elected as vice president last year, was appointed to the Presidential role in March when former President Tiffany Hughes resigned to run for Florida House District 39 in Orange and Seminole counties.

Pastor at Florida Christian school won’t ‘cower’ to woke ‘TikTokers’ after trans-policy backlash” via Selim Algar of the New York Post — The pastor at a Florida Christian school said he would not “cower” to woke “Tiktokers” amid vicious backlash to school policy that stipulates students will only be referred to by their biological sex assigned at birth. Grace Christian School Pastor Barry McKeen told Fox News that he and his family have received death threats after a recent email reiterating the long-standing policy to parents drew publicity. McKeen said the Valrico school has been forced to hire added security to guard against potential threats.

Brevard attorney group ‘reschedules’ award for Sheriff Wayne Ivey amid election interference allegations” via Eric Rogers of Florida Today — A board member for the Brevard Bar Foundation said its decision to name Sheriff Ivey its 2022 Community Leader of the Year has been “rescheduled,” but would not say if the attorney group was reconsidering Ivey for the award amid allegations the sheriff tried to interfere in local elections, including a county judge race. Melbourne attorney Michael Kahn, the foundation’s treasurer, said on Thursday that the board had voted to “reschedule the award” after allegations from Assistant State Attorney Kimberly Musselman, a candidate for County Court Group 4, surfaced earlier this month.

No award for Wayne Ivey — just yet.

Seven migrants arrive at Ocean Reef, among more than 70 who landed in Keys on weekend” via David Goodhue of the Miami Herald — With the arrival Monday morning of seven people from Cuba on the shores of Ocean Reef, an exclusive gated community and resort in north Key Largo, the number of migrants who made landfall in the Florida Keys since Saturday has topped 75. The group Monday consisted of five men and two women who arrived in a homemade, rustic boat, said Adam Hoffner, division chief for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Miami operations. They told agents they came from Holguin, a city in eastern Cuba, Hoffner said. On Sunday, 41 people arrived in two separate landings in the Keys, Walter Slosar, sector Miami chief Border Patrol agent, said in a statement on Twitter.

Daniel Davis ‘Save the Date’ message suggests he’s launching Jax mayoral run next month” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A “save the date” message sent from the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce suggests that the long-awaited entry of its CEO into the 2023 campaign could be imminent. Multiple sources confirm that CEO Davis will enter the race in early September, with a Save the Date message from the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce confirming a launch for the candidate on Sept. 8 at Tom Nehl Trucking on Jacksonville’s Westside. “Jacksonville grown. Ready to lead” reads the slogan. The color scheme for the campaign is red, white and blue, and the launch image appears to be a red sun over white water.


As Joe Biden turns toward midterms, he may not be the top surrogate” via Matt Viser of The Washington Post — Biden will effectively launch his midterm campaign efforts, attempting to capitalize on one of the best stretches of his presidency and beginning the hard task of persuading voters to keep Democrats in control of the House and the Senate. But he has also been in an uncomfortable position, as an anchor for many candidates. For Biden, who for decades has prided himself on being one of the most sought-after Democratic surrogates, it’s also an unfamiliar position. Several Democratic candidates didn’t say they were opposed to Biden appearing with them in their states. But they weren’t exactly warmly embracing the idea, either.

Joe Biden is not used to being a drag on Democrats. Image via AP.

Dr. Anthony Fauci plans to step down in December after half a century in government” via Yasmeen Abutaleb of The Washington Post — Fauci, the nation’s preeminent infectious-disease expert who achieved unprecedented fame while enduring withering political attacks as the face of the coronavirus pandemic response under two Presidents, plans to step down in December after more than a half-century of public service. Fauci has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He joined the parent agency, the National Institutes of Health, in 1968 as a 27-year-old doctor who had just finished medical residency and was quickly identified as a rising star. Most recently, Fauci has also served as Biden’s chief medical adviser since the start of his administration.

Matt Gaetz targeted by MAGA monster he helped create” via Ja’han Jones of NBC News — Rep. Gaetz has made a career out of pushing conspiracy theories favorable to Trump. Now Gaetz is facing the conspiratorial fury of the MAGA monster he helped create in the conservative movement. Ahead of his GOP Primary race next week, opponent Mark Lombardo’s campaign released an ad that makes a provocative-yet-unproven claim about Gaetz’s relationship with Trump. The ad questions Trump’s support for Gaetz by suggesting the former president may believe Gaetz was the secret informant who helped the FBI get a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.

‘She delivers’: How Debbie Wasserman Schultz became a fixture in South Florida politics” via David Volz of City & State — Schultz, who has basically earned nobility status among the state’s Democrats, seems certain to snag a 10th term in Congress this election. Her secret? A mastery of retail politics, honed over decades, helped secure her political longevity, according to those who support her. “She delivers and really works hard,” says Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr, a longtime supporter. “She is able to get people around the table to talk things over. She listens; she goes to a lot of community events. She has taken some hits over the years, but she has learned from her experiences. She relates well to people. She works well with other levels of government, like City Commissions and state legislators. She is not one to rest on her laurels.”


Donald Trump had more than 300 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago” via Maggie Haberman, Jodi Kantor, Adam Goldman and Ben Protess of The New York Times — The extent to which such a large number of highly sensitive documents remained at Mar-a-Lago for months, even as the Justice Department sought the return of all material that should have been left in government custody when Trump left office, suggested to officials that the former President or his aides had been cavalier in handling it, not fully forthcoming with investigators, or both. The 15 boxes Trump turned over to the archives in January, nearly a year after he left office, included documents from the CIA, the National Security Agency and the FBI spanning a variety of topics of national security interest. Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021, according to multiple people briefed on his efforts, before turning them over.

Donald Trump personally went through boxes of classified documents; not good. Image via Twitter.

Judge leaves open possibility redactions in Trump affidavit could make it ‘meaningless’” via John Wagner of The Washington Post — A federal judge who said last week that he is “inclined” to unseal some of the affidavit central to the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago left open the possibility in a written order Monday that it would be so heavily redacted that releasing it would be “meaningless.” After hearing arguments in court on Thursday, Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart ordered Justice Department officials to submit proposed redactions by Thursday at noon Eastern time. The Justice Department has opposed releasing the document, saying that its investigation is in the “early stages” and that making the affidavit public could chill potential witnesses, risk the safety of those already interviewed and reveal future investigative steps.

Trump files lawsuit challenging Mar-a-Lago search” via Jan Wolfe and Sadie Gurman of The Wall Street Journal — Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking the appointment of a special master to review the materials seized by the FBI during a search of his Mar-a-Lago home and asked a judge to order investigators to immediately stop examining the items. Trump is also seeking a more detailed inventory of the items taken from his private club in Florida earlier this month, as well as the return of any items seized that he says weren’t within the scope of the search warrant. A special master is a third party, usually a retired judge, who reviews evidence to determine whether it is protected by attorney-client privilege, executive privilege, or similar legal doctrines.

Trump’s long shadow keeps 2024 hopefuls from Iowa State Fair” via Thomas Beaumont of The Associated Press — Sen. Ted Cruz raised the roasted turkey leg like a sword in his Iowa State Fair debut in 2014, the up-and-coming conservative joining a half-dozen other Republican presidential prospects in strolling the Grand Concourse. Four years later, almost as many Democrats made the pilgrimage to the fair, including former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who snaked his way past tables under the Iowa Pork Producer’s tent at the annual Midwestern tribute to overindulgence. But as the 2022 fair entered its final weekend, the 2024 traffic was noticeably light.


What if Gwen Graham had been elected Governor in 2018?” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics — As the state prepares for the Primary Election, let’s take a trip in the Way Back Machine. Around this time in 2018, it looked like Graham would be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

Although multiple polls often gave conflicting information, Graham, the daughter of Democratic icon Bob Graham, was peaking at the right time. At least that’s what conventional wisdom indicated.

A week before the Primary, a Florida Atlantic University poll gave Graham a 12-point lead over her closest rival, Philip Levine. What followed, however, showed the folly of presumption.

Then-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the only Black candidate in the race, had a plan. He closed with a last-week blitz in four counties with the highest percentage of Black voters in the state — Duval, Orange, Broward, and Miami-Dade.

It’s worth wondering what Florida would look like today had Graham won that Primary.

It’s pure speculation, of course, but she likely would have run a better campaign than Gillum. And while Trump endorsed DeSantis, it’s worth remembering that independent voters decide these races, and Trump had big issues there.

The odds are good that Graham would have beaten DeSantis. Had that happened, Florida would likely have remained a purple state instead of the crimson-hued place it is today. She would be governing instead of auditioning for a 2024 White House run.


A new poll and ‘threats to democracy’” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — A new survey from NBC News has some sobering results for Democrats who have been growing more optimistic in recent weeks about their prospects in November’s Midterm Elections. The part of the survey that seemed really striking was what appeared to be an extraordinary shift in voter priorities. The question was simple: What is the most important issue facing the country? This is how NBC’s Chuck Todd reported the answer: “For the first time ever, when asked what is the most important issue facing this country, the top answer was not an economic issue. It was threats to democracy — higher than cost of living or jobs or guns or even abortion.” But the “threats to democracy” result is not as clear as it might seem.

Don’t underestimate Demings. She’s got Rubio pegged.” via Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post — Defying expectations in a state trending red, Demings is mounting a strong challenge to Rubio — the polling is tight. She laughs. “I grew up poor, Black and female in the South. I’ve learned to overcome what people think.” She emphasizes the candidates’ contrasting public styles: Rubio, she says, prefers settings that are “very scripted, controlled,” while she will “talk to anyone.” She adds, “It’s a privilege for me to be in the presence of voters. Marco Rubio thinks they’re privileged to be in his presence.” Florida remains an uphill climb for any Democrat. But Demings’s working-class background, law-and-order credentials and feisty demeanor may be more than Rubio anticipated. In a cycle when GOP Senate candidates are struggling, Rubio would be smart to follow Demings’s advice: Don’t relax too soon.

After grand jury report, let voters decide, not DeSantis” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A statewide grand jury, empaneled to investigate spending practices and school safety compliance in Florida school districts, urges DeSantis to remove four of the nine current Broward County School Board members for “acts of incompetence of neglect of duty.” We agree that some board members “need to go,” as the grand jury’s long-awaited report puts it. But one member has left and two more are not seeking new terms.


— ALOE —

This Miami chef got a Michelin star this year. Now he’s opening a new Gables restaurant” via Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald — Chef Jeremy Ford is taking his talents to Coral Gables. The mastermind behind Stubborn Seed in Miami Beach, which earned a Michelin star earlier this year, Ford is teaming up with Grove Bay Hospitality Group co-founders Ignacio Garcia-Menocal and Francesco Balli to open Beauty and the Butcher this fall. He opened Stubborn Seed with them in 2017. The new spot takes over the former space of Public Square on Red Road, which opened in 2020 but is now permanently closed.

The Michelin-starred chef behind Miami’s Stubborn Seed is branching out into Coral Gables.


Celebrating today are U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin, former Rep. Margaret Good, Alexis Lambert, Peggy McKeel, and Peret Pass.


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

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