Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 9.26.22

Sunburn Orange Tally (5)
Coffee is for closers. So is Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Good Monday morning.

The Vogel Group and law firm Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak are expanding in Tallahassee with three new hires.

Chad Revis and Josh Pratt are joining the law firm — Holtzman Vogel — while Tori Deal is coming on as Director of Operations for both firms, further adding to the team’s deep political and policy reach across the state.

“The growth on our team is further evidence our firms are thriving. We are thrilled to welcome this remarkable group of young talent.” Vogel Group principal Eileen Stuart said. “They bring an impressive array of experiences and relationships throughout Florida, which we are already successfully leveraging on behalf of firm clients.”

Congrats to Chad Revis, Josh Pratt, and Tori Deal on their moves to law firm Holtzman Vogel.

Pratt most recently served as Deputy General Counsel to Gov. Ron DeSantis, where he managed a wide-ranging portfolio including high-profile litigation, judicial appointments and legislative priorities. He also clerked for Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady and two federal judges.

Revis previously clerked for Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz at the Florida Supreme Court and before that served on Attorney General Ashley Moody’s executive staff, overseeing initiatives on human trafficking and opioids, as well as working as a legal intern at the Republican Party of Florida.

He and Pratt join as associate attorneys at Holtzman Vogel.

Deal joins the team after serving as an executive assistant and adviser to numerous Secretaries at the state Department of Environmental Protection. In this role, Deal advanced the Department’s mission while building relationships with key stakeholders in the natural resources arena. Over the course of her 14 years at DEP, she collaborated directly with policymakers and staff across the entire Florida executive branch.


TS Ian update — Tropical Storm Ian intensified overnight into a hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center, and forecasters expect the storm will be a major hurricane by the end of the day.

The hurricane center on Monday morning also placed Tampa Bay under a hurricane watch and a storm surge watch. Tampa Bay remained firmly in the storm’s forecast cone, though forecasters said there was still a great deal of uncertainty about Ian’s path.

As of 5 a.m. Monday, Hurricane Ian was 90 miles southwest of Grand Cayman and about 315 miles southeast of the western tip of Cuba. Ian was moving northwest at about 14 mph and had sustained winds near 75 mph with higher gusts, the 5 a.m. update from the hurricane center said.


Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@DonLew87: On Matt Gaetz. First, Devlin Barrett writes WaPo story relying on unnamed sources. Next, @MuellerSheWrote expresses ‘serious skepticism.’ Then, the same @DevlinBarrett retweets MSW’s post! And, Joel Greenberg’s lawyer says he’s heard nothing to suggest Gaetz is off the hook.

@DavidGoodhue: Despite the Keys getting farther away from Ian’s forecasted center, Jonathan Rizzo at NWS Key West warns it’s likely to be a huge storm: “This is not the forecast cone of a chihuahua charging to meet you when you get home from work. This is a charging bull.”


Supervisors of Elections vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 10; 22-23 NHL season begins — 11; WPEC televised debate in Florida Governor’s race — 16; deadline to register for General Election — 18; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 22; NBA season tips off — 22; Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ release — 25; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 28; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 29; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 29; City & State Florida Digital Summit — 31; Early voting begins for General Election — 33; 2022 General Election — 43; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 46; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 46; FITCon 2022 begins — 52; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 52; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 56; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 59; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 68; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 68; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 71; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 81; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 97; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 128; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 144; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 162; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 179; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 204; 2023 Session Sine Die — 221; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 221; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 249; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 298; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 403; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 417; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 550; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 669; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 669; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 774; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 952.


Gov. Ron DeSantis urges Floridians to stay alert, prepare for Tropical Storm Ian” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Forecasts now show the storm path for Tropical Storm Ian shifting west toward the Panhandle away from Southwest Florida. But DeSantis stressed a similar message as meteorologists: Essentially, no one knows for sure the eventual path of the storm. “It’s important to point out to folks that the path of this is still uncertain,” DeSantis said at an 11:30 a.m. news conference on Sunday. “The impacts will be broad throughout the state of Florida.”

Ron DeSantis warns Floridians: ‘Don’t get too wedded to the cone.’ Image via AP.

President Joe Biden’s trip to Orlando area postponed due to Tropical Storm Ian” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel —Biden’s scheduled trip to the Orlando area on Tuesday to rally Democrats has been postponed due to the approach of Tropical Storm Ian. Biden had been set to appear at the Harold and Ted Alfond Sports Center at Rollins College in Winter Park, according to organizer Jose Nunez. The event would have also featured comedian Keegan-Michael Key. Charlie Crist, the party’s gubernatorial candidate, was scheduled to appear alongside Biden, but not Val Demings, the party’s U.S. Senate candidate.

NASA stands down from Tuesday launch for Artemis I, holding off rollback decision” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — With the approaching threat of what is forecast to be Hurricane Ian, NASA finally threw in the towel for a launch attempt Tuesday of its Artemis I mission to the moon from Kennedy Space Center. On Sunday, managers indicated they would wait longer before deciding on whether to roll back the massive 5.75 million-pound, 322-foot-tall combination of Space Launch System rocket, mobile launcher and Orion spacecraft to the safety of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Leon County has sandbag sites open ahead of Ian” via WFSU — These sites will be staffed to help quickly fill sandbags. Sand, bags and ties will be available for public use. Residents are asked to take no more than 15 bags: Leon County’s Northeast Branch Library; Apalachee Regional Park; Fred George Park; the intersection of Oak Ridge Road at Ranchero Road. There are two additional self-service sites. Residents must bring their own shovels, and there is a 25-bag limit: Mike Blankenship Skate Park; Northwood Centre.

Yep, it’s that time again. Image via AP.

Even as storm Ian approaches, Cuba focuses on controversial referendum on gay marriage” via Nora Gámez Torres of the Miami Herald — Cuba, which is holding a high-stakes, islandwide referendum on gay marriage and other family rights on Sunday, has downplayed preparations as Tropical Storm Ian approaches, even as projections for the storm have it hitting the western tip of the island as a major Category 3 hurricane Monday night into Tuesday. On its morning advisory, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Ian will intensify rapidly on Sunday and reach major hurricane strength by late Monday when it will reach the island. The center forecasts that western Cuba is at increased risk of facing “significant wind and storm surge impacts.”


Donald Trump and DeSantis: Once allies, now in simmering rivalry with 2024 nearing” via Hannah Knowles and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — The public contrasts and behind-the-scenes tensions reflect how formidable an emerging adversary the Florida Governor has become to Trump, even as the 45th President polls far ahead of the pack in a hypothetical Primary matchup.

At a recent gathering, DeSantis had with a few dozen donors in Arizona, “everyone asked him about 2024,” according to Don Tapia, a donor who attended and who served as an ambassador in the Trump administration. DeSantis, Tapia said, “is building a base with the Trump people,” but, “right now the Republican base is Donald Trump’s base.”

The former President tracks DeSantis’s public appearances and polling numbers, according to his advisers. He has also soured on DeSantis, repeatedly criticizing him and telling advisers: “I made him.”

Trump and his advisers widely expect DeSantis to take him on in 2024, multiple people in the former President’s orbit said. Yet Trump has not been adversarial to the current Governor because he is favored to win a second term as a Republican in Florida, and advisers said they see little value in open animosity. Some Trump advisers said DeSantis has tapped into the conservative zeitgeist on cultural issues in a way that Trump did in 2016 but has struggled to do since leaving office. One Trump adviser said it is not in anyone’s interest for the two sides to be fighting right now.

As 2024 nears, the bromance goes south.

Independents and suburban voters strongly prefer DeSantis over Biden, poll finds” via Eric Daugherty of Florida’s Voice — According to favorability ratings in the latest The Economist/YouGov Poll, DeSantis’ net and total favorability ratings far exceed Biden’s. Recent polls have given DeSantis a strong lead over Democrat Crist, but the latest national poll paints the Governor also with considerable strength nationwide. The poll — which leans Democrat by a staggering 9 points — gives DeSantis an overall net favorability rating of +8, 41% favorable to 33% unfavorable. Among Independents, his position is better, being +11, 38%-27%. Suburban voters like DeSantis even more, 45%-34%.

DeSantis re-election campaign focuses on voters in Florida Republican base” via Arian Campo-Flores and Alex Leary of The Wall Street Journal — In closely divided Florida, gubernatorial candidates usually tack toward the middle in the general election after courting their party bases in the Primary. Not Republican DeSantis. Last week, he sent two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, infuriating immigrant-rights groups, triggering lawsuits and garnering praise from some Republicans and conservative media outlets. DeSantis recently campaigned for conservative GOP candidates in Kansas and Pennsylvania while asserting that Florida has “gotten redder.”

DeSantis is not stopping his migrant charters. And Biden world can’t do a thing about it.” via Oriana Pawlyk of POLITICO — The company that GOP Gov. DeSantis used to send dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard operates charter flights under approvals granted by federal transportation regulators who have almost absolute power to regulate safety in the skies. But there’s probably little the Federal Aviation Administration can do to stop DeSantis from continuing the flights, people familiar with the agency’s legal authorities say — even though Biden and other Democrats have condemned the flights as cruel publicity stunts.

Mysteries, legal challenges follow DeSantis’s migrant flights” via Beth Reinhard, Maria Sacchetti and Molly Hennessy-Fiske of The Washington Post — While DeSantis has embraced his role in staging the flight, arguing that it protected Florida from “negative ramifications” of a border crossing surge, his office has been less clear about the purpose of nearly $1.6 million paid to a contractor, according to state records, and the role of state officials in developing the plan. Post interviews with several migrants paint a picture of a carefully orchestrated, taxpayer-funded operation with little apparent concern for the interests of the migrants caught in the middle. Florida officials began researching Texas’s migrant situation weeks before the flights, and a contractor with ties to the DeSantis administration later handled the efforts.

🤷‍♂️ — Do Americans love migrant flights or hate them? Neither. It’s kind of a gray area. As Kaleigh Rogers and Zoha Qamar write for FiveThirtyEight, public opinion is split on the issue with about two-fifths approving and the same number disapproving. The split reflects a broader divide on immigration in general.

Charlie Crist’s running mate Karla Hernández wants accountability for charter schools” via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — About 50 Volusia Democrats crowded into their headquarters to meet one of the newest faces of the 2022 Florida election. Crist’s running mate, Hernández is president of United Teachers of Dade since 2016 and a first-generation Miami native of Honduran descent. She gave dozens of hugs, posed for countless photos and told of her humble beginnings before launching into politics. “I was raised in a very small house, much smaller than this one. Two bedrooms, one bathroom,” she said.

Karla Hernández leans in on her ‘humble beginnings.’ Image via AP.

Assignment editors — Crist and U.S. Senate candidate Demings will take part in a rally hosted by the Faith in Florida Action Fund. Aramis Ayala, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, also is expected to attend: 7 p.m., New Mount Olive Baptist Church, 400 N.W. Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

— 2022 —

Voters divided amid intense fight for control of Congress, poll finds” via The Washington Post — Heading into the final weeks of the midterm election campaign, Americans are split nationally in their vote for Congress, with Republicans holding sizable advantages on the economy, inflation and crime and Democrats far more trusted to handle the issues of abortion and climate change, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. With control of the House and Senate possibly shifting from Democrats to Republicans in November and the country deeply divided, 2 in 3 registered voters see this election as more important than past midterm campaigns.

Democrats in Florida seek to win over Latinos on gun control” via Adriana Gomez Licon of The Associated Press — Annette Taddeo walked to a podium overlooking Miami’s Biscayne Bay and described to her audience how she had fled terrorism as a teenager in Colombia and now feared for the safety of her 16-year-old daughter at an American public school. A blue and bright orange bus behind the Democratic congressional candidate carried this message in Spanish: “A future without violence.” “Latinos are here because of the American Dream, and it is really hard to do that when you are worried about your kids’ safety,” said Taddeo, a state Senator who is challenging a Republican Congresswoman, María Elvira Salazar.

Annette Taddeo embraces gun control as an issue to appeal to Hispanic voters.

NRA updates grades, endorsements for 2022; DeSantis, Jimmy Patronis earn ‘A+’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The National Rifle Association (NRA) has updated its grades and endorsements for Florida candidates this year. Notably, the organization has not endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for re-election and gave him a “B” grade. Demings, his Democratic challenger this year, earned an “F” grade, so those whose vote is guided by the report card may still favor the incumbent. DeSantis pulled off an “A+” rating with the organization. Crist, DeSantis’ opponent, earned an “F” from the organization. Attorney General Moody earned an “A” and Chief Financial Officer Patronis garnered an “A+,” while respective Democratic challengers Ayala and Adam Hattersley both received failing grades.

Marco Rubio swings through Wakulla County — Rubio held a campaign rally in Wakulla County with grassroots supporters. At the event, Rubio spoke to the crowd about what he has done for Florida in the U.S. Senate, and said it was important to elect Republicans up and down the ballot in November. “I know, like you do, that we live in the greatest country in the history of the world. We also happen to live in the greatest state in the greatest country. And in America, we have this movement on the far Left that has overtaken one of our two major political parties. And if we don’t beat these people, if we don’t stop them, they’ll destroy this country,” Rubio said.

Marco Rubio hits the campaign trail with grassroots supporters in Wakulla County. Image via Marco Rubio campaign.

Demi Busatta Cabrera enjoys best round of fundraising by far this cycle for HD 114 defense” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Republican Rep. Busatta Cabrera collected more than $103,000 between Aug. 1 and Sept. 9 — her best round of fundraising by far to defend the seat representing House District 114 that she won handily two years ago. Her prior best round of fundraising this election cycle was last September when she amassed $67,000. A month and a half before the Nov. 8 election, the freshman Representative from Coral Gables held about $372,000 between her campaign account and political committee, People Above Politics, to fend off her comparatively underfunded challenger, Democratic lawyer Adam Benna.


Pete Antonacci, Florida elections security chief, dies of heart attack” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — Antonacci, a former deputy Attorney General for Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles whom seven Governors of both parties often called upon to fix serious problems in their administrations, died of a heart attack while at work. He was 74. Antonacci gave most of his long career to public service. His latest post was as director of the newly created Office of Elections Crimes and Security, which the Legislature created this year at the prompting of DeSantis.

RIP to Pete Antonacci, who died suddenly this weekend.

Will DeSantis get deposed and questioned on the witness stand?” via Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times — The upcoming federal court battle between suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren and DeSantis, who removed him from office last month, could make for a legal and political spectacle: A sitting Governor running for re-election — and also widely considered to be a 2024 presidential contender — grilled on the witness stand. “I wouldn’t think his lawyers would be excited about the prospect of the Governor being put on the stand, put under oath and questioned about it,” said Scott Tozian, a Tampa attorney who represents judges and lawyers in court and disciplinary matters.

Florida wildlife agency expected to shoot down commercialized turtle breeding proposal” via Julia Coin of Fresh Take Florida — Conservationists are split on a new proposal that would legalize captive, commercial breeding of one of Florida’s flagship species. The state’s wildlife agency was expected to vote against the plan next week over concerns it would make diamondback turtles more attractive to poachers. The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers of Florida wants the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to approve captive breeding to lessen the novelty associated with the species’ current population levels and better prepare for impending habitat loss due to climate change, spokesperson Daniel Parker said. The group represents pet stores and hobbyists. Florida’s coastline houses five of diamondback terrapin’s seven subspecies.


Some Republicans feel uneasy about DeSantis migrant strategy” via Alexander Bolton of The Hill — Some Republican senators are privately expressing misgivings over DeSantis’ provocative decision to ship migrants from Texas to liberal enclaves such as Martha’s Vineyard. GOP lawmakers acknowledge sending planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, where former President Barack Obama recently bought a house, plays well on Fox News, and will likely ingratiate the Florida Governor with Republican Primary voters if he runs for President in 2024. But the idea of shipping migrants thousands of miles across the country to Martha’s Vineyard without any advance notice to local authorities, to make a political point, leaves some GOP lawmakers feeling uncomfortable.

The Martha’s Vinyard migrant stunt is unsettling to many Republicans.

Career prosecutors recommend no charges for Matt Gaetz in sex-trafficking probe” via Devlin Barrett of The Washington Post — Career prosecutors have recommended against charging Gaetz in a long-running sex-trafficking investigation — telling Justice Department superiors that a conviction is unlikely in part because of credibility questions with the two central witnesses, according to people familiar with the matter. Senior department officials have not made a final decision on whether to charge Gaetz, but it is rare for such advice to be rejected, these people told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. They added that it is always possible additional evidence emerges that could alter prosecutors’ understanding of the case.


How a Trump soundtrack became a QAnon phenomenon” via Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Michael Scherer of The Washington Post — A new QAnon song has left Trump advisers grappling with what to do. The melody was the soundtrack to a campaign-style video Trump released in August. But it wasn’t until an Ohio rally last week Saturday when the tune closed Trump’s nearly two-hour speech, inspiring the crowd to respond with raised arms and pointed index fingers, that it broke through as a phenomenon. Trump repeated the performance with the same music to close Friday’s rally in Wilmington, North Carolina A few people in the crowd responded by pointing to the sky or raising their right hands, but it didn’t catch on or last long. The music has been widely described as an anthem for QAnon — and Trump, according to one adviser, will probably use the song again.

Donald Trump plays a QAnon ‘anthem.’ And he is planning to do it again.

Jan. 6 Twitter witness: Failure to curb Trump spurred ‘terrifying’ choice” via Drew Harwell of The Washington Post — An unidentified former Twitter employee testified to the House Jan. 6 committee back in July that the company tolerated false and rule-breaking tweets from Trump for years because executives knew their service was his “favorite and most-used … and enjoyed having that sort of power.” The whistleblower, Anika Collier Navaroli, told The Washington Post in an exclusive interview of the terror she felt about coming forward and how eventually that fear was overcome by her worry that extremism and political disinformation on social media pose an “imminent threat not just to American democracy, but to the societal fabric of our planet.”

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Where are essential workers? South Beach employers can’t retain them in housing crunch” via Rebecca San Juan of the Miami Herald — South Beach employers are struggling to run their businesses due to the inability to hire and retain enough essential workers. They blame the scarcity of talent on the city’s skyrocketing apartment rents and lack of housing workers can afford. Many hospitality and service workers are skipping jobs in South Beach, according to the owners and manager of the luxury condominium Portofino Tower, The Gaythering bar and hotel and Joe’s Stone Crab seafood restaurant.

The push for COVID-19 boosters is on in South Florida — but uptake is slow” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The Fall season is approaching, COVID-19 cases are projected to tick up again, and the uptake for the new booster is strikingly slow. South Florida hospital leaders are concerned. So far, only about 37,000 of Florida’s 20 million eligible residents have received the new bivalent booster shot designed to target the omicron subvariants that have dominated caseloads in Florida in 2022, according to a state health report. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention signed off on updated versions of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s booster shots on Sept. 1, and Florida pharmacies and doctors’ offices began administering them just after Labor Day.

Boosting the need for booster shots in South Florida.

Sara Baxter bets $20K on her PBC Commission bid” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — After one of the costliest Primary elections in Palm Beach County history — with spending reaching over $1 million — Republican Baxter is putting her money down in her bid to represent District 6 on the Commission. Baxter, a real estate agent, added and spent more money in the last month than she has any other month in this election cycle as she prepares to take on Democrat Michelle Oyola McGovern. McGovern spent hundreds of thousands defeating state Rep. Matt Willhite and Sylvia Sharps in the Democratic Primary contest to fill the open seat representing the agricultural swath of Palm Beach County. The General Election promises to be a more modest affair.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Clearwater to host forums on bluff referendum as residents push for passage” via Tracey McManus for the Tampa Bay Times — Over the past 20 years, John Doran has watched most storefronts and streets stay empty in downtown Clearwater while nearby St. Petersburg, Dunedin and Safety Harbor turned their downtowns into success stories. People have blamed decisions by the city government, the location of downtown, and the 47-year presence of the Church of Scientology, with its expanding control of the commercial real estate. The debate has been endless. “Regardless of how we got to where we are, the question is: Do we stay where we are, the status quo, forever, or do we try to make a difference?” said Doran.

Downtown Clearwater struggles while others thrive. Why?

Hillsborough County Sheriff must pay $15M for death of Florida teen outside fair” via The Associated Press — A jury has ordered a Florida Sheriff to pay $15 million to the parents of a teenager who died while trying to cross a highway after being kicked out of the state fair by deputies. The 10-person jury reached its verdict Thursday evening in Tampa federal court in the case of Andrew Joseph III, a Black 14-year-old who was killed on Interstate 4 in 2014 after he was booted from the Florida State Fair following a disturbance involving several teenagers. The jury verdict culminates more than six years of court action. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who could appeal the verdict, issued a statement Friday expressing sympathy for the Joseph family.


Who wins battle between The Players and The Bay over Municipal Auditorium?” via Carrie Seidman of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — When The Players Theatre asked the Sarasota City Commission to grant the 93-year-old nonprofit a long-term lease on the Municipal Auditorium to serve as the organization’s new home, The Bay Conservancy objected and reminded Commissioners its contract with the city for redevelopment of the bay front included promised management control of the adjacent auditorium. The Commissioners sent the two parties to the bargaining table to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution and bid them to return to chambers next month. But those negotiations have resulted in a stalemate.

The Players Theatre seeks a new home. Will they get it?


Tallahassee City Commissioners will hold workshop to ‘hash out’ gun violence spending” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — Tallahassee City Commissioners unanimously voted to hold a public workshop on Oct. 12 to further examine ways to spend $1 million to curb gun violence in the capital city. In April, Commissioners pledged $5 million over a five-year period for “evidence-based programs to prevent and interrupt gun violence.” The workshop vote came after a presentation by city staff explored successful programs in other cities and surveyed Tallahassee’s current efforts to combat rising gun violence rates.

UF students say Kent Fuchs was welcoming president, express hopes for his successor” via Gershon Harrell of The Gainesville Sun — As Fuchs wraps up his final semester as University of Florida president, some students say they appreciate his work in the position but hope his successor will make changes. After seven years of serving as UF’s president, Fuchs plans to leave his administrative role by the end of this year and become a professor within the College of Engineering. Some UF students will miss his eagerness to be involved in the student community. “As a first-generation (student), I feel like he played a great role,” said Megan Wright, a second-year student at UF.

Kent Fuchs was a good UF president, but more needs to be done.


As DeSantis roars ‘onward, Christian soldiers!’ Democrats must get real about religion” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Is America a Christian nation? The United States is a secular nation with no official religion, so the answer is No. But to Republicans such as DeSantis, simplifying the answer to a Yes is a powerful tool. They’ve found a political gold mine in pitting Christians against the so-called evils of the left, gay and transgender people and teachers accused of pushing a “woke” agenda. DeSantis’ flirting with Christian nationalism — the belief that America is in God’s plan and was intended to be a Christian nation — as the Herald recently reported, is not new in GOP politics.


The GOP’s ‘Commitment’ is to total political warfare” via E.J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post — While they were trumpeting their “Commitment to America” on Friday, House Republicans might have told Americans more than they intended about what a GOP majority would mean and the forces it would answer to. But they also gave Democrats some tips about what’s coming their way. Some of the awkward revelations during an event at a factory outside Pittsburgh, including a vaccine skeptic who won loud cheers. Even Rep. Jim Jordan, a hero to the Trumpist far right, thought it wise to take a pass on that one, saying, “I’m not against the vaccines.” Here’s another thing the Republicans made clear: If they take the majority, they plan to use their power to harass the Biden administration with one hearing after another.

The ongoing baby formula shortage is a reminder of a disturbing truth in America” via Alyssa Rosenberg of The Washington Post — Formula might once have been a necessity Americans could take for granted — akin to a utility such as water or electricity. But people’s struggles this year to find a reliable supply are a reminder of a disturbing truth: In a breakdown as broad as the formula shortage has been, even when government and businesses step up to help, individual Americans end up fending for themselves and the babies in their care. Even when a systemic collapse captures public attention, it is individuals who are left to bear the consequences — and to continue shouldering the load when the headlines, and the outrage, move on.

Enough negative attacks. These candidates really don’t have horns” via Gary Yordan of the Tallahassee Democrat — I ran into Kristin Dozier the other day and she didn’t have horns. I mean if you just listen to the campaign being designed to discredit her, I would have bet the farm that she had at least a couple of nubs. But no, she was the same Kristin I had known for years. Go figure. And I saw a picture of John Dailey at a high school football game. He looked pretty normal to me as well. No pitchforks or pointy ears. Amazing. The truth is that despite the extreme rhetoric; it is unfortunate on many levels.

From itching witches to ‘anti-WOKE,’ Lake County exposes a lie” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — The year was 1991. Four of the Lake County School Board’s five members were dumbfounded. Their newest colleague, Pat Hart, wanted to talk about sneezing witches, quacking fathers, and why some books should be banned from school libraries. “We should not be making a witch appear nice to a child. There is no such thing as a nice witch,” Hart said about the book “When Itchy Witchy Sneezes.” Hart’s rant came completely out of left (actually, right) field for the other School Board members, some of whom reacted with outrage. Banning books had not been a major flashpoint of controversy for public schools for decades.


— ALOE —

Florida State returns to AP Top 25 college football poll at No. 23” via Ralph Russo of The Associated Press — Florida State is back in the rankings for the first time in four years. Georgia remained No. 1 and received 55 of 63 first-place votes in the Top 25, presented by Regions Bank. No. 2 Alabama (four first-place votes), No. 3 Ohio State (four first-place votes), No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Clemson all held their places. Florida State’s poll drought was remarkable considering how the Seminoles have been a Top 25 staple since the late 1970s. Florida State’s streak of 211 straight weeks ranked from 1989-2001 is the third longest streak in the history of the poll and its streak of 42 straight seasons appearing in at least one poll from 1977-2018 is fourth all-time. Before the current drought, Florida State had not gone consecutive seasons without being ranked in at least one poll since 1973-77, which was the late Bobby Bowden’s first season as coach.

The Seminoles make a triumphant return to the AP Top. 25. Image via AP.


Best wishes to Brittany Davis Wise, Jessica BakemanCynthia Henderson, Leslie Ingram, and Tanya Jackson.


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.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn