Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.6.22

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Check out your morning rundown of the day in Florida politics.

Good Thursday morning.

Capital City Consulting is bringing on Miguel Abad as a local and state government affairs director.

Abad comes to CCC from Abad & Associates, where he served as a managing partner and provided state and Miami-Dade government affairs and lobbying services, including work on policy issues as well as appropriations and government procurement.

“Miguel is a seasoned public affairs operative,” said CCC Miami managing partner Brian May. “He learned the government affairs game from the inside and understands the public-facing dynamics of our business very well. Miguel is able to build relationships and absorb complex subject matter quickly. Both of those qualities make him very effective at navigating the government affairs process, whether it be local or at the state level. He is going to serve our clients well and be an excellent addition to our team.”

Congrats: Miguel Abad brings his legislative talents to CCC.

“Miguel is the consummate professional. His positive approach to problem-solving and his willingness to lead on difficult issues sets him apart,” said former Senator and current Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rene Garcia. “In my time working with him, Miguel was always someone I could rely upon to get things done. Those qualities will make him an invaluable asset at Capital City Consulting.”

In addition to his experience in the Legislature and in Miami, Abad has firsthand knowledge of the Medicaid and Medicare managed care industry, completing his practicum with the Florida Association of Health Plans. At FAHC, he focused on policy to enhance health care access.

At CCC Miami, he will work alongside Tim Gomez and Felipe Angulo, both of whom previously worked for the Miami-Dade County Commission and in the Mayor’s office.

Abad comes to CCC about three months after the firm announced a major expansion into the South Florida market. The firm, one of the top lobbying shops at the state level, merged with Prodigy Public Affairs of Miami which rebranded as Capital City Consulting Miami.


Former Director of the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s Office of Industry and State Outreach Susan Evans and former Executive Director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Brig. Gen. Bentley Nettles are joining GrayRobinson’s National Alcohol Beverage Practice.

The industry veterans each bring more than three decades of experience working in the alcohol beverage regulatory sector with a keen understanding of state and federal alcohol beverage policy and rule-making standards.

“Both Sue and Gen. Nettles have an impressive background and extensive relationships and are highly regarded in this esoteric area of law. Sue’s regulatory experience and industry relationships combined with Gen. Nettles’ deep experience in the mechanics, logistics, and policy objectives that define the regulator-industry member relationship will be immensely valuable to our clients,” said GrayRobinson Regulated Products Section Chair Richard Blau.

Evans will work as an alcohol beverage consultant in GrayRobinson’s Washington D.C. office, where she will use her experience working with federal agencies to provide the firm’s clients with valuable insight on matters such as federal alcohol labeling, licensing, trade practice and other regulatory compliance responsibilities.

Nettles joins GrayRobinson as an alcohol beverage consultant in the Key West office. He will work with clients on matters involving retail, hospitality, state alcohol labeling, licensing, trade practice and other regulatory compliance responsibilities, with a special focus on Texas regulation and compliance.


Here are a few other items on my radar:

🚔— According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, more than three out of four voters nationwide believe violent crime is a major problem. The results indicate it will be a key issue motivating voters in the Midterms, possibly to the benefit of the many GOP candidates who have been running ads blaming crime on Democrats.

😤— Young women voters are fired up over abortion rights, and new polling shows the bloc is more concerned about abortion rights than they are inflation, crime or immigration — and it’s not even close. As Anne Flaherty writes for ABC News, if their sentiments drive them to the polls, it could very well swing key elections.

🤷‍♀️— Women over 50 are also eager to vote, according to a fresh AARP poll where 94% of respondents said they are dead set on turning out. The catch? Half of them don’t know who they will support in November. The uncertainty is especially pronounced among women who are Hispanic (77%) and Asian American and Pacific Islander (68%).

😰— If the Midterm Elections seem like a major battle for Democrats to hold on to the U.S. Senate, what does that make 2024? Burgess Everett of POLITICO has a one-word answer: “Brutal.” The favorable map this year has kept Democrats’ hopes alive despite headwinds facing the party, but in 2024 there will be 23 Democratic seats on the ballot and only 10 Republican ones.


Tweet, tweet:

@SeungMinKim: (Joe) Biden on rebuilding Florida: “You can’t go back to what it was before. You got to build back better.”

@MaxNordau: “Just saw the first ‘Biden praising (Ron) DeSantis‘ handling of the hurricane proves that DeSantis is a RINO’ take.”

Tweet, tweet:

—@ChefJoseAndres: Welcome to Florida today @POTUS we can report that @WCKitchen has been on the ground reaching the hard-hit communities by car, boat and helicopter from the first hours after #HurricaneIan with more than 30 good trucks, kitchens in Tampa and Fort Myers etc.! #ChefsForFlorida

@JeremyRedfern: @KevinGuthrieFL just announced that all water treatment plants in Lee County are again pushing water. Ahead of schedule. Reminder: @GovRonDeSantis told Director Guthrie that he isn’t allowed to sleep until water and power are restored.

@DWUhlfelderLaw: “Ron DeSantis is saying his opponents are politicizing the hurricane while he’s now calling the State’s Hurricane Relief Fund established in 2004 the Casey DeSantis Disaster Fund.”

Tweet, tweet:

@DaveTrotter101: This AM, @CharlieCrist still isn’t taking the fight to RDS on anything! While I have very strong ethical questions about her and her campaign, I think @NikkiFried would have tried to make this a fight. I’m almost wondering if the Dems picked the wrong candidate.

@DecisionDeskHQ: DDHQ 2022 Forecast Update: (1 of 4) In today’s model release, three U.S. Senate races change ratings. PA moves from Toss Up to lean D, GA from Lean D to Likely D, and OH from Lean R to Toss Up.

@Timodc: ‘We need to get that old bat Mitch McConnell out’ — biggest applause line for Kari Lake today. She is now introducing the guy she wants to replace Mitch, @tedcruz.”

Tweet, tweet:


@ashleevance: “It’s surprising to me that @elonmusk doesn’t flex his unique ability to have a rocket hover over someone’s house more during negotiations”


22-23 NHL season begins — 1; deadline to register for General Election — 6; WPEC televised debate in Florida Governor’s race — 6; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 12; NBA season tips off — 12; Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ release — 15; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 18; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 19; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 19; City & State Florida Digital Summit — 21; Early voting begins for General Election — 23; 2022 General Election — 33; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 36; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 36; FITCon 2022 begins — 42; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 42; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 46; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 49; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 58; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 58; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 61; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 71; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 87; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 118; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 134; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 135; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 152; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 169; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 194; 2023 Session Sine Die — 211; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 211; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 239; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 288; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 393; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 407; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 540; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 659; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 659; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 764; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 942.


During Florida visit, Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis put politics (largely) on hold” via Katie Rogers of The New York Times — President Biden, standing amid the devastation a week after Hurricane Ian slammed into southwest Florida, said on Wednesday that the federal government would provide “every element” of its resources to support the recovery effort.

DeSantis stood near Biden and praised the work the White House had done to pump federal resources into his state “from the very beginning.”

“We have very different political philosophies,” Biden said as he toured the area with DeSantis, putting it lightly. “In dealing with this crisis, we’ve been in complete lockstep.”

In any other political era, such an appearance would have been standard fare. It would not be an open question whether the leader of a state brought to its knees by a natural disaster would actually appear with the visiting President of another political party.

But it took a Category 4 hurricane to temporarily dull the animosity between Biden and DeSantis, two men who share a streak of intense competitiveness but whose ideologies, temperaments and political styles could hardly be more different.

A brief flash of civil partnership may have been what Floridians were looking for as they try to piece their lives back together.

But for those looking for evidence of the tension between them — apparent most recently over the stunt engineered by DeSantis to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard as a way of criticizing the administration over its immigration policy — there were subtle signs that their rivalry is alive and well.

Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis put aside the animosity — for the most part. Image via AP.

Biden, FEMA extend federal reimbursement time frame after Hurricane Ian” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — As Biden arrived in Florida to tour areas devastated by Hurricane Ian, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it will double the time responders can seek federal reimbursements. Biden has already declared a major disaster area in 17 Florida counties, which created a 30-day window for recovery and debris removal to be reimbursed by FEMA. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One that the administration doubled that period. “This administration is committed to building Florida back stronger and more resilient,” Jean-Pierre said.


Storm-related deaths get wildly reported in Florida, but medical examiners make the final call” via Douglas Soule of The Palm Beach Post — The morning after one of the nation’s most powerful hurricanes made landfall, destroying and decimating large swaths of the Sunshine State, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno shocked many when he predicted Hurricane Ian-related deaths would be “in the hundreds” in his southwest Florida community. “While I don’t have confirmed numbers, I definitely know the fatalities are in the hundreds,” he said. He later told reporters only five fatalities had been confirmed and that his agency had no idea how many had died.

Cone of confusion: Why some say iconic hurricane map misled Floridians” via Scott Dance and Amudalat Ajasa of The Washington Post — Amid finger-pointing over what mistakes may have contributed to dozens of deaths during Hurricane Ian, the concept of the forecast cone is being questioned. It simply shows the likely future locations of a storm’s center — that is, the path weather-forecasting models suggest its eye will take over the next three to five days. But many view the cone as indicating that danger is limited to areas within a shaded wedge of the map.

The cone of uncertainty for Hurricane Ian causes a lot of confusion. Image via AP.

Despite DeSantis’ claim, Ian’s cone forecast accurate, experts say” via PolitiFact — Hurricane Ian battered Florida’s southwestern coast on Sept. 28, leaving streets flooded, buildings destroyed and people homeless. Lee County, which includes Cape Coral and Fort Myers, has some of the most extensive damage. Media coverage of the area’s mounting death toll prompted questions about whether Lee County officials gave residents ample notice to evacuate. DeSantis and Lee County Commission Chair Cecil Pendergrass rebuffed the questions on Sunday, saying the data available before landfall did not warrant such a response.

Aid workers have helped thousands in Florida hit by Hurricane Ian. The work is far from over” via Kathryn Varn of Northwest Florida Daily News — Aid workers and volunteers have provided thousands of meals and other help to hurricane survivors, federal emergency management officials and aid organization representatives said Tuesday. But the work is far from over. To give a sense of the scale: the American Red Cross had received more than 7,000 calls for food, water and shelter in the past three days alone, said Brad Kierserman, the group’s vice president of Disaster Cycles Services. The calls come from an area of about 6 million people, he said, 1 million of whom live below the poverty line.

Sanibel Causeway expected to be accessible by end of October” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The Sanibel Causeway is expected to be operational again by the end of October following orders from DeSantis directing the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to prioritize repairs to the destroyed bridge. Roadway repairs are needed so that first responders and Sanibel residents can regain access to the island. The contract for the bridge repair was granted Tuesday. “FDOT has already made tremendous progress on the temporary bridge to Pine Island,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Pine Island reconnected to Lee County mainland” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — State transportation officials have reconnected Pine Island to the Southwest Florida mainland with a temporary road completed three days ahead of schedule. DeSantis announced the development in Matlacha, standing with state agency heads at the site of the completed connection. Emergency crews will soon begin taking advantage of the bridge to continue responding to Hurricane Ian, and the road will open to the public starting late Wednesday. Ultimately, DeSantis said the connection will allow the barrier island’s 9,000 residents to “go about their lives.” “Usually, government will promise and underdeliver,” he added. “Well, here’s an overdelivering, getting it finished ahead of schedule.”

The only road off Pine Island is now restored. Image via Reuters.

Organizations attempt to bring supplies to Pine Island as part of Operation Airdrop” via Phil Fernandez of the Naples Daily News — As part of Operation Airdrop, supplies were to head toward Pine Island on Wednesday from Naples Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian as another attempt was planned to bring goods to the ravaged haven. “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our community, which itself is still recovering from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Ian,” Naples Airport Authority Executive Director Chris Rozansky said. “In one day, the community came together and collected over 15 pallets of critically needed food, water, cleaning supplies and more for the people of Pine Island.” For a week, cars haven’t been able to access the island after the devastation of bridges and roadway by Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian recovery: Hundreds line up for essentials in west Orlando” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Hundreds of cars snaked down Bruton Boulevard spanning close to a mile from the James R. Smith Center, where nonprofits and city officials gave out food, water, diapers and other supplies. For more than two hours, volunteers from the Second Harvest Food Bank, Equal Ground, and the Central Florida Diaper Bank loaded trunks of vehicles with boxes of food, cases of water, baby supplies, and hygiene products, underscoring the lasting impacts of Hurricane Ian beyond flooding and power outages.

Indian River County deputies sent to hard-hit Charlotte County to help after Hurricane Ian” via Corey Arwood of Treasure Coast Newspapers — With reports of roughly 2,500 rescues so far in southwest Florida and a growing death toll from Hurricane Ian, local deputies joined recovery efforts this week in hard-hit Charlotte County, where they expect to stay until they’re no longer needed. Twelve Indian River County Sheriff’s Office deputies traveled to Charlotte County on Oct. 1 in a caravan of patrol cars, SUVs, and trucks hauling boats and RVs. They expect to join in searches, clear debris, enforce curfews and monitor businesses to deter potential looters, Indian River County Sheriff’s Office officials said. “We started off covering the night shift,” said Lt. Joe Abollo, spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office.

The story and long legal battle behind the late-night levee breach text alert in Sarasota” via Melissa Pérez-Carrillo of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Autumn McLeod woke up around 3 a.m. on Saturday to a deputy from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office banging on her bedroom window in Hidden River. The deputy warned McLeod and every other person living in the residential community of impending flooding due to a breach in the levee. She and her husband quickly got up and started packing, gathering their five German shepherds and three kids who are 18, 11, and 7. McLeod and her husband took turns carefully watching their driveway as water crept up the property. They had been following Hurricane Ian and went to bed the night before thinking everything was fine.

United Way launches recover effort in South County, seeks donations” via Barb Richardson of the Englewood Sun — United Way of South Sarasota County has joined the effort with many other organizations to aid those impacted by Hurricane Ian, particularly in North Port, Englewood and Venice. On Monday, the agency launched the Hurricane Ian recovery and relief fund to provide financial resources for individuals and families in the South County region who are victims of the storm. Contributions to this fund are designed to fill the gaps arising from the hurricane and to address community needs as efficiently as possible. “Any contribution, small or large, is immensely appreciated and unites our community for the greater good,” UWSSC President/CEO Barbara Cruz said.

‘It’s not so bad because the weather’s been nice’: Crews restore power for most in Polk County” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger — Lakeland Electric crews, supplemented by workers from seven other states and other municipalities in Florida, have been toiling to repair damages to equipment since last week, when Hurricane Ian passed through with top winds of 78 mph in the Lakeland area. After concentrating first on repairs that would return power to large clusters of residences and businesses, by Tuesday the crews were addressing problems that in some cases affected only a few houses. Overall, more than 450 workers from other utilities have been working to support local crews in Lakeland.

‘Liveaboard’ survived Hurricane Ian on boat in storm-tossed marina; it nearly killed him” via Julia Coin of Fresh Take Florida — Danny Ross has at least three lives. His life was nearly jolted out of him when he was struck by lightning. He came close to taking his last breath after suffering a punctured lung in a car wreck in the ’80s. It almost washed away aboard a boat where Ross sought shelter from Hurricane Ian. With his own 30-foot boat destroyed, Ross now lives in the ruins of his neighbors’ 50-foot yacht. Ross had been determined to ride out the storm alone on his 30-foot boat moored in the shadow of a 3-acre spoil island in the middle of the Caloosahatchee River. He curbed his pride, he said, only because of his family’s constant pleading. “I heard the fear in their voices,” he said.

Riding out Hurricane Ian in a boat is not recommended.

Boat captains, volunteers help barrier island residents with ferry service, supplies” via David Goodhue and Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — The helpers were busy in Southwest Florida on Tuesday. Six days after Hurricane Ian ravaged the area, boat captains and volunteers were offering free boat rides to people who wanted to go to Pine Island, a remote island of roughly 9,000 people that was cut off from the mainland. “It’s not about the money. It’s about mainly getting people away from the island and get needed supplies back there,” said Gary Cullen, 50, a boat dealer from Cape Coral who made dozens of trips back and forth from the mainland Tuesday, ferrying people and supplies.

Citrus crop losses from Ian expected to top 80% in some areas” via Paul Nutcher of The Lakeland Ledger — In addition to the widespread destruction Hurricane Ian left in its wake, the devastating effects of wind and rain also wreaked havoc on Florida’s citrus industry. Ray Royce, executive director of the Highlands Citrus Growers Association, has heard from more than a dozen citrus growers across the citrus growing region who are reporting between 15% to 80% of their fruit has fallen. In some pockets, those losses could be even higher as floodwaters are stubborn to return to lakes and streams and threaten to kill trees.


Son’s images show him rescuing Mom from Ian’s floodwaters” via The Associated Press — In one photo, Johnny Lauder’s 86-year-old mother is in her Florida home, submerged nearly to her shoulders in black murky water, staring straight at the camera, mouth open. In another, she lies just above the waterline on a table, wrapped in sheets to keep warm. In yet another, she’s being pushed through the water in a wheelchair, her rescue nearly complete. The photos were taken after Hurricane Ian made landfall last Wednesday, bringing a powerful storm surge and 150 mph (241 kph) winds. They tell the story of Lauder’s journey to save his mother, Karen Lauder, from the home she refused to leave, despite the family’s pleading.

Hurricane Ian was a lot more than Johnny Lauder and his mom expected. Image via AP.

Island dwellers digging out from Ian’s destruction” via The Associated Press — Following Hurricane Ian’s destruction, many residents on one Florida island have stayed put for days without electricity and other resources while hoping the lone bridge to the mainland is repaired. Pine Island, the largest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, has been largely cut off from the outside world after Ian heavily damaged its causeway and rendered its towns reachable only by boat or aircraft. “We feel as a community that if we leave the island — abandon it — nobody is going to take care of that problem of fixing our road in and out,” Pine Island resident Leslie Arias said as small motorboats delivered water and other necessities.

‘We’re all human beings’: Everblades’ Hertz Arena turns Red Cross mega-shelter after Hurricane Ian” via Mariah Timms of the Fort Myers News-Press — Inside the shelter is a hub of activity. The large space feels much smaller, even when stepping onto the spot that is normally center ice for the Everblades. Rows of cots sit on a floor just above the layer of live ice. The team was expected to report later this month, before the storm turned the space into a mega-shelter. Some of those staying at the shelter reclined on lofty queen-size air mattresses, brought in by Lee County teams before the Red Cross took over full management of the shelter this week, placed in a ring around the outside of the rink and in the hallways circling it.

After taking big hit from Hurricane Ian, coastal resorts and hotels vow to rebuild” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — Across Southwest Florida, coastal hotels suffered a big blow from Hurricane Ian. Many remain shuttered, with no reopening date. Hotels that are closed indefinitely include the well-renowned Ritz-Carlton in Naples and the iconic South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island. “We are assessing the damage and currently the resort is without power, potable water, and accessible roadways. The resort will remain closed until further notice,” Greg Spencer, CEO of Timbers Co., one of the ownership group partners for South Seas, said in a statement. The resort has seen an outpouring of support from its loyal visitors — and it will rebuild.

Will Hurricane Ian cut Florida’s Gulf Coast real estate boom short?” via Bernadette Berdychowski and Rebecca Liebson of the Tampa Bay Times — Hurricanes have always posed an inevitable threat to Florida. But the risk hasn’t deterred the droves of people who have flocked to the state since the start of the pandemic. From Tampa to Naples, the state’s Gulf Coast has become a national real estate hot spot with its alluring beaches and relative affordability compared to larger cities. Out of the Top 10 fastest-growing housing markets this year, half are on Florida’s west coast with Fort Myers holding the top spot.

Myrtle J ‘family’ pulls together after Ian” via Bob Mudge of Sun Newspapers — The residents of Myrtle J Riverside Retreat say the key to surviving and recovering from Hurricane Ian is each other. Through bonfires and singalongs, they had all become family before Ian’s arrival, said Ashley Zachar, who has lived in the small mobile home and RV park along the Myakka River for about a year. “That’s why we rode it out together,” she said. Zachar, who’s seven months pregnant, and her boyfriend, Craig Siringer, were among the people hunkered down in the home of Tony Kimball, who recently inherited an interest in the park from his mother. She said it was her first hurricane. “We held hands and made it through,” Zachar said.

Where to find World Central Kitchen free meal sites in Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian” via Jimmy Geurts of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Those offering aid to Southwest Florida following the devastation from Hurricane Ian include World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit founded by celebrity chef José Andrés that provides meals in the wake of disasters. Initially operating out of Tampa, where the hurricane was predicted to hit harder, World Central Kitchen is transitioning to Fort Myers, preparing free meals distributed at multiple sites in Southwest Florida, served from lunch until sunset. Andrés has been posting updates on social media about World Central Kitchen’s efforts in Lee County and surrounding areas. In a video posted Monday, Andrés displayed their kitchen in Fort Myers at the Minnesota Twins spring training facility Lee County Sports Complex.

World Central Kitchen helps Fort Myers get a hot meal.

One island was left to fend for itself in Hurricane Ian. So this chef got cooking.” via Josh Fiallo and Pilar Melendez of Daily Beast — Just hours after the eye of Hurricane Ian passed over Pine Island off Florida’s southwest coast on Wednesday, Peter Lilienthal was already on the move. Having stayed through the storm, he knew this barrier island of 9,000 would soon be powerless and cut off from the mainland. “We were getting permission from everyone we could, asking if we could go in and raid their kitchens,” said Lilienthal, whose day job is running a food club on the island. “At one spot, we had to crawl through a doggy door to get in and get food out.” Lilienthal was cooking up hamburgers, pork chops and hot dogs to deliver on foot to those who didn’t evacuate.

— 2022 —

Donald Trump again takes credit for lifting Ron DeSantis from ‘3%’ to the Governor’s Mansion” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman released audio from a September 2021 Trump interview for her new book, sound that rehashed Trump’s familiar take that DeSantis would have been stuck at just “3%” in the polls if he hadn’t successfully wheedled an endorsement from the former President in 2018. “He was at 3%,” Trump told Haberman. “But the people of Florida didn’t associate him with the word ‘Governor.’” “They saw him defending me on ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’” Trump added. “But you know, oftentimes you see that, but you don’t say, ‘Oh, he’s going to be Governor of Florida.’” “He came to me, he said, ‘I’d love your endorsement,’” Trump repeated. “I said, ‘Ron, you’re at 3%. You can’t win.’ He said, ‘If you endorse me, I can.’”

Email insights: Democrats dog DeSantis for ‘insurrectionist’ interview” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The Florida Democratic Party is speaking out in the wake of an exclusive interview between DeSantis and a conservative publisher. DeSantis spoke this week to Brendan Leslie of Florida’s Voice, a four-minute conversation denounced by the Democrats as an “exclusive interview to a Jan. 6 insurrectionist.” “If Ron DeSantis thinks politics have no place amidst hurricane recovery, then why on earth is he using now of all times to give an exclusive interview on the ground in hurricane-ravaged Cape Coral to an extremist who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6? That is pure political theater — but apparently, that’s OK when DeSantis does it,” said Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Travis Reuther.

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

With damage at Lee election offices and sites, DeSantis evaluates accommodations” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — While local election offices look to recover, DeSantis says citizens in counties hit hard by Hurricane Ian will be able to vote in the upcoming Midterm Election. The Category 4 storm struck near Cayo Costa State Park in Lee County seven days ago. Now, with less than five weeks until Election Day, officials are grappling with how to accommodate officials and voters for the destructive and deadly cyclone that leveled much of the coastal region. “I want to keep it as normal as humanly possible,” DeSantis said. “I think the more you depart, it just creates problems, but we do have precedent with Hurricane Michael.”

Alan Cohn raised $400K in third quarter for his CD 15 run” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Cohn collected an additional $400,000 for his run for Congress in the third quarter. More than half that came after he secured the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 15th Congressional District. The money comes as Cohn runs in the most closely divided congressional district in the state. The veteran broadcaster and candidate faces Republican Laurel Lee, Florida’s former Secretary of State. Cohn’s campaign said support came from 1,200 individual donors.

Congressional candidate Andrea Doria Kale’s home crushed during Hurricane Ian” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Kale heard the large thud on her roof during Hurricane Ian. She figured a large branch broke off and hit hard. But when she stepped outside hours later, the sight of a large tree leaning on her roof stunned her. “It just sounded like a crunch, and the wind was so loud it was surreal, almost like a hand was put under it to soften the blow,” she said. “I had no idea for hours it was an entire tree over my home. That was terrifying.” Kale still had to stay in her home for days, worried the entire structure would collapse around her, because roads remained completely unnavigable.

Former Florida GOP Chair Al Cárdenas endorses Annette Taddeo for Congress” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Cárdenas, a former Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, would rather see Sen. Taddeo take a seat in the U.S. House than have her incumbent Republican opponent serve another term. He said it’s the first time in four decades he’s backing a Democrat for Congress. “It is important to elect Annette Taddeo. I have met her in many of her roles, and I know how she thinks,” he said. “She puts her country and her state above herself. And to me that’s now a precondition to supporting anyone running for office: Is your country more important than your particular career?”

Cook Political Report shifts CD 27 odds toward Democrats — The Cook Political Report has moved its rating for Florida’s 27th Congressional District from “Likely R” to “Lean R,” indicating the well-regarded elections prognosticator sees a clearer path for Democratic nominee and state Sen. Annette Taddeo to flip the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar. Cook’s ratings define “Likely” as a clear advantage for one party and “Lean” as a small edge, but competitive. The ratings shift comes as both major parties are flooding the district with ads. As of Monday, campaigns and political committees had spent more than $3.1 million in CD 27, which covers a large portion of Miami-Dade County between Miami and Cutler Bay. Spending on the next-costliest race in the region was $834,000.

Eunic Ortiz vows to ‘stand up to corporations’ in new ad for SD 18” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The 30-second ad, titled “Inside,” will be run digitally. The clip is narrated by Ortiz, a Democrat, who lays out her legislative priorities involving gun violence, cost of living and abortion rights. “Here in Pinellas County, we know we live in paradise. But inside our homes and apartments, sometimes it’s a different story,” she starts. Clips then play of different families and individuals facing the challenges she outlines. “The stress caused by political and corporate greed is tearing our lives apart. The skyrocketing cost of living, intrusion into our personal lives and simply not knowing if our kids will get home safely.” She concludes the ad by introducing herself as an educator, organizer and political outsider, who is “ready to bring home solutions.”

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

Faith leaders back LeAnna Cumber for Jacksonville Mayor” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Jacksonville City Council member Cumber’s bid for Mayor picked up a stack of endorsements from area faith leaders this week. The set includes Heritage Christian Center pastors Dr. James White and Dr. Terresa White, Divine Power Missionary Baptist Church pastor Steve Wilson, Thankful Missionary Baptist Church pastor Phillip Mercer and New Beginnings Ministries of Jacksonville pastor Dr. Michael J. Hawk. “In a day when true courage and leadership are needed, we believe LeAnna has the experience, vision, and compassion necessary to move our city forward,” James and Terresa White said.

‘Awkward’: Rep. Allison Tant says she didn’t sign off on Nick Maddox mailer, endorsement” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — At least one person was surprised to see a mailer from Maddox’s re-election campaign featuring an endorsement by Rep. Tant, the Tallahassee lawmaker herself. The advertisement, which recently hit mailboxes, includes a photo of Tant and a quote calling Maddox “a trusted leader with a heart for service.” But Tant, former chair of the Florida Democratic Party who was elected to the House in 2020, said she didn’t know about the mailer or the quote and never approved them. She found out about the mailer on Tuesday after it started making rounds on social media.


Lawmakers poised to approve additional $360M in emergency spending for Hurricane Ian” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Legislators will sign off on spending $360 million in emergency funds to help pay for the rapidly escalating cost of responding to Hurricane Ian. Legislative leaders are calling a special meeting of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission for Oct. 12 to approve the transfer of the money into a special emergency fund that was set up this year to quickly pay for the costs of natural disasters. Lawmakers had already placed $500 million into the fund, but now they are being forced to put additional money into the “Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.”

Education Department reinforces Title IX protections for abortion and pregnancy” via Grace Panetta and Errin Haines of The 19th — The Biden-(Kamala) Harris administration issued fresh guidance Tuesday reinforcing the legal protections for pregnancy and abortion under Title IX as it recognizes the 100-day milestone since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The guidance for higher education institutions reiterates the legal protections against discrimination against pregnancy or the termination of a pregnancy under Title IX. The fact sheet also reminds universities that they must treat pregnancy, childbirth and abortion “the same as any temporary disability” under the health insurance plans they offer to students and faculty.

State agency refutes viral rumor of mass child deaths at Juvenile Detention Center” via Alex Deluca of The Miami New Times — The days following Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic landfall saw rampant misinformation swirl around the internet. After the storm struck on Sept. 28, packing winds of 150 mph and slamming Fort Myers and the surrounding area, conspiracy theories flooded the web like a storm surge. One held that the hurricane was a government-engineered plan to hurt Floridians. Another made absurd claims that all weather is “artificially controlled.” One particularly alarming internet rumor has taken on a life of its own, suggesting that a large group of children died while riding out the storm at a juvenile detention center in Fort Myers.

Assignment editors — The Florida Gaming Control Commission meets: 9:30 a.m., Room 412 of the Knott Building.


Biden’s Operation Warp Speed revival stumbles out of the gate” via Adam Cancryn and Erin Banco of POLITICO — As the omicron wave ebbed earlier this year, top Biden administration health officials began developing a plan to fortify the nation’s defenses against the next potentially dangerous coronavirus strain. Officials planned to churn out increasingly advanced vaccines and treatments just as fast and ahead of other nations. But months later, it’s barely taken off, stymied by fading political interest in prolonging a war against a pandemic that even the President has declared “over.” Mired in a standoff with Republicans over more COVID-19 response money, the administration has yet to invest heavily in any of the promising vaccine targets it’s identified.

Even under ideal circumstances, the next breakthrough in COVID-19 vaccines is nearly two years away.

For Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy, a toxic relationship worsens as elections approach” via Annie Karni of The New York Times — The relationship between Speaker Pelosi and the man who is most likely to succeed her should Republicans win control of the House in next month’s elections is barely civil. As the moment of the possible succession draws closer, she has become less and less interested in masking her contempt for Rep. McCarthy, the top Republican. When asked to respond to McCarthy’s claim that she was not allowing Democrats to speak out about what he described as a crisis at the border, Pelosi said of the minority leader, “I don’t even know what he’s talking about — and I don’t know if he does.”

Push for U.S. sanctions against supporters of Haitian gang violence grows in Congress” via Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald — As support for tough sanctions against Haitian gangs and those financing them grows in U.S. political circles, two Democratic lawmakers want to require the U.S. government to carry out investigations into Haitian political and economic figures and organizations suspected of supporting gang activities in Haiti. The proposed Haiti Criminal Collusion Transparency Act of 2022 is focused on Haiti’s powerful street gangs and would require “a new federal investigation and report into political and economic individuals and organizations supporting criminal gang activity in Haiti.” U.S. Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Florida who currently represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District, is planning to introduce the legislation this week in the House of Representatives.


Mar-a-Lago documents included pardons, emails, legal bills” via Zoe Tillman of Bloomberg — The thousands of documents seized from Trump’s Florida home included a mix of government, business and personal affairs, including analysis about who should get a pardon, call notes marked with a presidential seal, retainer agreements for lawyers and accountants, and legal bills, according to newly disclosed logs created by federal investigators. The detailed lists of seized materials were attached to a recently unsealed Aug. 30 report from the Justice Department. A judge had ordered the logs to stay under seal, but they appeared to be inadvertently posted to the public court docket.

Talk of ‘Civil War,’ ignited by Mar-a-Lago search, is flaring online” via Ken Bensinger and Sheera Frenkel of The New York Times — Posts on Twitter that mentioned “civil war” had soared nearly 3,000% in just a few hours as Trump’s supporters blasted the action as a provocation. Similar spikes followed, including Facebook, Reddit, Telegram, Parler, Gab and Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform. Mentions of the phrase more than doubled on radio programs and podcasts. Posts mentioning “civil war” jumped again a few weeks later, after Biden branded Trump and “MAGA Republicans” a threat to “the very foundations of our republic” in a speech on democracy in Philadelphia.

Talk of civil war heats up online. Image via Reuters.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Seven tornadoes tore through Broward, Palm Beach counties ahead of Hurricane Ian. Kings Point residents still need help” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — While South Florida was largely spared the worst of Hurricane Ian, the storm’s destruction came in the form of seven tornadoes that tore through Broward and Palm Beach counties on Sept. 27. The National Weather Service designated six as EF-1 or EF-0, or weak tornadoes, including one that destroyed planes at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines and another that damaged mobile homes in Davie. But the tornado that ravaged the senior living community of Kings Point west of Delray Beach was an EF-2, the National Weather Service confirmed, a strong tornado not commonly seen in South Florida, let alone one of seven. It lifted the roofs off houses and moved cars down the street.

Deaths of seven Cuban migrants linked to Hurricane Ian, Keys medical examiner confirms” via Omar Rodríguez Ortiz and Grethel Aguila of the Miami Herald — The deaths of seven “suspected” Cuban migrants, whose bodies began emerging near the Florida Keys last week as Hurricane Ian hit the area with destructive winds, are related to the storm, according to the Monroe County Medical Examiner. “We have had 7 deaths — all suspected migrants from a boat that sank during Hurricane Ian,” Tiffany Fridley, District 16 Medical Examiner Office’s director of operations, told the Miami Herald in an email Wednesday. “They are all considered storm-related deaths and have been reported to the state.” Their cause of death is still under investigation, Fridley said. The group consisted of six women and one man, with ages ranging from 19 to 35.”

Hurricane Ian was deadly to migrants in the Florida Keys. Image via Nuevo Herald.


In Miami, Trump says hard-line immigration policies are driving Latinos to the right” via Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Miami Herald — With about a month left until Election Day, Trump touted his administration’s accomplishments as he courted a crowd of conservative Latinos in Miami, home to a growing community of Republican Hispanic supporters in Florida. During his nearly hourlong keynote speech at the America First Policy Institute’s Hispanic Leadership Conference, Trump slammed Biden’s immigration policies and inflation, while emphasizing his support among Latinos. In 2020, Trump’s support among Hispanic voters in South Florida buoyed his numbers throughout Miami-Dade County and ultimately helped him win comfortably in the state.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Week after Hurricane Ian, Sanford struggles with historic flooding” via Martin E. Comas and Amanda Rabines of the Orlando Sentinel — As floodwaters from Lake Monroe continued to swell and flow into downtown Sanford on Wednesday, Tom and Judy Myers had a nervous bride on their hands. The couple owns and operates the popular 520 On The Water events venue on Marina Isle, a peninsula that juts into Lake Monroe near Fort Mellon Park and includes several businesses, an assisted living facility and the city’s marina. The only access road into Marina Isle, however, was under several feet of floodwaters that continued rising a week after former Hurricane Ian plowed through Central Florida with tropical-storm-force winds and a historic deluge of rain.


After ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ a weakened Disney hopes to limit the damage” via Gene Maddaus of Variety — On May 5, two Florida state officials traveled to Orlando to meet with the leadership of Disney’s self-governing district. Two weeks earlier, DeSantis had abolished the district in retaliation for Disney’s opposition to a law that restricts classroom instruction on LGBTQ identity. The two officials went to figure out what the state was getting into. The leaders of the Reedy Creek Improvement District showed them their responsibilities for a 54-megawatt power plant, 65 miles of canals, various roads and pedestrian bridges, and a fire department that handles 35,000 calls a year, largely for heat-related illness, at the Disney theme parks.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ deals Disney a major blow. Image via AP.

Hillsborough sheriff backs transportation sales tax” via C.T. Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times — Hillsborough County’s proposed 1% sales tax for transportation picked up key support Wednesday from Republican Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This investment in fixing our transportation infrastructure will help make everyone safer,” Chronister said in a statement released by All For Transportation, the committee advocating for the referendum. “Supporting an initiative that reduces traffic injuries and fatalities while allowing for faster response times for first responders is smart and I am confident that this plan will help do that,” Chronister said.

After Hillsborough voters removed him from the bench, Jared Smith seeks a DeSantis appointment” via Justin Garcia of Creative Loafing — Voters didn’t want him on the bench, so now a former judge will ask DeSantis for a place in a different courtroom. In August, former Hillsborough Judge Smith lost his re-election to Judge Nancy Jacobs, after he denied a 17-year-old an abortion over grades. That decision was overturned by an appellate court, which found Smith to have abused his judicial discretion. Now, the judge has his sights set on a seat on the newly created 6th District Court of Appeals in Lakeland.


USPS offers mail options for residents impacted by Hurricane Ian” via Samantha Gholar of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The United States Postal Service released an update on mail procedures and changes that could affect residents who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian. USPS is offering two options for mail service for those who have been displaced or are no longer able to occupy their homes due to Hurricane Ian damage in areas across the state. Residents can choose to have their mail held at a local mail office near their current residence. This service is designed for customers who plan to occupy their homes within 30 days. Customers who are unable to occupy their home within the next 30 days are recommended to submit a Change of Address request. Residents should choose the “Temporary” change of address option when filling out the request card.

Despite a hurricane, the mail must go through.

Fort Myers asks residents to conserve water” via WINK News — The City of Fort Myers is asking residents to conserve water. In a tweet, the city said it has restored water to most homes, but it is still working to reconnect water for the last six communities. The city asks residents not to wash cars, fill pools or hot tubs, pressure wash driveways or homes or run sprinkler systems. “Every ounce of water available is needed for our residents,” the city said.

Pets after Hurricane Ian: Happy reunions for some. Others still wait as shelters fill.” via Charles Runnells of the Fort Myers News-Press — Liz Scott and her husband were cleaning up their yard after Hurricane Ian when they noticed their dog Harley was missing. The German shepherd had dug a hole under their Naples fence and just … disappeared. A day went by, and still no Harley. Then two days. “It’s like missing a family member,” Scott says. “I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat.” Then, Tuesday morning, they heard a dog barking. At first, they thought it was their other dog, Shadow, asking to go outside. Nope. They went to the back door, and there was Harley. Hungry but otherwise unhurt. Reunion stories like this have been playing out all over Southwest Florida. But some pets and their owners haven’t been so lucky.


State court finds Punta Gorda sign ordinance unconstitutional” via Frank DiFiore of the Port Charlotte Sun — A city ordinance regarding “obscene language” in signs was ruled unconstitutional in a state court late last month. On Monday, Sept. 26 — just one day before Hurricane Ian was due to make landfall — Circuit Judge Geoffrey Gentile issued a ruling in a civil suit made by Andrew Sheets against the city of Punta Gorda. “This case is about pure political speech in the most public of forums,” Gentile wrote in his opinion. Gentile also ruled against the city in a separate, similar case brought by Richard Massey. As a result of the ruling, approximately $3,000 in total local fines were overturned. Sheets had brought the suit after being cited four times under the code ordinance.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

‘Who’s counting?’: New Baptist hospital 354 days away from move-in” via Benjamin Johnson of the Pensacola News Journal — The new $636 million Baptist Health Care hospital campus on Brent Lane is 354 days away from completion and moving all patients and equipment to its new location. The 57-acre campus at the corner of Interstate 110 and Brent Lane will feature a 10-story, 264-bed hospital, as well as a six-floor medical office building with 162 exam rooms, a conference center for public events and an array of multi-specialty services such as oncology, women’s health and outpatient imaging. “From the chair I sit in, it’s hard for me to believe we’re less than one year away from moving into this campus,” said Mark Faulkner, president and CEO of Baptist Health Care. “In fact, we’re 354 days away, but who’s counting?”

One year away … and counting.

Tallahassee-area home prices rise 1.4% in September, with houses for sale in high demand” via Mike Stucka and Sean Lahman of USA Today Network-Florida — A typical Leon County home was listed for $299,900 in September, up 1.4% from the previous month’s $295,850, an analysis of data from shows. The median list home price in September was up about 16.7% from September 2021. Leon County’s median home was 1,600 square feet for a listed price of $184 per square foot. The Leon County market was busy, with a median of 44 days on market. A month earlier, homes had a median of 38 days on market. The market added 366 new home listings in September, compared with the 418 added in September 2021. The market ended the month with some 817 listings of homes for sale.

Tallahassee Community College adds ‘new and upcoming’ sport to athletics lineup” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat — Tallahassee Community College is joining hundreds of other schools by adding a team in a rapidly growing sports space — esports. The heightened popularity of esports — short for electronic sports — comes along with the increased accessibility of competitive gaming. An esports world championship final in 2021 drew more than 73 million viewers, according to Statista, which is substantially more than the 16.5 million viewers for game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2021. TCC’s team plays on the national level through the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Each event involves a video game competition between two teams in the form of a round-robin tournament, where each competitor plays against every other opponent.

University of Florida partners with Alachua County Public Schools to improve literacy” via Gershon Harrell of The Gainesville Sun — Nearly five years ago, the University of Florida released a study documenting wide racial disparities in Alachua County, including an achievement gap between Black and White students in the county’s public schools that is the largest of any district in Florida. Since that time, UF has worked with Alachua County Public Schools to address that gap. During the 2021-2022 school year, kindergartners in the UFLI Foundations experienced 28.1% growth in reading comprehension and first graders showed 23.4% growth, according to data presented at a School Board workshop. Gains were somewhat lower during the 2020-2021 school year before UFLI. Kevin Berry, director of curriculum at ACPS, said he thinks all the programs have roles in bridging the achievement gap, but UFLI Foundations is critical.

‘We’ll design our own damn sign,’ Fernandina Beach Mayor says of county plans” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — Mayor Mike Lednovich voiced his displeasure with actions by county officials, in a tourism and marketing capacity, taking away what he sees as one of the desirable features about Fernandina Beach. Among other efforts, the planning process for Nassau Next is ongoing. It’s one half of a two-part effort by the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners, the county Tourist Development Council, and their hired consultants. Lednovich became aware of the sign situation after receiving an email forwarded by City Manager Dale Martin regarding the welcome sign at 8th and Lime streets.


DeSantis must be called to account for tricking migrants” via The Washington Post editorial board — Whether or not criminal charges ensue, details that have emerged about how the gambit unfolded could bolster a class action suit on the migrants’ behalf against DeSantis and others.

In the process of executing his airborne political theater, the Governor tapped roughly $1.6 million of the $12 million appropriated by the state Legislature for transporting unauthorized migrants elsewhere. To the Governor’s apparent chagrin, few such migrants have arrived lately in his own state — and an outcry followed the suggestion by Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, in August, that the Governor might ship undocumented Cubans out of state. Hence the migrant recruitment in Texas for flights — arranged with an aviation firm close to DeSantis’ political cronies — satisfied the niceties of state law by touching down in Florida en route to Martha’s Vineyard.

On arriving there, the migrants surprised local volunteer aid organizations, which were given no advance notice but nonetheless greeted and helped the migrants graciously. That gave the lie to DeSantis’ hyperbolic predictions that liberal states would suffer meltdowns should they receive migrants.

Migrants who cross the southern border are not an invading army. They are nearly always individuals and families seeking a decent job at a living wage in a safe and secure place, all of which they lack at home. Those circumstances do not entitle them to a foothold in this country; in fact, relatively few asylum applications are approved by immigration judges. But they do deserve to be treated with civility and dealt with honestly.


The big reason Florida insurance companies are failing isn’t just hurricane risk — it’s fraud and lawsuits” via Shahid S. Hamid for The Conversation — Florida’s insurance rates have almost doubled in the past five years, yet insurance companies are still losing money for three main reasons. One is the rising hurricane risk. But a lot of Florida’s hurricane damage is from water, which is covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, rather than by private property insurance. Another reason is that reinsurance pricing is going up. But the biggest single reason is the “assignment of benefits” problem. It’s partly fraud and partly taking advantage of loose regulation and court decisions that have affected insurance companies. Ian could be one of the costliest hurricanes in Florida’s history. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the companies on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s watch list leave after this storm.

A note from a Sanibel evacuee” via Howard L. Simon for the Tampa Bay Times — First, I need to report that my wife and I (and our two adorable kitties) are among the lucky ones. We evacuated Sanibel Island when Hurricane Ian decided to take a right turn away from Sarasota and Tampa Bay to pay a destructive visit to the barrier islands of Lee County. Thanks to the generosity of friends, we had a safe place off the island to ride out the ferocious winds and storm surge. I’m sure our experience has been replicated. We all feel the generosity and affection of family and friends especially when disaster hits. So many, from around the country, have responded — come stay with us; we have an extra room.

Herschel Walker is nothing more than Rick Scott’s useful tool” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics — By nearly any measure, Walker is unqualified to serve in the United States Senate. In today’s political climate, though, that hardly makes him unique. However, that brings us to Florida’s own Scott, who brushed off allegations from The Daily Beast that Walker paid for his girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009. But now that he’s running for the U.S. Senate from Georgia, a key component of Walker’s platform is that abortion is murder and should be completely banned, even if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. The woman backed up her claims with a signed $700 check from Walker and a receipt from the abortion clinic.


— ALOE —

NASA and SpaceX launch 4 more crew to the space station” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — The SpaceX taxi service from the Space Coast took flight again today with NASA’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. The four-person crew from NASA, Japan and Russia hitched a ride in the Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket that lifted off from KSC’s Launch Pad 39-A just after noon. “That was a smooth ride,” said Crew-5 commander and NASA astronaut Nicole Mann. “You’ve got three rookies that are pretty happy to be floating in space right now and one veteran astronaut who’s pretty happy to be back as well.”

NASA and SpaceX return to the skies. Image via NASA.

At 8 months pregnant, Destin freediver, 40, lands pending world record fish with polespear” via Tina Harbuck of The Destin Log — It’s one thing to be 40 and freediving with a polespear, but to be eight months pregnant and nail a pending world record black drum is a whole other thing. Destin’s Julie Augustine did just that on Oct. 1. “It was crazy, that’s not how I anticipated my day starting, but what an adventure,” Augustine said. Augustine shot a 37.6-pound black drum with a 9-foot Bermudian slip tip polespear while freediving. According to the International Underwater Spearfishing Association, the current record for black drum in the Sling/Polespear Division for a female diver is a 36.3-pounder shot by Lucie Cardet of the U.S. on July 19, 2018.


Celebrating today is a great guy and good friend, Jim Rimes, as well as Mat Bahl, Chief of Staff for House Speaker Chris Sprowls, former House Speaker Allan Bense, Joe Follick, former Pinellas Tax Collector Diane Nelson, and former Sen. Kevin Rader.


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, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

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