Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.19.22

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

Good Wednesday morning.

Whether you support Marco Rubio or Val Demings in their race for the U.S. Senate, your opinion probably didn’t change after last night’s debate.

Neither candidate won nor lost, but that probably means Rubio won. After all, he has a strong lead in the polls, and I doubt that will change much. If you went into the debate with a bias for one or the other, you likely heard what you wanted to hear — and didn’t agree with what you heard from the other side.

That’s not a game-changer.

I mean, what was the headline?

Social Security?

Demings attacked Sen. Rick Scott’s plan to sunset — read, possibly cancel — Social Security and Medicare in five years.

Rubio’s rebuttal: “No, that’s not my plan. That’s Sen. Scott’s plan.”

Abortion rights? That was the most contentious exchange of the debate, to no surprise for anyone who supported either candidate’s position.

Rubio stated, “I’m 100% pro-life,” but added that he favors exemptions. He didn’t say what those were.

Demings fought back.

“Senator, how gullible do you think Florida voters are? Number one, you have been clear that you support no exceptions, even including rape and incest. As a police detective who investigated cases of rape and incest, no, Senator, I don’t think it’s OK for a 10-year-old girl to be raped and have to carry the thing of her rapist.”

Rubio countered that Demings attacked a bill Rubio supported that has exceptions.

“She’s talking about extremes; here’s extremes,” Rubio said. “A child that’s born alive after a failed abortion happened 11 times in Florida in 2017. It happened eight times in 2020 — a child of a failed abortion was born alive. We have doctors in America that refuse to treat or provide medical care to a child that’s born alive.”

Demings fought back.

Sparks fly between Marco Rubio and Val Demings.

“What we know is that the Senator supports no exceptions,” she said. “He can make his mouth say anything today — he’s good at that, by the way. What day is it, and what is Marco Rubio saying? I’ve said time and time again, and he knows it, that I support a woman’s right to choose up to the time of viability.”

“We are not going back to a time when women are treated like second-class citizens or like property.”

Well, that encapsulated the abortion rights debate, but — as was famously said by Democratic operative James Carville in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

That will decide this election, which doesn’t bode well for Demings. As a Democrat, she’ll be tied to the economic problems in President Joe Biden’s term.

So, here we are.

Both candidates made their cases, and neither made the Big Gaffe that could turn an election. Only two weeks remain to change hearts and minds.

Did that happen Tuesday night?

It depends on which side you’re on, I guess.


Here are a few other thoughts:

🗳 — Democracy is in peril, but saving it isn’t a priority: More than seven in 10 voters said they thought Democracy is at risk, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll. Yet just 7% said it was the most important problem facing the country. More than a third of independent voters and even a small contingent of Democrats said they were open to supporting candidates who reject the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Among Republicans: 71% said they were open to supporting an election denier. If there’s any good news, it’s this: only a sliver of voters said that violence was the answer. Read more here.

JMI’s 2022 ‘The Journal’: Florida is on a “collision course” with Washington D.C., as this year’s James Madison Institute’s journal theme reflects. The 2022 journal includes 25 articles, opinions, narratives and reflections from industry leaders, policy experts, JMI advisers and staff. The narratives highlight how Florida leaders are staying the course and avoiding the path many progressives would prefer. It also highlights how Florida is at the forefront of national policy and outlines what might be still to come in the Sunshine State. Take a glimpse at the just-released journal here.


Tweet, tweet:

@zacjanderson: “That’s Rick Scott’s plan; he can defend it he can talk about it,” Rubio adds, showing how toxic Scott’s plan has become, and how it is weighing on Republicans. Rubio was very quick to distance himself from it.

@fineout: Fla @SenRickScott puts out a statement praising @marcorubio debate performance & says “Rubio never stops working to represent the best interests of Florida families.” Scott statement doesn’t mention part where Rubio distanced himself from Scott’s Rescue America plan

@Mdixon55: Demings saying “socialist” “crazy” “Marxist” over and over again is going to be a clip coming your way soon … Her intent was to mock Republican attack lines, but context does not matter on these here interwebs

@Scott_Maxwell: In all, Demings came on strong & had a moment on guns that was powerful, probably most memorable of the debate. Rubio remained mostly on defense, but didn’t cower, sounded largely serious. I’m not sure debates change minds in 2022, especially just 1. But Demings came to play.

@WalshFreedom: (Donald) Trump broke Rubio. Rubio is like a shell of a person. Never looks like his heart is into anything. Just going through the motions. Even when he spouts the MAGA bullshit. You can tell he doesn’t believe it. It’s all on him though. Like all the others, he CHOSE to sell his soul.

@MarcACaputo: The Rubio-Demings debate is a real debate — except when the moderator stops them from … debating. Not blaming the moderator. It’s the format, & it sucks here & everywhere. These aren’t debates. They’re joint interviews where debates break out before they’re suppressed

@mmpadellan: Marco Rubio just said “there’s danger in drop boxes” for voting, but he’s perfectly OK with a 15-year-old owning an AR-15. Make that make sense.

@joncoopertweets: BREAKING: The Florida debate moderator just called the Democratic candidate “Senator-Elect Val Demings.”

@ScottFist: No questions on UFOs — excuse me, UAPs. I mean what the hey?

@BillKristol: Fox News poll (in field Oct. 9-12) has Dems +3 on generic congressional ballot. NYT/Siena poll (in field Oct. 9-12) has Reps +3 on generic congressional ballot. GOP reaction/spin: Happy triumphalism. Dem reaction/they don’t know how to spin: Sad defeatism. Truth: A tossup.

@JeremyH418: Pretty stable returns compared to yesterday. @FloridaGOP gained 0.08% on @FlaDems, and now trail by 7.26%. Republicans expanded their turnout rate lead (ballots returned versus sent) by 0.7%, and lead by 3.9%. That enthusiasm gap becomes more significant every day.


Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ release — 2; the Gubernatorial General Election debate — 5; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 6; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 6; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 6; City & State Florida Digital Summit — 8; Early voting begins for General Election — 10; 2022 General Election — 20; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 23; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 23; FITCon 2022 begins — 29; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 29; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 33; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 36; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 45; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 45; 2022 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 47; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 48; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 58; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 74; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 105; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 121; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 122; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 139; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 157; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 181; 2023 Session Sine Die — 198; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 198; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 226; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 275; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 380; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 527; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 583; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 646; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 646; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 688; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 751; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 849; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 926. ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,115.


Val Demings goes on attack against Marco Rubio in Florida Senate debate” via Adriana Gomez Licon of The Associated Press — Rubio and Demings faced questions on topics including inflation, voting rights, gun violence, immigration and foreign policy.

When asked to explain his position on abortion, Rubio skirted a question on whether he would support a federal abortion ban with no exceptions and instead called Demings’ position extreme because she would not say what limits on abortion she would support.

“Every bill I have ever sponsored on abortion and every bill I’ve ever voted for has exceptions,” Rubio said.

“What we know is that the Senator supports no exceptions,” Demings responded. “He can make his mouth say anything today. He is good at that, by the way. What day is it and what is Marco Rubio saying?”

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, Rubio has expressed his personal opposition to abortion in all cases while saying he’d back abortion-restricting statutes that include exceptions. Demings supports abortion access at least until fetal viability and said physicians should be the ones to determine.

Rubio stands to benefit from the widening voter registration advantage that Republicans hold over Democrats in the increasingly conservative state. The rightward shift will likely expand in areas such as Miami-Dade County, home to Rubio.

Rubio also attacked Demings for not passing legislation in Washington, saying all she had done was get two post offices named for police officers who died in the line of duty. Demings angrily rejected his characterization.

“It’s embarrassing that you think that honoring a person who was a hero by naming a federal building after them is nothing,” she said.


Rubio, Demings bring the heat in their only Senate debate” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Rubio and Demings litigated hot-button issues for an hour. After months of going back and forth through ads and interviews, the two finally were able to make their arguments in person, and they made the most of the opportunities from the opening bell to close. One such point of contention: the current affordability crisis. Asked to respond to increasing inflation, Rubio said “the first thing we have to do is stop spending that kind of money,” speaking of pandemic relief packages. “They were warned. The Democrats were warned … if you do this, you’ll fire up inflation.” “The Senator, who has never run anything but his mouth, wouldn’t know anything about helping people and being there for them when they are in trouble,” Demings said, regarding pandemic relief. She added that there were “problems” in the CARES Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program for which Rubio takes credit.

To watch highlights of the debate, please click on the image below:

Demings is just what lazy, anti-abortion Rubio deserves: a fearless challenger” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — Perhaps, for the first time, in his maverick political career. Rubio, master of the gift of gab, is so sure that Florida voters will re-elect him over a Democratic Black woman that he hasn’t taken his challenger as seriously as he should. His confidence stems from the now time-and-election-tested religious and conservative North-South alliance that makes nationalist whites and Cuban American Republicans like Rubio political bedfellows. No such strong coalition exists among Democrats, who are estranged in their strongholds in Central and South Florida and in pockets of red Florida. But if this U.S. Senate race has heft and gravitas it is because Demings has managed to bridge some of the distances between Democrats.

Takeaways from a contentious U.S. Senate debate between Demings and Rubio” via Ana Ceballos, Alex Roarty and Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald — It didn’t take long for the debate to turn contentious. On the night’s second question, about federal stimulus money Congress approved to help withstand and recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Rubio said that Demings’ support for last year’s American Rescue Plan led to a surge in inflation. That earned a sharp rebuttal from the Congresswoman. “The Senator who has never run anything at all, but his mouth, would know nothing about helping people and being there for people when they are in trouble,” Demings said. Rubio responded in turn that Demings has never passed federal legislation despite first winning a seat in the House in 2016. “The Congresswoman likes to talk about helping people,” Rubio said. “She’s never passed a bill. She’s never passed a single bill.”

Five takeaways from U.S. Senate debate between Rubio, Demings” via Zac Anderson of the Tallahassee Democrat — The word “liar” was tossed out a few times, along with plenty of other tough language as Republican Rubio and Demings, met on the debate stage in a heated matchup Tuesday night on the campus of Palm Beach State College. Demings often was on the offensive as she tries to unseat a two-term incumbent and shake up a race where polls show her lagging, in a state that increasingly has trended red. A practiced debater, Rubio deflected on some hot-button issues, such as abortion, and tried to ignore others as he sought to avoid major missteps in the home stretch.

Meanwhile —Neal Dunn, Al Lawson debate who should continue representing North Florida” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — CD 2 features Florida’s only U.S. House race between two incumbents following this year’s redistricting process. The race is also one of only two such races nationwide during the General Election. The debate provided each candidate a level playing field to measure themselves against Republican and Democratic leadership and the needs of the people of North Florida. Dunn, a Republican from Panama City, opened the debate hammering Biden on a “list of failures,” including inflation, the economy, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He promoted Florida’s economic strength under Gov. Ron DeSantis and promised to “turn things around.” Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat, attempted to characterize Dunn as focusing on federal politics while highlighting his history representing North Florida in the Legislature.

— 2022 —

Local leaders hope Ron DeSantis-Charlie Crist gubernatorial debate will put Fort Pierce ‘on the map’” via Olivia McKelvey of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Local leaders here are preparing for what will be the biggest political event at the historic Sunrise Theatre since Hillary Clinton’s campaign stop in 2016. The Sunrise is a nearly-100-year-old venue with 1,200 seats. But next week, it will depart from its typical events as DeSantis and Crist take the stage for their only scheduled debate. The debate is at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24, but it’s closed to the public. People can submit questions for DeSantis and Crist at WPEC-TV is hosting the debate, originally planned for Oct. 12 but postponed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Will the debate put Fort Pierce on the map?

Charlie Crist speaks in West Palm Beach about housing affordability and property insurance” via Kimberly Miller of The Palm Beach Post — U.S. Rep. Crist made a campaign stop in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, touting his determination to cut property insurance costs in Florida and increase the ability of people to pay pandemic-boosted housing prices. Crist was introduced by state Sen. Lori Berman during a hastily called news conference held in a parking lot off North Australian Avenue east of Lake Mangonia. With just three weeks before a Nov. 8 showdown with DeSantis, Crist was eager to criticize what he said is a lack of action by his opponent.

Assignment editors — Fort Myers Council member Teresa Watkins Brown and HD 78 candidate Howard Sapp join Crist campaign staff and volunteers for a Revive the Vote event to fire up and mobilize the Lee County voters ahead of the Midterm Elections: 5:45 p.m., Fort Myers. Location upon RSVP at [email protected].

New Rubio ads spotlight grateful Floridians” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Rubio’s campaign is going live with a trio of spots highlighting what the Senator has done for Floridians. The ads feature first-person narration from grateful constituents who have experienced firsthand Rubio’s “work to get things done for Florida,” according to a release from his campaign. “Gwen and Vera” introduces viewers to two survivors of 2018’s catastrophic Hurricane Michael. “Nothing” features the mother of a cancer survivor who credits Rubio with saving her daughter’s life. “Everglades” introduces viewers to Captain Jimmy and Captain Mike, who credit Rubio with helping to get federal resources to battle red tide and algae blooms.

To watch the ads, please click on the images below:

RPOF backs DeSantis, Ashley Moody, Jimmy Patronis with radio buy — The Republican Party of Florida has spent $85,900 on radio ads supporting the re-election campaigns for DeSantis, Attorney General Moody and CFO Patronis. Media buy tracker AdImpact shows a launch date of Oct. 18 and the end date of Oct. 23 on stations in the Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach media markets. Half of the ad money is heading to Spanish Christian stations, while 43% will go to Tropical stations, 5% will go to Spanish talk radio stations and 2% will go to talk radio stations.

Candidates focus on Latino voters” via Liz Crawford of WTSP — The midterm election is three weeks away and candidates around the state of Florida are hitting the campaign trail hard in a final push to capture as many votes as possible. Tuesday in Tampa at the Republican National Committee Hispanic Community Center, several candidates and volunteers gathered to applaud Republican efforts and inspire others to vote Conservative on Nov. 8. “We can win. There’s no reason we can’t win,” said Sen. Scott who was there in support of other candidates as he is not up for re-election until 2024. The Latino population makes up 21% of eligible voters in Florida.

— MORE 2022 —

Brady PAC endorses four more Florida candidates who back increased gun regulation” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Four more Democratic members of Congress from Florida are now heading into Election Day with a seal of approval from the political arm of Brady: United Against Gun Violence. On Tuesday, Brady PAC announced the endorsement of 14 additional candidates in the 2022 election cycle. Among them: U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Lois Frankel and Darren Soto. They and nearly 200 other candidates the organization is backing this year “will take action when it comes to addressing an issue that affects every American, regardless of where they live,” Brady PAC Interim Executive Director Ashley Lantz said in a statement.

Eric Lynn frustration builds as Anna Paulina Luna skips another debate” via Florida Politics — The Democratic candidate for Florida’s 13th Congressional District is again slamming his GOP opponent for skipping a candidate forum. Lynn, a former national security adviser in the Barack Obama administration, participated in the Council of North County Neighborhoods & Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce forum. His Republican opponent, Luna, did not. “When your views are out-of-touch and too extreme, you hide them,” Lynn Campaign Manager Andrew Bernucca said.

Debates become a source of frustration in the CD 13 race.

Pro-Eric Lynn PAC pumps $1.3M into ads — Progress Pinellas spent another $1,347,399 on ads supporting Democratic nominee Lynn in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. According to AdImpact, the new buy will run ads on broadcast networks in the Tampa media market starting Thursday and continuing through Election Day. Lynn is running against Republican Luna for the Pinellas-based district, which is open this year due to Crist running for Governor rather than re-election. The redrawn district has a GOP edge but is seen as competitive.

Jared Moskowitz crosses $1M in donations, outraises Republican opponent 10-to-1” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Moskowitz’s campaign to represent South Florida in Congress passed the $1 million threshold for money raised, and Republican Joe Budd just hit the $100,000 mark by that same period. It’s a lopsided battle to succeed Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch to represent the district that stretches from Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale, taking in the coastal areas in between, in addition to Coral Springs, Margate and Parkland, as well as parts of Coconut Creek and Oakland Park. Two candidates with no party affiliation are also in the race to represent Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, with their bids garnering minimal support.

Annette Taddeo lampoons María Elvira Salazar for claiming she founded Univision, Telemundo” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Taddeo is lobbing playful ridicule at U.S. Rep. Salazar after the Republican incumbent and former TV journalist asserted that she helped found Spanish-language media giants Telemundo and Univision. Salazar told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that before she entered politics, she founded two of the largest Spanish-language networks in the world, the youngest of which launched before she turned 1. Puerto Rican industrialist and newspaper owner Ángel Ramos Torres founded Telemundo in 1954. American billionaire and philanthropist Jerry Perenchio founded Univision in 1962.

Carlos Giménez outraises Democratic challenger for CD 28 by threefold” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Giménez raised close to $219,000 in the 57 days leading up to Oct. 1, a haul three times the sum his Democratic challenger, Robert Asencio, amassed over the same time span. He also spent $145,000, with large portions of it going to a blend of digital and physical campaign ads. That left him with $1.35 million left to spend before Election Day. Scores of individuals wrote personal checks to Giménez’s campaign between Aug. 4 and Sept. 30. That included a $1,000 check from Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who served South Florida in Congress for nearly 30 years. Other fellow GOP politicians turned out for Giménez in droves to give through their respective political committees.

SD 10: Joy Goff-Marcil challenges Jason Brodeur for competitive seat” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — As investigators continue to probe the “ghost” candidate scheme that has rocked Florida politics during the past two years, Florida Democrats seek to flip a competitive state Senate seat that was at the center of the scandal. Democratic Rep. Goff-Marcil is challenging incumbent Sen. Brodeur, who is trying to distance himself from the scheme that likely helped clear his path to election in 2020. Goff-Marcil, who has served in the House for four years, said she’s seeking to switch chambers because, during redistricting, her Maitland home was drawn into the same House district as her Democratic colleague Rep. Anna Eskamani. The boundary lines for Brodeur’s Senate district changed, too.

Joy Goff-Marcil is taking Jason Brodeur to the mat.

Brodeur controls more than $540K, but when is he going to spend it?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sen. Brodeur may be dealing with nasty headlines, but he’s also flush with cash. As of Oct. 7, the Sanford Republican holds more than $126,000 in his campaign account. And his political committees control more than $400,000 more. Democratic opponent Goff-Marcil, meanwhile, is down to under $20,000 in cash on hand, but that’s a result of stepping up spending as the Nov. 8 election nears. Indeed, when combined with efforts of a political committee, more than $150,000 was spent on the Goff-Marcil’s behalf in just the first week of October, while Brodeur spent next to nothing.

Janet Cruz raises hard, spends big in SD 14 re-election bid” via Florida Politics — Sen. Cruz continues to lead the fundraising game in her bid for re-election, but she’s trailing her Republican challenger in Senate District 14, Jay Collins, in cash-on-hand. Cruz’s Building the Bay political committee has raised more than $1.6 million since winning the seat in 2019 by defeating then-incumbent Republican Sen. Dana Young. That includes more than $139,000 from Oct. 8-14 to her PC. But she retains just about $47,000 in the account after doling out $248,000 during the reporting period, almost all to the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which is helping fund office rent and consulting services for Cruz’s campaign.

Nick DiCeglie PC exceeds $1M raised” via Florida Politics — Rep. DiCeglie’s political committee, The Economic Freedom Committee, has surpassed $1 million raised, according to the most recent campaign finance reporting data covering Oct. 1-7. The committee has now brought in $1.068 million, with $81,500 raised in the first week of October. His campaign for Senate District 18 has brought in another nearly $348,000, bringing his total raised this cycle between the two accounts to more than $1.4 million, about four times as much as his Democratic challenger, Eunic Ortiz. His committee brought in $25,000 each from Rep. Jay Trumbull’s Panhandle Prosperity and Friends of Colleen Burton.

Carlos Guillermo Smith spends six figures on advertising in HD 37” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep. Smith just dropped six figures in spending in under two weeks. Most of that will ensure he has a presence on video screens from now until Election Day. It also substantially cuts into the Orlando Democrat’s cash reservoir a month from Election Day, and Republican opponent Susan Plasencia has a comparable amount ready to spend herself. As of Oct. 7, Smith held $49,998 in cash in his official campaign account. That’s after he spent $136,220 between Sept. 24 and Oct. 7, mostly on advertising through Screen Strategies Media in Fairfax, Virginia. That’s more than half of the $263,732 the incumbent has raised to date for his re-election.

HD 40: Candidates differ on education, abortion” via Natalia Jaramillo of the Orlando Sentinel — Democrat LaVon Bracy Davis is running against Republican Nate Robertson in the House District 40 race, with both candidates pledging to prioritize economic opportunities for small businesses but divided on education and abortion. HD 40 encompasses most of the city of Ocoee, where both candidates live, and parts of Orange County including southern Apopka, Pine Hills and College Park. The newly created HD 40 has a largely Democratic base that has been represented by Democrat state Rep. Kamia Brown, who is now running for the seat of state Sen. Randolph Bracy, Bracy Davis’ brother who is running for Congress.

Audrey Henson political committee transfers $190K to Florida GOP” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — House District 60 opponents Lindsay Cross and Audrey Henson spent big in the last few weeks as the General Election nears. Notably, each of their largest expenditures went to their affiliated state political party. The largest expenditure between the two was not ad production or consulting services. It was a $190,000 donation to the Republican Party of Florida, made by Henson’s affiliated political committee, Friends of Audrey Henson. The large contribution was pulled from the committee’s war chest of $260,350. About 81% of the committee’s total fundraising came from one super PAC, which donated $210,000 at the start of June.

Jen McDonald enters final stretch of campaign with $183K in cash-on-hand” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — McDonald will continue through the final stretch of her General Election campaign with $183,000 cash on hand as she competes with Republican opponent Karen Gonzalez Pittman for the House District 65 seat. McDonald, who did not face a Primary challenger, started the General Election cycle with a strong cash-on-hand advantage. McDonald’s funding comes between her campaign account and affiliated political committee, Bright Future Tampa Bay. Pittman entered the cycle with only $12,493 in cash on hand after a competitive Primary. After several weeks of fundraising and spending, she now has about $49,241 in her pocket.

HD 87: Mike Caruso, seeking third term, faces challenge from West Palm lawyer” via Wayne Washington of the Palm Beach Post — To win a third term in the state House, Rep. Caruso, a Delray Beach Republican, will have to beat back a challenge in House District 87 from political newcomer Sienna Osta, a Democrat who has made abortion and LGBTQ rights a central part of her campaign. “My opponent voted against women’s reproductive rights and against the rights of our LGBTQ+ neighbors,” said Osta, a 35-year-old lawyer. “If elected, I will protect women’s reproductive rights and the rights of our LGBTQ communities.” Osta was referencing HB 5, the legislation that bans abortion after 15 weeks with no exception for rape, incest or human trafficking.

Can a political newcomer topple a two-term lawmaker?

HD 88: Jervonte Edmonds faces challenge from Roz Stevens in bid to keep seat” via Lianna Norman of the Palm Beach Post — Rep. Edmonds is making his second run in House District 88 in less than a year. This time, he’ll face Stevens, a Republican making her first bid for public office. Edmonds, a Democrat, won a Special Election for the seat in March to fill the unexpired term of former state Rep. Omari Hardy. HD 88 is a predominantly Black district that includes parts of Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Park, West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Magnolia Park, Lake Worth, Lantana, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach. The Palm Beach Post performed a criminal-background check on every candidate for state representative, including the incumbents.

Jen Ahearn-Koch, Dan Lobeck and Debbie Trice to face off in Sarasota City Commission at large race” via Anne Snabes of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — On Nov. 8, Sarasota citizens will get to choose their next two at large City Commissioners. Their options include an incumbent (Ahearn-Koch), a former president of the Rosemary District Association (Trice) and a longtime community activist (Lobeck). These candidates were the top three vote-getters of six candidates in the Aug. 23 Primary Election. Voters will choose the two winners for the seats from among the three candidates on Nov. 8. Ahearn-Koch, Trice and Lobeck differ more in their style and demeanor than they do on political issues. They all want the city to scale back its use of administrative review, which is when city staff, not the City Commission, approve development projects.

5 candidates, including 2 incumbents, vie for 2 seats in Cocoa City Council race” via Tyler Vazquez of Florida Today — This year sees two seats on the Cocoa City Council up for grabs in the Nov. 8 General Election. In a city that is undergoing rapid growth, high turnover among municipal staff and concerns over the Indian River Lagoon’s woes, five candidates — including two incumbents — are working hard to win the District 1 and 4 seats. Incumbent Alex Goins will see a three-way race involving Ed Green and Demetrius Thomas in District 1. Lorraine Koss, who currently holds the District 4 seat, will see a challenge from Jennifer Kenny.

Has Vero Beach City Council lost voters’ trust over marina expansion? We may find out Nov. 8” via Ed Killer of Treasure Coast Newspapers — “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” That line is from the 1967 Oscar-winning classic “Cool Hand Luke,” starring Paul Newman and Strother Martin. Luke is a Florida prisoner in constant conflict with the warden, nicknamed The Captain. Luke hears him but refuses to live under his terms and frequently escapes from the camp’s poor living conditions. Poor communication also seems to be the trouble between Vero Beach and the Vero Beach Preservation Alliance. The city is making plans to expand the marina, but many residents disagree with the decisions. The result is a sticky web of distrust residents have in the staff and elected officials.

Will voters kill off the Constitution Revision Commission next month?” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix — In 1968, Florida voters ratified the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) to examine the Florida Constitution once every 20 years for possible changes. It’s met only three times since, but the bitter reaction from politicians to the last CRC incarnation in 2017-18 may land the panel on the political equivalent of death row. The CRC is the subject of a proposed constitutional amendment, Amendment 2, that gives voters the option of whether to abolish it on the Nov. 8 ballot. “I believe that it’s too much power to give to one unelected body,” says St. Petersburg Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who sponsored the 2021 proposal to place the CRC’s future on the ballot this year as a constitutional amendment.

Happening today — Incoming House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, Rep. Andrew Learned and Democratic House candidate Jen McDonald are hosting a joint fundraiser: 5:30 p.m., J.C. Newman Cigar Company, 2701 North 16th St., Tampa.

Happening today:


Florida coastal living reshaped by hurricane housing codes” via Arian Campo-Flores and Deborah Acosta of The Wall Street Journal — Florida’s building code has long been one of the strictest in the U.S. After Hurricane Andrew destroyed tens of thousands of homes in the Miami area in 1992, lawmakers adopted a uniform statewide building code with more stringent construction requirements. The code, which took effect in 2002 and is updated every three years, sets up a minimum standard that local government must adhere to. In the areas of Southwest and Central Florida that fell within the hurricane-force wind swath of Ian, an estimated 69% of housing units were built before 2000, two years before the statewide building code took effect, according to Census Bureau and National Hurricane Center data.

Hurricanes have transformed coastal living in Florida.

A manatee swam into a retention pond after Ian — then water began to recede, FWC says” via Madeleine Marr of the Miami Herald — A manatee trapped in a retention pond in Fort Myers after Hurricane Ian got a lucky break. According to a Facebook post from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency received a call about the sea cow in distress near Billy Creek. A team of marine biologists responded to the area to check on the marine mammal, which was reportedly in good condition. The manatee was apparently able to access the retention pond system during last month’s storm when water levels were high from excessive rain and storm surges. The creature became trapped after the levels began to recede.


After Hurricane Ian: 6 questions with Mississippi official who oversaw Katrina recovery” via Kathryn Varn of the USA TODAY Network — Three days after Hurricane Katrina bludgeoned the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Ashley Edwards hiked 4 miles to see what had become of his house. At just 7 feet above sea level, he knew flooding was a possibility as Katrina strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2005. But he couldn’t have imagined what he found in the aftermath. There was no sign a house had ever been there, not even debris. Edwards, 42, now lives in Biloxi and works as the president and CEO of the Gulf Coast Business Council, but his experiences in the years after Katrina have been top of mind watching Southwest Florida emerge into the fallout from Hurricane Ian.

Corruption, delays and inequities: Cautionary tales from Hurricane Michael serve as lesson” via Tom McLaughlin of the Pensacola News Journal — Four years after Hurricane Michael tore through the Panhandle, reminders of the devastation caused by its Category 5 catastrophic winds and storm surge are plentiful, painting a grim portrait of what lies ahead for tens of thousands of Hurricane Ian survivors. The numbers in those first few months after Michael made landfall on Oct. 10, 2018, in Bay County were staggering: 45,000 structures damaged, 1,500-plus destroyed, 22,000 residents left homeless, 74 people killed (50 in Florida) and an estimated $29 billion in losses. When the winds stopped and waters receded from the third-strongest hurricane in Florida’s history, recovery began nearly immediately. So, unfortunately, did the corruption, claims of inequities and a fight for survival and limited resources made worse by government red tape.

Hurricane Michael cleanup offers some lessons for Ian’s recovery.

Fort Myers Council sides with cops over City Manager in Hurricane Ian pay flap” via Bill Smith of the Fort Myers News-Press — Fort Myers City Council voted to overrule the city manager and give bonus pay to police officers and other public employees who worked long days to keep the city safe and get its services functioning after Hurricane Ian swept through last month. The pay ordered by the City Council Monday night covers the period from Oct. 4, when the state of emergency in the city was lifted, to Oct. 11. The Council turned aside a recommendation from City Manager Marty Lawing who said city procedures provided bonus pay, double pay beyond straight pay and overtime, only during a declared state of emergency.

Need some fresh air? 34 Lee County parks make their return after Hurricane Ian’s wrath” via Samantha Neely of the Fort Myers News-Press — Need to take a break and get a breath of fresh air? Lee County Parks and Recreation announced Tuesday afternoon that more than 30 parks have reopened for the first time since Hurricane Ian hit. After assessing all parks throughout the county, officials have opened 34 locations, 24 with full amenities and 10 with limited amenities.


DeSantis hands out more bonus checks, this time to Sanibel first responders” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Neither wind, nor rain nor a Category 5 hurricane can stop $1,000 bonus checks getting to first responders on Southwest Florida’s barrier islands, some of whom had flooding above their mailboxes when Hurricane Ian struck three weeks ago. DeSantis’ administration started sending out bonus checks to about 100,000 police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel across the state last month. But about 400 checks headed for first responders in Southwest Florida were still in transit when Ian came ashore. DeSantis visited Sanibel Island by boat to hand out the checks in person.

New police footage shows confusion over DeSantis’ voter fraud arrests” via Herb Scribner of Axios — Newly released police body-camera footage obtained by the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald shows how DeSantis’ controversial voter fraud arrests unfolded in August. The police footage shows the level of concern and confusion over who is allowed to vote in Florida. The footage showed the arrest of Tony Patterson. “Why would you let me vote if I wasn’t able to vote?” Patterson asks. “I’m not sure, buddy,” the officer replied. “I don’t know.” Later in the video, the officer, while appearing to speak on the phone with someone else, says: “I’ve never seen these charges before in my entire life.”

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

Even cops thought DeSantis’ voter fraud crackdown was ridiculous” via Josh Fiallo of the Daily Beast — New body-camera footage has shed light on just how ridiculous DeSantis’ recent crackdown on voter fraud truly was, with the involved “suspects” clearly confused and even their arresting officers apologetic. The crackdown, announced Aug. 18 with much fanfare, involved the state’s newly formed Election Crimes and Security Office which has cost $1.2 million and so far arrested a whopping 20 people in a state of 21 million.

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

Christina Pushaw to be deposed in Andrew Warren suspension hearing” via Florida Politics — Pushaw, the firebrand former Press Secretary for DeSantis and current Director of Rapid Response for his campaign, is being deposed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court Northern District Tallahassee Division in the case concerning Warren’s suspension from office. DeSantis suspended Warren, who was elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020, in early August, claiming Warren refused to enforce the law. The decision was based on Warren’s pledge to not enforce Florida’s new law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and another to refrain from criminalizing individuals seeking gender-affirming health care.

New Jersey state Assemblywoman Carol Murphy introduces a resolution condemning DeSantis” via Insider NJ — Murphy introduced a resolution condemning DeSantis for his unjust treatment of documented migrants when he sent 50 asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard via airplane in clear violation of Federal Law. This treatment of migrants emulates human trafficking and this movement of human beings for political gain is inhuman and should be condemned by New Jersey’s General Assembly. Assemblywoman Murphy has worked extensively on several bills to address the growing problem of human trafficking in New Jersey.

Florida providers say young women, violence victims harmed by abortion restrictions” via Nelly Ontiveros Cervantes of the Orlando Sentinel — Asked to explain how Florida’s new abortion laws have impacted her practice, Dr. Shelly Tien shared the story of an abused teenager who came to her north Florida clinic for help — but had to be sent to another state. “She was an incest survivor, and we were not able to care for her because she was past 15 weeks [pregnant],” Tien said. Tien, an obstetrician and gynecologist, told the patient’s story last week at a news conference held by Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida. She is among a chorus of health professionals who say Florida’s 15-week abortion ban and the reversal of Roe v. Wade have disproportionately harmed young women and victims of abuse.

Happening today — The State Board of Education meets: 9 a.m., Caribe Royale, 8101 World Center Dr., Orlando.

Why Florida’s stone crab claw prices are so ‘astronomical’ at start of 2022-23 season” via Phillip Valys of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Eager to crack into fresh stone crab claws with sides of mustard dipping sauce? Be prepared to pay record-high prices again. Mere days into stone crab season, local seafood markets, restaurants and wholesalers say strong weekend winds and lean traps along Florida’s Gulf Coast are limiting supplies of the crustacean delicacy. Meanwhile, inflation is driving up per-pound prices $10 to $20 higher than this time last year, when supply-chain shortages created by the COVID-19 pandemic also caused cost surges.


Joe Biden plots his first piece of post-Midterms legislation: codifying Roe” via Sophia Cai of Axios — Biden will make an abortion rights bill the first piece of legislation he will send to Congress next year if Democrats elect more senators and his party keeps control of the House. With exactly three weeks until Election Day and the renewed pressure of high inflation, Biden is doubling down on making abortion the centerpiece of the midterm elections. Biden will deliver remarks at a Democratic National Committee event, where he will draw a contrast between Republicans “who want a national ban” and Democrats “who want to codify Roe into law,” according to a Democratic official.

Post-election Job One: Codifying Roe v. Wade.

Biden to release 15M barrels from oil reserve, more possible” via Josh Boak and Zeke Miller of The Associated Press — Biden will announce the release of 15 million barrels of oil from the U.S. strategic reserve as part of a response to recent production cuts announced by OPEC+ nations, and he will say more oil sales are possible this winter, as his administration rushes to be seen as pulling out all the stops ahead of next month’s midterm elections. It completes the release of 180 million barrels authorized by Biden in March that was initially supposed to occur over six months. That has sent the strategic reserve to its lowest level since 1984 in what the administration called a “bridge” until domestic production could be increased.

The Fed, staring down two big choices, charts an aggressive path” via Jeanna Smialek of The New York Times — Central bankers had expected to debate slowing down at their November meeting, but a rash of recent data suggesting that the labor market is still strong and that inflation is unrelenting. The conversation about whether to scale back is now more likely to happen in December. Officials may also feel the need to push rates higher than they had expected as recently as September, as inflation remains stubborn even in the face of substantial moves to try to wrestle it under control. While the central bank had penciled in a peak rate of 4.6% next year, that could nudge up depending on incoming data. Rates are now set around 3.1%, and the Fed’s next forecast will be released in December.

Rubio support for repeal drug price negotiating rule angers Democrat who voted for it” via Stephany Matat of the Palm Beach Post — Two Palm Beach County Democrats denounced Rubio’s cosponsorship of legislation they said would void rules allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and that put a ceiling on yearly medication expenses for many seniors. The goal of the Protect Drug Innovation Act, which the Florida senior Senator filed with GOP U.S. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Cynthia Lummus of Wyoming, would “repeal prescription drug price control provisions” of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by congressional Democrats and signed by Biden. But on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel and state Rep. Kelly Skidmore both accused Rubio of making the legislative maneuver to support donors and insurers instead of constituents.


In documents review, special master tells Donald Trump team to back up privilege claims” via Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer of The New York Times — The special master reviewing materials seized by the F.B.I. from Trump’s compound in Florida expressed skepticism on Tuesday about early claims by Trump’s lawyers that certain documents were privileged and thus could be withheld from a Justice Department investigation. In a phone conference, the special master, Judge Raymond J. Dearie of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, complained that the log of an initial batch of documents over which Trump is seeking to claim privilege lacked sufficient information to determine whether the arguments were valid.

Judge tells Donald Trump to show his work.

‘Lives could be at stake’: Trump document review to gauge whether U.S. sources put at risk” via Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson of USA Today — As U.S. intelligence agencies gauge the potential damage from Trump storing hundreds of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, hanging in the balance is the threat to foreign sources of information recruited sometimes over a period of years and at great cost. The documents at Mar-a-Lago were among the country’s most closely held secrets, dealing with human sources of intelligence and information that was supposed to be returned to agencies that provided it. Human sources are typically foreign nationals who risk prison terms and execution for spying on their own governments.

Bob Woodward releasing new audiobook ‘The Trump Tapes’ with eight hours of recorded interviews” via Jamie Gangel, Elizabeth Stuart and Jeremy Herb of CNN — During a December 2019 Oval Office interview with Trump, Woodward asked whether his bellicose rhetoric toward North Korea leader Kim Jong Un had been intended to drive Kim to the negotiating table. “No. No. It was designed for whatever reason; it was designed. Who knows? Instinctively. Let’s talk instinct, OK?” Trump said. “Because it’s really about you don’t know what’s going to happen. But it was very rough rhetoric. The roughest.” Trump then instructed his aides to show Woodward his photos with Kim at the DMZ.

Acquittal of Russia analyst deals final blow to Trump-era prosecutor” via Charlie Savage and Linda Qiu of The New York Times — Igor Danchenko, an analyst who provided much of the research for a notorious dossier of unproven assertions and rumors about Trump and Russia, was acquitted on four counts of lying to the F.B.I. about one of his sources. The verdict was a final blow to the politically charged criminal investigation by John H. Durham, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General William Barr three years ago to scour the F.B.I.’s inquiry into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia for any wrongdoing. Trump and his supporters had long insisted the Durham inquiry would prove a “deep state” conspiracy against him. Durham never charged any high-level government officials.

How will Kanye West, Elon Musk, and Trump’s social media moves shake out?” via Caleb Ecarna of The Hollywood Reporter — Musk, who appears to be moving forward with his precarious deal to buy Twitter, seemed to be basking in the prospect of a changing social media landscape. West, a star rapper, producer, and fashion mogul who now goes by Ye, said Monday that he is planning to buy Parler. The rationale behind Musk and Trump’s investments in social media seems clear as day: Both heavily depend on their online persona to boost their standing as celebrities.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Palm Beach Central leaders disciplined by state after grade-changing investigation” via Giuseppe Sabella of the Palm Beach Post — Years after a grade-changing scandal at Palm Beach Central High School, the Principal, and his former Assistant Principal have agreed to probation with the state Education Department. A 2019 investigation by the school district’s Inspector General found that Principal Darren Edgecomb and then-Assistant Principal Laurence Greenberg raised the grades of at least 11 students without their teachers’ knowledge. The school district allows grades to be changed after report cards are issued, but only under limited circumstances. A teacher can request the grade change and offer a justification, or the principal can change a student’s grade without teacher input, but only with approval from the Regional Superintendent.

CRA takeover? Lake Worth Beach Commission may appoint itself to board, but would it have time to run it?” via Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post — Unlike other cities in Palm Beach County with a Community Redevelopment Agency, Lake Worth Beach Commissioners do not sit on the CRA board. Instead, the city’s seven-member CRA is appointed by the Mayor and four Commissioners and acts independently. But that may be changing. Discussion of a possible takeover of the CRA is on the agenda at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. Three Commissioners — Vice Mayor Christopher McVoy, Reinaldo Diaz and Kim Stokes — have been critical of the CRA and show a willingness to replace the board with themselves. Mayor Betty Resch and Vice Mayor Sarah Malega are adamantly opposed.

St. Lucie County hires search firm for $35K to find Administrator Howard Tipton’s successor” via Olivia McKelvey of Treasure Coast Newspapers — The county will use the same search firm that helped identify Tipton as its County Administrator in 2014 to find his successor now. The County Commission Tuesday unanimously agreed to hire Colin Baenzinger & Associates for up to $35,000 to assist with hiring a new County Administrator by January. Tipton was selected in September to become Town Manager of Longboat Key, a 10-mile-long island in both Manatee and Sarasota counties. His last day here will be Jan. 12. “Institutional knowledge is really an important part of what we do,” said Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky.

The group who found Howard Tipton gets another shot.

Palm Beach State College leaders applaud student tipster to mass shooting threats” via Giuseppe Sabella of the Palm Beach Post — An anonymous Palm Beach State College student filed a tip that led to the arrest of Saul Allain Jean, a fellow student who is accused of making online posts that threatened to carry out a mass shooting and encouraged others to do the same. In a notice to students, college leaders applauded the tipster for helping to stop a potential tragedy. Jean, a 24-year-old Miami-Dade resident, had threatened “one of the college’s campuses,” the message said. But on Monday afternoon, Sgt. Jeanette Rivers, an investigator at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, clarified that Jean made only broad comments about wanting to commit a “massacre.”

Fort Lauderdale fiasco: Auditor shines light on how concert costs ballooned to $500K” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — It was a high-priced Summer concert that drew a chill crowd of R&B fans to Fort Lauderdale’s Mills Pond Park. The $500,000 event — four hours of star-studded entertainment for around 5,000 to 10,000 locals — also served up a sharp warning on how City Hall can blow a budget. City Auditor Patrick Reilly, the man in charge of shining a light on fraud, waste and abuse at Fort Lauderdale City Hall, has uncovered a slew of problems with this year’s Summer Jamz concert. For starters, it cost well over its $152,400 budget. Taxpayers are picking up the tab.

A Broward first grade teacher is accused for the second time of inappropriate touching” via David J. Neal of Florida Politics — A first grade teacher at a Lauderhill school has been charged with lewd and lascivious conduct with a student. The arrest report says detectives were told the teacher had just returned to the classroom after a similar allegation was investigated. Lake Worth Beach resident Damian Francis was arrested Monday, seven months after a student’s complaint that Francis rubbed her legs when she wore a dress or skirt first summoned Lauderhill police to Endeavour Primary Learning Center. He remains in Broward County Main Jail on $65,000 bond. Online court records don’t list Francis’ attorney yet.

For Miami STEM students, new college scholarship fund may help pay for schooling” via Clara-Sophia Daly of the Miami Herald — Spurred by his vision of a technologically-centric Miami, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has teamed up with the Miami Foundation and local universities and tech leaders to fund scholarships for Miami students accepted into a STEM program at one of several South Florida universities. The Venture Miami scholarship program has raised $4.1 million, with $500,000 from the City of Miami; $2 million, cumulatively, from various universities; $1 million from Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel LLC, the hedge fund that is moving to Miami from Chicago; and around $600,000 from other philanthropists, said Linzey Linser, vice president of Community Investments at the Miami Foundation who is in charge of the new scholarship program.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has spent over $1M on Deauville referendum in Miami Beach” via Aaron Leibowitz of the Miami Herald — Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins and the Related Companies real estate firm, has poured over $1 million into promoting a Miami Beach ballot referendum that would pave the way for him to build a new hotel and condo tower at the former Deauville Hotel site, campaign finance reports show. A report issued Friday shows that an entity affiliated with Related contributed $1.05 million between Sept. 9 and Oct. 7 to “YES For A Safe and Strong Future,” a political committee that has flooded Miami Beach voters with mailers, text messages and video ads in recent weeks seeking support for the Nov. 8 ballot question.

Vero Beach lands second passenger airline; Breeze Airways aims to begin flying here in February” via Thomas Weber of Treasure Coast Newspapers — A second airline is planning to offer passenger service in Vero Beach, and it could start as soon as February. After about a year of talks with the airport, Breeze Airways, a Utah-based airline with destinations coast to coast, has told the city it intends to begin passenger service to Vero Beach Regional Airport. Breeze’s first flight would be Feb. 15, according to records obtained by TCPalm. “It could be a good thing for snowbird locations, and how it serves the needs of the citizens of Vero,” said Mayor Robbie Brackett. “And the whole county, for that matter.” Vero Beach Regional Airport first had passenger service with Eastern Air Lines starting in 1935.

Low-cost Breeze Airlines is adding Vero Beach to its routes.

‘Always persevere’: After move from Cuba, YMCA aquatics program director helping others learn to swim” via Alex Kushel of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Yarelis Leon Sosa has made quite an impact assisting youths, adults and seniors at the YMCA of the Palm Beaches in Lake Worth. The Cuban immigrant’s work ethic has been on display as she has ascended in her career. Leon left Cuba and entered the United States in 2015 to join her fiancé. The West Palm Beach resident is now married with two children and is a U.S. citizen. She started as a lifeguard at the YMCA of the Palm Beaches. She has since worked as the aquatics coordinator and currently serves as program director at the Y-Express Aquatics facility. She oversees all fitness and aquatic programming.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Joel Greenberg associate pleads guilty in fraud case days after co-defendant’s death” via Cristóbal Reyes of the Orlando Sentinel — Keith Ingersoll, an associate of Greenberg, pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal fraud charges, admitting he took part in a multistate real estate scheme that scammed an investor for millions of dollars. Ingersoll pleaded guilty to five of 41 charges against him in exchange for cooperation with federal prosecutors. The agreement will next be reviewed by U.S. Senior District Judge Gregory Presnell after Magistrate Judge Embry Kidd recommended it be accepted.

Palmetto charter school went into lockdown after rumor of shooting threat, police say” via Jessica De Leon of the Bradenton Herald — A rumored threat against Manatee School for the Arts overnight caused police to scramble, parents to worry and a brief lockdown of the charter school Tuesday. A parent of a sixth grader reported the social media threat Monday night, Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler said. “Detectives spent a lot of time trying to trace the rumor back to its source, and we are pretty sure we have found it,” he said. “It became pretty clear that it was not a legitimate threat.” The student responsible is likely to face school discipline, Tyler confirmed, but it is still unknown whether they will also face criminal charges.

Hillsborough State Attorney Susan Lopez’s former boss recommended demotion, memo shows” via Tony Marrero of the Tampa Bay Times — A high-ranking prosecutor who supervised Hillsborough State Attorney Lopez when she was a deputy division chief in the office recommended in 2020 that she be removed from that post due to “continuous issues” with her job performance. The memo by Jill Hamel outlined what she saw as ongoing problems with Lopez’s performance from 2018 to early 2020. Hamel was the chief of the felony bureau at the time she sent the memo to her boss and before that was a felony division chief who directly supervised Lopez. The memo listed what Hamel cited as examples of Lopez’s inability to make decisions and prepare for and try cases.

Susan Lopez’s former boss was not a big fan.

In Pinellas Commission race, money abounds with majority at stake” via Jack Evans of the Tampa Bay Times — Pat Gerard is trying to hold on to her seat in a race with pronounced echoes of 2014. She and her challenger, Escot Bus Lines President Brian Scott, have smashed that fundraising record; by October, there was already more than $600,000 tied up in this race. Scott, who called this “an insane amount of money,” said he expected the figure to top $1 million by the time polls close. Outside this race, the Commission lineup for the next two years is already solidified. Three of the Commissioners are Democrats, the other three Republicans.

Hundreds of Osceola residents ask Commissioners to slow growth” via Natalia Jaramillo of the Orlando Sentinel — More than 250 residents this week asked Osceola County for slower growth until area roads have been improved enough to handle it, but Commissioners say their hands are tied by state law. At the center of residents’ complaints during a Commission meeting Monday is the fast pace of high-density development without a corresponding expansion of roads, which they said is causing hours-long traffic congestion. Among the agenda items that angered residents were a plan to build 872 mixed-use homes west of Canoe Creek Road and south of Mildred Bass Road; a plan to build 34 townhomes and 153 parking spaces on Leon Tyson Road; and a plan to build 210 townhomes on Kissimmee Park Road.

Bradenton Council member settles defamation lawsuit, admits to ‘false statements’ during debate” via Ryan Callihan of the Bradenton Herald — City Council member Bill Sanders recently settled a defamation lawsuit and was threatened with another, documents show, just two months after an investigation found he has displayed “abusive and threatening behavior” at City Hall. Sanders paid $175,000 in the settlement with former Bradenton City Council member Bemis Smith, who filed the defamation lawsuit in April 2019, shortly after losing in a landslide to Sanders. Defamation means false statements were made to injure someone’s reputation. In what became a heated campaign, Sanders accused Smith of “running a criminal enterprise,” and several other allegations that led to legal action.

‘A community hero.’ Realize Bradenton’s executive director to retire after 13 years.” via James A. Jones Jr. of the Bradenton Herald — Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton for the past 13 years, announced she is retiring from that role at the end of October to spend more time with her family. “I know that with individuals, organizations, government, and businesses working together that Downtown Bradenton will continue to get better and better. Realize Bradenton and its awesome staff will continue to creatively contribute to make our community the best it can be,” Isham said in an email. “As a downtown resident I will continue to ‘Love Our City’ and be an enthusiastic cheerleader,” Isham said. Karen Corbin, Realize Bradenton director of community partnerships, will assume the role of executive director.

Volusia School veterans Jamie Haynes and Al Bouie vie for District 1 seat” via Danielle Johnson of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Bouie, a retired Volusia County Schools employee of more than 40 years, is attempting to unseat Haynes in the race for Volusia County School Board District 1, which includes DeLand, DeBary and the southwest portion of the county. The election takes place on Nov. 8. In the August primary race, Haynes received 43.43% of the vote, while Bouie pulled in 25.46%, and both emerged from the field of five to head to the runoff. The race, which is technically nonpartisan, is a rerun of the 2018 election, in which Haynes narrowly beat Bouie 52% to 48% to win the seat.

Volusia school veterans Al Bouie and Jamie Haynes face off.

Larry Arrington, former Volusia Manager who established beach driving limits, dies at 72” via Mark Harper of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Beach driving is one of Volusia County’s most distinct features. It’s also one of Its most enduring controversies. Arrington, who as Volusia County Manager in the late 1990s oversaw the establishment of no-driving sections of the beach, died Oct. 5 at age 72 after an illness. He was remembered by Pat Northey, one of the County Council members who hired him in 1995, as “passionate, intelligent, strategic,” and “an idea man.” “He knew how to make things happen,” Northey said. “He knew how to engage Council members as well as outside community members, those in powerful business positions and everyday Joes.”

Report: Man dies after riding Disney World’s PeopleMover; woman goes into labor after ride” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — An elderly Florida man with health issues fainted on the PeopleMover ride last month at the Magic Kingdom and later died. Joseph Masters rode the PeopleMover with his wife, Alice, when he passed out Sept. 25, an Orange County Sheriff’s report said. The report describes the chaos that ensued as the ride kept moving. “She began to panic,” the sheriff’s report said. “She began asking for help and attempted to contact family members who were at the park. As the ride came to its end, Disney staff and security responded to the scene where CPR was initiated.” Masters was taken to Celebration Hospital, where medical staff tried to save his life for 30 minutes.


Three years later, few changes made at Mosquito Control district” via Elaine Allen-Emrich of the Englewood Sun — It’s been three years since Sarasota County Commissioners approved 11 recommendations at the Sarasota County Mosquito Control District. It urged more workers; there are now fewer. It suggested more communication; a citizen’s advisory board has not been re-established — but a task force now exists. It suggested spraying in state lands; that has not happened. Chuck Henry, who heads the Sarasota Health Department and oversees its Mosquito Control District, asked Sarasota County Commissioners in 2016 to dissolve the county’s Integrated Pest Management Advisory Board set up in 2012. The board was made of professionals in the medical, landscape maintenance, pest control, agricultural fields, two residents, an honor student, and a Sarasota County Schools facilities maintenance employee.

Sarasota County’s beach smoking ban postponed” via Barb Richardson of the Englewood Sun — What was to have been a discussion by Sarasota County Commissioners about a ban on smoking on county beaches and in parks was abruptly canceled at its last meeting on Oct. 11. Just before Commissioners launched into the discussion items on their agenda, Commissioner Nancy Detert announced that she wanted to pull the discussion from the agenda. “I think we need some public awareness about it, and this issue will be coming to the Tourist Development Council,” Detert said. “I think we just need to iron out the details and delay and move it until we get our ducks in a row.”

‘A community hero.’ Realize Bradenton’s executive director to retire after 13 years.” via James A. Jones Jr. of the Bradenton Herald — Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton for the past 13 years, announced she is retiring from that role at the end of October to spend more time with her family. “I know that with individuals, organizations, government, and businesses working together that Downtown Bradenton will continue to get better and better. Realize Bradenton and its awesome staff will continue to creatively contribute to make our community the best it can be,” Isham said in an email. “As a downtown resident I will continue to ‘Love Our City’ and be an enthusiastic cheerleader,” Isham said. Karen Corbin, Realize Bradenton director of community partnerships, will assume the role of executive director.

Johnette Isham says 13 years is enough.

How bad was the golf course damage caused by Ian? New report provides details” via Mark H. Bickel of the Fort Myers News-Press — The National Golf Foundation, located in Jupiter, Florida, published a story on Thursday with more details about the damage to golf courses in the Sunshine State and beyond from Hurricane Ian. Hurricane Ian slammed Southwest Florida on Sept. 28. Many have referred to this region as the “golf course capital of the world” with so many people choosing Naples and Fort Myers to visit or retire to because of all of the outstanding golf courses. Southwest Florida is also home to high-profile professional golf tournaments. The LPGA has its traditional season-ending tournament at the Ritz Carlton in Naples. The Shark Shootout is played annually in December at the Ritz Carlton.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates partially reopening with discounted tickets, new exhibit” via Charles Runnells of the Fort Myers News-Press — The Edison and Ford Winter Estates will partially reopen this weekend with discounted tickets and limited access for patrons, the Fort Myers historical site announced Monday. The Estates have been closed since Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida more than two weeks ago. The east side of the grounds will reopen Saturday, Oct. 22, including the museum, Thomas Edison’s former laboratory, the Garden Shoppe, and the museum store. The Caloosahatchee River side of the property — including the former winter homes of the inventor Edison and car manufacturer Henry Ford — is expected to reopen Saturday, Oct. 29. That opening will coincide with a new family-friendly event called the Fall Festival.

‘Very exciting’: Sellers of Fort Myers’ winning Mega Millions jackpot react to news” via Samantha Neely of the Fort Myers News-Press — Before Oct. 14, Anil and Mona Rawal’s largest winning ticket sold at their 7-Eleven on 2980 Colonial Blvd. was an impressive $10,000. Now, it’s a nearly history-making $494 million. One of the winning tickets to Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot was sold at their store in Fort Myers, just weeks after Hurricane Ian’s deadly hit to the region. Just shy of cracking the Top 10 largest jackpots in history, the almost half-billion-dollar lottery tickets were sold in Florida and California. The last big Mega Millions payout was for a single ticket in Illinois, worth the $1.2 billion Mega Millions jackpot on July 29.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Fernandina Beach mayoral campaign a one-sided affair” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — With scant weeks left before Election Day, it appears the next Mayor of Fernandina Beach, a town with a median age of 55, may well be younger than 30. City Commissioner Bradley Bean is one of the Commissioners who are eligible to run for the post, and the only one of two filed candidates who have raised or spent any money on the effort. One of Fernandina’s stranger governing rules is that the Mayor can only be someone who is already an elected Commissioner, but whose seat is not up for election that same year. Current Mayor Mike Lednovich is running for re-election to his Commission seat, and therefore is ineligible to run again for Mayor.

Bradley Bean is ready to become Fernandina Beaches’ first Mayor who is under 30.

Naloxone use doubled in first six months of 2022, now overdose kits are free in Santa Rosa” via Benjamin Johnson of the Pensacola News Journal — The Department of Health in Santa Rosa County has announced that naloxone nasal spray kits are available for free. Naloxone, which is also often called Narcan, is a lifesaving medication used to help reverse the effects of a drug-induced overdose and can be used by non-health care professionals. “Substance abuse continues to be a top health concern for Santa Rosa County. Based on local data, naloxone use doubled in the first six months of 2022,” said Matt Dobson, administrator of DOH-Santa Rosa, in a news release. “Since 2018, deaths from drug poisoning in Santa Rosa County have more than doubled. It’s a growing problem.”

‘Great friend of Destin’: Ken Beaird — ex-Mayor and longtime boat captain — dies at 87” via Tina Harbuck of The Destin Log — Beaird wore many hats during his lifetime — from an Air Force fighter pilot to a Destin charter boat captain to serving as Mayor of Destin. But Beaird, who died Oct. 16 at age 87, was best known as a friend and a friend of Destin. “Ken was a great friend and he loved Destin,” said Destin City Council member Dewey Destin, who served alongside Beaird during his stint as Mayor from 1996 to 2001. “Some of us were lucky enough to be born here, but Ken came here because he loved it.”

Andrew Gillum seeks separate trial, says Sharon Lettman-Hicks’ testimony ‘key to an acquittal’” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — The lawyer for Gillum has asked that he be tried separately from his co-defendant, Lettman-Hicks, so that she can testify in his defense — a move he said is “key” to his acquittal. David Markus, a Miami lawyer representing Gillum, filed a motion to sever the two defendants on Monday, days after attorneys for Lettman-Hicks made a similar request for different reasons. The motions are pending before U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor. Markus wrote that if Gillum and Lettman-Hicks are tried together, she may invoke her Fifth Amendment rights and opt not to testify. If they are tried apart, she would be available to testify on his behalf during his trial, even if she decided not to testify on her own.


Why the economy is the dominant issue for Democrats in the Midterms” via Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Washington Post — As early voting gets started in some states, Republicans are focusing their closing argument on the economy, American voters’ biggest concern and the subject of the majority of GOP ad buys. The Democrats’ closing argument, meanwhile, features abortion, the stripping away of women’s right to choose.

But a recent poll shows economic concerns driving a significant shift of independent voters, including women, toward Republicans. The message to Democrats should be loud and clear: Change course, now. In our era of bitter partisan division, midterm elections tend to be determined by turnout.

So, Democrats are following the conventional wisdom of election campaigning — elevate the issues that favor your side, not the ones that favor the other. With polls showing that voters give Republicans a marked edge on handling the economy, Democrats are focusing on the threat Republicans pose to abortion and to democracy.

In the end, pocketbook issues — the economy, stupid — still dominate elections. While Democrats are right that democracy and justice are on the ballot, they will be able to fend off the assault on both only if they demonstrate convincingly that they stand with working people — and are willing to take on the corporations, entrenched interests, and Republicans that stand in the way.


The real stakes of 2022” via Judd Legum of Popular Information — One thing that is at stake is the future of Social Security and Medicare. There are no Republicans running ads promising massive cuts to these popular programs. But, if Republicans regain control of the House, that’s exactly what they intend to do. Cuts to Social Security and Medicare are extremely unpopular. Recent polling shows that 77% of Americans, including 76% of Republicans, support increasing Social Security benefits. What’s less clear is why the news media is spending so much time talking about crime instead of Social Security and Medicare, even after Bloomberg’s story last week on Republican plans to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Sorry, Democrats. Your House majority is probably cooked.” via Henry Olsen of The Washington Post — Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said her party can maintain control of the House in the midterms. But for that to happen, Democrats would need to win a significant number of Republican-held seats in districts that Biden carried in 2020. That’s highly unlikely. Republicans currently hold 14 seats in districts that Biden won. Winning back some of these is crucial to Democratic hopes. GOP mapmakers also drew five Democrats into heavily GOP seats, depriving them of any realistic chance of re-election.

Ed Hooper: $242M and counting — taxpayer dollars wasted on a Pinellas County pedestrian project” via Florida Politics — The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has agreed to construct an unwanted $242 million pedestrian project in Pinellas County, and I am urging Gov. DeSantis to stop it before it begins. These three tunnels were proposed to make the area safer for pedestrians; however, even if pedestrians did frequent this area, this would not be the solution to safer walkways. It would have the opposite effect. Pedestrian underpasses are not safe and are becoming increasingly known as “Drug Alleyways” among the homeless population, providing a significant safety concern among residents with overpriced and unpassable walkways. I urge DeSantis and FDOT to reevaluate this project and put a stop to it before construction begins. The people of Pinellas County deserve better.

What my mother taught me about Black conservatives” via Jemele Hill of The Atlantic — My mother explains that her political views stem from what she calls a “biblical worldview.” My mother is pro-life, despite raising a daughter who had an abortion. She has told me for years that, as a Christian, she would be going against God if she voted for any candidate who supported a woman’s right to an abortion. My mother’s point of view, though not uncommon among Black people, is widely overlooked in American politics today. Black people aren’t necessarily turned off by conservative ideas. But many of us are turned off by a party that seems to willingly embrace blatant racism and anti-Blackness.


— ALOE —

First ‘Creed III’ trailer pits Michael B. Jordan against Jonathan Majors” via Aaron Couch of The Hollywood Reporter — Jordan is back in the ring in the first trailer for MGM’s Creed III. This time around, Jordan’s Adonis “Donnie” Creed squares off with Majors’ Damian. In addition to being the third installment of the franchise, it also had the added pressure for Jordan as his directorial debut. “Me and him bonded in a way that I never had an opportunity to,” Jordan said during a news conference Monday about working with Majors as a director. “It’s my first time directing that relationship between director and actor. I really understand that now, and it’s a bond that’ll last forever. So just really lucky to have that gentleman by my side.”

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

Space Force: Nice weather for Thursday’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch after a midweek cold front” via Jamie Groh of Florida Today — SpaceX is set to loft another batch of its internet-beaming Starlink satellites to orbit on Thursday, Oct. 20, marking Florida’s 46th launch of the year and the weather should be excellent. The Space Force said in its Tuesday forecast that weather conditions are projected to 90% “go” for the Falcon 9 Starlink mission slated to lift off from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. EDT. A cold front should bring “gusty winds, mostly clear skies and high temperatures struggling to reach the 70s at the Spaceport,” on Wednesday, Space Launch Delta 45 forecasters said.


Celebrating today are Reps. Ramon Alexander and Brett Hage; Tiffany Carr, Hillary Cassel; WFSU-FM’s Tom Flanigan; Jasmyne Henderson, vice president of Legislative Affairs at Indelible Business Solutions, our friend Rick Lindstrom, and Brandon Morales with Sen. Scott’s office.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Joe Henderson, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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