Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.10.22

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Good morning: Here's your first look at the issues behind today's Florida politics.

Good Thursday morning.

As if Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t have enough things go his way Tuesday in Florida, voters in many other parts of the country reared up and said they are tired of Donald Trump and all his drama.

Trump’s endorsement was magic four years ago, but not this time. The Mar-a-Lago Menace backed losers like Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania. Tudor Dixon, Trump’s choice for Governor in Michigan, went down. Herschel Walker is behind in Georgia, although that race likely will go to a runoff.

Now that the elections are over, will the fireworks be starting soon?

What does this mean for DeSantis?

Maybe everything. He may have just become the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Trump is the COVID-19 of politicians. No matter how often voters inoculate themselves against him, a new variant of him always pops up, and it’s happening again. The latest is his promise of a “very big announcement” on Nov. 15 about his future.

Gee, whatever could it be?

However, the lying, election-denying, three-timing candidate may find DeSantis a different kind of cat from the sycophant Republicans who kiss his, um, ring.

Say what you will about DeSantis — and I have — he is no sycophant. He won this election without any help from the big guy. And following his smashing re-election win Tuesday, DeSantis has no reason to cower from Trump or any other challenger in 2024.

And given what happened in other parts of the country, DeSantis just got the green light to go for the gold in two years.

Trump cemented DeSantis’ status as a top contender for the GOP presidential nomination by gifting him a nickname — DeSanctimonius.

Actually, that’s clever — and not inaccurate.

DeSantis, of course, has repeatedly brushed aside suggestions that he plans a presidential run in two years. Raise your hand if you believe him. Trump clearly does not.

It will be interesting to see if DeSantis pivots toward more moderate positions in his second term. He spent much of his first four years positioning himself as a culture warrior, making him a darling to many in the GOP. But even though Tuesday’s takeaway was more cracks in the Trump facade, the bigger message could be that voters are tired of the noise.

Trump, of course, continues to spread the lie that forces of darkness stole the 2020 election, a position many GOP candidates parroted. DeSantis didn’t take that bait unless you want to count his silly election police force as at least a nibble at the hook.

DeSantis might be the Republicans’ Next Big Thing, but he’ll still need support from the middle. You don’t get that by banning books and picking fights with Disney.

Trump clearly believes DeSantis owes him fealty for the endorsement that powered DeSantis to victory in the 2018 Governor’s race. But among other things, DeSantis is foremost a cutthroat politician. Trump may have created him but finds it impossible to control him.

So, with the formality of this election over and done, we await the main event. Get your popcorn ready.



This time, it’s personal.


🧐 — National takeaways from Election Night: While Florida saw a red tsunami within its borders, the rest of the nation didn’t experience the wave that was expected. As New York Times Politics Editor Blake Hounshell notes in his five takeaways from Tuesday night, voter turnout exceeded expectations, which helped Democrats hold on in areas they feared upsets; abortion did indeed make a difference at the ballot box; Trump didn’t trump in many races; inflation dominated, and it’s clear now the country is as divided as ever. The Trump phenomenon is perhaps the most interesting, as his insertion into the Midterms by propping up extreme candidates may have hampered overall GOP performance.

🔮 — Outside the crystal ball: Sabato’s Crystal Ball Managing Editor Kyle Kondik put together an insightful analysis of nationwide results from this year’s Midterm Election. He notes, as have others, that “the GOP’s lack of discipline in candidate selection cost them a number of races,” an outcome that saw Republicans enjoy red-wave activity in some states, like Florida, but Democrats showing “impressive strength” in much of the nation. Read more here.


@Redistrict: Well, that was the craziest Election Night I’ve ever seen.

@DavidAFrench: Turns out the GOP base actually needed some of the folks that it mocked, scorned, and bullied right out the party.

@EricLDaugh: Serious question for @NateSilver538. I get there’s outliers. I understand there are mistakes. This poll was just a week or so before the election from “The Listener Group” and it had (Charlie) Crist winning by 7. DeSantis won by 19.5. That’s a 26.5% “error.” You gonna ban them?

@JayObTV: (Joe) BIDEN WAS ASKED: Who do you think is the tougher competitor, DeSantis or Trump? “It would be fun to watch them take

@BrianStelter: Post-Midterms data point: Between midnight and noon ET, Fox News programs mentioned DeSantis more often than Trump, according to my @TVEyesInc searches.

@MaggieNYT: Trump is indeed furious this morning, particularly about Mehmet Oz, and is blaming everyone who advised him to back Oz — including his wife, describing it as not her best decision, according to people close to him. There are people pushing Trump to reschedule his announcement next week, and several Rs have texted asking whether he will, but it’s risky and would be acknowledging he’s wounded by yesterday, something that some of his advisers insist is not the case

@CharlieCrist: Thank you all for raising your voices with me, for standing up for our freedoms and our democracy. I’m eternally grateful for your support. Together, we stood up for what’s right and we treated everyone with dignity and respect. I am very proud of that — and you should be, too.

@SamantaJoRoth: Biden in his post-Midterms speech mentions that he called @MaxwellFrostFL last night to congratulate him on his victory. “I have no doubt he’s off to an incredible start of what I’m sure will be a long, distinguished career.”

@TheRickWilson: What the fuck did you THINK would happen? The Florida GOP is the single best Republican Party in the country, hands down. It has infinite money, a deep bench of consultants and operatives, and *wins.*

@NikkiFried: Appreciate the love, but I am NOT running to be Chair of @FlaDems. A lot of things need to change to restore our winning coalition from 2018 — and I will continue fighting for that — just not by taking over the party.

@MicheleforFL: Today is the first day, in two years, that I’m not actively running for office. 24 months. The rest I’m finna have. Thank you to all my supporters+friends. I love y’all. Lastly, Florida, you won’t break my soul. Because at the end of the story- THE PEOPLE ALWAYS WIN.

Tweet, tweet:


‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 1; FITCon 2022 begins — 6; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 7; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 11; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 14; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 23; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 23; 2022 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 25; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 26; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 36; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 52; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 83; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 99; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 100; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 117; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 135; Taylor Swift ‘Eras’ Tour in Tampa — 156; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 159; 2023 Session Sine Die — 176; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 176; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 204; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 253; ‘‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 260; Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 358; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 505; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 561; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 624; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 624; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 666; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 729; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 827; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 904. ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,093.


What Florida could expect from Ron DeSantis’ second term” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — DeSantis in a second term is expected to continue to hammer the cultural issues that have made him a national brand — especially as he governs a state that has turned deep red. He’s signaled that he wants to crack down on “woke” banking practices, increase restrictions on abortion and loosen the unanimous jury requirement for people to be sentenced to death.

Some observers expect DeSantis, who has said he believes in centralized executive authority, to keep expanding the powers of his office.

What will the future hold for a Ron DeSantis second term? Image via NBC News.

Despite being elected in 2018 by less than half a percentage point, DeSantis in his first term largely governed with the sureness of someone who’d won by a landslide. Tuesday’s results, his supporters say, will show that he does, in fact, have a mandate.

DeSantis has already teed up the next cultural fight against what he says is an increasingly “woke” corporate America. In particular, he’s targeting banks and other financial services companies that he says are “discriminating” against users based on political or religious ideology. The upcoming proposals would also prohibit the state from considering companies’ environmental or social impact — an approach known as ESG — before investing Florida’s retirement funds.

DeSantis has also said he intends “to expand pro-life protections” in the state. Republicans are also awaiting the Florida Supreme Court, four of whose seven justices have been appointed by DeSantis, to overturn its own precedent and open the door for further abortion restrictions in the state.

In addition to emphasizing social issues, DeSantis is expected to also work with the Legislature on one of the state’s biggest unaddressed crises: affordable housing.

Despite a few hints he’s given, it’s not typically obvious what hot-button issue DeSantis will seize on next.


‘It is not an accident’: Rupert Murdoch’s media empire celebrates DeSantis as future of GOP after midterms” via Oliver Darcy of CNN Business — Murdoch, the media mogul who controls some of the most powerful organs in conservative media, appeared to make clear Wednesday that he would prefer to cast aside Trump in favor of DeSantis as the leader of the Republican Party. The New York Post, a tabloid Murdoch controls, hailed DeSantis’ election night victory on its front-page Wednesday morning. “DeFUTURE,” the headline on the Post blared, alongside a photo of DeSantis and his family celebrating their major win in the Sunshine State. The homepage of Fox News also prominently featured a column by conservative commentator Liz Peek that declared DeSantis “the new leader of the Republican Party.” Fox News dubbed it “A NEW ERA.”

The man of the hour.

Oddsmaker touts DeSantis, fades Donald Trump in 2024 forecast” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis’ stunning success and a rival’s relative failure, an oddsmaker touts the Governor as the current 2024 front-runner. “Donald Trump had been the favorite for a 2024 comeback, but all the momentum has swung in favor of Ron DeSantis, who appears to be in a very strong position after bucking the Republican trend with such a resounding win in Florida. Punters clearly believe it has cemented his White House ambitions and we’ve had no choice but to make him favorite given the sudden surge in support,” asserted Lawrence Lyons of BoyleSports.

Did DeSantis just become the 2024 Republican front-runner?” via Ross Douthat of The New York Times — At best, Republicans have won themselves a return to a stalemate, not the victory that the circumstances seemed to promise. If you’re a Republican with your eyes and hopes on DeSantis as a potential presidential candidate for 2024, a world where Florida delivers a Republican landslide while the GOP underperforms elsewhere is quite possibly your ideal scenario, because it seems to vindicate the theory that DeSantis will be offering, should he become a candidate in ’24. In a normal political world, a normal political party, you would say that DeSantis effectively became the 2024 Republican front-runner last night. Now we’ll see whether the Governor can play the part that’s waiting for him.

Charlie Crist was swamped by a powerful DeSantis: Was this his last run for office?” via John Kennedy of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Crist’s overwhelming defeat by DeSantis likely marks the end of a Florida political career which spanned three decades and weathered party shifts but crashed Tuesday into a powerful incumbent in a state growing decidedly redder. Crist lost by the biggest margin in a Florida Governor’s contest in 40 years, badly losing even his home Pinellas County to DeSantis. The gap underscored the long-distance both Crist and the state have come politically since his own, 7.1% victory over Democrat Jim Davis in the 2006 race when he was elected as a Republican.

The swan song of Charlie Crist’s political career?

Republicans dominated Florida elections. What happened to Democrats?” via Romy Ellenbogen and Ian Hodgson of the Tampa Bay Times — An hour after polls closed in most of Florida, DeSantis’ re-election was guaranteed. By the end of the night, his margin would only grow, carrying the state by 19 points ahead of his Democratic challenger Crist. In a sweeping victory, DeSantis also flipped reliable blue counties like Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. The evening before Election Day, Crist dismissed polls showing him losing and repeated a popular Democratic saying: “When we vote, we win.” Democrats didn’t vote in numbers high enough to move the needle. Statewide, nearly two-thirds of registered Republicans showed up to the polls, compared to just half registered Democrats.

Florida Democrats flop as GOP spends more, out-hustles them” via Jeffrey Schweers and Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — An election tsunami swept Florida, bolstering DeSantis as a potential Presidential candidate in 2024 and giving Republicans even greater control of state government than they already have. Led by a landslide re-election victory by DeSantis in a state known for its narrow victories and frequent recounts, the Republican Party saw huge wins in parts of the state historically won by Democrats. They gained a supermajority in both the House and Senate and four additional seats in Congress.

Evan Power announces bid for Republican Party of Florida Chair” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Power, Chair of the Leon County Republican Party, announced he’s running to lead the state party. “After meeting with and spending time with my fellow State Executive Committee members the path forward for the RPOF has become clear to all of us,” Power said. “We must continue to work to support our Republican elected officials in Florida and growing and defending our Republican Majority.” Power has sought the state Chair before. He wanted the job in 2018, but DeSantis, shortly after winning election to his first term, ultimately endorsed state Sen. Joe Gruters for the gig.

After crushing red wave, Nikki Fried briefly floats — then backs off — takeover of Florida Democratic Party” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Florida Democrats lost ground at all government levels following Tuesday’s Midterm Election. For the party to have any hope of clawing back power next time, there needs to be a change in leadership, according to Fried. Fried indicated she was weighing whether to fight to take control of the Florida Democratic Party from its current Chair, Manny Diaz. “I care deeply for the people of my state and I’m heartbroken for what happened last night,” she said. Fried later took to Twitter to say she wouldn’t be pursuing the position.

Anna Paulina Luna throws a coming-out party for new MAGA generation” via Ruby Cramer of The Washington Post — Luna was 4,000 votes up. The crowd yelled. It was 7:30 p.m. She was 10,000 votes up. “Luna! Luna! Luna!” The chants filled the room. They rushed around her, a crush of red, white, blue, sequins, Trump and DeSantis gear. Luna stepped aside from the crowd: Kevin McCarthy, the Republican who will oversee the House Class of 2022, was calling to offer his congratulations.


Shevrin Jones: After bleak Election Day beating, it’s time for Democrats to work, not point fingers” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — In a lengthy statement issued Wednesday, Jones took his party to task for its stagnancy, lack of focus and murky messaging. The Democratic Party and its leadership, including Jones himself, he said, “have fallen asleep at the wheel, letting the GOP control the narrative and gain more electoral ground.” “The other side has played the long game: prioritizing an investing in a statewide infrastructure with real depth and breadth, drawing favorable maps, implementing consistent, concise messaging — and it’s paid off as they have gained control of every level of government,” said Jones, who won re-election.

Shevrin Jones says now is not the time for finger-pointing — it’s time to get to work.

Panhandle Senate seats stay in GOP hands as Doug Broxson, Jay Trumbull post wins” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Broxson will keep his seat in the Florida Senate and Trumbull will head from the House to the upper chamber after the pair sailed to victory in their respective races. Broxson, a Pensacola Republican, defeated Democrat Charlie Nichols 71-29%. He raised $382,000 and spent $92,000 on his campaign, while Nichols spent just $3,200, with more than half it on the $1,782 qualifying fee. Trumbull got 79% of the vote to Democrat Carolynn Zonia’s 21%.

—“Ben Albritton, Keith Perry, Linda Stewart among Senate incumbents easily securing re-election” via Florida Politics

—”LaVon Bracy Davis, Chase Tramont among new House faces coasting to wins” via Florida Politics

Susan Plasencia proud to join strong legislative team in Tallahassee” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Newly minted Rep. Plasencia pulled the upset of the night in Central Florida. The Orlando Republican managed to unseat three-term Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith in House District 37. That’s a district where Biden beat Trump in the 2020 Presidential election by more than 11 percentage points. As she heads to Tallahassee as part of a Republican supermajority in the House, she wants to fulfill a promise of effectiveness. “What I understood and received from voters is they needed someone who was going to do something in Tallahassee,” she said.

‘This might kill me politically’: Dems’ support helps GOP candidate to verge of victory” via Aaron Liebowitz of the Miami Herald — When former socialite and Republican candidate for state Rep. Fabian Basabe touted support from Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez this past weekend, some local Democrats were confused. Rosen Gonzalez is a Democrat in a non-partisan seat, one who infamously called herself “the most high-profile Hispanic Democrat in the city of Miami Beach” while running for office last year, though she is not Hispanic. Basabe’s opponent for House District 106 was Jordan Leonard, a Democrat from neighboring Bay Harbor Islands.


Lawsuit challenging Florida’s congressional map advances in federal court” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Federal courts allowed a case against Florida’s congressional map to move forward, but without DeSantis as a defendant. A three-judge panel ruled that plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of a map have standing to sue. Plaintiffs claim in their federal complaint the map, drafted by DeSantis’ staff after he vetoed one produced by the Legislature, significantly diminishes Black voting power in Florida. The lawsuit claims the new map hurts the ability of minority voters to elect candidates of their choice. Judges Adalberto Jordan, M. Casey Rodgers and Allen Winsor together denied a motion to dismiss the same day elections took place for the first time under the new congressional map.

Board of Governors confirms Ben Sasse as next University of Florida president” via Curt Anderson of The Associated Press — Nebraska U.S. Sen. Sasse won final approval to become the 13th president of the University of Florida, capping a swift and sometimes contentious process. Sasse was confirmed for the post by the state university system Board of Governors on a voice vote. Sasse will leave the Senate, he’s two years into his second term, before taking the Florida school’s helm on Feb. 6. The vote held at the University of South Florida in Tampa came just over a month after Sasse was revealed as the sole finalist for the job. That followed a lengthier, confidential search process that drew a vote of no confidence from the Florida Faculty Senate.

It’s official — Ben Sasse is a Gator. Image via AP.

Legislature announces interim committee week schedule — Lawmakers will head to Tallahassee for their first committee week on Dec. 12. After the new year they will meet in the weeks of Jan. 3, Jan. 17, Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 13 and Feb. 20. The 2023 Legislative Session will begin on March 7 and is scheduled to end on May 5.

BOG approves tenure review rule — The State University System Board of Governors gave initial approval to a rule detailing a new process for university faculty tenure reviews. As reported by Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida, the rule would require all tenured faculty to undergo a “comprehensive” review every five years. Their performance in the reviews could be used to revoke tenure or to grant them performance incentives, though university faculty view the latter as dubious. The proposal also requires universities to suss out whether the faculty member under review has violated the “Stop-WOKE” act, which restricts instruction on issues related to race/DeSantis and Republican lawmakers have pushed for tenure reviews as a way to curb supposed “ideological indoctrination” at state universities.


Biden hails Democrats’ ‘strong night,’ acknowledges concerns” via Chris Megerian, Zeke Miller and Hannah Fingerhut of The Associated Press — Democrats defied gravity this week as voters set aside their concerns about Biden to deny Republicans the sweeping victory they expected, emboldening a Biden team whose political instincts have been routinely questioned or outright dismissed by opponents and even allies. It was a remarkable display of resiliency in the face of both history and gloomy polls. Biden spent the campaign’s closing stretch on defense, steering clear of battleground states where his own unpopularity could have dragged down Democrats. But on election night, he was up past midnight congratulating candidates who were supposed to have been swept from office.

Joe Biden celebrates the ‘good night’ for Democrats.

Biden calls Midterm Election ‘a good day’ for democracy” via Kathryn Watson of CBS News — Coming off an Election Day in which Democrats seemingly exceeded expectations and overcame historical trends in the battle for control of Congress, a smiling and emboldened Biden said he plans to do “nothing” different in his approach to the presidency, and offered a message for the millions of voters who don’t want him to run again: “Watch me.” Biden fielded reporters’ questions at the White House for about an hour Wednesday, in keeping with a tradition of presidents holding news conferences following Midterm Elections. Biden, who said it’s his “intention” to run again but gave no definitive answer on that front, called Tuesday a “strong night” for Democrats.

Biden vows ‘nothing’ different in next two years despite majority saying U.S. headed in ‘wrong direction’” via Adam Sabes of Fox News — Biden was responding to a reporter’s question asking what he plans to do in order to change the opinion of voters on the direction of the country as he considers a re-election bid in 2024. “Nothing, because they’re just finding out what we’re doing,” the President responded. He asserted that “the more they know about what we’re doing, the more support there is.” Sixty-one percent of people surveyed in the Fox News Voter Analysis believe that things in the U.S. are headed in the wrong direction. After listing several things his administration sees as accomplishments, Biden repeated that he wouldn’t “change the direction.”

Biden celebrates beating the odds, but he faces a new challenge” via Peter Baker of The New York Times — While the President appeared to have beaten the historical odds by minimizing his party’s losses, he still faced the sobering prospect of a Republican-controlled House for the next two years even if Democrats hold the Senate, jeopardizing his ambitious legislative agenda and presaging a new era of grinding conflict with subpoena-powered opponents. The elections were not a clear mandate for Biden, but neither were they the repudiation that many of his predecessors endured during Midterms. An aging President sometimes seen as frail and hobbled by the highest inflation in four decades, an overseas war roiling energy markets and anemic poll numbers somehow overcame expectations anyway — another chapter in Biden’s lifelong narrative of stubborn resilience in the face of adversity.

Weaker-than-expected GOP results calm Europe’s nerves — for now” via Emily Rauhala, Rick Noack and Karla Adam of The Washington Post — The results of the first major races since the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection are likely to lend some short-term stability to efforts to isolate Russia and support Ukrainian forces, the central concern for European officials and diplomats heading into the Midterms. The outcome will also add a sense of continuity to day-to-day diplomacy. But for a continent still reeling from Trump-era upheavals, the Midterm races were a bracing reminder that despite talk of bolstering Europe’s “strategic autonomy,” American politics still very much shape European affairs. With or without a “red wave” this year, Europe knows that it has not seen the end of Trump or Trumpism and must plan accordingly.

Law on placement of Native American children divides Supreme Court” via Robert Barnes of The Washington Post — The Supreme Court seemed split Wednesday as it considered the constitutionality of a federal law, intended to rectify past government abuses, that prioritizes the foster care and adoption of Native American children by other relatives and tribes. At stake was the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which was passed to remedy what Congress said was a disgraceful history in which hundreds of thousands of Native American children were removed from their homes by adoption agencies and placed with White families or in group settings. Tribal representatives told the justices that a broad decision could affect Native Americans in other areas. But it did not appear from more than three hours of oral arguments that there was a majority of justices content to let the law stand as is.

Looking at a law trying to right past wrongs, the Supreme Court considers unintended consequences. Image via AP.

California elects Robert Garcia, the first gay immigrant in Congress” via Julius Miller of LA Magazine — Long Beach Mayor Garcia is now the first LGBTQ+ immigrant to be elected to U.S. Congress. Garcia, who served as Mayor for eight years, won his race for U.S. House in California’s 42nd District. He beat Republican John Briscoe, winning a handy 71% of the votes. Garcia celebrated his victory on Twitter, posting a picture of him and his mother saying “Mom, we did it!” He lost his mother to COVID and dedicated his win to her in his speech to supporters. Garcia grew up in Southern California and is married to Matthew Mendez, who currently works as a professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach. Garcia first received endorsement from Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization.


Trump continues shots at DeSantis, says he received ‘more votes’ in Florida than the Governor” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Trump took to Truth Social to diminish DeSantis’ accomplishment. “Now that the Election in Florida is over, and everything went quite well, shouldn’t it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 Million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 Million to 4.6 Million? Just asking?” For those looking for evidence that Trump feels pressure from the freshly re-elected Florida Governor, the Truth Social post offered yet another piece of proof. Trump, despite endorsing DeSantis and claiming to have voted for him, continues to go negative on the Governor. “He was not going to be able to even be a factor in the race. And as soon as I endorsed him, within moments, the race was over.”

Trump team pushes to delay 2024 launch as DeSantis star rises in GOP” via Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Isaac Stanley-Becker of The Washington Post — Trump’s standing as the dominant figure in the Republican Party was challenged Tuesday night by a string of election results that even some of his advisers viewed as wounding to his political future. Trump is taking blame from Republicans for disappointing performances by many of the candidates he backed, at the same time that DeSantis won a landslide re-election, instantly elevating his profile as a serious 2024 presidential contender. In a sign of Trump’s diminished and newly uncertain footing, some longtime allies are now encouraging Trump to delay a presidential announcement he had planned for next week as a victory lap for a red wave that didn’t materialize.

Will he or won’t he?

Trump called a protest. No one showed. Why GOP efforts to cry foul fizzled this time.” via Rosalind S. Helderman, Patrick Marley and Tom Hamburger of The Washington Post — As voters cast ballots largely without incident on Tuesday afternoon, Trump took to social media to declare that a minor, already rectified problem with absentee balloting in Detroit was “REALLY BAD.” … “Protest, protest, protest,” he wrote just before 2:30 p.m. Unlike in 2020, when similar cries from the then-President drew thousands of supporters into the streets. This time, no one showed up. Election officials said they believed the relative normalcy resulted from a combination of concerted effort on the part of well-prepared poll workers and voters, as well as the fact that some of Trump’s loudest supporters were less potent than they had claimed. Then there was the Trump factor … the election results suggest the number of people inclined to respond to Trump’s exhortations has continued to fall since he lost the 2020 election.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Miami Beach voters reject Stephen Ross’ plan at Deauville site. Commission race heads to runoff” via Aaron Leibowitz of the Miami Herald — Miami Beach voters rejected ballot questions to allow a plan to build on the former Deauville Beach Resort site and to lease city-owned parking lots near Lincoln Road, according to unofficial results posted Tuesday evening, while Laura Dominguez and Sabrina Cohen are headed to a December runoff for City Commission. The failure of the Deauville and Lincoln Road items is a blow to Mayor Dan Gelber’s agenda and to several developers who had poured millions of dollars into promoting the measures. The Deauville question would have allowed Miami Dolphins owner and developer Ross to exceed current building-size regulations to bring a luxury condo tower and hotel to North Beach.

Voters give Stephen Ross a hard pass.

Palm Beach County voters approve special tax for teacher pay, more security” via Amber Bonefont of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Voters in Palm Beach County approved a property tax that would help fund teacher salaries and school safety measures. By voting yes, voters agreed to continue a program that has been in place for four years in Palm Beach County. Under the measure, a home assessed at $225,000 with a taxable value of $200,000 after the $25,000 school tax homestead exemption, costs $200 per year, which equates to $16.67 per month, or about $0.56 per day. The money is used to help improve teacher salaries by offering a retention supplement, increase security with school resource officers and technology, and fund more counselors and mental health resources.

Marcia Andrews re-elected to Palm Beach School Board; Edwin Ferguson leading to replace Debra Robinson” via Scott Tracis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Palm Beach County School Board incumbents fended off a challenge from more conservative candidates after Andrews won a fourth term on the Board. Andrews appeared to be easily defeating challenger Jen Showalter. A runoff was held because neither got more than 50% during the August election. “We worked really hard to get the message that we care about our children, and we wanted to make sure our parents, students, teachers and community knows the School Board is doing the right thing for every child,” Andrews said. “That’s why we had a successful showing at the polls.”

St. Lucie County voters overwhelmingly approve school tax renewal to fund teacher pay, security” via Olivia McKelvey of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Voters Tuesday approved renewing a 1-mill property tax for another four years to fund teacher salaries, school security, mental health services and educational programs. The tax, first approved in 2019, will go into effect in July. Voters approved the renewal with 67% of the vote, according to final, unofficial results from the Supervisor of Elections Office. One mill means it will cost the owner of a $185,000 home about $185 per year. The tax is expected to generate $25 million annually.

Sean Mitchell upset helps turn St. Lucie County Commission red; Republicans Jamie Fowler, Larry Leet elected” via Olivia McKelvey of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Two new faces, both political newcomers, will join the County Commission, one taking over the reins of retiring Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson while the other upset Democrat incumbent Mitchell, who was seeking a second term. Republicans Fowler and Leet on Tuesday won the District 4 and 2 races, respectively. Fowler, community outreach manager for Tri-County Enterprise, got 58% of the vote in her race, defeating Helen Lurry, who received 42% of the vote, according to final, unofficial results from the Supervisor of Elections Office. Leet, CEO of Able American Jets, captured 56% of the votes, defeating Mitchell, who received 44% of votes, according to the supervisor of elections.

Michael Broderick beats James Clasby, replacing Tom Perona as Fort Pierce City Commission” via Catie Wegman of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Longtime Fort Pierce resident Broderick was elected to the City Commission Tuesday, replacing Perona. It’s the first time in over a decade a new Commissioner will represent District 2, Seat 4. Broderick, 62, received 57.34% of the votes, according to unofficial results from the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Office, beating his opponent Clasby, who garnered 42.66% of votes. “I’m very appreciative of the voters of the city of Fort Pierce,” Broderick said. “It’s an exciting day for the city of Fort Pierce.” Broderick added he’s excited to get to work alongside Mayor Linda Hudson and the City Commission.

Ex-Proud Boy held rally for Marco Rubio canvasser beaten in Hialeah. Now he thinks story was a lie” via Sarah Blaskey and Nicholas Nehamas of the Miami Herald — Gabriel Garcia believed Christopher Monzon, the Republican Party canvasser who said he was beaten up in Hialeah last month because of his political beliefs. So much that Garcia, a former Proud Boy facing a federal trial for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, helped organize a rally in Monzon’s support and stood guard outside his hospital room. But after watching new videos of the moments before two men attacked Monzon, Garcia now says he thinks the canvasser is lying about being the victim of a leftist attack and that Rubio, who turned the incident into a national news story with a provocative tweet, used the fight for his political advantage.

Gabriel Garcia believed Christopher Monzon, but now thinks he may be lying. Image via Miami Herald.

Will Democrats ever regain ground with south Florida’s Cuban voters?” via Izzy Kapnick of the Miami New Times — Two days before the Midterm Election, Trump visited the Miami-Dade fairgrounds to deliver a 90-minute Midterm magnum opus centered on how the Democratic Party is overrun by communists. “You have to crush the communists at the ballot box. If you want to save your rights and liberties, you have to start by dealing a humiliating rebuke to the radical left maniacs running in this election,” Trump said, garnering loud cheers. Trump’s rhetoric was a somewhat less subtle version of a familiar Republican strategy proven undeniably effective in courting Cuban American voters year after year: depict Democrats as communists and Castro regime sympathizers while taking a strong stance against U.S.-Cuba reconciliation.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Tropical Storm Nicole should spare Central Florida of Ian’s flooding, Jerry Demings says” via Ryan Gillespie and Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — With Tropical Storm Nicole bearing down on Florida and forecast to gain hurricane strength before striking somewhere along the Atlantic coast, Central Florida officials are hopeful the region will be spared of catastrophic flooding the region saw six weeks ago from Hurricane Ian. Lakes in Orlando and flood-prone areas of Orange County have been pumped down, where allowed by authorities, to create further capacity, and Nicole is expected to dump a fraction of the historic rainfalls Ian did. Hurricane Ian doused Central Florida with an average of 14 inches of rain, while Mayor Demings said projections for Nicole’s rainfall are between 4 and 6 inches, with a possibility of 8 inches in some areas.

All 16 Satellite Beach public dune crossovers damaged, shut down by Tropical Storm Nicole” via Rick Neale of Florida Today — Tropical Storm Nicole’s battering waves have chewed away the sand and dangerously damaged all 16 Satellite Beach public dune crossovers, City Manager Courtney Barker said. “Every one of them has been compromised. All of them have either lost the stairs, lost the ramps. Even the top portions are starting to ripple,” Barker said shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday. “They’ve all been closed,” she said. “We’re trying to keep people from walking to the dunes and getting on the beach. It’s been a challenge. But we’re trying to get the message out there that standing on the beach is a really, really dangerous, dangerous thing to do right now,” she said.


Central Florida counties, state report low voter turnout” via Annie Martin of Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Central Florida voter turnout fell far behind 2018 levels, resulting in victories for Republicans in key state and local races. Just 46.6% of registered Orange County voters cast ballots, compared with 59.7% in 2018. Turnout was similarly poor in other area counties. “I think the strength of the ballot makes a difference and you’ve got to compare what was on the 2018 with what’s on the 2022 ballot,” Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said. “Candidates and issues are the only things that’s going to motivate a voter to go vote.” Nearly all Central Florida precincts had reported results late Tuesday. In Osceola County, just 40.4% of voters cast ballots.

Central Florida turnout was underwhelming. Image via Reuters.

Maribel Gomez Cordero, Michael Scott win Orange County Commission seats in runoff” via Nelly Ontiveros Cervantes of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County District 4 Commissioner Gomez Cordero won re-election in Tuesday’s runoff elections while Scott won the open seat in District 6. With nearly all precincts accounted for, Gomez Cordero won more than 57% of votes in District 4, defeating Mercedes Fonseca, who gathered around 42% of the votes, according to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. In a tight race in District 6, Scott received more than 51.2% of votes, beating opponent Lawanna Gelzer, who collected 48.8% of ballots cast. Both races were decided in runoffs because no candidate for either seat won at least 50% of the vote on August’s Primary ballot.

Alicia Farrant, a Moms for Liberty candidate, wins seat on Orange County School Board” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Farrant, a Moms for Liberty member who urged county schools to remove books from libraries she felt contained “filth,” won a seat on the Orange County School Board on Tuesday. Farrant, who runs a Christian ministry with her husband, won 53% of the vote in the district 3 runoff against Michael Daniels, a college administrator, who won 47%. In the other race for the eight-member Orange School Board, Maria Salamanca, a partner in a venture capital firm, narrowly won the District 2 seat with 50.4% of the vote against Heather Ashby, a counselor at Timber Creek High School, who won 49.6%.

Incumbent Viviana Janer wins Osceola County Commission District 2” via Natalia Jaramillo of the Orlando Sentinel — Incumbent Janer won the race for Osceola County Commissioner for District 2 after receiving over 73% of the vote on Tuesday. Janer, who has been District 2 Commissioner since 2014, gets another four years to serve her constituents in northern Osceola County and Buena Ventura Lakes. Janer defeated longtime community advocate Beulah “Rosita” Farquharson who won just over 26% of votes cast, according to the Osceola County Supervisor of Elections Office. “I’m grateful for the residents of District 2,” Janer said. “I’m honored to have their support.” Janer, who celebrated with her mother who is ill at home, said she is most excited to continue working on issues that are important to her.

Seminole Commissioners Amy Lockhart, Jay Zembower win new terms” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Seminole Commissioners Zembower and Lockhart were re-elected to second terms in Tuesday’s countywide elections, with campaigns that focused on the issues of development and preparing for Seminole’s population growth over the next two decades. With 81 of 82 precincts reporting, Republican Zembower received 56% of the votes counted to defeat Democrat Katrina Shadix for the District 2 seat. “I think this instills the wiseness in the voters of Seminole County, and that they desire a steady hand instead of radical new policies,” Zembower said. It was the second election in which Zembower prevailed over Shadix.

Art Woodruff wins new term as Sanford Mayor” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Sanford Mayor Woodruff was elected to a new term after defeating Charles Davis in Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election. With 80 of 82 precincts reporting, Woodruff received nearly 54% of the votes cast. The runoff was held after neither of the candidates secured more than 50% of the votes cast in the Aug. 23 Sanford elections. It was the fourth time in less than a decade that Woodruff and Davis challenged each other at the polls. This time, the key issues in their campaigns were parking in Sanford’s downtown district, managing the city’s recent growth, increasing salaries for Sanford employees and how the city should move forward on the planned Heritage Park development. Sanford’s Mayor serves a four-year term.

For Tampa Bay’s new school board members, the campaign ends and work begins” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — With partisanship bubbling in the background, this year’s Florida school board races often grew bitter. Supporters of Pinellas County’s two winning candidates sent out a last-minute mailer accusing their opponents of wanting to allow drag shows in schools and place obscene books in elementary students’ hands. Opposing camps fired back with denials and attacks of their own. The two conservative candidates, Dawn Peters and Stephanie Meyer, had been hateful and conspiracy-minded, they said. Now the pair, both supported by the right-leaning Moms for Liberty group, face the task of governing instead of running. No matter your politics, it’s not an easy adjustment.

Volusia County Council: Jake Johansson takes at large seat; Don Dempsey wins in an upset” via Sheldon Gardner of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Five new faces will join the Volusia County Council in January, but it won’t include the three candidates heavily backed by County Chair Jeff Brower. Doug Pettit, Ken Smith and Ted Noftall — dubbed the “Volusia Values” slate — all fell short Tuesday, defeated by Johansson, Troy Kent and Danny Robins, respectively. Brower has faced opposition among current Council members against a number of his plans, including limiting development. The Brower-backed candidates pledged not to raise taxes and focused their campaigns in part on protecting the environment from overdevelopment.

Voters choose Gene Trent for final Brevard County School Board seat” via Suzy Fleming Leonard of Florida Today — Trent edged past Erin Dunne in the race for Brevard County School Board, paving the way for a conservative-dominated board. Trent received 53.31% of the vote to Dunne’s 46.69%. Although School Board seats are nonpartisan, Tuesday’s District 2 race between two teachers turned into a contest of Republican versus Democrat. This election’s School Board races also focused on issues such as parental say, how schools handle lessons on race and student gender identity. Trent could not be reached for comment. Dunne said she is proud of the race she ran and grateful for the people who supported her. “The results aren’t what we hoped for,” she said, but almost half the district voted in her favor.

Gene Trent takes a win over Erin Dunne for the last seat on the Brevard County School Board.

What charter amendments and referendums passed in Brevard County? Here’s what you need to know” via Finch Walker and Tyler Vazquez of Florida Today

Loren Strand defeats Mel Chang in contentious Indialantic Town Council Seat 4 race” via Rick Neale of Florida Today

—“Incumbent Kenny Johnson wins second term for Palm Bay City Council Seat 4, defeats Nathan White” via Finch Walker of Florida Today

Kimberly Musselman topples Renee Torpy in race for County Judge Group 4” via Eric Rogers of Florida Today

NASA’s Artemis I is delayed again as the moon rocket is left to endure Tropical Storm Nicole” via Jamie Goth of Florida Today — Ahead of Hurricane Ian in September, NASA decided to roll back its $4 billion moon rocket to the safety of the Vehicle Assembly Building, often referred to as the “barn” by Kennedy Space Center workers. Last week, as Tropical Storm Nicole was brewing near the Bahamas, NASA made the decision to roll the rocket out from the barn to pad 39B in hopes that it would be able to proceed with a Nov. 14 launch. But with Nicole threatening the Space Coast with at least tropical storm force winds, some are questioning NASA’s decision to not leave the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule in the VAB until the storm passed.

Disney World closing theme parks, some hotels for Tropical Storm Nicole” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — Walt Disney World is closing its theme parks in phases for Tropical Storm Nicole starting Wednesday, and the resort was closing some hotels Wednesday afternoon ahead of the storm’s local arrival. The theme parks were set to close at 5 p.m. Wednesday and remain shut down through Thursday morning, the resort said in an update just before noon. The parks will “likely not reopen” at their scheduled times Thursday morning, according to a post on the resort’s inclement weather site. Disney’s Animal Kingdom was closing at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is closing at 6 p.m. and Magic Kingdom and Epcot are closing at 7 p.m.

NSB Planning Board approves development moratorium; City Commission to make final decision” via Brenno Carillo of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — The Planning and Zoning Board of New Smyrna Beach on Monday unanimously approved a citywide proposed development moratorium through Feb. 23. The measure now heads to the City Commission for final hearings and a vote next month. According to the proposed moratorium ordinance, “more than 800 people and many businesses” in the city suffered flood damage from Tropical Storm Ian. With unprecedented amounts of rainfall from the storm (a total of 19.3 inches, according to the National Weather Service), the moratorium aims to “try and avoid any recurring damage and loss to its residents in the future.”


Manatee County elects all-Republican Commission after lone Democrat defeated” via Ryan Ballogg of the Bradenton Herald — Voters decided who will fill three Manatee County Commission seats in Tuesday’s General Election. In the District 2 race, incumbent Reggie Bellamy, the lone Democrat on the seven-person Commission, was ousted by a political newcomer, Republican Amanda Ballard. In races for two other seats, Republican Primary winners Jason Bearden and Mike Rahn walked to easy victories against write-in candidates. A runoff race for a seat on Manatee County School Board was also decided, with Republican-endorsed Cindy Spray defeating Democrat-endorsed Harold E. Byrd Jr.

Reggie Bellamy was the lone Democratic holdout on the Manatee County Commission.

Voters extend the life of Manatee County’s tax incentive program” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Manatee County voters approved a ballot measure that extends the life of a tax incentive program meant to attract businesses to Manatee County during Tuesday’s General Election. Voters first approved the referendum in 2013, and residents voted to extend the life of the program for another 10 years on election night by a slim 3,005-vote margin, with 50.9% of voters showing support for the referendum. Incentives can be offered to businesses in targeted industries, such as those that focus on manufacturing, processing, or production of for-sale items. Qualifying businesses must also set up 10 or more new full-time jobs that pay an average salary that is above the average wage in the area.

Sarasota County overwhelmingly agree to 1% sales tax extension” via Laura Finaldi of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Sarasota County voters heavily favored an extension Tuesday of Sarasota County’s penny sales tax, a levy that will continue to fund local capital improvement projects through at least 2039. The measure, to keep in place a 1% sales tax on all local purchases under $5,000 on top of the state sales tax of 6%, passed easily with 77.9% voting to approve and 22.1% opposed. Voters also agreed with 69.2% approving a measure that authorizes Sarasota County to issue bonds to pay for projects funded by the tax. The bonds will allow Sarasota County to start working on surtax projects earlier than it could otherwise.

Another critic of Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 procedures wins seat on hospital board” via Stefania Lugli of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The final member of the self-proclaimed “Health Freedom Slate” seeking a seat on the Sarasota Public Hospital Board — Victor Rohe — beat Libertarian Party member Jonathan Tubbs for Seat 2 on the board’s Northern District. The board provides oversight to the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. Rohe won easily over Tubbs, with 71.38% of the vote. The other slate members who won their races during August’s Primaries did so by running on a platform demanding “medical freedom” and delivering sharp criticism against SMH’s standard medical approach to COVID-19 procedures. Rohe is outspoken on his distrust of vaccine mandates and Sarasota Memorial’s patient care.

‘Common sense’ candidate Chris Hall wins Collier County Commission District 2” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — Hall has won the District 2 seat on the Collier County Commission. Hall, a Republican, beat out his lone Democrat contender Bebe Kanter. He received 27,008 of the votes cast, or 70.2%. He’ll replace Andy Solis, who decided not to run again. Both Hall and Kanter are Southwest Florida transplants with entrepreneurial backgrounds, but their views differ in more ways than one. Evidenced by their campaigns — and stated priorities and goals in seeking a seat on the County Commission. Hall, 60, faced Kanter, 69, after winning his GOP Primary, with 50.2% of the vote. He beat out three other Republican candidates — after several others withdrew from the crowded race.

Who won seats on the Collier County School Board? Not the incumbents” via Kate Cimini of the Naples Daily News — The votes are in, and challengers Jerry Rutherford, Kelly Lichter and Tim Moshier have been elected to the Collier County School Board. They were decided victories, with Rutherford winning 65.4% of the vote, while Lichter took home 58% and Moshier 60.5%, according to early returns. The Collier County School Board is made up of five seats covering five districts. They serve staggered four-year terms, overseeing 48,000 students in public schools, including charter schools.

Lee voters re-elect incumbents Cecil Pendergrass, Brian Hamman; Mike Greenwell retains seat” via Bill Smith of the Fort Myers News-Press — Lee County voters continued their decadelong streak of keeping incumbent members of the Board of County Commissioners in office, re-electing Pendergrass and Hamman while electing Commissioner Greenwell to his first full term. Greenwell saw his vote total held to 68.5% of the vote, as Democratic challenger Matt Wood received just over 31% of the ballots cast. Gov. DeSantis appointed Greenwell last summer following the death of Lee County political icon Frank Mann. Pendergrass and Hamman’s victories came over write-in candidates whose names did not appear on the ballot. Pendergrass received more than 93% of the votes cast, while Hamman won with a slightly larger majority of nearly 94%.

Lee County voters approve switch to elected Superintendents” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Lee County voters have decided to start electing its Superintendent of schools. A referendum placed on the ballot by the Legislature that changes how the school chief is selected ultimately passed with more than 62% of the vote. The Lee County legislative delegation voted unanimously more than a year ago for a local bill putting the issue to vote. The first election for a Lee County Superintendent in the wake of the referendum’s passage will now take place in 2024. Rep. Spencer Roach said the passage of the measure was good for Lee County. “We should trust the voters to make this decision,” Roach said.

Spencer Roach praises an elected Lee County Schools Superintendent.

Jada Langford-Fleming, Sam Fisher and Debbie Jordan win Lee County School Board seats” via Nikki Ross of the Fort Myers News-Press

John Gunter wins big in Cape Coral Mayor’s race” via Luis Zambrano of the Fort Myers News-Press — Cape Coral Mayor Gunter won by a large margin against challenger Tom Shadrach in the race for Cape Coral Mayor Tuesday. “Today the people of our community, a majority, have voted me to be their Mayor, and I take that responsibility seriously,” Gunter said. “I thank every voter who voted for me, and I know that we’re going to move our city forward. “I appreciate their support, and I promise I won’t let them down,” he added. Gunter had 38,288 votes, or 61.08%, compared to 24,401 votes, or 38.92%, for Shadrach. He had declared his victory at his election watch party around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Fort Myers City Council incumbents holding leads in re-election bids” via Bill Smith of the Fort Myers News-Press — City Council members Teresa Watkins Brown and Terolyn Watson held strong leads in their campaigns for re-election to the Fort Myers City Council as of 9 p.m. Tuesday in their bids for a new term. Watkins Brown had a seemingly insurmountable lead over Martin Byrd, taking 70% of the vote to just under 30% for Byrd. Brown’s campaign is wrapped into her work on the City Council, where she conducts frequent neighborhood meetings to learn about issues that are on the minds of constituents. Byrd, her opponent, told The News-Press that he “hated” being a candidate and would prefer to continue his community activism in a more direct fashion.

—“Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson defeats challenger David Ruffin” via Bill Smith of the Fort Myers News-Press

Erik Brechnitz, Greg Folley retain seats, Marco Island City Council adds Darrin Palumbo” via B.D. Green of the Naples Daily News — With 100% of the precincts reporting, incumbents Brechnitz and Folley have won re-election to the Marco Island City Council. Joining them will be Palumbo. Folley was the top vote-getter with 27.9% of the vote, or 7,014 votes. Brechnitz received 27.6%, or 6,945 votes. Palumbo was third with 16% of the vote, or 4,021 votes. Christine Dowell received 3,598 votes, or 14.3% of the vote, and Nanette Arlene Rivera received 3,563 votes, or 14.2%. Brechnitz was most recently the Chair of the Council body. He has been a resident of Marco Island since 1995 and has considerable experience in municipal government.

Jamie Bogacz, Laura Carr and Nigel Patrick Fullick elected for Bonita Springs City Council seats in 3 districts” via Erica Van Buren of the Fort Myers News-Press

Bill Steinke, Keith Long win in Cape Coral Council race, newcomer Patty Cummings wins close race” via Luis Zambrano of the Fort Myers News-Press — Cape Coral Council member Long and newcomer candidates Steinke and Patty Cummings have won their Council races. Council member Jennifer Nelson lost her position in a close race and was the only incumbent to lose. Steinke won by a nearly 15-percentage-point margin against Carol Rae Culliton for the empty District 1 seat. “I appreciate all the people that helped me get where I am today and all the support that I got along the way,” Steinke said. “For the people that looked at my past, looked at my resume, and elected me based on what they knew I could do for the city, my heart goes out to all of them,” he added.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

A black glove covered a camera in Tiger Point polling site. Conspiracy theory debunked.” via Tom McLaughlin of the Pensacola News Journal — A black glove found mysteriously placed over a camera at a polling place in Tiger Point during the general election Tuesday has created a stir, but election officials assure voters it was a legitimate action. A voter expressed concern about the glove-covered camera to the Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections Office and a Tweet sent to U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz, DeSantis and local government officials quickly picked up steam. Supervisor of Elections Tappie Villane quickly debunked any conspiracy theories.

Former Eagles star Corey Simon wins North Florida Senate race” via Geoffrey Knox of Inside the Iggles — It wasn’t long after Simon stepped onto the field for his first Philadelphia Eagles game that we all arrived at a theory. He’s going to be something special. He quickly proved to us all that we were correct. 17 years after his final game in the midnight green, one that doubled as a Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, he’s still doing so. The smoke has cleared. The dust has settled, and the votes have been counted. A former Pro Bowler, former Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team nod (2000), and Super Bowl Champion (he finally got that ring as a member of the Indianapolis Colts), Simon has taken care of business in a hotly contested race versus incumbent Loranne Ausley for Florida’s Senate District 3.

Corey Simon notches yet another career win.

Newcomer Ray Eddington beats Piech in Santa Rosa County Commission District 4 race” via Tom McLaughlin of the Pensacola News Journal — Eddington was up at 5 a.m. on Election Day waving to anyone who might be headed to the polls. When a reporter called midafternoon Tuesday, Eddington confessed he couldn’t hold a sign, wave and talk on the phone at the same time, and talking to the press was the least of his priorities. He said he wasn’t going to comment on anything anyway, not before the votes were tabulated. His hard work paid off, as he defeated incumbent Piech to win the County Commission’s District 4 seat, taking 54% of the vote, according to unofficial results Wednesday morning.

How Christian Caban ‘battled back’ to secure victory in race for Leon County District 2 seat” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — First-time candidate Caban secured a victory for the vacant Leon County District 2 seat. With all precincts reporting, Caban got 54% of the vote while Hannah Crow received 46%, according to unofficial returns. In August, Crow won the seven-person Primary Election easily after which Caban beat Lynda Bell for a spot in the runoff. On the campaign trail, Caban repeated that District 2 had been left behind. He focused on housing affordability, infrastructure improvements and, especially, what he calls “smart economic development,” which aims at addressing “narrow roadways, flooding, poorly-lit roads, sidewalks and unpaved roads” throughout the district.

—“Northeast Florida schools to close for Nicole as St. Johns County starts evacuation” via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union

—“FSU, FAMU, TCC announce campus closures ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat

LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber releases new ad for Jax mayoral campaign Jacksonville Mayor candidate Cumber has released a new ad radio, titled “Daniel and Donna,” highlighting she fought against a gas tax increase supported by fellow candidates Daniel Davis and Donna Deegan. Jax deserves leaders that fight for tax cuts and oppose tax hikes. Conservative Republican LeAnna Cumber is that leader. Tax-raisers Daniel Davis and Donna Deegan both supported doubling the gas tax during record inflation while families are struggling,” the ad says, later adding that Davis and Deegan “support providing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.” It concludes by saying “ … Cumber will put Jax families first, Jax taxpayers first, and will always put Jax first.”


America dodged an arrow” via Thomas Friedman of The New York Times — I am still not even close to ready to sound the all-clear, to declare that running on a platform of election denialism will never tempt another American politician. But given the unprecedented degree to which election denialism was elevated in this Midterm and the way several big-name Trump-imitating knuckleheads who made denialism central to their campaigns got their clocks cleaned — we may have just dodged one of the biggest arrows ever aimed at the heart of our democracy.

To be sure, another arrow could target us at any moment, but the whole U.S. electoral system — in red states and blue — seemed to perform admirably, almost shrugging off the last two years of controversy, diminishing it to what it always was: the shameful fabrication of one man and his most shameless sycophants and imitators. Given the threat posed by Trump denialists to the acceptance and legitimacy of our elections, that is a big deal (and hopefully it will last through the Arizona count).

While election denialism took a thumping this week as a winning message, none of the things that are still eating away at the foundations of American democracy — and preventing us from actually getting big hard things done — have gone away.

I am talking about the way in which our Primary system, gerrymandering and social networks have coalesced to steadily poison our national dialogue, steadily polarize our society into political tribes and steadily erode the twin pillars of our democracy: truth and trust.


DeSantis’ God complex” via Frank Bruni of The New York Times — After decades of closely observing and writing about American politics, I’m accustomed to the runaway religiosity of many political campaigns and to a whiff of theocracy in our democracy. But an ad that DeSantis released in the final days of his successful re-election bid nonetheless took my breath away. In little more than 90 seconds, its unseen narrator mentions “God” 10 times, beginning with the assertion that “on the eighth day” God gazed at a newly created world and decided that it needed a protector. “So God made a fighter,” the narrator says — sonorously, somberly. It makes clear, for starters, just how nuttily grand DeSantis’ sense of himself and his destiny is, an evaluation that the size and nature of his victory in the Midterms is sure to cement.

The expected red wave looks more like a puddle” via Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post — Although votes are still being counted in many of the most closely watched races, with control of the House and Senate unclear, it is already apparent that the expected Great Red Wave of 2022 turned out to be a messy puddle. Yes, the most powerful winds all seemed to be blowing the GOP’s way. Voters, it would appear, saw this Midterm as something more than a referendum on the party in power; with Republicans putting forward a host of extreme, election-denying candidates and little by way of an agenda, it became a choice between two drastically different paths forward.

Did GOP optimism outrun reality?” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — Even as votes continue to be counted, the big picture that is emerging from Midterm results around the country is that, as predicted, it appears Republicans will win control of the House. That’s a big deal. Even if the GOP controls only one chamber of Congress, Biden’s legislative agenda is dead. A Speaker Kevin McCarthy, should McCarthy realize his ambition to run the House, is not going to help the President pass any big legislative priority. That will be a momentous change in Washington. But in the final days and weeks of the campaign, Republicans began to hope for more. Optimism grew among GOP insiders that the party could capture the Senate, as well. Now, it appears the GOP will be doing well to win control of the Senate at all, even with a bare 51-seat majority. And it is entirely possible that Democrats will keep control.

After big win, DeSantis styles himself the patron saint of freedom” via Amanda Carpenter of The Bulwark — Turns out DeSantis wasn’t kidding around about how “On the Eighth Day God Made Ron DeSantis.” Judging by his victory speech, he really does think of himself in Biblical proportions. DeSantis styled himself as an American — no, global — patron saint of freedom for his efforts to keep Florida’s schools and businesses open through the pandemic. “Florida was a refuge of sanity when the world went mad,” DeSantis said. “We stood as a citadel of freedom for people across this country and, indeed, across the world.” DeSantis described his term as a crusade against “medical authoritarianism” and, “woke ideology.” He said Americans were “voting with their feet” and going to Florida to seek escape from “states and cities governed by leftist politicians.”

‘Deader than dead,’ a Duval Democratic Party memoir” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — The brutalizing of the Duval Democratic Party, a phenomenon that extended to its statewide counterpart, put into stark relief just how much worse things are for Jacksonville Democrats. The DeSantis wave capsized the campaign of an unusually strong Democratic candidate for Jacksonville Sheriff, Lakesha Burton, who assembled an unlikely coalition that included traditionally conservative big-money donors and endorsers, including Molly Curry, the wife of the city’s Republican Mayor. There was a time, not so long ago, local Republican kingmakers and strategists believed Burton’s candidacy to be so potent it may have been prudent to simply let her have it rather than risk activating a turnout arms race. How things change.

GOP won the election game in Florida before the kickoff” via Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat — Florida’s 2022 elections were really over before the polls closed; in fact, the results were pretty predictable before precincts even opened Tuesday morning. It wasn’t a question of whether DeSantis would be re-elected, or if Sen. Marco Rubio would win his third term in Washington. Nor was there any doubt that all three state Cabinet seats would have Republican rumps in them, or any suspense about control of the state Legislature. Voter turnout in early voting, and use of mailed ballots, decided the results of elections all over the state well before Election Day. Republicans outpaced the Democrats by about 480,000 ballots in that vital category of early voting.


— ALOE —

SeaWorld’s attendance suffers from Hurricane Ian but CEO says company still in good financial shape” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Because of Hurricane Ian, SeaWorld-owned Florida and Virginia parks missed out on 90,000 visitors, and the company’s third quarter attendance tumbled nearly 10% compared to the same time in pre-pandemic 2019. Orlando-headquartered SeaWorld Entertainment, which operates 12 parks across the country, disclosed the financial impact of the dangerous storm in late September during an earnings call Wednesday morning. SeaWorld’s third quarter earnings fell short of Wall Street’s expectations although company CEO Marc Swanson called the $565 million in total revenue a record.

SeaWorld took a hurricane hit, but not a fatal one. Image via SeaWorld.

Venice school band to march in city holiday parade instead of Disney performance” via Steven Walker of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The Venice High School marching band will perform at the city of Sarasota’s holiday parade on Dec. 3 instead of its previously scheduled Disney performance, the school’s band director confirmed Wednesday. The change in performance comes after Disney asked the school, whose mascot is “The Indians,” to cover the depiction of a Native American on its uniforms if the band wanted to perform at the park. Venice High Principal Zoltan Kerestely declined and pulled the band out of the performance, he wrote in an email sent Nov. 3. Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody later extended an offer to the band to perform in the city’s holiday parade instead.


Happy birthday to our friend Samantha Sexton Greer; Mark Herron, an attorney with Messer Caparello, P.A.; and Aimee Sachs. Belated best wishes to Macy Harper.


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.


  • Bobait Log

    November 10, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    Saint Desaintis FOR PRESIDENT!

  • Forward Command

    November 11, 2022 at 4:00 am

    The biggest Winners in Florida’s Mid-Term Elections are all the voters who turned out to vote for their desired candidates.

    The major cause of the victory is the large number of Republicans registered to vote and this is due to the superhuman effort put out by the Republican Party of Florida.

    The R.P.O.F. is led by its super competent leader Chairman Joe Gruters.

    Chairman Gruters masterful plan to push daily to register more and more Republicans proved to be the deciding factor.

    From Governor Ron DeSantis on down the Republican ticket was filled with outstanding people of great knowledge, ability and character which the public recognized by awarding them their own valuable personal vote.

    Lets keep moving forward by adding to our book of knowledge on how to make Florida a great place to live.

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