Good Wednesday morning.
Breaking overnight — “Ohio votes to protect abortion rights — rejecting a six-week ban” via Alice Miranda Ollstein of POLITICO — Ohio voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to enshrine protections for reproductive health services, including abortion, in the state constitution. The results follow a long, bitter and expensive campaign that shows the continuing resonance of the issue more than a year after Roe v. Wade was overturned and the strength of ballot measures as a tool for advancing abortion rights in GOP-dominated states. Looming over the race was Ohio’s six-week abortion ban with no exemptions for rape or incest, which has been enjoined for about a year and is now before the state’s right-leaning Supreme Court.
TGH Day at the Capitol — If you’re heading to the Capitol this morning, it will be impossible to miss Tampa General Hospital. It’s the annual “We Are TGH Day” at the State Capitol. More than 100 patient advocates and family members are in Tallahassee today advocating for the #1 hospital in West Central Florida.
The TGH advocates will visit with lawmakers to share stories of the lifesaving healing they received at Tampa General. The public is invited to learn about the burgeoning Tampa Medical and Research District in the Capitol Rotunda. Explore the TGH Aeromed helicopter, one of six in the fleet that serves 23 surrounding counties, on South Adams Street. Plus enjoy food and coffee from the multiple food trucks available.
From the simplest to the most complex health conditions, patients in Florida find world-class care at Tampa General Hospital.
It’s Debate Night in America!
“5 GOP presidential candidates are set to debate” via Dylan Wells of The Washington Post — Only five Republican presidential candidates will take the debate stage in Miami on Wednesday night and former President Donald Trump will once again skip the showdown. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum did not make the stage after he failed to meet the polling and fundraising criteria set by the Republican National Committee (RNC), having previously qualified for the first two debates. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also did not qualify, having made only the first debate. The RNC has raised the threshold to qualify for each debate. To participate in Miami, candidates had to show at least 4% support in two national polls or in one national poll and two statewide polls from early nominating states.
“Nikki Haley-Ron DeSantis fight to take center stage at third Republican debate” via Mini Racker of Time — A pre-debate memo from Betsy Ankney, Haley’s campaign manager, focuses almost exclusively on Gov. DeSantis, calling him a “sinking ship” in Iowa and positing that even if he does well there, that’s “as good as it’s going to get for him,” with Haley performing better in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The DeSantis team’s own pre-debate memo rejects the Haley camp’s framing. “Simply put, without Ron DeSantis in this Primary, Trump is the Republican nominee,” write three top DeSantis strategists. “Nikki Haley and others are, at best, simply playing the role of spoiler — exponentially increasing the odds of a Trump nomination. Every dollar the pro-Haley community collects or spends should also be listed as an ‘in-kind’ contribution on Trump’s campaign FEC reports.”
—“‘It’s really a DeSantis-Haley thing’” via Too Close to Call
“Donald Trump’s rivals battle each other and his aura of inevitability, as next debate approaches” via Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — Ahead of Wednesday’s debate in Miami, the campaigns of DeSantis, Haley and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott each put out memos on the state of the race that knifed each other’s viability, skills and standing, in a bid to present themselves as the only true alternative to Trump, the man who refuses to debate them. The Trump campaign put out a memo, too. It ignored his Primary rivals entirely and instead previewed his run against President Joe Biden, one year out from the General Election. The dueling memos and drastically different schedules in the run-up to the debate — Trump was in court giving sworn testimony while his rivals were readying their debate zingers and campaigning in Iowa — captured the stark reality of a primary that is proceeding on two parallel tracks.
“Haley campaign video previews potential debate attack on DeSantis” via Greg Hyatt of NBC News — Haley’s campaign is out with a new video the day before the third GOP Presidential Debate, criticizing DeSantis on energy policy and using a clip from one of their previous meetings. The nearly two-minute spot begins with Haley stating DeSantis is, “against fracking, against drilling” in a prior Republican debate, as DeSantis responds the allegations are “not true.” The ad then plays several clips of DeSantis stating during his time as Florida Governor that he opposes offshore drilling and touting policies against fracking. The ad ends with a voter asking the Florida Governor if he supports a ban on fracking, to which he replies, “Yeah.”
To watch the ad, please click the image below:
“Democrats call out ‘Florida blueprint’ for extremist politics ahead of presidential debate” via Stephany Matat of The Palm Beach Post — As dueling Republican presidential events in Miami-Dade County loom, the Biden-Kamala Harris campaign held a news conference Tuesday with Florida Democrats to call out “extremism” in GOP policies they said are especially pronounced in Florida. Campaign officials for Biden and Harris had their own nickname for it — “Florida blueprint” drawn up by Trump, DeSantis and Republican officials. “Tomorrow night in Florida, MAGA Republican extremism will be on full display, and we will continue to shine a light — a bright spotlight — on the vision that the President and Vice President continue to build for our country because we know that their vision couldn’t be more dramatically different from what you’ll see tomorrow night,” said Julie Chávez Rodriguez, the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign manager.
DeSantis Watch launches Spanish-language radio ad in South Florida ahead of GOP debate — Anti-DeSantis group DeSantis Watch is running an attack ad in South Florida ahead of the third GOP debate in Miami. “Over phone calls and at kitchen tables throughout South Florida, our families are all having similar conversations: we simply cannot afford to live in Ron DeSantis’ Florida,” DeSantis Watch Latino Constituency Communications Director Lisa Zayas said in a news release. “ … We need a Governor and a President who is focused on lowering our costs, raising our wages, and creating an affordable future for all of us, but Ron DeSantis has proven that he only cares about his own political ambitions and the billionaires and corporate elites who line his own pockets with campaign cash.” DeSantis Watch said the ad will run during drive time as part of morning and afternoon programming on Radio Mambi and Actualidad Radio on Nov. 8.
To watch the ad, please click the image below:
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
My heart aches for all the families still missing a loved one a month later.
Hamas must immediately release all hostages. #BringThemHome
Thank you to all those courageously sharing your stories. pic.twitter.com/h59K5fQsB6
— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@RepDWStweets) November 7, 2023
What they are reading in Iowa this morning! pic.twitter.com/0bbRFoz7QO
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) November 7, 2023
Rob DeSanctimonious is not 5’11”. pic.twitter.com/BrUKp2DcPH
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) November 7, 2023
—@MAGAIncWarRoom: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “The time has come to return to the normal policies of the Trump era which created a safer, stronger and more prosperous America, and that’s why I am proud to endorse Donald Trump for President.”
—@AGGancarski: A 104-2 vote against it with @AngieNixon @AnnaForFlorida alone voting yes. The GOP had this bill heard for a reason. It was a piñata.
Today, I proudly filed legislation, SB 356, to protect the homes of the most vulnerable in our community from false and fraudulent notarization. It will hold criminals, who prey on our elderly residents, accountable, and significantly increase the penalty to a 3rd degree felony. pic.twitter.com/1uGAigD3wj
— Sen. Bryan Ávila (@BryanAvilaFL) November 7, 2023
—@JimmyPatronis: Just remember: what they’re doing to Trump in New York is an abuse of the legal system. There are NO victims! Complete waste of taxpayer dollars!
—@SenReneGarcia: Today, we commemorate Victims of Communism Day & honor those who have suffered & died at the hands of tyrannical regimes. In Miami-Dade, we pay tribute to the victims of communism, especially those in Cuba, & stand united against communism across the globe. #RG13 #OneMiamiDade
Vice President @KamalaHarris stands as a testament to American progress—championing voting and reproductive rights, and leading with the courage of her convictions.
Her historic vice presidency is paving the way for future generations. pic.twitter.com/ILXN47EHL1
— Senator Lori Berman (@loriberman) November 7, 2023
Happy Four Seasons Landscaping Day, to those who celebrate. pic.twitter.com/OjF0AnHLgz
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) November 7, 2023
— DAYS UNTIL —
‘The Marvels′ premieres — 2; Formula 1 will take over the Las Vegas Strip — 8; Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ premieres — 14; 2023 Florida Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 14; ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ premieres — 14; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 21; Florida TaxWatch’s 2023 Government Productivity Awards Ceremony — 28; in-person sports betting begins at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa — 30; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 36; Zack Snyder’s ‘Rebel Moon’ premieres — 44; Michael Mann’s ‘Ferrari’ premieres — 47; Matt Dixon’s ‘Swamp Monsters: Trump vs. DeSantis ― the Greatest Show on Earth (or at Least in Florida)’ released — 62; 2024 Florida Chamber Legislative Fly-In and reception — 162; Florida’s 2024 Regular Session begins — 62; 2024 Primetime Emmy Awards — 68; Florida TaxWatch’s State of the Taxpayer Dinner — 69; South Carolina Democratic Primary — 87; New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Primaries — 90; South Carolina GOP holds first-in-the-South Primary — 108; Michigan Democratic Primary — 110; Trump’s D.C. trial on charges related to trying to reverse his 2020 Election loss — 116; Super Tuesday — 117; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 120; 2024 Oscars — 124; Georgia Democratic Primary — 125; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 129; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 184; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 193; Republican National Convention begins — 247; New ‘Alien’ premieres — 251; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 260; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 261; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 291; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 335; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 347; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 408; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 464; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 543; ‘Moana’ premieres — 599; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 773; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 904; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 927; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,140; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,279; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,235; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,598.
— TOP STORY —
“Sports betting app back up in Florida, though not everyone can use it” via John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times — The Seminole Tribe, which currently has exclusive rights to sports betting in the state, relaunched its mobile app with little fanfare and no advance warning Tuesday. The app is available to customers with existing accounts who signed up before legal challenges in December 2021 temporarily shut it down.
“The Seminole Tribe is offering limited access to existing Florida customers to test its Hard Rock Bet platform,” Seminole Tribe representative Gary Bitner said in an email Tuesday morning.
The future of sports betting in the state is still being challenged by another petition with the Florida Supreme Court filed by pari-mutuel facilities. The legal challenge argues that the agreement between the Seminole Tribe and the state is illegal because Florida voters had overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that required any gambling expansion be voter approved.
There is also an issue of whether the mobile app is legal since it can be used anywhere in the state and does not require bettors to be on tribal land.
— THE TRAIL —
“Democrats come to Miami ahead of GOP debate to warn of ‘MAGA extremism’” via Glenna Milberg of Local10 — Representatives from the Biden-Harris campaign were in Miami Tuesday, along with other big-name Democrats, in a preemptive strike against what they call “MAGA extremism” ahead of Wednesday’s Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center. It’s going to be a talking point for the Democratic Party moving forward as it seeks to tie the entire field of GOP candidates to Trump. “This is a troubling blueprint that will be on display tomorrow night here in Miami,” Julie Chavez-Rodriguez, the Biden-Harris campaign manager, said. Two Floridians are running in the race and are top targets for Democrats: Trump and DeSantis.
“Team DeSantis is somehow still trying to hype his electability” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — Last November, the pitch of DeSantis to 2024 Republican Primary voters seemed obvious. The party had just woefully underperformed expectations in the Midterm Elections, thanks partly to the nomination of fringe-right candidates with limited crossover appeal — candidates often hyped or endorsed by Trump. As the months passed, though, a significant problem arose: DeSantis kept losing. The Governor was running near-even with Trump at the beginning of the year according to 538′s average of national polls, but his position just kept getting weaker and weaker. DeSantis’ campaign has for some time now insisted that Iowa will be a turning point in the race, which is the sort of thing you say when you are losing. In a memo sent to donors on Monday, the campaign insisted that Trump would underperform in Iowa, opening the door for DeSantis.
“DeSantis touts GOP success stories amid Election Day Iowa tour” via Emma Colton of Fox News — “We have to bring this country a new birth of freedom, and we need to win in order to do that,” DeSantis said at an event in Davenport on Tuesday morning. “Iowa shows that it can be done. Florida shows that it can be done. If you look, Republicans haven’t done very well recently in recent elections. We don’t have as many success stories as we should have. But these are two states to show that it actually can be done. And how do you do it? Well, I think you got to do a few things. One, you got to fight for people. Two, you got to win for people. And three, you gotta be willing to lead especially when things are not easy.”
— “Iowa voters pumped over Reynolds’ endorsement of DeSantis. Will it make a difference?” via Michaela Ramm of the Des Moines Register
“DeSantis campaign focused on denying Trump a ‘big win’ in Iowa” via Lauren Sforza of The Hill — The campaign for GOP presidential hopeful DeSantis is reportedly focused on denying Trump a “big win” in Iowa after the Florida Governor secured the endorsement of Reynolds. DeSantis’ senior advisers outlined a path to secure DeSantis the GOP nomination in a memo sent to his national donor network and a separate group of uncommitted billionaires, which is known as the American Opportunity Alliance. The memo said that a Trump loss or even a close race in Iowa would reveal his “political vulnerabilities and inspire Republican voters across the country who are either in the ‘not for Trump’ or ‘consider Trump and others’ camps.”
“DeSantis argues Reynolds’s support may help him stop Trump — and labels rivals as spoilers” via The Associated Press — DeSantis’ senior advisers are outlining a difficult path to the Republican presidential nomination that can succeed only by first denying Trump “a big win” in Iowa, where the DeSantis campaign is promising to leverage the “vast statewide political operation” of his newest major endorser, Iowa Gov. Reynolds. The memo, distributed late Monday to the campaign’s national donor network and to another group of uncommitted billionaires known as the American Opportunity Alliance, argues other Republican candidates, including former United Nations Amb. Haley, are, at best, spoilers. “Everyone can universally agree that if Trump were to win big in Iowa, it would create media and political momentum for his candidacy that would be difficult to stop heading into New Hampshire,” reads the memo, penned by campaign manager James Uthmeier, deputy manager David Polyansky and senior adviser Ryan Tyson.
—”DeSantis says antisemitism in Germany is at a post-Adolf Hitler peak due to immigrants” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
“Trump holds commanding lead over DeSantis, GOP field in Florida, UNF poll shows” via Kevin Derby of Florida Daily — Trump is ahead of the GOP in Florida. Trump takes 60% of likely Republican Primary voters, with DeSantis a distant second in his home state with 21%. The rest of the field stands in single digits, with Haley in third with 6%, followed by Chris Christie with 2% and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 1%.
“DeSantis’ new campaign videos paint very different picture of Trump” via Lee Moran of Yahoo News — DeSantis’ campaign team taunted rival Trump with a series of gaffe-filled clips, saying they explain why Trump isn’t participating in the GOP’s Primary debates. The clips feature “every one of Donald Trump’s fumbles, accidents, and confused moments from this year,” DeSantis’ team wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday. In the various videos, Trump tells a rally audience that he’s in the wrong place, confuses his predecessor Barack Obama with Biden, and denies having vowed to “use special forces to inflict maximum damage” on Mexican drug cartels, even though he’d said exactly that just days before. DeSantis’ campaign called some of the footage “really concerning.”
To watch one of the videos, please click the image below:
“Biden campaign releases first TV ad speaking to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” via Sakshi Venkatraman of NBC News — The Biden campaign has released the first in a series of ads targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander voters — and specifically, small-business owners. The 30-second clip, shared first with NBC News, features a Vietnamese American woman whose parents fled to the U.S. during the war and started a restaurant. Now a business owner herself with a young family, Jenny Poon says she is flourishing, having learned from watching her parents.
To watch the ad, please click the image below:
— MORE 2024 —
“DeSantis overtakes Haley in 2024 GOP betting markets” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — In the wake of DeSantis earning the endorsement of Iowa’s Governor, there appears to be new momentum for him with bettors. According to the Election Betting Odds aggregation site, which considers the Betfair, Smarkets, PredictIt and Polymarket platforms, DeSantis is now in second place among all investment options for GOP Primary campaigns. DeSantis has a 9.1% chance of winning the nomination at this writing Tuesday morning, with a slender 0.2-percentage-point lead over Haley. Trump is still the prohibitive favorite, with a 75.5% chance of becoming the Republican nominee in a third straight election cycle. The race seems to have coalesced around Trump, DeSantis and Haley.
“DeSantis receives taunting new campaign ad from Jimmy Fallon” via Lee Moran of HuffPost — Fallon put the boot into DeSantis with a series of spoof campaign ads for the Florida Governor on Monday’s episode of “The Tonight Show.” Fallon pounced on rumors that DeSantis wears lifts. One of the “Tonight Show” spots boasted about DeSantis lifting America “to new heights.” Others called him “a shoe-in” who would “heel the nation.” Things didn’t improve from there.
To watch the spot, please click the image below:
“Trump campaign mocks DeSantis argument that Haley, other GOP rivals are playing ‘spoiler’ in 2024 contest” via Paul Steinhauser, Chris Pandolfo of Fox News — Trump’s campaign scoffed at new arguments made by DeSantis’ team that the 2024 Republican nomination is a two-man race, with everyone else playing spoiler. “If it’s a two-man race, why the hell is DeSanctimonious spending money and resources attacking Nikki ‘Birdbrain’ Haley?” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said. “He knows she’s overtaken him in polls, and he is falling like a wounded bird out of the sky,” In the wake of yesterday’s endorsement by Kim Reynolds, the DeSantis campaign is once again trying to frame the Florida Governor as the only viable alternative to Trump in the GOP Presidential Primary.
“Anti-Trump forces splinter on alternative candidate as DeSantis, Haley fight on” via Maeve Reston of The Washington Post — Amid the splintering of anti-Trump forces, some of the most prominent conservative groups that earlier this year declared an intent to stop Trump now acknowledge that few of the attacks they have tried against him have been effective. These undercurrents in the GOP race are the latest examples of how Republicans hoping to thwart Trump’s march to the Republican nomination are trying to stop him. But with only about two months until the first nominating contest, voters, donors and outside groups have yet to coalesce around a consensus candidate or line of attack against the former President, who holds a commanding lead in polls of the GOP race.
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders is set to endorse Trump at his Florida rally this week” via Jake Taylor of NBC News — Arkansas Gov. Sanders is set to endorse Trump’s presidential bid on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Sanders will make her announcement at Trump’s rally near Miami. Trump is skipping the debate that night — which is being hosted by NBC News — and holding a counterprogramming event. “It’s not a question between right versus left anymore,” Sanders said in a statement. “It’s normal versus crazy and President Biden and the left are doubling down on crazy. The time has come to return to the normal policies of the Trump era which created a safer, stronger and more prosperous America, and that’s why I am proud to endorse Donald Trump for President.”
“Trump pushes a new word for Jan. 6 rioters: ‘Hostages’” via Steve Benen of NBC News — Nearly three years after the Jan. 6 violence he helped inspire, Trump has had plenty to say about those who rioted in his name. However, Trump has apparently come up with a new word to add to his record. “I call them the J6 hostages, not prisoners,” the Republican said last week as he kicked off his campaign event. “I call them the hostages, what’s happened. And it’s a shame.” Oddly enough, “shame” seems like an appropriate choice of words, though not for the reasons the former President had in mind. A rhetorical escalation like this seemed unlikely in early 2021. Revisiting our earlier coverage, in the immediate aftermath of the assault on the Capitol, members of the White House Cabinet began conversations about removing Trump from office by way of the 25th Amendment.
“Trump completes testimony in New York civil fraud trial” via The Washington Post — Trump had a contentious day on the witness stand Monday in the civil trial accusing him and his company of committing rampant fraud. He drew multiple warnings from the trial judge for veering off topic and criticizing the proceedings while also staunchly defending the way he and the Trump Organization valued their properties. The case involves a $250 million lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who says Trump and others intentionally inflated the value of his assets to secure better financial terms. Trump denies wrongdoing. He has been fined $15,000 for twice violating a gag order that bars him from making statements about court employees.
“‘Damning’: Legal experts say New York AG got Trump to make ‘critical admission’ in fraud testimony” via Tatyana Tandanpolie of Salon — Trump appeared to confirm that the property valuations that his company submitted to banks and insurers were meant to “induce” loans from lenders while being questioned by prosecutors from the New York attorney general’s office, legal experts say. Counsel for the New York attorney general’s office on Monday showed Trump a Deutsche Bank term loan agreement from the early 2010s that Trump had verified and signed. The prosecutor then asked Trump if the intentions to submit values of businesses and the properties of the Trump Organization were “in order to induce lending,” Inner City Press’ Matt Russell reported. “You see that?” the prosecutor asked Trump while pointing out the language on the document. “Yes,” Trump answered.
“Trump shows off disclaimer clause he tried to show judge at civil trial and claims it clears him of fraud” via Priscilla DeGregory of The New York Post — Trump said the piece of paper he randomly pulled out of his pocket while testifying at his Manhattan civil fraud trial was a disclaimer clause he claims clears him of the charges. “This is the Paper that I wanted to submit that the Judge refused to take, because he doesn’t want anybody to know about the Disclaimer Clause at the beginning of each Financial Statement,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post a day after his dramatic testimony in Manhattan Supreme Court. Trump included a photo of the disclaimer clause in his post which says: “Users of this financial statement should recognize that they might reach different conclusions about the financial condition of Donald J. Trump.” Trump stunned the courtroom Monday when he tried to read a piece of paper he pulled out of his suit jacket while on the stand and asked the judge if he would “like to have it.”
“Trump can’t hide his utter disdain for the rule of law” via Kimberly Wehle of The Atlantic — Trump testified for five hours yesterday in the trial of the civil fraud claims brought by James against him, his two sons, the Trump Organization and other related defendants. Although his testimony probably shifted little for the state’s case against him, it was a sad spectacle for the rule of law and the sanctity of the judicial system in America. Trump reportedly yelled at Judge Arthur Engoron for several minutes in open court, declaring: “It’s a terrible thing you’ve done. You know nothing about me. You believe this political hack back there,” referring to James.
“Trump’s wealth has jumped $500 million since he left the White House” via Tom Maloney of Bloomberg — Trump is getting richer. With Trump on trial in New York, accused of inflating his wealth by billions of dollars for more than a decade, the question of how much he’s worth is as relevant as ever. The answer may surprise: Trump’s fortune is valued at $3.1 billion, up from $2.6 billion in 2021. He spent a combative day in court Monday arguing about how he valued his assets. The civil fraud lawsuit, brought by James, could result in hundreds of millions in penalties and the loss of some of his most iconic properties.
“Imagine if 2024 Republicans actually tried taking on Trump” via Molly Jong-Fast of Vanity Fair — You may not realize it, but the Republican Primary is still happening. The third GOP debate takes place Wednesday night; five candidates will be onstage despite having no chance at the nomination. Trump’s calculation of sitting out the debate and letting the also-rans squabble, seems to have paid off. Biden’s team had reportedly expected that “the ex-President’s GOP Primary rivals would do much of the work of roughing him up for them,” but to no avail. Perhaps it was fear of political violence or Trump’s iron grip on the GOP voters that kept 2024 aspirants at bay. Or they just hoped that somehow, magically, the base would get bored of Trump. In any event, it hasn’t worked.
— DESANTISY LAND —
“DeSantis on free speech: Do his policies match his words?” via Jeffrey S. Solochek and Divya Kumar of the Tampa Bay Times — DeSantis says he wants Florida schools to be bastions of free speech where all views can be expressed. Yet the Governor’s brand as a defender of free expression is increasingly under attack from critics on the left and right who accuse him of saying one thing and doing another. They point to his push to restrict classroom discussion on race and gender, defund diversity programs and make it easier to ban certain books from schools. Critics may have more fodder after Wednesday, when the state university system’s Board of Governors considers a rule supporting legislation pushed by DeSantis this year. It would prohibit schools from promoting “topics that polarize or divide society among political, ideological, moral or religious beliefs, positions or norms.”
“DeSantis’ former housing director Mike DiNapoli had past complaints” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — TALLAHASSEE — Before DeSantis chose him to be Florida’s affordable housing director, DiNapoli oversaw a $700 million pandemic housing fund at the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity. But he was so hostile and condescending to the contractors managing the program that he was banned from contacting some of them, according to an inspector general’s report. The investigation was quietly posted on the corporation’s website recently and has not previously been reported. DiNapoli’s history at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, now known as the Department of Commerce, predated the turmoil and abuse employees said they experienced during DiNapoli’s nine months overseeing the housing corporation.
— D. C. MATTERS —
“Maxwell Frost: ‘I should have voted differently’ on campus antisemitism resolution” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — U.S. Rep. Frost says he should have voted for a resolution condemning antisemitism on college campuses, even though it contained what he called Republican “falsehoods.” Frost was one of 23 representatives and the only member of Florida’s congressional delegation who opposed the measure on Thursday. Frost said he has a different view after discussions with constituents and local leaders and “a difficult, but important” listening session at the University of Central Florida’s Hillel chapter, a student Jewish organization. “I have come to realize that I should have voted differently on H. Res. 798, to send a clear message that I stand against antisemitism,” Frost said in a statement released Tuesday.
“California Democrat wants Brian Mast censured for comparing Palestinians to Nazis” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs, a California Democrat, said she filed a motion to censure Mast over controversial remarks on the House floor. “Innocent civilians shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their governments — and they’re certainly not responsible for the actions of terrorists,” Jacobs posted on X. “That’s why I moved to censure Rep. Brian Mast for his dangerous comments conflating innocent Palestinian civilians with Hamas.” The censure effort focuses on statements Mast made while arguing for a resolution supporting Israel in a counteroffensive against Hamas. “As a whole, I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians,’ as is frequently said,” Mast said on the floor on Nov. 1. “I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term innocent ‘Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”
— STATEWIDE —
“House passes bills on Idalia recovery, Iran, special needs vouchers, Jewish Day school security” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The House passed a series of bills during a Special Session to expand security grants for Jewish day schools, put more restrictions on investments in businesses connected to Iran, increase financial boost storm recovery funds for areas affected by Hurricane vestments Idalia and remove a cap on vouchers for special needs students. Although the bills received nearly unanimous votes, some Democrats raised concerns about parts of the measures. The hurricane recovery measure (HB 1C) has $417 million for programs to boost rebuilding efforts in the Panhandle areas hit by Hurricane Idalia in August, as well as a tax break for the agriculture industry. Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, raised the specter of Georgia-Pacific, which announced it would close a paper mill in Taylor County shortly after Idalia passed, taking advantage of the tax cut.
“Fiery debate over Israel-Hamas resolution grips Florida House” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — After breezing through a Special Session requested by DeSantis to show support for Israel in its war against Hamas, the House finished its business Tuesday with a fiery debate over whether a resolution supporting pro-Palestinian protests and a cease-fire was antisemitic. The resolution, filed by Rep. Angie Nixon called for the House to support a de-escalation and cease-fire between Israel and “occupied Palestine,” supported the constitutional rights of Floridians to protest and advocated for the safety of all involved. “Two things can be true. We can care about the lives of the Israelis and the hostages and care for the Palestinians who are not members of Hamas,” Nixon said. “Caring about the thousands of lost lives is not antisemitic.” House Speaker Paul Renner told reporters after the Session that she had an opportunity to withdraw the resolution but decided to go forward with it, which gave members an opportunity to speak out.
“Spring Hill Republican lawmakers file legislation to make November Veteran Appreciation Month” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — November should be known in Florida as “Veteran Appreciation Month,” according to legislation filed by Republican Sen. Blaise Ingoglia and GOP Rep. Jeff Holcomb. The lawmakers, both of Spring Hill, filed measures (SB 346, HB 357) aiming to encourage counties, municipalities, public schools and residents of the state to observe the month with special programs and events showing appreciation for veterans across Florida. “If anyone deserves a month to be celebrated for their dedication to keeping us free, it is our precious veterans who served this country,” Ingoglia said. “They deserve more than a day. They deserve to be put on a pedestal and cherished for the heroes that they are.” The 21-line bill makes no mention of specific examples of how they might be appreciated, but U.S. veterans have proved their mettle and deserve to be recognized, Holcomb said.
“Florida farmers came to the state capital to get relief from Idalia’s destruction; lawmakers are helping” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix — Timothy Solano is a second-generation clam farmer from Cedar Key who said that before Hurricane Idalia hit North Florida last August, his company was on track to break $50 million in sales this year. But not anymore. Now, Solano and other farmers are about to get help from the state of Florida in the form of grants and tax breaks in a legislative proposal estimated to be around $416 million. The money and tax breaks are aimed at recovering from Idalia. While Idalia did not produce the loss of life that 2022’s Hurricane Ian did in Southwest Florida, it had a devastating impact on Florida’s agricultural industry, with losses estimated by the Department of Agriculture in late September to be near $450 million.
— 9 a.m. The House Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee meets for an update on the physician and nurse workforce. Reed Hall, House Office Building.
— 9 a.m. The House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee meets to consider HB 133, from Reps. Kevin Chambliss and Rachel Plakon, to make licensing changes related to barbers and cosmetologists. Location: Room 212, Knott Building.
— 9:30 a.m. The Senate convenes a floor Session as part of a Special Legislative Session to address a series of issues, including bolstering state sanctions against Iran and providing additional assistance to people affected by Hurricane Idalia. Senate Chamber.
— 1 p.m. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee meets for an update on a statewide database for tracking sexual assault evidence kits. Room 404, House Office Building.
— 3 p.m. The House Education Quality Subcommittee meets for an update on recommendations for revising or repealing parts of a state education code. Reed Hall, House Office Building.
— 3 p.m. The House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee meets for an update from the state Department of Commerce about special districts. Morris Hall, House Office Building.
— 3 p.m. The House Transportation & Modals Subcommittee meets for an update about laws related to towing. Room 404, House Office Building.
Happening today — Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris and Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida will appear at the Florida Association of Health Plans annual conference. 8:30 a.m. JW Marriott Bonnet Creek, 14900 Chelonia Parkway, Orlando.
Tiffany Carr lawyers up — Former Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence head Carr has hired attorney Christopher Kise, court records show. According to a notice filed in Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, Kise also represents Patricia Duarte, Carr’s co-defendant. Kise is a former Solicitor General of Florida and has served as an adviser to multiple Florida Governors, including Charlie Crist and DeSantis. He is also a member of Trump’s legal team. Carr and Duarte are accused of submitting false quarterly reports, billing the state for vacant positions, and charging for services that were never provided. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says the money was then used for excessive bonuses and leave payouts, including $3.4 million to Carr and $291,000 to Duarte. Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is handling the case.
“A think tank funded by a far-right billionaire wrote a bill to weaken child-labor laws in Florida, records show” via Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents — A conservative think tank funded by a far-right billionaire wrote a controversial new bill in Florida that would weaken the state’s child-labor laws. The records show that representatives for the Foundation for Government Accountability wrote the original draft of the Florida legislation, which would allow employers in the state to make 16- and 17-year-old teenagers work the same schedules as adults — including overnight shifts on school nights. “Attached is draft language on the Youth Worker Freedom issue that Rep. [Linda] Chaney expressed interest in to FGA,” a lobbyist for the FGA’s advocacy arm wrote in an Aug. 28 email to an aide to Chaney.
— DOWN BALLOT —
“MAGA world tries to recruit Breitbart’s Matt Boyle for Congress” via Morgan Chalfant and Kadia Goba of Semafor — Steve Bannon and other Trumpworld figures are encouraging longtime Breitbart writer Boyle to mount a Primary challenge to a Republican in Florida who opposed Jim Jordan’s Speakership. Boyle has been meeting with people urging him to run against U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, but it’s unclear how interested he is in the idea. “UltraMAGA Matt Boyle will be the next Congressman from Florida,” Bannon told Semafor. “Boyle has been with President Trump from the early days and gets the America First Movement like few others.” Bannon said that Boyle is taking “tons of meetings” with local groups “begging him to run” and described a “real grassroots swell” for a potential candidacy.
— LOCAL: S. FL —
“Steven Meiner, Michael Góngora to clash in runoff for Miami Beach Mayor” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Vice Mayor Meiner and former City Commissioner Góngora, the two biggest vote-earners on Election Day, are headed to a Nov. 21 runoff. They outpaced two other candidates, former Rep. Mike Grieco and former MTV executive Bill Roedy, a first-time candidate, but neither took a large enough share of the vote to win outright. With 20 of 21 precincts reporting Tuesday at 8 p.m., Meiner had 31% of the vote and Góngora had 28%. Roedy, meanwhile, had 21% of the vote, while Grieco had 20%. Candidates in Miami Beach must receive more than 50% of the total vote to secure victory and avoid a runoff.
“Alex Díaz de la Portilla, Miguel Gabela again head to runoff for District 1 seat on Miami Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — The race for the District 1 seat on the Miami City Commission is headed to a runoff after no candidate secured more than half the total vote share Tuesday to win outright. Suspended Commissioner De la Portilla and former Miami Zoning Board member Miguel Gabela, the largest vote-getters with 36.5% and 29% of the vote, respectively, will compete for voters’ support through Nov. 21. They also competed in a runoff in 2019, when De la Portilla won by a 20-percentage-point margin. For private investigator Francisco “Frank” Pichel, Miami-Dade County Administrator Mercedes “Merci” Rodriguez and local investor Marvin Tapia, it’s the end of the road for now.
“Sabina Covo, Damián Pardo to compete in runoff for District 2 seat on Miami Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Incumbent Miami Commissioner Covo and longtime community activist Pardo are heading to a Nov. 21 runoff to determine who will serve in the Miami Commission District 2 seat through 2027. The two candidates outpaced five others in the race but neither secured more than half the votes cast to win the seat outright. With 24 of 29 precincts reporting at 7:50 p.m. Tuesday, Covo took 39% of the vote, while Pardo held a 26% share. The rest received 15% or less.
“Manolo Reyes trounces long shot opponent to win third Miami Commission term” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Miami Commissioner Reyes dominated a severely underfunded and inexperienced political opponent Tuesday to win a third term representing District 4 on the Miami Commission. With 21 of 22 precincts reporting at 7:33 p.m., Reyes had 85% of the vote. His challenger, technology executive Andres Vallina, held the balance. Reyes, an economist by trade and a high school teacher by present practice, carried a gargantuan funding advantage into Election Day. He was also a far better-known commodity among voters in District 4, which covers Flagami and parts of the Coral Way, Silver Bluff, Shenandoah and Auburndale neighborhoods.
“Appeals court confirms Miami Commission candidate qualifies for election” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Miami City Commission candidate Miguel Angel Gabela scored a major legal victory on Tuesday which confirmed the validity of his candidacy just hours before polls close. A three-judge panel from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal unanimously ruled in favor of Gabela, who is running to represent District 1 and locked in a legal battle with City Hall after Commissioners redrew the voting map in June in a way that excluded his longtime home from District 1. Gabela later moved into the new district, but the city said it was too late. The changes spurred a lawsuit over whether Gabela met the city’s residency requirements to run for City Commission. Miami’s city charter requires candidates to live inside the district they wish to represent for at least one year before qualifying.
“Tanya Katzoff Bhatt, David Suarez win Miami Beach Commission seats as a third race hovers near recount range” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Two clear winners in Miami Beach’s General Election are headed to the City Commission, but the future occupant of a third seat on the panel may be pending a recount after a razor-thin outcome Tuesday night. With all 21 precincts reporting at 8:30 p.m., the undeniable winners were marketing professionals Tanya Katzoff Bhatt and David Suarez, who will take the Group 4 and 5 seats on the Commission, respectively. A third race between finance pro Joe Magazine and art consultant Marcella Novela in Group 6 may be too close to call. Bhatt, a Democrat, defeated real estate broker Andres Asion, a no-party candidate, with 55.5% of the vote to succeed Vice Mayor Steven Meiner. Meiner is leaving office for a mayoral bid.
“Homestead voters re-elect 2 incumbents, send 2 new Council members to City Hall” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Two incumbents will remain on the Homestead Council for another four years alongside a pair of new members following the city’s General Election Tuesday. With all 18 precincts reporting at 8:50 p.m., Council members Sean Fletcher and Larry Roth defeated a challenger apiece to win re-election to Seats 2 and 3. Fletcher defeated former Homestead administrator Ana San Roman with 63% of the vote. Roth beat former Homestead Police Cpt. William “Bobby” Rea with a 52% share of nearly 3,100 ballots cast on and before Election Day.
“Monica Perez re-elected, Angelica Pacheco unseats incumbent in Hialeah City Council races” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — One incumbent Hialeah Council member is heading back to City Hall while another must cede her seat to a challenger following the city’s General Election Tuesday. With all 45 precincts reporting at 8:08 p.m., Council President Monica Perez had 63% of the vote to deflect a challenge from Elias Montes de Oca for the Group 4 seat. Meanwhile, Angelica Pacheco unseated incumbent Council member Vivian Casáls-Muñoz 52-48% in Group 1. In both races, the incumbents held major funding advantages.
“Surfside voters split on charter changes in Special Election” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Surfside voters Tuesday were divided during a Special Election on a handful of charter amendments, three of which aimed to change how residents can win and remain in public office and two that concerned town finances and employee grievances. Just two of the ballot measures succeeded. Residents voted in favor of requiring the winner of the Mayor’s race to receive more than 50% of the vote, instead of the current standard by which the candidate with the most votes wins. Residents voted for enabling the Town Clerk to file an appeal with the Personnel Appeals Board if they claim to have been terminated, demoted or given reduced pay without cause. Before Election Day, Surfside’s charter only allowed such action by other employees who have worked for the town for at least two years, except the Clerk, Manager, Prosecutor, Attorneys and Judges
“After industry pressure, Miami-Dade puts heat protections for outdoor workers on ice” via Alex Harris and Ashley Miznazi of the Miami Herald — After the hottest Summer on Earth, a landmark campaign to increase protections for outdoor workers from extreme heat floundered in Miami-Dade County’s Commission halls on Tuesday. After a long Summer of what appeared to be strong support for the cutting-edge labor protections suggested by farmworker advocacy groups and supported by several Commissioners and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, the momentum for “water, rest and shade” for outdoor workers appeared to come to a halt — for now. Commissioners officially deferred the bill until March, but a tense back and forth on the dais made clear that most Commissioners didn’t support the bill for a range of reasons.
“‘Sometimes you feel like you are in a war zone’: Target shooters’ stray bullets frighten residents” via Mike Diamond of the Palm Beach Post — At about noon on Sept. 10, Nicole Adams heard gunshots. She walked outside her home west of Lake Worth Beach to check on her horses. She then felt a sharp pain in her lower back. She had been shot. Luckily for her, the .45-caliber bullet had lost most of its velocity by the time she was hit. According to deputies at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, she sustained “a superficial graze.” She was treated and released from Bethesda West Hospital. Adams and her family live in a relatively crime-free rural area near State Road 7 west of Lake Worth Beach, but she and her neighbors say they often fear for their safety because of stray bullets.
“Delray Beach may have underreported Highland Beach’s costs for fire-rescue services, preliminary audit says” via Abigail Hasebroock of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Delray Beach may have underreported the costs from working with neighboring Highland Beach for fire-rescue services — by more than $2 million over several years, according to an initial state audit. The state’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee ordered an audit into Delray Beach’s finances earlier this year regarding an agreement between the city and town for fire-rescue services after a request from Rep. Peggy Gossett-Seidman, a former Town Commission member for Highland Beach, who wanted Delray to “show us the money.” Highland Beach plans to open its own fire department next year instead of continuing to rely on Delray Beach for service.
“After industry pressure, Miami-Dade puts heat protections for outdoor workers on ice” via Alex Harris and Ashley Miznazi of the Miami Herald — After the hottest Summer on Earth, a landmark campaign to increase protections for outdoor workers from extreme heat floundered in Miami-Dade County’s Commission halls. After a long Summer of what appeared to be strong support for the cutting-edge labor protections suggested by farmworker advocacy groups and supported by several Commissioners and Levine Cava, the momentum for “water, rest and shade” for outdoor workers appeared to come to a halt — for now. Commissioners officially deferred the bill until March, but a tense back and forth on the dais made clear that a majority of Commissioners didn’t support the bill for a range of reasons.
— LOCAL: C. FL —
“Erika Booth handily wins GOP Primary in HD 35” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Osceola County School Board member Booth won a costly fight for the Republican nomination in House District 35. Now, she advances to a Jan. 16 Special Election, where she hopes to defend a Central Florida swing seat. Unofficial final election results, with all of Orange County votes and 44% of Osceola votes counted, show Booth won 49.5% of the vote, while former congressional candidate Scotty Moore won 33.5%. Real estate agent Ken Davenport also picked up 16.9% “I’d like to thank everyone for their votes and the support. It’s been a tough race, but the results speak for themselves. I am beyond grateful — but this journey is not yet over,” Booth said.
“Tom Keen emerges as Democratic nominee in HD 35” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Keen has pulled a surprising victory off in the Democratic Primary in House District 35. He now will be the Democratic nominee in a critical Special Election in January despite raising less money than two other candidates in the race. Unofficial final election results, with all Orange County and Osceola County counted, show Keen winning 36.1% of the vote to lawyer Rishi Bagga’s 33.3%, with Latino Leadership Executive Director Marucci Guzmán in third with 30.1%. “Thanks to the incredible support and dedication of our team of supporters and volunteers, we are so pleased to emerge victorious in the Florida House District 35 Special Primary Election,” Keen said.
“Buddy Dyer secures seventh term as Orlando Mayor” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Dyer has secured a seventh term leading the city, early results from Tuesday’s election show. With all votes counted, unofficial election results show Dyer led three challengers with 72.4% of the vote. “Thank you, Orlando! I am incredibly honored and proud to serve as Mayor of our incredible community for four more years,” Dyer posted on X. Dyer has said this will be his last re-election campaign. Dyer’s re-election never seemed in doubt. Dyer, as of Oct. 20, had raised more than $480,000 for his campaign, independent of any outside spending. And he had spent more than $328,000 of that as of the same report filing.
“Patty Sheehan, Bakari Burns re-elected to Orlando City Council” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Orlando voters have re-elected two incumbents to the City Council. District 2 City Commissioner Sheehan defeated two challengers. “And yes, I had a drag queen at my victory party,” she said. With all votes counted and unofficial election results in, Sheehan won 64.3% of the vote, while IFCO Systems executive Katie Koch won 25.6% and Republican political consultant Randy Ross took 10.1%. By securing more than 50%, Sheehan avoided a runoff. Meanwhile, District 4 City Commissioner Burns fended off a challenge to his re-election. Burns won 82% to opponent Rufus Hawkins’ 18%.
“Oviedo, Lake Mary stick with incumbents” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Seminole County voters in Oviedo and Lake Mary have re-elected popular incumbents. Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek won another term, defeating two opponents, including former congressional candidate Brady Duke and former City Council member Judith Smith. Meanwhile, Lake Mary Commissioner George Duryea barely fended off a challenge from Kristina Renteria for his Seat 2 office. Unofficial final election results in Seminole County showed Sladek leading with 54.3% to Duke’s 40.6% and Smith’s 5.2%.
“Guy Lalonde, Sam Simmons headed to runoff as Chad McLeod wins Lakeland Commission seat” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Voters in Lakeland decisively re-elected one City Commissioner. But another race appears to be headed for a December runoff. Earlier this evening, it appeared interim Northwest District City Commissioner Simmons had lost his seat to Lakeland Moonwalk CEO Lalonde Jr., who defeated neighborhood leader Lolita Berrien. But it looks like Lalonde fell short of a majority, meaning the race will head to a Dec. 5 runoff. At large City Commissioner McLeod led his vote tally in his citywide race. He defeated two challengers, construction executive Dennis Odisho and nurse practitioner Kay Klymko. Unofficial final election results show McLeod won almost 58% of the vote. Klymko won nearly 27.5%. Odisho won 14.6%.
“Carolina Amesty argues her school’s $1.6 million home shouldn’t face property taxes” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — State Rep. Amesty argued Tuesday that the $1.6 million house owned by her family’s private university should be exempt from Orange County property taxes because it serves as space for school gatherings, and not only as a residence for her father, the school’s president. Amesty missed the Florida House’s Special Session Tuesday in Tallahassee to attend a tax hearing in Orlando. She was joined by more than a dozen supporters of Central Christian University who want a special magistrate to rule that the house in an upscale community near Windermere should be excused from paying its taxes this year. Without that ruling, the university with a campus on North Hiawassee Road would face a 2023 tax bill of more than $25,000 on the five-bedroom pool home.
“Flagler-Palm Coast grads who led school walkouts set up nonprofit to back young activists” via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Three Flagler-Palm Coast High School graduates, who in 2022 helped organize statewide school “Say Gay” walkouts in protest of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, are now looking to prop up other youthful progressives. Along with other college students, they’ve started the Youth Action Fund, a nonprofit that has already attracted a $350,000 seed grant. Because they have established the fund as a 501(c)(3), they are barred from giving to political parties and specific candidates but may support advocacy for progressive causes of which they are passionate, such as LGBTQ+ rights and climate change.
“Latest Orange County tourist-tax collections end five-month slide with modest gain” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — For the first time since March, the monthly tourist-tax collection exceeded the total from the same period in the previous year, though just barely. September collections, announced this morning by Comptroller Phil Diamond, rose less than 1% over September 2022 to $24.6 million for the month, but the modest gain capped a record fiscal year total of $359.3 million. The previous best for a fiscal year, $336.3 million, was set a year ago. Receipts for April, May, June, July and August were each lower than for the same month in 2022.
— LOCAL: TB —
“Tampa leaders ride Brightline to Orlando as they weigh long-delayed rail link” via David Lyons of the Orlando Sentinel — “Next station stop: Tampa!” For visiting public and private sector leaders from Tampa who came to South and Central Florida on Monday to tour Brightline’s higher-speed rail system, a conductor’s announcement like that would be music to their ears. The group of 50 officials led by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor flew to Miami, met with Miami-Dade County Mayor Levine Cava and Brightline executives, then toured Brightline’s MiamiCentral station downtown. They boarded a train for a midday tour of the West Palm Beach station, which is expected to be “similar in scope for a future Tampa station,” the company said.
— LOCAL: N. FL —
“Pensacola considering setting up low-barrier homeless shelter” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Pensacola is assessing what it would take to create a low-barrier homeless shelter that Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves said could be an “Opportunity Center” to help people out of homelessness. Reeves said Tuesday that he’s in the “analysis mode” of determining what it would cost to set up and operate a shelter, as well as finding a community partner who would be in charge of running it. A low-barrier shelter that provides access to people without requiring payment or participation in sobriety or any other type of program has long been cited as a need by homeless advocates, but no nonprofit or local government has stepped forward to create one.
“For Markels, Charlie Adelson guilty verdict a ‘relief’ after ‘long and terrible ordeal’” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Adelson, the wealthy and wily Fort Lauderdale dentist who managed to elude justice for years in the 2014 killing of Florida State law professor Dan Markel, was convicted Monday on all counts in his murder. The 12-person jury deliberated only about three hours before announcing it had reached a unanimous decision. The quick verdict was a bad sign for the defense, which was hoping to walk away with a mistrial at least. Markel’s parents, Ruth and Phil Markel, and his sister, Shelly, expressed relief in the hallway outside Courtroom 3G, where the trial began with jury selection on Oct. 23. The three of them were in the courtroom for most of the trial. They declined to give a victim statement to the court after Adelson was found guilty. However, Everett said he would take their statements via Zoom at his sentencing hearing.
“Prepping for disaster: What to know about Wednesday’s Jacksonville airport exercise” via Scott Butler of the Florida Times-Union — No one likes to think about it, but disasters can happen anywhere and anytime. That’s why about 25 agencies will be in action Wednesday for a full-scale disaster exercise at Jacksonville International Airport. It will take place from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at and around Jacksonville International Airport, 2400 Yankee Clipper Drive. The airport will remain open during the exercise and flights will not be impacted, according to the Aviation Authority. However, one of the runways will be closed and there will be some temporary road closures put into effect. Pecan Park Road at Terrell Road and Dixie Clipper Drive will be closed from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m., and Woodwings Road will be closed from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Local traffic and airport employees will be allowed to pass through.
“Okaloosa County extends outdoor burn ban through at least Nov. 14 because of dry weather” via Collin Bestor of Northwest Florida Daily News — Okaloosa County Commissioners extended the burn ban another seven days through Nov. 14 because of the ongoing dry weather conditions in our area. The Commission declared a state of emergency last week because drought conditions across Northwest Florida have created hazardous wildfire risks. “The safety of our residents is a top priority for the County,” Board Chair Trey Goodwin said in a news release. “Enacting a burn ban is a tool for us to avoid any potential harms that may come from our current weather situation and is the appropriate action to take to prevent human-caused wildfires.”
“Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport on track to have ‘a record year’” via Nathan Cobb of the Panama City News Herald — Business continues to boom at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, as the facility is officially on track to log its best year yet. According to the airport’s September activity report, 1,305,104 passengers passed through the facility in the first nine months of the year. This is 103,801 more passengers than during the same time in 2022 and 40,900 more passengers than during the same time in 2021. The spike is significant because 2021 holds the record as the busiest year for the airport, known as ECP, with 1,598,492 passengers serviced in 12 months. “The next couple of months are usually not as busy, but I think based on where we are now, we’re on track to have a very good year in terms of passenger growth,” said Parker McClellan, executive director of ECP.
— LOCAL: SW. FL —
“Election Day in Manatee County? Yes, but races were already decided. Here are the winners” via Ryan Callihan of the Bradenton Herald — Other cities in Florida and around the country had elections on Tuesday, but you couldn’t find any polling sites open in Manatee County. As an off-year election cycle, the only races took place on Anna Maria Island for public positions in the cities of Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria. And the races in those cities were uncontested, so elections weren’t needed, according to the Supervisor of Elections Office. “In all three cities, the number of candidates that filed equaled the number of seats that were open,” Scott Farrington, Manatee County’s Assistant Supervisor of Elections, wrote in an email.
“Venice, Punta Gorda vote out incumbents” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — In Southwest Florida, voters tossed out incumbents with vigor. In Venice, voters elected Joan Farrell and booted incumbent Mitzie Fiedler from the City Council. Meanwhile, residents elected Ron Smith over Dusty Feller to an open seat. In Charlotte County’s only municipality, voters kicked Punta Gorda City Council member Mark Kuharski out in favor of newcomer Deborah Lux. Fiedler first won her seat on the Council in 2017. But now she has lost her bid for a third term. With unofficial final results in, Joan Farrell had 52.3% of the vote to Fiedler’s 47.7%. Farrell had a 413-vote lead.
“Steve Martin calls out Collier County on Facebook, Instagram after ‘Shopgirl’ book removal” via Jennifer Sangalang of the Naples Daily News — The “Only Murders in the Building” actor posted a short message on his Facebook page to his 3.2 million followers on Nov. 6, and the post about his book “Shopgirl” quickly went viral. “So proud to have my book Shopgirl banned in Collier County, Florida! Now people who want to read it will have to buy a copy!” The “Bright Star” creator included a link to purchase his book. Collier County libraries pulled the book from its shelves, but it was not banned. “Shopgirl” the book appears on PEN America’s list of more than 300 school library book titles removed from all grade levels in Collier County.
“Sarasota pauses controversial restaurant-bar-nightclub zoning change amid public pushback” via Heather Bushman of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — A controversial change to the city zoning code is headed back to the drawing board following a decision from the Sarasota City Commission. The Commission voted unanimously to take a step back on the zoning text amendment that would change the definitions of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, citing lingering questions and concerns to address. The decision came after more than an hour of public comment mostly protesting the amendment, which some fear would clear the way for more bars downtown. City staff proposed the amendment to clarify the definitions of certain establishments, citing confusion among local business owners regarding the labels they fall under.
— TOP OPINION —
“This might be DeSantis’ home turf, but he better watch out for Haley at Miami debate” via the Miami Herald editorial board — It’s no longer a given that DeSantis is the solid runner-up, according to recent polling. It’s Haley who’s got momentum — at least a bit — largely because of two previous debate performances that included a clear display of her foreign policy knowledge and some memorable zingers.
“Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say,” she famously told Vivek Ramaswamy. DeSantis’ performances weren’t disastrous — and he was stronger in the second one — but they weren’t enough to elevate him in voters’ eyes.
The Governor is in his element talking to friendly audiences and shutting reporters down at news conferences, but he doesn’t shine on the debate stage. Even when he uttered one of his most-used campaign taglines — “Our country is in decline” — he sounded contrived and scripted. To his credit, he avoided big mistakes and stayed above the fray. At the second debate, in California, he said Trump was “missing in action” and landed sharper attacks against the former President.
If recent polls are correct, it’s Haley who capitalized on her performances. She’s tied with DeSantis for second place in Iowa and is ahead of him in New Hampshire, according to an average of polls by FiveThirtyEight.
Haley is not a fire-breather like DeSantis and Trump. Her political brand isn’t culture wars, so it’s expected that she has risen as an alternative for Republicans looking for a less rabid form of conservatism.
If anything, Haley’s debate performances indicate that, whether you like her stances or not, she is clearer about them. DeSantis’ efforts to offer something for everyone — Trump supporters and those who want to move on from the former President — make it hard to know who DeSantis really is and what he stands for. Is he MAGA 2.0 or a fresh face for the party’s future?
— OPINIONS —
“The Kafkaesque trial of Trump” via Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post — Someone must have been telling lies about Donald T. because he had done nothing wrong and yet he kept having to be on trial. He was on trial everywhere at once. No, T. could think of no possible reason for this happening to him. It was Kafkaesque! He had simply been going about his business like any other man, inflating his assets, demanding more votes to keep him in power, stockpiling classified documents in his bathroom — and now this strange thing was happening. Usually, he would take this time to threaten everyone involved with whatever was happening to him, but they said if he did so, he would be fined. Fined! What sort of Kafkaesque dystopia was he living in?
“Trump’s recipe for a shockingly raw power grab” via Jack Shafer of POLITICO — Trump and his think tank loyalists are collecting the ingredients and refining the recipe for an authoritarian regime should he win the 2024 Presidential Election. Trump plans on the first day of his new administration to invoke the Insurrection Act so he can dispatch the military to counter any demonstrations that might resist his policies. Why might he need the Insurrection Act? Well, the piece also notes Trump intends to turbo-politicize the Department of Justice and order prosecutions of his former aides and officials who have criticized him. Perhaps he thinks the country won’t let him go buck wild on the rule of law without a stink, so he wants to be ready to sic troops on the inevitable protesters.
— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —
— ALOE —
“‘The Circus’ ending after eight seasons on Showtime” via Rick Porter of The Hollywood Reporter — Showtime is pulling down its Circus tent. The Nov. 12 episode of The Circus, the political docuseries fronted by John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon and Jennifer Palmieri, will be the show’s last. Launched in 2016 to follow that year’s presidential campaign, The Circus ran for eight seasons and 130 episodes as it chronicled the ins and outs of the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential campaign and election and the current Biden administration. The series earned four Emmy nominations over its run and earned mostly positive reviews from critics.
“Nintendo is finally making a live-action Legend of Zelda movie” via Devan Coggan of Entertainment Weekly — Nintendo announced Tuesday that it’s developing a live-action Legend of Zelda film, centering on everyone’s favorite sword-wielding blond hero from the iconic video game franchise. Nintendo and Sony are coproducing the movie, with The Maze Runner filmmaker Wes Ball set to direct. Zelda has long been one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, stretching all the way back to the original 1986 game. Rumors of a Zelda film have swirled for years, especially after the release of recent blockbuster games like Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, but nothing has ever come to fruition.
“Royal Caribbean levels up entertainment for Florida-bound Icon of the Seas” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — The man behind the curtain has a much bigger curtain for Royal Caribbean’s forthcoming Icon of the Seas, which will take on the title of world’s largest cruise ship when it debuts from Miami in January 2024. For entertainment options on board the massive vessel, the main stage show will be a production of “The Wizard of Oz,” but it’s just one of a supersized set of offerings for the largest theatrical venues ever in the cruise line’s fleet, said Nick Weir, the senior vice president for Royal Entertainment. “The theater has been built to a whole new level,” he said. “We’ve also built in our 3D aerial rig, so we’ve got the performers or elements flying directly over the audience.”
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Happy birthday to Leah Bickley, Frank Jimenez, General Counsel for GE Health Care, Broward School Board Member Sarah Leonardi, and Emily Sitzberger.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.