Last Call for 4.10.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Rep. Tom Leek sent a $25,000 check to the Republican Party of Florida, joining several other top Republicans in chipping into the party fund.

“The Republican Party of Florida continues to make incredible gains in stellar candidate recruitment, impressive voter registration numbers, and vital voter turnout programs, and it is my hope other candidate campaigns and political committees will consider doing the same at this critical time,” Leek said. 

RPOF Chair Evan Power thanked Leek in a prepared statement: “Thank you to Florida House Appropriations Chairman, state Rep. Tom Leek, for his unwavering support of the RPOF and to the people of Florida under his leadership role in helping to craft an open and transparent $117 billion budget, meeting the needs of Floridians and planning for the future of our state.”

Leek’s contribution is the latest in a string of donations from top elected Republicans — Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, Senate President-designate Ben Albritton and House Speaker Paul Renner each recently gave $100,000 to the party fund.

The Ormond Beach Representative is term-limited in the House but is running to succeed exiting Sen. Travis Hutson in Senate District 7 this year. He has already secured Hutson’s endorsement and recently touted support from the four county Sheriffs in SD 7 as well as U.S. Reps. Mike Waltz and Cory Mills.

Democrat George Hill II and no-party candidate Michael Gist are also running, though SD 7 is a solidly red district where DeSantis won re-election with nearly 70% of the vote two years ago.

Evening Reads

—”In MAGA world, everything happens for a reason” via Brian Klaas of The Atlantic

—”Kevin McCarthy really, really hates Matt Gaetz” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—”Donald Trump allies try to convince Supreme Court he’d never order hit on rival” via Andrew Perez and Asawin Suebsaeng of Rolling Stone

—“Laurel Lee draws second Republican challenger in CD 15 election” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger

—”Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon’s AI predictions and what they mean for the future of humanity” via Joseph De Avila of The Wall Street Journal

—”She’s reported over 100 St. Petersburg short-term rentals. Others want to do the same” via Colleen Wright of the Tampa Bay Times

—”The rise of the scammy car loan” via Marin Cogan of Vox

—”Huey Lewis lost his hearing. That didn’t stop him from making a musical.” via Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times

Quote of the Day

“It defies reasonable understanding and basic human decency that after more than two years and approval by the Florida Supreme Court, the plaintiffs have chosen the days following the tragic and sudden passing of the First Gentleman of the Florida Senate, even prior to the funeral, to bring forward a lawsuit against President Passidomo that is not time sensitive.”

— Sen. Dennis Baxley, on the ACLU joining a redistricting lawsuit.

Put It on the Tab

Look to your left, then look to your right. If you see one of these people at your happy hour haunt, flag down the bartender and put one of these on your tab. Recipes included, just in case the Cocktail Codex fell into the well.

According to Citizens, recent torts law changes are working but that doesn’t mean rates are coming down, so go ahead and order an Insurance Policy before you look at your renewal bill.

The Florida Democratic Party is launching a new effort aimed at registering voters, electing candidates up and down the ballot, and making the Sunshine State competitive. We still think they’re due for a Long Shot, though.

Former Senate President Don Gaetz gets a Million Dollar Cocktail for hitting a fundraising milestone in his campaign for Senate District 1.


Breakthrough Insights


Tune In

With just four games to play in the regular season, the Miami Heat face the Dallas Mavericks tonight in a game with major playoff implications (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Miami (44-35) sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff chase and has clinched a spot in the postseason. The top six teams automatically qualify for the postseason and teams seeded seventh through 10th must play their way in. Last year, the Heat played their way in and then advanced to the NBA Finals.

This season, Miami has been similarly mediocre in the regular season. Injuries have been a major issue for the Heat this season but they appear to be getting healthier. Center Bam Adebayo has a hand injury but is probable for tonight’s game. Forward Kevin Love is dealing with an ankle sprain but is also probable for tonight’s game.

Dallas (49-30) enters tonight’s game in fifth place in the Western Conference, two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers. If The Mavericks can pass the Clippers in the standings, they would have home court advantage in a first-round playoff series against them.

After tonight’s game, the Heat conclude the regular season with home games against Dallas, then two against Toronto before the postseason begins.

Also tonight:

7:05 p.m. — Miami Marlins @ New York Yankees

8 p.m. — Orlando Magic @ Milwaukee Bucks


Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson, with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.

Staff Reports


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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

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

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