Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.25.24

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Make a great day even better with Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Good Thursday morning.

Breaking overnightBilly Corben has dropped out of the race for Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair, reports Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald.

The Lincoln Project, the group known for its humorous anti-Donald Trump advertisements, has won two prestigious awards for its political media.

It won the Webby Awards’ People’s Voice award for its “America or Trump” ad campaign, and a Pollie Award for Best PAC Campaign for its “Audience of One” series.

“Our followers are truly the heartbeat of what we do, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to all who voted and selected our campaigns in these awards,” The Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson said. “We will take these honors in stride as we continue to gear up to make a difference in what will collectively be the most consequential American election in generations.”

“Audience of One” tars the former President as a narcissist who is “so self-obsessed and deeply insecure, even the very description of our ‘Audience of One’ campaign would send him tail-spinning.” Meanwhile, “America or Trump” is an ongoing ad campaign highlighting the contrast between Trump’s vision for the U.S. and the ideals the country was founded upon.

Wilson served as chief creative and head writer on the series, with Michelle Kinney working as the creative director and Joseph Wartnerchaney and Ben Howe serving as senior creative advisers and executive producers.

The Webby Awards honor “excellence on the internet,” and have been described by The New York Times as “the internet’s highest honor.” The Pollies, as the name suggests, are politics-focused — the awards are sometimes referred to as “the Oscars of political advertising.”

To watch one of the award-winning spots, please click on the image below:


No word on whether those awards will make an appearance at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Weekend 2024, but Rick Wilson will.

Slated for May 3-5, the event will feature town hall-style events focused on engaging Black and Hispanic voters, panel discussions, messaging training opportunities and more. The weekend also includes a gala that serves as one of FDP’s primary fundraising events.

FDP said Wilson as well as Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting who has become a nationally recognized gun safety and LGBTQ+ civil rights advocate.

Brandon Wolf and Rick Wilson are special guests for the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Weekend.

Today, the Florida Democratic Party released its schedule of events and training opportunities and announced special guests Wilson and Wolf as featured speakers at Leadership Blue Weekend in Orlando next month.

Wolf is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on gun safety and violence prevention at noon May 4. Wilson is slotted for the ticketed Leadership Reception at 6 p.m. the same day, just ahead of the Leadership Blue gala dinner.


First, in Sunburn — Tom Leek’s Senate campaign rolls out radio ads — Rep. Leek is making a case for a promotion to the Senate in a new radio ad running in Senate District 7. The ad touts recent endorsements Leek’s campaign received from all sitting Sheriffs in the four-county seat. “Our sheriffs call Tom Leek a man of integrity, who shares our values, champions law enforcement and always backs the blue,” the ad narrator says. The minutelong spot also highlights nods from U.S. Reps. Michael Waltz and Cory Mills, whose congressional districts overlap with SD 7. Leek is running to succeed term-limited Sen. Travis Hutson, who has also endorsed his bid.

To listen, please click the image below:


@LarrySabato: It’s hard to start another day having learned the National Enquirer was not a truthful news source.

@BrianStelter: David Pecker’s testimony has shown that he’s not a newsman, he’s an advertiser. The product he was selling (back in 2016) was Donald Trump.

Tweet, tweet:


Tweet, tweet:


@CommMannyDiazJr: (President Joe) Biden’s proposed changes will harm students and eliminate protections for girls at school. We will not fall in line with this radical agenda!

Tweet, tweet:


@HelloKatePayne: Some news news … I’m joining the @AP to cover state government and education! I’ll be moving back home to Tallahassee later this Summer. But don’t worry South Florida, I’ll be keeping an eye on you.


Florida Housing Summit ‘Blueprint for Better Outcomes’ begins — 6; Kentucky Derby — 9; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 15; ‘The Blue Angels,’ a feature documentary from J.J. Abrams opens in IMAX theaters — 22; ‘Bridgerton’ new season (part one) premieres on Netflix — 23; French Open begins — 25; Special Election to replace Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill — 26; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 27; Dave Matthews Band 2024 Summer Tour begins in Tampa — 27; Monaco Grand Prix — 31; the 2024 World Cup begins — 47; season two of ‘House of the Dragon’ returns to Max — 52; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 64; Republican National Convention begins — 80; the 2024 World Cup ends — 84; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 89; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 91; ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ premieres — 92; ‘Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 113; Florida Primary Election — 117; Democratic National Convention begins — 117; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 121; 2024 NFL season kicks off — 134; Packers will face Eagles in Brazil — 134; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 176; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 179; 2024 Presidential Election — 194; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 207; MLS Cup 2024 — 222; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 292; the 2025 Oscars — 311; Florida’s 2025 Legislative Session begins — 313; 2025 Session ends — 373; ‘Moana’ premieres — 423; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 454; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 456; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 561; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 603; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 740; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 756; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 967; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,107; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,066; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,788.


Gov. Ron DeSantis expands program to help Floridians harden homes against hurricanes” via John Kennedy of the USA Today Network-Florida — DeSantis on Wednesday capped three days of environmental events beginning on Earth Day by signing legislation that puts $200 million into a program to help Floridians protect their homes against tropical storms and hurricanes.

The My Safe Florida Home program provides up to $10,000 in state grants to match homeowners’ payments to harden their homes against storms. Low-income residents are eligible for state help even without matching dollars.

Ron DeSantis caps off Earth Day with a program to hurricane harden Floridians’ homes.

So far, the program has been overrun with applicants. But DeSantis said before signing the bill that the $200 million set aside under the measure (SB 7028) should help ease the backlog.

“We do realize that there’s a waiting list,” DeSantis said. “And I think it’s good they re-upped the program. If there was nobody signing up for it, then they (the Legislature) probably wouldn’t have appropriated more money for grants. So, there’s more help on the way.”

DeSantis called the program “effective.”

The My Safe Florida Home program was originally launched in 2006, but the Republican-controlled Legislature stopped funding it about three years later, allowing it to become dormant. It was revived with state funding during a 2022 Legislative Special Session on the state’s property insurance crisis, as Floridians began complaining about paying the nation’s highest homeowner costs.


DeSantis touts 700-plus Haiti evacs — DeSantis on Wednesday said that the state has now transported 722 Americans from Haiti. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has been assisting U.S. citizens who are in Haiti, which is grappling with political turmoil, since late March. “The State of Florida doesn’t shy away from doing the right thing and helping Americans in need,” DeSantis said. DEM Director Kevin Guthrie added, “Evacuating our residents has been challenging, and I am incredibly proud of the hard work our State Emergency Response Team, private and nonprofit partners have done to bring Americans home and accommodate their needs upon returning to Florida.”

DeSantis touts saving 700 Floridians from the havoc in Haiti.

Why are so few Haitian refugees arriving by boat in Florida? DeSantis has a theory — and claims credit” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — DeSantis offered a theory Wednesday about why boats carrying Haitian refugees aren’t arriving on Florida’s shores, even as the Caribbean nation’s capital is largely ruled by violent gangs. The reason, DeSantis said, is people who might want to leave Haiti don’t try because they know if they’re found on the open water they’ll be sent back. DeSantis took a measure of credit for that policy and what he said is the result as he pointed to the interdiction last week of a boat off the South Florida coast. It’s the Biden administration, which DeSantis criticized later in the same answer, which has maintained the U.S. government policy of returning people interdicted in the open water to the country where they originated.

‘That’s not free speech; that’s harassment’: DeSantis slams Ivy League Palestinian protesters” via Liv Caputo of The Floridian — DeSantis slammed Ivy League universities for allowing pro-Palestine protesters to harass and bar Jewish students and professors from entering classrooms, calling administrators “weak” and “scared.” “When you’re chasing Jewish students around, and when you’re not letting a Jewish professor enter a building, and you’re targeting people like that, that’s not free speech; that’s harassment that violates appropriate conduct,” DeSantis said. “And yet at Columbia, at Yale, those folks rule the roost — they do whatever they want. And these administrators and the presidents of these universities are weak. They’re scared and they don’t do anything,” he continued.

A significant step forward’: Destinations Florida urges DeSantis to sign vacation rental bill” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A statewide association that acts as a collective voice and resource for tourism marketing organizations is urging DeSantis to sign a controversial bill that would rewire Florida’s oversight of vacation rentals. Destinations Florida sent a letter to the Governor this week imploring him to ratify the measure (SB 280), which would largely preempt local governance of the vacation rental industry. It’s a necessary move to address “several key issues that have long plagued the industry,” Destinations Florida Executive Director Robert Skrob said. According to VISIT FLORIDA, Destinations Florida today represents more than 99% of the state’s tourism marketing organizations.

Jimmy Patronis urges Congress to act after Judge quashes environmental permitting law” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — CFO Patronis wants Congress to reverse a federal court decision eliminating a rule allowing Florida to take over part of the federal government’s environmental permitting processes. Patronis wrote to Florida’s Congressional delegation asking them to support legislation from the state’s U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, to essentially reverse that decision. “Since its enactment over three years ago, the state 404 permitting program has allowed Florida to build enough roads, housing, and businesses to keep up with the influx of new Floridians,” Patronis wrote.

Happening todayPatronis will host a Putting Policyholders First Insurance Roundtable, joined by state Legislators as well as insurance industry leaders, regulators, and stakeholders: 9 a.m. Eastern time, the Karol Hotel Ruby Room, Second Floor, 2675 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater.

Florida will fight Joe Biden’s Title IX rule change, calls it ‘attempt to gaslight the country” via Amber Jo Cooper of Florida’s Voice — Florida plans to fight the U.S. Department of Education’s new Title IX rules that were released last week. In a letter to superintendents obtained by Florida’s Voice, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said the rule will not take effect until Aug. 1, and that the state “will fight this.” “At Gov. Ron DeSantis’ direction, no educational institution should begin implementing any changes,” the letter stated. The letter noted the U.S. Department of Education released rule-making changes to the regulations implementing Title IX on April 19. The rule “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.” The final regulations promote “educational equity” and “opportunity for students across the country as well as accountability and fairness, while empowering and supporting students and families.”

Morning must-read — “Practical or political? An inside look at Florida State Guard’s migrant interdictions” via Forrest Saunders of WPTV — It was revived to help Florida during disasters, but members of the Florida State Guard find themselves chasing migrants in South Florida and beyond. The state’s civilian force is in the middle of one of the hottest issues this presidential cycle — immigration enforcement. Should it be? That depends on who you ask. Jennie Busin, a private in the Florida State Guard, is among the members engaged in the latest deployment. The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office deputy is volunteering her time to become a key player in an ongoing effort to protect the Sunshine State’s coastline from undocumented migrants.

Florida State Guard members are concerned they are players in the politics of immigration.

Randy Fine wants college students to start carrying guns” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A current state Representative and Senate candidate says that recent antisemitic incidents at universities mean that it’s time for students to bring their gats and pistols along with laptops and books. “It’s time for Jewish students to start carrying. Next Session, I will introduce legislation to end universities as gun-free zones and provide funding for students who want to learn how to carry safely. It is time to #StandOurGround,” asserts Rep. Fine. The proposal is particularly audacious given that Florida banned gun purchases for people under the age of 21 in the wake of the mass murder by a former student at a high school in Parkland in 2018. Many college and university students are under the age of 21, raising questions as to how they might legally buy firearms. The exceptions to this rule are law enforcement and members of the military.

Pay to stay: Florida inmates charged for prison cells long after incarceration” via Kylie McGivern of WFTS — It’s a common saying: You do the crime, you do the time. But when people are released from prison, freedom is fragmented. It marks the start of new hardships, impacting families and communities. Part of that is due to a Florida law many people are unaware of, further punishing second-chance citizens, preventing them from truly moving on. It’s called “pay-to-stay,” charging inmates for their prison stay, like a hotel they were forced to book. Florida law says that cost, $50 a day, is based on the person’s sentence. Even if they are released early, paying for a cell they no longer occupy, and regardless of their ability to pay. Not only can the state bill an inmate the $50 a day even after they are released, Florida can also impose a new bill on the next occupant of that bed, potentially allowing the state to double, triple, or quadruple charge for the same bed.

Florida cities among cleanest areas for air quality in U.S.” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics — Florida cities are pretty clean compared to many metropolises in other states, according to the newest American Lung Association “State of the Air” report. The report concluded that four in 10 people in the U.S. “live in places with unhealthy levels of air pollution.” The Sunshine State is not one of those places. There were 10 Florida cities or regions that made the list of the cleanest cities, which provided no numerical ranking, the State of the Air report said. Five Sunshine State cities or regions made the cleanest U.S. cities list by short-term particle pollution. The American Lung Association report concluded that some environmental policies, such the U.S. Clean Air Act approved by lawmakers in 1970, have some impact on some municipalities that are improving air quality.

Florida adds restrictions to dairy cows to prevent bird flu” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — As the federal government brings tougher regulations to cattle farms to prevent the spread of H5N1 avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, Florida has imposed its own restrictions on cattle brought into the state. In mid-April, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services put into place an emergency rule that halted the import of cattle exposed to H5N1 and any lactating dairy cattle from other states that have suspected or confirmed cases. The rule also requires non-lactating dairy cattle from states with suspected or confirmed cases to have a valid veterinary inspection certificate within 10 days of travel.

Florida is restricting milk cows to help prevent bird flu.

What’s going on with Florida tax collectors?” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — In an inexplicable campaign against the successful and popular PACE funding program, a group of tax collectors openly defied a circuit court judge who ruled the PACE program could be operated statewide. PACE is a valuable program that helps thousands of moderate-income Floridians harden their homes against hurricanes. Rather than paying financial institutions directly, PACE assessments are placed on tax bills. The judge’s answer: Tax collectors must include PACE assessments on their tax rolls. Undeterred, some tax collectors are defying the judge. But it’s not tax collectors’ job to insert their opinions about whether Florida homeowners should be allowed to borrow money to protect their most valuable assets from storm damage and crushing insurance premium increases. The truth? Tax collectors’ defiance is the real threat to Florida PACE participants who have already made well-informed decisions to utilize the program.

Florida’s women college graduates among most economically challenged in U.S.” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics — Florida women graduating from college have some of the toughest financial challenges in the U.S. when it comes to finding affordable housing after they get their degrees. The new study released this month shows that Florida is the fourth-most expensive state in the country for women getting their degrees. The study used U.S. Census Bureau data to determine factors such as annual median rent for a one-bedroom apartment, average salary and proportion of the graduate’s salary spent on rent. Women graduating from college in the Sunshine State have an average annual salary of $49,658. But the average median rent for that single bedroom apartment costs $16,248 per year.

— 2024 — FLORIDA —

Donald Trump campaign will host Florida donor retreat with potential VP picks” via Alex Isenstadt and Natalie Allison of POLITICO — Trump’s Presidential campaign will host a major donor retreat next week in Florida featuring prominent Republicans widely regarded as prospective running mates. A copy of the invitation lists 16 special guests for the May 3-5 event in Palm Beach. Among them are some of the top names being mentioned for Trump’s General Election ticket: Sens. Rubio, Tim Scott of South Carolina and J.D. Vance of Ohio, as well as Govs. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, and Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York and Byron Donalds.

Muslim group blasts Biden for Tampa campaign stop” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) is denouncing Biden for his political sojourn to the Sunshine State. CAIR objects to Biden’s visit on the grounds of “ongoing atrocities and genocide in Gaza,” and contends the White House’s “failure to address these grave violations of human rights is deeply concerning and stains the moral fabric of our nation.” CAIR-Florida’s Policy Manager Mari Marks took specific issue with the President calling protesters “antisemitic” earlier in the week, in a statement from Biden that seemed to lay blame on both rhetorical extremes on the domestic sphere of debate. “President Biden’s characterization of Palestinian Human Rights activists as ‘antisemitic’ is inappropriate and disparaging. True antisemitism is gravely concerning and watered down every time someone uses the word unjustly,” Marks said.

Gaza protesters give Joe Biden’s trip to Tampa a bit of controversy. Image via WUSF.

Group backing recreational pot amendment touts support from veterans coalition” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The main group looking to pass a ballot measure legalizing marijuana for recreational use is gathering a coalition of veterans to support the amendment. Smart & Safe Florida, whose political committee is backed mostly by Trulieve, a Tallahassee-based medical marijuana company, backed the effort to put the measure on the ballot as Amendment 3. Now, the organization is trying to shore up support among voters to get over the 60% threshold needed in November to legalize recreational pot. “Many of our brave veterans across the country and here in Florida have been strong advocates for the freedom to access a legal, regulated cannabis market,” reads a statement from Smart & Safe Florida.

Alan Grayson qualifies for U.S. Senate, adding to Democratic Primary field” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — It looks like former U.S. Rep. Grayson will follow through and run for Senate. The Orlando Democrat has paid a qualifying fee to appear on the ballot to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Scott. The move adds one more prominent name to the Democratic Primary ballot. Grayson qualified the same day as former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell and days after aerospace business owner Stanley Campbell made the ballot. Former state House candidate Rod Joseph and former state House Majority Whip Brian Rush have also qualified. Grayson first filed to run for Senate this election cycle last June. But since the former Congressman never formally launched a campaign or promoted his candidacy on social media, many wondered if a bid would materialize this year or if he maintained his candidacy primarily to raise money and pay down debt.

Florida Democrats, Nikki Fried seek to swat down accusations of favoritism” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Florida Democratic Party (FDP) leaders are pushing back on accusations that they have shown favoritism in political contests. But FDP Chair Fried made no apologies for trying to restore strong leadership with the party. “The party does not endorse and so we’ve made that very clear,” Fried said. “But we have a lot on the line. We have democracy. We have freedoms. We are in a superminority in the House and the Senate. The Florida congressional delegation shrunk in size over the last few cycles, and we’re going to take that back. But that means that the adults in the room have to come together and figure out our best path forward.”


Trump is a co-conspirator in Michigan’s 2020 false electors plot, state investigator says” via Craig Mauger of The Detroit News — Michigan prosecutors consider Trump and some of his top aides co-conspirators in the plot to submit a certificate falsely claiming he won Michigan’s 2020 Election, an investigator for Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office testified Wednesday in court. Howard Shock, a special agent for Nessel, said Trump, Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s Chief of Staff, and Rudy Giuliani, who was his personal lawyer, are “unindicted co-conspirators” in Michigan’s false elector case. In total, over the last two days, Shock has identified 11 conspirators who haven’t been charged. That means prosecutors believe they participated, to some extent, in an alleged scheme to commit forgery by creating a false document asserting Trump had won Michigan’s 16 electoral votes when Biden had won them.

Donald Trump is having legal troubles in Michigan, too. Image via AP.

Trump respects women, most men say” via Jess Bidgood of The New York Times — This month, a poll asked voters how much they think Trump respects women: a lot, some, not much or not at all? You’ll never guess what happened next! A majority of men — 54% — said that Trump respects women either “a lot” or “some.” Just 31% of women saw things that way. Trump, a man known for bragging about grabbing women’s private parts and on trial in connection with the cover-up of a sex scandal involving a porn star, has long symbolized a kind of machismo that to many people reads as misogyny. But that disparity is important to understand in an election that already seems primed to turn on the question of just how big the gender gap between Trump, who draws more support from men, and Biden, who leads among women, is going to be.


Conservative candidate Rhonda Woodward challenges Neal Dunn in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District” via Owen Girard of Florida’s Voice — Panama City conservative Woodward announced she will be challenging Rep. Dunn for his 2nd Congressional District seat. Woodward emphasized herself as a “bold, unapologetic, never-compromising conservative” rather than a “bipartisan people pleaser.” She also pointed out how she is a lifelong Floridian and single mother who worked her way out of poverty. Her platform centers around securing the border, advocating for “absolute freedom,” implementing an “America First agenda,” standing with Trump, fighting for fiscal responsibility and upholding her conservative values.

Rhonda Woodward hopes to bring her conservative attitude to CD 2.

—”Realtor launches write-in challenge to Aaron Bean” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

‘Grit and passion’: Latino Victory backs Sabrina Bousbar in CD 13” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Latino Victory Fund, an organization that supports Latino representation in politics, is backing Bousbar in her race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Bousbar is one of seven Democrats running for the party’s nomination to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna. The organization cited her experience working with the federal government. Bousbar served as a senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in Biden’s administration.

Jennifer Barbosa files to challenge Laurel Lee in CD 15” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Barbosa, a Republican who once ran for Congress in California, has filed to challenge U.S. Rep. Lee in a Florida GOP Primary. Now a Plant City resident, Barbosa appears to be the latest Republican to answer a call from Trump for an “America First” candidate in Florida’s 15th Congressional District. Barbosa on April 23 filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run in CD 15, and on April 24 filed paperwork with the state. She has until April 26 at noon to qualify as a candidate.

Luther Campbell files federal paperwork for CD 20 run. Are things about to get nasty for Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — It looks like politics is more than just a game for Campbell. The 2 Live Crew frontman-turned-political activist filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission for a potential run for Congress in Florida’s 20th Congressional District. The Pembroke Pines Democrat filed a statement of candidacy on April 23. He still needs to qualify with the Florida Division of Elections by noon on April 26. Sources close to Campbell said his mind is still not made up yet about running, largely because of concerns about how to balance a music career with being an elected official. But opening an FEC account shows he’s taking all the steps to challenge U.S. Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick in a Democratic Primary.

Andrew Gutmann rolls out first TV ad in CD 22Gutmann’s campaign is rolling out its first TV ad supporting his campaign to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. The ad lambastes “woke liberals” for “teaching radical transgenderism” and “that whites and Jews are systemically racist,” among other things. The ad is familiar territory for Gutmann, a financial author who gained some national prominence after writing about an alleged “woke” takeover of his daughter’s New York private school. Gutmann is one of multiple Republicans challenging Frankel in CD 22.

To watch the ad, please click the image below:


‘A staunch advocate’: Latino Victory Fund endorses Lucia Báez-Geller for Congress” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Miami-Dade County School Board member Báez-Geller’s campaign for Congress just got an endorsement from a national organization dedicated to building Latino representation in politics. Latino Victory Fund added itself to Báez-Galler’s list of supporters, citing her work in public school education and its belief that she will work in Washington to improve the lives of Florida residents. “Latino Victory Fund is proud to support Lucia Báez-Geller for Congress and looks forward to seeing her increase the Latina bench in the U.S. House,” Latino Victory Fund President and CEO Sindy Benavides said. We need more educators in Congress who understand the value of education, especially for underserved communities, and who know there’s an urgency to protect our democracy in these challenging times.

Carlos Giménez adds $178K to CD 28 defense war chest with boost from Majority Whip committee” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Giménez raised more than $178,000 last quarter through a blend of personal checks, corporate contributions and a sizable infusion from a joint fundraising committee helmed by House Majority Whip Tom Emmer. Emmer Majority Builders, a committee the Minnesota Republican launched last year to support 31 GOP incumbents and candidates, transferred $27,000 into Giménez’s coffers in late March. It accounted for 15% of the sophomore lawmaker’s gains in the quarter. His Democratic challenger, retired Navy Commander Phil Ehr, amassed $125,000 in the same stretch while eschewing any donations from businesses or political organizations. But as was the case in the fourth quarter of 2023, when he outpaced the incumbent in fundraising, Ehr continues to lag far behind in cash on hand.

Greg Folley hits the airwaves in HD 81 Folley released his first TV ad in the race for House District 81. The ad features the Marco Island Republican criticizing Biden’s stewardship of the U.S.-Mexico border and his administration’s proposed gas stove ban, which has since been walked back. “I started my career as a college coordinator for Ronald Reagan, fought for American capitalism in business, and I’ll fight for you in the Legislature to stop the woke agenda,” he says in the ad. Folley is running for the open seat held now by Rep. Bob Rommel, a Naples Republican who has hit term limits. Folley faces Gladyvette Benarroch and Brandy Alexander in the Primary.

To watch the ad, please click the image below:



Moderator of Miami-Dade Dems Chair candidates forum pulls out, citing closure to public, media” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — The planned moderator for a Wednesday evening forum of Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair candidates has reportedly dropped out of the event after learning it will not be open to the public or media members. Miami Herald editor David Smiley agreed on Sunday to emcee the 6:30 p.m. forum, which features four candidates seeking a seven-month stint chairing the troubled Miami-Dade Democratic Executive Committee (DEC). “But there were a couple of sticking points when we met Monday to discuss the structure of the event, including my position that the event had to be broadcast to the general public for me to be involved,” he told Florida Politics. It won’t be. In an email that documentarian Billy Corben shared on X just hours before the forum, DEC Committee member Nancy Lawther said that only DEC members will be able to attend and ask questions during the Zoom-exclusive event.

David Smiley could not come to terms as moderator of the Miami-Dade Dems Chair candidate forum.

Trump picks a favorite in the crowded race for Miami-Dade County sheriff” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — Trump waded into Miami-Dade County’s sheriff race, endorsing Republican candidate Rosanna “Rosie” Cordero-Stutz in the Republican Primary. Trump endorsed Cordero-Stutz, an assistant director for the Miami-Dade Police Department, in a post on his Truth Social website, saying she “knows how to Crack Down on Crime” and “Keep Our People Safe.” The possibility of a Trump endorsement has been a wild-card in a GOP Primary for sheriff on Aug. 20 with 13 candidates. By snagging it, Cordero-Stutz’s rivals now must seek donors and public backers who are willing to pick a different candidate than Trump for a high-profile local race.

Several candidates for Miami-Dade Sheriff live in Broward. Is that OK?” via Daniel Rivero of WLRN — In campaign literature and advertisements, James Reyes, a Democrat running for Miami-Dade Sheriff, emphasizes that he moved to Hialeah from Cuba. He went to Hialeah High School, before attending Barry University in Miami Shores. What the campaign does not readily disclose is that Reyes — who is raking in key endorsements that make him a likely Democratic front-runner for Sheriff — does not live in Miami-Dade County. Reyes lives in Broward County. He has lived there continuously at least since 2008. It’s not just Reyes, either. Rosanna Cordero-Stutz, a high-profile Republican candidate for Miami-Dade sheriff, has also lived in Broward since 1997.

21 Vice Mayors endorse Daniella Levine Cava for re-election as Miami-Dade Mayor” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Levine Cava’s re-election campaign just announced the endorsements of nearly two-thirds of the county’s municipal Vice Mayors. Twenty-one Vice Mayors are officially backing Levine Cava to hold on to the county’s top government job, including 13 Democrats, seven Republicans and one no-party official. Together, they represent more than 23% of Miami-Dade’s nearly 2.7 million residents. “I am so deeply grateful to have the trust and endorsements of these incredible Vice Mayors from across Miami-Dade,” Levine Cava said in a statement Tuesday.

Shlomo Danzinger, Surfside’s recently supplanted Mayor, seeks Miami-Dade’s top elected job” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Just over a month after Surfside voters ousted him from the town’s most prominent elected office, business owner Danzinger is running to unseat Levine Cava. He’s the fourth Republican and seventh person to enter the technically nonpartisan race for the county’s top government post. Levine Cava, a Democrat whom Danzinger endorsed for re-election in September, is the first woman to hold the job. She’s also the first Jewish person to serve as Miami-Dade Mayor. Danzinger made history in March 2022 by becoming Surfside’s first Orthodox Jewish Mayor. The Miami Herald first reported Danzinger’s candidacy just before 4 p.m. Tuesday. Florida Politics contacted Danzinger for comment but received none by press time.

Miami Herald reporting triggers investigation into foreclosure auction attorney” via Brittany Wallman and Ben Wieder of the Miami Herald — The Florida Bar has opened an investigation into possible wrongdoing by a Florida attorney whose manipulation of the foreclosure auction process was exposed in the Miami Herald. The Bar complaint originally came from a man who hoped to buy a two-bedroom, oceanview condo at the Emerald Tower in Pompano Beach. A woman outbid him who he later came to believe was the auctioneer’s sister, bidding under a fake name. In his complaint, he accused auctioneer and attorney Brad Schandler of rigging foreclosure auctions and “illegally enriching himself from cheating the system and hurting many honest people that are actually looking for a home.” The Bar had previously opted not to pursue the complaint but reopened it following the Herald’s reporting on Schandler’s unconventional tactics.

FDLE seeks to suspend Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony’s certification over allegations of withholding info” via Michael Costeines of Florida’s Voice — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement recommended suspending Broward County Sheriff Tony’s certification over allegations stemming from false statements he made on multiple occasions when applying for a driver’s license. The issue stems from a complaint filed last Summer by the FDLE against Tony. “The offense of falsifying information on a driver’s license application is an act involving moral turpitude. Most importantly, the Respondent, the Sheriff of Broward County, is inherently held to a higher standard due to his position being one of great power within the community,” the document reads. “The position of an officer is one of great public trust and the Respondent’s calculated actions have broken that trust.”

He was on the job for only 10 months. Will Broward Schools Superintendent get a severance?” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — When Broward Public Schools former Superintendent Peter Licata unexpectedly announced during a School Board meeting on April 16 that he would step down by the end of the year due to health reasons, the Board’s Chair immediately changed his plans. Instead of waiting until December, Chair Lori Alhadeff proposed to the Board to mutually separate from Licata immediately. Board members voted 8-1 to terminate his contract without good cause. Daniel Foganholi stood as the lone dissenter. The Board installed Howard Hepburn, an ally of Licata’s and the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning at the time, as the new Superintendent. Now Alhadeff will negotiate the actual terms of that separation with Licata, as well as the new contract with Hepburn.

Howard Hepburn is tapped to become Broward Schools Superintendent.

Broward Public Schools plans to install metal detectors in all high schools this Fall” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — Instead of slowly rolling out metal detectors to all of its high schools in years to come as previously planned, the Broward School Board decided to aggressively target all high schools by the end of the Fall semester. “I don’t really want to wait. I want to do all of our high schools now,” said Alhadeff, the Board’s Chair whose daughter Alyssa was killed during the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. The discussion was the most recent regarding a weapons detection program that launched in March 2022, when Broward Public Schools started doing random screenings with handheld metal detectors in all schools.

Broward’s outreach: The many efforts to help the homeless at the airport and beyond” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Broward County outreach teams are beefing up patrols at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to help deter the homeless from sleeping in public spaces. An airport spokesperson called the airport a “major economic engine and critical infrastructure.” “It’s not a shelter. It’s a transportation hub. So what can we do to help those individuals seeking shelter?” asked Celina Saucedo, the assistant director of Aviation/Administration at Broward County Aviation Department. The latest efforts were listed at Broward’s Homeless Continuum of Care Board, an advisory panel dedicated to making recommendations to the County Commission to help unhoused people, including getting them into programs and shelters.

Police union endorses Adam Frankel for Palm Beach County Public Defender” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Frankel has earned support from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) as he mounts a bid to become Palm Beach County’s next Public Defender. The FOP serves as a union for law enforcement officers, giving Frankel some significant support to tout as he makes his run. “I am proud to receive the endorsement of The Fraternal Order of Police,” Frankel said. “Their support highlights our shared commitment to a fair, just, and accountable legal system. I am committed to ensuring that our community’s needs for equitable legal representation are met with the highest standards of service and integrity.”

North Miami’s contemporary art museum just got a $3M check from the government” via Amanda Rosa of the Miami Herald — The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami is looking to update its nearly 30-year-old building. A $3 million grant from Congress will make it happen. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson presented MOCA Board members with the sizable check Wednesday morning during a small ceremony at the museum. The Housing and Urban Development grant is part of the $35 million package Wilson secured for several South Florida organizations and cities last fiscal year. “Through this new HUD grant, we have the opportunity to continue our journey by enhancing MOCA facilities to help meet the needs of our expanding audiences and prepare for the continued growth of our institution and its many offerings,” said Chana Budgazad Sheldon, the museum Executive Director, during the event.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Regina Hill seeks a rehearing after Judge put permanent injunction on her” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Suspended Orlando Commissioner Hill is asking a Judge to reconsider a permanent injunction against her, which barred her from contact with an elderly woman she’s criminally accused of taking advantage of. An attorney for Hill this week filed a notice for a rehearing, contending that there were numerous deficiencies in the previous hearing on which the judge based the injunction. Among them: There was no evidence presented that the elderly woman had sought to displace Hill’s control of her finances, there were no allegations that Hill had harmed the woman, and the woman wasn’t at the hearing to testify despite being under subpoena.

Regina Hill is demanding a new hearing about her permanent injunction.

Orange County begins ‘conflict resolution’ process to fight Orlando annexation of Sunbridge” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — A day after Orlando moved ahead with a second annexation of Tavistock’s Sunbridge development, Orange County Commissioners voted to initiate a state-authorized procedure — hoping to at least have a say in the first one. The discussion and unanimous vote took less than 10 minutes — another sign of county frustration with the annexations. The procedure known as intergovernmental “conflict resolution” will include meetings between city and county staff, a joint session of the Orlando City Council and Orange County Commissioners — and possibly mediation — before the county could file a court challenge. Commissioner Nicole Wilson said the city seems to only want the county as a regional decision-making partner.

Rep. Maxwell Frost meets with Orlando leaders, gun violence survivors to discuss intervention program” via Cristóbal Reyes of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando’s leaders and gun violence survivors met Wednesday with Congressman Frost to discuss the city’s Community Violence Intervention program — and the promise it’s shown to reduce shootings and gun homicides in its first year. The program, known also as CVI, aims to stop violent incidents before they escalate through mediation and resources to get at the heart of confrontations. It initially targeted five neighborhoods citywide, enlisting influential residents known as “Neighborhood Change Associates” as part of the solution. Frost, an Orlando Democrat joined by U.S. House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark said he hopes federal money allocated to CVI — including a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Justice to expand it — continues to save lives. Created in 2022 using taxpayer funds from the American Rescue Plan, it has since been expanded to cover eight neighborhoods through the DOJ grant secured by Frost.

Public to Brevard School Board: Find and address root causes of increased discipline rates” via Finch Walker of Florida Today — With an updated code of conduct set to be approved on the agenda, and on the heels of the previous week’s discussion of discipline rates at Brevard Public Schools, community members turned out to discuss recent statistics. It’s been a heated topic for many months, with some calling for stricter punishment against unruly students. In late 2022, Board member Matt Susin promised harsher discipline practices to address what he has since called “the most massive train wreck you guys have ever seen in your entire life.” For others, the issue is more nuanced. They’ve focused less on stricter rules and harsher punishments, instead encouraging the district to work with parents and teach children how to cope with their emotions.

Brevard Commission backs funding derelict vessel removal, rejects tourism/lagoon grants” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — The Brevard County Commission rejected an Advisory Board’s recommendation to reinstate a grant program for projects that would benefit both the Indian River Lagoon and tourism. Instead, County Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of a proposal from Commissioner John Tobia to designate up to $150,000 from tourist development tax revenue for the removal of so-called derelict vessels from local waterways. The county will save the rest of the money for future beach renourishment projects. The advisory Brevard County Tourist Development Council last month unanimously recommended that the county fund the Tourism + Lagoon Grant Program in the amount of $500,000 for the 2024-25 budget year that begins Oct. 1, with a maximum individual grant of up to $50,000.

Lake Alfred Commissioner resigns five days after being charged with possessing child porn” via Sara-Megan Walsh of the Lakeland Ledger — Lake Alfred Commissioner Charles Oswald Lake has voluntarily resigned from office after being arrested on charges of possessing child pornography. Lake submitted a letter to Mayor Nancy Daley on Tuesday stating his official resignation from Seat 2 on Lake Alfred’s Commission, effective immediately. His term was scheduled to run through April 2027. Lake’s headshot and biography had been removed from the City of Lake Alfred’s website as of Wednesday. “In the upcoming weeks, the City will determine and announce the details regarding the process and timeline to fill the vacant seat in accordance with the City Charter,” City Manager Ryan Leavengood wrote in an email. Lake, 90, was arrested on April 18 by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and faces 300 second-degree felony enhanced counts of child pornography.

Charles Oswald Lake makes a hasty exit from the Lake Alfred Commission.

Disney World’s fire department gets rebranded” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney World’s fire department has a new look. DeSantis’ Tourism Oversight District approved a rebranding of what was previously known as the Reedy Creek Fire Department. The agency is now called the District Fire Department. Fire officials unveiled a new logo in January, which received official approval from the District’s Board. “It’s a wonderful new name and logo,” said Charbel Barakat, Acting Board Chair. The Fire Department was one of the last remnants of the former, decadeslong name of the special district. Last year, state lawmakers changed the name from the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, part of an overhaul led by DeSantis.

Lawmakers put up $26M to fund ‘bleeding edge’ hypersonic research at Embry-Riddle” via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Hypersonic research could well be the next frontier for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU) seven-year-old research park. Florida lawmakers included $26 million in the state budget for the construction of a building where ERAU and University of Central Florida faculty can advance hypersonic technologies, which are used in the development of blazing-fast weapons and spacecraft. “It really is a very, very unique opportunity for the University of Central Florida and Embry-Riddle to come together to … work collaboratively on what is one of the most pressing and interesting industry problems that is out there today that impacts every single thing when it comes to space and travel,” said Rodney Cruise, senior vice president and Chief Operating Officer at ERAU.

Port Canaveral chalks up record month amid growing cruise demand” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — Port Canaveral saw just under 800,000 cruise passengers move on and off its ships in March as part of a record year that keeps topping expectations. That set a one-month record for the port with an average of nearly 25,600 people a day around 93 cruise ship calls. March is traditionally one of the strongest months of the year for the port with its Spring Break traffic. It also marked the halfway point of the fiscal year that began in October 2023. Six months in, the port has seen 3.9 million passenger movements from 479 ship calls. “The industry itself is very, very strong right now,” said Port CEO Capt. John Murray at the Port Commission meeting. “There’s a lot of expansion plans. The companies are starting to reorder ships again after the pandemic.”


DeSantis confident in State Attorney Suzy Lopez re-election, his replacement for Andrew Warren” via Owen Girard of Florida’s Voice — DeSantis reaffirmed his confidence in appointed State Attorney Lopez, who is being challenged by Warren this November. Warren formerly held Lopez’s position before being suspended by DeSantis in 2022. The seat, state attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit, is located in the Hillsborough County area. “My action was based on the constitutional authority I have as Governor and it was appropriate what we did and it has made Hillsborough County safer as a result,” DeSantis said. “Criminals are held accountable in a much more significant way since Suzy Lopez has been the state attorney.”

DeSantis is fully confident that Suzy Lopez will be re-elected.

Kathy Castor delivers federal funding to electrify PSTA fleet” via St. Pete Catalyst — Local stakeholders celebrated U.S. Rep. Castor securing $1.12 million in federal community project funding for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Wednesday at a SunRunner station in St. Petersburg. The money will support the electrification of the agency’s fleet. Castor’s 13 community projects in Tampa Bay will receive over $14 million in federal funding.

Divided Commission narrowly approves TradeWinds expansion on St. Pete Beach” via Breanne Williams of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — After a more than six-hour hearing, the TradeWinds Island Resort expansion on St. Pete Beach is moving forward. Just after midnight on Wednesday morning, the St. Pete Beach City Commission approved a conditional use permit and the development agreement for the project in a 3-2 vote. Mayor Adrian Petrila and Commissioner Betty Rzewnicki voted against the expansion. The 25-acre TradeWinds site will be developed in four phases, which could take up to 20 years. The expansion will bring a net addition of 629 rooms to the site. The vote early Wednesday morning followed a nearly nine-hour public hearing on April 15. Public comment was completed on April 15, but due to the late hour, Commissioners pushed the vote back to April 23.

Tampa General, ArcherFRS, Manatee County announce first-in-the-nation 911 integrated drone delivery system” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — ArcherFRS’s 911 integrated drone delivery system, sponsored by Tampa General, will provide an automated external defibrillator (AED), NARCAN Nasal Spray, and tourniquet to 911 callers in the Manatee County coverage area in less than two minutes and 10 seconds via drone beginning May 1. When an individual in the coverage area calls 911 with reports of cardiac arrest, opioid overdose or trauma, the Manatee County ECC Dispatch will initiate deployment of the ArcherFRS drone. Dispatch will walk the 911 caller through the application of the equipment needed while traditional emergency response vehicles are en route. With rapid access to lifesaving equipment, individuals benefit from an increased chance of survival and better health outcomes.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Florida A&M University will begin construction on a new 700-bed dormitory” via Adrian Andrews of WFSU — Florida A&M University broke ground Tuesday on a new, 700-bed dormitory. The housing is slated for upper class students and is part of an ongoing project to give students more living options while combating the rising cost of off-campus housing. The new residence hall will be located off Osceola Street and South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near FAMU Towers. “When you go and look in these facilities, it’s like OK, I would want to stay there too,” FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. said.

FAMU is getting a new dorm.


Judge sides with Collier Commissioner on release of statements linked to accused assault” via Tomas Rodriguez of the Naples Daily News — A Judge sided with a Collier County Commissioner accused of battery and has ordered that prosecutors turn over sworn and audio statements to authorities. Rick LoCastro, 56, faces one count of battery after Naples police arrested him on probable cause. A separate case stemming out of Marco Island was “exceptionally cleared” last month after Monroe County prosecutors denied a Marco Island police detective’s request for one count of battery domestic violence. Collier County Judge Robert Crown ruled that the state must release sworn and audio statements given to Marco Island police, all photos taken by Marco Island police, all calls made to Naples police on the night of the alleged incident, and the victim’s recorded phone statement to Naples police.

Rick LoCastro gets a legal win.

What to know in Manatee: Emergency drone program, Breonte Johnson-Davis rally, baby boxes” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Manatee County is set to begin the first pilot program in the nation for emergency drone operations aimed at responding quickly to time-sensitive medical incidents such as cardiac arrest and opioid overdose. County Commissioners approved the pilot program during a public meeting, where community members also gathered to call for a special program to address mental health and drug addiction needs in memory of the death of Johnson-Davis last year. Commissioners also approved a pilot program for a baby box to intake abandoned children, received updates from the county about steps to address dust from new development, and appointed a new human resources director.

North Port aims to change charter, allow debt” via Daniel Finton of the North Port Sun — The North Port City Commission voted to pursue changing an “outdated” amendment in the city’s charter that limits how much debt the city can take on, rather than trying to piece together funding for a new police headquarters. Commissioners unanimously approved a motion to have staff write up language for a potential charter change that would go on a referendum for voters in November. North Port can’t assume debt without voter approval, according to the city’s charter. The city’s estimate for a new police headquarters is $122 million. Earlier this month, Commissioners approved $4 million from general funds toward a design plan.


Why is Florida No. 1 in book bans?” via Stephana Ferrell for Florida Politics — Florida is responsible for 72% of the book-banning incidents tracked nationwide between July and December 2023, according to a recent report by PEN America. That’s more than 3,000 trackable restrictions on student library access.

At the Florida Board of Education meeting on April 17, it was time to blame the educators. After Board members Christie Grazie and Kelly Garcia accused Florida’s educators of engaging in political stunts when they covered their classroom libraries, Chair Ben Gibson stated, “Whether they were stunts, whether they were people not understanding — call it what it is.”

So, let’s call it what it is (because they definitely didn’t): These are red herrings. The state is well aware that the objections overwhelming school districts are from those who are serious about removing the books from schools.

So why are educators throughout the state feeling the need to comb through every book on school shelves?

More than 2,500 of Florida’s recorded incidents came from three districts, and none of them went through their respective Board-approved objection policies. Escambia County led the state, followed by Orange and Collier counties. While the large numbers caught people’s attention, it was the titles DeSantis couldn’t ignore: Webster’s dictionaries, “Brave New World,” “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “Anna Karenina,” and even “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”

When faced with calls to fix this gross level of censorship, the Governor said the law doesn’t prohibit access to “normal books that have been in education for years.” Except he forgot to add something important. These titles were pulled for internal review because district staff were led to believe that’s exactly what DeSantis-backed HB 1069 required.


So, 112 ignoble, infantile Republicans voted to endanger civilization” via George Will of The Washington Post — Tuesday’s Senate ratification of Ukrainian aid proves that Dwight Eisenhower’s baton of Republican internationalism was passed via Ronald Reagan to Mitch McConnell. They are the three most important Republicans of the past 100 years. In today’s Republican Party, dominated by someone who repudiates the internationalism to which Eisenhower committed the party seven decades ago, the cabal of grotesques might yet predominate. Heroism is not required of Ukraine’s NATO and other allies, whose combined GDPs are 20 times that of Russia. The cost of losing, by ill-conceived parsimony, this proxy war with a barbarian power possessing the world’s largest nuclear arsenal would be steep.

—“The Republicans who want American carnage” via Adam Serwer of The Atlantic

Restoring runoff may loosen extremists’ grip” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — When Republicans abolished Florida’s Runoff Primary in 2002, they eliminated a tool that had produced four beloved Democratic Governors. The strategy worked: For that reason and others, Democrats haven’t won a Governor’s race since. But it’s Republicans who may yet regret the winner-take-all Primary they created. A half-dozen or more right-wing figures could be competing for Governor in 2026. That means the Republican nomination could be won with as little as 17% of the statewide turnout. That would be a gift to the Democrats, assuming they practice better candidate discipline and coalesce around one strong candidate.

Farmers south of Lake Okeechobee not causing its pollution” via Julia du Plooy in the Palm Beach Post — There’s a troubling trend of painting farmers as the scapegoats for environmental issues surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Having grown up in Clewiston, I’ve witnessed firsthand how certain groups vilify our farming communities, jeopardizing not just our way of life but also the stability of our nation’s food supply. Glades-area farmers are responsible for feeding more than 180 million Americans a year. Special interest groups have unfairly targeted them, particularly sugar cane farmers, while disregarding the realities faced by our many smaller, family-run operations. It’s important to set the record straight on these special interest, activist groups. They’ve relentlessly pursued agendas that would cripple our farming communities.

Miami-Dade Democrats are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic” via Philip Levine of the Miami Herald — The Miami-Dade County Democratic Party hit an iceberg in 2022. Such was the scale of the calamity. The once-unsinkable Democratic stronghold delivered comfortable wins for DeSantis and Sen. Rubio, and all three of its congressional seats stayed red. This happened despite a weaker-than-expected showing for Republicans nationally. State and county Democrats should be scrambling to patch up the hull of their ship ahead of this year’s elections. Instead, they are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Last month, the Florida Democratic Party State Central Committee held a seven-hour hearing during which it decided to permanently suspend the Miami-Dade Party Chair.

The high cost of playing politics with Sheriff’s jobs” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Jeffrey Stanley finally got justice from the Broward Sheriff’s Office. It took him 12 years and it will cost Broward taxpayers more than $1 million, not counting the massive legal fees paid to BSO’s lawyers. That’s an outrage. This case, involving the First Amendment rights of a sheriff’s deputy, should have been settled years ago for a pittance of what it cost the public. It dragged on so long that it has spanned the careers of three Broward sheriffs: Al Lamberti, Scott Israel and Gregory Tony. To end the insanity, the sheriff’s office finally wrote a check on April 12 for $1,050,000 to compensate Stanley and his lawyers. The former detention deputy could not get his old job back at BSO because he supported the “wrong” candidate in the race for sheriff in 2008.

20 years later, Orlando Magic still asking for tax dollars” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Twenty years ago, when the Orlando Magic threatened to leave town unless taxpayers built the team a new arena, the public ended up with a rotten deal. While some NBA teams paid for their own arenas, the Magic paid for only about 10% of theirs. Taxpayers paid the rest. Two decades later, the team is still asking for money — this time to help the team get into the hotel-, office- and apartment-building business. I’m rooting for the Magic to make a comeback in the NBA playoffs. But boy, I’m also rooting for a day when this team pays for all its own darn business ventures.



— ALOE —

Disney bets $60B its parks will power the future” via Caitlin Huston of The Hollywood Reporter — On a visit to Anaheim in April, a crowd of parkgoers wearing Loki horns and Ratatouille chef hats cheered as a robotic Spider-Man swung through the air and slid upside down to the ground at Disney California Adventure’s Avengers Campus. Across the way, at Disneyland, the wait times for the sleek battle ride Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge stretched to 90 minutes. Undeterred, fans in Jedi costumes clustered to wait beneath the looming cliffs of the fabricated Star Wars planet. The demand for the newer franchises is unsurprising, but in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Josh D’Amaro, Chair of Disney Experiences, points out that even Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, a new attraction based on two of its oldest characters, is drawing big numbers.

Disney will be sinking a multibillion-dollar investment in its theme parks.


Celebrating today are Kristin Lamb, Greg Langowski, Brian Lowack, president and CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Megan Roach Michalski, former state Rep. David Richardson, former state Rep. Larry Smith, and Susan Smith.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Ryan Nicol, 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.

One comment

  • Factcheck

    April 25, 2024 at 9:26 am

    Mill’s CD does not “overlap” any portion of Florida Senate district 7. It is adjacent to it, to the south. What is the source of the misinformation?

Comments are closed.


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