Last Call for 5.20.24 — 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

Happy Cuban Independence Day! Or one of them, at least.

On May 20, 1902, the Cuban flag was raised alone for the first time at Castillo del Morro, a symbol that it had become its own republic.

Of course, the current regime on the island doesn’t place any importance on May 20 — the communist ruling party officially leans on a handful of dates, such as Oct. 10, when Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed his slaves in 1868, and July 26, when the Cuban Revolution began in 1953.

Still, many Cuban expats and their descendants who call Florida home see today as the island nation’s true Independence Day, and one that they hope will be celebrated within the nation’s borders again in the future.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried issued a statement addressing Cubans in Florida and elsewhere on the holiday: “In 1902, Cubans fought to secure independence and gave birth to a Republic. On Cuban Independence Day, we extend our support and solidarity with the Cuban people to continue the fight for a free Cuba.

” … The Cuban people deserve a government that peacefully upholds liberties, religious freedoms, human rights, and democratic values, and the Florida Democrats support the Cuban people’s quest to achieve that vision.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott was more combative in his messaging, taking the opportunity to swing at the Joe Biden administration for “turning his back on the Cuban people” by removing the nation from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

“Our world is becoming more dangerous because President Biden lets dictators go unpunished. Socialism and Communism always bring destruction, misery, oppression, and death and so many people who have escaped these horrors now call Florida home. There is no way we will let the Democrats’ socialist agenda into our great state,” Scott said.

Evening Reads

—”As the 2024 race heats up, betting is growing for everything but elections” via Jeff Sommer of The New York Times

—”The 51 most nuts lines from Donald Trump’s NRA speech” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—”Why Joe Biden is underperforming Democratic Senate candidates” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post

—”‘Oct. 7 was a turning point’: Trump’s pro-Israel fundraising accelerates.” via Marc Caputo of The Bulwark

—”If Trump wins, what would hold him back?” via Andrew Prokop of Vox

—”Florida child welfare agency wages legal battle, seeks felony charge for ex-watchdog” via Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald

—“‘Respect for fog’: Anna Eskamani welcomes death of Iranian President” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—”In Orlando, $350K moved 250 people off the streets” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“This damning report shows the deadly impact of Biden’s wide-open border — record-smashing amounts of fentanyl flooding in and an extremely high death toll accompanying the massive influx of this Mexican poison.”

— Attorney General Ashley Moody, on new data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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.

Attorney General Ashley Moody deserves a drink for Florida taking No. 1 in the amount of fentanyl taken off the streets — we recommend a Seizure.

Orlando-area Sens. Linda Stewart and Vic Torres deserve a Swampwater for their defense of the Central Florida water projects that made the 2024-25 budget.

The GOP presidential primary has been over for months, but Nikki Haley still hasn’t fallen in line and endorsed Donald Trump. We just have one question: Vieux Carrés?

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Rays open key series vs. Red Sox

The Tampa Bay Rays begin a key early-season series against the Boston Red Sox this evening at Tropicana Field (6:50 p.m. ET, Bally Sports Sun).

The Rays enter the three-game set in third place in the American League East, a game and a half ahead of Boston and eight games behind the division-leading New York Yankees.

A little less than a third of the way through the season, the AL East is shaping up to be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball with all five teams within three and a half games of a playoff spot.

The Rays have won five of their last seven games, including taking three of four in Boston. The Rays were one play away from sweeping the Red Sox but Boston scored a 12th-inning run to win last Tuesday.

Taj Bradley (1-1, 2.45 ERA) gets the start tonight for the Rays. Bradley struck out six Red Sox in five innings en route to the victory over Boston on Wednesday. Last season as a rookie, Bradley earned his first major league win against the Red Sox then picked up another win over Boston two months later.

Tanner Houck (3-5, 2.17 ERA) is scheduled to start for Boston.


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


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