Last Call for 5.30.24 — 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

If you’re wondering why every other webpage is taking three minutes to load, there’s a good explanation: A New York jury found President Donald Trump guilty on all charges related to the Stormy Daniels hush money payment and the resulting cover-up.

The jury deliberated for two days before rendering a guilty verdict on 34 felonies, which include 11 counts related to invoices from former fixer Michael Cohen, 11 counts tied to checks the former President wrote to reimburse Cohen, and 12 counts related to ledger entries that were falsified to obscure the payments.

Partisan reactions were fast and fierce, with Florida’s mostly Republican congressional delegation blasting the judicial proceedings as farcical and casting aspersions on the judge, Juan Merchan, who presided over the case.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio called the verdict a “complete travesty that makes a mockery of our system of justice,” while U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who has been in the courtroom supporting Trump throughout the proceedings, claimed it was “a sham trial and the clearest example we’ve ever seen of election interference.”

Read more reactions from Florida elected officials in Florida Politics’ comprehensive reax post, which will be updated as statements flow in. Follow along here for more verdict coverage.

The world won’t know what penalties Trump will face until sentencing. One of the former President’s lawyers, Todd Blanche, requested the hearing be scheduled for mid-July and the judge subsequently set it for July 11.

As for the Florida wrinkle that’s already spawned hundreds of tweets, assertions that Trump might not be eligible to cast a ballot in Florida are premature. Under Florida law, only felons who would be prevented from voting in the state they were convicted are barred from voting in the Sunshine State; in New York, felons can vote as long as they aren’t imprisoned.


Florida Politics is at No. 16 on its annual list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians. Today’s reveals: No. 20 Blaise Ingoglia, No. 19. Josie Tomkow, No. 18 Vern Buchanan, No. 17 Jim Boyd and No. 16 Ed Montanari.

To craft the annual list, Florida Politics scoured opinions from the Sunshine Skyway to the Strawberry Festival grounds and far beyond, consulting with the leaders, lobbyists and politicos, each an expert on the wielding of influence.

You can learn more about our methodology here and while you’re at it, go ahead and peruse the first batch of 2024 TBMPPs on Florida Politics — it will be good prep work ahead of tomorrow’s reveal of who snagged the No. 15 through No. 11 rankings.

Florida Politics will work through the Top 10 starting Monday, culminating with No. 1 on Tuesday.


Asian American and Pacific Islander voters are a relatively small bloc in Florida — about 3% — but in a game of inches, every vote matters.

As Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month draws to a close, new polling commissioned by the Florida Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Progress measured AAPI attitudes on the major issues facing voters in this year’s elections.

The most important consideration among AAPI voters matches that of the broader electorate: The economy. More than half of those polled (54%) said economic issues would be top-of-mind when they cast their ballot in November. Health care (35%), education (34%), public safety and crime (32%), housing (31%), immigration (26%) and abortion (24%) were other top issues identified in FLAAPP’s poll.

Notably, abortion rights will be on the ballot directly, and Amendment 4 appears to resonate with AAPI voters — three in five said they opposed the state’s current six-week ban while two-thirds said they believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases compared to 26% who say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

“What this survey makes clear is that reproductive freedom in our health care decisions is a nonnegotiable issue for AAPI Floridians,” stated May Thach, Senior Florida Organizing Manager for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “For many AAPI Floridians, supporting access to legal abortion means having the ability to make decisions about our reproductive health that gives us full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.”

Nearly nine in 10 AAPI voters (87%) told FLAAPP they believe it matters who wins in the November election. However, 65% said they agreed with the statement, “I don’t feel represented in state and local government.”

“AAPI Floridians are active, engaged, and invested in support of their communities and the future of our state, but it is clear that they are often feeling as if their voices are not being heard in the political process,” said Hannah Locop, Coalition Director for FLAAPP. “As the fastest growing voting bloc in Florida, it is vital for our elected officials to make the effort to reach out to our AAPI communities to ensure that we are involved in finding solutions for the issues facing the state in order to build a brighter future for all of us.”

View the full polling memo here.

Evening Reads

—”Little change in a presidential campaign most Americans don’t want” via Michael Scherer of The Washington Post

—”Why are people so down about the economy? Theories abound.” via Jeanna Smialek of The New York Times

—”The NRA just won a big Supreme Court victory. Good.” via Ian Millhiser of Vox

—“Americans are thinking about immigration all wrong” via Derek Thompson of The Atlantic

—”How America inadvertently created an ‘Axis of Evasion’ led by China” via Ian Talley and Rosie Ettenheim of The Wall Street Journal

—”Woman sexually harassed in Ropn DeSantis’ Florida State Guard, records say” via Ana Ceballos and Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times

—”Candidates accuse Glen Gilzean’s office of ‘radio silence’ on needed info about petitions” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

—”Sea level rise makes Florida ‘beach renourishment’ projects more frequent and expensive” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

Quote of the Day

“The verdict in New York is a complete travesty that makes a mockery of our system of justice A political show trial conducted by an openly pro-Biden judge whose daughter makes money off the case, a jury from the most liberal county in America, absurd and ridiculous charges and outrageous jury instructions that guaranteed guilty verdicts. Biden and the Trump deranged left will stop at nothing to remain in power.”

— U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, on the Trump verdict.

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.

Even if Kevin McCarthy’s allies want U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz gone, the Panhandle Republican said he boasts the one supporter who matters: Donald Trump. Sounds like McCarthy & Co. deserve a round of Sour Grapes.

The federal Seasonal and Perishable Agricultural Products Advisory Committee is stacked with Florida appointees — maybe it’s not because there are so many great cocktails to make with Florida’s signature crop, but that probably doesn’t hurt.

Do you need a new roof? Duval County residents can get taxpayer help with that project via five-year, interest-free loans. With that kind of deal, homeowners should be able to afford a few Gold Roofs.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Four Florida teams begin road to College World Series

Four college baseball teams from the state of Florida open play Friday in the NCAA regionals including Florida State, who will host a regional in Tallahassee.

The Seminoles (42-15) open play Friday at noon ET against Stetson (40-20). The game is scheduled to be broadcast on the ACC Network. Florida State finished the regular season ranked 10th in the nation by FSU then won three games in the ACC tournament, advancing to the finals before losing to Duke in the championship game.

The other half of the Tallahassee regional features UCF (35-19), the third seed in the regional, facing second-seeded Alabama (33-22) at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN+. The winners of the first games will face one another at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday and the losers of the first games meet in an elimination game at noon ET on Saturday.

The other Sunshine State team in the tournament is Florida, who earned a third seed in the Stillwater, Okla. Regional. The Gators (28-27) face second-seeded Nebraska at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+. Despite opening the season as the #2 ranked team in the country, Florida never got on a roll. After losing the season opener, the Gators won five straight games against North Florida and Columbia in February. After that, they never won more than two consecutive games.

If the Gators beat Nebraska, they will advance to Oklahoma State and Niagara at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. A Florida loss sends the Gators to an elimination game at 2 p.m. ET.

The winners of the regionals advance to the best-of-three Super Regionals where they will play for a spot in the College World Series. 

Also tonight:

8 p.m. — Florida Panthers @ New York Rangers (Game 5; Series tied 2-2)


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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