Last Call for 6.11.24 — 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

Gov. Ron DeSantis has created a new committee tasked with taking down initiatives relating to abortion and marijuana legalization.

The committee, called the Florida Freedom Fund, was created last month, and its Chair will be DeSantis’ Chief of Staff, James Uthmeier. The committee’s main goal is to campaign against two new ballot initiatives that propose amendments relating to marijuana possession and abortion rights.

“As Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to lead our great state, the Florida Freedom Fund will be championing issues and candidates committed to preserving Floridians’ freedom,” said Taryn Fenske, a spokesperson for the DeSantis. “From up and down-ballot races to critical amendments, we’re steadfast in our mission to keep Florida free.”

The initiatives being targeted are Amendment 3 and Amendment 4, both of which are appearing on the Florida ballot on November 5. Amendment 3 would allow adults 21 years and older to purchase and possess marijuana for personal and non-medical purposes, as well as requiring medical marijuana centers to sell it to adults for personal use. Amendment 4 would make abortion before fetal viability a constitutional right in the state of Florida.

A poll by Fox News showed that the amendments have gained considerable support, with Amendment 3 having 66% support and Amendment 4 having 69% support. DeSantis has previously criticized the initiatives, including a press conference in April where he said voters would not get behind them for being “radical” and their financial implications.

“Once voters figure out how radical both of those are, they’re going to fail,” DeSantis said. “I think there’s a certain segment of voters that just vote ‘no’ on these things because they know these things cost millions of dollars to get on. So somebody’s paying for that.”

Evening Reads

More global confidence in Joe Biden than Donald Trump even as views of U.S. democracy decline, poll finds via Nicholas Riccardi of AP News

—“The Morning: How Biden gets to 270” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—“Trump campaign calls Hunter Biden verdict a ‘distraction’ from ‘real crimes’ of Biden family” via Lisa Kashinsky and Meredith McGraw of POLITICO Magazine

—“Trump to meet with Republican lawmakers in Washington” via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times

—”Federal judge strikes down Florida’s ban on transgender health care for children via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat

—“Warnings and worries: Inside the Florida A&M emails on dubious $237 million gift” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat

—“Nearly 100 delays reported at Tampa airport; operations normal in Orlando” via Spectrum News Florida

—”Ernestine Augusta Ray, Fort Lauderdale historian and educator, dies at 72 via Lauren Ferrer of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“Transgender opponents are, of course, free to hold their beliefs. But they are not free to discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender.” 

— U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle after blocking Florida laws that banned gender-affirming care.

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.

Qualifying Week continues, and Robyn Hattaway made the politically prudent move to transfer out of the Senate District 19 race and avoid a seemingly inevitable defeat to Rep. Randy Fine. Hattaway will instead pursue the House District 13 seat in 2026. Any 26’er will do to commemorate this move.

Mack Bernard deserves a celebratory cocktail after securing the Senate District 24 seat unopposed. That seat is open as part of a Special Election, meaning qualifying ended Tuesday, unlike other state legislative races, which remain open until Friday.

It’s shots fired in House District 44, as former Rep. Daisy Morales is looking to paint her Primary opponent, Democratic Rep. Rita Harris, as “ineffective.” “She has delivered a pile of dead bills each Legislative Session. Zero bills passed,” Morales said. Maybe it’s time for a Fireball with all that heat.

Breakthrough Insights


Tune In

Rays try to climb out of basement vs. Cubs

After being swept in a four-game series by the Baltimore Orioles, the Tampa Bay Rays find themselves in last place in the American League East as they open a three-game set against the Chicago Cubs tonight (6:50 p.m. EDT, Bally Sports Sun).

Tampa Bay (31-35) sits 15 games behind the division-leading New York Yankees entering play tonight. On the positive side, the Rays are just two games behind third-place Boston and only four games out of the final spot in the wild-card race.

There is time to turn things around, but the Rays can’t afford another poor series this month. Tampa Bay has lost 13 of their last 19 games. Four of their six wins in that stretch came against two of the worst teams in baseball, the Miami Marlins and Oakland A’s.

Tampa Bay has been swept in four series this season, but the four-game sweep was their first since 2001.

To stop the bleeding, the Rays will send Zach Eflin (3-4, 4.14 ERA) to the mound to open the series against the Cubs. Chicago (32-34) is scheduled to start Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.47). The Cubs are in second place in the National League Central and stand half a game out of the wild card spot entering tonight’s game.


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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