Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.13.24

Sunburn Orange Tally (3)
Get ready for an espresso shot of Florida politics and policy.

Good Thursday morning.

Add Florida Atlantic University’s pollsters to the list of those showing the race for Florida’s electoral votes tightening. Perhaps more surprising, the pollster also showed U.S. Sen. Rick Scott with just a 2-percentage-point lead, months after the same polling outfit showed the incumbent with a 17-point advantage.

As for the top of the ballot, the FAU Political Communication and Public Opinion Research Lab still found presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump winning in Florida, with 43% support to Democratic President Joe Biden’s 37%, while independent Robert Kennedy peels off a full 10% of the vote.

FAU pollsters suggest a tightening Florida race for Donald Trump and Rick Scott.

Trump notably won Florida by 3 points in 2020 even as he lost nationwide.

But while the PORL team in April found Scott up by 17 percentage points over top Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, survey results now show the incumbent up just 45% to 43%.

“We are winning Florida. I know it. Floridians know it. Rick Scott knows it,” Mucarsel-Powell posted after the results were released. “Let’s do this.”

But longtime Scott adviser Chris Harline dismissed the poll as nonsense. “I think you’re an idiot if you believe those numbers are anything but a funny prank on Florida political reporters,” he posted on X, declining further comment.

In polling looking much farther out, PORL also surveyed who Florida voters like right now for the Republican nominee for Governor in 2026. It found First Lady Casey DeSantis as an early favorite with 43% support. U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds was second with 19% while Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz trailed.


The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced its first round of endorsements for the 2024 Election cycle. The list largely signaled support for Republican incumbents seeking re-election or promotion from the House to the Senate.

In the latter group, the Chamber backed four state Representatives running for open Senate seats, all Republicans. Those include state Reps. Randy Fine for Senate District 19, Tom Leek for Senate District 7, Stan McClain for Senate District 9, and Keith Truenow for Senate District 13. The group also endorsed former Senate President Don Gaetz’s campaign to return to Tallahassee representing Senate District 1.

Tracie Davis is the only Democrat to get a thumbs-up from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The group also endorsed most Republican incumbents seeking re-election to the Florida Senate — and one Democrat. The singular safe blue Senate endorsement announcement supported state Sen. Tracie Davis, the Jacksonville Democrat in Senate District 5. The group also backed re-election efforts by state Sens. Ben Albritton, Bryan Avila, Danny Burgess, Gayle Harrell, Ed Hooper, Blaise Ingoglia and Corey Simon. Most represent safe Republican seats, though Simon, who flipped Senate District 3 red in 2022, is expected to face a competitive race in November.

On the House side, the Chamber picked just one favorite in an open seat. The business advocates will back term-limited state Sen. Debbie Mayfield’s run in House District 32, where the Rockledge Republican faces a Primary with former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon.

Besides that, the group endorsed most Republicans and a couple of Democrats seeking House re-election.

That includes Reps. Shane Abbott, Daniel “Danny” Alvarez, Carolina Amesty, Adam Anderson, Alex Andrade, Jessica Baker, Doug Bankson, Webster Barnaby, Fabian Basabe, Kimberly “Kim” Berfield, Dean Black, David Borrero, Adam Botana, Robert Brackett, Chuck Brannan, James Buchanan, Demi Busatta Cabrera, Jennifer Canady, Mike Caruso, Ryan Chamberlin, Linda Chaney, Wyman Duggan, Tiffany Esposito, Tom Fabricio, Gallop Franklin, Sam Garrison, Mike Giallombardo, Karen Gonzalez Pittman, Peggy Gossett-Seidman, Phillip Wayne “Griff” Griffitts, Jeff Holcomb, Christine Hunschofsky, Berny Jacques, Traci Koster, Chip LaMarca, Vicki Lopez, Randy Maggard, Patt Maney, Lawrence McClure, Fiona McFarland, Lauren Melo, Kiyan Michael, James Vernon “Jim” Mooney, Toby Overdorf, Daniel Perez, Jenna Persons-Mulicka, Susan Plasencia, Rachel Plakon, Juan Carlos Porras, Will Robinson, Alex Rizo, Joel Rudman, Michelle Salzman, Jason Shoaf, Tyler Sirois, David Smith, John Snyder, Paula Stark, Kevin Steele, John Temple, Josie Tomkow, Dana Trabulsy, Chase Tramont, Kaylee Tuck, Taylor Yarkosky and Brad Yeager.


@MDixon55: Public polling once again having a moment today in Florida Periodic reminder that most of it is not very good and just clicky

@Ryan_Tyson: The FAU survey isn’t tethered to reality. The unweighted sample is D+4, which was the Democrat’s turnout advantage back in 2008 when they had a 637k voter registration advantage on the R’s. The weighted sample is just D+2, which mirrors the 2012 turnout advantage for the Dems. Welcome to 2024, where the reg advantage for the Republicans alone is R+7% or 930k. Welcome back to earth guys.

@GovRonDeSantis: While the federal government’s reckless spending fuels inflation, Florida has set an example for the nation in responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. We’re making record investments and delivering significant tax relief — all while spending less than we did the year before.

@Fineout: So, it turns out the James Madison Institute wanted a veto of the credit card study and asked DeSantis to eliminate the funding for the study. In an op-ed JMI suggested legislators could do a budget amendment to restore funding for staff … But there may be a problem with that … It can be argued that Fla’s Constitution does not allow the use of a legislative budget amendment to restore a vetoed appropriation and instead would require a veto override. Checks and balances.

@Fineout: Important ruling from 1st DCA. Court declined to endorse the executive privilege argument made by @GovRonDeSantis & @AGAshleyMoody The court tossed the underlying lawsuit but said Judge Dempsey’s decision to rule on ex privilege was “irrelevant” & “unnecessary.” (h/t @TheDaraKam)

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@JohnMoralesTV: Gave a heads up on this 2 days ago, indicating how floods in these parts are trending more severe, more often. And the crazies trolled cuz, you know, blue check marks & the like. And now all hell is breaking loose. I’m telling you, 20th century infrastructure isn’t built for this But you saw the responses. I was even called a pedophile, which I reported to X, and X said that it wasn’t a violation of any of their standards. This is an insane platform. I’m only here still because I feel I can reach a lot more people. But it takes thick skin to do so

Tweet, tweet:


DreamWorks Land officially opens at Universal Orlando — 1; season two of ‘House of the Dragon’ returns to Max — 3; CNN Presidential Debate — 14; Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens at Disney World — 16; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 17; Freedom Month Sales Tax Holiday begins — 20; Universal Mega Movie Parade debuts — 21; Trump’s felony sentencing — 28; Republican National Convention begins — 31; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 40; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 43; ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ premieres — 44; Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday begins — 47; ‘Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 65; Florida Primary Election — 66; Democratic National Convention begins — 68; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon, begins — 69; second Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins — 73; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 73; Tool Time Sales Tax Holiday begins — 81; 2024 NFL season kicks off — 86; Packers will face Eagles in Brazil — 86; Vice Presidential Debate — 105; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 129; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 136; Florida TaxWatch’s 45th Annual Meeting — 144; 2024 Presidential Election — 145; Legislature’s 2025 Organizational Session — 159; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 159; ‘Mufasa: The Lion King’ premieres — 176; MLS Cup 2024 — 177; College Football Playoff begins — 190; Fiesta Bowl — 201; Peach, Rose & Sugar Bowls — 202; Orange Bowl — 210; Sugar Bowl — 212; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 246; the 2025 Oscars — 264; Florida’s 2025 Legislative Session begins — 266; 2025 Session ends — 326; ‘Moana’ premieres — 3766; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 406; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 406; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 513; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 555; ‘Avengers 5’ premieres — 691; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 708; FIFA World Cup 26™ final — 728; FIFA World Cup 26™ final match — 766; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 919; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,059; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,018; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,740.


Ron DeSantis signs trimmed budget, vetoes nearly $1 billion” via Jeff Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — Many of the items vetoed were educational building projects and programs, local infrastructure projects such as city and county roads, and water and sewer improvements, social services programs for the homeless, the elderly and victims of domestic violence, medical and legal services and other programs to help communities.

DeSantis cut $2.5 million for a building at Seminole State College, $225,000 for an initiative at Lake Howell High School in Seminole County, $160,000 for Black History Month 5K run in Orlando, $200,000 for Florida’s Black Music Legacy program in Orange County, $2.5 million for a Wekiva-Ocala Greenway acquisition and $1 million for septic-to-sewer conversion in Seminole County.

He also cut $2.4 million for a Windermere water project, and $250,000 for the Winter Park Chain of Lakes nutrient and hydrological study,

Ron DeSantis signs the 2024-25 budget, after vetoing nearly a billion dollars.

Also cut were $1.225 million to the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Sanford for security enhancements and other infrastructure, and $1.5 million to the University of Central Florida for instructional programs.

Even the Legislature took a hit with a $56 million cut in legislative support services for the House and Senate. DeSantis also vetoed $9.75 million for the three-year-old Florida Gaming Control Commission’s licensing and enforcement efforts.

The trims bring the 2024-25 budget down to the same amount adopted last year after the Governor cut $511 million from it. But it’s still $2 billion more than DeSantis initially asked from the Legislature back in December.

The 2024-25 budget, which takes effect July 1, shows a $17 billion surplus, DeSantis said, and it reduces the state’s debt burden by $500 million, making the state’s deficit less per capita than any other state.


Wilton Simpson pleased with final budget — The Agriculture Commissioner was satisfied with environmental and farm-focused funding in the budget. “I applaud Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for making critical investments in the 2024-2025 state budget to safeguard and advance Florida agriculture, preserve our working lands and natural resources, and enhance our consumer protection efforts,” Simpson said. “This funding will ensure that our agricultural producers are supported, our working lands are protected, our citrus industry is revitalized, and our operational capabilities are bolstered, all while delivering significant cost savings to taxpayers. Together, we are working to ensure the future of agriculture in Florida, the well-being of our communities, and the preservation of our natural resources and spaces.”

Wilton Simpson is bullish on the new budget.

House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell reacts to budget vetoes — “With today’s nearly $1 billion in vetoes, Gov. DeSantis effectively sentenced Florida’s hardworking families to another year of carrying the burden of his culture wars. Much-needed programs that do good work for Floridians facing the greatest need, to keep our state resilient and safe, to help care for the sick, and to bridge the gaps that the government cannot fill are now left under-resourced. Ron DeSantis likes to brag about the State’s $14.6 billion surplus but fails to recognize or understand the challenges Floridians face in our state every day. Floridians pay the highest property insurance rates in America at nearly five times the national average, health care coverage is becoming harder to find and even harder to afford, and our teachers are the second lowest paid in the country. Florida has become too expensive for many Floridians as we face one of the worst affordability crises in the country during DeSantis’ time as Governor.”

Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds budget — Florida’s biggest pro-business organization had nothing but positive things to say about the budget. “Thanks to the Florida legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis, the 2024-2025 budget provides strategic investments in economic development, infrastructure and affordable housing programs to ensure Florida remains economically competitive and continues the momentum toward being a top 10 global economy by 2030,” said Mark Wilson, President & CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida continues to outpace the nation in wealth migration, and these investments will help further Florida’s economy, drive innovation and maintain Florida’s robust quality of life.”

Florida TaxWatch happy with turkey trims — “Of the 450 appropriations worth $854.6 million that we identified as Budget Turkeys, Gov. DeSantis vetoed 219 of them, which equates to $273.2 million in savings for hardworking Floridians and their families, as well as $277.9 million (283 items) of the $912.2 million in specific line-items we recommended he review with ‘especially close scrutiny,’” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Overall, Florida TaxWatch views this as a successful and extremely promising outcome that will go a long way toward helping the state maintain its revered status as a beacon of financial stewardship and freedom across the nation.”

Florida Education Association says budget doesn’t do enough for public education — The teachers union says $200 million in this year’s budget for teacher pay isn’t nearly enough. “Teachers and staff in Florida have recommendations on how the Governor can spend his extra cash: provide funds to pay teachers and education staff professionals fairly, fully fund public education, provide mental health resources for students and teachers who are struggling, and ensure teacher vacancies are filled so every child can have an educator trained in their subject,” read a statement from FEA President Andrew Spar. “This $200 million equates to a salary increase in every classroom teacher’s paycheck of about $125 a month, and nowhere near the $15,000 annual increase needed to match the national average for teacher salaries.”

Florida Health Care Association applauds budget funding for nursing centers — The FHCA praised the Governor for approving budget provisions boosting Medicaid spending to support nursing centers and meet the increasing demand for caregivers. The budget includes an 8% bump, or $247.8 million, amounting to nearly $470,000 per center, per year, according to the FHCA. “Once again, Gov. DeSantis has shown his commitment to Florida’s seniors and the people who care for them,” said FHCA Chief Executive Officer Emmett Reed. “This meaningful investment in Florida’s nursing centers reflects the Governor’s unwavering leadership and vision for the future as we prepare for a significant increase in Florida’s senior population over the next decade.”

Florida Hospital Association praises new spending plan — “These appropriations, many driven by the groundbreaking Live Healthy package, will go a long way toward increasing access to timely, high-quality health care for all Floridians close to home,” said Mary Mayhew, CEO of FHA. “Hospitals across the Sunshine State are on the front lines each day, striving to meet residents’ growing demand for health care. By funding the education and training of health care professionals, integrating behavioral health care services into traditional health care settings and local communities, and bolstering infrastructure such as the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program and critical services like maternal health care, this budget is vital for strengthening Florida’s health care delivery system and ensuring the health and well-being of every Floridian.”

Florida Association of Managing Entities enthuses about behavioral health funding — “For many Floridians, they cannot live their healthiest lives without these essential services,” said Florida Association of Managing Entities CEO Natalie K. Kelly. “We are grateful to Gov. DeSantis for funding programs that will address workforce shortages in the behavioral health services field, will continue to support Mobile Response Teams to de-escalate those in crisis, will ensure appropriate behavioral health services and care coordination among families are available through schools, and myriad other behavioral health services to meet the needs of Floridians.”

Sadowski Coalition thankful for full funding — “Since taking office, Gov. Ron DeSantis has been unwavering in his commitment to providing needed housing for Floridians, from our seniors and veterans to our workforce and families. Time and again, he has recommended full funding from the Sadowski Housing Trust Funds, and following the passage of the Live Local Act, he has recommended that it also be fully funded, and this year was no different,” said Mark Hendrickson, the facilitator of the Sadowski Coalition. “Thank you, Gov. DeSantis, as well as the Florida Legislature, for fulfilling what has been enacted into law — funding the State Housing Initiatives Partnership and the State Apartment Incentive Loan programs and the Live Local Act — and continuing to prioritize housing in the state.”

Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida backs the budget — “Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Focus on Florida’s Future Budget adds more funding to ensure no pregnant mom has to travel far from home to get the care they need for their baby,” said Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior. “This budget’s over $130 million in additional funding for enhancing maternal and newborn services makes Florida a leading state for supporting this specialized care. Additionally, with this budget, the Governor continued his strong support for programs that will train the next generation of doctors in the state. In the coming years, these medical education initiatives will give Floridians access to the best doctors in the world right in our own backyard.”

Justin Senior suggests Ron DeSantis’ budget will ‘save lives.’

DeSantis Watch bashes Governor for ‘cruel’ budget vetoes — “In a year when the Governor’s office highlighted the fact that the state had a $14.6 billion surplus in the state’s rainy day fund, Ron DeSantis’ cruel budget vetoes put public safety at risk and show his misplaced priorities by targeting those Floridians most in need of relief due to the ongoing affordability crisis that he created,” DeSantis Watch Communications Director Anders Croy said. “While Ron DeSantis remains focused on his own political ambitions instead of the real issues confronting the people he was elected to serve, workers and seniors throughout Florida deserve leaders who will focus on raising wages, lowering costs, and creating a brighter future for all of us.”

Florida Mosquito Control Association President Richard Weaver cheers increased mosquito control programs in budget — “Florida’s economy and the health of its residents and visitors hinge on effectively managing the risk of deadly diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. On behalf of the state’s 67 mosquito control programs, including the 15 independent mosquito control districts, we thank Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing the budget today which included additional funding for medium and small mosquito control programs across the state. This budget includes a $1 million increase in funding, with no increases in taxes or fees, which will directly help medium and smaller mosquito control programs secure the necessary workforce and equipment necessary to combat the ‘world’s deadliest animal.’ We also thank the Florida Legislature and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Simpson, whose support and in-depth knowledge of mosquito control benefits our entire state.”

— 2024 — FLORIDA —

DeSantis mentions state attorney races when asked about new political committee” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — DeSantis said re-election campaigns of the two-state attorneys he’s suspended as well as the constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Florida are some of the top priorities of a political action committee that he’s involved with this election cycle. The would be the Florida Freedom Fund, a political action committee that will have the ability to collect unlimited donations from individuals and corporations. The stated purpose of the PAC is to “promote and support principled conservative causes and candidates in the state of Florida,” according to its website. During a news conference in Tampa following his signing of the 2024-25 state budget, the Governor pounced on a question about how he intended to use that PAC this year.

Ron DeSantis hopes to use his new ‘Freedom Fund’ on state attorney’s races.

— 2024 — DOWN-BALLOT —

Disney opens up wallet again, including to GOP who backed ‘don’t say gay’ law” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — As of Tuesday, the day after the campaign filing deadline for April and May, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is listed as providing more than $87,000 in in-kind contributions to political committees, most of which are affiliated with a lawmaker. That number did not include in-kind contributions made to state Sen. Geraldine Thompson for a Friday fundraiser at Walt Disney World. The company’s largest single in-kind contribution was $28,487 to Daley for Florida, the committee backing state Rep. Dan Daley. It also provided $16,423 each to the groups People Above Politics, affiliated with state Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera and Florida Farmers and Ranchers United, affiliated with state Rep. Josie Tomkow. Tomkow voted for the controversial law, officially known as the Parental Rights in Education Act.

Joe Gruters wants Tom Leek serving alongside him in the Senate” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sen. Gruters wants Leek serving with him in the Senate. The Sarasota Republican formally endorsed Leek in the Senate District 7 race to succeed Sen. Travis Hutson. “Today I am pleased to endorse Tom Leek for the state Senate,” Gruters said. “I worked with Tom when we were first elected in 2016 to the Florida House, the year when we also campaigned for Donald J. Trump for President. Tom Leek and I will proudly serve as Trump delegates at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next month, and we will work together as conservative leaders in the Senate next year and beyond.”

Joe Gruters is looking for Tom Leek to join him in the upper chamber.

Stan McClain backs Sam Greco for HD 19 — The hits just keep on coming for Greco, with Rep. McClain now also endorsing Greco’s bid to succeed House Speaker Paul Renner. “Sam is a Navy JAG officer who believes in public service and helping his community,” McClain said. “I look forward to working with Sam next year to keep moving Florida forward.” Several officials, including Renner, are also supporting Greco’s run. “Rep. McClain has been a leader in Tallahassee, and it will be an honor to work with him to advance a conservative agenda next year,” Greco added. “Together, we can continue to serve our region and make a positive impact on the lives of all Floridians.”

—“Ruth’s List Florida endorses three women running for House who back abortion rights” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics

Hillsborough Commissioner Michael Owen resigns to run for Florida House” via Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times — In a bit of last-minute election maneuvering, Owen resigned from the Hillsborough County Commission on Tuesday and announced plans to run for a soon-to-be-vacated seat in Tallahassee. “It has been my greatest honor to serve the residents of Hillsborough County as their District 4 Commissioner,” Owen wrote in a letter to Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer. On the campaign trail for the county job, Owen called himself the only true conservative Republican in the race in the reddest district in the county. “I think it’s important to have a real conservative on the Board to kind of balance things out,” he said. He also called himself “someone who can work across the aisle.” For the job in Tallahassee, Owen will face Republican Jessica Harris in the Primary.


Anti-abortion groups to Donald Trump: Don’t water down GOP platform by removing support for federal ban” via Steve Contorno and Alayna Treene of CNN — Anti-abortion leaders are warning Republicans not to remove a federal abortion ban from the party’s platform at next month’s GOP convention even as their presumptive nominee, Trump, backs away from it. The current platform calls on Congress to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks and for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving the unborn the same rights as a person. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said it better stay that way. “Our expectation is that the GOP platform will continue to unequivocally call for national protections for unborn children, rooted in the 14th Amendment,” Dannenfelser said. “Watering down the GOP platform’s stance on life would entail an abandonment of its defense of the human dignity of all people.”

Anti-abortion activists call for Donald Trump not to let up on a federal abortion ban.


State college staff can access group health plan, but Gov. DeSantis vetoes $80M to offset increased costs” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — DeSantis signed legislation (HB 5101) allowing state college staff to enroll in the health insurance plan. But DeSantis vetoed the $80 million lawmakers agreed to put in the budget to offset the increased costs associated with potential new enrollment. State workers — including the Governor, Cabinet members, legislators, legislative staff and employees at state agencies — have access to the state group health insurance plan. So do state staff in the state university system. To help erase the projected deficit, budget negotiators agreed to add $550 million to the trust fund. The proposed budget includes $350 million of general revenue and $200 million in federal money that has been redirected from previous expenditures.

With his signature, DeSantis OKs state obligation for $346M in federal energy efficiency funding” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — When he signed the state’s $116.5 billion budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year, DeSantis gave a thumbs-up to $346 million in federal energy efficiency improvement funding that will save Floridians money. The state was in line to get funding from the federal government as part of the Rewiring America program under Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and the Investment in Jobs Act. But DeSantis vetoed $30 million in energy programs last year, making the state ineligible for funding. With the green light now, the funding will help residents make upgrades to their homes to boost energy efficiency through rebates on the purchase and installation of energy-efficient home appliances.

Ron DeSantis is opening the door to $346M in federal energy efficiency funds.

—”DeSantis cuts water projects, opioid funding as he signs budget” via Lawrence Mower, Romy Ellenbogen, and Nina Moske of the Tampa Bay Times

DeSantis’ veto pen snares legislative budget over credit card fees study” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — A proposal to study the effect of fees imposed by credit card companies on sales taxes appears to have doomed a large chunk of the Legislature’s budget. DeSantis vetoed $56.7 million in legislative support services funding. It’s funding he hasn’t vetoed before in five previous budgets. The money pays for a variety of functions for the Legislature — information technology for the House and Senate, the lobbyist registration office, joint Committees and the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR), staffed by economists who make revenue forecasts for the state budget that are used by lawmakers to craft a spending plan each year. EDR also conducts numerous studies and produces reports about various state programs and aspects of the economy to aid lawmakers.

Florida teachers union blasts Gov. DeSantis ‘fuzzy math,’ says $200M in budget for teacher pay isn’t enough” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — DeSantis signed the state’s next budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year, including $200 million for teacher pay raises. DeSantis has touted the increase, which the Legislature passed at his behest, as a “record” investment. But the state’s largest teachers union isn’t impressed. Florida Education Association (FEA) President Spar said in a statement after the bill signing that DeSantis’ assertion “is at best, fuzzy math and at worst, a political stunt meant to intentionally mislead teachers in the state and once again shift blame.” The increase will bring Florida’s total allocation for teacher salaries to $1.25 billion. After increasing starting teacher pay in 2020 to $47,500, Florida now ranks at No. 16 in the nation.

Cabinet OKs $14.4M easement buys in Highlands, Okeechobee counties” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Florida will spend more than $14.4 million as part of a group of projects to buy land for conservation easements in Highlands and Okeechobee counties One purchase will use $6.5 million for land conservation easements on 1,800 acres of cattle ranch land in Okeechobee County. The funds will come from the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP), housed in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), but the federal government could pick up $2.8 million of the tab. The Clemons Oak Creek cattle ranch and farm has operated for decades, and currently has 600 head of cattle and a small watermelon crop, according to staff notes on the purchase. The land is located within the Florida Wildlife Corridor and is enrolled in FDACS’ best management practices program.


Ex-Kevin McCarthy staffer trolls Matt Gaetz on social media over Hunter Biden post” via Isabella Ramirez of POLITICO — An ex-staffer of former Speaker McCarthy took a jab at Rep. Gaetz over the Florida Republican’s post on Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict, the latest dust-up in a long-standing feud between the two Republicans. Gaetz, who has clashed with McCarthy ever since he led the effort to oust the former Speaker, wrote on X Tuesday that Hunter Biden’s conviction “is kinda dumb tbh. That, however, elicited a response from former McCarthy staffer Maggie Howell, who posted on X, without evidence: “That’s because you also love to do cocaine, sleep with prostitutes, and own guns.” Following his removal from the speakership last Fall, McCarthy has escalated his revenge campaign against Gaetz. McCarthy threw his support behind Gaetz’s Primary challenger — who a top McCarthy adviser helped vet — and called the Floridian “the Hunter Biden of the Republican Party.”

Kevin McCarthy and Matt Gaetz continue their trolling.

Eight years after Pulse, Maxwell Frost says gun control movement has grown stronger than the gun lobby” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Eight years after the Pulse nightclub shooting, U.S. Rep. Frost says the push for gun control has grown in strength. The Orlando Democrat called for greater gun regulation measures during an Instagram Live with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). “As someone who’s been in this movement since I was 15 years old, so a little over a decade, the gun violence prevention movement, for the first time, I think for real, is stronger than the gun lobby,” Frost said. Frost filed legislation last year to establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention. It has not been considered in the Republican-controlled House, but Biden created such an office administratively.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

State declines to investigate ‘pay-for-play’ allegation against Broward School Board members” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A state Inspector General has decided not to open an investigation into Broward School Board member Torey Alston’s allegations that some of his fellow Board members have improper relationships with the Broward Teachers Union. Some Board members say they believe the state isn’t pursuing the case because the allegations are baseless. But Alston said what prevented the investigation was concerns from Marylin Batista, the District’s General Counsel, that Board members might reveal confidential information from closed-door meetings. One of Alston’s allegations actually centered on disclosing closed-door matters. He reported to the state that he believed some School Board members shared with union members information from negotiation strategy meetings held in the shade.

A state Inspector General declines to investigate Torey Alston’s accusation of a too-close relationship between School Board members and the teacher’s union.

‘Sick and tired’: Bryan Paz-Hernandez wants to bring accountability, plus a new rail line, to Miami-Dade” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Paz-Hernandez is sick of traffic. He’s fed up with rising costs of living. And don’t get him started on public corruption. He’s running for the Miami-Dade County Commission to, as the saying goes, be the change he hopes to see in the world. “There’s a tendency for politicians to promise you the world and then, when they get into office, they don’t deliver,” he said. “I plan to deliver.” It’s Paz-Hernandez’s first time as a candidate. And he’s aiming high. His No. 1 goal, he said, is to reduce roadway congestion in the county’s Kendall area. The fix he’s proposing is a new transit line that’s either a Metrorail extension or light rail.

Lauderhill Commissioner won’t face charges after FDLE probe of reimbursement requests” via Angie DiMichele of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A now-closed criminal investigation of a Lauderhill City Commissioner is leading elected officials to consider whether their policies on using city-owned cars need to be more clear. Commissioner Denise Grant, who is currently running for Mayor, was accused of providing false or fraudulent information to be reimbursed for a trip she took to Tallahassee in March 2023 for a nonprofit event, Youth Empowerment Village’s annual “Children’s Week,” according to the FDLE investigation. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, which was assigned the case, declined to bring any charges, according to a closeout memo signed this April. The investigation centered around two key accusations, according to the FDLE report.

Federal judge, citing inmate suicide, grills Miami-Dade officials on mental health center” via Brittany Wallman of the Miami Herald — With a bed sheet attached to a smoke detector, a 47-year-old man who’d been arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge committed suicide last November in a Miami-Dade County jail. He hadn’t even been in jail for 24 hours. This week, a federal Judge who learned of the suicide hauled county officials — including Mayor Daniella Levine Cava — into court to find out why a mental health facility that would help keep people with mental health problems out of the county jails still isn’t open. At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom wondered aloud whether the jail inmate, identified in court as D.L., would still be alive if the center were open and operating.

University of Miami President Julio Frenk steps down for Chancellor post at UCLA” via Jimena Tavel of the Miami Herald — Frenk stepped down as President of the University of Miami to go on a six-month sabbatical before joining the University of California, Los Angeles in January. Joe Echevarria, UM’s CEO, has been promoted to Acting President. The University of California Board of Regents unanimously selected Frenk as Chancellor of UCLA, agreeing to pay him an annual salary of $978,904, according to the Los Angeles Times. Frenk, 70, will become the first Latino in the post in the university’s 105-year history when he takes over on Jan. 1, 2025, UCLA announced. Frenk didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Simpson announces protection of cattle ranch in Okeechobee: ‘A win for agriculture’” via Amber Jo Cooper of Florida’s Voice — Agriculture Commissioner Simpson announced the protection of Clemons Oak Creek, an 1,800-acre cattle ranch and farm in Okeechobee County on Wednesday. The land will be preserved through a cost-effective rural land protection easement, as part of the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, which was established in 2001. “This is a win for agriculture, a win for conservation, and a win for Florida’s taxpayers,” Simpson said. The agricultural activities at Clemons Oak Creek include cow and calf operations, row crops, and wildlife management. The easement, totaling almost $6.5 million, will “prevent future development of the land and allow agriculture operations to continue to contribute to Florida’s economy.”

New protection of a cattle ranch in Central Florida is a ‘win for agriculture.’ Image via Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Is Orange County’s rural boundary ballot initiative in jeopardy?” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Advocates for rural development boundaries in Orange County are outraged the Governor-appointed Elections Supervisor wants ballot language by Friday — a deadline County Commissioners almost certainly can’t meet — or he’ll keep the issue from voters. They argue the measure, if approved by voters, would keep suburban sprawl from spreading into rural areas while developers and other critics call it ill-advised, insisting it infringes on property rights. “It’s frustrating for citizen-residents who have been working and working for changes to make the county better while others try to undermine it,” said Eric Grimmer, who led a Charter Review Commission Subcommittee that studied rural boundaries for a year.

Daytona Beach Police Captain named Holly Hill’s next Police Chief following investigation” via Frank Fernandez of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — The city of Holly Hill has hired a new Police Chief as the City Manager continues to review an internal affairs report about “inappropriate incidents” at the department which has resulted in the resignation of its former Chief and a Captain as well as the suspension of two sergeants. The city launched a nationwide search but went next door for its new leader. Daytona Beach Police Capt. Byron K. Williams accepted the position of Police Chief for Holly Hill, according to an email from City Manager Joe Forte. Williams will officially start his new job July 15, Forte wrote. The Holly Hill Police Department has 26 sworn law enforcement positions, including the Chief.

Deltona official calls Mayor ‘homophobic’ after refusal to sign Pride Month proclamation” via Colleen Michele Jones of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Deltona City Commissioner Dana McCool is calling Mayor Santiago Avila Jr., “homophobic” and “a hypocrite” for not standing behind a city proclamation to recognize June as LBGTQ Pride Month. McCool put the motion forward in April and it was signed by fellow Commissioner Maritza Avila-Vazquez at Deltona’s June 3 meeting. A proclamation requires just one Commissioner to officially endorse it, and no vote of the Council is required as the policy stands now. The proclamation was read by Commissioner Troy Shimkus, including the following statement: “While the Mayor, unfortunately, declined to sign the proclamation for LBGTQ Pride Month, the rest of the City Commission and the broader community stand resolute in support of the LBGTQ residents (of Deltona).”

With Buddy Dyer endorsement, the Orlando Council race is now a referendum on the status quo” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando Mayor Dyer decided this week to do something he rarely does — endorse one candidate over another in a City Council race. In doing so, Dyer helped crystallize what this race is really about — the status quo at City Hall versus someone new. Former state Rep. Travaris McCurdy represents the establishment choice. Not only did Dyer endorse him, so did the city firefighters and recently indicted former Council member Regina Hill. Opponent Shan Rose is the one who makes City Hall nervous. She’s a former Orlando city staffer who now works as a department director in Eatonville. Rose, who’s willing to challenge the status quo, has received endorsements from rank-and-file city workers in the SEIU, the Orlando Regional Realtor Association and the Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board. Rose finished in first place in the first round. That’s what’s making City Hall so nervous and why, I suspect, both Dyer and Hill are getting involved in the runoff.

Travaris McCurdy represents the establishment choice for a City Council race.

Glen Gilzean stays mums on future plans, controversies at Winter Park forum” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Is Gilzean running for Orange County Supervisor of Elections after he was appointed by DeSantis to the open job? Does Gilzean want to comment on the bad headlines in the Orlando Sentinel? Stories in recent weeks include candidates upset about how Gilzean is running the office and news that he’s receiving a $20,000-a-month consulting check from Disney World’s Governing Board. Gilzean didn’t address any of the big elephants in the room Wednesday as he spoke briefly to a League of Women Voters (LWV) of Orange County forum held in Winter Park. Gilzean highlighted that his Office added more four precincts and adjusted seven polling locations to “ensure that every voice is heard.” The move affects about 25,000 voters in Lake Nona, Apopka and Dr. Phillips, he said.


DeSantis vetoes $50M in Tampa Bay projects” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — DeSantis has vetoed at least $49.9 million in projects benefiting the Tampa Bay region, including millions in water, transportation and other infrastructure needs. The vetoes came as DeSantis signed the state’s $116.5 billion budget, which is down about $1 billion from what lawmakers had approved before the Governor’s line-item vetoes. DeSantis’ largest veto in the region was $5 million for transportation safety improvements in Bradenton, followed by $3.9 million that had been allocated to the University of South Florida for its Incident Response Simulation Modeling and Healthcare Professionals Training Program. DeSantis also took out his red pen to slash $3 million each for a Pinellas and Pasco County affordable homeownership program and STEM program enhancements for Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.

USF suffers a big hit in the newly signed budget.

Tampa Bay loses dozens of projects as DeSantis wields his veto power” via Sue Carlton, Barbara Behrendt, Olivia George, Tracey McManus and Jack Evans of the Tampa Bay Times — When DeSantis signed the state budget in Tampa on Wednesday, he expressed pride in a lower spending plan, brought about in part because he slashed nearly $1 billion in projects from the Legislature’s approved budget. DeSantis said that some of the cuts were things he didn’t support, while others were good projects that could be funded from other sources — like initiatives to handle wastewater.

Polk County feels Governor’s vetoes, but funding for Polk State Northeast campus escapes” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger — DeSantis vetoed multiple allocations for Polk County in this year’s budget, but some major projects escaped his deletions. DeSantis signed the $116.5 billion state budget on Wednesday, and his office later released a list of hundreds of line-item vetoes totaling about $1 billion. Polk State College received mixed news. DeSantis vetoed an allocation of $1.5 million for the renovation of a 1980s-era building on its Lakeland campus that houses the school’s nursing and respiratory care programs. But DeSantis spared a line item dedicating $8.1 million to the college for the construction of its Northeast Ridge campus in Haines City. That was the largest single-budget item for Polk County.

DeSantis slashes $15M from Citrus County projects” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — Citrus County has seen better days with the Governor’s veto pen. DeSantis wiped out $15.4 million in Citrus County projects, including $10 million for a new Crystal River City Hall. Also slashed were funds for road improvements near the Inverness Airport Business Park, an expansion of programs at Crystal River High School, a trail connector in Inverness and a ladder fire truck. Some projects made it. Muck-removing restoration projects in the Crystal River and Homosassa rivers will continue, as will funding for a multipurpose path in Homosassa. Crystal River had counted on funding for City Hall, which hasn’t reopened since being flooded during Hurricane Idalia. City government is temporarily housed in the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.

Andrew Warren rolls out nearly a dozen new endorsements as he runs to reclaim job” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Warren is rolling out 11 new endorsements in his race for Hillsborough County State Attorney, a job he’s running to reclaim after being ousted by DeSantis. The list includes current and former elected officials and community leaders from the Legislature to local government. “I’m incredibly honored to have the support of so many distinguished public servants. They know I’ll reverse the alarming increase in crime over the past two years and make Hillsborough safer — just as I did before,” Warren said.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

DeSantis vetoes $30M tutoring program at UF” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — One of the biggest projects slashed in the budget was a $30 million tutoring program for schoolchildren. HB 1361 set up the New Worlds Tutoring Program to be administered by the University of Florida’s Lastinger Center for Learning. “The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning improves the quality of teaching, learning, and child care. We research, develop, and scale equitable educational innovations for adults and children that put all learners on trajectories for lifelong success,” the organization’s website says. The tutoring program was intended to help students in kindergarten through grade 5 with their reading and math.

UWF loses out on more than $33M due to DeSantis vetoes” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Plans for a science and research wing at the University of West Florida may have to wait. DeSantis vetoed more than $26.2 million from the state budget for the project. Sen. Doug Broxson, a Gulf Breeze Republican, and Rep. Michelle Salzman, a Pensacola Republican, sought out the funding. The plan was for the funding to support expansion of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. When the Legislature approved the funding, it was to go toward a planned $47.3 million multiyear appropriations request. “Currently UWF is leasing research space in downtown Pensacola,” read a request submitted to lawmakers from Project Manager Mel Manor. “When constructed, the building addition will allow for labs currently housed in remote off-campus leased facilities to be brought back to campus. The project will provide expanded research space and contribute directly to the overall enhanced educational experience for students.”

UWF is shorted $33M due to DeSantis vetoes.

—“JAXPORT, nursing programs among Northeast Florida budget cuts” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

DeSantis vetoes $3M for first responder, public safety facility at Big Bend Technical College” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Less than a year after Hurricane Idalia devastated Big Bend communities, testing the resolve of emergency personnel tasked with rescuing people there, DeSantis is saying “no” to funding for a facility where future first responders could train. With his veto pen, the Governor nixed a $2.96 million earmark for Big Bend Technical College. The move came about three months after he presented the school with a $5 million check for the construction of a 10,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing teaching facility. A photo of the occasion is the background for the school’s Facebook page. The vetoed funds would have gone toward building a 7,000-square-foot building in which the school would offer a new postsecondary firefighter and paramedic program, a dual-enrollment public safety telecommunications program, and an expansion of an existing commercial vehicle driving program.

Tallahassee Classical principal forced out as school transitions to new oversight” via Alaijah Brown of the Tallahassee Democrat — The Governing Board of Tallahassee Classical School, which went viral last year after a controversy involving Michelangelo’s “David” statue being used in an art lesson, has removed yet another principal. Headmaster Cara Wynn was asked to resign from her position on Monday. “We want to thank Mrs. Wynn for her service to Tallahassee Classical School,” wrote Tallahassee attorney Tim Qualls, the Board Chair. Qualls has not responded to messages seeking comment. An effort to reach Wynn was unsuccessful.

Marine experts weigh in on shark attacks after three people were bitten in Walton County” via Adrian Andrews of WFSU — Last Friday, three people were bitten by sharks in Walton county beaches, both of which happened just hours apart. Now, wildlife experts are looking into shark behavior in Florida. “We understand that as tragic as this is, there are always sharks and we have to be careful,” Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson said. South Walton Fire District and Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to two shark related incidents Friday afternoon. Two people were critically injured, and one other person suffered minor injuries. The first victim, a 45-year-old woman, was bitten by a shark as she was swimming past the first sandbar near Watersound Beach.


Venice voters to decide in November on ending odd-year elections, adjusting terms” via Earle Kimel of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Venice voters will determine in November whether to do away with odd-year city elections, with Council members serving a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms, instead of the current three consecutive three-year terms. The City Council approved the second reading of an ordinance to place that issue in a referendum on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot by a 4-3 vote, with Vice Mayor Jim Boldt — who is seeking a second term in Seat 4 — changing his May 28 vote to join Council members Joan Farrell and Ron Smith in dissent. Council Seats three and 4 will also be on the ballot in November.

Jim Boldt changed his vote to oppose ending odd-year elections.

New College of Florida to renew hotel contracts, build portables amid housing shortage” via Steven Walker of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — New College of Florida is moving to renew its contracts with local hotels and build temporary portable housing units as it continues to face a housing crisis on campus from the closure of dorms and an influx of student-athletes driving record enrollment. In a unanimous vote of the Finance and Administration Standing Committee, New College authorized President Richard Corcoran to negotiate a new contract with Home2Suites, a hotel less than a mile north of campus, to renew its use of more than 100 rooms to house students for the Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 semesters. The Committee also approved funding three portable modular housing units that would house 132 single beds near the Dort and Goldstein dorm buildings.


Hunter Biden was convicted. His dad’s reaction was remarkable.” via Nia-Malika Henderson of Bloomberg — On one of the worst days of his life, Joe Biden showed the best of who he is. He affirmed his faith in his son, Hunter Biden, who was convicted on three felony gun charges. And he affirmed his faith in the justice system that held his only living son to account.

Not only that, but hours after his son was found guilty, the President delivered a forceful speech on gun control that underscored his deep humanity, decency, and determination to stay focused on the problems of average Americans rather than drown in bitterness, self-pity, revenge and victimization. He spoke of hope in the face of loss, comforting those who’ve lost loved ones with his own story of grief.

It was yet another stark and important contrast with Trump, who believes that his self-created legal problems are matters of the state. Trump has vowed revenge if he returns to the White House, and Biden has said he respects the outcome of his son’s trial.

Politically, Hunter Biden’s conviction has complicated GOP claims of a two-tiered justice system where his father is the puppet master. It has also created strange bedfellows. Florida Rep. Gaetz, a well-known agent of chaos and conspiracy theories, posted on X that the “Hunter Biden gun conviction is kinda dumb, tbh.” The Trump campaign called the verdict a distraction from “the real crimes of the Biden Crime Family,” a narrative with no evidence that Republicans have been trying to sell for the last few years.


Governor should veto short-term rental bill that imposes burdens on owners” via MeLynda Rinker for the Lakeland Ledger — The essence of Florida is its hospitality and the unique experiences we offer to millions of visitors each year. For many residents, sharing our home is not just a source of income, but a way of life that enriches our communities and helps small businesses thrive across the state. I urge DeSantis to veto SB 280 to protect the rights of property owners and maintain the vibrant tourism industry that is the lifeblood of our state. Contrary to what supporters of SB 280 say, the majority of hosts operate responsibly and maintain high standards to ensure the safety and comfort of their guests and neighbors. By vetoing SB 280, you will be standing on the side of property rights, strong local economies and the spirit of hospitality that defines our state.

Why DeSantis should sign the balloon release ban into law” via Robin Miller for the Orlando Sentinel — We know that healthy and clean beaches equal a healthy and thriving coastal economy. Balloon litter is still litter. Intentionally releasing balloons should be a thing of the past, and Florida’s laws should reflect that. While releasing balloons has sometimes been used to celebrate and commemorate significant events or milestones, Floridians can consider greener alternatives such as: blowing bubbles, flying kites, planting a tree or building a memorial garden. Additionally, House Bill 321 includes provisions to exempt children from fines, while directing law enforcement to address intentional balloon releases as we continue to educate our communities on its impacts. The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber strongly supports HB 321, and we encourage DeSantis to swiftly sign this common-sense bill into law.

Florida farmworkers survived crash. Let them continue seeing their doctors” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Crash survivors undergoing rehabilitation should not be uprooted from their continuum of care. Let’s remember: These laborers were legally brought into the country specifically to work under a federal program known as H-2A. They were passengers on a bus traveling to harvest watermelons at a Dunnellon farm when the collision occurred. They did not cause the crash and were not acting outside the bounds of their immigration status. They suffered on-the-job injuries by any definition, and the government and industry that helped bring them here have responsibilities. The Ocala tragedy highlights the gaps in worker protections under the H-2A program. The program’s rules don’t address whether laborers should be afforded extended time in the U.S. for treatment of work-related injuries, or whether employers should provide housing during that time, as the Times reported this week.


— ALOE —

George R.R. Martin reveals a scrapped ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel idea has been revived” via James Hibberd of The Hollywood Reporter — As Game of Thrones fans prepare for the season two premiere of House of the Dragon this Sunday, saga creator Martin is giving a promising update on a potential new series. Martin revealed that the Princess Nymeria prequel Ten Thousand Ships is alive again and making progress under a new writer — Eboni Booth, who won a Pulitzer Prize in May for her play Primary Trust. “She’s an amazingly talented young playwright, and a joy to work with; when not writing and producing her prizewinning plays on- and off-Broadway, she has been kept busy by me and HBO, working on a new pilot for Ten Thousand Ships, a Game of Thrones spinoff about Nymeria and the Rhoynar,” Martin wrote on his blog. “We’re all very excited about this one … though we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to pay for 10,000 ships, 300 dragons and those giant turtles.”

George R.R. Martin is breathing new life into a shelved ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel.

Unfinished beef: Netflix sets live Labor Day hot dog eating bout between Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi via Alex Weprin of The Hollywood Reporter — Netflix is officially getting into the competitive eating business. The streaming giant says that it will host a livestreaming event on Labor Day, Sep. 2, featuring two legends of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: Chestnut and Kobayashi. The live special will be called Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef, with the location and specific timing still TBD. One thing that Netflix has confirmed: The hot dogs will be all-beef. The two competitive eaters battled each other for years in the annual Nathan’s contest, but the last time they competed head-to-head was in 2009, when Chestnut beat Kobayashi in a five hot dog sudden death eat-off.


Best wishes to former Sen. David Simmons, Ron Brise, our dear friend Allison Carvajal, and Margie Menzel.


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.


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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