Last Call for 6.20.24 — 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

Biden-Harris 2024 is making a play for Hispanic voters with new ads stocked with football — well, fútbol — lingo and imagery.

The first ad in the seven-figure blitz is “Gooaalll!” As one might presume, it touts President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris’ first-term accomplishments as FIFA-level feats.

While the 30-second spot casts former President Donald Trump as the big bad, the first half focuses on the country’s post-COVID rebound, asserting the current admin “got us back on track” and heralding “15.6 million new jobs” as a sign the Biden-era ushered in an economic boom. Despite economists saying most traditional indicators are actually quite rosy, polling indicates voters disagree with that sentiment.

In the back half of the ad, a ref’s whistle blares and Trump is handed a red card. For the pre-’90s-kid crowd who’re less fluent in soccer lingo, that’s what the zebras raise in the air when they see an ejection-worthy penalty à la targeting in American football.

The closing line is reminiscent of the Trans Am-waxing Uncle Joe of The Onion fame: “Trump talks and talks. Joe Biden gets shit done.”

The ad flight coincides with the kickoff of Copa América, the top tourney for men’s soccer national teams in the Western Hemisphere and an event expected to draw as many as 200 million American eyeballs, many of which belong to Hispanic voters. A Biden-Harris news release noted that the U.S. is home to 60 million-plus fans of the Mexican national team El Tri. The campaign also pointed to the success of the Apple+ show Ted Lasso as evidence the soccer bloc is a demo worth tapping into.

“Our campaign knows the power of showing up to earn the Latino vote, and today’s historic announcement to organize and mobilize around Copa América is a perfect example of doing that important work,” said Biden-Harris 2024 Campaign Manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez.

“Throughout the next few weeks, we will harness the energy of Copa to mobilize and reach the Latino voters who will decide this election in their communities, on the airwaves, and at Copa matches — all with a simple message: President Biden has had our back for his whole career and is fighting for our community every single day, while Donald Trump has spent every chance he gets fighting for himself, while attacking and failing our community.”

Coincidentally, the ad is also rolling out at a time when Biden-Harris 2024 could use a goal or two in the fight for Hispanic voters. Democrats used to have the bloc on lock more so than Argentina’s national team had the Copa América (they’ve got the most tourney wins at 15), but recent elections show some slices of the Hispanic electorate are flocking away from the blue team.

There’s evidence of that in Florida especially, where the past two cycles have seen the GOP flip the script among Hispanic voters, especially Cuban American and Venezuelan American voters, with whom Republicans’ hard-line rhetoric on those dictatorial regimes resonates.

While Biden-Harris has better odds of reversing the trend than Team USA has of winning the cup this year (they’re at +1200 for those looking for a risky bet), recent polling doesn’t paint a pretty picture. An Equis poll released earlier this week shows more Hispanic voters nationwide think Trump is the better candidate on immigration issues, 41%-38%, while a whopping 72% say they agree (either “very” or “somewhat”) with the statement, “Biden and Democrats make promises about immigration reform during the campaign but fail to deliver once they have won.”


Biden-Harris 2024 isn’t the only campaign looking to woo Copa América viewers.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott launched a Spanish-language soccer-themed ad for his re-election campaign alongside the tournament’s kickoff.

The ad, which was part of a statewide six-figure buy, depicts a soccer match in which Scott, part of the “Liberty” team, is being compared to his opponent, Democratic former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

The ad highlights Scott’s accomplishments as Florida Governor, including being the first Governor to reduce state debt in 20 years, over 100 tax cuts that saved taxpayers nearly $10 billion and working with the Legislature to create more jobs.

The ad compares these achievements to Murarsel-Powell, listed as the captain of “The Socialists” team, saying that she is a representation of the extreme left, an ally to socialism and alleges she’s a fan of tax increases and open borders.

“There are families from all over Latin America who came to Florida fleeing socialism and know all too well what is at stake in this race,” the ad says.

“Sen. Scott has been clear that socialism has no place in America. He remains committed to standing with every Floridian who wants a freer and more prosperous future, while Socialist Debbie’s record in Congress has made it clear which ‘squad’ she is on. Voters rejected her back then and will do so again this November.”

The ad will run during every game of the Copa América tournament on TV and digital platforms.

In recent polling from Florida Atlantic University, Scott leads Murarsel-Powell by 2 percentage points, a significant drop from the 16-point lead he held last month. Murarsel-Powell got a confidence boost from the favorable poll, saying that it shows that she can go the distance in a head-to-head with Scott.

Evening Reads

—“Donald Trump’s VP pick may have just been revealed” via James Bickerton of Newsweek

—“‘The Daily Show’ going live with Jon Stewart at political conventions” via Rick Porter of The Hollywood Reporter

—“These 25 rainbow-flag waving companies donated $18M to anti-gay politicians since the last election” via Judd Legum, Tesnim Zekeria and Rebecca Crosby of Popular Information

—”Mucarsel-Powell makes her case for the U.S. Senate in Tampa” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

—“DeSantis’ vetoes anger the arts community as state funding gets wiped out” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics

—”DeSantis lawyers argue top deputy’s phone logs not a public record” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times

—“The economist who figured out what makes workers tick” via Justin Lahart of The Wall Street Journal

—“Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ is being adapted for the stage. It’s not as easy as you’d think” via David Browne of Rolling Stone

Quote of the Day

“This isn’t like that. … it just kind of smacks of, I don’t know, underhandedness coming at the last minute.”

—Winter Park Playhouse Board Chair Roger Blauvelt, on the Governor’s art funding vetoes.

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.

Democrats blasted U.S. Sen. Scott as a hypocrite for saying he supported in vitro fertilization during a Thursday news conference. While the giant inflatable IUD was the star of the show, the cocktail world hasn’t embraced non-hormonal birth control just yet so Florida’s junior Senator will have to settle for a Jagged Little Pill instead.

Playhouses and troupes across the state are feeling the pain after the Governor poured red ink on state funding for the arts. Help them keep their chins up with a Show Must Go On.

State Attorney Brian Kramer announced he wouldn’t bite on the questionable and deeply flawed investigation into Jacksonville dentist Howard Fetner. That earns him a Bloody Tooth — the drinkable one, not the kind that requires an emergency trip to your local DDS.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

USMNT begins Copa America on Sunday

The biggest soccer tournament in the western hemisphere kicks off this weekend as the Copa America opens in the United States for the second time. The United States Men’s National Team opens group play on Sunday against Bolivia in Group C (6 p.m. ET, Fox).

The Copa America was also held in the United States in 2016. The event is typically held in South America.

The USMNT warmed up for the Copa America with friendlies against Colombia and Brazil, losing to Colombia 5-1 before earning the first draw against Brazil in team history.

The matchup against Bolivia will be held at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The U.S. and Bolivia have met eight times since 1993, with each side winning two matches and drawing the remaining four. Sunday’s matchup marks the second meeting in the Copa America. In 1995, the U.S. lost to Bolivia 1-0 in Uruguay.

The USMNT is ranked 11th in the FIFA World Rankings. Bolivia is ranked 85th and tuned up for the Copa America with losses to Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia. Bolivia won the Copa America title in 1963.

Among the Americans to watch is captain Christian Pulisic, who scored the only goal of the match against Brazil. Pulisic scored 12 goals and assisted on eight more with AC Milan of the Italian Serie A. He has scored 29 goals in 68 caps for the USMNT since making his debut in 2016. His first goal came in a friendly against Bolivia, when he became the youngest player to score for the USMNT in the modern era.


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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