Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 07.26.16 – FLOTUS for POTUS

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

THE FIRST LADY STEALS THE SHOW

Bernie Sanders said he is “proud to stand with” Hillary Clinton, while Michelle Obama said Clinton has “the guts and grace” to be president, as Democrats strove to appear unified at their national convention in the face of a political firestorm over hacked emails.

Democrats looked to defuse tensions by announcing that outgoing party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz would not take the stage. She has long been a focus of criticism from Sanders and his backers for her apparent bias in Clinton’s favor.

Many of Sanders’ supporters weren’t appeased, and they jeered as speakers lauded Clinton.

Here are the top takeaways from Monday’s opening day of the Democratic National Convention:

– Sanders urges unity –

Seeking to avoid a nationally televised display of disunity, Sanders urged his supporters to back Clinton.

The Vermont senator tried to settle roiling tensions between his ardent, left-leaning supporters and the party’s rank-and-file that back Clinton. He spoke directly to supporters, sent them texts and made an appeal as the final speaker Monday.

He told the convention that “Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”

“If you don’t believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country,” he said.

– FLOTUS steals show – 

Not even Sanders could quiet the shouts of his die-hard supporters — but Michelle Obama did. She delivered a sharp attack on Trump — without ever mentioning his name.

She said she wants to see elected “someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.”

That was a clear reference to Trump, the tireless tweeter.

She lauded Clinton as a woman with a heart and as a future president who never “buckles under pressure” or takes the easy way out.

– Big names –

Other big names on the first night included Elizabeth Warren, who delivered the keynote address. The Massachusetts senator is a favorite of liberals.

“I’m with Hillary. This choice is personal. It’s about who we are as a people,” she said.

Warren called Clinton “one of the smartest, toughest, most tenacious people on this planet,” contrasting her decades-long record of public service with Trump, whom she described as “a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone.”

There were also big names from the entertainment world, including comedian Sarah Silverman, and musicians Demi Lovato and Paul Simon.

– That email controversy –

Democratic leaders long knew they would have a tough time unifying the party at the convention after a tough primary campaign. The hacked emails made it that much harder.

The 19,000 Democratic National Committee emails, posted by Wikileaks over the weekend, showed that top officials at the supposedly neutral DNC favored Clinton over Sanders in the primaries.

The FBI announced Monday it was investigating how the hack occurred.

Clinton’s campaign, citing a cybersecurity firm hired to investigate the leak, blamed Russia and suggested the goal was to benefit Trump’s campaign. Trump dismissed that suggestion in a tweet: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails.”

Whatever the origins, Wasserman Schultz bore the brunt of the political fallout. Long a controversial figure, she announced on Sunday afternoon she would resign.

– GOP gloats –

Republicans who suffered through a gaffe-plagued convention in Cleveland last week watched the Democratic drama with delight.

Trump said in a tweet: “Wow, the Republican Convention went so smoothly compared to the Dems total mess. But fear not, the dishonest media will find a good spinnnn!”

THAT MOMENT WHEN SARAH SILVERMAN RIPPED INTO SANDERS SUPPORTERS via Aaron Blake of the Washington Post – After a day full of tensions between Sanders supporters and the Democratic Party, the first few hours of the party’s convention on Monday featured plenty of distractions, and things seemed to be moving forward. Then Sarah Silverman showed up. The comedian was a Sanders supporter in the primaries, and she came to the stage with Clinton supporter and fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum, Sen. Al Franken. It was a good idea in theory: two comedians trying to bring some levity to the situation and defuse it with humor.
silverman gif

Silverman tried to make jokes. She noted that Clinton, who was most recently secretary of state, “was a secretary, and now she’s going to be president.” The crowd got louder. Silverman added, “I will vote for Hillary with gusto.” She concluded her speech by saying, “As I continue to be inspired and moved to action by the ideals set for by Bernie, who will never stop fighting for us, I am proud to be a part of Bernie’s movement, and a vital part of that movement is making absolutely sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States.”

The crowd got louder. By that point, though, Franken and Silverman had also run out of material and were being asked to stretch their segment due to a problem with musical guest Paul Simon‘s organ. It got a little awkward as they stalled and people chanted. And then Silverman said this: “To the Bernie-or-bust people, let me just tell you: You’re being ridiculous.”

— “Bernie Sanders’s big connection speech was the same speech he gave when he first endorsed Hillary Clinton” – via Phillip Bump of the Washington Post

AMID DNC DISCORE, COMMITTEE OFFS APOLOGY TO SANDERS – The Democratic National Committee is offering its “deep and sincere apology” to Bernie Sanders, his supporters and the entire party for what it calls “the inexcusable remarks made over email, the AP reports. The statement from incoming interim party leader, Donna Brazile, and six other officials says the comments in the emails ‘do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process.’ The statement wasn’t signed by the outgoing DNC head, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

FBI SUSPECTS RUSSIA OF HACKING DNC via the Daily Beast – The FBI suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the Democratic National Committee and stole emails that were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks. It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. The theory that Moscow orchestrated the leaks to help Trump, who has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and practically called for the end of NATO, is fast gaining currency within the Obama administration because of the timing of the leaks and Trump’s own connections to the Russian government, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and developing quickly.

— “The DNC’s leaked emails show it had no idea how to rig an election” via Jordan Weissman of Slate

SANDERS DELEGATES REVOLT ON CONVENTION FLOOR via Kyle Cheney of POLITICO — Enraged Sanders allies shouted down speakers, ignoring appeals from Sanders himself to project unity. Senior Clinton and Sanders aides huddled throughout the evening in the convention center’s boiler room and on the floor, strategizing about how to prevent an embarrassing display of discord when the convention’s prime-time schedule begins — and features remarks from Sanders, First Lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But as speaker after speaker strode to the dais and urged delegates to back Clinton, pro-Sanders delegates chanted “Bernie” and “No TPP!” a reference to the multinational trade deal that Sanders railed against.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Delegates and attendees in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hold up signs on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Delegates and attendees in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders hold up signs on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

… In the moments before the convention gaveled in, Clinton aide Marlon Marshall and Sanders deputy campaign manager Rich Pelletier huddled to discuss preventing visible disruptions by Sanders allies. Throughout the opening hours, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver and senior strategist Mark Longabaugh, along with Marshall, Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook and senior adviser Charlie Baker worked to soothe the discord, passing instructions to Sanders floor whip leader Robert Becker and Clinton’s floor whip leader Donnie Fowler. Sanders sent out a last-minute text message to his delegates encouraging them to “not engage in any kind of protest on the floor.”

SANDERS DELEGATES EXPLORING CHALLENGE OF TIM KAINE SELECTION via Adam Behsudi of POLITICO – Sanders supporters are moving toward a toward a challenge of (Kaine’s) selection as presumptive vice presidential nominee, accusing Clinton of failing to roll back ‘some of the worst neo-liberal policies’ with her choice of running mate. ‘There’s serious interest right now and exploration as we speak of a formal challenge,”‘Norman Solomon, a California delegate and national coordinator for the Bernie Delegates Network, said at a news conference Monday. The network represents about 1,250 of the 1,900 delegates that have pledged support for Sanders. Kaine’s selection riled Sanders supporters, who accuse the Virginia Democrat of being too closely tied to Wall Street and fault him for his past strong support for trade deals.

— “The Bernie protesters outside the gates won’t change anything, but I respect them” via Charles Pierce of Esquire

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AL GORE, A CONVENTION NO-SHOW, ENDORSES CLINTON via Joey Garrison of The Tennessean – “I am not able to attend this year’s Democratic convention, but I will be voting for Hillary Clinton,” Gore said in the statement. “Given her qualification and experience — and given the significant challenges facing our nation and the world, including, especially, the global climate crisis — I encourage everyone else to do the same.”

DWS JEERED DURING ADDRESS TO FLORIDA DELEGATION via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Give credit – or incredible chutzpah – to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who kept her word and addressed a raucous scene at the Florida delegation breakfast at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Philadelphia Monday morning. It did not go well.

Seemingly half of the crowd of several hundred people, which included the delegates and other Democrats, stood up and booed her mercilessly, some holding up signs reading, “E-Mails,” referring to the trove of Democratic National Committee emails that were published by Wikileaks … There were DWS supporters as well, but they were drowned out by the fervent opposition. Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant tried to quiet down the crowd, to little avail. “Let’s hear from our speaker today.”

As members of the crowd and reporters rushed the stage, Mary Lou Ambrose, president of the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Democratic Club said to this reporter, “I want you to know that everybody in Pinellas County disagrees with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and wants her out.” Wasserman Schultz left the stage after speaking for a little more than five minutes.

FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Stephanie Grutman Zauder – “Debbie is the hardest working public servant. DNC chair is the most thankless job and she consistently takes the bullets for all of us so we can continue to fight the good fight. She is our family and one of the most influential people in my life. Thank you for your service and your friendship.”

— “DWS now faces battle for her South Florida seat” via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald

— “Bob Graham tells Florida delegates Debbie Wasserman Schultz ‘deserves our recognition’” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

— “Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen on what Hillary Clinton needs to do Thursday night” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

— “Susan Sarandon sits with Florida Bernie delegates at DNC 2016” via Kristina Webb of the Palm Beach Post

susan sarandon - post

TWEET, TWEET:

castor

kriseman

KAINE WILL FUNDRAISE IN FT. LAUDERDALE AUG. 2 via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – Kaine will appear at an evening fundraiser at the Fort Lauderdale home of lawyer Mitchell Berger. “It will be his first fundraiser in the nation,” Berger said.

HAPPENING TODAY — BILL NELSON, NANCY PELOSI ADDRESS THE DELEGATION — Sen. Nelson, House Minority Leader Pelosi, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Reps. Lois FrankelKathy Castor, and Keith Ellison, and Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, will address the Florida delegation at 8:30 a.m. at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The convention starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

AN EXCLUSIVE INSIDER’S VIEW OF THE DNC via Ben Pollara of LSN Partners – An Honored Guest is better than a Special Guest which is better than an Arena Guest. Nothing beats a Floor Delegate pass, but those are fewand far between. Honored Guest passes are orange, whereas Special Guest passes are turquoise, making them difficult to distinguish from Arena Guest passes, which are green.

Still with me?

Welcome to the credentials shuffle that is #DNCinPHL. This isn’t even the half of it. There are “overlays”. Those are the passes that get you super special secret access within the convention hall. There’s a club level, a suite level, a better suite level!

This first day is mostly figuring it all out and what means what. What color pass is VIP and what is pedestrian. What the hot suites are, and why you can’t get it. In case you were wondering, Florida is well represented at this convo.\

Moskowitz’s are in full force. Rep. Jared Moskowitz is working the floor (with David Richardson, toying with Fox News), whipping votes for HRC, including that of his father, Florida Democratic Party legend, Mike “the Mosk” Moskowitz. Jared Rosenstein, an honorary Moskowitz, is there too.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been spotted all over Philly, though not by me personally. I did see Ana Cruz and Justin Day, from the Tampa contingent.

Christopher George Korge – fundraising behemoth – is a constant presence at these things, taking care of all his Florida ilk throughout. Korge was last spotted bringing a horde of Florida donors through the SEPTA train to the Wells Fargo Center.

Night one is a wrap. FLOTUS killed it. Bern was the anti-Cruz. We all live to see another day.

Holy sh*t, there are three more days of this.

BY THE WAY, NO ONE LIKES PHILLY:

— @MeganLiberman: To be totally objective and nonpartisan: the logistics at DNC are appalling. Squalid hotels, sweltering workspace, no directions. Chaos.

— @NYTnickc: Logistically: >

— @TheFix: Comparing Philly and Cleveland right now in terms of convention logistics is like comparing Cavs and 76ers. No comparison.

— @MarkHalperin: Hard fact of life: reporters unhappy w/logistics are less likely to write positive stories. Philly is lovely but…

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY: TUESDAY’S ROLL CALL SAYS IT ALL – On Tuesday night, Clinton is to become the first woman presidential nominee of a major party. The result is foreordained, but the roll call of the states will nonetheless be an emotional coda for Bernie Sanders supporters whose passion and energy took the Vermont senator from fringe candidate to serious contender. Some things to watch for at the Democratic convention on Tuesday:

Roll call – All of the energy and angst of the hard-fought primary battle between Clinton and Sanders will culminate in the roll call of the states. Each state delegation will get a chance to announce how its delegates are voting. Sanders delegates have pushed to have their votes fully tallied. Sanders has left open the possibility that Clinton could receive the nomination by acclamation — or unanimous nomination — at the end of the roll call. That may not satisfy his delegates. Some are ready to boo or even walk out if there is a unanimous nomination. In 2008, Clinton halted the roll call midway through to call for then-Sen. Barack Obama‘s approval by acclamation, or unanimous vote.

First dude – The spouse of a presidential nominee always gets some love at a party convention. And Bill Clinton‘s speech Tuesday night will pique extra interest since he hopes to be the first first man. Bill Clinton also carries the extra title of ex-president and is a beloved figure to party faithful. But the former president carries with him the baggage of numerous scandals and investigations from his years in the White House. And Clinton, famously protective of his wife, can get in trouble when he gets carried away in defending her. Watch how he’s introduced: Hillary Clinton has joked that she’s still working on what to call her husband if she’s elected, offering “first dude” and “first mate” as possibilities.

Mothers of the movement -Hoopla and celebration will give way to a somber moment when the convention showcases “mothers of the movement” — women whose children have died in gun violence. The speakers will include the mothers of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, both killed by police. The moment will not be without controversy: Philadelphia’s police union complained that Clinton was showcasing killings by police without giving equal time to the families of fallen officers. Clinton’s campaign responded that two members of law enforcement also are on the convention schedule.

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NATE SILVER: DONALD TRUMP WOULD MOST LIKELY WIN THE ELECTION IF IT WERE HELD TODAY via Allan Smith of businessinsider.com – In his “Now-cast” election model for who would win if ballots were cast, Silver gave the Republican nominee a 57.5% chance of winning the presidency. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had a 42.5% chance of securing the nation’s highest office if voters were to take to the polls Monday … Silver’s model had Trump winning in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. He would win 285 electoral votes in Silver’s model. It’s the first time in Silver’s “Now-cast” forecast that Trump has been projected to win. Silver raised eyebrows on Twitter when he pointed out “how plausible it is that Trump could become president.”

— “Donald Trump bounces into the lead” via Jennifer Agiesta of CNN

HAPPENING TODAY:

TRUMP INVITE2

and

trump invite

TRUMP POSTPONES MEETING WITH HISPANIC LEADERS IN MIAMI via Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal – … because several key participants are unavailable, according to the campaign. The postponement comes on the heels of a national convention that showcased few Latinos but a lot of angry rhetoric about illegal immigration. Trump was supposed to meet with Hispanic leaders in Miami earlier this month but canceled the event because it was scheduled the day after the shootings of police officers in Dallas. The group spoke by phone with campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Last week’s national convention was a missed opportunity for the Trump campaign to reach out to Hispanic voters, said Daniel Garza, executive director of the LIBRE Intitiative, a nonpartisan Hispanic advocacy group.

— “Trump hosing Reddit AMA during DNC on Wednesday” via Engadget

‘TATS FOR TRUMP’ INKS TATTOOS FOR CAMPAIGN DONATIONS via Collin Breaux of the Panama City News Herald – An event in Panama City Beach dubbed “Tats for Trumps” traded a Trump presidential campaign donation for a permanent or temporary political tattoo. … The event, which also featured voter registration, was hosted at Electroluxe and organized by the Trump Bay County campaign.

DAYS UNTIL: Domestic absentee ballots go out in primary – 0; Early voting begins in primaries – 24; Primary elections – 34; Deadline to register to vote in Primary Election – 6; Deadline to register to vote in General Election – 76; Absentees sent in General Election – 69; Early voting begins in General Election — 94; General Election – 104.

THE BALLOTS ARE IN THE MAIL — Elections officials across the state will begin mailing the first wave of vote-by-mail ballots Tuesday. The mailing marks the first day of a mandatory seven-day mailing window, which closes Aug. 2. More than 1.7 million have already requested their vote-by-mail ballots for the Aug. 30 primary. That number includes ballots being sent to Floridians living overseas, including members of the military. Overseas ballots needed to be sent to voters by July 16. Republicans accounted for more than 740,000 of those requests; while Democrats accounted for more than 657,000 requests. More than 268,000 no party affiliation voters requested ballots. Floridians have until Aug. 1 to register to vote or change party affiliation to vote in the Aug. 30 primary. Florida is a closed primary state, which means Floridians must be a registered Republican or Democrat to vote in their party’s primary.

CARLOS BERUFF SAYS IT’S TIME TO GET TOUGH ON TERROR IN NEW AD via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – In a new advertisement, the Beruff campaign takes aim at Sen. Marco Rubio for not supporting Trump’s proposal for a temporary ban on immigrants from the Middle East, a position Beruff supports. “Terror in France, in California and now right here in Florida. Donald Trump wants a temporary ban on immigrants from the Middle East, but Marco Rubio opposes Trump’s ban and Marco refuses to secure our borders,” an announcer says in the 30-second spot. The advertisement — called “Tough on Terror” — then shows Rubio saying the proposal “is never going to become the law of the country.”

77% OF FLORIDA VOTERS NOW BACK MEDICAL MARIJUANA BALLOT INITIATIVE via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – The survey — conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research on behalf of the United for Care campaign — found 77 percent of likely Florida voters said they supported the ballot initiative. The survey found 20 percent were opposed to it, while 3 percent of likely voters said they were undecided. Kevin Akins, a pollster with Anzalone Liszt Research, said the survey showed support for medical marijuana in Florida “is stronger than ever.” He said the survey found “a broad and diverse coalition of voters” support the amendment. “I’m obviously pleased at these levels of support, but I’m also not surprised,” said Ben Pollara, the United for Care campaign manager. “The notion of allowing medical decisions to be made by doctors and patients, not politicians, is simply not controversial. Floridians are compassionate and they know that marijuana can help alleviate suffering.”

CAROL JENKINS BARNETT FAMILY TRUST GIVES $800K TO DRUG FREE FLORIDA via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – State records show the organization raised $805,000 between July 9 and July 15, the most recent fundraising period. That sum includes a single $800,000 donation from the Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust, and brings its total fundraising haul to more than $8.1 million … Carol Jenkins Barnett is the daughter of George Jenkins, the founder of Publix Super Markets. She is a longtime supporter of programs benefiting children, and, according to Forbes, has served as the chairman and president of the Publix Super Market Charities, which donates millions each to nonprofit organizations that support education and the homeless. Records show the family trust gave $540,000 in 2014 to Drug Free Florida. The group ran a successful campaign against the 2014 medical marijuana ballot initiative, and is ramping up its efforts ahead of the 2016 election.

— “Florida’s first pot dispensary opens without fanfare” via News4Jax

EMILYS LIST ENDORSES STEPHANIE MURPHY FOR CD 7 – The nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed Murphy, who’s running in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. … “Unlike her opponent, Republican Congressman John Mica, Stephane will work to end gender discrimination in pay, expand health care for women and protect women and families from violence. EMILY’s List is proud to support Stephanie in her bid for election in this crucial swing district.”

NATIONAL DEMOCRATS BACKING POLITICAL ROOKIE IN RARE CHALLENGE TO JOHN MICA via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Veteran Republican Mica [is] facing a dynamic he has not seen over his near quarter-century in Congress: a viable Democratic opponent. This year, Mica is likely to face Democrat Stephanie Murphy, a businesswoman and Rollins College professor, in the general election. After a recruiting scramble, the Democratic Congressional Campaign persuaded her file for the seat one day before the qualifying deadline. She’s a political rookie, but will have plenty of help after a redistricting legal challenge made knocking off Mica one of the DCCC’s top priorities. Mica’s seat has been redrawn to include a younger and more Hispanic electorate. The 7th Congressional District … immediately piqued the interest of the DCCC, but the group’s recruitment efforts got off to a tough start … During her first week in the race, she raised $126,000, a number boosted by some party heavy weights. She got $10,000 from a political action committee controlled by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, $5,000 from the DCCC, and $2,000 each from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and second-ranking House Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer. A political action committee controlled by Pelosi also gave Murphy a $5,000 check. Murphy loaned $11,000 to her campaign, which has $115,000 in the bank. Mica is also revving up a political machine that has not always needed to raise large sums of money to win re-election. One of the early DCCC strategies, like they are doing in other races around the country, is tying Mica to Trump. In the group’s TV ads in connection with the Republican National Convention, the DCCC tried to link 10 vulnerable House Republicans – including Mica – to the New York billionaire. In the two ads, the DCCC slammed the targeted Republicans as Trump’s sidekick, labeling Trump a “bully.”

HOUSE GOP LEADERSHIP SAYS THEY LOOK FORWARD TO ‘HAVING CONVERSATION’ WITH DAVID JOLLY via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Could the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) be coming to help save the day for Jolly after all? The relationship between the Pinellas County Congressman and the committee responsible for electing Republicans to Congress seemed to be in tatters after Jolly’s appearance on “60 Minutes” back in April, when Jolly repeated the charge that he was told at a meeting with the NRCC after being elected in 2014 he needed to raise $18,000 every day. NRCC Executive Director Rob Simms claimed that was a lie. The Jolly camp said it wasn’t. Jolly was on the CBS news program to hype his STOP Act, a proposal that would bar members of Congress from personally soliciting campaign donations. NRCC officials appeared to take the proposal personally, and have indicated they wouldn’t be there to support him financially after Jolly announced he would quit his race for the U.S. Senate to run for re-election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. But that was then. “We look forward to having conversations with him in about what kind of race he intends to run,” said NRCC Chairman Greg Walden … “It’s a much more difficult challenge for any Republican,” he added, referring to how court-imposed redistricting last year skewed CD-13 to be more Democratic-oriented.

RICK KOZELL TAKES AIM AT CLINTON IN CD 18 AD — In a new advertisementKozell said Clinton “sold her power to the highest bidder, jeopardized our national security, and then lied about it. Hillary is what’s wrong with Washington, and we have had it with corrupt political insiders.” Kozell, one of six Republicans vying to replace Rep. Patrick Murphy in the U.S. House, vowed to “defend the Constitution, shred Obamacare, and stand up against the lobbyists and the liberal special interests”

DAN BONGINO LAUNCHES NEW RADIO AD IN CD 19 RACE – The latest 30-second spot from the former Secret Service agent, called “Tired,” focuses on the grassroots nature of his campaign and anti-establishment appeal. “While my opponents have been busy fighting over who has the most insider-D.C. connections, I’ve been busy in the streets talking to you,” Bongino says. Referencing heavy advertising from his opponents, Bongino distinguished his message. “It’s not the commercials, it’s the broken promises in them.” Bongino is seeking the seat currently held by Curt Clawson, which covers parts of Lee and Collier counties.

ETHICS COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST RITCH WORKMAN via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – The complaint — filed by Ronald Thomas July 20 — calls on the state’s Commission on Ethics to “immediately investigate” reports that Workman … used taxpayer dollars to send a newsletter to voters outside of his state House district. The complaint stems from a July 8 report by Matt Dixon at POLITICO Florida [saying] a vendor hired by Workman reimbursed the state $3,500 after sending a taxpayer-funded newsletter to voters outside of his House district. The newsletter … was sent to voters in Senate District 17, which includes Brevard and Indian River counties. The complaint alleges the mailer was “clearly intended to introduce Workman to voters that did not know him and was meant to benefit his candidacy, as evidenced by hiring his campaign consultant/lobbyist to perform the work.” Workman’s district — House District 52 — covers part of Brevard County. But the newsletter went to a broader group of voters inside Senate District 17. “In comments to POLITICO, Rep. Workman admitted that he sent a taxpayer-funded newsletter outside the district into the seat he is campaign for; admitted that he used taxpayer money to pay his campaign consultant/lobbyist to perform work at the time he was being paid with Workman’s campaign funds,” according to the complaint.

MY TAKE: 15 PICKS THAT STAND OUT AMONG THE FLORIDA REALTORS’ 2016 LEGISLATIVE ENDORSEMENTS via Florida Politics – In the ultra-competitive race for Senate District 1 … Doug Broxson over Mike Hill, both currently serving in the Florida House … Dean Asher in SD 13 … They’re staying out of SD 23, but they’re backing Matt Hudson over Kathleen Passidomo in SD 28 … rallying behind Jeff Clemens in SD 31, where Irv Slosberg is also running … Mel Ponder over Wayne Harris and Jonathan Tallman in the competitive Republican primary for HD 4 … Democratic incumbent Loranne Ausley in HD 9 … Cord Byrd in HD 11, Clay Yarborough in HD 12 and Terry Fields in HD 14 … Former Florida GOP Chairwoman Leslie Dougher over Katherine Van Zant in HD 19 … in HD 21, they like Wenda Lewis over Chuck Clemmons … in HD 41, Sam Killebrew … Alex Barrio over Amy Mercado … Rebecca Smith in the battleground seat of HD 60 … Democrats Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn appear to be trading endorsement blows in the race for HD 68 … Realtors are backing Lynn … the four-way Democratic primary for HD 87, the Realtors are backing David Silvers … Kelly Skidmore over Emily Slosberg in HD 91.

ENDORSEMENT WATCH

Hans Tanzler, running for Florida’s 4th Congressional District, has been endorsed by St. Johns County Commissioner Rachael Bennett.

Francis Rooney, running for Florida’s 19th Congressional District, has been endorsed by the American Conservative Union.

Bob Cortes, running for re-election to HD 30, has been endorsed by the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association Political Action Committee.

***Smith, Bryan & Myers is an all-inclusive governmental relations firm located in Tallahassee. For more than three decades, SBM has been working with our clients to deliver their priorities through strategic and effective government relations consulting that has led us to become one of Tallahassee’s premier governmental relations firms today.***

FLORIDA COUNTIES WEIGH OPTIONS FOR USE OF ‘LOW INCOME POOL’ DOLLARS DUE TO RULE CHANGES via Christine Sexton of POLITICO – Florida legislators crafting this year’s state budget assumed that counties would contribute up to $240 million that could be used for Medicaid matching funds. But just one month into the new state fiscal year, questions linger as to whether the counties will agree to send the money to Tallahassee now that the federal government has changed the rules regarding the Low Income Pool, or LIP. Those tracking the issue say changes on how the state can operate the program, combined with the 2017 expiration of the federal Medicaid 1115 waiver, may make now the perfect time for state and local leaders to reconsider the expansion of Medicaid. Though it was funded at $2 billion just two years ago, the federal government made sweeping changes to the program and reduced the amount of money available to the state from $2 billion in fiscal year 2014-15 to just $600 million in the state 2016-17 fiscal year. Among other things, the new rules preclude counties that contribute local tax dollars from receiving a guaranteed rate of return on their funding. Another change: the feds require the state to place hospitals into one of four tiers based on the amount of uncompensated care hospitals provide … analysis shows that Hillsborough County is slated to contribute $35 million in local tax dollars to Tallahassee this year to fund LIP. If Hillsborough submits the $35 million in local dollars – but the state doesn’t collect the full $240 million with the help from other counties – Tampa General could “receive significantly less than” than what it was appropriated in the current fiscal year budget. Conversely, If Hillsborough County doesn’t contribute local tax dollars and the full $240 million is collected, the hospital “will nonetheless be eligible for its full allotment.”

FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via FloridaHealth.gov – As of Monday, there were five new travel-related cases with two in Miami-Dade, one in Okaloosa, one in Orange and one involving a pregnant woman. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. There are now 310 total cases in Florida; by county (number of cases): Miami Dade (95), Broward (51), Orange (37), Osceola (17), Palm Beach (15), Seminole (11), Polk (11), Hillsborough (9), Pinellas (7), Brevard (6), Duval (6), Lee (6), Pasco (6), Alachua (5), Volusia (5), Collier (4), Clay (3), St. Johns (3), Citrus (2), Okaloosa (2), and a single case each in Charlotte, Escambia, Highlands, Lake, Manatee, Martin, Okeechobee, Santa Rosa and St. Lucie with 48 cases involving pregnant women.

IN ORLANDO, SURGEON GENERAL: PRECAUTION BEST METHOD TO FIGHT ZIKA VIRUS via Terrance Harris of the Associated Press – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy toured a mosquito control facility in Orlando on Monday and said now is the time to start taking precautions to prevent the spread of the Zika virus. … He suggested using insect repellent, staying in air-conditioned spaces, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants and getting rid of unnatural standing water in neighborhoods and around homes such as bird baths, water in old tires or even a small bottle cap of water. If you have visited recently an area known for transmission of Zika, you should avoid unprotected sex because that is a known way of transferring the virus, he said.

REGULATORS WANT TO ALLOW MORE TOXIC CHEMICALS IN FLORIDA’S WATER via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The governor-appointed Environmental Regulatory Commission will vote on a rule proposed by state regulators that would increase the number of regulated chemicals allowed in drinking water from 54 to 92 chemicals and raise the allowed limits on more than two dozen known carcinogens — all currently regulated — from levels that are from 20 percent to 1,100 percent higher than current standards. The agency is reducing the allowed limits on 13 currently regulated chemicals, two of which are considered carcinogens. The dozens of chemicals are among those released by oil and gas drilling companies (including fracking operations), dry cleaning companies, pulp and paper producers, wastewater treatment plants and agriculture. Many of these industries have come out in support of the new rule.

For environmentalists, the proposal is an unacceptable no-brainer. “Toxic algae blooms in South Florida are making people sick, hurting our economy, closing our beaches and the Rick Scott administration wants to legalize even more toxic chemicals in our water?” said Linda Young, director of the Florida Clean Water Action Network, which is fighting the rule. “It’s so crazy it seems unreal, and they’re not even embarrassed by it.”

DEO WINS AMENDED JUDGMENT IN LOAN PROGRAM LAWSUIT via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Circuit Judge Terry Lewis … granted the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) the new sum of $1.26 million against the Black Business Investment Fund of Central Florida (BBIF) … The department won before, but wanted its final judgment against the investment fund changed to add prejudgment interest of almost $202,000. That request follows an appellate decision that added the prejudgment interest, money that accrues on a monetary award from the time of the plaintiff’s injury or damage to when a judge orders the award. The department had first sued the BBIF in 2013, saying it had overcharged participants in the Economic Gardening Business Loan Pilot Program and should have returned the money. The $8.5 million program in question, a low-interest loan program for the state’s small businesses, was created by lawmakers in 2009 as a response to the then-ongoing recession. DEO coordinated the loan program; BBIF was picked as a loan administrator. The program allowed administrators to get a loan origination fee, payable at closing, of 1 percent of each loan and to take a yearly “servicing fee” of 0.625 percent of a loan’s outstanding principal balance.

PETA WINS ROUND IN PUBLIC RECORDS FIGHT OVER MONKEYS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – A judge has allowed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to intervene in a public records lawsuit involving an animal research lab. Circuit Judge Terry Lewis issued his order … “…PETA shall be considered for all purposes a party defendant in this action, and all pleadings and papers shall be served upon PETA’s counsel of record,” the order says. The group’s public records request “triggered” the suit, court records show. Primate Products, Inc. wants a court order to prevent the state’s Department of Agriculture from releasing records it says contain “trade secrets.” Lewis also denied the company’s motion for summary judgment … PETA asked for copies of veterinary certificates for animals the company ships to researchers. Florida’s agriculture department regulates the movement of research animals into and out of the state. It kept copies of Primate Products animals’ vet certificates. But the company has said the paperwork had “customer and supplier information,” and since the “primate supply business is very competitive, with only a handful of companies in the market, and disclosure of such information to (our) competitors would cause harm to (our) business.” Primate Products breeds and sells “nonhuman primates for use in biomedical research,” the suit says.

LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools

On and off: Portia Palmer has been named interim Clerk of the House, and the post previously held by Bob Ward, who is retiring.

Off: Benjamin Smith is no longer a legislative assistant for state Rep. Jim Boyd of Bradenton.

Off: Rebekah Hurd is no longer a legislative assistant for St. Cloud state Rep. Mike La Rosa.

Off: Kristin Bradstreet is no longer a district secretary for state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo of Naples.

Off: Anna DeCerchio is no longer a legislative assistant for Palm Coast Republican state Rep. Paul Renner.

On: Omar Raschid has become legislative assistant for Republican state Rep. Chris Sprowls of Tarpon Springs.

On: Austin Nicklas is the new legislative assistant for Republican state Sen. Aaron Bean of Jacksonville.

Off: Michael Nachef is no longer legislative assistant for Republican state Sen. Garrett Richter of Naples.

DUKE ENERGY PUSHES DEVELOPMENT IN CENTRAL FLORIDA via therealdeal.com – Duke Energy is trying to expand its customer base in Central Florida by promoting the development of business parks there. The utility company has identified two locations with good potential for development as business parks: 94 acres in the City of Alachua and 456 acres midway between Ocala and Gainesville. The owner of the Alachua site agreed to work with Duke. The 456-acre site is located near Interstate 75 in Irvine, a community in unincorporated Marion County. The land is zoned for up to 500 homes and commercial development on as many as 300 acres. Duke has used an internal site-readiness program to evaluate over 200 locations in its six-state service area and to lure $3.6 billion of capital investment.

QUESTIONS LINGER OVER ORANGE COUNTY PROPERTY APPRAISER RICK SINGH’S 1988 ALLEGED RETAIL THEFT via Florida Politics – What does not appear anywhere on Singh’s bio is something a little less impressive: a disputed arrest in 1988 at the Zayre Department Store in Fern Park. Singh, who was 25 at the time, had been briefly detained for allegedly trying to return a computer he didn’t purchase. Although Singh insists the decades-old episode was nothing more than a mix-up, some believe he was technically under arrest for the crime of retail theft … the situation gets complicated when Singh, born Paramand Singh in August 1962, sought to change his first name legally in 2010. That request is what could prove troublesome for Rick Singh. On the official name change request, dated Nov. 18, 2010, Singh checked that he had “never been arrested for or charged with, [pleaded] guilty or nolo contendere to, or been found to have committed a criminal offense, regardless of adjudication.” Whether that statement is strictly true — or, at worst, possible perjury — is the source of debate. According to a form dated June 22, 1988, — titled Arrest/Notice to Appear — and signed by Seminole County Sheriff Deputy N. Fowler, Zayre security officer Chuck Brott said that Singh entered the department store and began acting suspiciously … Brott saw Singh remove a Commodore 64 C computer from the store shelf and bring it to the service desk. The narrative describes Singh next appearing to fill out, sign and return a store credit receipt. Brott intervened, identifying himself as a security officer, accusing Singh of seeking to return the item by claiming the computer was his, even though he had no receipt … Brott escorted Singh to the security office, giving him the legal Miranda warnings. Twenty-eight years later, Singh continues to dispute he was arrested. “This is not true,” Singh told FloridaPolitics.com. “I was not arrested. I was not taken into custody. There is no judgment on this.” In Singh’s case, however, the question of whether he was arrested is not academic, particularly in light of his signed affidavit for a name change. It could be much more severe … Florida Statutes define perjury as “whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding in regard to any material matter.” Under Florida law, it is a third-degree felony. If Singh had no reason to believe he had been arrested, he likely had not committed perjury by stating that he had not been arrested; the statute requires him to make no statement “which he does not believe to be true.”

ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE ROTUNDA  On the heels of a tumultuous Republican convention, the Democratic National Committee is now rocked by its own email scandal forcing the DNC Chairwoman to resign. On Trimmel Gomes’ latest episode of The Rotunda, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum reveals plans for his remarks alongside President Barack Obama, Tim Kaine and others. So far Gillum is the only Floridian with a speaking slot at the DNC and he says his message will be focused on unity. Gomes also talks with Jarrett Hill, a former Tampa Bay reporter, who was first to break the story about similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and a speech Michelle Obama gave in 2008. Plus, Brian Burgess, former spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott and now publisher of The Capitolist media site, reacts to Scott’s speech and discusses other highlights from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

VOLUNTEER FLORIDA, JAMES MADISON INSTITUTE TO HOST #BRINGABOOK INITIATIVE –  Volunteer Florida and the James Madison Institute announced a service initiative in conjunction with the James Madison Institute’s Annual Policy Summit in Orlando Aug. 18-20 at the Rosen shingle Creek resort, 9939 Universal Blvd. The #BringABook book drive will benefit the Central Florida Urban League and the Learning Tree at South City in Tallahassee. Volunteer Florida and JMI will collect new or gently-used elementary school level books in the Policy Retreat event registration area. JMI’s 2016 Annual Policy Summit will bring together statewide leaders to help set the Institute’s policy agenda for the year.  Authors, speakers, researchers, and economists will also be on hand to address attendees. “JMI has been a longtime supporter of civics education initiatives,” said Dr. Bob McClure, JMI president and CEO. “Our Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for American Ideals regularly hosts education opportunities for K-12 and college students, such as book clubs and featured speaker seminars, and we are thrilled to support literacy projects in our larger Florida community through this service project book drive.”

***Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC, is a full-service consulting firm located just steps from the Capitol. The firm specializes in the development and implementation of successful advocacy strategies highly personalized for each client. Team Liberty is comprised of professionals with a track record of successful coalition-building, grassroots efforts and team coordination. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.***

MISS FLORIDA FORCED TO GIVE BACK TITLE AFTER MAKEUP CONTROVERSY ON SOCIAL MEDIA via NBC 6 News South Florida – Organizers of the competition ordered 24-year-old and Miss Miami Beach, Genesis Davila, to turn in her crown. She’s accused of using professional help with her hair and makeup on a night she was not allowed to, a violation of pageant rules. An Instagram photo confirmed that Davila was with an artist who’s unaffiliated with the pageant. Producers say the professional help is an unfair advantage. Davila … says she was visiting a family friend in her mother’s hotel room. “I still feel like I’m Miss Florida USA because I was crowned Miss Florida USA that night,” Davila said. “Even though all these false accusations and allegations and rumors have been wandering all over social media, I know that I have proof to show the world that none of this is true. The crown now goes to the runner-up, who is from Sunny Isles Beach.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Richard Stark and Jason Steele.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to 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.

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