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Sunburn for 07.27.16 – The Big Dog howls one more time

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.


There have been millions of words, decades of video and reams of commentary devoted to their story. It’s been dissected, defended and decried at kitchen tables and on cable news, in tabloids and classrooms.

But on Tuesday night, as millions of voters watched and with the political stakes as high as they’ve ever been, Bill Clinton tried to make sense of it all and make the case for his wife, the newly minted Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” he began.

 The former president’s tenth address to a Democratic convention was by far his most personal, a 42-minute tour through wedding proposals and Halloween parties, the deaths of parents and movie marathons.

Perhaps their worst moments — the Monica Lewinsky scandal, impeachment and legal battles that followed — were conspicuously omitted.

Instead, Bill Clinton cast himself as a passenger in his wife’s life, reshaping the story of much of their decades in politics.

The goal was to make Clinton, perhaps the most famous female politician in the world, yet a public figure her aides claim remains unknown, relatable to voters. He cast her as a liberal heroine of her own story, who fought for education reform, health care, civil rights, the disabled, 9/11 first responders and economically depressed rural areas.

“She’s the best darn change-maker I’ve ever met in my entire life,” he said. “This woman has never been satisfied with the status quo on anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is.”

He never once mentioned GOP nominee Donald Trump by name, dismissing Republican attacks on Clinton as “made up” and a “cartoon alternative.” Rather, Bill Clinton focused nearly exclusively on his wife’s achievements and how she’d influenced him.


– Glass ceiling shattered – 

“We just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” a smiling Clinton declared as she made a surprise appearance on video at night’s end, to the roar of delegates.

“This is really your victory,” she said, predicting that many more women will be nominated for president — and elected.

Clinton’s long political resume — secretary of state, senator, first lady — has sometimes obscured the historic nature of her candidacy. Her supporters noted that Clinton’s achievement came nearly a century after women gained the right to vote in 1920.

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski nominated Clinton, saying she was acting on behalf of “all women who have broken down barriers for others.” Mikulski was the first Democratic woman to be elected to the Senate in her own right.

– Gun violence victims remembered –

Hoopla and celebration gave way to somber moments as the convention showcased “mothers of the movement” — women whose children died in gun violence.

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen killed in 2012, said that no mother “would have signed up” for the assignment.

Fulton said Clinton has the compassion to support grieving mothers and the courage to fight for gun legislation. “This isn’t about being politically correct. This is about saving our children,” she said.

Clinton has made gun safety a foundation of her presidential campaign, vowing to push for expanded criminal background checks and a renewal of a ban on assault weapons.

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 said two members of law enforcement also are on the convention schedule.

– Protestes continue –

Moments after Clinton claimed the nomination, a group of Sanders supporters left the convention hall and marched to a nearby media tent to protest what they said was their being shut out of the party.

Unmoved by Sanders’ plea for unity, thousands of people chanting “Bernie or bust!” took to the streets under the hot sun. By early evening, a large crowd had formed outside the subway station closest to the Wells Fargo Center as delegates inside were on the verge of nominating Clinton for president.

Still, in the convention hall itself, the party seemed much more united behind Clinton than it had been on the first day, when Sanders supporters frequently jeered any mention of her name.

BERNIE SANDERS BACKER’S SWIPE AT HILLARY CLINTON SPARKS TEXAS SKIRMISH FIELD via Will Weissert of The Associated Press – During the delegation’s breakfast in Philadelphia, Russell Lytle took the stage with fellow backers of the Vermont senator. He expressed concern about the direction of the party before telling the crowd, “We are currently condemning our currently presumptive nominee.” That caused an uproar, with shouting among backers of both Sanders and Clinton. Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa briefly suspended the proceedings. Tensions between the two factions have made the Democratic convention rowdy at times. On Monday, Sanders delegates booed some of the speakers from the convention floor. After the breakfast, Lytle of Denton, Texas, released a statement he signed by hand. “In a moment of passion, while reaching out to my fellow members of the Texas delegation,” it read, “I spoke one sentence that did not reflect my intention of promoting productive dialogue.” Lytle also said he had voluntarily withdrawn his convention credentials, a largely symbolic move.

HOWARD DEAN HAS OFFICIALLY MADE PEACE WITH THE DEAN SCREAM via Amber Phillips of the Washington Post – … for whatever reason, Dean chose the 2016 Democratic convention to share with the world that he’s made peace with the past. On Tuesday night, he was giving a speech on behalf of Hillary Clinton and her commitment to health care reform when he ended it with what was an unmistakable rendition of the Dean Scream.

howard dean

ELIZABETH BANKS MOCKS DONALD TRUMP’S SMOKY SILHOUETTE via Callum Borchers of the Washington Post – Trump’s wrestleresque entrance at last week’s Republican National Convention sure was memorable. … Apparently even Democrats took notice. At the Democratic convention in Philadelphia on Monday, actress Elizabeth Banks mimicked Trump’s arrival, with back light, “We are the Champions” — and tongue firmly planted in cheek, of course.

elizabeth banks

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BILL NELSON: IT WAS A ‘MISTAKE’ FOR CONVENTION ORGANIZERS NOT TO FEATURE MORE FLORIDIANS via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillumspeaks Wednesday and Syrbina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, will speak … But that’s it, a thin showing from the biggest swing state in the country. “They should have had maybe a mayor in South Florida. But you can’t be perfect in everything,” Nelson said at the Florida delegation breakfast. Nelson also defended Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Debbie’s my friend and she has worked so hard to have this a successful convention and it is going to be.” … We hear Nelson may regret the mistake comment as he’s learned of more Florida participation. Rep. Lois Frankel and Val Demings will join Nancy Pelosi for a Democratic women address. And more Florida names will be released soon.

NANCY PELOSI THANKS FLORIDA DEMOCRATS FOR FIGHTING FOR REDISTRICTING via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Pelosi … praised Florida Democrats for fighting for fairer representation in Congress and the state Legislature. “We love that delegation. We want more,” Pelosi said while speaking at the Florida Democratic Delegation Breakfast at the Marriott hotel in downtown Philadelphia … Pelosi gave a shoutout to Florida Democratic Party leaders Allison Tant and Scott Arceneaux, but showered that love to the entire audience “for leading the way in our country to more representatives and fairer redistricting … Because of your work, we will pick up seats to gain a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives,” she gamely asserted, as she received a hearty round of applause for depicting that scenario. Pelosi then shifted toward discussing the gun shooting massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last month, in which 49 people were slain. She said she was impressed with how the community came together in the wake of the tragedy. “Never forget that word community has that word — unity — in it. A very important word for us to succeed” …  Pelosi said that she hopes that Orlando could ultimately become “the tipping point” regarding the politics of gun control. “All the world is looking at Florida,” she said about this November’s presidential battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. “The difference will be made in Florida to elect the first woman president of the United States. That’s thrilling.”

AT DNC ‘WOMEN OF THE HOUSE’ PRESENTATION, FLORIDA CANDIDATES TALK UP HILLARY CLINTON’S GOOD POINTS via Larry Griffin of Florida Politics – Seventh District candidate Stephanie Murphy, 10th District candidate Val Demings and 21st District Rep. Lois Frankel represented Florida in the evening’s lineup. Murphy, who served as a national security specialist with the Department of Defense from 2004 to 2008, said Clinton would be the candidate most suited to fighting ISIS in the most effective way. “We need to be strong and smart to destroy ISIS,” she said, “not reckless and rash. We need to make sure the military has the resources they need.” Demings, who once served as Orlando Police Chief, said you didn’t need to be a chief to see the need for gun control – especially after the Pulse shooting and other recent tragedies. “I know firsthand the tragedy that gun violence inflicts on families,” she said. “After Pulse, which happened in our city, Congress refuses to even disarm hate.” Clinton, she said, would enact sensible gun control. Frankel spoke passionately about the need to care for veterans and law enforcement, saying Clinton was the presidential candidate who could do that the best. Will “The military and police embody our highest ideals,” she said. “Service, selflessness, bravery. We have to ensure support, health care and any training they need, and continue to improve the lives of our veterans.”


For all too many of us gathered in the birthplace of Americandemocracy (lower case “D”) day 2 of #DNCinPHL began in a cold,darkened, overpriced hotel room, with a headache, a hangover, and thegrim realization that this week has only started. My day began likethat, to be sure. I laid in bed at 7:30 am staring at my phone, waiting for the inevitable text from Alex Heckler asking me where I was. It never came, because Alex told me later that he slept until8:30 am, which for him is like what 11 a.m. is to most people.

At the lobby restaurant of the Ritz Carlton, we convened for a buffet breakfast and to sort out the day’s credentials. Erin plopped a stack of manila envelopes in the center of the table, each bearing our names, or the names of donors whose credential pick up’s Erin was diligently coordinating. Miami-Dade County fundraiser, man about town and former Clinton ’08 intern, Brian Goldmeier was hungrily eyeing Heckler’s suite passes.

The scene in the restaurant was, to quote Sarah Silverman, “ridiculous.” A quick scan of the immediate, 15-foot radius of our table revealed retired general and one-time presidential hopeful, Wes Clark; MSNBC’s Willie Geist, Mike Barnacle and a table of producers; and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wearing a Hillary baseball cap as he dined. A couple morose looking Debbie Wasserman Schultz aides meandered around the lobby. Former Florida congressman Ron Klein could be seen dashing out the front door to jump in an Uber.

Overheard on an elevator this afternoon: “is it over yet?” Everyone in the packed car nodded in silent agreement.

Tuesday ended with an orgiastic culinary feast at the Reading Terminal Market. The nexus of the flavor universe was at the spot right between the Moonpie and cheesesteak station. Bill Clinton supposedly showed up there at some point.

THE LONG FALL OF DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ via Molly Ball of The Atlantic – Few Democrats will miss Wasserman Schultz, who was widely seen as an ineffective leader. She was a poor communicator whose gaffes often caused the party headaches; a mediocre fundraiser; and a terrible diplomat more apt to alienate party factions than bring them together. “Only Donald Trump has unified the party more,” Rebecca Katz, a Democratic consultant who supported Sanders in the primary, told me wryly. The litany of Wasserman Schultz’s offenses during the primary was familiar to supporters of Sanders and other Clinton rivals: scheduling debates at odd times, shutting Sanders out of the party’s data file, stacking convention committees with Clinton supporters. But her tenure was rocky long before that—in fact, within a month of her being named in 2011 to finish the term of Tim Kaine, who had just been elected to the Senate, Democrats were starting to grumble about her. When her term ended after Obama’s re-election, there was more sniping about her leadership, and Obama’s advisors urged him to bring in someone new, but Wasserman Schultz made it clear she wouldn’t go without a fight, according to reports at the time and my sources inside the DNC. And so the White House chose the path of least resistance and kept her in. “Good fucking riddance,” one former top DNC staffer during her tenure told me of Wasserman Schultz’s ouster. “But she was convicted for the wrong crime.”

THE TRUTH IS DWS DELIVERED. REINCE PRIEBUS DIDN’T. via Matt Bai of Yahoo News – What was shocking about those emails wasn’t that the party was in cahoots against Bernie (this seemed clear enough after he was forced to sue the Democratic National Committee for access to its voter files), but rather how much time the chairwoman and her senior aides seemed to have for reading stories and coming up with pointless schemes. For instance, during the primaries in West Virginia and Kentucky, DNC officials hatched a plan to expose Sanders as a closet atheist. Because apparently a Jewish socialist with a thick Brooklyn accent is just another guy at the John Deere dealer in Wheeling, but being a secular humanist is a total deal breaker. I spoke to a few longtime Republican operatives in the past few days who had come to the exact opposite conclusion. They viewed the Democratic leaks not with glee, but with palpable envy. That’s because whatever Wasserman Schultz tried to do for Clinton and the Democratic establishment in her underhanded way is exactly what Priebus completely failed to do as his party was being overrun … Republicans undertook what they actually called an “autopsy” after their losing 2012 campaign — in an effort, I guess, to diagnose whatever flesh-eating virus had transformed Mitt Romney into the leader of the walking dead. The unstated goal was to shore up support for an establishment candidate and lessen the time he would have to spend playing to an activist audience before pivoting toward a general election. And the party took this recommendation quite seriously — only it was the wrong party.

HAPPENING TODAY – SHERROD BROWN, MARK WARNER AND TAMMY BALDWIN ADDRESS DELEGATION — The Florida delegation will hear from Sens. BrownWarner, and Baldwin, Reps. Frederica WilsonTed DeutchLuis Gutierrez, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum during the delegation breakfast 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.

DONALD TRUMP KNOCKS DEMS FOR NOT MENTIONING ISIS AT CONVENTION via Jeremy Diamond of CNN – Speakers at the first day of the convention largely focused on healing intraparty wounds rather than foreign policy … A PolitiFact analysis confirmed that none of the speakers at the DNC said the words “ISIS,” “Islamic,” “terror,” “terrorist” or “terrorism” … “We need to change our foreign policy to focus on defeating and destroying ISIS, a word you didn’t hear last night at the Democratic convention. You didn’t hear it. They don’t want to talk about it,” Trump said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. He continued, “Because in a very true way they really established ISIS because of weakness. The people in this room know better than anybody else what I mean by weakness.”

THE CREATOR OF THE VIRAL PRO-TRUMP ACT ‘USA FREEDOM KIDS’ NOW PLANS TO SUE THE CAMPAIGN via Philip Bump of The Washington Post – Within hours of their performance at a Trump rally in Pensacola January, the U.S.A. Freedom Kids were a sensation … Three preteen girls in star-spangled outfits crisply working through simple choreography as they lip-synced an upbeat update to “Over There.” That infectious performance kicked off a flurry of media appearances. Now, though, the relationship is different. Jeff Popick, father of the smallest Freedom Kid and author of “Freedom’s Call” (the song performed at the Trump rally), [plans] to file a lawsuit against the campaign for violating its agreement with the group. “This is not a billion-dollar lawsuit,” Popick said. “I’m doing this because I think they have to do the right thing. And if this means having to go through the court system to enforce them doing the right thing, then that’s what I have to do. I’m not looking to do battle with the Trump campaign, but I have to show my girls that this is the right thing.” Popick is quick to explain that the agreement was not written down, but, instead, involves promises from various agents of the Trump campaign which he says were then broken. “These are guys that insist they’re straight shooters,” Popick said, “‘You may not like what we’re going to say, but we mean what we say and we say what we mean’ — and they just would not say anything of any substance! I’ve invested a lot of time, effort, money … and it’s just been complete silence.”

INTERESTING READ – TRUMP’S LONG HISTORY OF CLASHES WITH NATIVE AMERICANS via Shawn Boburg of The Washington Post – Trump claimed that Indian reservations had fallen under mob control. He secretly paid for more than $1 million in ads that portrayed members of a tribe in Upstate New York as cocaine traffickers and career criminals. And he suggested in testimony and in media appearances that dark-skinned Native Americans in Connecticut were faking their ancestry. “I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians,” Trump said [in 1993] … Trump’s harsh rhetoric on Native Americans was part of his aggressive war on the expanding Native American casino industry during the 1990s, which posed a threat to his gambling empire. The racially-tinged remarks and broad-brush characterizations that Trump employed against Indian tribes for over a decade provided an early glimpse of the kind of incendiary language that he would use about racial and ethnic groups in the 2016. … His battles with Indian casinos also reveal Trump’s contradictions: Even as he was bashing the industry publicly, Trump was quietly trying to strike partnerships with some tribes.

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ALAN GRAYSON’S EX-WIFE CLAIMED DOMESTIC ABUSE OVER 2 DECADES via John Bresnahan, Marc Caputo and Jake Sherman of POLITICO – Lolita Grayson called police on her husband at least two times in Virginia and two more times in Florida, sought medical attention on at least two occasions and said that, in one instance, he had threatened to kill her, according to a police report. The congressman, who asserted Lolita Grayson battered him in 2014, vehemently denies he engaged in any abuse during their 25-year marriage, which ended last year in a bitter annulment that she is now appealing. The first reported incident described by the documents was in 1994; the final one was in 2014. Lolita Grayson also called Orange County sheriff’s deputies in 2005 to lodge another abuse complaint, but prosecutors filed no charges in that incident or any of the others. Only the 2014 incident has been previously reported. “I want the people to know my story so they know what kind of man Alan Grayson really is,” Lolita Grayson, 56, said in … her first public comments on the issue. She provided police and medical records related to 1994 and 1999 incidents in Fairfax County in Virginia, and sheriff’s reports concerning 2005 and 2014 incidents in Orange County, Florida. “I requested the medical records and police records so people could read what doctors and police officers wrote,” she stated. “I read many of these records for the first time. These are very painful memories and horrible experiences.” Through his lawyer, Mark NeJameGrayson denied ever striking or abusing Lolita Grayson.

HOUSE OF CARDS TWEET OF THE DAY: @RepUnderwoodSC Alan Grayson, always snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And if someone knows about pushing reporters…

GRAYSON IMPLODES via Kevin Robillard and Marc Caputo of POLITICO – Grayson‘s Senate campaign began disintegrating … as supporters and a top consultant abandoned him in the wake of a POLITICO report detailing decades of domestic-abuse allegations from his wife. The fallout could have the effect of drying up hard-to-come-by cash for the struggling campaign, just as vote-by-mail ballots are about to go out for Florida’s Aug. 30 primary. “Unfortunately, this deeply disappointing revelation means progressives have no great options in the Florida race for Senate,” Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said in a written statement that announced they were pulling their endorsements. Revolution Messaging, the progressive digital consulting firm that powered Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent presidential campaign, has dropped Grayson as a client and isn’t allowing him use of its email technology, potentially a major blow to a candidate who has relied on small-dollar donations. The Communications Workers of America, a union that also endorsed Grayson, said it will need to examine what happened before deciding whether to pull its endorsement. After these recent revelations, Democrats say more leaders might join with [HarryReid, who previously called on Grayson to quit the race. “Senator Reid didn’t think his opinion of Grayson could get any lower, but it has,” a spokesman for Reid said. Grayson added fuel to the fire when he attended a POLITICO event during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where he refused to answer questions and then falsely accused POLITICO reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere of pushing him. Grayson then threatened to have Dovere arrested. “You’re getting in my way, my friend. You’re assaulting a member of Congress. You’re pushing me. Have this guy escorted out, please,” Grayson said. A spokesman later said Grayson told Dovere to contact his staff with questions but he instead confronted the congressman in a tense exchange captured on video.

LIBERAL GROUPS WITHDRAW ENDORSEMENT OF GRAYSON FOLLOWING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REPORT via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America both cut ties with the Orlando Democrat, citing a POLITICO report claiming Grayson‘s ex-wife reported domestic violence to police on four occasions. “After today’s revelations of years of police reports about allegations of domestic abuse involving Alan Grayson, we are no longer willing to support and are formally withdrawing our endorsement of him in the race for U.S. Senate,” leaders with PCCC and DFA said in a joint statement. The groups also called on Grayson to donate their members’ campaign contributions to a domestic violence charity in Orlando. It appears PCCC and DFA will not endorse Grayson’s chief opponent … Patrick Murphy. The groups’ statement says “progressives have no great options in the Florida race for Senate.”

ARE REPUBLICANS TRYING TO PULL A TODD AKIN IN THE FLORIDA SENATE RACE via Mike Debonis of the Washington Post – Suspicions about a GOP effort to boost Grayson over Murphy have been aroused, in part, by media tracking data, which show at least one GOP-affiliated group appearing to target Democratic primary voters rather than a broader swath of the Florida electorate. The American Future Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group with ties to GOP super donors Charles and David Koch, has spent $1.5 million on a 30-second cable TV ad highlighting Murphy’s vote in support of the Export-Import Bank. The ads, according to tracking data obtained by The Washington Post, target networks that attract a disproportionate share of Democratic viewers, including MSNBC, while eschewing GOP-heavy networks, such as Fox News Channel. Also arousing suspicions are the markets in which the ad is airing — Democratic strongholds like West Palm Beach and Gainesville are seeing the ad, while GOP-heavy areas like Fort Myers and Pensacola are not. The American Future Fund did not respond to emails seeking comment. To several Florida Democrats, the whole thing carries shades of the ultimately successful 2012 effort by Sen. Claire McCaskill to promote Rep. Todd Akin in the GOP primary — the candidate McCaskill believed, with good reason, was the most beatable in the Republican field. McCaskill’s campaign produced a sly ad that played up Akin’s conservative bona fides to GOP primary voters. “I know they feel [Murphy] is a bigger threat than Grayson to Rubio,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings. “I think that some of their thinking is to drive down Patrick’s positives to negative territory and to boost Grayson, because Grayson wouldn’t stand a chance with Marco.”

MEANWHILE… LETTER FROM BARACK OBAMA ENDORSING PATRICK MURPHY HITTING MAILBOXES via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – “I’m proud to endorse Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy for the United States Senate. He’s had my back and now I have his,” the president writes in his letter. “Patrick has been a tireless champion for middle-class families, and a defender of the economic progress that American workers and business have made.” The letter goes on to say Murphy has fought to “strengthen Medicare and Social Security, reform our criminal justice system, and protect a woman’s right to choose” … Obama goes on to say Murphy will stand up to Republicans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, fight for the minimum wage, make college more affordable and promote renewable energy to combat climate change. “Floridians can count on Patrick Murphy to stand up for them every day as their next Senator,” he said. “I’ve counted on Patrick Murphy — and you can too.”

WILL THIS STILL HAPPEN? GRAYSON, MURPHY TO DEBATE ON WFTV’S CENTRAL FLORIDA SPOTLIGHT via WFTV 9 News – Channel 9 Eyewitness News brings Central Florida voters an exclusive one-on-one debate between Florida’s two leading Democratic candidates for United States Senate Friday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. … Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson have agreed to sit down and answer key questions on the issues that impact Central Florida, before the Aug. 30 Florida primary … anchor Greg Warmoth moderates the debate which includes national security concerns, economic issues on national and state levels, Florida’s environment and gridlock in Washington, D.C.

CARLOS BERUFF’S LOANS TO CAMPAIGN TOP $4M IN GOP SENATE PRIMARY via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Beruff has loaned his campaign $4.1 million, according to recently posted campaign finance reports. Beruff … said he would spend upward of $15 million in personal funds. So far, he has used the money to blanket the state with campaign ads promoting his background and attacking incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio in the GOP primary … Since Rubio announced he would be running for re-election in late June, nearly all of Beruff’s campaign cash has come from personal loans. He raised just over $215,000 from donors during the past fundraising period. Beruff spent $4.2 million during the last reporting period and has $125,209. Rubio has been dominating the polls since getting back in the race, but Beruff has continued to fund TV ads in media markets across the state to help boost his name identification and chip away at Rubio’s large lead.

FOR GRAHAM FAMILY, IT MAY BE TIME FOR ANOTHER OF THEM TO RUN FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – In a mega-state where political dynasties are remarkably common (BilirakisCastorMeekDiaz-BalartMack) nobody should underestimate the strength of the most politically successful Democratic name in modern Florida history. That’s especially true when the gregarious oldest daughter of former two-term governor and three-term U.S. Sen. Bob Graham has already shown her considerable political skill. In 2014, she defeated a GOP congressman in heavily Republican north Florida. Graham is one of several potential Democratic candidates for governor addressing Florida delegates at their daily convention breakfasts this week. So is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Miami Beach Mayor and businessman Philip Levine. South Florida state Sen. Jeremy Ring, another businessman, also is exploring a run, while so far the only likely top tier Republican candidate is Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. The lack of experience in elective office is likely to be a plus and minus for Graham. Skeptics will call her too inexperienced, while others will see a woman who is neither a career politician nor a rookie. “For most political offices, the central question is judgment. Does this person bring to the office the ability to analyze, organize and execute on whatever the problem happens to be,” said Bob Graham, 79, adding that his daughter has that judgment as well as a knack for bringing people together and bipartisan cooperation. The eldest of his four daughters leans on him for advice regularly. He said they have disagreed at least initially on some decisions — such as her support for the controversial Keystone Pipeline — but not after she explains the process she went through to make that decision. After eight years of Gov. Scott learning about a state he had only recently adopted before running for governor, the Graham family’s Florida roots are likely to be part of her message. “That love that we have for the state is something we will bring back to the governor’s mansion if I’m lucky enough to run and win,” Rep. Graham said. Her family clearly is on board.

CLUB FOR GROWTH CALLS NEAL DUNN A “CHARLIE CRIST REPUBLICAN” IN NEW CD2 AD —Club for Growth Action released a new 30-second spot to oppose Dunn in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. “Who is Neal Dunn? He’s a former lobbyist who claims he’s a Republican, but he’s donated thousands in campaign money to Democrats. Dunn was a big backer of Charlie Crist. Dunn even supported Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Florida.” The 30-second spot — called “Dunn Who?” — will throughout the district on broadcast and cable. The Club for Growth PAC endorsed Republican Mary Thomas in January.

BOB POE PROMISES TO ‘RESTORE TRUST’ IN NEW CD 10 AD — The Orlando Democrat hones in on violence in the Orlando area his new  30-second spot. “Police brutality has gone unchecked for far too long in Orlando. Police chief Val Demings oversaw it, and did nothing. And ‘nothing’ is not what we need in Congress right now. We need to restore trust and take action,” he said in the advertisement. Poe promised to hold police accountable, make sure they get training they need, and require body cameras. The ad — called “Action” — is part of Poe’s $1 million ad buy.

FUNDRAISING FOR SOLAR ENERGY AMENDMENT SLOWS IN JULY via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Contributions to Consumers for Smart Solar fizzled out … State records show the fundraising committee — which is backing the solar-energy ballot initiative — received no contributions between July 2 and July 15. The two-week period marks the two most recent fundraising periods. The group has raised more than $16 million since July 2015. The group spent $615 between July 9 and July 15. All told, the committee has spent more than $13.8 million. Consumers for Smart Solar ended the most recent fundraising period with nearly $2.2 million cash on hand.

POLL SHOWS MIKE HILL WITH A DOUBLE DIGIT LEAD OVER DOUG BROXSON IN SD 1 RACE via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Internal polling shows Hill holds an 18-point lead over Broxson. Conducted by Data Targeting, the poll found 43 percent of respondents said they would support Hill if the Republican primary were held today; while 25 percent said they would back Broxson. The survey found 30 percent of likely Republican primary voters polled said they were unsure … 52 percent of voters living in Escambia County said they supported Hill, compared to 16 percent who said they would back Broxson. In Santa Rosa County, 30 percent of respondents said they would vote for Hill if the election were held today; while 43 percent picked Broxson … 46 percent in Okaloosa County said they would pick Hill; while 54 percent said they were unsure … 46 percent who self-identified as very conservative said they would support Hill; while 24 percent said they would pick Broxson … 39 percent had a favorable opinion of Hill; while 6 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him … 39 percent of respondents said they hadn’t heard of him.

OUTSIDE GROUP TARGETS DEBBIE MAYFIELD WITH NEW WEBSITE via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – … to point out Mayfield’s record and hold the Vero Beach Republican — and an electioneering committee aligned with Mayfield — accountable. “Debbie Mayfield’s deception about her record is well documented on this website,” said David Bishop, a spokesman for The Accomplished Conservative Leaders Fund. “As we approach the upcoming Republican Primary in the Senate District 17 race, it’s vital that voters get Mayfield’s full record before casting their ballots.” The website, according to the committee, focuses on several areas, including her voting record and personal loans to her campaign. State records show The Accomplished Conservative Leaders Fund, an electioneering communications organization, is not affiliated with a particular candidate or organization. The group has received $350,000 — the bulk of its contributions — from Citizens United for Liberty and Freedom, Rep. Ritch Workman’s political committee.


Patrick Murphy, running for U.S. Senate, has been endorsed by Lauren Poe, the Mayor of Gainesville.

Neal Dunn, running for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, has been endorsed by the National Association of REALTORS.

Mary Thomas, running for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, has been endorsed by the Gun Owners of America.

Greg Steube, running for Senate District 23, has been endorsed by the Florida Right to Life PAC.

Matt Hudson, running for Senate District 28, has been endorsed by the North Collier Professional Firefighters and Paramedics.

Bobby Powell, running for Senate District 30, has been endorsed by the Florida Retail Federation.

Jonathan Tallman, running for House District 4, has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

Chuck Clemons, running for House District 21, has been endorsed by Bobby Schultz, the Sheriff of Gilchrist County.

Beth Tuura, running for House District 47, has been endorsed by former state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel.

Lange Sykes, running for House District 54, has been endorsed by Brian Barefoot, the mayor of Indian River Shores.

***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.***

STATE REGULATORS VOTE TO INCREASE SOME CANCER-CAUSING TOXINS IN STATE WATER via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Florida regulators voted to approve a new water quality standard  Tuesday that will increase the amount of cancer-causing toxins allowed in Florida’s rivers and streams under a plan the state says will protect more Floridians than current standards. The Environmental Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to approve a proposal drafted by state regulators that would increase the number of regulated chemicals from 54 to 92 allowed in rivers, streams and other sources of drinking water … But the proposal, based on a one-of-a-kind scientific method nicknamed “Monte Carlo,” is being vigorously criticized by environmental groups who warned that it will allow polluters to dump dangerous amounts of chemicals in high concentrations before they trigger the limits of the new rule. “Monte Carlo gambling with our children’s safety is unacceptable,” said Marty Baum of Indian Riverkeeper, an environmental group based in Indian River County. He and more than three dozen other environmentalists warned that the state’s attempt to devise a new way to assess the risk of toxic chemicals on human health will result in higher concentrations of chemicals being dumped into Florida rivers and streams. Under the proposal, the acceptable levels of toxins will be increased for more than two dozen known carcinogens and decreased for 13 currently regulated chemicals. The proposal also will reduce impose new rules on 39 other chemicals that could be dumped into Florida rivers and streams that are currently not regulated. The agency defended the proposal, and its new Monte Carlo approach — also known as “probabilistic analysis” — saying it is more responsive to Florida variables by shielding people who consume large amounts of fish from the buildup of dangerous toxins.

FIRST MEDICAL POT DISPENSARY OPENS ITS DOORS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Trulieve, the approved provider in northwest Florida, officially opened the first medical cannabis store in the state, in a strip mall in northeast Tallahassee. “This is an historic day for the state of Florida,” CEO Kim Rivers told a roomful of reporters and medical cannabis advocates. The company was recently granted dispensing authorization by Florida’s Department of Health. Trulieve is now the first medical marijuana provider to offer statewide delivery and make an in-store sale in Florida. It will offer both the low-THC, or non-euphoric, strain previously OK’d by the state and the higher-THC strain allowed for terminally ill patients, Rivers said. Its marijuana is grown indoors to avoid using pesticides and other chemicals. The store’s opening caps off an often frustrating journey for patients and their caregivers who had clamored for medical cannabis in the Sunshine State.

HIALEAH DECISION SPURS CHALLENGE FROM HORSE GROUP via CBS Miami – A dispute involving the representation of quarter-horse owners and trainers at Hialeah Park has led to a legal challenge against state gambling regulators. The Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, which has represented owners and trainers at the track, filed the challenge last week, arguing that the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation improperly issued licenses to Hialeah. The case stems from a decision by Hialeah to enter an agreement with a newly formed organization, the South Florida Quarter Horse Association, to represent owners and trainers. The department’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering issued racing and cardroom licenses to Hialeah after the formation of the new association, which the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association argues, in part, is a “captive” group.

1 MILLION SIGNED UP FOR ‘DO NOT CALL’ LIST via Florida Politics – One million phone numbers now are on the state’s Do Not Call List, which restricts telemarketers and others from making sales calls to Floridians. Of those, 928,000 were added since “[AdamPutnam worked with the Legislature in 2012 to remove the fee to join” …  The list makes it “illegal for solicitors to call or text numbers on the state’s Do Not Call List, with penalties of up to $10,000 per violation,” the release said. To get on the list, visit, or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352). Spanish speakers should call 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). Each subscriber can enter six phone numbers that will remain active on the list for five years, the release said.

DUKE ENERGY FLORIDA BRINGS 17 ACRE OSCEOLA COUNTY SOLAR POWER PLANT ONLINE via Florida Politics – Osceola County Commissioners will celebrate the newest Duke Energy solar plant providing Central Florida consumers clean, renewable power. The Osceola Solar Facility … contains 15,000 solar panels and is roughly the size of 13 football fields. The plant, which officially began operation May 12, produces nearly 4 megawatts of carbon-free energy. The solar plant will be honored at the Aug. 1 Osceola County Commission meeting, according to a Duke Energy news release. At 1:30 p.m., Duke Energy representatives and commissioners will hold an event to sign a commemorative solar panel. The panel will be on display at the commission office at 1 Courthouse Square, Room 4700 in Kissimmee. Advanced Green Technologies designed and built the solar plant on 17 acres next to an existing Kenansville Duke Energy substation.

PERSONNEL NOTE: HILL+KNOWLTON STRATEGIES PROMOTES RON BARTLETT via Florida Politics – The global PR and communications agency made Bartlett “general manager of Florida, overseeing the firm’s offices in Tampa and Tallahassee,” according to a press release. Bartlett, a Tampa Tribune veteran who joined H+K in 2000, was most recently deputy general manager of Florida. He also was senior vice president in charge of Florida’s public affairs team, working on legislative, regulatory and public policy issues, the release said. He succeeds Harry Costello, who becomes chairman of the firm’s Florida operations. “I am truly excited to lead a team that includes a terrific mix of highly seasoned, veteran communicators along with the best and brightest young professionals in the business,” Bartlett said.


Christina Grant: Johnson & Blanton: Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association

Nick Iarossi, Capital City Consulting: Oportun

***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.***

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Mr. Orange Juice, David Shepp.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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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