Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
HURRICANE MATTHEW PLAYS HAVOC WITH FLORIDA POLITICS
Hurricane Matthew’s wind and rain might impact Florida later this week, but the effects of the storm are already being felt on the campaign trail.
A Doral fundraiser for Donald Trump? Canceled. A rally for Hillary Clinton in Miami Gardens? Postponed. Senate hopefuls have scaled back their schedules, and a leading business group called off its annual conference.
“Everyone in our state must take this seriously now,” said Gov. Rick Scott in a statement Tuesday. “We want to protect all life and it is critical that all residents and visitors take appropriate life saving measures now.”
The U.S. National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for South Florida, stretching from Deerfield Beach to the Volusia-Brevard county line. A tropical storm watch was in effect from the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys to south of Deerfield Beach.
The warnings have campaigns quickly shifting their focus, moving off the campaign trail and into disaster mode.
President Barack Obama was scheduled to attend a rally for Hillary Clinton at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens today. That event was postponed, and Obama is now expected to head to Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, D.C., to discuss the federal government’s response.
Organizers called off a $25,000 per couple fundraiser for Donald Trump at the Trump National Doral golf resort. Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the GOP nominee, was scheduled to headline the event. A “Women for Trump” bus tour scheduled for this week was also canceled.
Presidential hopefuls aren’t the only ones scaling back their campaign schedules as the storm barrels toward Florida. Sen. Marco Rubio was expected to head back to Miami on Tuesday after events in Jacksonville. And a spokeswoman for Rep. Patrick Murphy’s campaign said “with Hurricane Matthew threatening Florida’s coast, we are canceling our campaign events.”
The storm also forced Associated Industries of Florida to delay its annual conference. Speakers for the event included Rubio, Scott, CFO Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Organizers said Tuesday several high-profile speakers indicated they wouldn’t be able to attend because they were monitoring the storm.
“While AIF is fully hopeful that the worst of the storm will remain off-shore in the Atlantic, there’s appropriate concern about serious threats to portions of Florida involving wind, rain, flooding and related infrastructure, health and welfare concerns,” organizers said in an advisory about the change in plans.
Election Day is Nov. 8, one month away. Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS — Gov. Scott will update Floridians on Hurricane Matthew’s potential impact on Florida during a briefing at 8:45 a.m. at the State Emergency Operations Center, 2555 Shumard Oak Blvd. in Tallahassee.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Wednesday is Ella Joyce’s fourth birthday, so Sunburn will be taking Thursday off and will resume Friday.
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TRIAL OVER SEMINOLE CASINOS TO WRAP UP via The Associated Press – Attorneys for the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state will give their closing arguments … The second day of trial [yesterday] revolved primarily around the testimony of top gambling regulators. The trial could decide whether the tribe can continue to have blackjack tables at their Florida casinos. The state and Seminoles reached a deal in 2010 that allowed blackjack but that provision expired last year. Florida has been paid nearly $1.7 billion as a result. The tribe maintains they are eligible to keep blackjack because the state allowed dog and horse tracks to operate card games that mimicked what the tribe offered. Regulators blamed low-level employees and confusion for some of the decisions that the tribe is going after in the lawsuit.
PAM BONDI WON’T OPINE ON FIREFIGHTER OPEN CARRY QUESTION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Bondi has declined to weigh in on whether local police chiefs can “direct or permit firefighters in emergency situations to openly carry firearms.” Crestview Police Chief Tony R. Taylor had asked for a legal opinion from Bondi’s office. In an Aug. 9 informal opinion … Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerry Hammond told Taylor “it does not appear that this is a matter upon which this office will comment” … “As it is unclear that a municipal police chief has any statutory authority to direct firefighters in the performance of their duties, no comment will be expressed on this matter,” the letter said. “(Y)ou may wish to consider whether a mutual aid agreement between law enforcement agencies may better meet your needs in planning to respond to emergency situations,” it added. “I regret that this office could not be of more direct assistance to you in this matter, but trust you will understand that our inability to comment is the result of statutory limitations, not a lack of concern,” the letter said.
DAYS UNTIL: First day of early voting – 23; Election Day – 33; first Legislative Organization Session – 47; premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 71; start of 2017 Legislative Session – 152.
HILLARY CLINTON MAINTAINS AD-SPENDING ADVANTAGE OVER DONALD TRUMP IN FLORIDA via Mark Murray of NBC News — Donald Trump and his allies are spending more and more over airwaves, but that amount is not enough to overcome Hillary Clinton’s 4-to-1 ad-spending advantage, according to data from Advertising Analytics. Through this week, the Clinton campaign has spent $113 million on ads, versus $27 million for the Trump campaign. In the battleground states, Team Clinton is outspending Team Trump through this week, $160 million to $44 million. Both campaigns are spending big in Florida. Pro-Clinton groups have spent $46.5 million on advertising in the Sunshine State, while pro-Trump groups have spent more than $14 million on advertising.
CLINTON DOMINATING TRUMP AMONG FLORIDA HISPANICS IN NEW POLL via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — Clinton’s 54-30 percent lead over Trump with Hispanic voters stands in marked contrast to the U.S. Senate race, where bilingual Republican incumbent Marco Rubio is ahead of Democratic U.S. Rep Patrick Murphy by 48-39 percent, the TelOpinion Research survey conducted for the conservative-leaning Associated Industries of Florida business group shows. Clinton’s huge advantage over Trump is buoyed by strong support among Democrats (whom she carries 75-13 percent) and independents (whom she wins 61-20 percent) in the poll of 600 likely Latino voters. Trump’s 63-19 percent lead over Clinton among Republican Hispanics could be much bigger, but 14 percent are undecided. That’s double the number of undecided Latino Democrats. While Clinton has a substantial lead in the top lines, the real data point we would point out is the number of undecided Republicans. If they come home to him, it’s possible that Trump will perform closer to Romney’s number with Florida Hispanics in 2012 which was around ~40%. However, the positive outlook ends for him there as Trump is down ~44% with non-Cuban Hispanics who will make up half of the likely Hispanic electorate,” Ryan D. Tyson, AIF’s vice president of political operations wrote in a memo.
MARCO RUBIO’S AWKWARD TRUMP DANCE CONTINUES via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – It was the most-watched presidential debate in history, 84 million people tuning in to see Trump and Clinton clash for the first time. What did … Rubio think? “I didn’t see it guys,” the Florida Republican told reporters. “I was on an airplane.” Two days later, Newsweek published a report asserting that a company Trump-controlled violated the U.S. embargo against Cuba. “The article makes some very serious and troubling allegations,” Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said in a statement. “I will reserve judgment until we know all the facts and Donald has been given the opportunity to respond.” Rubio was more cautious in an interview on ESPN’s Capital Games podcast … So goes Rubio’s awkward balancing act with Trump. He conspicuously avoids the GOP standard-bearer but is careful not to alienate the significant support Trump is drawing in Florida. Since officially capturing the nomination in July, Trump has made more than 10 visits to Florida. Rubio co-appearances: Zero. About as close as Rubio came to embracing Trump was a speech in Sarasota in late July when he said, “We have got to come together as a party. … We have to make sure that Donald wins this election” … The presidential primary showed Rubio’s true feelings. He blasted the New Yorker as a “con man” who lacked conservative principles and had no real solutions. He mocked the size of Trump’s hands. Rubio says he stands by his criticism, even though he did apologize to Trump for the hand stuff, a bizarre departure for such a careful politician. Rubio also readily notes he consistently said he would support the Republican nominee. But instead of heaping praise on Trump, Rubio says his aim is to oppose Clinton at all costs. Democrats — and some Republicans — have cast Rubio as an opportunist without a spine.
RUBIO RAISES $9.6 MILLION IN THIRD QUARTER via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – The donations, according to the campaign, include nearly $9 million for his re-election campaign and about $600,000 toward the “Rubio Victory Committee” … “I’m extremely encouraged to see an outpouring of donations from all over the state and I look forward to continuing to work hard to earn votes across Florida as we approach the election,” Rubio said in a statement thanking voters for their “overwhelming support.” Campaign finance records weren’t available on the Federal Election Commission’s website. Records show Rubio raised more than $5.4 million from April 1 until Aug. 10. He ended the most recent reporting period — which ran from July 1 through Aug. 10 — with more than $4.6 million cash-on-hand.
MOVEON.ORG TARGETS RUBIO OVER SUPPORT OF DONALD TRUMP via Florida Politics — MoveOn.org and For Florida’s Future launched a new digital ad campaign using Rubio’s words against him. The 20-second spot, called “Marco Trumpo,” shows footage of Rubio saying Floridians need to do their part to make sure Trump wins the election. The ad then shows footage of the GOP nominee talking about his plans to stop people from other countries from coming into the United States. “We have to make sure that Donald wins this election,” the Miami Republican is again shown saying, before the words “No we don’t” appear on the screen. The digital ad blitz comes just days after For Florida’s Future placed a billboard near Rubio’s Miami Senate office.
DSCC CANCELS SPENDING IN FLORIDA, OTHER STATES via Kevin Robillard of POLITICO – The DSCC is canceling another week’s worth of TV ad reservations totaling $2.9 million in three states: Florida … as well as Wisconsin and Illinois, where Democrats are confident of victory. The DSCC canceled ads from Oct. 18-24 in all three states. Murphy has not led a public poll in Florida since Rubio’s decision to re-enter the Senate contest. The DSCC originally reserved TV time in Florida starting in September, but it has not aired an ad in the state yet.
FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY MAILERS FOR STEPHANIE MURPHY IRK JOHN MICA via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – In the past week or so, four FDP mailers have gone out, including two that attacked Mica for a deal involving an old federal post office in Washington, a building which Mica got spun off, and which Donald Trump leased and turned into his newest luxury hotel, opening last month. The mailers make Mica look like Trump’s benefactor, biggest supporter and best friend. Another mailer ties Mica to the gun lobby. A fourth is strictly positive, a biographical communication about Murphy with a title sounding like a best-selling novel, “The girl rescued at sea.”
Those mailers have joined a $4 million TV commercial barrage in Orlando by two national Democratic groups, which began a couple of weeks ago and is scheduled to air through Election Day … They have Mica … all but exasperated, particularly because the attack money is flowing through Washington D.C. and Tallahassee, not through Murphy’s official campaign. “Right now I’m getting hit by a political storm of negative advertising,” Mica said. Mica, whose own campaign had about $790,000 in the most recent campaign finance disclosures, said he has never seen anything like the onslaught of national and statewide campaigning against him, and conceded he cannot compete financially.
OUTSIDE GROUP HITS DAVID JOLLY OVER NUKE FEES via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics — House Majority PAC is out with its second ad of the political cycle attacking David Jolly — this time on Florida’s controversial nuclear cost recovery law. Called “Cost,” the ad hits the Congressional District 13 Republican for taking thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Duke Energy while saying he was doing nothing to stop the utility from charging taxpayers for a nuclear power plant that will never be built. The issue revolves around the 2006 nuclear cost recovery law that allows utilities like Duke and Florida Power & Light to collect billions of dollars from customers to cover nuclear construction costs. The law has been challenged several times in the courts, but still remains law. Although the culprits for allowing that were the Republicans and Democrats in the Florida Legislature in 2006, Jolly is getting hit for not doing enough to get rid of the law.
REPUBLICAN PAC’S TV AD BLASTS DEMOCRAT RANDY PERKINS OVER DISASTER PROFITS via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – The ad by the Congressional Leadership Fund says Ashbritt Inc. CEO Perkins “made a fortune” after Hurricane Katrina, was accused of overcharging and “refused to divulge his profit margin” in a congressional hearing … At the hearing and afterward, Perkins has said his company’s profit and overhead were approved and closely scrutinized by the federal government. The new ad also highlights — as did a previous ad by the National Republican Congressional Committee — a billing dispute with the Broward County school district that began after an audit said Ashbritt overcharged by $765,608 for services after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Ashbritt filed a lawsuit disputing the claim, eventually agreeing to return $200,000 as part of a settlement that said Ashbritt “committed no wrongdoing.” While outside groups have been attacking Perkins, Perkins’ campaign has been running attack ads for weeks that call [Brian] Mast the “heir apparent” to Allen West, the former Republican congressman and conservative firebrand who was voted out by District 18 voters in 2012.
NRSC LAUNCHES SPANISH-LANGUAGE AD TARGETING JOE GARCIA — The National Republican Congressional Committee released a new Spanish language TV ad meant to remind voters of the former congressman past. The 30-second spot is set to air in South Florida. “Joe Garcia has consistently embarrassed the people South Florida with his perennial scandals and lewd sexist comments regarding Hillary Clinton,” said Chris Pack, a spokesman for the NRCC. “The people of Florida’s 26th District deserve better than an embarrassment like Joe Garcia representing them in Washington.”
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PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT LINDA STEWART, MODERATE REPUBLICAN DEAN ASHER DISAGREE MAINLY ON PRIORITIES IN DEBATE via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Asher, a Realtor and self-described political moderate, and Stewart, a former state representative who calls herself a political progressive, found much to agree on, at least in principal, if not detail, on many issues during a Tiger Bay of Central Florida debate … while Stewart emphasized her priorities as education, environment, equality and transportation, Asher described his as jobs, jobs, jobs and advocating for small businesses. Both seek to replace retiring Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner in a district that, since last year’s redistricting, now has a voter base that leans Democrat, rather than leans Republican. With that in mind, Asher stressed his status as a business owner, while also expressing support for other issues Stewart has championed, ranging from public education to medical marijuana. “With Linda and I here, you know, I think there’s a lot of things we can agree on, obviously, the water stuff, the Everglades Restoration Act. Obviously, schools are important. I’ve got two kids. … I will do everything in my power I can to make sure our kids and our students and our parents have the best schooling,” Asher said. “And second, it’s all about jobs, it’s all about the businesses here.” One area that drew quick disagreement was Gov. Scott‘s desire to increase funding for state incentives to attract businesses. Asher said he would favor of such incentives, though he later backed off a little bit, saying the matters need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Stewart was emphatic she did not see the success rate, she did not see the accountability, and she saw much better uses for the money.
DUVAL DEMOCRATS PICK TRACIE DAVIS AS HD 13 CANDIDATE via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – After a one-day delay in the vote to replace Reggie Fullwood as the Democratic candidate for House District 13, the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee convened … as the vote approached, it was clear that Tracie Davis, the runner-up in the Aug. 30 primary against Fullwood, was going to be the consensus choice of the 88 voting members and the two proxies on hand at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall in downtown Jacksonville. Duval County School Board member Paula Wright, who had been linked to a run for this seat, was not in attendance. Fullwood’s name will be on the ballot, but there will be notices in polling places as well as notices sent to vote by mail and military voters directing those interested in voting for Davis to vote for Fullwood, said Duval DEC Chair Neil Henrichsen. State Sen. Audrey Gibson added that it would be incumbent on Democrats to ensure that voters know the scenario. No other nominations were advanced. The nomination was closed. Davis was nominated by unanimous consent.
BETH TUURA, MIKE MILLER BATTLE OVER GUNS, MEDICAID, BUSINESS INCENTIVES via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – At a debate hosted by the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida, Miller began on the hot seat, with a question about whether he broke a campaign promise when he said during his 2014 campaign that he would support the $51 billion Medicaid expansion, and then he didn’t do so. He argued he did not break any promises. He said during the campaign he also expressed that he feared there were strings attached and had concerns about long-term uncertainties about federal funding. He added that once he got to Tallahassee and learned more, he felt he couldn’t put Florida at risk. Tuura said it was a broken promise, and she vowed to support accepting the federal Medicaid expansion program. Ever since the massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando June 22, gun law reform has been a major issue in Central Florida, with Democrats pushing hard for bans of assault weapons and closing loopholes, and many Republicans also saying they want to see “commonsense” reforms without violating the U.S. Second Amendment. That distinction was clear between Tuura and Miller …
Tuura is openly gay and, when given a chance, she pressed Miller on what he would do now about guns. Miller, whose office is across the street from Pulse, conceded something must be done so that someone like Omar Mateen … would never be able to buy a gun. But with an A rating from the NRA and a legislative record of supporting two controversial gun bills last year — for open-carry, and for allowing guns on college campuses — Miller had to walk a fine line. He said the gun bills were complex, with Second Amendment issues to consider, and said he supported a special session this summer to discuss guns, after Pulse. “I can tell you I struggled with it,” he said of past gun bills.
HD 59 REPUBLICAN ROSS SPANO GOES UP ON AIR WITH FIRST TV AD via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – The ad features a local businessman, a veteran, and members of his family to tout the “Ross Spano that I know” …“I’m Ross Spano, and I will always fight for small businesses, veterans and families,” he says before asking for support … Spano is running for his third term in District 59, which includes Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Clair Mel, and Progress Village in eastern Hillsborough County. He’s running against Democrat Rena Frazier, a Brandon attorney running for office for her first time.
MY TAKE: WHAT TO MAKE OF HOUSE CANDIDATE JACKIE TOLEDO? via Florida Politics – Is she, as I want to believe, the latest in a line of Hillsborough Republican female pols who were initially underestimated by their critics and the media (think Sandy Murman during her stint in the Florida House)? Or is Toledo … a Tampa Bay version of Michele Bachmann (I guess that would make Toledo the second coming of Ronda Storms)? Toledo had a rocky entry into electoral politics, making a series of errors (forced and unforced) during her 2015 bid for the Tampa City Council … using an image photography experts said consisted of her photo superimposed on Mayor Bob Buckhorn‘s official portrait and that she used video shot without permission on a Florida Department of Transportation construction site in a campaign commercial … Those miscues barely rose to the level of a misdemeanor, but when a political action committee that attacked her opponents appeared to have connections to her campaign consultant, Anthony Pedicini, the first-time candidate would not be given a second chance to make a first impression … When Toledo announced she was running for House District 60, most of the state and local Republican establishment lined up behind her primary opponent, Rebecca Smith … Toledo feverishly outworked her opponent … put together a campaign team of dedicated volunteers, pounded on doors and just out-hustled her opponent. Toledo also has done her best to avoid talking to the local media, which her camp believes is predisposed against her. She skipped a Tiger Bay appearance. Like I said, it’s unclear what to make of Toledo. My impression is that she’s smart and sharp, but insular and slightly paranoid of outside political forces. I just don’t know what kind of lawmaker Toledo will make.
FLORIDA CHAMBER, TAMPA REALTORS TO ENDORSE DEMOCRAT DAVID SINGER IN HOUSE DISTRICT 60 via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – “Both of these groups endorsed (Republican) Rebecca Smith in the primary,” said Singer, an attorney who faces Republican Jackie Toledo … “Neither of these groups takes lightly their endorsements, and they don’t endorse a lot of Democrats. I think I have shown them that I am pro-business and that job creation and growing our economy is what I will focus on as a legislator in Tallahassee.” Singer also said the business groups’ endorsements, which he said are scheduled to be announced by each organization … along with support from groups like Equality Florida and Planned Parenthood, say something about his candidacy. “It shows what kind of candidate I am and what kind of legislator I hope to be,” he said, “which is someone who can appeal to everyone, work across the aisle and work toward solving our community’s problems as a whole.”
HISPANIC POLITICAL COMMITTEE BACKS MANNY DIAZ IN HD 103 — The Hispanic Vote Political Action Committee threw its support behind Diaz in his re-election campaign. The Hialeah Republican has represented House District 103 since 2012 and is running for a third term in the Florida House. “I am honored to have The Hispanic Vote’s support,” said Diaz. “I appreciate the hard work this group does to engage and activate Hispanic voters, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to strengthen our community and increase opportunities for all residents and families of District 103.” The committee is a nonpartisan political action committee that aims to educate, inform and engage the community to increase Hispanic voter and political participation. Diaz faces Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich in the November general election.
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BILL GALVANO’S DAUGHTER TO GO ON NATIONAL TOUR WITH ‘ANNIE’ via Richard Dymond of the Bradenton Herald – Jacqueline Galvano … The 11-year-old daughter of state Sen. Bill Galvano and his wife, Julie, beat out 300 to 400 other “Annie” hopefuls in New York City this past July … Jacqueline will perform as Annie two nights a week and will play the orphan, July, on the other nights in Troika Entertainment’s seven-month nationwide tour, which begins in Oklahoma City in November and ends in Boston in May, covering about 30 states and 80 cities, including some in Canada. Cynthia Ashford of Spotlight Kids told the Galvanos that Jacqueline should audition for “Annie” … “It was extremely nerve-wracking,” Julie Galvano said of the audition. “Every time she came out of the room I wasn’t sure if it was good news or bad news.” Jacqueline seemed to be floating on a cloud as she recalled her audition and her casting. “One group would be cut and one group would be asked to stay to learn a dance,” Jacqueline said of the audition. “They would say, ‘You go with that person.’ We learned a dance. They kept cutting. We read lines. They kept cutting. Some of us got to audition with the dog, who has been on Broadway before as Sandy. They kept cutting. We did that routine over and over. Finally, they told me I was in. I was incredibly thrilled. I just felt so fortunate.” Jacqueline will be doing Florida Virtual School on her computer while she is on tour. If she hadn’t been cast for the tour, Jacqueline would’ve been entering King Middle School this year.
FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Kirsten Borman Dougherty: “We are excited to announce that our little family will be growing by one little person this March! (I really wanted to just say ‘I’m not fat, I’m pregnant, suckers!!’ but Andrew said it was inappropriate.)”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Trey Price, my dear friend Gregory Wilson, and the super sharp (even for an Auburn fan) Joe York.