Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 10.11.16 — A dark night

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.


His candidacy spiraling out of control, Donald Trump faced Hillary Clinton on the debate stage Sunday night in the most critical moment of his political career.

Questions about Trump’s preparation, policy knowledge and temperament all were overshadowed by the political fallout from Friday’s release of a video that captured the Republican presidential nominee making predatory sexual comments about women a decade earlier.

With tensions high, the candidates refused to shake hands at the start of the debate at Washington University in St. Louis, then tangled repeatedly for 90 minutes.

After threatening for weeks to bring up Bill Clinton’s sexual scandals, Trump finally went there.

Even before the debate began, Trump appeared alongside several women who had accused the former president of unwanted sexual advances decades earlier. It was a risky move that threatened to damage Trump’s already poor standing with women. But with his campaign in virtual freefall and his party in revolt, he may have had nothing to lose.

Once on stage, Trump pointed out the four women he had invited to attend the debate — among them Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Bill Clinton of sexual impropriety decades ago. He called Bill Clinton’s actions “far worse” than Trump’s own words on the 2005 recording, where he bragged that he could “do anything” to women because of his fame.

“There’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women,” Trump said.

Trump also tried to link Hillary Clinton to her husband’s actions. “Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously,” he said.

Here are the other top takeaways:

— Clinton takes the high road — 

Clinton ignored Trump’s attacks on her husband’s infidelities, saying she was taking first lady Michelle Obama’s advice: “When they go low, we go high.”

The Democratic nominee stayed focused on her message, stressing Trump’s history of sexist and racist remarks.

She fired off a list of people and groups he’s insulted — including his years-long questioning of President Barack Obama‘s country of birth. “He owes the president an apology. He owes our country an apology and he needs to take responsibility for his actions and his words,” she said.

— Trump on the video — 

Trump’s team had signaled he would deliver a sincere apology, on the debate stage, for the sexually predatory language he used on the 2005 video.

He did not.

Instead he repeatedly called his comments “locker room talk.” And when pressed by a moderator, he refused to acknowledge that his reference to kissing women and grabbing their genitalia without their permission represented sexual assault.

“I apologize for those words. But it is things that people say,” Trump said.

He then linked his comments to his ability to take on the Islamic State group.

“I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk. It’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS,” he said.

— Clinton on the video — 

Clinton begged to differ. She said the remarks captured on video simply reinforce Trump’s comments throughout his campaign.

She noted he has attacked a former Miss Universe, the Muslim parents of a slain American soldier and a Hispanic-American judge.

“Yes, this is who Donald Trump is,” she said, later adding, “This is not who we are.”

— Clinton deflects on Wall Street —

Clinton was questioned, too, about her own Friday night revelation: the publication by the WikiLeaks organization of thousands of emails the group said belong to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

The emails included a document that outlined what Clinton said in dozens of highly paid speeches before launching her presidential bid. Throughout her campaign, the Democrat has refused to release transcripts of the speeches.

Clinton deflected questions about what she told Wall Street bankers, lobbyists and corporate executives in the closed-door speeches, turning the focus to the efforts of Russia to influence the election via computer hacking.

“They are not doing it to get me elected,” said Clinton, stressing Trump’s ties to the country and praise for Russian leader Vladimir Putin. She said Americans “deserve answers” about Russia’s involvement.

The U.S. government has lodged a formal complaint against Russia for trying to influence the outcome of the election.

— Trump disses his running mate —

In one of the more unusual moments in a night full of them, Trump said he disagreed with his own running mate on the proper strategy to deal with the civil war in Syria.

A debate moderator pointed out that Trump’s vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, had said provocations by Russia in Syria need to be met with “American strength” and the U.S. should be prepared to use air strikes against President Bashar Assad’s government.

“He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree,” Trump said of Pence.

Pence and Trump’s relationship is already strained due to Trump’s comments in the 2005 video.

— Trump takes on moderators —

It took just 25 minutes for Trump to begin attacking the debate moderators, Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC.

The approach is in line with a popular attack line during his rallies, where he often calls the media “disgusting” and dishonest.

“It’s nice to have one on three,” Trump charged. He later added: “Why do you interrupt me all the time? Why don’t you interrupt her?”

The moderators offered sharp words for Trump at times, as he repeatedly interrupted Clinton.

“Please allow her to respond, she didn’t interrupt you,” Cooper said.

— Tough tone until the very end — 

The debate started with a contentious tone, with the candidates forgoing the traditional handshake in favor of simply standing side-by-side.

Trump repeatedly interrupted Clinton, referring to her as “the devil,” saying she’d “be in jail” if he was in charge of U.S. laws and declaring she has “tremendous hate in her heart.”

Clinton was ready with an attack: “I know you’re into big diversion tonight,” she said, “the way Republicans are leaving you.”

It wasn’t until the final question that they offered somewhat kind words for each other — and then only because an audience member asked what they respected about their opponents.

Clinton offered praise for Trump’s grown children. “I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that,” she said.

Trump described his opponent as a fighter: “She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that.”

The candidates then shook hands.

 — “A dark debate: Trump and Clinton spend 90 minutes on the attack” via David Fahrenthold and Katie Zezima of the Washington Post

— “Ugliest debate ever” via Shane Goldmacher of POLITICO

— 7 nastiest insults of the debate via Ben Schreckinger of POLITICO – Trump refers to Clinton as “the devil”; Trump calls Bill Clinton the worst abuser in political history; Clinton calls Trump unfit to serve; Trump says he’d jail Clinton; Trump tells Clinton she should be ashamed of herself; Clinton says Republicans are abandoning Trump; Trump calls Clinton a hater

— Winners and losers via Jay Caruso of RedState – Winners: Trump, the audience, the fly that landed on Hillary’s face; Losers: Clinton, Martha Radiate, the media.

DONALD TRUMP ADMITTED HE DIDN’T PAY TAXES—AND THEN BLAMED HILLARY CLINTON via Helaine Olen via Slate – Now we appear to know for sure that Trump used the [astonishing $916 million] loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes, at least for some period of time. How? Because he just said so in the second presidential debate. When Anderson Cooper asked Trump, “Did you use the loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes?” Trump responded bluntly: “Of course I do,” he said, adding, “So do all of her donors. I know many of her donors. They take massive write-offs.” That’s quite possible! But they aren’t running for office, and they weren’t on the debate stage. Trump is. And he blamed Hillary Clinton for the fact he doesn’t pay taxes. Because, you see, “A lot of my write-off was depreciation, and that, Hillary as a senator, allowed. The people that give her all this money want it.” (Clinton, of course, wasn’t a senator in 1995, the year Donald Trump reported the $916 million loss. If you needed reminding!)

THE INTERNET LOVES THE GUY WHO ASKED THE LAST QUESTION AT THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE via Melissa Chan of Fortune Magazine – The man who asked Trump and Clinton to say one thing they respect about each other to conclude the second presidential debate is being widely praised on social media for bringing some positivity into a combative race. Karl Becker, a town-hall participant, had the opportunity to ask the final question in St. Louis after a nearly two-hour heated exchange between the pair of presidential candidates. “Regardless of the current rhetoric,” he asked, “would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?” Clinton, who answered first, said she respects Trump’s children, while Trump said he respects that Clinton is a “fighter” who “doesn’t give up.” Trump said Clinton’s comment about his children was a “very nice compliment.”


  1. Trump dismisses his running mate: “He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree”
  2. Trump responds to Clinton saying it’s good someone like him isn’t in charge of the law: “Because you’d be in jail.”
  3. Trump: “No, I’m a gentleman, Hillary. Go ahead.”


***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks for Business, your trusted provider of industry leading communications and networking services for any size business – from startup to enterprise, and everything in between. We offer a full portfolio of products and services, including Business Phone and cloud-based Hosted Voice, Business Internet at speeds up to 350 Mbps to fiber-based Dedicated Internet Access, several tiers of high-quality HD Video programming, and an array of advanced cloud and managed IT services. Our solutions are customized to fit your business, your budget and your industry. We own, manage and maintain our network, which means we are 100% accountable; and we’re locally based, which allows us to be immediately responsive to our customers. Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Bright House Networks. Learn more.***

TRUMP’S APOLOGY THAT WASN’T via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times – During a 90-second videotaped appearance, Trump … offered a strikingly brief articulation of regret for a decade-old audiotape in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitals and said he could have his way with women because of his fame. But his real message … was one of defiance. He described the controversy that upended the Republican Party for most of Friday as a mere “distraction,” and said that his vulgar remarks captured on the tape were nothing compared with the way Bill and Hillary Clinton had mistreated women. If anything, Mr. Trump’s videotaped statement was a truncated version of a speech that he had given countless times. And it did not reflect the several hours of conference calls and strategy meetings among his top aides, who were at first stunned and then nearly paralyzed by the revelation of the tape, which they worried would be fatal to his White House hopes. “That took 10 hours?” an incredulous Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist, asked on CNN immediately after the statement.

WHY THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS PART OF TRUMP’S ‘HOT MIC’ COMMENTS ISN’T THE VULGAR LANGUAGE via Danielle Paquette of The Washington Post – Jackson Katz, co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention, an anti-rape program taught at universities nationwide, said Trump’s comments attempt to normalize criminal behavior. “‘Locker-room banter’ is not a way to excuse it,” he said. Katz has worked with college students for more than 20 years, teaching young athletes to obtain clear consent before a sexual encounter. No matter who you are, Katz said, groping a woman without her permission qualifies as sexual assault. A response that amounts to “boys will be boys” is “such an embarrassingly dated thing to say,” Katz said. “Boys will either rise to our expectations or sink to them, in the locker room or otherwise. And we need to raise our expectations for what it means to be a boy or a man.” Back in 2005, when Trump made the comments, the nation had not yet buzzed about what consent means. Student activists at Ohio’s Antioch College had pushed the country’s first “Yes means yes” policy in 1993, urging men on campus to ask for permission before every step of a hookup, but the movement didn’t broadly catch on until after the FBI changed its definition of sexual assault in 2012.

TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: @TicTacUSA: Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.


@JoeBiden: The words are demeaning. Such behavior is an abuse of power. It’s not lewd. It’s sexual assault. -Joe.

@alexburnsNYT: There’ll be a line of revisionism after 2016 that #MAGA message was working pretty great until that darn tape. This will be extremely false.

@MarkHalperin: It has come to this: supporters of the Republican nominee for president are arguing ‘not as bad as Chappaquiddick’ as his defense.

A CALLER HAD A LEWD TAPE OF TRUMP. THEN THE RACE TO BREAK THE STORY WAS ON. via Paul Farhi of The Washington Post – Reporter David Fahrenthold got a phone call around 11 a.m. Friday from a source with a tip about Trump. The source asked: Would Fahrenthold be interested in seeing some previously unaired video of Trump? Fahrenthold didn’t hesitate. Within a few moments of watching an outtake of footage from a 2005 segment on “Access Hollywood,” The Washington Post reporter was on the phone, calling Trump’s campaign, “Access Hollywood” and NBC for reaction. By 4 p.m., his story was causing shock waves. Fahrenthold’s story about the recording — which some observers said might deal a death blow to Trump’s presidential campaign — was the second major revelation, or “October surprise,” that came courtesy of an anonymous source. “It’s rare to find out something new about Donald Trump,” said Fahrenthold, who has produced scoops about Trump’s charitable foundation this year. “So much of his past and his history is well-known.” But this was new, he noted: “It’s not just, ‘Look at her; she’s a 10,’ the kind of thing he used to say on the ‘Howard Stern Show.’ It was more than that. He tells you about his behavior.”

As it happens, Fahrenthold was racing to produce his story in competition with “Access Hollywood” itself. The syndicated show, owned by NBC Universal, had found the Trump recording in its archives and was preparing its own story. NBC News, tipped by “Access Hollywood,” was also aware of the tape and was preparing a story, which it intended to broadcast after the entertainment show aired the recording. It was not clear, however, when “Access Hollywood” and NBC News were planning to go ahead with their stories. Fahrenthold’s calls to NBC and “Access Hollywood” Friday sped up their timetables. MSNBC reporter Katy Tur reported on the tape about seven minutes after The Post broke the story online. Fahrenthold’s story proved to be the most concurrently viewed article in the history of The Post’s website; more than 100,000 people read it simultaneously at one point Friday. The interest was so heavy that it briefly crashed the servers of the newspaper’s internal tracking system.

RNC HALTS VICTORY PROJECT WORK FOR DONALD TRUMP via Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO – The Republican National Committee … appeared to at least temporarily halt the operations of some of the ‘Victory’ program that is devoted to electing Trump. The move comes as the GOP nominee is under mounting pressure from elected Republicans to step aside after he was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. In an email from the RNC to a victory program mail vendor, with the subject line “Hold on all projects,” the committee asked the vendor to “put a hold” on mail production. “Please put a hold/stop on all mail projects right now. If something is in production or print it needs to stop. Will update you when to proceed,” Lauren Toomey, a staffer in the RNC’s political department, wrote in an email.

TRUMP MOCKS GOP LEADERS WHO ABANDONED HIM via Nolan McCaskill of POLITICO – Indeed, in a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll … likely Republican voters signaled that the party should continue to back Trump. Forty-five percent of likely voters surveyed said Trump should stay in the race (39 percent said he should end his campaign). The results were largely seen through a partisan lens, though. While 70 percent of Democrats said Trump should end his White House bid, only 12 percent of Republicans agreed. Trump, however, had a far more dire prognostication for the “self-righteous hypocrites” who have abandoned their party’s standard-bearer: defeat. “So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers – and elections – go down!” he predicted in a tweet. Trump has maintained that he has “tremendous support” from his backers, even after the revelation of incredibly crude comments he had made in a private conversation about women in 2005 in a video first reported by The Washington Post, which sparked more than two dozen defections from prominent Republicans … Trump Saturday night thanked his “great supporters” in the state. “I heard that the crowd and enthusiasm was unreal!” he tweeted.


JEB BUSH SLAMS TRUMP’S ‘REPREHENSIBLE COMMENTS DEGRADING WOMEN’ via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Bush, who never got behind Trump [in a tweet]: “As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women.”

FLORIDA GOP LEADERS OUTRAGED BY TRUMP TAPE via Arek Sarkissian and Alexandra Glorioso of the Naples Daily News – Gov. Rick Scott, the chairman of the national super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Trump … condemned the candidate’s comments recorded in 2005 about groping women and trying to have sex with a married woman. “I’m not following politics closely right now, but this is terrible,” said Scott, who is the father of two girls. “I don’t agree with anyone talking like this about anyone, ever.” Scott’s comments … came as he oversaw Florida’s response Friday night to Hurricane Matthew … He was an early supporter of Trump, coming out in support of him shortly after Trump’s win in the Florida primary in March. U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said he was glad Trump apologized … Marco Rubio …  issued a tweet … “Donald’s comments were vulgar, egregious and impossible to justify,” Rubio tweeted after his campaign was told he would be noted as not commenting in a story. “No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.” U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbeloalso blasted Trump for the comments. “I’m disgusted by Mr. Trump’s comments,” Curbelo said. “I wouldn’t want anyone speaking about my wife, my daughters or any woman that way. It’s inexcusable.”

WHAT HAPPENS TO FLORIDA TRUMP CAMPAIGN IF RNC CUTS OFF MONEY via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – … we can A) probably expect a lawsuit because Trump helped raise a lot of the money in question and B) a nightmare for the Trump campaign left in Florida. The Republican get-out-the-vote effort is almost entirely run by the RNC, so the Trump campaign would lose hundreds of specially trained volunteers and paid staffers helping their effort. Republican phone bankers and mailers would likely cease mentioning Trump and only talk about Marco Rubio and other Republicans on the ballot. Trump would lose access to dozens of offices. But Trump’s Florida campaign would likely be better off than the GOP nominee’s campaigns in other battleground states. That’s because roughly 30 staffers on the Florida campaign are being funded by the Trump campaign, rather than the RNC.

MARCO RUBIO CONDEMNS COMMENTS WITHOUT WITHDRAWING SUPPORT FOR DONALD TRUMP via Ledyard King of USA Today – Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are among party leaders who have denounced the bombastic billionaire and have said they won’t vote for him. The list includes several Republican senators who, like Rubio, face difficult re-election battles this fall, including McCain, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Rubio himself tweeted his disgust hours after the tape went public: “[Trump‘s] comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify. No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.” But the Florida senator, a former presidential candidate himself, offered nothing more by Sunday afternoon. Rubio himself is doing better in his re-election race and is ahead of Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by a few points in most polls. Not immediately pulling support for Trump may be the “politically smart thing to do,” said Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of South Florida. “Right now, a lot of Trump supporters in Florida are certainly supporting Marco Rubio,” Jewett said. “If he completely closes the door on Donald Trump and says ‘I’m not voting for him, I’m not supporting him’ and that sort of thing, then he runs the risk of losing some of those supporters.”

RUBIO MIGHT HAVE A BIG TRUMP PROBLEM via Alex Leary of the Miami Herald – As top Republicans rescinded their support for Trump or even called for him to leave the race … Rubio was silent How long can Rubio keep up the increasingly odd two step? Rubio condemned Trump’s words … after his campaign initially said he was focused on the hurricane. “Donald’s comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify,” Rubio wrote on Twitter as a cascade of condemnations flew from other Republicans. “No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.” Rubio says he stands by all the criticism he leveled in the presidential primary, the “con-man” taunts and a lot more. But he has has concluded he needs Trump — or needed him — to help him win re-election, so he’s been supportive while keeping a clear distance. It hasn’t been pretty, but the dance has worked. Now, if Trump begins to free fall in Florida, Rubio will lose an edge.

Democrat Patrick Murphy’s struggling campaign saw an opportunity and was hammering Rubio Saturday to disavow his support for Trump. “While prominent Republicans like Senators Mike Crapo and Kelly Ayotte have already withdrawn their endorsements, Marco Rubio issued a tweet with empty rhetoric and continues to stand by his choice for President,” the campaign said Saturday in a release. It’s still early to know the fallout but it was headed in a very bad direction for Trump — and that could rub off on Rubio. How long until he joins other Republicans in withdrawing support?

FOR OUR FUTURE FUND ATTACKING RUBIO OVER SUPPORT OF TRUMP — The progressive organization is calling out Sen. Rubio for his support of the Republican nominee. “(Twenty-four) hours after Donald Trump was exposed for bragging about sexually assaulting women Marco Rubio has still not rescinded his endorsement of Donald Trump,” the group said in a news release over the weekend. “While the list of Republicans with some measure of backbone and decency who have called for Donald to step down or have withdrawn their support for the nominee continues to grow, Marco’s name remains blatantly absent from the list. Does Marco Rubio still believe that Donald Trump is the kind of leader we need for this country? Does Marco Rubio still plan to vote for him?” For Our Future and launched a digital ad campaign last week blasting Rubio over Trump.

MOVEON.ORG CONDEMNING RUBIO FOR BACKING DONALD TRUMP — MoveOn.og Political Action released a new advertisement over the weekend blasting Sen. Rubio for his continuing support of the GOP nominee. The 30-second spot features footage from a leaked tape released by the Washington Post, which showed Trump making lewd comments about women. “After more than a year of his unacceptable and indefensible remarks and behavior, Marco Rubio and other Republican leaders continue to set aside their morals and stand beside Trump, enabling his campaign of bigotry, hatred, and sexism,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of Political Action. “Enough is enough. Rubio and the Republican Party have continued to stand behind Trump after he relentlessly attacked women, veterans, Gold Star families, immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, and other communities. Anything that Rubio and other Republican leaders who backed Trump say now is too little, too late. Americans will reject Trump, and those who’ve stood with him, on November 8.”

GEORGE LEMIEUX SAYS TRUMP IS UNELECTABLE AND SHOULD BE REPLACED AS REPUBLICAN NOMINEE via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun Sentinel – “Trump‘s demeaning view toward women, his lack of judgment, temperament and common decency disqualify him from public office,” LeMieux said in a telephone interview … “For the good of our party, and our country, he should step aside immediately.” LeMieux … said Trump should be replaced at the top of the ticket by Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana and Republican nominee for vice president. “I hope the rest of the party leadership makes the same decision. And we can get Mike Pence in there as our nominee, because that’s the right thing to do. If Donald Trump has any sense of duty to his party and his country, he’ll step aside. He’s unelectable now,” LeMieux said.

GOP IS DISTANCING FROM TRUMP. EXCEPT DAVID JOLLY; HE WAS ALREADY THERE via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics – Many Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump after crude sexual remarks about women he made surfaced on tape … but stopped short of saying they won’t vote for him in November. Jolly is not one of those. His anti-Trump chops can no longer be debated. He is all-in on being all-out on Trump: “A man who brags about sexual assault isn’t qualified to be president of the United States.” Of course, it should be noted that politically this likely is Jolly’s best and only option.

Jolly is banking on his image as someone willing to buck the Republican establishment to win him votes in a new district that seems to favor a Democratic candidate. Most notably, he filed a bill aimed at party bosses who require their members of Congress to spend up to four hours daily on fundraising. That didn’t make him popular in top GOP circles, and the party responded with crickets when Jolly abandoned a planned run for the U.S. Senate and announced he would try to keep his seat in the U.S. House.

TOM ROONEY, EARLY VOICE FOR GOP UNITY BEHIND TRUMP, WITHDRAWS SUPPORT via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Rooney said the latest Trump revelation was too much for him. “As the father of three young sons, I don’t want my boys growing up in a world where the President of the United States is allowed to speak or treat women the way Donald Trump has,” Rooney said in a statement … “My greatest responsibility in life is to try and be a good husband and father. If I support him for President, I will be telling my boys that I think it’s OK to treat women like objects – and I’ll have failed as a dad. Therefore, I can no longer support Donald Trump for President and will not be voting for him or Hillary Clinton.”

@CarlosCurbelo: I’m disgusted by Mr. Trump’s comments. I wouldn’t want anyone speaking about my wife, my daughters, or any woman that way. It’s inexcusable.

TO SEE HOW TRUMP PUTS REPUBLICANS IN A BIND, LOOK AT MARIO DIAZ-BALART via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – “I’m glad Mr. Trump issued an apology for the tape that was released in which he is heard saying disrespectful and completely unacceptable comments regarding his interactions with women,” Diaz-Balart said. “It’s important that he acknowledged that statements like those are offensive and reprehensible.” But ask him if that means he won’t vote for Trump, and things get more complicated. His spokeswoman, Katrina Valdés, responded to the Miami Herald by saying Diaz-Balart never said he’d vote for Trump in the first place. She pointed to a statement from the congressman in May declaring his intention to “vote for the Republican nominee.” That would be Trump, of course. And yet, Valdés insisted, Diaz-Balart “has not endorsed a candidate in the general election.” Diaz-Balart certainly hasn’t used the word endorsement, and he’s repeatedly said he won’t vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton. But does he still intend to vote for him? “His statement has not changed,” Valdés said late Saturday. “His vote is conditioned on the clarification of a number of important issues that he has repeatedly said need to addressed by the nominee … several of those issues have not been clarified. That is where he still stands.”

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN CALLS ON TRUMP TO WITHDRAW via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – … joining a growing number of GOP members of Congress asking for his resignation. “Trumpdoesn’t represent our nation. I was not with Trump before and I’m not with him now. Trump must withdraw,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “In April, before Trump even clinched the nomination, I announced I could not and would not support Donald Trump in this election. I’m now calling on Donald Trump to drop out of the race for the good of our nation.” Ros-Lehtinen, a veteran lawmaker, first backed Bush and then Rubio for president. After both dropped out, she said she wouldn’t vote for Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton, saying she’d write-in Bush’s name first.

— “Miami state rep and GOP chief who’ve stumped for Trump still back him” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald

***Host your next fundraiser at the Governors Club, Tallahassee’s leading business, social and political venue! Event packages are available for all budgets; rooms for 50-450 guests. For information or to book a celebration, contact Laura Kalinoski, Director of Catering at 850-205-0665 or Learn more at***

POLLS: CLINTON AHEAD IN FLORIDA, PENNSYLVANIA via Mark Murray of NBC News — Clinton leads Trump in the key battleground states of Florida and Pennsylvania, including by double digits in the Keystone State due to her strength in Philadelphia and its suburbs, according to two brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls. In Florida, Clinton is ahead of Trump by three points among likely voters, 45 percent to 42 percent, which is within the poll’s margin of error. Libertarian Gary Johnson gets 5 percent, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein gets three percent. In a head-to-head matchup in the Sunshine State, Clinton holds a two-point edge over Trump among likely voters, 46 percent to 44 percent. The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll of Florida was conducted Oct. 3-5 – well before Hurricane Matthew hit the state.

LEAKED SPEECH EXCERPTS SHOW A CLINTON AT EASE WITH WALL STREET via Amy Chozick, Nick Confessore and Michael Barbaro of The New York Times –  In lucrative paid speeches that Hillary Clinton delivered to elite financial firms but refused to disclose to the public, she displayed an easy comfort with titans of business, embraced unfettered international trade and praised a budget-balancing plan that would have required cuts to Social Security, according to documents posted online Friday by WikiLeaks. The tone and language of the excerpts clash with the fiery liberal approach she used later in her bitter primary battle with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and could have undermined her candidacy had it become public … In the excerpts from her paid speeches to financial institutions and corporate audiences, Clinton said she dreamed of ‘open trade and open borders’ throughout the Western Hemisphere. Citing the back-room deal-making and arm-twisting used by Abraham Lincoln, she mused on the necessity of having “both a public and a private position” on politically contentious issues. Reflecting in 2014 on the rage against political and economic elites that swept the country after the 2008 financial crash … Clinton acknowledged that her family’s rising wealth had made her “kind of far removed” from the struggles of the middle class.

— “Clinton’s Wall Street speeches have leaked. No wonder she didn’t want them to get out.” via Jordan Weissmann of Slate

TRUMP CAMPAIGN CANCELS AD BUY IN BATTLEGROUND STATES, PROMISES FUTURE EXPANSION via Shane Goldmacher of POLITICO – Trump has canceled more than $1.6 million in television ads set to air next week in eight crucial battleground states … The cancellations cover the four biggest states on the battleground map – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina – as well as four other states, New Hampshire, Maine, Iowa, and Colorado. Jason Miller, a senior Trump communications adviser, said on Twitter: “Our data-driven campaign is shifting resources from over-performing markets to new battlegrounds w/in the battlegrounds. Buy is growing.” Outsiders were skeptical. “This is what the professionals call horseshit,” Dan Pfieffer, President Obama’s former communications director, tweeted. Miller described it as an “increased media spend” that is “growing by an extra $1M” and that “state-by-state levels remain roughly the same.” The ad cancellations cover the period that begins next Tuesday, and mostly represent smaller markets in the various states.

In critical Florida, Trump is slashing more than $700,000 of his buy next week, reducing his ad reach to only three markets: Tampa, Orlando and Miami, according to a another ad buyer. The single biggest market for cancellation is West Palm Beach, where Trump is pulling more than $216,000 in scheduled ads. The smallest are two markets in Ohio, Lima and Zanesville, where Trump, canceled $5,000 in each.

HAPPENING TODAY – CECILE RICHARDS CAMPAIGNS FOR LINTON — Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, will campaign for Clinton in Orlando and Tampa. She’ll kick off the day at 10:30 a.m. with a voter registration event with UCF Democrats at the University of Central Florida Student Union, 12715 Pegasus Drive in Orlando. From there, she’ll head to Tampa where she’ll attend a voter registration event with Rep. Kathy Castor at 3 p.m. at the University of South Florida Marshall Student Center, 4103 USF Cedar Circle in Tampa. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday.

HAPPENING TUESDAY — AL GORE CAMPAIGNS WITH CLINTON IN MIAMI — Former Vice President Gore will campaign with Clinton in Miami on Tuesday. According to the Clinton campaign, Gore is expected to discuss the threat posed by climate change. The two are also expected to urge Floridians to register to vote. The deadline to register to vote in Florida is Tuesday.

HAPPENING THIS WEEK – TRUMP CAMPAIGNS IN FLORIDA — The Republican nominee is expected to hold three campaign events in the Sunshine State this week. Trump will start the week in Ocala with a rally at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Aaron Bessant Park, 600 Pier Park Dr. in Panama City. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. On Wednesday, Trump is scheduled to hold two events in Florida. He’ll start the day at noon at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville Rd. in Ocala. Doors open at 9 a.m. From there, he’ll head to Lakeland, where he’s scheduled to hold a rally at 3 p.m. at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Sheltair Hanger, in Lakeland. Doors open at noon for that event.

***PRIDE Enterprises makes communities safer and saves taxpayers money through its job-centered approach that lowers the number of repeat offenders and reduces criminal justice costs for all citizens. For more information on PRIDE Enterprises and why reducing recidivism is so important, please visit***


DEMOCRATS SUE TO EXTEND VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press – Florida Democrats, rebuffed for the last few days by Gov. Rick Scott, filed a lawsuit in federal court late Sunday asking that a judge extend the state’s voter registration deadline at least a week due to Hurricane Matthew. Florida law says that anyone wanting to vote in this year’s crucial presidential election must register by Tuesday.

But the lawsuit points out that Scott himself urged Floridians to “evacuate, evacuate, evacuate” ahead of Matthew, which at one time was a powerful Category 4 storm. The storm scraped the state’s eastern coast over a two-day period, knocking out power for more than 1 million Floridians, causing flooding and beach erosion. It also is blamed for at least four deaths in the state. Democrats had asked Scott to use his emergency powers to extend the registration deadline. But Scott refused, saying that people had already enough time to register. The Republican governor also brushed aside questions about whether his actions were related to his support of  Trump. The lawsuit states that Scott was “forcing voters to choose between their safety and the safety of their families, on one hand, and their fundamental right to vote, on the other hand.” The lawsuit adds that because of the storm that government offices were closed, bridges were closed and that registering by mail was not an option because the U.S. Postal Service suspended operations in many of the areas affected by the storm.

RICK SCOTT GETS FLORIDA’S ATTENTION WITH STERN, SOME SAY SCARY, WORDS via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – Scott didn’t mince words as Hurricane Matthew bore down on Florida, using statewide TV to urge coastal residents to “evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.” And if that wasn’t enough to get the attention of eye-rolling, Florida storm veterans, Scott called Matthew a “monster” and warned, “This storm will kill you.” With 1.5 million Floridians under evacuation orders and the biggest hurricane in more than a decade threatening to devastate the state’s entire Atlantic coast, Scott this week repeatedly sent sobering – some say scary – alerts to residents. It worked. And was worth it, many experts said. “It wasn’t scary, it was acting out of a sense of awareness that this storm could turn very badly very quickly,” said Kathleen Tierney, director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, who researches disaster response. “We have all these models and forecasts of where a storm will go,” she added. “But if you wait until you think you’re sure of what it’s going to do, it can be too late to react. You need to get people out of the way.”

PRESIDENT SIGNS NEW DISASTER DECLARATION FOR HURRICANE MATTHEW’S IMPACT IN FLORIDA via Kristen Clark and Jeremy Wallace of the Miami Herald – freeing up additional federal funding and resources to help with cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew. The White House announced Obama‘s act early Sunday morning. While Obama already granted a preliminary disaster declaration before the storm, a second one after the storm is required to trigger post-storm recovery funding. The new declaration makes available federal funding to state and eligible local governments and certain nonprofits on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in eight Florida counties. Those counties span the East Coast from the Treasure Coast to northeast Florida — areas which felt the brunt of Matthew in the state: Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia.

SURROUNDED BY ALLIGATORS, MATTHEW CLEANUP GOES ON IN FLORIDA via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press – Sure, lots of people in St. Augustine are picking up branches and leaves after Hurricane Matthew blew through town. But only a few are doing it surrounded by alligators. That’s what Jim Darlington and Amie Mercado were doing Sunday, raking up debris in an alligator pit with the enormous reptiles just a couple of feet away, including one who opened its mouth wide as Mercado approached. That was part of the unusual cleanup at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, where trees and limbs fell into alligator lagoons and crocodile pools, and enormous African storks were taken out of the bathrooms where they rode out the hurricane. All in all, the zoo – one of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions and the only place in the world that displays every species of crocodilian – fared well during the storm. However, fears of what could have been were certainly on people’s minds. “We were all hunkered down listening to the news, and of course everybody is on social media, and sure enough a rumor started that there are alligators out – hundreds of alligators were out,” Darlington said, who said the 123-year-old zoo was inspected by state wildlife officials immediately after the storm passed and before employees were allowed back in. “The walls were still standing. There weren’t alligators running around.”

MARINA OWNER POST-MATTHEW: DODGED A BULLET? NO, IT DODGED US via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press – Marina owner Joe Taylor has a different take on whether Florida dodged a bullet during Hurricane Matthew. “We stood still. It dodged us. But we’re grateful,” the 81-year-old Taylor said. Taylor and his wife were in their second home in Portland, Oregon, Wednesday when forecasts of widespread devastation sent him rushing to Florida to protect his life’s work: the 260-boat marina he built on Camachee Island, between an Atantic barrier island and the historic former Spanish colonial city of St. Augustine. “We looked at the TV, I looked at my wife, she looked at me and we started looking at flights,” Taylor said. The marina, neighboring condos and a string of homes sit on a narrow spit of land 8 feet above the water. It is surrounded by marshes in the salt water bay. The marina docks boats ranging from 20-footers to a 133-foot yacht. It was full when the storm hit. Taylor was determined to stay in a waterfront condo during Friday’s storm, until worried family urged him to stay at his inland home. It wasn’t easy leaving the business he built four decades ago. He returned while winds were still howling, gusts were still hurricane strength and the rain was pounding hard. “When it hits your face and stings like a bee, you know you’ve got strong wind,” he said. When the storm surge receded, none of the boats were damaged. There was minor ramp damage he said would be easy to fix and a lot of cleanup.

GO AHEAD AND TAKE THOSE HURRICANE SHUTTERS DOWN: FORECASTERS SCRAP LOOPY PREDICTION via Alex Harris of the Miami Herald – Saturday morning, forecasters scrapped a prediction that had worried South Floridians and Bahamians — that Hurricane Matthew could loop around and hit again in the same cycle. The 8 a.m. forecast showed the possibility of a tropical depression hitting the Bahamas early Tuesday morning. By 11 a.m., the map halted its predictions … when the center predicts Matthew will sink below a tropical storm. At that point, “the system is no longer a tropical system,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. In the 11 a.m.forceast, NHC said, “although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to remain near hurricane strength while the center is near the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina.” Computer models aren’t sure where Matthew’s path leads after that. They’re split between south toward the Bahamas or north toward Nova Scotia. Either way, Feltgen said, the system will likely weaken and turn into an area of low pressure, and his organization will stop mapping its path.


DAYS UNTIL: First day of early voting – 18; Election Day – 28; first Legislative Organization Session – 42; premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 63; start of 2017 Legislative Session – 147.

TIMES RECOMMENDS: PATRICK MURPHY FOR U.S. SENATE via the Tampa Bay Times – Reasons Florida voters should replace Rubio with Murphy: Does anyone really think Rubio would serve a full second term rather than run for president again in four years? Murphy wants to improve the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health care to another 1.5 million Floridians. Rubio wants to repeal the law and sabotaged it by making it harder to cover $2.5 billion owed to insurers to spread the risk of covering more sick people. Murphy supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes tougher border controls and a long path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. Murphy supports raising the $118,500 income cap on the Social Security tax to extend the long-term life of the nation’s safety net. Murphy recognizes humans are contributing to climate change and lists helping Florida cope as a top priority. Murphy supports the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, which has lengthened the time it would take for Iranians to produce a nuclear bomb. Rubio opposes the agreement. Murphy supports sensible gun controls, such as banning military-style assault weapons, limiting the capacity of magazines and closing the gun show loophole. Murphy supports abortion rights. Rubio opposes abortion rights even in cases of rape and incest, an extreme position. Murphy supports gay marriage and co-sponsored legislation to ban LGBT discrimination in employment.

WHAT THE MURPHY CAMP IS THINKING: “Overall (polling) average internally is -4. Been outspent 10:1, Murphy name ID is only 50% and he is only 4 pts down and Rubio far from 50%. It’s a recipe for a takeaway. And now with P*ssy-gate, it should tighten further. If Murphy loses by 61,000 votes having been outspent 10:1, that would be insane.”

BUT … AS NATIONAL DEMOCRATS PULL ADS, NEW POLL SHOWS MURPHY TRAILING RUBIO BY EIGHT via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – A new tracking poll from conservative-leaning Associated Industries of Florida showed 51 percent of likely Florida general election voters said they either had no opinion or had never heard of Murphy. The numbers might be troubling, but the survey suggests Murphy faces a significant hurdle in Democratic-leaning South Florida. In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region, 22 percent of likely voters said they had no opinion of him, while 34 percent said they had never heard of him. Murphy has struggled with name recognition for months. A Public Policy Polling survey in early September found 29 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion of Murphy, while 24 percent had an unfavorable opinion. In that poll, 47 percent of Floridians said they didn’t have an opinion of the U.S. Senate hopeful. A recent Florida Chamber Political Institute survey found 29 percent of Floridians polled said “never heard of” Murphy. That poll found 22 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion of Murphy, while 24 percent had an unfavorable opinion. The most recent AIF poll … showed similar results. The poll … found 22 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion, while 27 percent had an unfavorable opinion. Unsurprisingly, Rubio is well-known throughout the state. Just 17 percent of respondents said they either had no opinion or were unaware of the Miami Republican. The survey found 40 percent of Floridians had a favorable opinion of him, while 43 percent had an unfavorable opinion. The poll showed Rubio leads Murphy, 49 percent to 41 percent. 9 percent of Floridians said they were still unsure about who they would be voting for.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Murphy will hold a press conference call at 10 a.m. Media is asked to RSVP to

STEPHANIE MURPHY RELEASES NEW AD TYING JOHN MICA TO TRUMP —The Winter Park Democrat released her second TV ad over the weekend, tying Rep. Mica to the GOP nominee. The 30-second spot is mean to highlight Mica’s support for Trump. “Congressman John Mica has long been a consistent and enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump, going so far as to say, ‘I love Trump.’ What’s more concerning is that Trump and Mica share the same harmful policies of dismantling women’s rights and opposing commonsense laws to reduce gun violence,” said Murphy in a statement. “Spending nearly 30 years in Washington has changed John Mica, and he’s become out of touch with the values of women and families in central Florida. I call on Congressman Mica to do the right thing and denounce and disavow Donald Trump once and for all.” Murphy faces Mica in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

FRANK ALCOCK CALLS GREG STEUBE GUN BILL “DUMB” AS SENATE CANDIDATES CLASH AT FORUM via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Steube won a hard-fought Republican primary for an open state Senate seat, in part, by emphasizing his staunchly conservative views on guns and a range of other issues. Alcock tried to turn those positions against Steube … during a Sarasota Tiger Bay forum, saying in his opening remarks that the GOP candidate is not in line with the district’s history of “moderate, sensible Republicans” in the seat. What ensued was an often lively forum, with Alcock periodically on the attack and Steube standing firm on his views. Moderator Nancy Detert, the moderate Republican senator who is vacating the seat that includes Sarasota County and part of Charlotte, tried to rein in Alcock early on, saying “why don’t we just stick to why you’re the best person for the job.”

SCOTT PLAKON TO BE DECLARED WINNER OF HD 29 SEAT via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Plakon will be declared re-elected … because the Florida Democratic Party will not nominate a replacement candidate for Fred Marra, who dropped out last week. Plakon has been in limbo for seven days since Marra dropped out Sept. 30 for health reasons and because the Orlando Sentinel had dug up an old larceny charge against Marra that the Democrat had never disclosed in campaign statements. But the Florida Democratic Party conceded … it was unable to find a replacement candidate and the deadline for doing so is 5 p.m. Friday. With no one else running, the Florida Division of Elections advised Plakon Friday it was preparing to declare him the winner at 5 p.m. “I’m grateful for the high honor it’s been to be able to serve the residents of District 29 in Tallahassee,” Plakon stated … “I’m even more grateful that I’ll be able to continue for another term. I look forward to working with my colleagues on policy that will keep Florida moving in the direction of continued job creation and a robust public education system that also insures that parents are empowered to make the best choices for their children.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Sen. Bill Nelson will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. at the Orange County Democratic Executive Office, 204 Park Lake Street in Orlando. Nelson is expected to make an endorsement in the Florida House District 47 race, where Democrat Beth Tuura is hoping to unseat Republican Rep. Mike Miller.

RENA FRAZIER NOT INTERESTED IN ROSS SPANO’S PLEDGE TO RUN A CLEAN CAMPAIGN IN THEIR HD 59 RACE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – “While my opponent may be used to political games, which I’m quite certain this is a political game that voters will see through, I’m interested in real solutions,” she says. “Holding Tallahassee politicians accountable for having pandered to lobbyists instead of addressing our local needs is a critical part of getting honest about our problems. I’ll be fighting to put families back in control and they need to know the truth. That’s a clean campaign as far as I’m concerned. If my opponent believes that highlighting his voting record would be regarded as negative campaigning, perhaps he should re-examine his motivation for those votes.” In response, Spano says, “Over the past four months, my team and I have knocked on over 22,000 doors. As I’ve talked to voters in my district, I’ve heard over and over again how tired they are of negative campaigns. I believe that the voters in District 59 deserve better than name-calling and mudslinging. They deserve a robust discussion of issues that affect their lives.”

***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.***

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. at the animal health check point at Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo to discuss the state’s screwworm eradication efforts.

WHY ARE CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE POLICYHOLDERS STATEWIDE PAYING FOR A ‘WATER CLAIMS’ CRISIS IN SOUTH FLORIDA? via Jeff Harrington of the Tampa Bay Times – Citizens is being deluged by litigation — much of which it questions as fraudulent — over nonweather-related water damage caused by things like busted water pipes or leaky roofs. It has become so bad that more than $1,500 of the $2,412 annual premium collected for the most common type of Citizens policy goes toward paying water claims. It’s the reason why Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier last month approved a 6.4 percent average rate hike statewide for Citizens policies in 2017. If not for water claims, most Citizens’ homeowners across the state would be paying less. But here’s the rub: New data show 95 percent of all such claims through this July came from just three South Florida counties: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Yet, Citizens policyholders in Tampa Bay and across the state will have to help pay for it with higher rates. Even some customers outside South Florida who are still in line for a rate cut are getting less of a break because of water claims.

JUDGE SIDES WITH STATE IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA LICENSING DISPUTE via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – Administrative law judge R. Bruce McKibben sided with state medical marijuana regulators and against a Jacksonville Nursery that failed in its bid to obtain a medical marijuana dispensing license from the Florida Department of Health. Lawyers for Loop’s Nursery argued that the nursery was clearly the best of the applicants in the Northeast region and should have been awarded the license. But McKibben disagreed, recommending the state Department of Health find that “Loop’s Nursery & Greenhouses, Inc., failed to prove by a preponderance of evidence that its application to become a distributing organization in the Northeast region should have been approved.” During the hearing, the company touted the fact it already has about 600,000 square feet of greenhouse space in operation to grow flowering plants, arguing that the transition to cannabis cultivation would be much simpler for Loop’s than a tree farm or a shrub nursery, like the two applicants in the region that were awarded licenses. But McKibben wrote, “No competent evidence was presented to infer that the proposals of Chestnut Hill and/or San Felasco were inferior to Loop’s, or, conversely, that the Loop’s proposal was superior to those applications.”

POTENTIAL POT-GROWING INDUSTRY MORE SUBDUED AHEAD OF NOVEMBER VOTE THAT COULD LEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANA via Drew Dixon of the Florida Times-Union – One of the cottage businesses in 2014 before the vote on the measure that would create legal marijuana growing operations in Florida was the proliferation of seminars and how-to advisory classes that cost hundreds of dollars for those who were considering getting into the commercial sale of marijuana. Those are almost nonexistent this year. In Jacksonville alone, a seminar at a hotel near the Jacksonville International Airport was sold out with dozens of participants two months ahead of the vote in 2014 that would ultimately be narrowly rejected by the voters. Richard Blau, an attorney for the Regulated Products Group for the law firm GrayRobinson, said the hype over the possible legalization of medicinal marijuana two years ago was a huge mistake. Blau currently has several clients in the Jacksonville area who are preparing to get into the medical marijuana cultivation industry. But they aren’t throwing money at supplies and equipment ahead of the vote as supporters of the referendum have learned their lesson. “It is a more sensible, reasonable and responsible approach to this,” Blau said. “It’s far from a true, uniform consensus that everybody is on board with legalization. I think those that are involved in this process are attempting to be careful and to be sensitive to the divergent views that exist.” Blau said the legal tussles over the Charlotte’s Web legalization show that there may not be a smooth transition for the broader pot business if November’s referendum is approved. “Having to go through so many administrative challenges … was a wake-up call for many of those involved, whether they were government officials or potential industry members or elected officials,” Blau said. “I think it was a tremendously educational process, and to some degree a very painful process. But as they say sometimes, no pain, no gain. But I think it taught a lot of people how to move forward more responsibly.”


John David Alexander, Silver Palm Consulting: Polk State College Foundation

Stacy Arias, Southern Strategy Group: Intoximeters

Brian Ballard, Brad Burleson, Ballard Partners: Securing America’s Future Energy Alliance

Brad Burleson, Ballard Partners: PBA Holdings, Inc.

Patrick Bell, Capitol Solutions: Bridgeway Center, Inc.

Jennifer Green, Melanie Bostick, Doug McAlarney, Timothy Parson, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Florida Archaeological Preservation Association

Michael D. Williams: PCS Phosphate

BUSINESS COMMUNITY SHOULD LEAD FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY via Joseph Baucum of the Pensacola News-Journal – Although the state has in many ways recovered from the Great Recession – more than 1 million jobs created since 2010, a record 105 million visitors to the state in 2015 and ranking as the second best state to do business in by Chief Executive magazine, to name a few – a glaring issue still needs addressed: generational poverty. Former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Will Weatherford spoke about the topic at the Gulf Power Economic Symposium in Panama City. Weatherford, who serves on several economic-related boards including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the National Coalition for Capital and Jobs for America’s Graduates, challenged the business community to lead the efforts in addressing and solving the problem. “We should be fighting for the least among us who are struggling to survive day to day,” he said. The state percentage of families below the poverty threshold was 12.2 percent, slightly worse than the national percentage of 11.5 percent. Of those families, 39.6 percent are married-couple families living in poverty, compared to 36.3 percent in the country. The report also stated 24.1 percent of children in the state were in poverty. “We have a long, long way to go,” Weatherford said.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dave Mica and Jared Ross.

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.

Latest from Peter

Go to Top