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Sunburn for 10.11.16 — What do the numbers say?

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

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

HILLARY CLINTON ADDS TO HER ELECTORAL COLLEGE EDGE; DEBATE PROBABLY ONLY REINFORCES THE NEW STATUS QUO via Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondick, and Geoffrey Skelley of Sabato’s Crystal Ball — In the broad sweep of U.S. history, very occasionally one of the major parties simply disqualifies itself from the contest to win the White House by nominating an unelectable, non-mainstream candidate. We suspect that there will never be a better example than Donald Trump. The Republican Party chose a deeply divisive figure — one not supported by many senior figures in the GOP even before the release of Trump’s raunchy 2005 discussion with Access Hollywood’s … superficial, celebrity-worshipping Billy Bush. … (It’s) hard to be very confident about what a debate will do to public opinion. We suspect that Trump will get better reviews for this one than his first debate, if only because it would be hard for the reviews to be any worse. Clinton seemed like she was just trying to run out the clock much of the night, which is a natural but sometimes dangerous position for a politician who is leading.

… (There are) several ratings changes this week, all of them in favor of the Democrats. First of all, Ohio moves all the way from Leans Republican to Leans Democratic in the Electoral College. … (P)olling in the state is showing that Donald Trump’s lead from a few weeks ago has evaporated, and the most recent surveys actually have had Clinton ahead. We’ve also caught wind of some unreleased polling that mirrors these results. If Clinton has a national lead of around four or five points, there’s good reason to think that Ohio will end up voting for her, even if it has a redder tint than usual. The same logic we’re using in Ohio we’re also applying to Nevada, a state where polling has been very close all year but which should probably lean to Clinton if she’s leading nationally by an Obama 2012-style margin. … We’re also going from Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic in Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Clinton now seems to have reasserted herself after some tightening before the first debate.

NY TIMES’ UPSHOT: CLINTON HAS 86% CHANCE OF WINNING via Josh Katz of The New York Times – Clinton has an 86 percent chance of winning the presidency. The Upshot’s elections model suggests that Clinton is favored to win the presidency, based on the latest state and national polls. A victory by Trump remains quite possible: Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an NFL. kicker misses a 36-yard field goal. To forecast each party’s chance of winning the presidency, our model calculates vote estimates for each state and the District of Columbia, as well as congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska, which assign electoral votes by district.

THE FIRST POST-HOT MIC POLL IS OUT, AND IT SUGGESTS THAT DONALD TRUMP IS IN DEEP, DEEP TROUBLE via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — Even before The Washington Post reported on a 2005 recording of Trump making crude comments about exploiting his celebrity to sexually assault women, Clinton‘s campaign was on the upswing. Her strong performance in the first presidential debate had pushed her national polling numbers up fairly quickly. Not as quickly as after the party conventions, mind you, but even before a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released Monday, she led by about five points. Then the new poll came out. As always, one poll could be an outlier. This poll has a relatively high margin of error of about 4.6 percent. It’s always worth being cautious until more polls come in. But with all of those asterisks applied, the results of the poll are dramatic. Clinton leads Trump in a four-way contest by 11 points with likely voters. In a one-on-one race, she leads by 14. That’s up from their last polls by five and seven points, respectively.

It’s clear that part of Trump’s problem stems directly from the tape. Forty-one percent of respondents said that Trump’s comments were “completely unacceptable.” More than half disagreed with a statement that the tape was unimportant because it happened so long ago. Overall, voters view Clinton more negatively than positively by 10 points. They view Trump more negatively than positively by 34. Donald Trump is once again on the brink of electoral disaster. The good news for him, such as it is, is that he’s clawed his way back from the brink before. But that wasn’t with four weeks to go.

CLINTON’S LEAD IS LOOKING AN AWFUL LOT LIKE BARACK OBAMA’S IN 2008 via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — After the release of the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll Monday, RealClearPolitics updated its national polling average to reflect the shift in the presidential race. That new poll shows Clinton with a big lead over Trump, some 14 points in the wake of the hot-mic videotape that’s undercut Trump’s support. In the absence of other polls showing a similar spread, though, the average shows a more modest 6-point gap between the two. From a historical perspective, it’s normal to see movement shortly after the first debate. In 2000, as you can see on the chart below, the red line shifted back toward George W. Bush after the first debate. In 2012, as the yellow line shows, the race shifted away from Obama. Clinton’s lead now (or, actually, as of Sunday, the date of the completion of the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll) is higher than at the same point in any of the other cycles except 2008. That year, with 30 days to go, Barack Obama led John McCain by 5.9 points. Now, Clinton leads Trump by 5.8. This is a very bad sign for Trump, but not because the comparison will necessarily hold. It’s a bad sign for him, as we’ve noted, because he needed the line to move to the left in the last stretch, not farther to the right.

MIKE FERNANDEZ WILL HOLD FUNDRAISER FOR CLINTON OCT. 23 via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – Fernandez had planned to host a fundraiser this past weekend with Bill Clinton but he canceled it due to Hurricane Matthew. The fundraiser will be a small event and include Republican donors, said a person with knowledge about the event. “Donald Trump is neither representative of our values nor qualified to lead the nation,” Fernandez wrote in an op-ed in the Miami Herald in August.

WHY TRUMP CAN’T BACK DOWN via Michael Kruse of POLITICO Magazine – I’ve been reporting on Trump for more than a year, reading close to everything that’s ever been written about him, or by him (or his co-writers and ghostwriters), and sifting through transcripts of his hundreds of television interviews … I’ve come to see the GOP nominee more than anything else as an entitled rich kid who grew old more than he grew up, who had a submissive mother and a stern, workaholic father whose idea of showing him affection was taking him to the office or a job site. And I think Trump has tried his whole life to address the lack of love he felt as a boy by attracting as much attention as he could as a man. ‘I don’t do it for the money,’ he wrote in 1987 in The Art of the Deal – it’s the first sentence of his first book – and I believe him. He does it for the notoriety. … Trump is an addict. Not of substances. He’s a teetotaler. And he has said he’s never done drugs. “But his drug is himself,” one of his former campaign advisers told me this weekend. He has put himself on display his entire adult life. He was never some mysterious titan of industry pulling hidden levers of power inside secluded mansions. He has always wanted to be seen, and seen and seen and seen, as a self-made man, which he is not. What he is, though, is a self-made character. “I am the creator of my own comic book,” he once wrote, “and I love living in it.”

TWITTER: 17 MILLION-PLUS TWEETS SENT ABOUT THE DEBATE, MOST EVER via The Associated Press – The social media platform says the question of Republican nominee Donald Trump‘s treatment of women dominated the online conversation. Trump’s disagreement with running mate Mike Pence over Syria was the top tweeted moment. That’s followed by Trump saying he was a gentleman and his threatening to jail Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton if he’s elected president. Clinton walked away from the debate with 25,000 new Twitter followers. Trump gained 16,000. As has become the norm, the debate has spawned some trending hashtags. Trump’s answers to questions are being mocked under #MuslimsReportStuff and #LockerRoomTalkIn5Words. Google says the top fact-check question for Clinton revolves around Benghazi. For Trump, users want to know more about his comments on women.

THE KEN BONE RED SWEATER IS COMPLETELY SOLD OUT via Marissa Wenzke of Mashable – A lot of people want to look like the endearing Midwestern ‘every man’ who has become the break-out star of last night’s debate — Ken Bone. His garb of choice — a now iconic red ribbed pullover with a zip collar — is one of the things the newly christened internet celebrity is best known for, if an endless stream of admiring thought pieces and Internet memes are any indication. Now, the IZOD sweater, which GQ identified as the official Bone sweater, is completely sold out … The popularity of an Illinois man named Ken Bone is the product of not just the man himself, but the environment from which he rose. He was described … as “the one ray of sunshine in a tempestuous and frankly depressing 90-minute encounter.” The Atlantic referred to him as a refreshingly enthusiastic participant in a debate that was “so hateful.” Gizmodo gave a less optimistic reflection on the Bone situation, referring to American viewers at home as “the bored, half-drunk, miserable masses.” The allure of Bone, and the way the internet has so swiftly and readily embraced him, has been widely dissected. Was it the middle-of-the-road question about energy policy? The slight but lovable Midwestern accent? The mustache? Well, Bone had his own answer. “Just to clear it up, I think the sweater was the star. And I was just the one wearing it,” he said on The Ryan Kelly Morning After radio show.

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BUTTERFLY BALLOT VICTIM AL GORE RETURNS TO FLORIDA FOR CLINTON via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Clinton will campaign with former Vice President and every-vote-counts poster boy Al Gore [this] afternoon at the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College … Trump will also campaign in the state this week with appearances in Panama City Beach, Ocala and Lakeland [today] and Wednesday.

HAPPENING TODAY — TRUMP CAMPAIGNS IN PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Republican nominee is returning to Florida, with a campaign event in Panama City Beach today. Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at 7:30 p.m. at Aaron Bessant Park, 600 Pier Park Dr. in Panama City Beach. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

TRUMP COMING TO WEST PALM BEACH ON THURSDAY via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post — Trump will hold a rally at the South Florida Fair Expo Center in West Palm Beach Thursday … Doors open at 9 a.m. for the noon rally. It will be Trump’s fourth Florida appearance this week … Trump, who lives part-time in Palm Beach, hasn’t held a rally in Palm Beach County since a March 13 event west of Boca Raton two days before Florida’s presidential primary.

— “Donald Trump to collect relief donations at Florida rallies” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

FEDERAL JUDGE EXTENDS VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE, REBUKES STATE FOR ‘IRRATIONAL’ DECISION via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – U.S. District Judge Mark Walker granted the Florida Democratic Party’s request for a temporary restraining order, which included a rebuke of the state for refusing to extend the deadline past its scheduled time of 5 p.m. today. “Quite simply, it is wholly irrational in this instance for Florida to refuse to extend the voter registration deadline when the state already allows the governor to suspend or move the election date due to an unforeseen emergency,” Walker wrote in a 16-page order. “If aspiring eligible Florida voters are barred from registering to vote, then those voters are stripped of one of our most precious freedoms.” Walker also said state law is unconstitutional because while Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, can suspend or reschedule an election, no state law allows for an extension of the voter registration deadline. “The right to vote is a ‘precious’ and ‘fundamental’ right,” Walker wrote, quoting from an earlier case. The judge said more than 100,000 “aspiring eligible” Florida voters are likely to register in the final week before the deadline.

MIKE PENCE WRITE-IN VOTES WOULD NOT COUNT IN FLORIDA via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – As big name Republicans have rescinded their support for Trump amid the vulgar comments uncovered by The Washington Post it has been a common refrain for many to say they will now write-in Pence on their ballots. But doing so in Florida will be the same as voting for no one. That is because in Florida, writing in the name of a candidate who is not a qualified write-in candidate, results in the vote not being tallied. Ballots with Pence written in simply would not be tallied, said Gerri Kramer, director of communications for Hillsborough County’s Supervisor of Elections. “That vote would not be tabulated,” Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said. It doesn’t apply just to Pence either. Voters could write in Jeb BushBernie SandersMickey Mouse or their mother, and Supervisors of Elections will simply not tally those vote. Only six people are qualified in Florida to have their names written in. Those candidates are: Andrew BasiagoRichard DuncanCherunda FoxZoltan Istvan GyurkoLaurence Kotlikoff and Anthony Joseph Valdivia.

IF YOU SEE PAM BONDI, PLEASE ASK HER ABOUT TRUMP FOR ME via John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times – Presumably, Bondi is still alive. Happy is another matter. These cannot be good times for Florida’s attorney general, which might explain her reclusive approach to public service and her penchant to disappear at the first sign of trouble. Apparently, this is what happens when you endorse your own demise. It isn’t just that Bondi decided to support Donald Trump for president. It’s that she gleefully threw her future fortunes in with his. She appeared on stages with him. She solicited campaign money from him. She played surrogate and flunky with nearly as much gusto as Rudy Giuliani. And so now she seems compelled to work in silence and incognito. Just as she did when his illegal contribution to her campaign was in the news last month, Bondi has avoided answering phones, emails and questions. This time, it’s concerning a video that highlights Trump’s entitled view of sexual conquests that sounds suspiciously like assault. Bondi used to boast she was unafraid to take on gangs, thieves and murderers as a prosecutor, but now is apparently scared to face reporters and voters. Some Republicans have denounced Trump. Some have distanced themselves from his words, if not from his candidacy. And yet Bondi has said nothing. I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works.

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PATRICK MURPHY’S SECRET WEAPON: TRUMP via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – As Murphy has fought to keep his Senate campaign off the ropes, he has time-and-time again gotten a boost from an unwitting ally: Trump. Comments and stories from the Republican nominee that have sparked derision from many, including those within his own party, have acted as a weight around Republican Sen. Rubio‘s campaign, even as national Democrats shift resources to other states. As a result, Murphy’s campaign has become the one that won’t die. The latest Trump firestorm to breathe life into Murphy’s campaign is the leaked 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which the former reality TV star and billionaire brags about groping, kissing and attempting to have sex with married women – and said he was entitled to do so because he’s a “star.” Trump’s remarks in the video has prompted dozens of high-profile Republican officials to pull their endorsements. Some have even demanded Trump drop out of the presidential race. A name noticeably lacking from either list: Rubio. He was critical of Trump’s comments, but stopped short of pulling his endorsement. “Donald’s comments were vulgar, egregious & impossible to justify,” Rubio tweeted … “No one should ever talk about any woman in those terms, even in private.” Beyond the tweet, Rubio has been silent, even as Murphy has used the Trump controversy to help revive his, at times, limping campaign. “Marco Rubio responded to Donald Trump’s dangerous misogyny with a single tweet. Florida women and families deserve better than a tweet,” Murphy said on a conference call with reporters. “If Marco Rubio does not withdraw his endorsement of Donald Trump, Floridians have to assume he approves of everything Trump has said and done,” Murphy said.

RUBIO LEADS MUPRHY 48% to 41% IN NEW UNF POLL — The Miami Republican has a 7-point lead over the Treasure Coast Democrat in a new University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab poll. The survey found 48 percent of respondents said they backed Rubio, compared to 41 percent backing Murphy. The survey found 10 percent of likely voters said they were undecided. Rubio appears to be well-liked, with 49 percent of respondents saying they had a favorable opinion of him, while 43 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion. Nine percent of voters said they either never heard of him or didn’t have an opinion of him. More than one-third (36%) of respondents said they had either never heard of Murphy or didn’t have an opinion of him. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Murphy, while 29 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him.  The University of North Florida poll also looked at support for medical marijuana in Florida. The survey found 40 percent of respondents said marijuana should be legal for recreational use, while 45 percent said it should be legal for medicinal uses only. Fifteen percent of respondents said it should not be legal. The statewide poll of 696 registered likely voters was conducted from Sept. 27 through Oct. 4. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percent.

MURPHY, RUBIO RELEASE SPANISH LANGUAGE ADS — The Murphy campaign released a Spanish-language TV ad Monday. The 30-second spot, called “Inmigración,” is meant to highlight Rubio’s changing positions on immigration reform. “Our immigration system forces people to live in the shadows and tears our families apart. Unlike Marco Rubio, I will always fight to fix this broken system,” said Murphy in a statement“Marco Rubio promised Florida’s immigrant communities that he would fight for them, but when the political climate changed, he ran away from his own plan for reform. Instead, Rubio stands with Donald Trump and his dangerous agenda. That’s not leadership, that’s betrayal. I am committed to fighting for Florida’s immigrant families in the U.S. Senate and my commitment will never waver.” Rubio also released a Spanish language ad, his fourth this election cycle. The 30-second spot, called “Me Conoce,” is meant to highlight the Miami Republican’s efforts on national security, tax cuts, reforming education and preserving democracy.

DSCC LAUNCHES AD CRITICIZING RUBIO, OTHERS FOR BACKING TRUMP — The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a digital ad Monday highlighting Republican senators and Senate candidates support of Trump. The 60-second video includes footage of Rubio saying “we have to make sure that Donald wins this election.” Rubio has been criticized by progressive organizations for not revoking his endorsement of Trump in light of lewd comments Trump made about women. “Voters know political desperation when they smell it, and the Republican party reeks of it right now,” said DSCC Communications Director Sadie Weiner in a statement. “Republican Senators and candidates have stood with Trump for months and now they’re suffering the consequences of it. The time for courage has passed, and the agonized twisting and turning we’ve seen in recent days is simply too little, too late. For Republican Senators and candidates one thing is perfectly clear – they will do anything to save their political careers, and voters will reject their self-interested pandering.” The ad will run on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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FLORIDA PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS BACK SOLAR AMENDMENT — The Florida Professional Firefighters announced it was supporting Amendment 1, the solar power amendment. In a statement, the organization said they were supporting it because it protects first responders. “Amendment 1 encourages broader use of solar while ensuring that state and local officials have the ability to protect the health, safety and welfare of consumers,” said Jim Tolley, president of the organization. “This is very important, as there are serious fire safety risks if solar panels do not meet safety standards or are not installed correctly.  It is necessary that state and local officials have the ability to protect solar consumers, the same way that it protects those who use traditional electric sources.” The amendment is backed by the state’s major electric companies, and outlines the rules for solar power in Florida. It would put existing law dealing with the rights of homeowners and businesses to own or lease solar equipment into the state constitution. “We are honored to have the support of firefighters, who know better than anyone the importance of protecting the public through commonsense electrical and fire safety standards,” said ‘Yes on 1’ Co-chairman Dick Batchelor. “As we continue to advance solar in the Sunshine State, it is imperative that we do it the right way – a way that safeguards consumer rights, consumer protection and consumer fairness.  Part of doing solar right is ensuring safety, that’s something that our firefighters recognize, and why their support is so important to our campaign.”

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PAUL RYAN TO HOLD CARLOS CURBELO FUNDRAISER OCT. 19 via Patricia Mazzei and Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – Ryan announced last week he would travel the country to support vulnerable members of Congress, including the freshman Curbelo, who faces a challenge from Democrat Joe Garcia. Curbelo donors have been asked to contribute at least $1,000 and as much as $10,000 to attend the Ryan fundraiser, which will take place just a few hours before the third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Ryan said he would stop defending Trump and focus on preserving the GOP’s House majority after The Washington Post revealed a 2005 recording showing Trump speaking in vulgar terms about making unwanted sexual advances at women and grabbing them by the genitals. Curbelo never backed Trump and also denounced his remarks.

 FLORIDA DEMS TARGET MIGUEL DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA IN NEW TV AD via Florida Politics — The Florida Democratic Party is taking a swipe at Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla in new advertisement launching this week. The advertisement — a 30-second spot called “Delivers” — focuses on Diaz de la Portilla’s time as a lobbyist, as well as a decision to support a tax break to allow Trump to hold the Miss Universe pageant in Miami Beach, according to the Florida Democrats. “Miguel Diaz de la Portilla has proven throughout his long career as a politician that he can be counted on to put the needs of big special interests and wealthy businessmen like Donald Trump ahead of the needs of taxpayers,” said Anders Cory, the communications director for House and Senate Victory, the group aimed at getting Democrats elected to the state Legislature. “The people of Miami deserve a real leader like Jose Javier Rodriguez who will stand up for our public schools, stop tax giveaways to wealthy businessmen like Donald Trump, and fight to keep property insurance rates low for homeowners.” Diaz de la Portilla faces Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez in Senate District 37.

— “Dean Asher continues upping campaign finance advantage in SD 13” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

— “Labor, tourism, citrus money coming in for Victor Torres in SD 15 race” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

— “Anitere Flores raises more than $113K in final two weeks of September” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics

— “Frank Artiles raises $74K toward SD 40 campaign” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics

BILL NELSON ENDORSES BETH TUURA IN HD 47 via Larry Griffin of Florida Politics – “Going door to door, you learn a lot about life,” he said. “I repeated it when I went to Congress years later. People remembered me and said ‘you came to my door.’ Running that kind of personal campaign makes a difference. That’s harder in a state as big as this, but I am happy we have someone like you.” He went on to say Tuura was the kind of candidate needed to help win back the House for the Democrats – and, even if the Senate remained Republican-controlled, it was good to have that kind of levity in the state. “This is the beginning,” he said. “One house should be check and balance against unlimited power by one party. That’s what’s important.” Tuura said she was “so honored” to have Nelson’s endorsement, as he was a great example to her of everything from responsible government leadership to championing the environment. She also vowed that, if she wins, she will “fight any legislation seeking to bring fracking to the community and put dangerous chemicals in the water,” and vowed to expand health care to thousands of families.

FRF BACKS JOHN COURIEL IN HD 114 — The Florida Retail Federation has thrown its support behind John Couriel in House District 114. “John spent time as a prosecutor protecting Floridians and their businesses from crime,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “We look forward to John continuing his fighting ways as a member of the Florida House and working to support retailers and local businesses.” A Miami Republican, Couriel worked for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In that role, he assisted the judge with criminal, civil and national security matters. He went on to serve in private practice, before becoming an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Couriel faces Democrat Daisy Baez in the Nov. 8 general election.


Peter Vivaldi, running for Florida Senate District 15, has been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Save America’s Free Enterprise (SAFE) Trust Political Action Committee.

Jose Javier Rodriguez, running for Florida Senate District 37, has been endorsed by Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

REPUBLICANS CAMPAIGNING AGAINST RICK SCOTT’S INCENTIVE PROGRAM via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times –  It’s not just Democrats slamming the Republican governor’s signature policy issue. In debates and forums, Republicans are making it abundantly clear Scott will have trouble getting the $85 million he wants for Enterprise Florida to recruit more companies to move to Florida. “If you ask me, it’s $85 million too much,” Rep. Chris Sprowls, said during a debate at St. Petersburg College in Seminole. Rep. Larry Ahern … similarly told the same audience that he doesn’t like the idea of giving out the incentives and would rather see an effort to cut more taxes to help businesses instead. He faces Democrat Lorena Grizzle in November. Further south in Sarasota, State Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican, told more than 300 people at a Sarasota Tiger Bay debate that he won’t back Scott’s request either. Steube said instead of giving money to “out-of-state companies” he’d rather see something that helps established Florida businesses like Publix and Bealls that have created thousands of jobs in Florida. Ironically, Steube’s Democratic opponent Frank Alcock appeared more willing to support the idea. “I would not rule it out,” Alcock said. Scott’s pitch for incentive money has already received a big thumbs-down from incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran … “There will not be any corporate welfare in the House budget,” Corcoran said after Scott initially requested the $85 million for Enterprise Florida.

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AFTER MATTHEW, SOME SECOND-GUESS DECISION TO EVACUATE via Curt Anderson of The Associated Press — Weather experts and government officials worry that people who quickly packed up and left but whose homes sustained little or no damage might be reluctant to evacuate next time, leading to deadly consequences. “We are a culture that seems to get angry if the worst-case scenario doesn’t happen and we prepare for it,” said Marshall Shepherd, director of the University of Georgia Atmospheric Sciences Program. “I am continually baffled at the people that seem to anger that there is not more loss of life and destruction. That is the point of evacuating.” An old hurricane adage says that people should hide from the wind and run from the water. Much of the concern about Hurricane Matthew was focused on its howling 145 mph winds. At its height, the system was a Category 4 storm. But the reason for the evacuations had more to do with potential coastal storm surge. “Nine out of 10 people who lose their lives in hurricanes do so from the water, not the wind. And half of those are due to storm surge,” said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. “Many people do not realize the sheer power of water.” Predictions in Florida called for storm surge of up to 9 feet above normal, with large waves on top of that. While the surge did not quite reach those levels, it did cause flooding and massive beach erosion in places such as St. Augustine and Flagler Beach. David Waters, spokesman for Brevard County, Florida, emergency operations, said some people on barrier islands began calling for help early Friday, but first responders were not able to safely go out. “I’ve talked to other families who have said things like, ‘We’re scared. We wish we hadn’t stayed,'” Waters said. Others say the massive evacuations may have been an overreaction.

GOV ACTIVATES FLORIDA DISASTER FUND AFTER HURRICANE — Gov. Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund to help people impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The fund provides financial support to communities in times of disaster. “Many families and businesses were impacted by Hurricane Matthew, and we are fully committed to ensuring every resource is available to help them,” said Scott in a statement. “Activating the Florida Disaster Fund will give individuals across the country the opportunity to help those in need as we begin the recovery process following this storm.” The fund is administered by the Volunteer Florida Foundation. Individuals can donate by texting DISASTER to 20222 to donate $10 to the Volunteer Florida Foundation. The can also visit

INSURANCE CLAIMS BEGIN TO MOUNT FOLLOWING HURRICANE MATTHEW via Florida Politics –Hurricane Matthew has generated nearly 5,000 insurance claims involving losses of $21 million, state regulators said … They cautioned the results are preliminary, reflecting just three days of claims data — Friday through Sunday. “As many displaced consumers return to their communities and homes to assess damage and initiate the claims process, these numbers will increase across the state in the days and weeks ahead,” the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said in a written statement. The office will post updates on its website. Volusia County by far has registered the most claims thus far, at 1,399. Duval County was next, with 875, followed by Brevard with 842. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-owned insurer of last resort, said it has received 1,164 claims, plus 149 for which it had no policy in force — meaning coverage may have lapsed or shifted to a private carrier and the homeowner called the wrong insurer.

POWER PREPARATION PAID OFF via the Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board – In the aftermath of a major storm, there are few sights more beautiful: Convoys of power trucks, some bearing familiar logos — Duke Energy, FPL, New Smyrna Utilities — and others with license plates from Kentucky, Indiana, Massachusetts, Louisiana and Texas. By Sunday night, those trucks brought relief to almost all of the more than 300,000 Volusia and Flagler County residents who lost power in Hurricane Matthew. That’s an impressive response … It illuminates the years of planning and preparation that have hardened Florida’s power grid and made most of its utilities more resilient. It’s a goal the state has worked toward for more than a decade … Much of the work took place when skies were calm, and relied on an ongoing partnership between state officials and utilities. Power companies have ongoing programs to monitor potential threats, which can be as mundane as trees growing too close to power lines. The state’s utilities have invested billions in equipment upgrades, underground utility lines, interconnections and monitoring, making Florida’s utility-hardening efforts a national model. Ironically, the experience last month in Florida’s capital city offered a taste of what it was like before 2004 … Even before the storm neared Florida’s coast, FPL and Duke Energy were calling on reinforcements from other states, representatives of both utilities said. FPL brought in 15,000 crew members from other utilities … it’s the most FPL has ever mustered. Duke Energy, which serves parts of West Volusia, called up 1,800, and the Utilities Commission in New Smyrna Beach had about 100. Utilities had designated staging sites where trucks gathered to get their assignments and equipment, and as soon as the winds died down to manageable levels they were fanning out across the two-county area. By Sunday afternoon, Duke Energy representative Suzanne Grant said, the utility was confident that almost all of its customers would have power by Sunday at midnight— a statement FPL echoed.

AHCA NAMES NEW DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR MEDICAID via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida – Beth Kidder has been named the new interim Deputy Secretary for Medicaid. The announcement was made Oct. 6 in an email to employees at the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Florida has a $25.7 billion Medicaid program in the current year budget. The latest estimates show that the program, which pays the health care costs for the pool, elderly and disabled who qualify, will increase to $26.4 billion in the coming year Kidder replaces Justin Senior who left the post Oct. 3 when he became the agency’s interim secretary. Senior, an attorney, replaced Liz Dudek who had been at AHCA since the agency was created in the 1990s. She earned $141,000 annually. Senior, who answered to Dudek, earns $142,000 annually, according to state records. Dudek had been the only AHCA Secretary during Gov. Rick Scott’s tenure. Dudek also had served as AHCA secretary under former Gov. Charlie Crist, making her a rarity in the Scott administration. Dudek unexpectedly resigned Sept. 21.

MY TAKE: WHO WATCHES THE LOW-INCOME HOUSING WATCHMEN? (PART III) via Florida Politics – To recap, federal prosecutors had alleged 70-year-old developer Lloyd Boggio of Carlisle Development Group and others defrauded the government out of millions. They did so by padding South Florida affordable-housing projects to get federal tax credits and grants, then keeping the excess. Last month, Boggio pleaded guilty and agreed to turn over his Coconut Grove mansion and an initial $2 million in cash to begin making amends. This waste of taxpayer money happened because a key watchdog agency seemingly fell asleep at the switch: The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), led by Steve Auger, its executive director. Court records tell us “FHFC authorized the allocation of (the) tax credits and grant monies,” which raises the question of how no one at the agency had an inkling they were getting swindled. Many of the frauds involved an arrangement where tax credits are awarded to a developer for a proposed affordable housing project, and those credits are good for 10 years. Those tax credits are then sold by the developer to buyers who then apply the credits against their own federal tax obligation. So if Carlisle was awarded, say $1 million in tax credits, that million is actually worth $10 million in cash or equity. That means the $36 million they stole was actually worth (or could have been worth) more than $260 million. Now the questions: What was it about the culture or staff at FHFC that let Boggio and Co. think they could defraud the state and federal governments? Was the relationship between Auger and Boggio too cozy, as some suggest? Has Auger taken any steps to assume responsibility for this? What safeguards could be put in place at FHFC to detect this kind of fraud in the future? It bears repeating that it’s odd no one is talking about this. Maybe that will change between now and next session.

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

Off: Mary Kassabaum is no longer legislative assistant for Trilby Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson.

Off: Caroline Crow is no longer district secretary for Rockledge Republican state Sen. Thad Altman.

On: Matthew Hunter is returning as legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Off: Sean Nixon is no longer legislative assistant for Cutler Bay Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard.

Off: Kyle Langan is no longer legislative assistant for Inverness Republican state Sen. Charlie Dean.

Off and on: Allison Hess Sitte is no longer legislative assistant for Niceville Republican state Sen. Don Gaetz. Sitte has moved to the president’s office to serve as director of scheduling for Senate President-designate Joe Negron, aRepublican from Stuart.

Off: Nanci Cornwell and Anne-Marie Norman are no longer legislative assistants for Umatilla Republican state Sen. Alan Hays.

Off: Karol Molinares is no longer legislative assistant for North Miami Democratic state Sen. Gwen Margolis.

Off: Carolina Castillo and Alexandra Rueckner are no longer district secretaries for Miami Republican state Rep. Frank Artiles.

Off: Gabe Peters is no longer legislative assistant for Hialeah Republican state Rep. Bryan Avila.

Off and on: Lance Clemons is no longer district secretary for Monticello Republican state Rep. Halsey Beshears. He was replaced by Chris Kingry.

Off: Andrea Knowles is no longer legislative assistant for Deerfield Beach Democratic state Rep. Gwyndolen “Gwyn” Clarke-Reed.

On: Evelyn Haas is the new district secretary for Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran.

On: Beatriz Marte became district secretary for Kissimmee Democratic state Rep. John Cortes.

Off: Ashley Guinn is no longer legislative assistant for Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Off: Christian Schultze is no longer district secretary for Tampa Democratic state Rep. Janet Cruz.

Off and on: Allison Hopkins is no longer district secretary for Eucheeanna Republican state Rep. Brad DrakeAnn McGraw, formerly with Baker Republican state Sen. Greg Evers, joins Rhonda Thomas as Drake’s legislative assistant.

On: Nathan Klein is a new district secretary for Cape Coral Republican state Rep. Dane Eagle.

On: Edward Metzger is a new legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen.

Off and on: Karen Sweeney is no longer legislative assistant for Stuart Republican state Rep. Gayle HarrellCatherine Thomson is replacing Sweeney as Harrell’s district secretary.

Off and on: Derick Tabertshofer, former district secretary, replaced Jacob Gil as legislative assistant for Tampa Republican state Rep. Shawn HarrisonBenjamin Kelly is now Harrison’s new district secretary.

Off and on: Sue Berfield, former district secretary, joined Janine Kiray as legislative assistant to Clearwater Republican state Rep. Chris LatvalaKaren Flaherty is no longer Latvala’s district secretary.

Off and on: Amanda Geltz replaced Jennifer Wylie as district secretary for Yalaha Republican state Rep. Larry MetzSara Pennington is no longer Metz’s legislative assistant.

Off: Charkay Suiters is no longer district secretary for New Port Richey Democratic state Rep. Amanda Murphy.

On: Victoria Gagni became district secretary for Naples Republican state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo.

Off and on: Sarah Goldman is replacing Colleen Hartman as district secretary for South Pasadena Republican state Rep. Kathleen Peters.

Off: Lori Moran is no longer district secretary for Sarasota Republican state Rep. Ray Pilon.

On: Nitin (Sunny) Aggarwal became legislative assistant for Orlando Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia.

On: Jannette Nunez is the new district secretary for Miami Beach Democratic state Rep. David Richardson.

On: Jason Holloway is the new legislative assistant for St. Petersburg Democratic state Rep. Darryl Rouson.

Off and on: Karen Foster replaced Teri Mitze as legislative assistant for Boca Raton Democratic state Rep. Irving “Irv” SlosbergLawrence Victoria is Slosberg’s new district secretary.

Off: Adam Miller is no longer legislative assistant for Melbourne beach Republican state Rep. John Tobia.

Off: Albie Kaminsky is no longer district secretary for Panama City Republican state Rep. Jay Trumbull.

Off: Emily Bleecker is no longer district secretary for Trilby Republican state Rep. Ritch Workman.

***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.***

JAKE TAPPER KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT 2016 SAYFIE SUMMIT — The Sayfie Review Florida Leaders’ Summit announced Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and host of The Lead with Jake Taper and State of the Union, will give a post-election keynote address at the 2016 Sayfie Review Summit. The 2016 summit marks the first time the event is being held in a presidential election year, and will bring together leaders from business, government, news media, non-profit and academic leaders. In addition to Tapper, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough will give a keynote address focused on the the 2016 campaign. The summit is scheduled for Nov. 17 through Nov. 18 in Orlando.

ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE ROTUNDA – October is filled with plenty of surprises and Trimmel Gomes’ latest episode of The Rotunda dives into the most recent batch of Wikileaks docs on Clinton to Trump’s leaked tapes revealing a possible pattern of sexual abuse. Gomes also captures highlights from the second presidential debate including Trumps unexpected pre-debate press conference with Bill Clinton’s former accusers.  Florida State University political scientist Carol Weissert discusses the biggest surprise of them all in addition to political storm following Gov. Scott’s refusal to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EARLY FALL HUNTING SEASONS via Tony Young for the Panama City News-Herald – I’d like to cover the rules and regulations regarding three hunting seasons that are just around the corner: muzzleloading gun, gray squirrel and the first phase of dove. The beginning of muzzleloading gun season immediately follows the close of crossbow season in each zone. Season dates run Nov. 19 to Dec. 2 in Zone B, Oct. 22 to Nov. 4 in Zone C and Dec. 3-9 in Zone D. In some areas of Central Florida, including Hamilton, Columbia, Manatee and Hardee counties, the muzzleloading gun season actually occurs at the same time as the rut and offers a great chance to take a mature whitetail. During muzzleloader season, bows and crossbows also are legal methods of taking game on private lands, along with, of course, muzzleloaders. On wildlife management areas, though, only muzzleloaders can be used. Gray squirrel season runs statewide Oct. 8 through March 5 … Squirrel hunters can find success on small tracts of private and public lands. The first phase of the mourning and white-winged dove season started Sept. 24 and runs through Oct. 24, statewide … Doves concentrate on areas where they can find an easy meal, primarily because they have weak feet and cannot scratch through heavy vegetation for seed. They also seek out sources of water and grit, and the most successful dove hunts often occur when large numbers of doves migrate into Florida with seasonal cold fronts. You may hunt doves over an agricultural field, as long as the crop has been planted as part of regular agricultural practices, and they really like it when the soil has been disked (turned over) … it’s against the law to scatter agricultural products over an area for the purpose of baiting. For more information, go to and click “Dove Hunting and Baiting in Florida.” The only firearm you’re allowed to hunt doves with is a shotgun, and it must be plugged to a three-shell capacity (magazine and chamber combined), but you can’t use one larger than a 10-gauge. Most hunters prefer to use a 12-gauge, although smaller-framed hunters or those that seek more of a challenge may opt for a smaller gauge. Shot sizes normally range from 7½ to No. 9s.

TWEET, TWEET@GRLobby: Hard to believe year has passed since we lost our friend & mentor Fred Leonhardt. We miss him & are grateful for his life.

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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