Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn 10.19.16 – Debate night in America

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.


Desperate to gain traction in a seemingly spiraling race, Donald Trump will likely use tonight’s final presidential debate to throw a barrage of punches.

Even a knockout victory, however, might not get Trump back in the race. But if the GOP nominee has proven one thing this election cycle, it’s this: If he’s going down, he’s going down swinging.

Voters might have already gotten a peek at what the bombastic businessman has up his sleeve. He’s bashed the women who have accused him of sexual assault, and tried to turn the conversation back to decades-old accusations involving former President Bill Clinton.

Down in the polls with three weeks to go, he’s repeatedly said the election is rigged against him. It’s a claim that has been refuted by Republicans across the nation, and one that forced his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, to tell Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd the campaign will “absolutely accept the result of the election.”

Expect Trump to hammer home those points and a trove of other tidbits unearthed from the recent release of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta’s hacked emails.

Will it be enough to KO Hillary Clinton in the final round? That’s tough to say.

Clinton has remained relatively cool during the previous two debates, and it’s likely she’ll keep up her defensive posture, with hopes of lulling Trump into an unforced error.

But it’s also one of the last chances for Clinton to speak directly to millions of voters, and she’ll need to use the stage to help woo undecideds and convince voters she’s the best person for the job. That continues to be a tough sell, considering both she and Trump remain among the most disliked presidential candidates in modern history.

Trump will likely attempt some low blows. But if Clinton’s approach to the second debate is any indication, she’ll take the high road in getting her message across. Expect her to talk about the work she’s done over the past 30 years for children and families and to highlight her time as Secretary of State.

Want to see how it all plays out? Trump and Clinton will face off in Las Vegas at 9 p.m. on all of the major broadcast networks and cable news channels.

HAPPENING TODAY — IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES HOLD DEBATE WATCH PARTIES — Floridians across the state are expected to hold parties across the state Wednesday to watch the final presidential debate between Clinton and Trump.

A host of immigrant organizations — including the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Florida’s Voice, WeCount, and iAmerica — will hold parties for members of the immigrant community. The parties are meant to give Floridians a chance to hear what Clinton and Trump have to say about immigration, jobs and the Supreme Court, and also rally support among the immigrant community. Parties will be held in Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Osceola, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange and Pinellas counties. For more information about the parties, click here.

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OVER 600,000 VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOTS NOW HAVE BEEN TURNED IN via Florida Politics – As of Tuesday, 639,903 ballots have been returned for the November general election. The exact tally was posted on the state’s Division of Elections website. That includes ballots to service members and others outside the country. Registered Republicans lead in voted ballots to Democrats by 265,683 to 259,883, a difference of exactly 5,800. Other party and no-party voters have returned another 114,337 ballots to their local supervisors of elections. Lawmakers recently changed the name of such ballots to “vote-by-mail” ballots from the traditional “absentee” ballots. The state’s website for vote-by-mail and early voting statistics is here.

STATE COULD TALLY 64,000 NEW VOTERS IN EXTENDED REGISTRATION PERIOD via Florida politics – Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Tuesday night announced that nearly 37,000 Floridians had become eligible to vote in the extra week for voter registration. He also said another nearly 27,000 applications were in the verification process, meaning the state could have almost 64,000 new voters on the rolls. Detzner did not provide a breakdown of new registrations by party. Last week, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of Tallahassee extended the state’s deadline to register by one week, from Oct. 11 to this Tuesday.

HAPPENING THIS WEEK — BILL CLINTON RETURNS TO FLORIDA — The Clinton campaign announced former President Bill Clinton will launch his “Stronger Together” bus tour from Orlando on Friday, Oct. 21. The tour will through Saturday, ending in Pensacola. According to the campaign, the former president will hold public events in Jacksonville, Bay County and Pensacola, with additional stops expected along the way. The former president is expected to encourage Florida voters to take advantage of in-person early voting, which begins Monday in some Florida counties.

INSERT LIVING ON A PRAYER JOKE – J. LO & BON JOVI MOBILIZING HILLARY CLINTON VOTERS IN FLORIDA via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Jennifer Lopez will host a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) performance for Clinton in Miami Oct. 29, and Jon Bon Jovi will do the same in Tampa Nov. 5 … Details to come. “This election is one of the most important in our lifetime,” said Lopez in a statement. “Florida, home to one of my favorite cities, Miami, and millions of Latinos is a pivotal state in this election. It’s time to unify, support, and vote for the only choice that makes sense not only for Women or for Latinos, but for all Americans. Vote for Hillary. I’m with her.” And speaking of celebs helping Clinton in Florida, the campaign today also released a video of Amy Schumer registering voters before her show in Tampa Sunday.

HACKED EMAILS: ANDREW GILLUM WAS HILLARY CLINTON VP CONTENDER via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat – Tallahassee Mayor Gillum’s name appeared on an early list of contenders for Clinton’s running mate, according to an email reportedly hacked from her campaign director’s account. Gillum was among 39 people listed in the email, which was posted on WikiLeaks. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chief, sent the email to the former secretary of state March 17, two days after she won Democratic primaries in five states, including Florida, the document indicates. In the email, Podesta described the list as a “first cut” of potential running mates. It included a wide range of people from politics and business, including former Attorney General Eric Holder, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Clinton’s eventual pick, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. “That’s awesome,” said Steve Vancore, a Democratic consultant and pollster. “What else can you say? It’s an honor to be considered.”

RICK SCOTT’S PRO-DONALD TRUMP SUPER PAC RAKES IN $18 MILLION via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – … including $6 million from Linda McMahon of WWE fame and a former U.S. Senate candidate in Connecticut. McMahon has been critical of Trump –“He’s not helping, certainly, to put women in the best light,” she told Yahoo Politics in March — but joined the team and her donations to Rebuilding America Now came in several installments starting in August, according to an FEC report. The PAC had $3 million cash on hand, having spent the bulk of the money on a number of TV commercials supporting Trump and attacking Clinton. Other big donors: Marcus Bernard, a founder of Home Depot: $5 million; Ronald Cameron, the poultry billionaire – $2 million … Scott is not among them. As Scott has taken on a growing role helping raise money for a super PAC supporting Trump, his own political action committee on the state level has dramatically slowed its fundraising.

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IMAGINE THE TENOR OF 2016 WITH MARCO RUBIO AS THE GOP NOMINEE via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Instead of a nominee talking about America as if it were heaving its last, dying gasps, they would hear optimism and idealism. “Let there be no doubt that we are an extraordinary nation,” Rubio said, acknowledging the deluge of bad news at home and abroad lately. “Yes America has problems. It has more problems than it should because of eight years of Barack Obama. But ask yourself this question: Who would you rather be? What nation on Earth would you trade places with right now? Would you rather be China? Would you rather be any other nation on Earth?” Instead of downplaying and debating whether their nominee is a sexual assaulter or merely a pig, Republicans would have an election far more focused on Clinton‘s record and agenda. Instead of talking about their nominee as the lesser of two evils, Republicans could hold up the election of this youthful Cuban-American son of a maid and bartender as evidence of America’s greatness. Instead of talking about poll after poll showing their nominee losing, I strongly suspect Republicans would be touting polls showing Rubio beating Clinton.

It’s safe to assume change trumps the status quo — unless the change candidate manages on too many days to come off as a shallow and volatile. Illegally hacked emails from the Clinton campaign dribbling out through WikiLeaks clearly illustrate how Florida’s junior senator worried them as a potential general election opponent. “He gives a good speech, and sounded much more reasonable, populist and accessible than much of the rest of the GOP field. Felt more like an inspiring Democratic speech than a GOP candidate,” one campaign aide wrote in April 2015 of Rubio’s presidential announcement speech.

CAN HILLARY CLINTON DRAG PATRICK MURPHY OVER THE FINISH LINE via the Crowley Political Report — Not likely but possible. That’s the short answer as to whether Murphy‘s dismal campaign can be saved by Clinton. Murphy’s campaign has been a bit of mystery. When Murphy believed that Rubio would keep his word to not run for a second term if he lost his bid to be president, it was naive. Rubio’s life is about politics and while the Republican clearly is disappointed by the inertia of Senate, leaving public life was never a real possibility. Without Rubio in the race, Democrats believed Murphy had an excellent chance to win against whoever would be the GOP nominee. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Majority PAC, were prepared to spend heavily in support of Murphy. But like a bicycle tire with a slow leak, Murphy’s campaign seemed to go flat shortly after Rubio shocked no one by saying he wanted to stay in the Senate. Rubio has remained comfortably in the lead in public polls.

Real Clear Politics polling average gives Rubio a 4.2-point lead. One gets a hint of what internal Democratic Party polls are saying by the fact that the DSCC and the Super Majority PAC (led by Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer) have pulled out of Florida claiming the state is too expensive (it wasn’t less expensive when they planned to support Murphy). There have been missteps. Rubio challenged Murphy to six debates. Murphy should have accepted immediately and insisted that debates start that week. Instead, he turned it into a debate about debates saying he wanted Rubio to commit to a 6-year term. Murphy’s team loves the 6-year term argument. It has become a central point of their campaign. Perhaps there are voters who care but not many. Running for higher office in the middle of one’s term is well, part of American politics. Few will be shocked if Rubio runs for president again in 2020.

All this second guessing is just another sign that faith in Murphy winning is rapidly diminishing. Still, some cling to the hope that if Clinton gets enough votes she might be able to drag Murphy over the line.

FLORIDA POLL: U.S. SENATE RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – … according to a new Quinnipiac University poll that shows Rubio holding a within-the-margin-of-error lead of 2 points. Rubio gets 49 percent and Murphy 47 percent in a poll with a 3.8 percent margin of error. Quinnipiac’s survey of 660 likely Florida voters was conducted Oct. 10-16 — before Rubio and Murphy met for Monday night’s televised debate. Rubio held a 48-to-44 percent in lead in a Quinnipiac poll released two weeks ago and a 50-to-43 percent advantage in a September Quinnipiac poll. Rubio is running ahead of Republican presidential nominee Trump, who trails Clinton in Florida by a 48-to-44 percent margin in a Quinnipiac poll released Monday. A key difference: Rubio does better with nonwhite voters than Trump. Only 19 percent of nonwhite voters back Trump in the presidential race, while 33 percent of non-whites support Rubio in the Senate race.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Rubio will visit the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, 2701 North 16th Street in Tampa, at 9 a.m. He is expected to discuss a bipartisan bill to exempt large and premium cigars from excessive and overly burdensome FDA regulations and fees. Media interested in covering the event should RSVP

>>>Background on this issue – “FDA aims to smoke out cigar-makers” via Philip Swicegood of The Resurgent

‘CHECKMATE’ IN THE MARCO RUBIO-PATRICK MURPHY DEBATE via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics – In the game of chess, it is called “checkmate.” It is that moment when a player realizes their opponent just cut off their last route of escape. I think that’s the gambit Rubio sprung on Murphy during their U.S. Senate debate … One of the best lines of attack for Murphy was that Rubio hadn’t committed to serving the full six-year term that goes with being a senator. The implication was this young man in a hurry was at it again, using the Senate as just a parking spot until he could accomplish his real ambition — winning the presidency. It was a strong argument, especially given Rubio’s shoddy attendance record during his first term in office. But then Rubio broke the news in the faceoff with the following statement: “I am going to serve in the Senate for the next six years.” Say what? Does this mean you’re not going to run for president in the next election, Rubio was asked? “I am going to be a senator for the next six years on behalf of the state of Florida.” Whether he actually keeps that vow is fodder for future debates and campaigns. After all, he also promised repeatedly he wasn’t going to run for re-election to the Senate, and here we are. With his promise, Rubio may have removed the last bit of major uncertainty the public had about his actual interest in doing the job. If voters decide he means what he says … checkmate.

RUBIO, MURPHY SPARRED OVER SEVERAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN DEBATE via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Rubio and Murphy touched on the Everglades, climate change, sea level rise and Florida’s water wars with Georgia over the Apalachicola River and Bay. While Rubio hit Murphy on his lack of accomplishments in Congress, Murphy replied, “What about the $2 billion I was able to reach across the aisle and find some friends to work with to clean up the Everglades?” But Rubio said he had accomplished more for the Everglades by getting the Central Everglades Protection Plan included in a recent federal water bill. “You talk about the Everglades congressmen – let me tell you something,” Rubio said. “I convinced, after years of opposition, the chairman of the (Senate) water committee, Jim Imhofe, to change his mind and support the Central Everglades Planning Project.” “In essence I got more done on the Everglades in one day than you did in four years,” he said.

Neither candidate brought up a proposal to build a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to divert discharges to coastal estuaries. That project is not included in the Central Everglades Protection Plan. Rubio was asked during the debate how could he only say that he’s “not a scientist” to previous questions about climate change when the resulting sea level rise poses a threat to the coastline and drinking water as shown by flooding this week in Miami. Rubio responded that the flooding was a result of a “King Tide” and said, “If in fact sea levels are rising and they are impacting our communities, we should spend money to mitigate that.”

MURPHY ELABORATES ON OLD FACEBOOK PHOTO RUBIO BROUGHT UP IN DEBATE via Tony Morrero of the Tampa Bay Times – The Facebook photo has been circulating for weeks among GOP circles: a fresh-faced Murphy sitting at a table with one arm around a woman and a few fingers of his other hand apparently on her breast. During Monday night’s debate … Rubio tried to use the photo as a weapon against Murphy … Murphy has criticized Rubio for his support for Donald Trump, especially after allegations about Trump’s treatment of women. In the latter half of the debate, Rubio turned the tables and referenced Murphy’s photo, calling it “inappropriate behavior.” Murphy appeared flustered. Murphy … dismissed the photo as an artifact from his early 20s and said Rubio’s attempts to use it against him were “low” and “desperate.” “Look, when Donald Trump goes low, Marco Rubio goes lower,” Murphy told reporters after a campaign event in West Tampa. “This is a picture with my girlfriend from my 20s, a college girlfriend. I dated her for four years, and we were at dinner.”

AFP-FL TARGETS MURPHY IN NEW DIGITAL AD CAMPAIGN — Americans for Prosperity launched a five-figure digital ad campaign Tuesday targeting Murphy and his support of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. The 30-second spot ties him to President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and says the health law was “sold with lie after lie.” “Floridians are facing an average health insurance premium increase of 19 percent next year, but that hasn’t stopped Patrick Murphy from proudly supporting the costly and disastrous health care law. In fact, in last night’s debate he claimed it was a ‘huge step forward.’ If we elect politicians who are committed to Obamacare, we can expect that costs will only further escalate while choice and quality care continue to deteriorate,” said Chris Hudson, the state director of AFP-FL. “That would not only endanger Floridians, but also people across the country. Our decision in November plays a critical role in the nation’s health care future and that’s why Americans for Prosperity-Florida will continue to educate voters on Patrick Murphy’s support for the abominable law.” Click the image below to watch the ad.

DSCC PULLS LAST REMAINING AD SUPPORT FOR PATRICK MURPHY via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – The committee this week started cutting the remainder of its reserved ad time — worth about $2 million — which had been planned for the final week of the election. The decision was not unexpected, because the DSCC has been gradually withdrawing its money from Florida since early September when the committee had initially claimed it would shift its resources closer to Election Day. (It didn’t.) The group had, this spring, reserved $10 million in total ad time to support Murphy.

— “Murphy unveils Spanish-language ad featuring Barack Obama” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

FOR YOUR RADAR – LATEST REPORT SHOWS DEMOCRAT KEN MCGURN VASTLY OUTRAISES TED YOHO IN CD 3 MONEY RACE via Florida Politics – McGurn outraised Republican Rep. Yoho by a 3-to-1 margin in the last quarterly report before Election Day … McGurn has brought in about $215,000 since Aug. 11, putting him past the $500,000 mark in total fundraising and leaving him with $302,000 in the bank ahead of the final weeks of election season. Yoho, through the same date, added $71,000 in contributions. Sarah Barnes, McGurn’s communications director, said the fundraising numbers show “voters are turning away and with force from Trump surrogates like Yoho, in favor of more bipartisan leadership like newcomer McGurn.” Still, Yoho holds a significant fundraising advantage over McGurn. The incumbent congressman has raised nearly $750,000 this cycle and still had nearly $450,000 of that money in the bank on Sept. 30.

DEMOCRATS TOUT SECOND POLL SHOWING STEPHANIE MURPHY UP IN CD 7 via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The poll, commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and performed by Global Strategy Group and Lester & Associates, shows Murphy with 48 percent and [JohnMica with 45 percent. It’s the second poll in two weeks the DCCC has commissioned showing Murphy ahead. Last week she had a two-point lead. The latest poll, according to the DCCC, shows people are getting to know her, with 47 percent of voters saying they are familiar with her and her story, up from 34 percent in September. The new survey also shows Murphy holding a strong lead among independents, 54 percent to 36 percent.

JOHN MICA, MURPHY, EACH RAISE ABOUT $400K IN LATEST PERIOD via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Mica raised $400,000 in the seven weeks before October and had more than $1 million left to spend against Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Murphy also raised nearly $400,000 between the Aug. 10 report and Sept. 30 … Yet Murphy, a first-time candidate who did not file until late June, began her deluge of campaign spending in August and she entered October with just $167,000 in the bank, according to the latest reports, posted Monday by the Federal Election Commission. Mica also reportedly has just spent the bulk of his money in a big TV buy, though it occurred after the Sept. 30 reporting date. That would put his cash-on-hand close to what Murphy entered the month with. Mica … drew $198,000 in individual contributions and another $203,000 in political action committee money during the period. He also spent just $82,000 in the period, less than a quarter of what Murphy reported spending since Aug. 10.

RANDY PERKINS SLAMS BRIAN MAST OVER ALL ABOARD FLORIDA IN NEW CD 18 AD — The Perkins campaign released a new TV ad this week criticizing Mast for taking money from people who supported All Aboard Florida. The 30-second spot, called “First Sugar, Now This,” claims Masthas said he is against the controversial rail project, but has accepted donations from its backers. “I have fully funded my own campaign so I would not have to play these games. I only answer to the residents of District 18,” said Perkins in a statement.  “How can we believe Brian when he’s trying to confuse voters about which special interests are funding his campaign?” Perkins and Mast are both vying to replace Patrick Murphy in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. Click the image below to watch the ad.

PAUL RYAN TO CAMPAIGN FOR CARLOS CURBELO AT MIAMI-AREA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Ahead of his big fundraiser for Curbelo, House Speaker Ryan will campaign [today] with the endangered Miami Republican at Caribbean Elementary School, west of Cutler Bay. The event will focus on Curbelo’s work in Congress giving students learning English more time to achieve proficiency in reading and math before having their scores count on key tests. It’s being advertised by Curbelo’s congressional office, as opposed to his re-election camp. Reporters have been warned that Ryan and Curbelo won’t take questions. … Later … Ryan will raise money for Curbelo, who’s facing a challenge from former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia.

COMING TO CARLOS CURBELO’S AID ON SPANISH-LANGUAGE RADIO: $400K IN ADS FROM GOP GAY RIGHTS SUPER PAC via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – American Unity PAC, which last month unveiled a $150,000 digital ad campaign on Curbelo‘s behalf, says it has bought $400,000 in Spanish-language radio ads between Wednesday and Election Day to help the endangered Curbelo try to hold on to Democratic-leaning 26th Congressional District. “He’s such a bold voice for us, and he’s a young member of Congress,” Tyler Deaton, senior adviser to American Unity, said about the group’s sizable investment in Curbelo. He estimated the super PAC will spend about $750,000 on the race, between the radio ads and an expansion of its digital ads, which focus on equal pay for women and are out in Spanish and English. American Unity will air a positive, pro-Curbelo ad and a negative, anti-[Joe] Garcia ad, both of which will also be available online. “Curbelo is a different kind of Republican,” the pro-Curbelo spot says, casting the congressman as a maverick and a champion of immigration reform the environment and equal pay for women. “He opposes the dangerous deal with Iran which rewards a regime that persecutes women, Christians and gay people and threatens to wipe Israel off the map.”

DEMOCRATIC POLL SUGGESTS TRUMP FALLOUT MIGHT BE HURTING AT LEAST ONE MIAMI REPUBLICAN via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – A new poll that shows U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s advantage has shrunk over her Democratic challenger, Scott Fuhrman. Ros-Lehtinen, a veteran congresswoman, still tops Fuhrman, a first-time candidate, by 9 percentage points in the Frederick Polls survey commissioned by Fuhrman’s campaign. But her 41-32 percent lead is smaller than the 57-38 percent margin she held in September, when Frederick also polled the race — showing some voters have shifted from backing Ros-Lehtinen to feeling undecided. When pollsters tested negative messages against Ros-Lehtinen, the contest flipped to 40-31 percent in Fuhrman’s favor. But a bigger reason behind the drop in Ros-Lehtinen’s support could be Trump.

HAPPENING TODAY – JOE NEGRON HOLDS FINAL CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISER — Senate President-designate Negron is scheduled to hold his final fundraising reception for his Senate District 25 bid. The Stuart Republican will host a fundraising reception at 5 p.m. at The Ritz Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive in Sarasota. Negron faces Democrat Bruno Moore in the Nov. 8 general election. Records show Negron has raised $495,014 for his state Senate re-election bid. That sum doesn’t include money raised for his political committee.


DANA YOUNG PROMOTES HER WORK ON SCHOOL CHOICE IN NEW TV AD IN SD 18 RACE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – The 30-second, called “My Children,” features an African-American mom praising Young for helping her out when she learned she was zoned for a school she didn’t want her kids to attend. “My children are my life,” says the mother. “So when they were zoned for a school that wasn’t a good fit for them, it broke my heart. That’s when I heard about Dana Young, who not only supports traditional public schools, but also gave parents like me a choice — a scholarship program giving over 90,000 children like mine an opportunity to succeed and parents like me the ability to find a school that works best for our kids. Thank you, Dana Young, from the bottom of my heart.” The ad — paid for by the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee — also mentions Young has been a supporter of traditional public schools as well during her six years serving in House District 60.

INSIDER REVEALS DECEPTIVE STRATEGY BEHIND FLORIDA’S SOLAR AMENDMENT via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, detailed the strategy used by the state’s largest utilities to create and finance Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville Oct. 2. Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,” according to an audio recording of the event … He offered others a recommendation: “As you guys look at policy in your state, or constitutional ballot initiatives in your state, remember this: Solar polls very well,” he said. “To the degree that we can use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu and take what they’re kind of pinning us on and use it to our benefit either in policy, in legislation or in constitutional referendums — if that’s the direction you want to take — use the language of promoting solar, and kind of, kind of put in these protections for consumers that choose not to install rooftop.”

The comments underscore the claims made by opponents to Amendment 1 on the November ballot that the utility-backed political committee, Consumers for Smart Solar, was formed to undercut attempts to allow third-party sales of rooftop solar by leaving voters with the impression that their alternative amendment will expand solar generation in Florida. Spokeperson for Consumers for Smart Solar, Sarah Bascom, however, contradicted Nuzzo’s claims [saying] “Consumers for Smart Solar did not engage or hire or ask JMI to do research regarding the effort.”

>>>What’s the over/under on how many hours before Nuzzo loses his plum job? 

FLORIDA CHAMBER: “EVERY VOTE COUNTS AND MAKES A DIFFERENCE” via Florida Politics — The Florida Chamber has a message for its members: Go vote. The statewide business advocacy organization’s employer-to-employee news and information program launched its “Let’s Get Local” campaign this week. The get out the vote program is meant to encourage employees to vote in the general election. The Chamber also rolled out a video highlight the importance of voting. The 60-second spot, called “Help Protect American Opportunity – Vote,” calls on Floridians to “protect American opportunity with the most powerful tool you have — your vote.” “There’s more to this election than just the top of the ticket,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said in a memo to the Florida Chamber’s board of directors, local chambers, and the business community. “In fact, there are important state House and Senate races taking place all across Florida, and voters will be asked if they support amendments to the state constitution.”


Neal Dunn, running for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Lisa Montelione, running for Florida House District 63, has been endorsed by Tampa City Council Chair Mike Suarez, Council Pro-Tem Harry Cohenand the Florida Education Association.

Rosy Palomino, running for Florida House District 112, has been endorsed by the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC.

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DESPITE STORMS FLORIDA HURRICANE FUND REMAINS IN GOOD SHAPE via The Associated Press – Anne Bert, the chief operating officer of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, said preliminary estimates predict that the fund will pay out less than $200 million for Hurricane Matthew. Bert said it appears there will likely be only minimal payouts associated with Hurricane Hermine. The fund’s advisory council Tuesday approved new financial estimates that show the fund has roughly $17.5 billion available and could borrow $7.7 billion more if needed. The financial health of the fund is important because the state can impose a surcharge on most insurance policies to replenish it if the money runs out. Some critics have called the surcharge a “hurricane tax.”

FEMA ADDS MORE FLORIDA COUNTIES FOR HURRICANE MATTHEW DISASTER ASSISTANCE via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Gov. Scott said he was disappointed the federal government only approved portions of Florida’s request and has not yet approved funding for individual assistance or for permanent work to roads, parks and government buildings … a FEMA spokeswoman said the major disaster declaration had been amended to include Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia counties for individual assistance. She said those counties already were designated for debris removal and emergency protective measures. In addition, Putnam County was added for individual assistance. “Florida has not been denied assistance,” Alexa C. Lopez, FEMA’s press secretary, [said] … “all four states (including Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina) have been granted major disaster declarations.” In response … Scott said he was glad the designations had been made but he was hoping that additional counties in Florida would receive the designation.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will attend a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. at Johnson & Johnson, 8800 Grand Oak Circle in Tampa.

HAPPENING TODAY – AIDES HOLD PRE-CABINET MEETING — Aides to Gov. Scott and the Florida Cabinet will meet at 9 a.m. in the Cabinet meeting room at the Florida Capitol, 400 S. Monroe Street in Tallahassee. The Florida Cabinet is scheduled to meet on Oct. 25.

FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via – As of Tuesday, there were six new travel-related cases of Zika, with four in Broward County, one in Polk County and one involving a pregnant woman. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. So far, there are 1,040 total cases of Zika in Florida: 744 travel-related infections; 163 non-travel related infections; 109 infections involving pregnant women; 19 out of state cases (not Florida residents); and 5 that were undetermined.

The DOH recommends women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to Zika affected areas. The department also urges Floridians to drain standing water weekly, no matter how seemingly small. A couple drops of water in a bottle cap can be a breeding location for mosquitoes. Residents and visitors also need to use repellents when enjoying the Florida outdoors. The department has conducted Zika virus testing for more than 9,206 people statewide. Florida currently has the capacity to test 9,260 people for active Zika virus and 6,846 for Zika antibodies. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is 1-855-622-6735. The hotline, managed by the Department of Health, has assisted 6,779 callers since it launched.

NEW POOL OF ZIKA-POSITIVE MOSQUITOES TRAPPED IN MIAMI BEACH via the Associated Press – A Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control news release says officials learned about the new pool Monday. The insects had been collected from a trap Oct. 5. The new pool is in the previously designated Zika transmission zone. A large portion of Miami Beach remains an active Zika infection zone. Officials announced last week that several people had been infected with Zika in a 1-square-mile area of Miami just north of the Little Haiti neighborhood.

BRIDGES OF AMERICA PRISONER TRANSITION GROUP BATTLES STATE FOR A SECOND CHANCE via William Patrick of – Dozens of … recovering non-violent inmates have written letters, putting a human face on the department’s decision to defund 688 substance-abuse treatment beds at facilities like Knight’s Bridges of America – the largest private provider of prison-to-society re-entry services in the state. Such programs have been shown to reduce repeat crimes. With about 40 percent of state prisoners incarcerated for drug and property related offenses, and 30,000 inmates released annually, successful substance abuse and employment re-entry programs are important rehabilitation tools to improve public safety and save taxpayer money.

Where the [Florida Department of Corrections] has performed comparatively worse in the past, it now says it can do better. It plans to pull $13 million in annual funding from three community-based treatment providers by the end of the year, and incorporate new rehab services from behind prison walls. The department is betting that the statewide implementation of its new Spectrum program, a scientific needs-assessment system, can reform and de-institutionalize inmates from inside its correctional institutions. Where Spectrum is scientific, Bridges says it takes a “wholistic approach” to recovery. Once a local Orlando-area ministry, Bridges claims to serve 10,000 inmates and offenders internationally. Providing such services inside prisons can’t be as effective, the group says. In addition to living among violent offenders and potentially active drug abusers, a successful transition or bridge, back to society requires a phasing-in of everyday life.

— “Data, depositions show DOC misled in justifying changes in drug-abuse treatment for inmates” via Daniel Ducasi of POLITICO Florida

JUSTICE AGENCIES IDENTIFY BUDGET AREAS TO CUT IN THE EVENT OF A REVENUE SHORTFALL via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – The Department of Corrections would cut … $110.2 million in budget reductions. The reductions would come from a change to the statute that says those sentenced to a year or more of incarceration should be sent to a state prison. DOC would change the minimum incarceration requirement time to a sentence of 24 months or more, shifting financial responsibility to the county-run jails who would house prisoners sentenced to fewer than 24 months. The Justice Administrative Commission suggested $74.5 million in cuts from the General Revenue and $11.3 million from trust funds. The bulk of suggested decreases comes from a 10 percent cut across the board for state attorneys and public defenders in the 20 circuit courts, with many districts citing disruptions in services and operations in the event of this type of reduction.

The remaining reductions would impact the Guardian ad Litem Program by $4.6 million, displacing almost 5,700 vulnerable children, according to the agency narrative. Another $10.5 million would come out of the budget for jury-related costs, Justice Administrative Commission employee salaries and process costs for resources for state public defenders. Salary and benefit reductions equivalent to 25 percent of staff would decrease the State Court System budget by $49.4 million … The Department of Juvenile Justice would cut … $51.3 million in total reductions. The agency said the first thing they would cut is $6.1 million by removing funding for transitional and community supervision services such as day treatment programs and reduced probation respite beds. To compensate for a revenue shortfall, the Department of Legal Affairs and Attorney General’s Office would cut almost $15 million. The Department of Law Enforcement would need to cut … $20.7 million in total budget reductions. FDLE did not prioritize its list of possible reductions.

FLORIDA SENATE RENOVATIONS NEAR COMPLETION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta tweeted back Oct. 5: “Chamber Reno Update — About one month to left to go.” She posted photos showing the chamber with redone walls, new desks and new carpet going down. As planned, the nearly 40-year-old mural that greeted visitors to the fifth floor gallery has been removed. Departing Senate President Andy Gardiner has said the mural will be preserved for viewing elsewhere and stored until then. The 10-foot-by-16 foot “Five Flags Mural” greeted visitors to the Senate since the Capitol opened in 1978. The work also happens to depict a Confederate general and flag. The Senate previously voted to remove that symbol from its official seal and insignia. When the chamber is reopened, senators will stand under a new ceiling dome, modeled after one in the Historic Capitol. Gardiner pulled the trigger on the upgrade, recognizing that the chamber “has received only minimal updates since its original construction in the 1970s,” he said in a memo.

SENATOR-ELECT LAUREN BOOK THANKS VOTERS, COMMUNITY WITH KIDS’ BOOK DISTRIBUTION via Florida Politics – Book will be saying “thank you” to voters of Florida Senate District 32 with an important personal symbol of her gratitude. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 22, the Plantation Democrat and children’s activist will host a districtwide giveaway of the iconic “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. “When I was a young girl, my father used to read this book to me almost every night,” said Book, a former classroom teacher. “It was my favorite and I genuinely cherish the memories of spending quality time reading with him. It inspired me to overcome tragedy, to find my best self, and to reach for the stars.” After winning the SD 32 seat in June without opposition, Book decided to give back to the community she will represent in Tallahassee starting March. “I am using our leftover campaign dollars to say thank you to the people of this district for allowing me the honor and privilege of serving,” Book said. “I hope that sharing this book will inspire local kids to do great things and will encourage parents to spend some quality time reading with their children.” While supplies last, Seuss’ books will be available at public libraries throughout SD 32, available to any child who asks. Book has distributed more than 2,000 copies, and will also keep a limited supply in her district and Capitol offices.

HAPPENING TODAY – JULIO GONZALEZ HOSTS BOOK SIGNING FOR NEW BOOK — Gonzalez is set to attend a book release and signing for his new book “The Federalist Papers: A Constitutional Plan to Restoring America’s Greatness” at 5:30 p.m. at The Francis, 1289 N. Palm Avenue in Sarasota.

ARTHENIA JOYNER, JEFF KOTTKAMP APPLY FOR CONSTITUTIONAL PANEL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – … the latest applicants to Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga for the Constitution Review Commission. Court spokesman Craig Waters provided an updated list of 20 applicants Tuesday. The Florida Constitution allows for a “revision commission” to meet every 20 years to “examine the constitution, hold public hearings and … file its proposal, if any, of a revision of this constitution or any part of it.” The state’s chief justice is allotted three appointments to the commission. Labarga, who is accepting applications through Dec. 31, has said he’ll make the appointments with the advice of the other justices. Labarga’s selection process is expected to be less partisan and more weighted toward legal acumen than others. For instance, Gov. Scott will choose 15 of the 37 commissioners and selects its chairperson.

FLORIDA UNIVERSITIES LEND SUPPORT TO SAYFIE SUMMIT — Five Florida universities announced this week they are sponsoring the 2016 Sayfie Review Florida Leaders Summit. The annual event — scheduled for Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 in Orlando — is meant to bring together Florida’s top business, government, media, non-profit and academic leaders to discuss and consider issues facing Florida. This is the first time the vent is being held in a presidential year, and will feature keynote addresses from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Jake Tapper. The universities sponsoring the event are the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Miami, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Nova Southeastern University.

FLORIDA’S MICCOSUKEE TRIBE LOBBIES UP FOR EPIC TAX BATTLE via POLITICO Influence – The tribe has hired HBW Resources, including former U.S. Rep. Jimmy Hayes of Louisiana, now a transpo and tax lobbyist, the website reported. The 600-member tribe has a reservation in the Everglades and a casino west of Miami. In August, a federal judge ruled that distribution of casino profits was not exempt from U.S. income taxes. According to the Associated Press, that means tribe members could owe back taxes on gambling profits, averaging between $120,000 and $160,000 a year for each member.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friends, Tiffany Carr and Rick Lindstrom.

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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