Sunburn for 10/29 – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the public affairs firm known for unparalleled relationships and winning strategies: Today is the 85th anniversary of Black Tuesday, the day that launched the Great Depression and set back Florida’s efforts to recover from its own economic collapse three years earlier. By 1929 the Sunshine State was beginning to rebuild its economy following the collapse of the Florida Land Boom. But when the stock market crash brought high unemployment and dramatically lower tourism, Florida leaders renewed a focus on the state’s core industries of citrus, phosphate, cattle and other agricultural pursuits. Once the Depression and World War II ended, development really took off in Florida, launching the boom that shaped the Florida we now know and love.

Now, on to the ‘burn…

PROGRAMMING NOTE #1 – WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR HALLOWEEN?

Are you dressing up? What do you have planned for the kids? What are your favorite traditions? Email me at saintpeter4@gmail.com and I’ll include the best in Friday’s edition.

PROGRAMMING NOTE #2 – START THINKING ABOUT WHO BELONGS ON THE WINNERS & LOSERS LIST

We are now taking your nominations for the highly anticiapated 2014 W & L list. Who were the consultants who banked? Who were the hardest working activists? Who took it on the chin. All emails are confidential, but start getting them to me now.

DAYS UNTIL THE ELECTION: 6

ECONOMIC, POLITICAL DISCONTENT MAKE FOR A MIDTERM DOUBLE PUNCH via Gary Langer of ABC News

A double punch of economic and political dissatisfaction marks public attitudes in the closing week of the 2014 midterm campaign – a dynamic that reflects poorly on the president’s performance, bolstering his Republican opponents.

The discontent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is palpable. Despite its fitful gains, seven in 10 Americans rate the nation’s economy negatively and just 28 percent say it’s getting better. In a now-customary result, 68 percent say the country’s seriously off on the wrong track.

There’s no respite politically. Six in 10 express little or no trust in the federal government to do what’s right. Fifty-three percent think its ability to deal with the country’s problems has worsened in the last few years; among likely voters that rises to 63 percent.

Views of the president’s performance suffer in kind. Barack Obama’s job approval rating, 43 percent overall, is virtually unchanged from his career-low 40 percent two weeks ago. A steady 51 percent disapprove, essentially the same all year. His ratings on the economy – still the country’s prime concern, albeit one of many – are similarly weak, a 10-point net negative score.

These elements appear poised to depress voting by dispirited Democrats, tipping the scale to customarily higher-turnout Republicans. Disapproval of Obama reaches 56 percent among likely voters, and three in 10 say they’ll show up at the polls to express opposition to him – twice as many as say they’ll vote to show him support.

The result is a 50-44 percent Republican advantage among likely voters in preference for U.S. House seats in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. That compares with a +3-point Democratic tally among all registered voters, showing how differential turnout shifts the balance.

Other results may be equally cheering to the GOP.  While the unpredictable nature of key Senate races makes it premature to be measuring for drapes in leadership offices, Americans by 13 points, 46-33 percent, expect the Republicans to win control. By nine points, 32-24 percent, more also call a good rather than a bad thing.

RICK SCOTT, CHARLIE CRIST READY TO LAWYER UP IF FLORIDA RECOUNT NEEDED via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

It’s the nightmare scenario nobody wants to discuss: an election night result for Florida governor that’s so close it demands a recount.

“Oh, no, the R-word,” said Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley. “It’s going to be a close one. We’re ready.”

It’s Florida. Anything can happen.

With polls showing Gov. Scott and Crist in a virtual deadlock, both sides are making plans in case of a stalemate next week. Republicans and Democrats would mobilize armies of lawyers in a frantic search for ballots, triggering memories of the agonizing and chaotic five-week Florida recount that followed the 2000 presidential election.

Florida now has nearly 12 million voters, and a 50 percent turnout would mean about 6 million votes.

A machine recount of all votes cast is required when the margin between two candidates is half of a percentage point or less. That equates to 30,000 votes with a turnout of 6 million.

Four years ago, Scott defeated Democrat Alex Sink by 61,550 votes out of 5.4 million cast or 1.2 percent. That was so close the winner wasn’t known until the next morning, but it wasn’t close enough for a recount.

A recount must be ordered by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee.

ABOUT 2M IN FL HAVE VOTED; GOP RAW-VOTE LEAD GROWS OVER DEMS, BUT RELATIVE MARGIN SHRINKS via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald

More than 1.9 million Floridians had cast pre-Election Day ballots as Republicans slightly increased their raw-vote margin over Democrats while the GOP’s proportional lead ticked down a notch.

Total GOP lead over Democrats in ballots cast: 142,787, or 7.2 percentage points. Yesterday morning, Republicans were up 138,572, or 7.6 percentage points.

The Republicans’ surge came in the face of a big increase Monday in Democrat-dominated in-person early voting in liberal South Florida. As has been true this entire election cycle, Democrats are doing worse than in 2012; Republicans are doing worse than in 2010.

THE ONE NUMBER THAT SCOTT AND CRIST SHOULD CARE ABOUT via Gary Fineout of The Fine Print

It’s 81,153.

And as we talk about vote totals, ad buys, and self-funding in the bitter brutal contest between incumbent Gov. Scott and challenger Crist, why is that number relevant?

Because that’s the number of Florida voters who decided it wasn’t worth their while to cast a ballot in the governor’s race four years ago.

The contest between Democrat Alex Sink and Scott, which included a heavy dose of negative ads and lots of talk about HCA/Columbia and Medicare fraud, caused a spike in the number of so-called “undervotes.” Undervotes are when voters choose, for whatever reason, to leave the ballot blank in a particular race.

The state tracks undervotes and overvotes as part of an exercise to make sure there aren’t technical problems with the election.

And the report released several months after the tough 2010 election showed that the number of Florida voters who skipped the governor’s race nearly doubled from what it was in 2006 when Jim Davis squared off against Crist.

That same report also showed that by contrast the number of voters skipping the U.S. Senate battle featuring Crist, eventual winner Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meek dramatically declined from what it had been during the 2006 U.S. Senate race.

In the end that number of 81,153 is pretty significant because it exceeded the final margin of a race that won by Scott with just 61,550 votes.

UNITED FOR CARE POLL SHOWS ENOUGH SUPPORT TO PASS MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE via Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times

A new poll commissioned by the sponsor of Florida’s Amendment 2, which would legalize marijuana for medical use, shows 62 percent of likely voters will approve it, 35 percent are opposed and 3 percent are undecided, according to a United for Care release.

The poll was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove based on actual ballot language, not a summary sentence that many polls use. It was a survey of cell phone and landline users, taken Oct. 22 through 27, the release said. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 percent.

Under Florida law, Amendment 2 must win at least 60 percent approval to pass.

“This poll demonstrates a continued upward swing – attributable to recent endorsements by major papers across the state as well as a substantial increase in our outreach to voters,” said United for Care
campaign manager Ben Pollara.

WITHOUT NAMING NAMES, NEW CARLOS CURBELO AD GOES ON THE ATTACK Full blog post here

In a new campaign spot, Carlos Curbelo subtly links his opponents to Miami’s long background of corruption, with a vow to clean up politics for future generations of Floridians.

“Money and corruption … not just a history lesson,” says the Curbelo in “Driven,” a new 30-second spot dropping today. “It’s our politicians today.”

“Corruption” has been the magic Republican word throughout the race for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

“But politics doesn’t drive me,” he adds, pointing to a group of schoolchildren in the background. “They do.”

Curbelo, a 34-year-old Miami-Dade School Board member, faces Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia in the district covering all of Monroe and parts of Miami-Dade Counties.

Last year, Garcia’s former campaign manager and ex-chief of staff had been found guilty of election fraud, serving 65 days in jail, becoming one of the main GOP talking points of the campaign.

Nonetheless, in “Driven,” Garcia’s name is nowhere to be found, but his background is certainly there—in spirit. So the ad sounds positive, but the meaning is clear.

TWEET, TWEET: @Mdixon55: . @ellynbogdanoff down more than 5,000 votes to @MariaSachs with one week left until election day.

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO HEAR HD 113 CANDIDATE’S QUALIFICATION CASE Full blog post here

Florida’s Supreme Court is declining to hear the case of Laura Rivero Levey, the Republican House candidate claiming the state improperly kept her from the November ballot.

The Court’s move automatically re-elects Democrat Rep. David Richardson of Miami Beach in the House District 113 race.

Friday, in a 5-2 decision, justices turned down Levey’s appeal, after she was unsuccessful in both Leon County circuit court and Florida’s First District Court of Appeal.

On June 17, Levey gave a check for the qualifying fee to the Division of Elections, which was mistakenly dishonored by the bank holding her campaign account. Election officials did not learn of the returned check until after the qualifying period ended on June 20.

Although Levey presented a cashier’s check for the qualifying fee, along with a statement from the bank admitting to the error, but election officials refused to accept cashier’s check because the qualifying period had ended.

Levey’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court to intervene, and declare her qualified for the general election ballot, pointing to prior rulings that “strongly favor” ballot access.

Saunders also notes that the brief, two-paragraph explanation of the Supreme Court decision did not indicate the reasons for the refusal.

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FLORIDIANS’ GROWING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FALTERS JUST A SMIDGE Full blog post here

Consumer sentiment among Floridians dropped a point in October to 82, the first decline in the index since May, according to a monthly University of Florida survey.

Of the five components used in the survey — three declined, one increased, and one stayed the same. Survey-takers’ overall perception whether their personal finances are better  now than a year ago fell four points to 71, while their expectations of being better off financially one year from now fell one point to 82.

The survey shows that confidence in the national economy over the coming year fell one point to 78, but it rose a point to 82 when respondents were asked to consider U.S. economic conditions over the next five years.

Finally, respondents’ perception as to whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket item, such as a washing machine, stayed the same at 96.

Overall, economic indicators for Florida have been steady.  Unemployment for September declined to 6.1 percent, .2 percent higher than U.S. unemployment of 5.9 percent.

However, an increase in jobs rather than a decline in the labor force was a major reason for the drop in the unemployment figure, McCarty noted. Other data show a fuller employment picture.   The unemployment rate for part-time and discouraged workers is the 12th highest in the country at 13.4 percent. In addition, Florida’s hourly wages and median income are much lower than the national average.

Housing in Florida remains strong.  The median price of a single-family home in September was unchanged at $180,000, while closed sales were high compared with previous years. “But housing gains may slow in 2015 as the Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates, which will likely lead to higher mortgage rates,” McCarty said.

BAR SUES FLORIDA OVER BEER GROWLER BAN via the Associated Press

A Florida craft beer bar is suing the state over its ban on half-gallon, refillable beer jugs known as growlers.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court and names the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The Crafted Keg in Stuart said a state law that allows unlimited fills of quart-sized and gallon growlers but not a half-gallon jug is hurting its business.

The 64-ounce growler is the industry standard in the 47 states that allow them and is popular with craft beer enthusiasts.

The lawsuit calls the ban illogical. The bar is being represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation.

The state regulating agency didn’t immediately comment on the suit.

Bills have been filed to legalize the beer jug, but Anheuser-Busch distributors have successfully fought the proposals.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Brian Ballard, Bradley Burleson, Monica Rodriguez, Ballard Partners: Justice Works Youth Care, Uber

Bradley Burleson, Ballard Partners: Florida Auto Finance, Inc.

Carole Green, Capitol Strategies Consulting: Cape Coral Charter School Authority

AFTER FOUR DECADES, LOBBYING FIRM COLODNY FASS REBRANDS … AS “COLODNY FASS” Full blog post here

After a practice spanning 40 years, the prominent law firm of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb is re-branding, starting with a new, simplified name — “Colodny Fass.”

The new moniker will be effective October 31, according to Managing Partner Mike Colodny. As of that date, the firm’s web address will be www.ColodnyFass.com.

Although the name may be shorter, Colodny Fass itself is expanding, as it reinforces its role in the business growth of insurance clients throughout Florida and the U.S.

During (and after) the re-branding phase, Colodny Fass will continue to focus on its fundamental practice areas: insurance regulation, compliance, governmental relations and litigation.

The new Colodny Fass name simply reflects how clients already call the firm, says co-founder Joel Fass.

“The name change is a direct recognition of our valued clients, who have essentially been calling us ‘Colodny Fass’ for some time now,” Fass adds.  “We’ve are excited to present this streamlined new name that will proudly carry us into the next 40 years.”

MEANWHILE … FRED KARLINSKY EXITS COLODNY FASS FOR GT

… his last day with the firm is 10/31. Word on Adams Street is that he is set to join Greenberg Traurig.

CONTEXT FLORIDA: NPA, NAN RICH, L. LAMAR WILSON AND VACCINATIONS

Today on Context Florida: Data about Florida’s Election 2014 registered voter population confirms what Daniel Tilson says that many already sense or know: Growing numbers of independent voters registered with “No Party Affiliation” (NPA) are not so slowly, steadily, throwing traditional two-party machine politics in Florida for a loop. Stephen Goldstein believes that we should blame former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich if Charlie Crist loses next week. During her quixotic primary quest, she claimed to be the only real Democrat in the race, a lifelong liberal, ideologically pure. Andrew Skerritt writes of poet L. Lamar Wilson, who ran 15 miles on Sunday afternoon, to retrace the route taken by the white men who abducted and lynched Claude Neal 80 years ago in Marianna. Lori Holland, the Florida Team Leader for Meningitis Angels, was saddened by the news last week that a young Lakeland student died from apparent bacterial meningitis. She recognized that some parents are on the fence about whether to vaccinate their children, so Holland offers this one piece of advice: Please understand that the potential risk from vaccinating children is miniscule when compared to the benefits of enabling your child to live a healthy life.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the best, Bascom Communications and Consulting’s Kristen Bridges. Also celebrating today are Alan Brock and Rivers Buford III.

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