Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 6.22.16 – While the Marco Rubio watch continues, the latest Q-poll of the race offers insight

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, Ryan Ray and Jim Rosica.

LATEST Q-POLL: MARCO RUBIO OPENS UP LEAD OVER ALAN GRAYSON AND PATRICK MURPHY

As Rubio decides whether to seek re-election, a major new Quinnipiac poll shows him with an outside-the-margin-of-error lead over both of his Democratic opponents.

Rubio leads U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy 47 – 40 percent and tops U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson 48 – 40 percent. Murphy and Grayson are ahead of several largely unknown Republican contenders.

The gender and racial gaps that mark the Florida presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are evident but smaller in the Senate race.

In the Rubio-Murphy matchup, men back Rubio 51 – 36 percent, while women are divided, with 44 percent for Rubio and 42 percent for Murphy. White voters go Republican 56 – 33 percent, while non-white voters go Democratic 55 – 30 percent.

The results are very similar in the Rubio-Grayson matchup.

Florida voters give Rubio a divided 45 – 44 percent job approval rating, while Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson gets a 52 – 22 percent job approval rating.

DAYS UNTIL: Federal candidate qualifying closes – 2; State candidate qualifying closes – 2; Domestic absentee ballots go out in primary – 34; Primary elections – 59; Deadline to register to vote in Primary Election – 40; Deadline to register to vote in General Election – 111; Absentees sent in General Election – 104; Early voting begins in General Election — 129; General Election – 139.

RUBIO EVASIVE WHEN PRESSED ON RE-ELECTION BID via Manu Raju of CNN – Days before Friday’s filing deadline for the Florida Senate race, Rubio is suggesting he still hasn’t made up his mind about whether to run for re-election … Rubio signaled he was still weighing whether to make a decision that could affect the balance of power in the Senate and impact his own future political ambitions. “I’ll let you know when I’m ready for it … When I make a decision and I’m ready to announce, I’ll tell you.” Rubio would not say if would commit to serving a full six-year term if he were to keep his seat. “Well, when I make my decision, if that’s a pertinent question, we’ll answer it. But we’re not ready to announce anything yet.” Asked if he were struggling with the decision, Rubio said: “When — look, I hope we have a chance to talk about all these things when the time comes to do that. Right now, we’re focused on some other things here regarding our work, OK?”

TWEET, TWEET: @DJGroup: Saw @DavidRiveraFL in TLH, he’s qualifying for FL State House. DR said re: @marcorubio.”it’s 50-50.” cc: @MarcACaputo, should email him.

RUBIO ‘PUT POLITICS ABOVE RIGHTS OF LGBTQ PEOPLE,’ SAYS HRC via Steve Rothaus of the Miami Herald – As Rubio decides whether to run for re-election, HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ political group, offered a blistering commentary on the senator’s career in Washington. “The timing of his consideration is just, frankly, painful,” HRC communications director Jay Browntold the Miami Herald … “To be using the tragedy in Orlando as a time to reflect on his Senate career, when his career and his promises on the campaign trail have been anti-LGBTQ consistently, it’s just staggering to think he would be using this moment for his own personal ambitions” … “Shameful is the only word that can be used to describe Marco Rubio considering — at this moment — a run for Senate after he’s promised to roll back all the gains LGBTQ people have made,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “From his votes to his rhetoric, Marco Rubio has never been an ally to LGBTQ people. To be clear, it’s because of lawmakers like Rubio that Floridians remain at risk for being fired or denied a job because of who they are or whom they love.”

CARLOS BERUFF VOWS TO CAMPAIGN STAFF TO SPEND $15 M MORE ON SENATE RACE via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Beruff reassured his campaign staff … that he has no intention of backing out of his bid to win a seat in the U.S. Senate and is ready to open his wallet even further to get it done … Beruff … has already spent over $4 million of his own money to run for the seat … he’s prepared to put another $10 million to $15 million into the race to win the Republican primary … the campaign is ramping up its advertising. That includes signing contracts with television stations for advertising that will run through next week.

FRESH POLL FROM NEW SOURCE — ALAN GRAYSON 30%, PATRICK MURPHY 27% via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics  According to a new Targeted Persuasion survey, 30 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they planned to vote for Grayson in the Aug. 30 primary. Twenty-seven percent of voters polled said they supported Murphy; while 5 percent said they planned to vote for Pam Keith.

While Grayson has a slight lead over Murphy, the survey found 38 percent of respondents said they still undecided. According to the polling memo, Grayson leads Murphy among African-American voters and Hispanic voters. Murphy, according to the memo, leads among white male and female voters.

The survey found 73 percent of respondents had at least a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. President Barack Obama is well-liked among Florida Democrats, with 86 percent of respondents said they had a favorable or very favorable opinion of the president.

GRAYSON QUALIFIES FOR U.S. SENATE RACE WITH GUN CHALLENGE TO LAWMAKERS via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – Grayson filed his papers as a candidate for U.S. Senate, then quickly challenged the Florida Legislature to enact tough gun controls. The legislation mirrors measures enacted in Connecticut and New York following the 2012 shootings at a Sandy Hook, Connecticut, school, banning possession of some semi-automatic “assault weapons” and large-capacity ammunition magazines. “We have to learn from the tragedies that occur and try make sure they never happen again, and make sure these people did not lose their lives in vain,” said Grayson … While Grayson was urging state lawmakers to act, he said he also would propose federal legislation that would reinstate the ban on assault weapons that lasted from 1994 to 2004. Experts have said that ban did little to curb gun violence, but may have played a role in a drop in mass killings, which spanned those years. The ban affected 18 specific firearms, as well as certain military-type features on guns. “It is far too easy to kill too many people quickly,” Grayson said.

U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Beruff will be in Panama City. Republican Todd Wilcox will be in Boca Raton.

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HAPPENING TODAYRubio will headline a $250 per person Washington fundraiser for 6th Congressional District candidate and Navy Reservist Brandon Patty. Also scheduled to attend are former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie, who also worked with Patty in previous campaigns. The fundraiser is set for 6-7:30 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars at 200 Maryland Ave., N.E. in Washington D.C.

TWEET, TWEET: @SaintPetersBlog: … but here’s the rub, if @MarcoRubio runs for re-elect, @RonDeSantisFL could pop back into CD 6 race, likely pushing Brandon Patty out. So, does @MarcoRubio really raise $ for a guy & then turn around and undercut his campaign? Hmmm…

CAMPAIGNING ON HOLD IN ORLANDO via Simone Pathe of Roll Call – The massacre put traditional campaigning in one of Democrats’ more competitive primaries on hold, as the four Democrats running have focused much of their attention on their community. The site of the shooting is in the newly redrawn 10th District. In subtle ways, however, the tragedy may be bringing into relief the different backgrounds and personalities of the candidates in the August primary. Most of the Democratic establishment has rallied behind [ValDemings, Orlando’s first female police chief, who canceled multiple fundraisers and all direct voter contact activities last week. After 27 years in law enforcement in Orlando, my last four years as the chief of police, my priority now is helping to heal a broken community,” Demings said in an email … Of course, local media has sought her law enforcement perspective in the wake of the shooting, and that’s given her a platform on gun safety reform. “The words ‘mass shooting’ are becoming too commonplace in this nation,” Demings told WUSA9. State Sen. Geraldine Thompson, who’s also running for the Democratic nomination, set aside her fundraisers and public campaign appearances last week, too. The Pulse nightclub is in her state Senate district.

FACEBOOK PULLS GREG EVERS’ AR-15 GIVEAWAY CONTEST POST via Danny Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – Less than a day after Evers’ congressional campaign launched a contest on Facebook offering the chance to win an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, the social media site has pulled a post about it. The Evers campaign said in a Facebook post Tuesday that one of its posts related to the giveaway was taken down by the social media site “after a California-based liberal activist reported the post for ‘promoting graphic violence.’” The campaign said the post had more than 1,100 “likes” and almost 900 shares, which was one of the ways to enter the contest, before it was removed. But the campaign said it had anticipated such a move and captured all the likes and shares before the post was removed — though it doesn’t plan to challenge Facebook’s decision.

FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Ron Sachs — “SHAME ON YOU, Florida State Sen Greg Evers. You are a disgrace, posing as a public servant. Aspire to the U.S. Congress by announcing the giveaway of an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle as a campaign ploy? You are DISQUALIFIED. Really. No Contest. Unfit to serve. That’s the deserved truth for this bottom-feeding, shallow tactic in an arrogant, abrasive and obnoxious quest to be elected. In the very few days since the Orlando massacre of 49 innocents and the maiming of dozens others, you callously go forward with this abomination of a political stunt anyway. You ARE IRresponsible for this terrible message. You have disgraced the process by this cold, calculated pandering — and it completely argues for your rejection by voters. That you expect it to resonate in a conservative district only underscores your unfitness to serve our entire state and country. That should be the verdict of voters for your dark, dangerous, desperate, drastic campaign for the U.S. Congress. Parents don’t let your babies grow up to be Evers.”

CD 4 WRITE-IN DANNY MURPHY VOWS TO ‘MAKE AMERICA LAUGH AGAIN’ via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – There has already been plenty of unintentional comedy in the race in Florida’s 4th Congressional District. Yet one new write-in candidate is bringing the intentional comedy. Murphy, whose previous political experience was on the Marc Little campaign for the U.S. Congress over two decades ago, qualified as a write-in candidate. His slogan? “Make America laugh again.” Murphy says he’d had a letter in the Florida Times-Union signaling his intention to run, which ran April Fool’s Day. The goal of his campaign? “I’m hoping that if I get a little publicity,” Murphy said, “I can line up speaking gigs.” Path to victory? Murphy freely admits it is narrow.

— “Kathy Castor and Mike Suarez endorse Ed Narain in SD 19 race” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

FLORIDA CHAMBER TO BEGIN RUNNING TELEVISION ADS FOR LIZBETH BENACQUISTO, MATT CALDWELL via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The Florida Chamber of Commerce Alliance will begin airing television ads over the July 4 weekend in support of two incumbent Republicans. The chamber has set aside $41,328 in the Fort Myers market for the cable buys, which support state Rep. Caldwell and state Sen. Benacquisto. The ads will begin running July 5, and air throughout the month … the ads will “highlight the great work these two elected leaders have done.” Jason Maughan, a Sanibel attorney, filed to run against Benacquisto June 1, a move that surprised many. Caldwell’s only opponent so far is Democrat John Scott, who has raised just $9,406. Caldwell has significant campaign cash and political performance advantages because the seat is heavily Republican-leaning. Mitt Romney won the region by nearly 10 percentage points in 2012.

LIZBETH BENACQUISTO HIGHLIGHTS ‘GOOD SAMARITAN’ BILL IN SD 27 AD via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – The 30-second spot — dubbed “Good Samaritan” — concentrates on a bill … sponsored by Benacquisto in the Senate, allows people to break into a vehicle to rescue a distressed person or an animal left unattended. The bill was signed into law March 8. It went into effect immediately. “Florida sunshine, it can be beautiful, but it can also be deadly. In Florida, every year people and pets die when guardians inadvertently leave them in sweltering heat,” the Fort Myers Republican says in the new campaign advertisement. “And since government can be short on common sense, it used to be a crime for good Samaritans to rescue people and pets they saw trapped in the heat. But I fixed that — because common sense solutions save lives and protect our families.” Under the Good Samaritan Act, a person can’t be held liable if they forcibly enter a car to remove a child, elderly person, disabled adult or pet from danger.

OPPONENTS PREPARE FOR KORGE’S MOVE TO SENATE DISTRICT 40 via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – It appears Democratic state Senate candidate Andrew Korge will transfer seats, a move that potentially sets up a three-way primary. Korge has been looking for a way to avoid running in Senate District 39 against Sen. Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican who is a top ally of incoming Senate president Joe Negron. He was expected to invest heavily in her campaign. The move would send Korge … to Senate District 40, which includes current Sen. Dwight Bullard, and Republican-turned-Democrat Ana Rivas Logan, who is a former member of the Florida House. Korge has not yet formally qualified for the seat (the deadline is Friday) … But others in the race are preparing as if he is running in newly drawn Senate District 40.

HAPPENING THURSDAY: State Reps. Chris Sprowls, Kathleen PetersLarry Ahern, Jamie Grant and Chris Latvala are holding a joint fundraiser in their re-election bids for House District 65, HD 69, HD 66, HD 64 and HD 67 respectively. Event begins 11 a.m. at TopGolf, 10690 Palm River Road in Tampa.

SAVE THE DATE: Republican Joseph “JB” Bensmihen is holding a fundraiser Wednesday, June 29, in support of his House District 68 campaign. Event begins 5:30 p.m. at the Station House St. Pete, 260 First Ave., South, Fourth Floor, in St. Petersburg. RSVP at Matt@JosephBensmihen.com of 727-643-0200.

2018 WATCH — BOB BUCKHORN BASHES DONALD TRUMP’S VISION FOR THE ECONOMY via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – As the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was bashing Trump’s economic record in a speech in Columbus, Ohio … the campaign sent out its top Tampa Bay area surrogate, Tampa Mayor Buckhorn, to join with a small-business man to denounce Trump’s plans — or lack thereof — for the economy. “Twitter is not an economic policy,” Buckhorn said in his beginning remarks. “I think what we’ve seen from Mr. Trump over the last year is somebody who talks a lot, degrades Americans, regardless of their standing, but has no coherent policy for moving this country forward.” Buckhorn was asked if that indicated that Clinton isn’t doing as well as she should be, considering the overwhelmingly bad press Trump has generated for himself in the past two weeks? “Obviously, we all know that the battleground states in the Midwest are going to be competitive, ” the mayor responded. “Working class whites in particular for some may find some appeal in what Mr. Trump says. But I think the more they think about it, and the more he’s exposed as a candidate without a track record, without a platform, with no programs that will benefit them, with a tax plan that’s only going to help the wealthiest 1 percent, I think you’re going to see a lot of those folks come home to the Democratic side and come home to Secretary Clinton.”

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STUDY: FLORIDA HAS THE FIFTH HIGHEST INCOME INEQUALITY IN THE COUNTRY via Jeff Harrington of the Tampa Bay Times – The top 1 percent of wage earners in Florida make $1.27 million on average, nearly 35 times more than the bottom 99 percent, for which the average income is $36,530. That places Florida fifth highest among all states in income inequality, according to a new paper by Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center and Estelle Sommeiller of the Institute for Research in Economics and Social Sciences. The pinnacle of inequality rests with New York and Connecticut, but Florida is one of just five states where the top 1 percent’s share of all income is above 24 percent. The most unequal metro area in Florida — and third in the country — is Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, where the top 1 percent make 73.2 times more than the bottom 99 percent. Average income of Naples’ top 1-percenters is a stunning $4.19 million. In addition to Naples, six other Florida metros rank among the 20 most unequal: Sebastian-Vero Beach (No. 4); Key West (No. 5); Miami-Fort Lauderdale (No. 7); Port St. Lucie (No. 14); North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (No. 16); and Cape Coral-Fort Myers (No. 19).

FLORIDA BRACES FOR BIG COMP RATE HIKES via Stephanie Goldberg of the BusinessInsurance.com – With no legislative fix in sight, Florida employers may face skyrocketing workers’ compensation rates as a result of recent state Supreme Court rulings. The Florida Supreme Court earlier this month invalidated the state’s temporary total disability provision, ruling in Bradley Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg et al. that limiting benefits to 104 weeks is unconstitutional and creates a system that “no longer functions as a reasonable alternative to tort litigation.” Six weeks earlier, the same court ruled in Marvin Castellanos v. Next Door Co. et al. that Florida’s attorney fee schedule is unconstitutional, as it hinders an injured worker’s ability to obtain legal representation. To cover the projected impact of Castellanos, the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. subsequently proposed a 15 percent statewide average rate increase. A 1.8 percent increase stemming from a new health care provider reimbursement manual would bring the total to 17.1 percent, or $623 million, according to the Boca Raton, Florida-based rating and research organization. Now NCCI is evaluating the ruling in Westphal “and will provide further details upon submission of any amended rate filing to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation,” a spokesman said in an email. “It’s hard to speculate as to what that figure might be, but I think it’s going to be much lower than the 15 percent” rate increase related to Castellanos, said Trey Gillespie, Austin, Texas-based senior workers’ compensation director at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA GAINING STEAM, OPPONENTS LOSING IT via Ed Dean of the Sunshine State News – On the legal front, AAF is winning the battle. Earlier this month, a Leon County Circuit Court shot down another lawsuit brought by Indian River and Martin counties on challenging AAF’s financing of their train. The court insisted the counties had no subject matter jurisdiction and had failed to establish standing to challenge the Florida Development Finance Corporation’s decisions to issue Private Activity Bonds for the rail project. Indian River and Martin counties have run up about $4.1 million in legal costs so far and now some local elected leaders along the Treasure Coast are making it a political issue. Last week, at a political forum at the Republican Women’s Club of Indian River County, there were questions about the wisdom of the latest lawsuit, which marks another time the county offered an unsuccessful legal challenge to AAF. Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramer insisted this was the fifth, not the third defeat for Indian River County against AAF. “If we are not going to win the lawsuits, then we need to be able to sit down and have a conversation with All Aboard Florida,” Kramer said. Kramer added it wasn’t good fiscal policy to continue to use taxpayers’ money on lawsuits.

GLOBAL CORAL BLEACHING COULD LAND HEAVY BLOW ON FLORIDA’S RECOVERING REEFS via Jenny Staletovich of the Miami Herald – A global coral bleaching that now ranks as the largest and longest on record could count Florida reefs among its next victims, scientists warned this week. As a powerful El Niño in the Pacific fizzles, scientists say they are keeping a close on the 220-mile reef tract that stretches between the Dry Tortugas and Fort Pierce, where recent bleaching has claimed less than one percent of the reef. After the last major El Niño in 1998, the region lost about 30 percent of the reef, a mortality rate that could climb higher in the face of climate change and increasing ocean temperatures.

HOW STATE OFFICIALS DECIDED WHO MADE THE CUT FOR NEW STATUE via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Last week, the Department of State released 129 names submitted by the public as recommendations for a new statue in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. State lawmakers will make the final decision. Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of what is now Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, is the top public choice. Every state has two statues. Florida is seeking to replace the one of Confederate Army Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith. Lawmakers passed and Gov. Scottapproved the change this past session. But that’s exactly who some people nominated as a protest vote, according to emails … Another commenter said he voted for NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt … He Neither was on the list of public recommendations. The eligibility requirements aren’t in the law passed this year but are “guidelines prescribed by the Department of State,” which adds there will be “no recommendations of fictional characters, animals, plants, structures, or other nonhuman entities or beings.” Other “suggested criteria,” according to the department, include “significant contributions … to Florida history, economy, culture, arts, education, infrastructure, and/or environment,” “distinguished military or civil service,” and “length of time the (person) was a resident of the State of Florida” … committee members “may also recommend individuals for consideration that have not been previously submitted.”

FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via FloridaHealth.gov – As of Tuesday, there were seven new travel-related cases with one in Broward, one in Miami-Dade, three in Orange, one in Palm Beach and one in Pinellas counties. There are 19 cases exhibiting symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. There are now 167 total cases in Florida; by county (number of cases): Miami Dade (59), Broward (27), Orange (15), Palm Beach (12), Osceola (6), Pinellas (6), Seminole (6), Hillsborough (5), Lee (5), Alachua (4), Brevard (4), Polk (3), Clay (2), Collier (2), Pasco (2), St. Johns (2), Volusia (2) and a single case each in Duval, Escambia, Martin and Santa Rosa with 39 cases involving pregnant women.

LEGISLATURE ON COLLISION COURSE WITH UNIVERSITY SYSTEM BOARD OVER HIGH ED PRIORITIES via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO  Under Florida’s legislative term limits and leadership structures, some lawmakers obtain tremendous power for short periods of time, and their policy and budget priorities can overshadow or even undermine longer-term plans set in motion by unelected state officials. That tension was on full display Tuesday when incoming state Senate President Joe Negron visited a meeting of the State University System’s board of governors at the University of Central Florida. The Stuart Republican has pledged to focus on boosting the state’s dozen public universities during his upcoming two-year stint as leader of the upper chamber. But his and other lawmakers’ plans for the system’s future don’t necessarily match those of the board members, who are in place for longer terms under gubernatorial appointments.

‘PREEMINENCE’ VOTE PUTS USF ON THE CUSP OF JOINING THE RANKS OF UF AND FSU via Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times – The University of South Florida was the only state university to be awarded “emerging preeminence” status by the Florida Board of Governor’s Strategic Planning Committee. It’s more than just a title. If USF’s plan is approved by the full board of governors … its Tampa campus will earn an extra $5 million from the state, as well as bragging rights among state universities and more prestige nationally. In 2013 the Florida Legislature created the Preeminent State Research Universities Program, granting an extra $5 million to $15 million in state funding to universities that could meet 11 of 12 performance benchmarks the state uses to measure success. Among them: the ability to keep freshmen enrolled beyond their first year, timely graduation of undergraduates and financial growth of the institution. Only UF and FSU have achieved “preeminence” since the program’s inception, using the extra funds to grow their global reputations and attract the best and brightest year after year. But this year the Legislature created the “emerging preeminence” category for institutions that meet at least six of the 12 criteria. The money should be invested in a way that would help the schools one day reach “preeminent” status, legislators said. USF was the only school that would have met the criteria for “emerging preeminence” in 2015, and now meets 9 of 12 benchmarks in areas such as national rankings, average GPA and SAT scores for incoming freshmen, annual research expenditures and numbers of doctoral degrees awarded each year.

PERSONNEL NOTE: MICHELLE GLADY MOVES TO FDOC via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Glady, who had been press secretary for the Department of Children and Families, has become the new Department of Corrections communications director. Glady, 30, got her undergraduate degree in communications from Florida State University. She also worked at Geiger & Associates Public Relations from 2007-2013 before joining the state. Glady replaces McKinley Lewis, now the deputy communications director for Gov. Rick Scott, in a job that last paid $81,000, according to a state salary database.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Anne Thompson Bert: State Board of Administration

Michael Hanna, Hanna & Associates: Cumulus Funding

Jerald Paul, Capitol Energy Florida: Audio Visual Innovations

Avery Tolar, Bendini Lambert and Locke: Morolto, Inc.

OKALOOSA COMMISSION DECIDE WHICH DIRECTION NEW COURTHOUSE WILL FACE via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News – Practicality won out over aesthetics Monday night as the Okaloosa County Commission voted 3-2 to position its new courthouse so that it looks out over North Main Street in the Hub City. Commission Chairman Kelly Windes was the only commissioner who didn’t state his position on the controversial courthouse alignment issue before the vote was taken. Windes’ firmly spoken “aye” in support of the more westerly facing courthouse orientation, which followed two hours of public debate on the topic, drew both applause and murmurs from a packed house.

SCOTT MADDOX BOWS OUT OF SUPERINTENDENT’S RACE via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat – In an abrupt but not unexpected about-face, Scott Maddox announced Tuesday he will not run for school superintendent. Instead, he will stay on safer and more familiar political ground and run for re-election to Seat 1 on the Tallahassee City Commission. Maddox called it an “extremely difficult” decision to make. He noted before he got in the race, the district was under investigation by a federal grand jury and Pons himself told him he would not be running for re-election. He also said he wasn’t getting out of the race because he was worried he would lose — he said his internal polling showed him ahead in the race. “Our polling showed me up,” Maddox said. “That was not a concern.”

APPLE UNLIKELY TO MAKE BIG CHANGES FOR NEXT IPHONE via Daisuke Wakabayashi and Eva Dou of the Wall Street Journal – Apple Inc. plans to break with its recent pattern of overhauling the design of its flagship iPhone every two years, and make only subtle changes in the models it will release this fall, according to people familiar with the matter. Among other things, Apple’s newest phones will maintain the current 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays.

‘JUSTICE LEAGUE’: NEW DETAILS EMERGE ABOUT DC’S SUPERHERO MOVIE via John McNary of Variety – Warner Bros. has unveiled the official synopsis, new Batmobile and logo for its upcoming “Justice League” movie, which will bring together Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. “Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy,” the synopsis said. “Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat.  But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes——it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.”

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.

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