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Sunburn for 7.10.17 – Golden Rotundas voting underway; Campaign finance reporting deadline today; Dems eye Brian Mast; DLP’s arrest; Winter is coming

in Peter 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.


Hollywood has the Oscars, music the Grammys. The best in television are awarded Emmys, the best of Broadway receive Tonys. Even the political consulting industry offers awards — the Pollies — to the best in its business.

Florida’s governmental affairs industry has the Golden Rotundas to recognize the best in the field.

Capital City Consulting was the winner of the inaugural Golden Rotunda for Lobbying Firm of the Year for 2016.

On September 5, INFLUENCE Magazine will reveal the winners of this year’s Golden Rotundas in several categories:

— Lobbying Firm of the Year

— Boutique Lobbying Firm of the Year

— Lobbyist of the Year

— In-house Lobbyist of the Year

— Best Lobbyist in several sectors, including Appropriations, Education, Environment, Gaming, Health Care, and Insurance.

Just as the INFLUENCE 100 is now the new benchmark of who are the most powerful people in Florida politics, the Golden Rotundas are the industry standard for those in the lobbying business.

The winners of the Golden Rotundas will be determined — just like the Academy Awards are voted on by those in the movie business — by those who work in the influence industry.

The Golden Rotundas will recognize a firm or a lobbyist’s body of work for 2016-17 — not a firm’s history or a lobbyist’s career.

The Lobbying Firm of the Year can only be awarded to a company ranked in the Top 30 for legislative branch compensation (as listed by LobbyTools). Each of the Top 30 firms has one ballot and must rank the top 3 firms other than itself.

Boutique Lobbying Firm of the Year will be awarded to a company with four or fewer full-time registered lobbyists. Voting is open to all registered lobbyists.

Lobbyist of the Year will be awarded to the individual whose professional success stood above all others in 2016-17. All public sector and private sector lobbyists who are actively retained or employed as lobbyists and are registered with the State of Florida as a lobbyist are eligible. Voting is open to all registered lobbyists.

In-house Lobbyist of the Year will be awarded to an individual registered to lobby on behalf of his/her employer (that is not a lobbying firm). Voting is open to all registered lobbyists.

The sector awards for Education, Gaming, Health Care, and Insurance will be awarded to the individual whose accomplishments in these individual silos stood above all others in 2016-17.

Voting is now underway and closes at 11:59 p.m. on July 31.

I will contact a representative from each of the Top 30 firms (by compensation) for their ranking of the Lobbying Firm of the Year.

To complete a ballot, email your selections to [email protected]. You must include your name and you must vote in at least 3 categories. Only one vote per person. Entries cannot be changed. ALL BALLOTS ARE CONFIDENTIAL.

I reserve the right to add to the award categories and to revise any of the rules for eligibility and voting. My goal is for the lobby corps to recognize the best of the business, so if a suggestion is made that will improve the process this first year of the Golden Rotundas, it will be implemented.

Winners will be featured in the Fall 2017 edition of INFLUENCE MAGAZINE, which reminds me …

SUBSCRIBE TO INFLUENCE MAGAZINE — “INFLUENCE is what a magazine would look like if George Magazine had been about Florida politics.” A one-year subscription to INFLUENCE Magazine is $25 and can be purchased at

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1. Who is steering Andrew Gillum‘s campaign for governor now that his manager and finance director have jumped ship. We hear that one of the people Gillum is trying to recruit is Josh Romero; will he take the CM job?

2. Will the Rick & Richard Reconciliation Tour continue? First there was the Special Session, at the end of which the Governor and Speaker locked arms and gave each other their top priorities. Now there is movement on the Lottery lawsuit. What will they agree about next? P.S. Has anyone from the House or Senate had much to say about the Gov’s deal with the Seminole Tribe?

3. Which candidates will post eye-popping fundraising numbers for the second quarter? State candidates must file by Monday, federal candidates a week later. Here’s who isn’t impressing: the Democratic candidates for governor, who, combined, raised less than $1 million dollars. Phillip Levine can’t get into the race soon enough.

4. How much more nasty can the special elections for the two Miami-area legislative seats get? Haunting arrests, bogus residencies, lawsuits, and skeletons galore are making the SD 40 and HD 116 races more interesting than a telenovela.

5. What will Jack Latvala tell his friends and supporters who will travel to his place in Maine for the Pinellas Republican’s annual soiree. It’s likely he’ll tell them, yes, he’s running for governor. But when will he get into the race?


Campaign finance report deadline — Candidates, committees and parties face a deadline today for filing reports on campaign finance activity through June 30.

Florida Democratic Party touts latest fundraising numbers” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida Democratic Chairman Stephen Bittel says … the party raised nearly $3.5 million so far this year. That means it raised nearly $2.6 million since April 1, thanks in large part to Bittel bringing Joe Biden to headline the party’s Leadership Blue fundraising gala month. … The solid fundraising quarter — more than $1 million more than what the party raised at this point four years ago — should help alleviate skepticism about the relatively new party chairman.

Gwen Graham comes away frustrated with health care policies after ‘workday’ at center” via Scott Powers of Florida PoliticsGraham spent her recent “workday” at a community health care center in Jacksonville; she came away even more aware of the health care issues at stake in public policy. “It was deeply disappointing and frustrating to hear professionals at the center compare Florida’s lack of services for the homeless to programs provided in other states. We are truly blessed to live in America. No one in this country should have to go without housing, food or health care,” Graham said. Her release quoted Andy Behrman, president of the Florida Association of Health Care Centers, as saying that Florida’s 49 federally-qualified centers saw more than 1.4 million patients last year, with about 500,000 of them uninsured and another 600,000 covered by Medicaid.

Gwen Graham talks with staff after her most recent workday in Jacksonville at a medical center.

— “Checking in on the race for governor in Florida” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats’ chances of beating Brian Mast slightly better, reports says” via Isadora Rangel of TCPalm — Cook Political Report …  changed District 18’s status in 2018 from “solid Republican” to “likely Republican” … Mast‘s seat is one of 10 nationwide where Republicans could lose ground, according to Cook’s prediction. Despite the election being 16 months away, there are warning signs for Mast and other GOP Congress members. President Trump‘s approval rating is stuck in the high 30s and most voters disapprove of the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Mast has spatted with constituents and activists angry about his vote for a House health care bill. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, dedicated to electing Democrats to the U.S. House, has said it conducted a poll that showed Mast trailing an unnamed Democrat by three points.

Alex Diaz de la Portilla called ‘belligerent’ by Boston police in 2012 misdemeanor arrest” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald — A former Miami lawmaker hoping to return to the state Senate this summer was arrested in Boston nearly five years ago after police say he and a guest ignored orders by hotel security to stop smoking cigarettes in their room and then became “belligerent” when told to pack their bags and leave. Diaz de la Portilla was charged with trespassing and taken into police custody, according to an incident report and booking form … Police also arrested Tania G. Cruz, the daughter-in-law of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, on the same charge. The Oct. 19, 2012, misdemeanor cases were dismissed before arraignment at the request of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, according to the Central Division of the Boston Municipal Court. Diaz de la Portilla brushes the incident aside as a nonevent. But the police description of the previously unreported incident is unflattering.

Jeff Brandes, Dana Young endorse Ed Hooper” via Florida Politics — … in his quest to replace Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala, who is term-limited in 2018. Brandes called Hooper “a true advocate for his community … thoughtful, collaborative and trusted … These are some of the best qualities in a Senator and I’m happy to endorse him in his campaign for the state Senate. He will help make Florida a more prosperous state for generations to come.” Added Young, who left the House for the Senate last year: “As a former colleague of Ed’s, I can tell you from firsthand experience that he is a true leader and highly respected. I know he will make an excellent Senator and represent the people of Pinellas and Pasco counties with dignity and honor.” Hooper said he was “honored” by the endorsements.

State Attorney Brian Haas endorses Ben Albritton in SD 26” via Florida Politics — “Ben has the right convictions and values to serve our area well,” said Haas, who serves the 10th Judicial Circuit covering Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. “He believes, as I do, in holding criminals accountable for their actions to keep our community a safe place to live, work and visit. He also understands the importance of early intervention to keep our youth on the right track. I look forward to Ben’s continued leadership in the Florida Senate.” Haas was elected State Attorney in 2016 after a stint as Chief Assistant State Attorney under Jerry Hill.

David Smith pours another $25,000 personal money into his HD 28 race, topping Central Florida races” via Scott Powers of Florida PoliticsSmith’s June 30 loan was augmented by $2,963 in fundraising in June, giving him $100,855 in total contributions and loans. He had primed his campaign when he kicked it off in February with an initial $25,000 personal loan. Smith, a Winter Springs businessman and former Marine Corps officer, drew a Republican nomination challenger in June with the entry of Lake Mary’s Christopher Anderson, a Seminole County deputy sheriff and Army veteran. HD 28 covers northeast Seminole County including Sanford, Winter Springs and Oviedo, and is being vacated by Republican incumbent state Rep. Jason Brodeur of Sanford.

Jose Mallea sues Daniel Perez over residency claims in HD 116 primary” via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News — The suit alleges Perez made false claims about his residency in his campaign filing documents and asks the court to nullify his candidacy entirely. Mallea is requesting the court declare Perez ineligible to be a candidate for office, to decertify his candidacy, remove his name from the ballot and refuse to certify any votes cast for him because he allegedly doesn’t live in the district. Mallea filed the lawsuit in Leon County. Last week, the Miami Herald published a story alleging political newcomer Daniel Perez’s home address is nothing but a “shell of a house,” which is totally unlivable due to being under full construction. The house on Southwest 84th Street in Kendallwood where Perez says he lives is empty, the subject of an extensive home renovation project. Perez has listed the address on his homestead exemption, his voter registration and his driver’s license, though he doesn’t actually sleep in the Kendallwood house. Perez’s home, Mallea says, does not meet the requirements to be an official candidate — and so Perez, he says, must go.


Marco Rubio isolates Tampa area by foot-dragging on opening new office” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — The failure of Rubio to find a permanent place to do business in Tampa points up an increasing isolation of Florida’s junior senator from the people he is meant to serve. Coupled with his refusal to hold town hall meetings, this foot-dragging by Rubio diminishes the interaction that’s vital for any elected representative in Washington to understand the needs back home. Rubio blames those he sees as abusers of the process, and indeed, activists opposed to the agenda of Trump have deliberately targeted the local offices of Congress members to help thwart it. But the same thing happened in his Jacksonville office and Rubio quickly found new quarters there. Why Rubio hasn’t made this more of a priority remains a mystery. Maybe Rubio just needs a better real estate agent. Whatever it takes, he should move quickly to remove this insult to the people of Tampa and open a local office.

Marco Rubio is tweeting the most Republican parts of the Bible” via POLITICO Magazine

Spotted — Rubio on tour at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. 

Rick Scott, Richard Corcoran seeking end to lottery tussle” via The Associated PressScott and Corcoran are trying to end their tug-of-war over the state-run Florida Lottery. Lawyers for both sides told an appeals court they had entered “good faith negotiations” to resolve a lawsuit over the lottery. A judge in March ruled lottery officials lacked the legal authority to approve a 15-year contract worth more than $700 million. Corcoran sued the state’s lottery secretary and argued a contract with IGT Global Solutions was illegal because it exceeded the Florida Lottery’s authorized budget … The governor disagreed with the decision and appealed the ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeal. The motion filed Friday asked for a 30-day stay of the case to allow for negotiations.

Assignment editors — Gov. Scott will highlight the 5 percent pay raise for state law enforcement officers included in the newly signed budget with an event beginning 9 a.m. at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Regional Office, 4700 Terminal Dr. #1 in Fort Myers.

Assignment editors — Gov. Scott will host a Miami freedom rally at El Arepazo 2 calling for the complete freedom of Leopoldo López and all political prisoners who have fought for democracy In Venezuela. Rally begins 1:30 p.m. at El Arepazo #2, 3900 NW 79th Avenue in Miami.

Pam Bondi case over unregistered charities heads to court” via Florida Politics A Tallahassee-based circuit judge will hear arguments Monday in a lawsuit against Attorney General Bondi that claims she forces businesses to pony up millions of dollars to unregistered charities as part of settlements in consumer protection cases. Circuit Judge Charles Dodson will hear the case at 2 p.m. in the Leon County Courthouse, dockets accessed Friday show. The plaintiff, Orlando entrepreneur John D. Smith, was investigated on a consumer fraud allegation by Bondi’s office in 2015. He invented Storm Stoppers plastic panels as a “plywood alternative” to protect windows during storms. He now argues that some of the unregistered charities Bondi makes settling parties give money to is her own “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” award and various “scholarship funds designated by the Attorney General.”

Corcoran still trailing in House popularity contest” via Dara Kam of the News Service of FloridaCorcoran, an avid Twitterer, rolled out a pair of lists last month — the “Facebook 50” and “Twitter 50” — to highlight the support representatives get on the social media sites. The more “likes” members receive, the higher their rankings on Corcoran’s lists, blasted out via Twitter. The competition was designed to push House members to increase their use of social media and “partly just a fun exercise” to see who’s already a Twitter or FB rock star … But this month’s results leave us questioning how effective the popularity contest is, at least in its early stages. Corcoran — who remains in second place — noted on Twitter yesterday there have been “some movements on the board.” But the top five social media mavens have held their positions, according to the House calculations. The top tweeter remains Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican who recently lost a bid to take over as speaker in 2022.

City leans toward honoring Dorothy Hukill” via Casmira Harrison of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — While names like “Building McBuildingface” and “Little Trump” showed that some Port Orange residents have an acute sense of humor about naming the city’s old police department, the City Council is expected to settle on a name honoring one of its former members. The council is expected to vote on the name Dorothy Hukill Annex at the July 18 meeting. Hukill, a state senator and former Port Orange mayor, was nominated by three residents in a citizens’ poll to rename the building at the entrance to City Center as it transitions into a multipurpose government office space. It has sat unused for years.

Happening today — Ray Rodrigues to address Republican women’s group — The Estero Republican, who serves as state House Majority Leader, will give a speech to the Lee Republican Women Federated, 11:15 a.m. at Pinchers, Marina at Edison Ford, 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

Florida gets new school rules via Leslie Postal of the Orlando SentinelHere’s a rundown of other new education rules state leaders ushered in: Florida students in algebra 2 classes will no longer take a state end-of-course exam … The Florida Standards Assessments — a series of language arts and math exams — will be given in paper/pencil format to youngsters in grades three to six by 2019; maybe as soon as next year. Residents — and not just parents — who dislike books, textbooks or other “instructional materials” used in public schools should find it easier to challenge those items. New Florida college students, starting next year, will have to prove their competency in “civic literacy,” either by passing a civics literacy course or a civics literacy test. A new bonus program will pay all classroom teachers evaluated as “highly effective” $1,200 and all teachers evaluated as “effective” up to $800. All elementary school students in traditional public schools are to get 20 minutes of recess a day. Students can express their religious views in classwork, in clothing and jewelry worn to school and by praying during free time under a new law. Middle school students in Florida will no longer have to take a “career and education planning” course.

Innovation vs. the ants” via Jenny Hopkinson of POLITICO — The University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center is doing cutting-edge work to find cures for new biological threats to the U.S. citrus crop, but its researchers and staff housed in some of the facility’s older buildings are also waging a more immediate fight against bugs, rodents and other fauna that thrive in the muggy summer heat. In one lab in the packing house, traps for mice and insects sometimes lie alongside microscopes and testing equipment; staffers keep a large supply of bleach on hand to clean mold off walls, vents and even dishes used to test samples. Often, it’s a losing fight … daily life in this shambling concrete packing house is symptomatic of another problem, one that cuts across the landscape of federally funded research: Maintaining its infrastructure. Most people think of innovation as requiring shiny new equipment, which it often does, but it also comes with the far more mundane requirement of clean, functional buildings to house it. Years of federal belt-tightening have starved laboratories of funding for routine maintenance, and the deterioration has reached the point that some researchers say the nation’s ability to conduct cutting-edge science is being damaged.

Millennials a growing force in snowbird county” via Mahima Singh of the Palm Beach Post — While the figures confirm the continued graying of Palm Beach County, they also show that millennials are making Palm Beach County their home. Millennials in Palm Beach County, those born between 1980 and 1995, have been a large portion of the population. But the percentage grew even greater in 2016, fueled by immigration, both domestic and international. The number of young adults living in urban areas nationwide has gone up during the past decade. The prime mover is an increase in birthrates between 1980 and 1990, wrote Dowell Myers, professor of demography at the University of Southern California in “Peak Millennials: Major forces behind their growth in cities and the expected future decline.” In other words, there were a lot more people born 25 years ago. These people are now entering the 25-35 age group, even in Palm Beach County. Despite this uptick among the young, Palm Beach County continues to attract the old. While the nation’s median age (the age where half of the population is younger and the other half older) is 37.9 years, Palm Beach County’s moved to 44.7 in 2016 from 43.5 in 2010. That’s older than the state as a whole, at 42.1.

Happening today — Florida Power & Light solar expansion update — Republican state Sen. Debbie Mayfield joins Florida Power & Light President and CEO Eric Silagy to provide updates on proposed solar energy plants in Indian River and St. Lucie counties. Event begins 10 a.m. at the FPL Blue Cypress Solar Energy Center, 10401 Fourth St. in Vero Beach.

— ALOE — 

All-Stars come to Florida with sport struggling in the state” via Steven Wine of The Associated Press — The Marlins are in their 25th season and about to host the All-Star Game when it comes to the state for the first time. But does Major League Baseball belong in Florida? Perhaps not, given the failure of the Rays and Marlins to develop a robust fan base. The Rays have finished last in the majors in attendance every year since 2011, when they were next to last. The Marlins have finished last in the NL 11 of the past 12 seasons. So what is? One issue is the transient nature of the state, which makes it different from markets where fan support goes back generations. Another issue is lack of competitiveness. Florida’s teams have reached the playoffs six times in their 43 combined seasons. The Marlins haven’t been to the postseason since 2003, the longest current drought in the NL. For both the Marlins and Rays, modest payrolls have made it tough to keep popular — and expensive — players. Constant roster turnover has alienated fans, especially in Miami, where unpopular owner Jeffrey Loria’s team is for sale.

In this June 27, 2017, photo, a vendor walks through a section of mostly empty seats during the first inning of a baseball game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Marlins Park stadium in Miami.

Florida State-Alabama already sold out. Sorry” via Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times — In a stunning turn of events, there appears to be interest in the Sept. 2 Florida State-Alabama season opener in Atlanta. Organizers of the event seemed pleased at the completely unforeseeable update. “We’re calling this game the GOAT, the Greatest Opener of All Time, because of the projected rankings, the dominance of these two programs and the fact that this is the toughest ticket I have seen in my 20 years in college football,” Peach Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan said in a statement. “To possibly have #1 against #2 in the first game of the season is a credit to the programs that Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher have built and their willingness to play this game shows their desire to compete at the highest level.”

Happy birthday belatedly to U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, Sen. Rene Garcia, former Rep. Gary AubuchonKen Cashin, Peter Cracchiolo, Danny Diaz, H+K’s Trip Farmer, Beth Gosnell, Rick HomansJon Shebel, and the great Bob Sparks.


’Game of Thrones’ season 7 episode titles, descriptions revealed” via Variety — Episode 61, “Dragonstone,” premieres July 16 and sees Jon Snow (Kit Harington) organizing the defense of the North. Cersei (Lena Headey) tries to even the odds and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) comes home. Episode 62, “Stormborn,” airs July 23. Daenerys receives an unexpected visitor, Jon faces a revolt, and Tyrion plans the conquest of Westeros. Episode 63, “The Queen’s Justice,” hits TV screens July 30. Daenerys holds court, Cersei returns a gift, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) learns from his mistakes. This is cryptic: Does “returning” a gift mean Cersei was given a present and doesn’t want it anymore? Or does it mean she is reciprocating a gift in kind?

Maisie Williams shocks as she drops MASSIVE Arya Stark spoiler” via Becca Longmire of the Sunday Express — The 20-year-old dished the dirt on what fans can expect in season seven  … with her saying that Arya’s journey could end up being “bittersweet.” Despite first insisting that she “couldn’t say anything,” Maisie eventually explained: “Things are looking up for Arya. She gets her own way a little bit, which is nice, because she’s had such a tough journey. “But … they’re also bittersweet at the same time. Dot, dot, dot,” she added to The Sunday Times’ Style magazine. Maisie also spoke out about working with actors such as Sean Bean from a very early age, with her insisting that it didn’t faze her because she was so young.

Game of Thrones map: where are all the Iron Throne contenders now?” via The Telegraph — To help out anyone in need of a brief refresher before the start of season seven, here’s a quick reminder of where everyone was last seen, location-wise, at the end of season six: Daenerys Targaryen … Last seen commanding a huge fleet of ships and embarking on a journey across the Narrow Sea, traveling to Westeros with her army. Jon Snow … Risen from the dead and ruling from Winterfell as the newly declared King in the North, following his defeat of Ramsay Bolton at the Battle of the Bastards. Cersei Lannister … Currently sitting on the Iron Throne at King’s Landing, ruling Westeros after the suicide of her son Tommen. The Night King … Currently north of The Wall, last seen attacking the village of Hardhome — but presumably intent on moving southward. Euron Greyjoy … Crowned as King of the Iron Islands following his murder of brother Balon. Melisandre … Exiled from Winterfell for her part in the murder of Shireen Baratheon, and last seen riding southward. Arya Stark … Last seen at The Twins, in the Northern Riverlands, inducing Walder Frey to eat some pies containing the bodies of his own sons, before slitting his throat. Brienne of Tarth (and Podrick Payne) … Last seen on a boat, escaping from Riverrun. Bran Stark and Meera Reed … Last seen at The Wall with Bran’s long lost uncle Benjen Stark, who left them due to the fact that he cannot pass south of The Wall. The Hound (aka Sandor Clegane) … Last seen participating in a hanging (and nabbing a free pair of boots) and planning to join up with Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr and head Northward to take on the White Walkers.

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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