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Sunburn for 7.21.16 – A grand Cruz delivers a vintage speech; plus a dozen campaign videos and now gifs!

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, Lloyd Dunkelberger and Jim Rosica.



Delegates at the Republican National Convention thunderously booed Ted Cruz for refusing to endorse Donald Trump Wednesday — clouding an evening intended to highlight vice presidential candidate Mike Pence as a unifying force for the party. The disorder provided fresh reminders of the fissures that remain.

Cruz walked onto the Cleveland stage to a standing ovation and held the audience’s rapt attention until he told delegates to “vote your conscience” with no mention of nominee Trump, who had called him “Lyin’ Ted” on the campaign trail. The crowd then turned on him with loud boos.

Soon after, Pence, in accepting the party’s nomination, sought to bring the party together: “What unites us far exceeds anything that sets us apart in America,” he said.

— Boos for Cruz — 

Cruz arrived in Cleveland with an eye on his own political future, holding a large rally with hundreds of supporters who greeted him with chants of “2020” — the next presidential election.

The Texas senator held the crowd during the first half of his convention hall speech, as he urged Americans to support the families of five police officers killed in Dallas this month. But he lost many delegates when he told them: “Don’t stay home in November. Stand and speak, and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

Speaking after Cruz, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tried to do damage control.

“In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution,” Gingrich said. “The only choice is a Trump-Pence Republican ticket.”

— Pence defends Trump —

Pence lauded Trump is his own man, an independent spirit, and said change in the country will be “huge” under his presidency.

Delegates cheered: “We like Mike! We like Mike!”

Pence framed the November presidential race as crucial to defining the makeup of the Supreme Court for the next 40 years. He said voters must ensure it’s Trump picking the justices.

He called presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton the “secretary of the status quo,” referring to her former job as secretary of state.

Pence said he never thought he’d be standing on the stage at his party’s national convention. He joked that Trump is charismatic and must have been looking for balance in choosing him.

— Other Also-rans — 

Two other failed Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, addressed the crowd and supported Trump.

Rubio appeared by video, saying, “The time for fighting each other is over.”

Walker told Republicans who are on the fence about supporting Trump that the party can’t wait four more years.

“Let me be clear: A vote for anyone other than Donald Trump in November is a vote for Hillary Clinton,” Walker said.

Trump’s son, Eric, also addressed the convention. He said his father is the one candidate for president “who does not need this job.”

TWEET, TWEET@stevebruskCNN: Source tells @DanaBashCNN behind the scenes people called Cruz “a disgrace” to his face. One state chairman had to be held back

BEHIND CRUZ’S ULTIMATE SNUB via Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim of POLITICO — Cruz told Trump directly this week that he would not give an endorsement, said Cruz strategist Jason Johnson. “It is a fact that Cruz spoke, by phone, to Trump two days ago and told him his speech would not include an ‘endorsement,’ rather would lay out principles we can all unite around. This was not a surprise,” Johnson said. He added that it was Trump who called up Cruz. Heads up or no, Cruz effectively cleaved the GOP in two after the Trump campaign and GOP leaders spent the week here trying to present a united front.

TWEEET, TWEET: @realDonaldTrump: Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!


trump faces

TRUMP, MIKE PENCE AND THE AIR KISS HEARD ROUND THE WORLD via Aaron Blake of the Washington Post — Pence was finished with accepting the Republican vice presidential nomination Wednesday night, and Trump greeted him with a kiss. An air kiss.

air kiss

RICK SCOTT AT RNC: ‘THIS YEAR, WE GET TO FIRE THE POLITICIANS’ via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Scott kicked off the third night of the Republican National Convention Wednesday by calling on Americans to elect Donald Trump president because he’s the only candidate who can defeat terrorism.He began on a personal note, by thanking Americans everywhere for their sympathy and support for the families of the victims at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando in which 49 people were killed on June 12.”How many more Orlandos, San Bernardinos or Fort Hoods will happen until President Obama decides to be honest?” Scott asked. “I cried with the grieving moms and dads and brothers and sisters of the 49 people slaughtered by the ISIS-inspired terrorist. This war is real. It is here in America, and the next president must destroy this evil. Donald Trump is the man for that job.”

Scott said he has known Trump for about 20 years, dating to a time when Trump was building luxury hotels and casinos and Scott was building Columbia/HCA into the country’s largest for-profit hospital system.

“This election is about the very survival of the American dream,” Scott said. “Vote for Donald Trump.”

In hewing closely to Trump’s campaign script, however, Scott must have had to swallow hard, because he uttered a line that has contradicted nearly every one of his own pronouncements since he took office in January 2011: “Our economy is not growing,” Scott said. “Our jobs are going overseas.” Hardly a day has gone by that Scott hasn’t touted the growth and new jobs in Florida, the nation’s third largest state.

TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: After speech @FLGovScott sends out email to donors saying they should give $$ to his political committee bc nation needs to elect Trump

TWEET, TWEET: @MarkSalter55: Rick Scot, quite the dynamo. He’d put a meth head to sleep.

CRUZ SNUB OF TRUMP RIPPED AS SMAMEFUL, DISGRACEFUL BY FLORIDA DELEGATES via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – “I was amazed that he came to speak here and didn’t endorse the candidate who invited him. I thought it was very bad form, and you saw the reaction from the delegates. He didn’t do himself any favors,” said former U.S. Sen. George Lemieux. “Shameful. He should have come out and endorsed Donald Trump tonight,” said Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Michael Barnett. “Ted Cruz squandered a great opportunity. I’m feeling kind of disgusted right now. It ruined a really good moment — an opportunity for the Ted Cruz people and the Donald Trump people to come together. I was hoping for unity. Ted Cruz made another self-serving move. He’s focused on 2020. he doesn’t care about 2016 or winning this election.” Trump’s Florida campaign co-chairman, Joe Gruters, said Cruz damaged himself and helped Clinton. “Everybody that’s watching out there is probably greatly disappointed…It’s going to cost him later on. Anybody who decides to not join the team and support Donald Trump 100 percent is helping Hillary Clinton and that goes for all the other past candidates as well,” Gruters said.

TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL@BallardFirmTed Cruz may be the worst human to ever serve in the US Senate. A horrible wretch hated by his colleagues and reviled by his citizens.

PAM BONDI’S ‘LOCK HER UP’ TALK GIVES CRITICS NEW AMMUNITION via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times — Bondi followed Gov. Scott to the national stage Wednesday to give Florida an unusual 1-2 punch at the Republican National Convention. She said Trump will secure America’s borders, roll back President Barack Obama’s executive orders, and appoint conservatives to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Winning this election means reclaiming something to which I’ve dedicated my entire career: the rule of law,” said Bondi, a former Hillsborough assistant state attorney and Florida’s first two-term attorney general since Democrat Bob Butterworth left office in 2002. Bondi, the state’s chief legal officer, said of Hillary Clinton: “‘Lock her up.’ I love that. Stay with me.”

The crowd loved that chunk of red meat, but she also sought to temper Trump’s talk of building a wall and mass deportations of immigrants that has alienated Hispanic voters. As she told the Cleveland crowd: “He will enforce immigration laws to keep us safe, while allowing legal immigrants to bless this nation with their talents and their dreams … Donald Trump will take control of our borders because we must stop the influx of cocaine and heroin coming into our country and my state, killing our kids.” 

In a Fox News appearance on Tuesday, Sean Hannity asked Bondi if she would work in a Trump administration, and she replied that she would do anything to help Trump. Bondi’s term expires in 2018 and she can’t run again because of term limits.

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WRITER TAKES BLAME FOR FAMILIAR SPEECH via The Associated Press — A speechwriter for Trump’s company took blame Wednesday and offered to resign over nearly identical passages from Melania Trump‘s Republican convention speech and Michelle Obama’s remarks eight years ago. The speechwriter, however, made it clear that Melania Trump knew that the passages she read to an enthralled convention Monday night had come from Michelle Obama. “A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama,” the speechwriter, Meredith McIver, said of Mrs. Trump in a statement Wednesday from the campaign. “Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech.” Donald Trump rejected McIver’s resignation. “She’s a terrific person,” he told ABC News on Wednesday. “She just made a mistake. And I thought it was terrific the way she came forward and said look, it was a mistake that I made.”



WHO IS RUNNING TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN? via Eli Stokols of POLITICO – It was one of Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories – that Saudi Arabia was behind 9/11, and the U.S. government is covering it up: “You will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center because they have papers in there that are very secret, you may find it’s the Saudis, OK?” … But when the Republican platform committee set about putting Trump’s words into policy, calling for the declassification of 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission’s report relating to Saudi Arabia, the plank was quietly shelved. The identity of the person whose behind-the-scenes intervention helped scuttle the deal was, perhaps, a surprise: Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. The young New York City real estate and media mogul married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, has become the most powerful operative atop the campaign in the month since the candidate’s children banded together and forced the ouster of Corey Lewandowski and his “let Trump be Trump” approach. Since Lewandowski’s dismissal, executed by three Kushner associates, including Trump’s son, Donald Jr., no one has officially been named the new campaign manager. And while Kushner is working alongside Paul Manafort, a seasoned political operative three decades his senior who has been preoccupied with convention plans, there is a sense that the baby-faced billionaire is now effectively at the helm of a presidential campaign that is more of a family business than any in recent history. “In my 30 years in the business, I’ve never seen such a positive impact from such a large family on such a complex campaign,” said Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump associate who oversaw Trump’s New York primary campaign before getting ousted.

HUH? TRUMP VP TO RUN DOMESTIC, FOREIGN POLICY WHILE TRUMP MAKES ‘AMERICA GREAT AGAIN’ SAYS DON JR. via Robert Draper of The New York Times – As a candidate, [JohnKasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser … Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history? When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy. “Then what,” the adviser asked, “would Trump be in charge of?” … “Making America great again,” was the casual reply.

SIREN — THIS IS ABSOLUTE MUST-READ STUFF — TRUMP PLAYS DOWN U.S. ROLE IN WORLD CRISES via David Sanger and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times – Trump said Wednesday that if he were elected, he would not pressure Turkey or other authoritarian allies about conducting purges of their political adversaries or cracking down on civil liberties. The United States, he said, has to “fix our own mess” before trying to alter the behavior of other nations.

During a 45-minute conversation, he explicitly raised new questions about his commitment to automatically defend NATO allies if they are attacked, saying he would first look at their contributions to the alliance. Trump re-emphasized the hard-line nationalist approach that has marked his improbable candidacy, describing how he would force allies to shoulder defense costs that the United States has borne for decades, cancel longstanding treaties he views as unfavorable, and redefine what it means to be a partner of the United States.

… Giving a preview of his address to the convention on Thursday night, he said that he would press the theme of “America First,” his rallying cry for the past four months, and that he was prepared to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada if he could not negotiate radically better terms.

He even called into question whether, as president, he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of NATO the assurance that the full force of the United States military has their back. For example, asked about Russia’s threatening activities that have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

PENCE MAY ALREADY BE CHANGING HILLARY CLINTON’S VEEP STRATEGY via Greg Bluestein, Tamar Hallerman and Jim Galloway of – Vice presidential nominee Pence, the governor of Indiana, holds the anchor spot in [the] Republican National Convention … But the very fact that he is a governor with substantial congressional experience may already be having an impact Democratic strategy. For instance, the name of Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is no longer at the top of Clinton’s list of potential running mates. From The Washington Post: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. [TimKaine … have emerged as the leading candidates on a longer list of finalists … Clinton is considering for her vice-presidential running mate, according to interviews with multiple Democrats with knowledge of her deliberations. There is, of course, this – courtesy of The Hill: The White House confirmed Tuesday that Castro, who has been mentioned as a possible running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, won’t face any punishment after he apologized for breaching the Hatch Act during an April interview with Yahoo News’s Katie Couric.

REPUBLICAN BLACK CAUCUS RNC EVENT HOSTED BY DRUG, BOOZE AND PRISON INTERESTS via Dave Levinthal, Michael Beckel and Carrie Levine of the Center for Public Integrity – As Donald Trump officially clinched the GOP presidential nomination …  a group of about 100 loyal Republicans weren’t inside Quicken Loans Arena … Instead, they were across Cleveland’s downtown at a swank private party co-sponsored by liquor company Cruzan Rum, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and private prison operator GEO Group … Hosted by the Republican Black Caucus of Florida, the gathering at C’est La Vie Lounge featured free drinks and plenty of smiles among attendees, particularly when former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and wife Candy arrived and graciously entertained countless rounds of small talk and selfies. But Paul Berry III, a congressional candidate in Missouri’s St. Louis area, wasn’t among them. He said he’s a proud black Republican and a member of a group that’s growing. He panned any notion peddled by liberals that the Republican Party doesn’t represent black Americans’ interests or that, as a Democratic fundraising email today suggested, condones racism in its ranks. “That’s completely untrue,” Berry said. “If it were true, I wouldn’t exist as a candidate.”

SPOTTED at a RNC party honoring GOP officials from Florida and Georgia hosted by Al Cardenas and Squire Patton Boggs: Joe Negron, Richard Corcoran, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Dane Eagle, Ray Rodriguez, Chris Sprowls, Jennifer Sullivan, Carlos Trujillo, Slater Bayliss,  John Falconetti, Tom Feeney, Jose Gonzalez, Craig Hansen, Kathleen Shanahan, Stephen Shiver, Nancy and Robert Watkins, Susie Wiles, Joe York.


REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS AGREE ON ‘THE WALKING DEAD’ BUT NOT ‘GAME OF THRONES’ via Michael Calia of the Wall Street Journal – Research firm E-Score … came across some intriguing findings … The good news is that Republicans and Democrats can indeed find common ground. Members of both parties love AMC‘s smash zombie hit “The Walking Dead,” CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” and the CW‘s action drama “Supernatural,” which topped the GOP list. There are some stark differences, however, particularly when it comes to “Game of Thrones.” Democrats love the HBO fantasy phenomenon, which comes in first place on the left-leaning list. It’s nowhere to be found on the Republican Top 10, however … Democrats have more of a taste for series with ethnically diverse casts and are drawn more toward series they described as “sexy” and “emotionally involving.” Republicans, likewise, prefer “family friendly” and “funny” shows, as well as programs with strong “good versus evil” themes. Also according to the survey, Democrats are more eclectic in their network choices, with only ABC showing up twice on the left-leaning list. Republicans tend to like shows airing on the CW (three entries) and CBS (four entries).

HAPPENING TODAY — NEWT GINGRICH, JOHN BOLTON ADDRESS FLORIDA DELEGATION — The Florida delegation’s breakfast speaker series wraps up today with speeches from former House Speaker Gingrich, Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Jeff Sessions, and former Ambassador Bolton. The breakfast begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites-Rockside. The delegation will then attend an event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at 4 p.m.. The convention starts at 7:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.

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PRES. OBAMA TAPES TELEVISION AD FOR PATRICK MURPHY’S U.S. SENATE CAMPAIGN via The Associated Press – Murphy will begin airing his first Senate campaign television ad, a 30-second spot featuring Obama. The ad … features the president speaking directly to the camera. Obama says Murphy is a strong progressive who stands up to the gun lobby and supports Social Security and protecting women’s right to an abortion. Obama also acknowledges Murphy is targeted by opponents and tells viewers not to believe the negative attacks. He ends the ad by saying, “I count on Patrick Murphy. You can too.”

MARCO RUBIO RAISES $2.2 M DURING FIRST WEEK IN SENATE RACE via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Rubio‘s overall cash on hand is $2 million after spending $173,870, of which $105,949 went to Virginia-based online consulting firm Campaign Solutions … The most recently quarterly reporting period ended June 30, so it only captures donations over his first week back on the trail. The most recent filing from his presidential campaign shows remaining debt of $1.7 million.

— “Two groups pump $900K into pro-Rubio TV ads” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

CARLOS BERUFF SAYS HE WON’T ENDORSE RUBIO via Ledyard King of USA Today — Beruff said he won’t endorse Rubio if Rubio beats him in the Aug. 30 GOP primary. The Manatee County developer, who already has spent millions of his own fortune on the race, said endorsing Rubio would undermine the very reason he’s running. “I can’t support a person who doesn’t stand for anything,” Beruff said outside a breakfast meeting of Florida activists gathered as part of the Republican National Convention.

RUBIO VOWS TO KEEP UP FIGHT AGAINST U.S. AMBASSADOR IN CUBA via Nahal Toosi of POLITICO – The Florida Republican … won’t drop his objections to any hypothetical ambassador nominee. And he scoffed at the notion that having an ambassador in Cuba could help the U.S. argue its case to the government there. “A U.S. ambassador is not going to influence the Cuban government, which is a dictatorial, closed regime,” Rubio said … He is leading in the polls in the Senate race there after reversing his decision to return to private life following his White House run. A single senator can severely slow down the confirmation process for an ambassador. Rubio … Sens. Ted Cruz and Robert Menendez are all harsh enough critics of the U.S. opening to Cuba that President Barack Obama has not even bothered to nominate an ambassador. They argue that the Cuban government, led by President Raúl Castro, brother of ailing revolutionary figure Fidel, will merely use its new relationship with Washington to cement its harsh rule.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Rubio will participate in a Bay County VA reform and accountability event at 9:15 a.m. (CDT) at the VFW Post 10555, 17680 Ashley Drive in Panama City Beach. Rubio and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will tour citrus groves impacted by citrus greening at 4:15 p.m. at Gapway Groves, located at Berkley Road and Gapway Road in Auburndale. Media interested in attended the events should RSVP to

CD 4 HOPEFUL BILL MCCLURE LAUNCHES NEW AD – … which focuses on the need to elect an outsider to Congress instead of another career politician. “Nancy PelosiChuck Schumer, and the rest of the insider party would celebrate the election of one of my opponents to Congress,” said McClure. “As the political outsider in this race, I am the only candidate that will fight the ruling elite in Washington, work to defeat ISIS, and will never compromise our Second Amendment Rights.” This advertisement, titled “Insider Party,” will air on cable television and digital media outlets throughout Florida’s 4th Congressional District. Last week, Bill McClure released a 90-second digital ad title “The Problem Solver.”

HANS TANZLER’S OUTSIDER PERSONA DOES NOT MATCH HIS INSIDER GAME via Florida Politics –Tanzler, one of the Republicans running in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, has studiously crafted an image as a “conservative outsider” during his campaign. But Tanzler is more than a candidate who got in the race to run interference for companies making GMOs. He is an insider’s insider, and fellow insiders have donated to the “Conservative Outsider” political committee in recent months. Charter school magnate Gary Chartrand ponied up $5,000. Land magnate David Hutson and real estate executive John Baker went $10,000 deep. Robert Shircliff anted up $12,500. And Ring Power went in for $25,000. The carefully crafted perception that slick political operatives push to CD 4 voters is that Tanzler is a fresh face, a straight talkin’, straight shootin’ outsider coming in to clear the insiders out of Washington. The reality, borne out over time, is that Tanzler himself is an insider, much more comfortable in a boardroom than on his ranch, shooting a rifle from atop a horse. One example of Tanzler’s inside game: his ascension “from unpaid member of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s governing board to the high-salaried job as the agency’s top lawyer,” which Florida Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage said “doesn’t pass the smell test.” The job opening wasn’t advertised. And there was no reason for it to be … Tanzler, despite running an anti-government campaign, in fact is a fully vested member of the governmental class. His donations, his connections, and his actions are much closer to the penthouse than the farmhouse.

NEW JOHN RUTHERFORD AD HITS BORDER SECURITY, ANTI-TERROR THEMES via Florida Politics – “Washington failed to protect our borders and failed to get serious about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.” This declaration from Rutherford, candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 4th Congressional District, launches his latest television ad … Among the successes trumpeted in the ad: Rutherford’s work in 2008 to fight illegal immigrants, devoting JSO resources to targeting “illegal immigrant felons”; and Rutherford’s work to combat Islamic extremist terrorists, including 12 years of collaboration with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. The spot will be seen on local television news on the NBC affiliate, as well as during “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.” It will also be seen on the local CBS affiliate, during such shows as “CBS Sunday Morning” and “Face the Nation.” And it is being seen also on WJXT, as well as on local cable. The ad is paid for by “Citizens for John Rutherford.”

CHAUNCEY GOSS RELEASES NEW AD IN CD 19 —  In his new 30-second spot, called “Problem Solver,” Goss says Southwest Florida needs “someone in Washington to help balance the budget, get the debt under control, secure our border. I ask for your vote because we don’t another politician in Washington, we need a problem solver.” Goss — the son of former CIA Director Porter Goss, who also represented Southwest Florida in Congress — will face Francis Rooney and Dan Bongino in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

RANDY PERKINS RELEASES TWO NEW TV ADS – Democrat Perkins released two new 30 second television … Both are running in the West Palm Beach media market … The first, titled “Action,” speaks to the frustration residents of the Treasure Coast are feeling over Congress’ continued inaction related to the horrific conditions of local water quality and the toxic algae blooms. “I’ve been managing major disaster recovery projects in this country for over 20 years,” Perkins says in the ad. Adding, “I’m a problem solver, but more importantly, I understand the problem.” In the second ad, “Nailed It,” voters are introduced to two of Randy’s daughters, Sara and Brittany … Perkins attempts to make his case about standing up for equality and women’s rights, but is playfully interrupted by his daughters, who complete his thoughts by speaking to his position on issues ranging from women’s health care to equal pay for equal work. In one such exchange, Perkins begins, “I’ll make sure there’s equal…” but his daughter Brittany quickly picks up the sentence with, “will fight for equal pay for equal work.” The ad closes with Sara asking, “Were you saying something dad?”

CRAZY TWEET OF THE DAYNBC: Hillary Clinton to name VP pick during visit to Florida this week. Ex-Florida governor Charlie Crist said to be among candidates

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RITCH WORKMAN BACKED COMMITTEE SPENDS $$$ ON ‘FUNDRAISER’ AROUND KENTUCKY DERBY, HAS LITTLE TO SHOW via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – State records show Citizens United for Liberty and Freedom spent hundreds of dollars earlier this year on fundraisers in Kentucky. The committee is backing Workman’s Senate District 17 bid, and the Melbourne Republican is listed as its chairman. The organization spent $4,236 for a room at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville earlier this spring … the organization spent $210 at Gary’s on Spring and $164 at the Brown Hotel. The expenses were categorized as a “fundraiser” and reported May 5 and May 6, one day before the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Records show the group didn’t receive any contributions on or near those days. The committee brought in about $40,000 in May, but all of those contributions were reported between May 16 and May 31. The Kentucky trip isn’t the only time Citizens United for Liberty and Freedom reported out-of-state expenses. When asked, David Bishop, a spokesman for Workman’s campaign, did not provide information about the purpose of the Nashville and Kentucky trips. “Many participants in these fundraisers pay in advance, others bring checks to the event, some pay later,” he said in a statement in response to questions about the committee’s expenditures. “Ritch has been very successful raising money for his campaign because he’s been an accomplished leader in the Florida House. That’s in stark contrast to his opponent who’s using her husband’s wealth to try and buy a seat in the Florida Senate.”

NANCY DETERT ENDORSES NORA PATTERSON IN SD 23 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Detert, who currently represents the area, called Patterson “the only person in this race who has the courage, commitment and deep desire to fight and maintain the quality of life that the people of District 23 want and expect … Tip O’Neill said that all politics are local and he was right! Those of us who have served in local government are standing here today to support Nora Patterson because we know Nora. But, better yet, Nora knows us … She knows this community that she has served and loved for decades. She knows our history, she knows that we want someone to champion education, the arts and economic development. She knows the lifestyle that we want preserved.” Detert announced last year she planned to run for Sarasota County Commission. The Venice Republican won her commission seat in June after no other candidate qualified in the Sarasota County Commission District 3 race. Detert said Patterson has “proven her service to the community in local government.”

FIRST IN SUNBURN — KATHLEEN PASSIDOMO HOLDS COMMANDING LEAD IN SD 28 —Passidomo leads Matt Hudson 56 percent to 21 percent, according to a new poll of voters in Senate District 28. The survey of 300 likely Republican primary voters found 71 percent of Lee County respondents and 68 percent of Collier respondents had a favorable view of her. The survey also found 70 percent of seniors had a favorable view of the Naples Republican. The survey was conducted from July 10 to July 12, and has a margin of error of 5.9 percent.

JEFF CLEMENS ASKS SUPPORTERS FOR HELP TO GET NEW CAMPAIGN AD ON AIR via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – “This primary race is like the Mad Max Thunderdome: two men enter, one man leaves. Really though, I am the only true Democrat to enter,” the Lake Worth Democrat said an email to supporters. “In this battle, TV ads are a big part of how we will emerge victorious. To use them though, we need cash” … Clemens shared the advertisement with supporters and encouraged them to donate to support airing of the commercial. The 30-second spot — called “Great Democrat” — is meant to highlight Clemens’ progressive credentials. “When did politics become silly slogans and stupid hats,” he says as he throws a brightly colored hat in the air. “My mission is to stand up for Democratic values and oppose the agenda of Rick Scott, the tea party and the NRA … I’m progressive, pro-choice. I support increasing the minimum wage and ending discrimination wherever it exists. Helping people, fighting for our families. That’s what I do.”

DONNIE HORNER RELEASES NEW SPOT IN HD 11 RACE – Horner, a Republican facing Sheri Treadwell and Cord Byrd, is out with a spot that launched on TV this week. The 30-second commercial, called “Common Sense” touts Horner as a military veteran and having endorsements from police and firefighter unions.

REGGIE FULLWOOD PLANS TO FILE MOTION TO DISMISS FEDERAL SUIT via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – During a pre-trial conference in Jacksonville … Fullwood got some very welcome news from a federal judge, who issued an order “limiting the government’s ability to suggest that the State of Florida was a victim.” A subsequent press release … bore the following title: “FULLWOOD TEAM PLANS TO FILE MOTION TO DISMISS: Judge Rules in Favor of the Defense and Fullwood Campaign Moves Forward.” This contention — that the state was victimized — is at the heart of the case, regarding the 14 federal counts Fullwood faces … Fullwood has maintained he would be exonerated by the judicial process and, in a written statement, he expressed confidence to that end. “I am very thankful that I have been able to have a forum to show why I am not guilty of the charges that were presented against me … As the process continues, I will continue to do the work that I was elected to do. I am focused on winning this election so I can go back to Tallahassee to finish the work we started.”

BYRON DONALDS RELEASES TV AD FEATURING CURT CLAWSON – A new television ad, “Champions,” featuring Congressman Clawson … who recently endorsed Donalds, praising his abilities as a principled conservative leader. Donalds is seeking the House District 80 seat … “Congressman Clawson has been a solid conservative leader in Washington for Southwest Florida,” said Donalds. “I am honored to have his support, and I look forward to following in his footsteps in the fight against government overreach on the mission to strengthen our economy.”


Dan Webster, running in Florida’s 11th Congressional District, has been endorsed by the REALTORS Political Action Committee (RPAC), the political arm of the National Association of REALTORS.

Ben Diamond, running in House District 68, has been endorsed by the Florida Professional Firefighters.

NO, THESE ARE NOT HOUSE CANDIDATES PLEDGED TO RANDY FINE’S (UNOFFICIAL) BID FOR SPEAKER via Peter Schorsch – An invitation to a fundraiser for several legislative candidates has some wondering if it’s part of a larger drama surrounding three Republicans’ ambitions to serve as Florida House Speaker. “That looks like a block of votes,” observes one Republican political consultant … A block of votes for Fine, one of (at least) three contenders engaged in an under-the-radar campaign to lead the House in 2022-24 … Although he won’t say it officially, Fine is competing with Tampa Bay’s Jamie Grant and Jacksonville’s Paul Renner for control of the gavel during the 2023-24 legislative sessions … That’s why this fundraising invitation is so interesting. These candidates — despite any protestations — will be perceived as strapping on leather jackets with the words “Fine Motorcycle Club” written on the back of them. Fine, as he should, denies the deeper-reading into the invitation. “This should not be construed as Team Fine, as there will never be a Team Fine,” he explains. “There will be a team that Randy Fine is a member of and seeks to serve, should I be so fortunate to be sent by the voters of southern Brevard County to Tallahassee … Perhaps by having nine candidates in one room, we get more attention from those interested in what happens in the state House than if we tried nine separate events. And from the amount of attention we have gotten already, it seems that we may be on to something.”

CARLOS GIMENEZ RELEASES FIRST TV AD IN RE-ELECTION BID – Gimenez‘s re-election campaign kicks into high gear with the airing of their first TV ad in Miami-Dade. In the ad, Gimenez discusses transportation and his vision for the future of transit in Miami-Dade. With this ad, Gimenez, who holds a double-digit lead in the race, hopes to consolidate his base of support among voters who will start casting ballots in the Aug. 30 election in the next couple of weeks.

***Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC, is a full-service consulting firm located just steps from the Capitol. The firm specializes in the development and implementation of successful advocacy strategies highly personalized for each client. Team Liberty is comprised of professionals with a track record of successful coalition-building, grassroots efforts and team coordination. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.***

AT LEAST ONE REPORTER IS WORKING WHILE EVERYONE ELSE IS IN CLEVELAND — TOP RICK SCOTT STAFFERS RECEIVE $100K IN PAY INCREASES via Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – Scott’s top staff members received more than $100,000 in pay increases in recent months after the appointment of a new chief of staff whose salary alone increased by $40,000, records show. The pay increases in Scott’s Capitol suite began in April when Kim McDougal officially took over as chief of staff. Her salary increased to $170,000, pay records show. Policy coordinator July Epsy was given a $31,000 raise to $116,000. External Affairs Director Bradley Piepenbrink was given a $14,000 raise to $129,999. Policy Director Jeffrey Woodburn received a $12,400 raise to $140,000. Planning and Budgeting Director Cynthia Kelly saw a $9,999 raise to $144,999, according to salary data listed online by the governor’s website, Florida Has a Right to Know. … Scott spokesman McKinley Lewis said the salaries in Scott’s office, which are paid by Florida taxpayers, are for “these team members (who) do a great job and contribute to the governor’s mission to make Florida first for jobs.”

SO IS THIS ONE — SCOTT ATTORNEYS ADMIT CHARGES AGAINST PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINICS WERE UNSUBSTANTIATED via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida — Attorneys representing the administration of Gov. Rick Scott acknowledged in court filings that administrative complaints his health care agency filed against three Planned Parenthood clinics accusing them of providing second trimester abortions were unsubstantiated. The announcement marks the second time in a month that the Scott administration has flipped its position on abortion, specifically in its efforts to trim the length of time a woman has to obtain an abortion in her first trimester of pregnancy. In a 13-page court filing in federal court this week, attorneys for the state admitted that Planned Parenthood Clinics had been “investigated” by the Agency for Health Care Administration “within the preceding year, the investigations resulted in administrative charges, and the charges were not substantiated.”

FORECAST SHOWS STATE LOSING MILLIONS YEARLY BECAUSE OF TAX CUTS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The losses total in the tens of millions each year until 2021, according to a report posted online … Still, the lost revenue per year counts as less than a percent of the state’s annual budget, which this year is roughly $82 billion. The Revenue Estimating Conference, a panel of legislative and executive branch analysts, revised its January “general revenue” estimates. Lawmakers rely on its forecasts to craft each year’s state budget … Tax and fee cuts passed this year will reduce general revenue by $42.3 million in the current budget year, which began July 1. The losses rise to $67.4 million in 2017-18, $70.5 million in 2018-19, $73.6 million in 2019-20, and $76.9 million in 2020-21, according to the report.

TWEET, TWEET: @SalNuzzo: How about headline “Forecast shows Florida taxpayers saving millions because of tax cuts” #LiberalBias

DAVID ALTMAIER TO MAKE HEALTH DEBUT TODAY via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida – Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier makes his health debut … when he chairs a statewide health insurance advisory … to discuss its 2017 health insurance legislative agenda. Altmaier, a former math teacher, was named statewide insurance commissioner April 29. His appointment put to rest a disagreement between Gov. Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on who should replace Kevin McCarty, who resigned after more than 20 years in the post. Altmaier was deputy commissioner under McCarty in the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. The Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board meets at 1 p.m. in Tallahassee in the Senate Office Building.

LONG STALLED MEDICAL MARIJUANA NOW AVAILABLE TO SICK FLORIDIANS via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – Trulieve, one of Florida’s six medical cannabis licensees, received permission from state health officials to process and dispense the non-euphoric marijuana oil statewide … The oil is low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — which gives marijuana its psychoactive quality — but high in cannabadiol, or CBD, which research shows eases convulsions, inflammation, anxiety and nausea. It is only coincidental that Trulieve received the final go-ahead from the state on the 47th anniversary of the moon landing. But for many observers, Florida’s stumbling effort at making medical marijuana available seemed almost as monumental a feat. Trulieve, housed in Tallahassee with a growing facility in nearby Quincy, is the first licensee to complete the necessary state review, clear legal challenges and actually have product ready for market … delays in setting new regulations followed by lengthy legal challenges involving those seeking licenses stalled the rollout. The state’s Department of Health is still dealing with an attempt by one rejected licensee to gain entry into the potentially lucrative new Florida industry.

AIRBNB TOUTS STATEWIDE GROWTH, 750,000 GUESTS IN 2015 via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – … claiming 149 percent annual growth. They were housed by 16,100 hosts, with Airbnb stating that the median host brought in $7,200 for 41 nights. The bulk of the hosts and guests are in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, with nearly 8,000 hosts and more than 400,000 guests. The Orlando/Daytona area had about 155,000 guests with 2,550 hosts, followed by the Tampa/St. Petersburg area with 2,300 hosts and roughly 82,000 guests. The company is using the numbers to highlight what it sees as its contributions not just to Florida’s tourism industry, but to state and local public coffers. Though companies like Airbnb and Uber have curried favor with some state lawmakers who laud the “disruptive technologies,” they may face steep legislative hurdles when it comes to finding a regulatory home as they try to compete with well-established traditional businesses. Airbnb has veteran Democratic political strategist Chris Lehane heading up its global policy and public affairs efforts. The company says it is already working politicians at the state and local level.

WHAT ADAM PUTNAM IS READING — IT’S TIME FOR FLORIDA TO AX ELECTED AGRICULTURE POST via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel – I have a problem with the entire position of commissioner of agriculture — one of the most outdated, wasteful, suck-up-to-special-interests positions this state has ever created. Seriously, the position is little more than a taxpayer-subsidized version of the Jolly Green Giant, a marketing tool designed to promote produce. And we don’t need to elect someone for that. Nowadays, people don’t run for commissioner of agriculture because they care about agriculture. They run because they want to run for something else. You get into office to theoretically regulate and work with agriculture interests, grocery stores and power companies — and then subsidize your political ambitions with money from agriculture interests, grocery stores and power companies. To go with you Such is the case with [AdamPutnam, whose 2018 gubernatorial aspirations are widely known. Floridians don’t need another politician in bed with special interests. We’re chock full of them as it is. I’ve made this case for years — long before Putnam got into office. This state elects too many people to do jobs that could be performed just as competently — maybe better — by administrators.


Patrick Bell, Capitol Solutions: Estate of Aaron Beauchamp

Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: Miami Dolphins

Larry Overton, Joel Overton, Jim Card, Larry Overston & Associates: Shire

Garry Riddle: Healthcare Distribution Alliance

Monte Stevens, Southern Strategy Group: Walton County Sheriff’s Office

RICHARD ANDERSON PLEA NEGOTIATION, POSSIBLE SENTENCING IN HIT-AND-RUN CASE SET FOR AUGUST via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – A plea negotiation conference and possible sentencing for lobbyist and former Apopka city official Anderson have been set for early August in the hit-and-run driving case he faces in Lake County. Anderson … is out on bond after being arrested in late May in connection with a hit-and-run vehicle crash April 5 that sent another driver to the hospital. He faces multiple charges, including reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, hit-and-run causing serious bodily injury, and tampering with evidence in the case, all third-degree felonies. He turned himself in May 31 after an investigation led the Florida Highway Patrol to seek an arrest warrant for him. Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Lawrence J. Semento has scheduled an Aug. 3 private plea negotiation conference in the Lake County Courthouse in Tavares for Anderson’s attorney Kendell Ali and Assistant State Attorney Emily Curington, and a felony sentencing hearing for Aug. 11.

JAX JUDGE ACCUSED OF CALLING FEMALE ATTORNEY “C-WORD” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission filed its notice of formal charges against Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III … The commission investigates misconduct accusations against judges; the Florida Supreme Court disciplines them. Hulsey, son of the late Jacksonville legal legend Mark Hulsey Jr., also was charged with mistreating courthouse staff attorneys and his judicial assistant. In all, he faces 14 violations of Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct. “You have been discourteous and condescending to your staff, you have expressed unnecessary criticism of staff attorneys, and in doing so, used language inappropriate for your judicial office,” the JQC’s filing says. A group of Jacksonville pastors already has called for Hulsey to resign, referring to an alleged 2011 remark to a staff attorney that African-Americans “should go get back on a ship and go back to Africa” … “You have also exploited your judicial assistant to the extent that she felt compelled to perform personal tasks, such as paying your personal bills, writing letters, and making personal phone calls on your behalf,” the filing says. Hulsey also is charged with overworking one staff attorney, who told her supervisor. That resulted in the circuit’s chief judge admonishing him to “stop overusing the staff attorneys” … “It was this action that prompted you to refer to the staff attorney supervisor as a ‘bitch’ and ‘c–t’ in a conversation with a third party,” the JQC report says.

NO LAWSUIT AGAINST DISNEY IN ALLIGATOR ATTACK via Sandra Pedicini of the Orlando Sentinel – Matt and Melissa Graves will focus on a charitable foundation to honor their son Lane and “the future health of our family,” they said in a statement … Disney did not say specifically that it had made donations. But “in the wake of this tragic accident we continue to provide ongoing support for the family,” Disney World president George Kalogridis said in an emailed statement. Two-year-old Lane Graves was snatched by an alligator at the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa last month. “We know that we can never have Lane back, and therefore, we intend to keep his spirit alive through the Lane Thomas Foundation,” the Graves family’s statement said. “It is our hope that through the foundation we will be able to share with others the unimaginable love Lane etched in our hearts. In addition to the foundation, we will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney. For now, we continue to ask for privacy as we focus on our family.” Matt Graves said in the statement that “Melissa and I are broken. We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane. As each day passes, the pain gets worse, but we truly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy and warm sentiments we have received from around the world.”

OP-ED — WE’RE BEING PLAYED FOR FOOLS BY THE BRAVES via Chris Hudson for the Naples Daily News – Collier County commissioners should recognize what team they play for … The Braves, fresh off their latest victory (which didn’t happen on the field, as their win-loss record will attest) are hungry for more. Even though the scoreboard at Turner Field doesn’t reflect it, the Braves organization is on a roll. The Braves recently secured $398 million from the residents of Cobb County, Georgia, for the construction of their new Major League stadium – even though their current stadium, an Atlanta landmark that previously hosted the Olympic Games, only just turned 20. And now, the organization is hot on the trail of another multimillion-dollar deal for a new spring training stadium. Only this time, it could be on the dime of some unlucky Florida taxpayers. We should be excited that they are considering coming to Southwest Florida to join the strong baseball legacy we’ve developed over the years by hosting the spring training operations of other teams. But we should not be excited about what the Collier County Commission is considering – potentially handing out hundreds of millions of your tax dollars to make that happen. Teams like the Braves that seek these taxpayer handouts, and the crony government bureaucrats that continually trip over themselves to help make them happen, are going to use three tired and misleading arguments to lure well-intentioned local officials into opening up the citizen checkbook. Truth be told, it is county residents who suffer when ball teams refuse to pay for their stadium. Why should we pay for their stadium and pay for a ticket to the game? If this is such a profitable venture, then why doesn’t the sports team pay for it?

FLORIDA PROJECT BREEDS ‘FINDING DORY’ FISH IN CAPTIVITY via The Associated Press – Researchers at the University of Florida Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory … successfully bred Pacific blue tangs in captivity for the first time. The blue species is the model for the forgetful fish featured in the films “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” … the breakthrough means that one day, home aquariums or marine life exhibits might not have to rely on the capture of blue tangs in the wild … the next step is helping commercial producers replicate the researchers’ success with the key marine ornamental species. Rising Tide Conservation, the SeaWorld-Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University also contributed to the project.

RETAILERS SEE UPTICK IN FOOT TRAFFIC FROM ‘POKÉMON GO’ via Maggie Menderski of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune –  It’s been a rough year for traditional retail sales, and the augmented reality mobile game “Pokémon Go” is pulling people from their home-based devices and driving the foot traffic many brick-and-mortar stores have been craving. There’s been a noticeable uptick at Westfield Sarasota Square since the game launched earlier this month, said Bob Parker, the general manager for the mall’s JCPenney. The shopping center is crawling with Pokémon. The food court is home to a PokeStop, where players can find items needed to play the game. Shoppers have even figured out they can access the PokeStop from the JCPenney bathroom, Parker said. While they’re powering up, they’re also spending cash. “We’ve got increased traffic,” Parker said. “And we’ve definitely got increased sales, especially of the Pokémon merchandise but also with other things.” He’s planning to move the Pokémon gear for sale to a more prominent spot on the floor and apply for his store to have its own PokeStop. Eventually, he’d like the department store to develop a reputation as a place to play the game. “JCPokemon” has a nice ring to it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Gayle Harrell and Thomas Hobbs of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.

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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