Sunburn for 7/18 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the state’s dominant public affairs PR firm: Today the world remembers  Nelson Mandela, who was born on this date in 1918 and became a global icon for freedom.  Nelson Mandela International Day recognizes the former South African president’s contributions to humanity.

Now, on to the burn…


In an unusually early announcement, likely Democratic nominee for governor Charlie Crist has named Miami businesswoman Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as his running mate.

Taddeo, who’s of Columbian and Italian extraction, could help Crist in several ways: She brings an Hispanic flavor and appeal to women to the ticket, as well as providing Crist with a South Florida ally against former state Sen. Nan Rich of Weston, who’s challenging him in a Democratic primary.

Announcing his choice in a Miami news conference, Crist strongly emphasized that Taddeo is a working mother.

Taddeo is also a long-time Democratic fundraiser and party activist who was involved in the Obama and Kerry presidential campaigns, and is Miami-Dade County Democratic Party chairwoman,

She has been chair of the Women’s Enterprise National Council’s Leadership Forum and the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Miami-Dade County, and now serves on the board of the bipartisan Women’s Campaign Fund.

In 2008, she ran unsuccessfully against Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a Republican-leaning district, and she ran unsuccessfully for a Miami-Dade county commissioner’s seat in 2010.



Miami Herald, “It’s Annette for Charlie” – … all but ensures that the state’s next lieutenant governor will be a Miami-Dade Hispanic. Creative Loafing Tampa, “Charlie Crist names Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as his running mate” – Taddeo-Goldstein is a Colombian-American … signifying how both parties value luring the Hispanic vote. Being a female can’t hurt either. The Raw Story, “Democrat Charlie Crist picks Annette Taddeo-Goldstein for running mate in FL gubernatorial race” – … expected to boost Crist’s support in South Florida’s large Hispanic community, as well as among women voters. Miami New Times, “Charlie Crist Chooses Miami’s Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as Running Mate” – … may not have any previous personal electoral success, but she does check off a lot of boxes for the Crist campaign: she’s Hispanic, a woman, a working mother, married to a Jewish man, a business leader and a lifelong Democrat. Sunshine State News, … a Bad Choice to Rev Up Charlie Crist’s Stalled Campaign” – … reeks of political desperation … purely political … Taddeo-Goldstein’s claim to political fame is leading the Miami-Dade Democrats. She’s never once held elected office. Bay News 9’s Troy Kinsey tweets – Nan Rich: “Crist might be excused for not knowing that Democrats typically don’t choose a running mate until they win the nomination.”


The choice of Taddeo-Goldstein, the chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, is both hopeful and cynical.

It is hopeful because, for millions of Hispanic Floridians, Taddeo-Goldstein’s presence on the Democratic ticket and Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s name on the GOP slate, is final proof that they have a permanent seat at the political table. Hispanic politics do not begin at the water’s edge and end at Alligator Alley, instead they are part of everyday life for each of us and the smart, successful leaders already recognize this.

Crist’s decision is also another indication that he is not as, well, dumb as Jim Davis or Alex Sink or previous Democratic standard-bearers who just could not get right the party’s identity politics.

Critics of Crist’s pick say that selecting Taddeo-Goldstein was simply a matter of her filling out all the right boxes. Woman? Check. Hispanic? Check. From South Florida? Check.

But that’s simply the reality of campaigning in a state as diverse as Florida. Credit goes to both Scott and Crist for recognizing this and personally not making too big a show of it, i.e., “Some of my favorite running mates are Hispanic.”

No, the cynicism of Crist’s pick lies in how far Crist has moved to embrace the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. Just on Wednesday, Crist drew a distinction between he and Gov. Scott by saying he would govern not in a bipartisan way, but with a non-partisan approach. Yet by picking Taddeo-Goldstein he’s put a county party chair just one phone call from Hillary Clinton (“Hey, Charlie, do you want to be my VP?”) from the Governor’s Office.

Remember the last time Crist elevated a naturally partisan county chair to a statewide position? That’s right, his name was Jim Greer and he just got out of prison two weeks ago.

TWEET, TWEET: @bsfarrington: Apparently @FlaDems forgot there was a primary. Just sent out urgent fundraising email announcing the “Big News” of @CharlieCrist’s LG pick

TWEET, TWEET: @JesseMPhillips: So if #charliecrist gets elected we’ll have a rich white guy as governor with a Hispanic Lieutenant. And also if he loses.


Crist is opening a new campaign office on Saturday in the Lowry Park Central neighborhood of Tampa. A grand opening event will begin 5:30 p.m. at 3105 W. Waters Ave. Unit #109 in Tampa.

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A judge in the Florida Keys overturned the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Thursday after a legal challenge by gay couples said it effectively made them second-class citizens.

The ruling by Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia applies only to Monroe County, which primarily consists of the Keys, and will certainly be appealed. The lawsuit contended that the same-sex marriage ban approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2008 violated the federal 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. The judge said licenses could not be issued until Tuesday at the earliest.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and ban supporters argued that the referendum vote should be respected and that Florida has sole authority to define marriage in the state. The Florida amendment defined marriage solely as a union between one man and one woman.

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, although those rulings remain in various stages of appeal. Many legal experts say the U.S. Supreme Court may ultimately have to decide the question for all states.


Bill Nelson: “We’ll see whether the state appeals. Meantime, as I’ve said, I believe it’s wrong to discriminate against any class of people including on civil marriage.”

Charlie Crist: “Today was a great step towards equality in Florida. It is my hope that Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi will accept the decision of the judge and allow all Florida adults to marry the person they love.”

FDPs Allison Tant: “As we have seen time and time again over the last few months, when marriage equality bans are challenged in the courts, love wins. This is a tremendous victory for LGBT Floridians in Monroe County, and we look forward to soon celebrating full marriage equality across the state.”

TWEET, TWEET: @ananavarro: To any of my gay friends planning to get married in the FL Keys now that same-sex ban has been over-turned, invite me!!!

TWEET, TWEET: @fineout: Fla. @AGPamBondi has already filed an appeal of ruling striking down same-sex marriage ban

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DATA DELAYED IS DEMOCRACY DENIED via Robert Biersack of the New York Times

Billions of dollars are being spent in the run-up to this November’s midterm elections. The Supreme Court has struck down limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions, as well as overall caps on individual donations to candidates for federal office. More and more money is also being spent through ostensibly independent “super PACs” and nonprofit entities.

Even as cash gushes through the system, though, we still have a key underpinning of our campaign finance law: the principle that the public has a right to know who finances campaigns, and how candidates, parties and other political committees are using those funds. If the Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with receiving and reviewing the reports and making the information available, falls down on the job, this principle is undermined.

Ascertaining that contributions are characterized correctly — Did the funds come from individuals? Did they flow through another organization? Are the donors and recipients identified correctly? — has been a basic responsibility of the F.E.C. almost since its inception, along with tasks like making sure the data reflect amended filings and avoid duplication of records. This processing isn’t particularly high-tech, but it has to be done right, and quickly.

For years, the F.E.C. has said in its strategic planning documents that it would complete 95 percent of its processing within 30 days of a filing deadline.

So when we downloaded the F.E.C. files on May 21, we believed that virtually all reports from 2014 House candidates submitted by April 15 would be included. We were shocked to find, however, that information for 347 of the 703 active House candidates for the first quarter of the year was missing.

We asked the F.E.C. if something unusual — an information technology crisis, perhaps — had occurred. The response was much more disturbing: The agency told us it simply hadn’t finished processing the filings. We’d never heard that one before.

The F.E.C. has been frequently derided as an ineffective body because, with its structure of three Democratic and three Republican commissioners, getting agreement on anything can be tortuous. But for the most part, the commission was seen as doing an adequate job on disclosure.

That perception appears no longer to be correct.

DAVID JOLLY COULD BE FLORIDA GOP’S MVP FOR 2014 via Jeff Henderson of the Sunshine State News

At the start of the year, David Jolly was an unlikely bet to be the model for Florida Republicans to follow. But seven and a half months later, the new congressman’s surprise victory offers a road map as the GOP looks to hold on to the governor’s mansion for four more years.

It’s easy to forget that Jolly was a longshot to sit in Congress at the start of the special election earlier this year. Despite working for Bill Young, the late congressman’s family was divided on whether Jolly or another Republican should run for the seat. A majority of Republicans — 55 percent of them — voted for other candidates in the primary. Jolly was far less known than Democrat Alex Sink when things began. Sink did better at fundraising than Jolly and both sides had to turn to outside groups.

But Jolly pulled it off, beating Sink by 2 percent despite a strong showing by Libertarian Lucas Overby. Even more impressive, Sink and other strong Democrats like Jessica Ehrlich stayed out of November’s contest. After a series of Democrat blunders, Jolly will only face Overby again in November.

Jolly had a pretty impressive ground game, aided by topnotch research efforts. Taking a page from the various Obama campaigns, conservative groups are starting to understand how new technology and social media can help pump out their turnout and Jolly reaped some of the benefits. Volunteers from conservative and tea party groups as well as the GOP faithful hit the ground for Jolly, knocking on doors and getting their voters out to the polls.

Things are only getting better on that front for Republicans. This week the RNC-backed Data Trust started its operations, creating voter information lists that the GOP and outside allies will be able to use in future campaigns. While it may have been too late to help Mitt Romney, Jolly’s showing helped pave the way for this kind of information-sharing effort.

Even more promising, Jolly’s district is in Pinellas County. That’s Charlie Crist’s traditional home base. Back in 2010, when he ran for the Senate with no party affiliation, Crist won the county with 42 percent followed by Marco Rubio with 40 percent and Kendrick Meek in distant third with 17 percent. Sink took 51 percent there when she ran against Rick Scott, who pulled 45 percent.


The two 30-second spots, “Gran Comunidad” and “Too Long,” introduce Curbelo and his family, and are to present the Miami native as the best person to represent CD 26.

“It’s not easy to clean up the mess when it’s been sitting for too long,” Curbelo says in the English language ad. “Like corrupt politicians. They get rich. We get forgotten. We need new leaders who will look out for Florida families, not themselves.”

In “Gran Comunidad,” Curbelo — as a “Republicano” — also appears with family, friends and supporters.

“As the son of exiles, I’m proud of what my parents and their generation have accomplished,” he says. “I want the same for my daughters. That’s why I have worked to improve education. Washington needs better ideas and someone who will represent you with integrity.”

“Gran Comunidad” will appear on Spanish language broadcast stations throughout the district, while “Too Long” will also run on cable networks in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORSGov. Scott will announce Florida’s June jobs numbers at 9:45 a.m. Shaw Development, 25190 Bernwood Drive, Bonita Springs.

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With few competitive state Senate seats up for grabs this election cycle, fundraisers for the Florida GOP’s legislative campaign arm have sometimes had difficulty explaining why high-dollar donors should contribute to their efforts.

Other than races in SD 22 (Jeff Brandes vs. Judithanne McLauchlan) and SD 34 (Ellyn Bogdanoff vs. Maria Sachs), there’s little on the board for donors about which to get excited. To fill in the excitement gap, some have speculated that SD 16 incumbent Thad Altman could be in danger of being “Cantored” by self-funder Monique Miller in a GOP primary.

Well, you can forget about that wolf ticket.

Altman holds a commanding lead in his re-election campaign for Senate District 16, according a new survey released by StPetePolls.

The Space Coast Republican receives the support of 71 percent of likely GOP primary voters. Miller takes only 13 percent, while 15 percent remain undecided.


“As a fellow Navy veteran, Paul Renner has defended our country overseas and is well-versed on the principles that make America unique,” said DeSantis. “As a state representative, he will protect and defend our Constitution, champion conservative values and lead the fight for limited government in Tallahassee.”

“I am truly humbled to accept the endorsement of Congressman DeSantis, a fellow U.S. Navy veteran and conservative,” said Renner. “If given the opportunity to serve our local community in Tallahassee, I pledge to be a principled, conservative leader dedicated to working with local businesses to bolster our economy, stimulate job growth and reduce government waste and over regulation.”

TWEET, TWEET: @DocRenuart: I just won a straw poll w/ 75% of the vote in St Augustine while away at a medical conference in Istanbul, Turkey


Only weeks ahead of the GOP primary for House District 31, new polling from StPetePolls shows a wide-open race as five Republicans face off for the region covering Lake and Orange Counties.

More than 42 percent of likely primary voters say they are undecided in the July 16 survey commissioned by SaintPetersBlog.

Of those likely voters showing a preference, nearly 17 percent support youth development leader Jennifer Sullivan. Coming in second is health clinic executive Randy Glisson, with over 15 percent, followed by former teacher union leader Belita “B” Grassel, who received 11 percent.

Businessperson Terri Seefeldt took a little over 8 percent, and fraud crimes investigator Joseph Stephens just under 7 percent, coming in fifth.

HD 31 includes the towns of Eustis, Tavares, Umatilla, Mt. Dora and Apopka.


Shaw announced on Thursday receiving support from the Tampa Police Benevolent Association as the Democratic candidate for House District 61.

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of such a prestigious, important group of over 1,000 men and women who help protect and serve Tampa Bay families,” the Tampa attorney said in a statement. “Having the Tampa PBA tell you you’re the best choice to fight for more jobs for Tampa families, protect our kids’ schools from more Tallahassee cuts, and help give our law enforcement agencies and neighborhood groups the tools they need to keep our streets safer – that’s humbling.

“It fuels us for the important fights ahead,” Shaw added.


Ahern holds a solid 12-point advantage over the Democratic newcomer in the race for House District 66, according to a July 14 survey of likely voters from StPetePolls.

Ahern leads Grizzle, a Largo special education elementary school teacher and daughter of the late Florida legislator Mary Grizzle, by a margin of 50-37 percent. More than 12 percent of respondents say they are undecided.

Ahern, the two-term representative from Seminole, receives strong backing from base voters (80 percent) as well as 16 percent of Democrats. Grizzle gests 72 percent of the base, and 12 percent of likely GOP voters. Only 8 percent of Republicans say they are undecided, while the number is more than 12 percent for Democrats.


Richard DeNapoli has taken a double-digit lead over Venice orthopedic surgeon Julio Gonzalez in the GOP primary for House District 74, according to new polling released by StPetePolls.

In the survey of 554 registered Republican voters in the heavily Republican district of Osprey, Venice and parts of North Port and Englewood, DeNapoli leads his primary opponent by 49-26 percent margin. More than one-quarter of voters (just under 26 percent) remain undecided leading up to the August 26 primary.


“These recent polls leave no doubt: the upcoming elections will be close, but Floridians are rejecting the Florida GOP’s misguided priorities. This fall, the unfinished business that Republicans left in Tallahassee during session – failing to expand access to healthcare, failing to raise the minimum wage, failing to guarantee equal pay, and failing to properly fund education for our children – will haunt Republicans at the ballot box.”


There will be a mayoral race in Coral Springs after all.

Former State Sen. Walter “Skip” Campbell qualified to run for Coral Springs mayor. He is running against Tom Powers, an incumbent commissioner.

Campbell served in the state Senate from 1996-2006 and ran for attorney general in 2006.

Because of a loophole in election law, the city was forced to have a second qualifying period.

Former mayor Roy Gold filed paperwork to reclaim his old job two minutes before the June 20 deadline. The following Monday, he dropped out with a one-sentence, handwritten letter stating he was withdrawing “with regret.” He said it was a change of heart.

But the move meant there would be a “supplemental qualifying period” — the rule if a candidate withdraws from a race at least 45 days before an election and only one other candidate remains. The election is not until Nov. 4.

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Facing Florida with Mike Vasalinda: Susan Glickman, Southern Alliance of Clean Energy and Vasu Misera, FSU Climate Researcher.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Lawrence Miller, William March, Amy Hollyfield and Fred Piccolo.

Political Connections on Tampa Bay’s BayNews 9: State Senate candidate Judithanne McLauchlan.

Political Connections on CF 13: U.S. House District 9 candidate Nick Ruiz

The Usual Suspects which airs on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Steve Vancore, Gary Yordon, and County Commissioner Bryan Desloge, the newly elected 2nd Vice President of the National Association of Counties.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Allison Tant, Rep. Larry Ahern’s better half, Maureen, and Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala. Happy birthday this weekend to Lenny Curry.

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.