Sunburn for 7/24 – 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: On this date in 1950, the Bumper 2 became the first rocket ever launched from Cape Canaveral. More than eight years before the founding of NASA, this rocket launch put Florida on track to become a major departure point for space exploration.

Now, on to the burn…


Gov. Scott trails Charlie Crist by a narrow 45 – 40 percent margin in a two-way race. When Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is added to the mix, the race is too close to call, with 39 percent for Crist, 37 percent for Scott and 9 percent for Wyllie, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 48 – 38 percent Crist lead in a head-to-head matchup without Wyllie in an April 30 survey by Quinnipiac.

Today, Scott leads former State Sen. Nan Rich 41 – 34 percent in a two-way race.

Wyllie gets his strongest support from independent voters who back Crist over Scott 45 – 38 percent in a two-way matchup, but split with 36 percent for Crist and 34 percent for Scott, with 12 percent for Wyllie, in the three-way race.

Republicans back Scott 79 – 12 percent in the two-way, and 74 – 9 percent, with 5 percent for Wyllie, in the three-way. Democrats go from 78 – 10 percent for Crist in the two- way to 73 – 9 percent, with 6 percent for Wyllie.

Florida voters give Scott a negative 43 – 48 percent approval rating, one of his best scores in almost four years in office, and a negative 40 – 45 percent favorability rating.

Crist gets a split rating, 40 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable.

“The campaign to be Florida’s next governor tightens slightly and takes on a new dimension with a third candidate in the running,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is not, at this point, a serious contender to win the governorship. But he may have a great deal to say about who does win.”

REAX FROM ADRIAN WYLLIE:“We are pleased to have been included in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, however, the results have not come as a shock to our campaign team. These newest polling numbers simply confirm what our internal poll data has been showing for some time.  What these poll numbers also show is that the people of Florida are quickly being disenfranchised by the two party system and their presumed nominees, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, while our message is resonating well. Today we see that when our message is brought to the people we win their vote.”

FLASHBACK: SaintPetersBlog/St. Pete Polls survey from 8/1/13 & 8/2 /13: Adrian Wylie = 8.7 percent.


Tampa Bay Times, Q-Poll FL: Crist-Scott is 39-37% race with Libertarian Wyllie at 9% – This compares to a 48 – 38 percent Crist lead in a head-to-head matchup without Wyllie in an April 30 survey… Miami Herald, Libertarian Adrian Wyllie helps Gov. Rick Scott catch Charlie Crist –  Crist’s 2 percentage-point lead would grow to 5 points without Wyllie on the ballot.. Tampa Tribune, Q Poll: Despite lead, news not all good for Crist – Asked their opinion of Scott, 45 percent said it was unfavorable, compared to 40 percent favorable, and they also disapproved of his performance in office by 48-31 percent. Crist did only a little better — 42 percent unfavorable to 40 percent favorable… Washington Post, Republicans are certain Obamcare hasn’t helped anyone in America – Republicans initially spent huge sums tying Crist to Obamacare, but the Q-poll finds 65 percent don’t view the president a a factor in their vote, while only 16 percent view their vote as against Obama and 16 percent view it as for him — a wash… Sunshine State News, Charlie Crist, Rick Scott Locked Tight in New Q-Poll as Adrian Wyllie Factors In – When former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich replaces Crist in the poll, Scott leads 41 percent to 34 percent… PoliticsUSA, Democrat Charlie Crist Surges and Opens Up a 6 Point in Florida Governor’s Race – Crist’s selection of Annette Taddeo to be his running mate has increased his support with women by seven points.


Going inside the crosstabs of the poll, here are some instant takeaways.

1. There’s no way, just no way, that the turnout for this election looks like what Quinnipiac is suggesting — 28 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat, 32 percent Independent and 9 percent Don’t Know/No Answer. Not in a non-presidential election cycle. That said, the 3 percent uptick in this poll from April’s of the Republican sample is one of the main reasons Crist’s lead has been halved.

2. I don’t believe this poll — or the Survey USA poll conducted at about the same time — reflect any bump Crist may receive from naming Annette Taddeo his running mate. Not only is it too soon to know if Crist will receive any bump, I genuinely don’t think there’s much bump to be had. Meanwhile, Crist’s lead among Hispanic voters is at 14 points, down from 18 in April.

3. Cristworld is thinking Scottworld doesn’t like this poll — and vice-versa. Crist’s camp is saying that Scott and his allies have spent nearly $20 million and all they have to show for it is a T-shirt that reads, “Still down five points.” Scott’s team believes this is all “sauce for the goose, Mr Saavik” (that’s a Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan reference) — meaning they think they can win a race to the bottom because of their resource advantage and the belief that support for Crist is even softer than is reflected in this poll.

3a. Best spin so far comes via Steve Schale, who has publicly feuded with the folks conducting the Q-poll. One of Schale’s pieces of wisdom this morning, “Q couldn’t poll a two person meeting at the library, but I’ll still take the news.”

4. The big winner in this poll, obviously, is Wylie, who, at 9 percent in a three-way match-up, still has no shot at winning, but can play the role of spoiler. He can also make a strong argument that he should be included in any candidate debates.

4a. If Wylie is polling at 9 percent, expect to see Amendment 2 with a healthy number in subsequent Q-polling.

4b. The emergence of Wylie is a gift to the political reporters who have already grown bored with the mud-slinging between Crist and Scott. Coming soon to a newspaper near you is a story headlined, “Can a Libertarian win the Governor’s race?”

5. One set of numbers has not changed and I don’t know how they do change: Only 40 percent of Floridians think Scott deserves re-election; even at his Benghazi-lowest, Barack Obama was never lower than 44 percent in the generic re-elect question.

5a. Good news for Scott, he’s +5 over Crist in the “strong leader” department.

5b. Tweet from the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo re Scott: “Not only is he basically tied w/Crist, Q-Poll shows Scott’s job-approve & fav index (-5%) are best ever. It’s working — sort of/slowly”

6. Why is Crist not in worse shape? My theory is that the Republican wave that keeps threatening to develop in other parts of the country just isn’t happening in Florida. The evidence: 65 percent of those polled here say that what they think of Barack Obama won’t play a role in how they vote for governor. This is a big, big deal because it really takes away one of the arguments Republicans thought would hurt Crist the most: his unbridled support for Obamacare.

7. You can ask Mac Stipanovich and Cory Tilley that Crist +5 is exactly what I predicted this poll would look like. My wife can tell you that I told her yesterday this Q-poll would be 45-40 for Charlie. That’s not where I think the race is or will end up, it’s just where I thought the Q-poll would have it based on their biases.  My prediction from January was that Crist would never trail in a Q-poll (even if he trailed in other polls). That prediction still has a shot at being right. In fact, I’ll make the argument that since Scott did not overtake Crist while he had the airwaves to himself, he never will, at least not in a Q-poll.


Excerpt of a memo from Tony Fabrizio & David Lee, Fabrizio Lee & Associates:

In a survey conducted last week for Let’s Get to Work after Crist and his allies had spent more than $2 million on ads, we found very significant changes in the political environment in Florida. The voters have taken a sharp turn towards Republicans, with a 10-point advantage on the described generic ballot.

President Obama’s numbers have continued their erosion. The President’s job approval is only 41 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. ObamaCare is similarly unpopular, with only 39 percent approving of the law, versus 55 percent who disapprove.

Governor Scott’s ratings continue to strengthen, especially on issues. The Governor leads on the most important metrics: which candidate is best able to create jobs, turn Florida’s economy around, and improve education. That’s why 51 percent of Florida voters say they approve of the job Rick Scott is doing as Governor, with only 41% disapproving.

Governor Scott leads Crist by 4 points – 45% to 41% in the 3-way ballot. Head-to-head versus Crist, Governor Scott reaches the 50% threshold – leading by 5 points, 50% to 45%.

CRIST LAUNCHES NEW AD “DOORWAYS” — Paid for by the Florida Democratic Party; watch it here

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will attend the groundbreaking ceremony at 12:50 p.m. for the GE Energy Management Manufacturing Center of Excellence at 1907 Calumet St. in Clearwater. The expansion expects to bring in 250 new jobs in Pinellas County.

***2014 FAHP Annual Conference: Shaping the Future of Florida’s Health Care: We invite you to join us at the 2014 FAHP Annual Conference. This year, FAHP will bring together a distinguished group of thought leaders in national and state health care policy, as well as experts on health care regulation and managed care. These leaders will provide insight on the current and future health care landscape, best practices within the industry and solutions to improve outcomes and support efforts to provide affordable, quality health care to employers and to all Floridians.  Together, we can “Shape the Future of Health Care” to promote wellness, improve quality of life and support a productive and healthy workforce in the Sunshine State. To learn more, visit here.***


The Graham campaign announced the launch of a new website,, which it says will serve as a hub for North Florida residents to share what the North Florida Way means to them, as well as highlighting the policies and values that Graham has begun introducing in her first series of ads.

“Cooperation, not conflict. More problem-solving, less partisanship,” says the site, quoting Gwen Graham. “That’s what the North Florida Way means to me. I want to know what it means to you.”

On the site, the Graham campaign will also begin highlighting testimonials from North Florida residents – sharing feedback from individuals about why North Florida’s values matter to them, and why they are fed up with Congressman Steve Southerland’s partisan, Washington politics that are standing in the way of North Florida’s priorities in Congress.

The site can be accessed at


A Florida judge is being asked to move this year’s election dates — including postponing next month’s primary — in order to draw up new congressional districts for the state.

The request was filed by a coalition of groups, including the League of Women Voters, who successfully challenged Florida’s current congressional map. Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled earlier this month that the state Legislature illegally drew the districts in 2012 to primarily benefit the Republican Party.

Florida legislative leaders have said they will change the districts, but they want to wait until after the November elections to avoid disruption and problems at the polls. More than 1 million absentee ballots for the Aug. 26 primary went out this week.

David King, an attorney representing the League, argued in court papers that the Legislature has forfeited its right to draw the new districts and that it’s wrong to hold another election with an unconstitutional map. Instead the group wants Lewis to adopt a new map they filed, or use an independent expert to craft one.

King wrote that allowing legislators to “devise their own remedy for their own misconduct” would provide “the Legislature with yet another opportunity to violate the people’s trust.”

In order to make sure there is time to put the new districts in place this year, the coalition presented several proposals to postpone the Aug. 26 primary to Sept. 30 or even later. Some of the proposed calendars also called for pushing back the Nov. 4 general election to December. Another alternative is to hold a new round of congressional elections early next year.

Lewis is scheduled to hold a hearing to consider what to do next.

***Today’s SUNBURN is sponsored by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. One of Florida’s Top Lobbying Firms, Corcoran & Johnston has demonstrated the ability to navigate government and successfully deliver results for clients, time and again.  To learn more visit***


Sen. Aaron Bean and Sen. Audrey Gibson are expected to give a legislative update during a meeting of ImpactJax, a young professionals organization of the JAX Chamber. JAX Chamber, 3 Independent Dr., Jacksonville. 6 p.m.


Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is expected to give a keynote speech during the Florida Chamber Foundation’s annual “Environmental Permitting Summer School” event. Marco Island Marriott Resort & Golf Club, 400 South Collier Blvd., Marco Island. 12:10 p.m.


The Revenue Estimating Conference will analyze highway-safety data. 117 Knott Building, the Capitol. 1:30 p.m.


One year and three months ago, this blog published a series on the dubious iBudget Florida, the program intended to offer persons with disabilities greater control over their personal subsidies while containing overall state costs. Unconvinced that the implementation of iBudget was anything but sheep’s clothing for a big ripoff of APD clients, I offered caution. “Under iBudget, clients are forced to choose which services they continue on limited resources, a daunting process that has far-reaching consequences,” I wrote.

And this week, Florida judges agreed.

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal found Monday that APD failed to properly implement the legislatively mandated iBudgets, and to the contrary, carried it out in ways that “directly conflict with and contravene” the program’s intent. An eight-page ruling from a three-judge panel came down hard on APD, particularly on the mathematical algorithm the agency used to determine individual client funding levels. It stands to reason that Florida courts sided with the client in this tough case; and hopefully, families can breathe a little easier now knowing that the program has been exposed for the wolf that it is.

FLASHBACK: “Implement iBudget: A wolf in sheep’s clothing for Floridians with disabilities.

***SUNBURN is sponsored in part by Floridian Partners, LLC, a statewide Public and Government Affairs firm with offices in Tallahassee, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Their firm’s success is measured by its clients’ success. Outreach and Public Advocacy; Strategic Issue and Campaign Development; Grassroots and Grasstops Coalition Building – Floridian Partners is a one-stop firm for clients needing assistance at all levels of government in Florida.***


>>>HD 65 candidate Chris Sprowls is up with his first TV ad.


During Facebook’s early years, the company barely noticed Washington, taking a full five years to spend its first dime on federal lobbying. Then, the company’s investment in the capital began growing rapidly, alongside its revenue and ambitions.

Now, as a full-fledged corporate behemoth, with a billionaire CEO recently interested in politics, the company’s lobbying has exploded, making even its recent expenditures look small.

In 2013, Facebook spent $6.4 million on federal lobbying, an increase of more than 68 percent from the year before and almost six times what it spent in 2011. That $6.4 million was enough to make Facebook the fifth biggest spender on lobbying in the computer and Internet industry for the year. But that was nothing compared to what the company will likely spend this year.

In the first quarter of 2014, Facebook spent $2.7 million — more than it had ever spent in any previous quarter. The company’s lobbying report for the second quarter, posted yesterday, show it spent another $2.1 million, boosting the year’s total to $4.8 million. That means the company would have to spend less than $1 million in each of the final two quarters of the year for it to come up shy of its 2013 total. And Facebook hasn’t laid out less than $1 million per quarter since the third quarter of 2012, when it spent $980,000.

The company spent almost twice as much from April through June as it did during the same period in 2013.

Microsoft, which also regularly ranks towards the top of spending by computer and Internet companies, spent $2.3 million in the second quarter, bringing its total for the year to $4.4 million.

Unlike Facebook, other social media companies continued to step lightly on K Street. Twitter, which only began lobbying last year, spent $90,000 in the second quarter of this year, bringing its total for the year to $140,000. LinkedIn spent less — just $50,000 in the quarter, putting it at just $90,000 for the year.


Who doesn’t like a good massage? Who agrees that massage has health benefits that perhaps exceed or at least mitigate the need for more costly, damaging therapies? That’s what I thought. Massage therapy is a credible and important field with benefits too many to describe here. But, who wants a massage therapist, complete with his or her 6 months of schooling, to prescribe drugs?

Apparently, the organization representing massage therapists in this state, the Florida State Massage Therapy Association, thinks this is the right path to venture down, and are willing to sacrifice the credibility and positive reputation they have gained over the years.

For many years, lobbyists Allison Carvajal and Janet Mabry used their own stalwart reputations and second-to-none legislative know-how to substantially improve the standing and status of the FSMTA and its members before lawmakers. No longer. Perhaps understanding that these two mavens would see things otherwise in terms of scope of practice, the association booted them in favor of two guys who will tell them what they want to hear. In their places now are two attorneys known for botching important lawsuits against the state’s largely flawed PIP law — Luke Lariot, the Tampa strip club lawyer, and Adam Levine.

Why is it that the FSMTA wants therapists to be able to apply pharmaceutical creams with six months of education? Why are they offering CE’s in medical marijuana?  After finally getting credible, it seems Florida’s massage therapists may be stepping into the back rooms again. And that’s too bad for the thousands of quality massage therapists in Florida whose organization is doing them no favors with these moves.


A newly formed lobbying association, aimed to focus exclusively on the needs of Florida’s technology sector, launched in Tallahassee.

The group — called Florida Technology Council (FTC) — will advocate on behalf of the state’s information technology industry before both the Legislative and Executive branches.

In addition to revealing the alliance, the FTC also debuted its new website and social media presence to support its overall goals.

Treasurer Jim Rimes anticipates the progress of the FTC to coincide with operations of the newly created Agency for State Technology.

“Our association lends itself as a vital industry resource they can count on to help with the long-term viability of the technology sector in Florida,” Rimes said. “We look forward to working together as this new agency comes to fruition.”

Using its influence within Florida’s technology industry, the FTC looks to provide input to state administrators regarding IT issues and implementation of the Agency for State Technology. FTC is currently recruiting members and will finalize its board in the coming months.


Brian Ballard, Michael Abrams, Chris Hansen, Ballard Partners: Good Chemistry

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you in part by the Florida Medical Association: Affordable, safe, patient-centered health care in Florida starts with a physician-led team, with all health care professionals playing valuable and appropriate roles. Learn more here.***

AFTER 150 YEARS OF ROLLING THEM, TAMPA IS CLOSE TO NO CIGARS via Lizette Alvarez of the New York Times

In Ybor City, a neighborhood in Tampa, history is cloaked in the woody, earthen notes of a cigar, the product that helped define this once-quiet town and propel it well into the 20th century. Today, the 150 cigar factory sites that dotted this historic neighborhood once redolent with the aroma of tobacco have faded away, one by one, done in by cigarettes, health concerns, the trade embargo on Cuba and competition from abroad. Many were torn down; others stand there empty or recycled for more profitable ventures.

There is one exception: On the northern side of Ybor City sits the J. C. Newman Cigar Company factory, a family-owned business tucked inside a classic brick building nicknamed El Reloj, a nod to its clock tower. Both have defied the maw of modernity to outlive a century.

But now J. C. Newman faces its biggest threat: the possibility that the Food and Drug Administration may introduce strict, expensive regulations on cigars that the Newman brothers, who operate the company, say could close the last working cigar factory in town.

If the factory closes, Tampa would lose its most historic link to the city’s 150-year-old cigar legacy, a blow that many agree would be deeply felt. It is not hard to see why. Inside El Reloj, cigar workers, most of them women, sit behind 1930s-era machines and lay a long tobacco leaf on a metal plate, cutting it before it slides off to be rolled. In another room, women push pedals on machines from the 1910s that strip the stem from the leaf (the women are indelicately called strippers). The process has not changed since the 1930s when Mr. Newman’s grandfather bought his first set of machines; two decades later he moved his cigar factory to Ybor City from Cleveland.

In keeping with a 2009 law granting the F.D.A. more regulatory power over tobacco products, the agency is proposing to oversee additional products including cigars and e-cigarettes. The aim is to regulate cigars as the government does cigarettes to try to discourage minors (and people, in general) from buying them in places like convenience stores and acquiring the habit, which can increase the risk of some cancers. “Tobacco remains the leading cause of death and disease in this country,” the F.D.A. commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, said in the agency’s announcement of the proposed new rules.

The first would apply cigarette-related regulations to all cigars, no matter the kind. This would most likely require that cigars, some of which are now flavored, to undergo thousands of hours of expensive and lengthy testing to meet F.D.A. approval and could mandate modern manufacturing standards the aging machines might not be able to meet.

The second proposed regulation would exempt so-called premium cigars from the new rules, a move that has the potential to affect an estimated 150 American companies, including the Newman factory, said Wallace Reyes, a researcher who until recently ran a cigar company here. Premium handmade cigars are not mass produced or sold in convenience stores and contain no additives.


On Context Florida: Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has become a prominent and oft-spoken critic of what she calls “persistent efforts in some states to politicize the bench and the role of our judges.” Martin Dyckman says Rick Scott needs to hear from her; not that he would listen. Many environmental and public health concerns are linked to acid fracking, writes Mark Ferrulo, and could lead to a Florida where the soil and air are contaminated, iconic endangered species like the Florida panther are lost forever and our drinking water is poisoned. David Waggonner is the guru behind the Greater New Orleans Water Urban Plan.Shannon Nickinson notes that he spoke several times last week in Northwest Florida to civic leaders, elected officials and citizens, suggesting they embrace the power water has in shaping the topography and development of coastal cities. Government is about providing essential services; business is about profit. Marc Yacht points out that business types have no “business” running government.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.


Charlie Crist was born 58 years ago today. That’s not all Crist did on July 24ths through the years. Today’s Throwback Thursday looks at Crist’s birthdays over the years, at least the more recent political ones.

On July 24, 2006, Crist – then a Republican gubernatorial hopeful – said that he disagreed with President George W. Bush’s veto of a bill that would have expanded funds for embryonic stem cell research. His opponent, Tom Gallagher, praised Bush’s veto.

A few years prior, on July 24, 2002, during a heated Republican primary for Attorney General of Florida, Crist found himself on his birthday responding to taunts that he was unqualified to be the AG. Opponent Tom Warner jeered, “If Charlie Crist were qualified to be attorney general of Florida . . . I would not run.”

To which the ever-puckish and positive Crist replied, “I feel fully qualified or I wouldn’t run..I think the summer heat has gotten to him.”

Apparently the summer heat has also had something of a romantic wind in Crist’s personal life — it was in July, 1979, that he was first married to Amanda Morrow; and in July, 2008, that he became husband to his now-wife Carole Rome.

It was also in July, 2008, that Crist was becoming known as a strong John McCain ally — appearing on talk shows on his behalf; and the favors were returned in July, 2013, when McCain pumped up Crist’s prospects as a competitive opponent to Gov. Rick Scott.

Our final non sequitur of Crist’s July moments brings us to July 1995, when the then-state senator passed a bill reviving chain gangs in Florida, earning him the moniker all in these circles know well.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friend, Charlie Crist. Also celebrating today is the recently retired Steve Otto.

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.