Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 8.09.16 – Lilly King throws shade at the Russians, while Hillary Clinton throws shade at Donald Trump’s economic plan

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 and Jim Rosica.

JACKSONVILLE’S RYAN MURPHY WINS GOLD IN 100 BACK via Clayton Freeman of the Florida Times-Union – With a splendid closing sprint in his first Olympic final, the Bolles School graduate capped a golden 24 hours for Jacksonville swimming. Murphy won the gold medal in Olympic record time for the United States in the men’s 100-meter backstroke Monday in Rio de Janeiro. Murphy stood fourth after the first 50 meters, but finished with tremendous speed to win in 51.97 ahead of Xu Jiayu of China and American teammate David Plummer.

TWEET, TWEET: @LopezCantera: Congrats to Floridian @ryan_f_murphy on his outstanding backstroke #GOLDMEDAL win tonight!

LILLY KING MAKES A STATEMENT WITH GOLD MEDAL VICTORY via Kelyn Soong of the Washington Post – King had expressed her displeasure with her Russian opponent, who has tested positive for doping in the past. On Monday night, King backed up her brash talk by winning the gold medal in an Olympic record time of 1 minute 4.93 seconds. Efimova was second and American Katie Meili took bronze. “It’s incredible. I really am speechless right now,” King told NBC’s Michelle Tafoya after the race. “I told Katie [during warmup], in 15 minutes our lives are going to change.” King touched the wall at the turnaround in the lead, but she had to hold off a surging Efimova. Asked by Tafoya if King felt she made a statement with the race, King replied: “I hope I did. Winning an Olympic gold medal is probably making a statement. …We can still compete clean and win at the Olympic Games and that’s how it should be.”

STEELE JOHNSON COULD HAVE DIED WHEN HE STRUCK HIS HEAON ON THE BOARD. HE RECOVERED, AND NOW HAS AN OLYMPIC MEDAL via the Associated Press – Steele Johnson nearly died in a diving accident when he was 12 years old. On Monday, he stepped on a podium at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center to claim an Olympic silver medal. Now 20, Steele teamed with American star David Boudia to finish second in the synchronized platform competition behind the dominant Chinese duo of Chen Aisen and Lin Yue. Steele broke down in tears when he realized the final dive by the Americans was good enough to at least win a medal. “It was a mix of excitement, joy, happiness,” Johnson said. “I was just all over the place.”

U.S. MEN’S BASKETBALL BLASTS VENEZUELA 113-69 AFTER SLOW START via Tom Withers of the Associated Press – Shaking off a sluggish, sloppy start and maybe some Brazilian boredom, the Americans regrouped in the second quarter and romped over Venezuela 113-69 on Monday, taking another step toward a possible third straight gold medal. Kevin Durant scored 16 points and Carmelo Anthony 14 for the U.S. squad, which may have grown a touch overconfident following a 57-point blowout of China in its tournament opener. The Americans were tied at 18-all after one quarter, but stopped turning the ball over and fouling, unleashed their defense and outscored Venezuela 30-8 in the second period. They cruised from there, improving to 82-1 under coach Mike Krzyzewski and reminding everyone it’s going to take a special performance for 40 minutes to deny them another Olympic title.

MEANWHILE … JAPAN WINS GYMANSTICS GOLD, DETHRONING CHINA via Victor Mather of the New York Times  Japan returned to the top of the men’s gymnastics world, beating Russia and China in the team event at the Olympics. The event was a renewal of the longtime gymnastics rivalry between Japan and China. China won the last two gold medals, in 2008 and 2012. But Japan has Kohei Uchimura, the world’s best gymnast — and perhaps the best of all time — anchoring their team. In the final rotation, Japan took on Russia head-to-head in the floor exercise, holding a slim 0.208 lead. Japan went first. After an oustanding score from Kenzo Shirai and a good one from Ryohei Kato, Uchimura locked down the win with a 15.6. Combined, it was the best team floor exercise score of the night. It was the end of a dominant night for Uchimura, who started strong with a 15.100 on the pommel horse.

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IN ST. PETE, HILLARY CLINTON CELEBRATES SMALL BUSINESSES, TRASHES DONALD TRUMP’S ECONOMIC PLAN via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics — Clinton painted an optimistic future about the American economy on Monday afternoon in St. Petersburg, celebrating small businesses by first visiting a local brewery, and then saying what she would do to help them and the rest of the country in a speech at the Coliseum.

The Democratic presidential nominee’s first stop was at 3 Daughters Brewing in South St. Pete, and then in her speech, she praised the owners, Mike and Leigh Harting, for taking the risk of starting up their own company a few years ago.

“They said to me ‘what could you do to cut the red tape — to streamline a lot of the processes that we have to go through?’and I said I’m going to work on that because in America, if you can dream it you ought to be able to build it!” Clinton said, sounding almost like the GOP at the Tampa RNC in 2012, where the theme one one evening was “We built it.”

Clinton said most of the jobs in the future in the U.S. will come from small businesses, adding that a problem for young people in particular in starting up a business is the huge debt they incurred from student loans. She then mentioned her student loan forgiveness plan that includes a three-month moratorium on repayment, additional refinancing options, expanded income-based repayment plans, employer assistance programs, and deferment for entrepreneurs.

Clinton is expected to give a major speech on the economy later this week, so she didn’t spend too much time talking about her own plans Monday, though she repeated that her plan would create 10 million jobs in the first four years, an estimate made by Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi (who has contributed to Clinton’s campaign). Instead she gave a healthy dismissal of Donald Trump’s economic plans, some of which he unveiled in a speech in Detroit earlier in the day.

In it, the GOP presidential candidate unveiled a new plan to change the country’s tax system. It has just three tax brackets,  would limit taxes on all forms of business income to 15 percent, would end the estate tax and would “exclude childcare expenses from taxation.”

Clinton was not impressed, saying Trump and his economic advisers wanted to make an “old tired idea seem new” by giving large tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.”He wants to roll back regulations on Wall Street,” she told the crowd in St. Pete. “He wants to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will save millions of dollars for Americans. He wants to basically just repackage trickle-down economics.” She added that his plan doesn’t help the vast majority of Americans, but does help those at the top.

“Well, we’re going to turn that upside down! We’re going to make the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes,” she shouted, as the crowd cheered.

SPOTTEDBrian Ballard in this Bloomberg story about Trump’s new economic plan. “I’m really heartened by it,” said Ballard, a former top Jeb Bush donor who is now Trump’s finance chair in Florida. “Now we have a tax plan and an economic plan that we can get conservatives to rally behind and feel good about.”


3 daughters

HANDMADE POSTER OF THE DAY – Photo via Kim DeFalco of Florida Politics:


POLL: CLINTON LEADS BY 13 POINTS AMONG LIKELY VOTERS via Steven Shepard of POLITICO – The Monmouth University survey shows Clinton leading Trump, 50 percent to 37 percent, among likely voters. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson is at 7 percent, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein is at 2 percent. Only 3 percent of likely voters are undecided. Clinton has consolidated her party’s support, winning 92 percent of Democrats surveyed. But Trump captures only 79 percent of Republican respondents. Trump (32 percent) and Clinton (30 percent) are running neck-and-neck among self-identified independents. While it is only one snapshot, the Monmouth poll suggests Clinton’s post-convention bounce not only hasn’t receded in recent days, it might actually be growing. There are a number of other positive measures for Clinton: She hits the 50-percent threshold on the ballot test, even with Johnson and Stein included. The poll shows a clear gap in candidate favorability. Only 26 percent of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Trump, compared to 61 percent who view him unfavorably. Clinton’s image rating is still net-negative, but not overwhelmingly so: 37 percent of voters view her favorably, and 49 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN BEGINS SHOPPING FOR TV AD TIME via the National Journal — As he falls fur­ther be­hind in the polls, Trump is tak­ing the ini­tial steps to­wards air­ing the first TV ads of his Gen­er­al Elec­tion cam­paign against Hil­lary Clin­ton. The Trump cam­paign’s me­dia buy­er, Stra­tegic Me­dia Ser­vices, re­ques­ted TV ad rates in 17 states Thursday … Ari­zona, Col­or­ado, Florida, Geor­gia, In­di­ana, Iowa, Maine, Min­nesota, Michigan, Mis­souri, New Hamp­shire, Nevada, North Car­o­lina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vir­gin­ia, and Wis­con­sin. It marks the first time the cam­paign has shopped for air­time since the primar­ies, where he spent $19 million on ads.

THESE REPUBLICANS WERE UNABLE TO STOP TRUMP’S NOMINATION. BUT THEY’RE TRYING AGAIN. via Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post – Some of the former leaders of the movement that tried using party convention rules to snatch away the nomination and install another candidate said that they’re reaching out to members of the RNC, which includes three representatives from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and territories, asking that they sign a petition calling for an emergency meeting that would lead to Trump’s ouster. Party rules dictate members from at least 16 states can compel RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to call an emergency meeting, which he would need to convene within 10 days. At the meeting, these activists want RNC members to invoke Rule 9, which lays out how to nominate a new presidential candidate in the event of a resignation, death or other circumstance. According to the party rulebook, the RNC is “authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States.” If the nominee is removed, the RNC could opt to hold a new convention or select a new candidate by holding a vote among themselves. “It is our goal to recall him,” said Beau Correll, a Virginia lawyer. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention who filed a federal court case challenging party rules and state laws that required him to vote for Trump at the convention. But several RNC members said Sunday they hadn’t heard from the activists — and aren’t interested in revoking Trump’s nomination. “Have not heard from them. Won’t support them,” Toni Anne Dashiell, an RNC member from Texas, said in an email.

— “Republican Sen. Collings: ‘I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president‘” via the Washington Post

— “Mike Pence should get Donald Trump to withdraw” via Matt Latimer of the New York Times

FLORIDA GOP PARTY SPOKESMAN QUITTING BECAUSE OF TRUMP via Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post – Wadi Gaitan, a former senior House Republican aide who focused on Hispanic affairs, becomes yet another high-profile Latino Republican official to leave his job because he can no longer tolerate defending and explaining Trump. The Republican nominee has spent much of the past year maligning immigrants, minorities and women, a strategy that helped him win the party’s nomination but that has led to historically poor approval ratings among black and Latino voters. Gaitan will be joining the LIBRE Initiative, a grass-roots organization backed by the industrialists Charles and David Koch. The LIBRE Initiative and its executive director, Daniel Garza, remain active in Hispanic communities nationwide, spending millions of dollars in the past year trying to draw Latino voters to support conservative or libertarian policies. The group does not advocate for political candidates. Garza has said Trump’s combative anti-immigrant rhetoric has made his organization’s outreach more difficult.


@MarcACaputo: As outgoing @FloridaGOP spox @wadijr bashes Trump, campaign’s senior adviser & FL strategist Karen Giorno has two words: “Good riddance”

@SaintPetersBlog: Something to be said about @wadijr giving his story to WaPo first. Just saying.

Judas ! RPOF mouthpiece Gaitan takes 30pieces of Silver from Kochs to knife

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FIRST IN SUNBURN — BARACK OBAMA SENDS FUNDRAISING EMAIL ON BEHALF OF PATRICK MURPHY via Florida Politics — The email, which the Murphy campaign expects to send out Tuesday, is the first time the president has sent on a fundraising appeal in Florida’s U.S. Senate race. Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have endorsed Murphy, and both men have traveled to Florida to help raise cash for the Treasure Coast Democrat. In the email to supporters, Obama says Murphy “stands up to Republicans on behalf of our shared values. It’s why they’re attacking him. They know he can win in November, and they’ll spare no expense to defeat him.”

BUDDY DYER ENDORSES MURPHY via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald — The endorsement adds to the plethora of establishment backers the Jupiter congressman has, and it’s notable because Murphy‘s main rival … fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson — lives in and represents parts of Dyer’s city. The Orlando mayor hailed Murphy as “the leader that my city and our state needs in the U.S. Senate” … “More than ever, we need leadership from our next U.S. Senator and I know that Patrick is the man for the job,” Dyer said in a statement released by Murphy’s campaign.

CHUCK SCHUMER: MARCO RUBIO COULD BE HURT BY ZIKA FUNDING DELAYS via Addy Baird of POLITICO – “I think it does [hurt Rubio],” Schumer said of the delayed funding during a phone interview … “I think it hurts Republicans across the board … Republicans are beginning to feel the heat.” Schumer has frequently called on Congress to pass Zika funding. He first did so while Congress was in session, and does so now during the Legislature’s seven-week recess, calling for the House and Senate to return to session while never missing an opportunity to take swings at Republicans. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result, but that seems like the Republicans’ approach,” he told reporters before the recess. “It’s insanity to break for the summer without the Republican Congress passing a dime for Zika … The bill didn’t pass … courtesy of the tea party,” Schumer said.

AFTER LYING DORMANT MOST OF THE CAMPAIGN, CARLOS BERUFF SUPER PAC COMES TO LIFE via Jeremy Wallace of the Miami Herald – Records released show Let’s Clean Up Washington spent almost $50,000 on a direct mail supporting Beruff. That is in addition to nearly $52,000 it spent a week before that. The $100,000 direct mail campaign comes as Beruff’s campaign has spent more than $8 million on television ads trying to gain traction against Marco Rubio. Let’s Clean Up Washington has been mostly quiet since it was created in March in support of Beruff’s campaign. It raised $180,000 in June, mostly from other land developers in Manatee County where Beruff runs Medallion Homes.

CONSERVATIVE OUTSIDE GROUPS FLEXING FINANCIAL MUSCLES BY BACKING MARY THOMAS IN CD 2 RACE via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Neal Dunn is running in a heated Republican primary for a congressional district that covers a sprawling swath of conservative North Florida, but beaming out of television sets across the region is a portrait of the Panama City physician that seems out of place in a red-meat primary. “Who is Neal Dunn?” says the narrator. “He’s a former lobbyist who claims he’s a Republican, but donated thousands in campaign money to Democrats.” The ad hits Dunn for financially supporting, among others, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who has since left the party and is now a Democrat. Tethering opponents to Crist in any way possible has become a favorite tactic in Florida Republican primaries. But the ad did not come from the campaign of Thomas, Dunn’s chief rival in the Republican primary. It instead was funded by Club for Growth, a longtime Washington-based conservative group that each election cycle spends tens of millions of dollars in races across the country. “Our main focus is we are for pro-growth, limited government candidates,” said David McIntosh, a former Republican Indiana congressman who is the group’s president. The group’s bread-and-butter is supporting candidates in Republican Party primaries it deems more conservative than those backed by more traditional — or “establishment” — Republican business interests like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For Republican candidates, the group’s support means a huge financial boost, while their opposition can signal a tough primary fight ahead. Thomas is a perfect example.

NEW BOB POE TV AD ON SPECIAL INTERESTS: ‘THAT’S WHY I’M FUNDING MY OWN CAMPAIGN’ via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Poe, a self-made millionaire businessman from Orlando and a former chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, has poured more than $1.7 million into his campaign for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. When he announced his candidacy in January he said he would use his own money to match donations dollar-for-dollar, but that proved insufficient, and he’s been matching about $10 to $1. The new commercial succeeds two in which Poe attacked the apparent front-runner in CD 10, former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings. Also running … state Sen. Geraldine Thompson and lawyer Fatima Rita Fahmy. The winner would face Republican nominee Thuy Lowe in November. “We know special-interest money controls Congress. And nothing will change as long as they’re in control,” Poe says in the new commercial, looking straight into the camera. “That’s why I’m funding my own campaign. I’m Bob Poe. I don’t owe the special interests anything. And I never will.” He then goes on to list a few issues in which he intends to ignore special interests: taxing Wall Street, getting illegal guns off the streets, and stopping police brutality.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Upon informing some of my family and friends of my scheduled surgery, many were surprised that as a lawyer and politician I even had a heart. Fortunately, my doctors told me I have a good heart, and I just need a new valve and a little ‘re-piping.’ I have been living with this very common defect since I was born, and I have still lived a healthy, normal and fulfilled life.” — Rep. Dennis Ross, a Lakeland Republican, said in a statement before undergoing a planned surgery to correct a common bicuspid aortic valve birth defect.

TIM CANOVA TO FILE FEC COMPLAINT AGAINST DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald — “Wasserman Schultz had a fiduciary duty to the DNC and ultimately to the public to be a fair arbitrator and to separate her obligations as a candidate for federal office from her position as chair of a national committee …” states the complaint, according to a Canova press release. “She had a legal obligation to institute a firewall between her campaign and the DNC. Instead, the record establishes that she used her position with the DNC and the resources of the DNC to improperly benefit her congressional campaign … The emails establish that on numerous occasions the DNC, under Wasserman Schultz’s direction and control, used its resources to track my campaign, interfere with my campaign events and to assist the Wasserman Schultz campaign in her personal communications strategy,” Canova said. Canova is running against Wasserman Schultz in the Aug. 30Democratic primary for the Broward/Miami-Dade seat.

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MIKE CLELLAND RAISES $65,000 IN A WEEK IN SD 13 RACE via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — … and spent more than $35,000 on advertising during the week as the Democratic primary approaches. Clelland raised $25,025 in his official campaign account and another $40,500 in his political action committee, “Common Sense for Central Florida.” Those tallies pushed his overall campaign funds’ total to more than $634,000 in a battle that has him facing two well-known Democrats in the Aug. 30 primary, and preparing for a well-financed Republican in November if he wins. All are fighting to succeed Republican Senate President Andy Gardiner in a district that now leans significantly Democrat in north central and northeast Orange County.

IN BRUTAL SD 17 PRIMARY, DEBBIE MAYFIELD LENDS HER CAMPAIGN ANOTHER $100 K via Florida Politics — Mayfield loaned another $100,000 … at the end of July to increase her lead over Melbourne Republican Rep. Ritch Workman in the Senate District 17 primary. Mayfield’s loan was paired with $13,250 in contributions and about $15,000 in expenditures, leaving her campaign account with about $170,000 in the bank July 29. At of the close of the one-week reporting period, Mayfield’s campaign totals showed $500,000 in loans, $140,635 in contributions and nearly $470,000 in expenditures. The end-of-month contributions mostly came from donors in the newly redrawn district, which includes Brevard and Indian River counties. Workman raised just $3,550 for the week and spent more than $66,000, leaving him with just under $100,000 in his campaign account July 29. The Space Coast lawmaker has raised $404,630 to date and spent $305,070 of that money. Among the expenditures was a $40,720 media buy through Tallahassee-based Southern Campaign Resources and $23,500 in postage expenses paid to the USPS.

DOUG HOLDER CLAIMS TO BE ‘FIGHTER’ OF COMMON CORE IN FLORIDA, BUT ANTI-CCSS GROUPS DISAGRE via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News — In a mailer … Holder claims he was a “fighter” to abolish Common Core and “create sensible Florida standards” for Florida students. The mailer, which was paid for by his political committee, Floridians for Equitable Government, goes on to say Holder will promote local control and limit standardized testing, support parental choice and promote high standards to prepare students for careers. Florida anti-Common Core groups seem puzzled by the mailer, however, since they don’t recall Holder being involved in their anti-Common Core movement over the years. “I can personally attest that Holder has NEVER been involved in any anti-Common Core efforts in this state,” said Karen Effrem, executive director of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition. Effrem’s group isn’t the only one not familiar with Holder’s involvement in fighting against Common Core. “I have never seen this guy speak great education reform policy, speak education as a priority in Florida or sponsor bills that demonstrate a commitment to best practices for students or an embracement of parental empowerment,” said Luz Gonzalez of Florida Parents Against Common Core. Holder served in the Florida House from 2006 through 2014, the same year Florida fully implemented the Florida Standards, a set of educational standards derived from Common Core. A name that did show up on many bills on anti-Common Core groups’ radar was Rep. Ray Pilon’s, a Sarasota Republican who is one of the candidates facing off against Holder in the SD 23 primary. Pilon … teamed up with Rep. Debbie Mayfield in several of her endeavors to battle the standards over the years. “I was engaged [in the fight] and supported Mayfield,” he explained. Campaign mailers, he said, often happen to paint an inaccurate picture. “Anybody can go out and say I was a champion of this…but the average citizen doesn’t know [what’s true],” said Pilon. “And that’s a sad scenario for the state of mailers.”

IRV SLOSBERG TO SEEK HOUSE RULES OPINION ON RESIDENCY via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Slosberg says he’ll seek an opinion from House leadership on whether he can retain his District 91 seat for the next three months after switching his residency to an address outside his district. Slosberg, whose House term expires in November, is pursuing a Democratic state Senate primary challenge to Sen. Jeff Clemens … in Clemens’ Senate District 31. Slosberg’s Boca Raton residence was outside Senate District 31, so he switched his voter registration July 25 to a Boynton Beach address in Clemens’ Senate district. But Slosberg’s new address is outside House District 91.

AMOUNT SLOSBERG HAS LOANED TO HIS SENATE CAMPAIGN APPROACHES $500K via Florida Politics — Slosberg threw another $50,000 of his own money into the SD 31 race, bringing his total loans up to $470,000 as of July 29  … The Boca Raton lawmaker was a last minute filer for the seat and is going up against Sen. Jeff Clemens in the Democratic Primary for the Palm Beach County district. Outside of loans, Slosberg brought in just $100 in contributions and spent more than $91,000 between July 23 and July 29, leaving him with just under $19,000 in the bank. Among the outflow was $28,000 to Maryland-based Potomac Campaigns Group for printing and mailing, $26,000 to Mark Graphics of Boca Raton for advertising as well as $25,000 to Washington, D.C., shop Winning Connections for campaign research. Clemens added $42,750 to his campaign account during the one-week reporting period, though like Slosberg, his campaign spent more than it brought in. After $52,079 in expenditures, Clemens had $73,000 on hand.

TWEET SHOT: @JimWaldman: I’m proud to be the real progressive choice for District 38, and I hope to earn your vote on August 30th.

TWEET CHASER: @SaintPetersBlog: Um, sir, you do know you’re running for Senate District 34, right?


Francis Rooney, running for Florida’s 19th Congressional District, has been endorsed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Dana Young, running for Florida Senate District 18, has been endorsed by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

Dennis Baxley, running for Florida House District 23, has been endorsed by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

Bob Cortes, running for Florida House District 30, has been endorsed by the Personhood Florida Pro-Life PAC.

Rebecca Smith, running for Florida House District 60, has been endorsed by former U.S. Ambassador Mel Sembler.

Sean Shaw, running for Florida House District 61, has been endorsed by the Democratic Progressive Caucus.

FLORIDA OFFICIALS DECRY TALK OF ‘RIGGED’ OR ‘HACKED’ ELECTION via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Donald Trump is warning Americans that the election might be “rigged.” News accounts ask whether it’s possible to hack the election results the way hackers penetrated the Democratic Party’s email server. In response, Florida election supervisors … issued a rare “open letter” to reassure voters in the nation’s biggest battleground state that safeguards are in place to prevent that from happening. The letter was authored by Clay County Supervisor Chris Chambless, president of a statewide association of supervisors. He emphasized that because Florida is a “paper ballot” state, it has a built-in paper trail of every voter’s decisions. He also said the electronic parts of the system are not on the Internet and do not connect with each other online. An excerpt from the letter: “… It is important to note that there is no indication from federal law enforcement (security agencies, U.S. Dept. of Justice) to state election officials that any credible threat currently exists when it comes to the issue of hacking elections. While the security of voting systems is a top priority for election professionals across the state of Florida, recent enhancements to Florida voting systems have dramatically reduced exposures to hacking elections … At the core of the security of Florida voting systems is the fact that we are a paper ballot state. Florida law mandates that ‘all voting’ be by Marksense ballot (with the temporary exception of voters with disabilities who may use DRE [touch screen] voting until 2020). Should any disruption or corruption in the transmission of vote totals occur, we can always refer to the original paper ballot.”

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will attend a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. at Deutsche Bank, 5201 Gate Parkway in Jacksonville.

RICK SCOTT ONCE TOOK AIM AT MOSQUITO CONTROL BOARDS AS NEEDLESS ‘TAX BURDEN’ via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times — In his fight against the Zika virus, Scott‘s strongest allies are county mosquito control boards, the “boots on the ground” stretching from Key West to Pasco County to Panama City. But Scott once targeted them for possible extinction, calling the local mosquito fighters a major “tax burden” of dubious benefit to taxpayers. The shift in philosophy shows the evolution of a leader who rode to power on a wave of tea party revulsion of government and then learned the details of governing on the fly. Four years ago, after Scott wiped out thousands of regulations that he said stifled job creation, he demanded a review of 1,600 special districts to ensure that they “operate in a transparent manner and be fiscally accountable in order to safeguard the public interest.” … “Though many may not realize it,” Scott said at the time, “some of Florida’s greatest tax burden on families and businesses can be found among the $15.4 billion in revenue taken in by the state’s special taxing districts.” Scott’s order sent shock waves through an obscure layer of local government that had grown accustomed to being roundly ignored. “You couldn’t call it friendly to special districts,” said Terry Lewis, a lobbyist for the districts. “The governor was asking, ‘Do we need them?'” The answer turned out to be yes — and Scott’s executive order quietly disappeared.

STATE WARNS OF POTENTIAL ZIKA SCAM PRODUCTS via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times — With fears of Zika on the rise, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is warning consumers to be wary of people selling products that claiming to protect against the disease. “All Floridians should be diligent and do their part to stop the spread of the Zika virus in Florida and one way to ensure the virus is contained is to use proven mosquito-repellent products and avoid any products that falsely claim they can prevent insect bites,” said Bondi. “Using an unproven repellent can give the user a false sense of security and increase the likelihood of a mosquito bite.” Bondi’s office said they have not received any consumer complaints related to Zika yet, but said people should call them (1-866-9-NO-SCAM) if they suspect a product is being falsely marketed as a mosquito repellent or as Zika protection.

WALL STREET SAYS ZIKA VIRUS WON’T CAUSE ECONOMIC UPHEAVAL IN MIAMI via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post — The historic travel advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood following the Zika virus outbreak shouldn’t trigger major economic upheaval, a Wall Street ratings agency said … Moody’s latest credit outlook said that both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County’s bond ratings should hold steady, meaning their borrowing ability won’t be affected by the CDC’s first-ever warning not to travel to a U.S. location. Moody’s said, “The warning will likely reduce travel to the region, affecting key sources of tax revenue linked to tourism, including sales, gas and tourist development taxes. “Given that it is currently the low season for Florida tourism, the current limited travel guidance is not likely to significantly affect these tax streams over the next few months. However, if the guidance expands to include the entire city or remains in effect through the fall and into the high season of December to March, these revenue streams could experience declines.”

HOW TO BEAT DENGUE AND ZIKA: ADD A MICROBE TO MOSQUITOES via Ed Yong of the Atlantic magazine — Scott O’Neill walks up to a yellow bungalow in a suburb of Cairns. He sports glasses, a goatee, jeans and an off-white shirt, with “Eliminate Dengue” written over the breast pocket. That’s both the name of the organization that O’Neill founded and its goal: eliminate dengue fever, from Cairns, from Australia, and perhaps eventually from the world. The tools with which he will accomplish this feat are sitting in the small plastic cup that he now holds in his hand … The only real way of controlling dengue is through prevention. We can kill Aedes mosquitoes with insecticides. We can stop them from biting, using repellents or nets. We can remove the open, stagnant water in which the insects breed. But despite these strategies, dengue fever is still common, and increasingly so. O’Neill’s plan, unorthodox though it sounds, is to beat the disease by releasing even more of the Aedes mosquitoes that carry it. But his insects are different from their wild counterparts. O’Neill has loaded them with a marvelous bacterium called Wolbachia. It was discovered unceremoniously. In 1924, pathologist Marshall Hertig and entomologist Simeon Burt Wolbach were looking inside common brown mosquitoes, Culex pipens, which they had collected near Boston and Minneapolis, when they found a new microbe. It looked a bit like the Rickettsia bacteria that Wolbach had previously identified as the cause of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and typhus. But this new microbe didn’t seem responsible for any disease — and so was largely ignored. It took 12 years for Hertig to formally name it Wolbachia pipientis, in honor of his friend who found it and the mosquito that carried it. Wolbachia does allow males to survive, it still manipulates them. It often changes their sperm so that they cannot success­fully fertilize eggs unless the eggs are infected with the same strain of Wolbachia …  infected females (which can mate with whomever they like) gain a competitive advantage over uninfected females (which can only mate with uninfected males). With every passing generation, the infected females become more common, as do the Wolbachia they carry. This is called cytoplasmic incompatibility, and it’s Wolbachia’s most common and most successful strategy — the strains that use it spread so quickly through a population that they typically infect 100 percent of their potential hosts. That’s the simple basis of O’Neill’s dengue-beating plan: Wolbachia stops Aedes mosquitoes from car­rying dengue viruses, turning them from vectors into dead ends. If he can get the bacterium into enough wild mosquitoes, he would cut the chains of dengue transmission and eliminate the disease.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Senate President-designate Joe Negron will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. at Flagler Place, 2001 S.W. Flagler Ave. in Stuart. He is expected to discuss his plans for reducing harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

GUN GROUP APPEALS ‘GAME DAY GUIDE’ CASE via Florida Politics — A firearms-rights organization is appealing a trial judge’s ruling involving a Florida State University game day guide. Florida Carry filed a notice of appeal in the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. The university printed and distributed a college football pamphlet last year to be distributed before games that said campus visitors were not allowed to store guns in cars parked in university lots. But that violates another court decision that said another school in Florida was wrong to ban guns in cars on campus. FSU changed the information in the guide to comport with the other ruling and a judge dismissed the case as moot. But the organization argued the judge was tainted because he is an FSU supporter.

PROTEST OVER $125 MILLION LOTTERY CONTRACT “DISMISSED” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – A bid protest filed over a Florida Lottery advertising contract worth $125 million has been “dismissed” … [said] lottery communications director Connie Barnes …  She did not offer further details, including when and why. Barnes did not immediately respond to a request for more information. “The Lottery is looking forward to finalizing the contract and moving forward with PP+K,” she said, referring to the winning bidder, a Tampa-based advertising agency. St. John & Partners, a Jacksonville-based advertising and PR firm, filed the protest over the five-year services contract in June.

FLORIDA SENATE’S UNDERGROUND PARKING CLOSED FOR 2 MORE YEARS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – It’ll be June 2018 before senators and staffers will again be able to park under the Capitol complex, according to Maggie Mickler, spokeswoman for the Department of Management Services (DMS), which oversees the Capitol. Meantime, DMS has been working with the Senate to assign them new long-term spots. For now, daily Senate employees park in the central underground Capitol garage and downtown surface lots D and E, Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta said. That means 210 spaces won’t be available for use, as work on the aging structure continues — a potentially big impact on Tallahassee’s compact downtown. The garage, in continuous use since 1978, was shut down “in an abundance of caution” in May. The original waterproofing had “reached the end of its life” and was letting in water, Mickler said. Structural engineers then saw “an accelerated deterioration” of parts of the garage because of intruding water. The remediation is part of a larger effort to renovate the Capitol grounds, including removing trees and soil over the garages to ease the stress on the underground supports and replacing them with a lighter concrete mix.

LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements — both on and off — of the legislative merry-go-round.

Off: Mandy O’Callaghan has stepped down as policy chief for the House Health Quality Subcommittee.

Off: Edward Metzger is no longer legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen.

Off: Adam Miller is no longer district secretary for Jacksonville Republican Rep. Charles McBurney.

On: Kelly Milner is the new district secretary for Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy of New Port Richey.

Off: Alex Alamo has stepped down as legislative assistant for Miami Republican Rep. Jeanette Nunez.

Off and on: Matthew McClain has changed jobs from district secretary to legislative assistant for Republican Rep. Charlie Stone of Ocala. Connie Mullis has become Stone’s new district secretary.

On: Ralph Armstead has become new legislative assistant to Orlando Democratic Sen. Geraldine Thompson.

BOUTIQUE LOBBYING FIRMS PACKED A BIG PUNCH IN SECOND QUARTER OF 2016 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Stuart K. Brown’s SKB Consulting reported earning between $50,000 and $99,999 during the second quarter. The firm reported similar earnings in the first quarter of the year. Brown’s clients include the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations, Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida, K12 Inc., Scholastic Inc., and Teaching Strategies Inc. … Sunrise Consulting and Unconventional Strategies also reported earning between $50,000 and $99,999 in the second quarter. Shawn Foster boasts a dozen clients at Sunrise Consulting. Clients during the second quarter included the Florida Blueberry Festival and the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, which paid between $1 and $9,999. At Unconventional Strategies, the team of Adam B. CoreyNicholas G. Matthews, and Ralph L. Schwarz reported earning $50,000 to $99,999 in the second quarter of 2016. The team’s clients included the Coalition of Affordable Housing Providers and Presidio Networked Solutions … Computer Aid Inc. and Uncompass … and B&L Services Inc. and Quest Management Group. The Labrador Company also reported earnings between $50,000 and $99,999 in the second quarter of 2016. Led by Brecht Heuchan, the Tallahassee firm represented more than a half-dozen clients between April 1 and June 30 … Heuchan’s clients included the Florida Justice Association, The Richman Group of Florida, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, and Wilkes & McHugh P.A. … The American Progressive Bag Alliance … Lobbying reports filed with the state lobbyist compensation website show a few firms — including Louis Betz & Associates, Paul Hawkes, and Jefferson Monroe Consulting — saw a drop in reported earnings in the second quarter.

BUCHANAN INGERSOLL & ROONEY EARNS MORE THAN $500K FOR LOBBYING WORK DURING SECOND QUARTER via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics —Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s diverse client list helped keep them among the top earners during the second quarter. The firm had more than five dozen clients, including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., Lee Memorial Health System, AbbVie, Inc., and the Florida League of Cities … also lists several local governments, including the cities of Ormond Beach and Fort Myers … and the Collier County Board of County Commissioners … The company also reported United States Sugar Corp. …  Led by John “Mac” Stipanovich, the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney government affairs team includes Ivette Arango O’DoskiKeith ArnoldBrett BacottDouglas BellMarnie GeorgeMichael HarrellJim MagillKimberly McGlynnLinda Shelley and Timothy Stanfield.

CAPITAL CITY CONSULTING TOPS $1M IN SECOND QUARTER LOBBYING COMPENSATION via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — The Tallahassee firm reported a median compensation of more than $1.2 million for its work lobbying the Florida Legislature between April 1 and June 30. Those second quarter earnings further solidify Capital City Consulting’s standing as one of the top five earners in the state. The firm’s client roster included insurance companies Aetna … and CIGNA. The firm also listed AT&T … The Everglades Foundation … and Florida Healthy Kids Corp. The Capital City Consulting team includes Jennifer GaviriaKen GrangerNick IarossiAshley KalifehRon LaFaceScott RossChristopher M. Schoonover and Gerald Wester.

COMPENSATION REPORTS SHOW RON BOOK HAD ANOTHER MILLION-DOLLAR QUARTER via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — The South Florida firm reported a median compensation of more than $1.5 million for its work lobbying the Florida Legislature between April 1 and June 30 … the firm will once again be one of the Top 5 earners in the state. Led by Book, the lobbying team is made up of Rana G. Brown and Kelly C. Mallette … The firm represented Auto Tag Management Group, which provides tag and title registration services to the public, as well as car and boat dealers, throughout the state … Another top client is South West Florida Enterprises … The company does business as Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Racing & Poker. The Bonita Springs dog track is located in Lee County, one of several communities across the state that passed referendums approving slot machines. Other top clients include Gold Coast Beverage Distributors … Miami-Dade County … and the North Broward Hospital District.

THE FIORENTINO GROUP POSTS STRONG SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — Compensation reports filed with the state lobbyist compensation website shows the Jacksonville-based firm reported earning between $250,000 and $499,999 from April 1 and June 30 … Considered a Northeast Florida powerhouse, the firm’s client roster primarily includes Northeast Florida companies and organizations … clients include Availity, a health care information technology company, and UF Health Jacksonville … Other clients included the city of Jacksonville … and Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, the Florida Court Reporters Association, and Florida Crystals Corp. Led by Martin Fiorentino, the Jacksonville-based firm includes Thomas GriffinJoe MobleyLinzee Ott and Mark Pinto.

LOBBYING COMPENSATION REPORTS SHOW RICH HEFFLEY’S FIRM ENJOYED A HEALTHY Q2 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — The Tallahassee-based firm reported earning between $250,000 and $499,999 in legislative lobbying services from April 1 to June 30. The team of Richard Heffley and Kelly Horton had 19 legislative clients last quarter, including the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association … Five companies — the Merck, Sharpe, Dohme Corp., Florida Medical Association, HCA Management Services LP, Peoples Gas System, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America … Heffley & Associates also represented the Walton County Tourist Development Council and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

FIRST IN SUNBURN — CONNECT FLORIDA WELCOMES STATEWIDE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE VII — Connect Florida announced its Statewide Leadership Institute Class VII on Tuesday. The class includes professors, attorneys and several executive directors. Considered the premier leadership institutes for young professionals, Connect Florida is patterned after the Leadership Florida Program and provides leadership skills and practical experience in the community. “Connect Florida will provide these young leaders with incredible opportunities in the year ahead, and we look forward to seeing members develop as individuals, professionals, community servants, and Florida leaders,” said Chester Spellman, chairman of the Connect Florida Board of Governors and a Class IV graduate.

The class: Crystal Agnew, Trinity Church Peacemakers Family Center; Kelly Jordan, University of Florida; Matt Anderson, Foundry Commercial; Faequa Khan, Law Office of Daryl L. Jones, P.A.; Chris Benvenuto, Gunster; Ryan King, Hertz Corporation; Glen Bishop, Glen Bishop Enterprises, LLC; Tony Lee, III, Florida Gulf Coast University; Freddy Branham, ECHO; Matt Leopold, Carlton Fields; Matt Brockelman, Southern Strategy Group; Frederick Longmire, Assistant State Attorney; H. French Brown, Hopping Green & Sams PA; Cee Cee Marinelli, Barron Collier Companies; Beth Bryant, HANDY; Merritt Martin, State Legislative Affairs Director Moffitt Cancer Center; Laura Cantwell, AARP Florida; Santosh Mathew, Nielsen; Liz Castro DeWitt, Florida Beverage Association; Kyle Matthews, Because of Ezra; James ChanJack Melnicoff, Granicus, Inc.; Gretchen Clarke, AppRiver; Fran Menes, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Inc.; Ian Cotner, Esq., AT&T; Adriana Moreno Kostencki, Berger Singerman, LLP; Anna Eskamani, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida; G.C. Murray, Esq., Florida Justice Association; Kyle Evans, REDCON Solutions Group; Cara Perry, Florida Atlantic University; Sandra Fine, rbb Communications; Alisha Pieraccini, Florida Blue; Ben Gibson, Executive Office of the Governor; Yasodha Ratnasekera, Tampa Electric Company; Francisco Gonzalez, The James Madison Institute; Meredith Rollo, Florida Power & Light Company/NexEra Energy; Jessica Goodwin Costello, Office of the Attorney General; Jonathan Schwartz, Broward College; Matt Grosack, DLA Piper LLP (US); Beth Smith, Orlando Health; Phillip Hamilton, Florida International University; Mikhaile Solomon, Prizm Art Fair, LLC; Evelyn Hernandez, Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association; Justin Thames, Florida Institute of CPAs; Nelson Hernandez, Coral Gables Trust; Nicole Washington, Self-Employed.

‘GAME OF THRONES’ LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE COMING TO AMALIE ARENA IN TAMPA via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — The blockbuster Emmy-winning HBO drama is hitting the road next spring for a live concert tour with composer Ramin Djawadi leading a full orchestra and choir. The 28-city trek will stop at Amalie Arena in Tampa March 12. Tickets are $35.75 and up, and they go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Unfortunately, Game of Thrones stars like Kit HarringtonEmilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey won’t be there. (Nor, apparently, will Kristian “Hodor” Nairn, a DJ who actually has performed in Tampa.) So what is the “Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience?” According to HBO and promoter Live Nation, it’ll be “an immersive music and visual experience that will bring the Seven Kingdoms to life on a scale never seen before.” Djawadi will lead the orchestra and choir on a “musical journey” through the lands of Game of Thrones as scenes unfold on giant screens before the audience. “The GoT Concert Experience will be unique in the history of concert tours, an eye-popping, ear-splitting, phantasmagoric blend of the show’s visuals and Ramin’s powerful compositions,” Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said in a statement.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friends Emmett Reed of the Florida Health Care Association and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.

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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