Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 8.18.16 — 12 days until Florida’s primary election

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.


The battle for Senate District 23 began with a decision not to run.

It was Nancy Detert’s decision, and one that will send a ripple throughout the Southwest Florida community. And with less than two weeks until the Aug. 30 Republican primary, it’s still anyone’s game.

Five Republicans — former state Rep. Doug Holder, businessman Rick Levine, former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, Rep. Ray Pilon, and Rep. Greg Steube — are vying to replace Detert in the Florida Senate. The winner of the primary will face a Democrat in November, but in the Republican-leaning district it’s unlikely a Democrat will win the general.

Senate District 23 covers all of Sarasota County and western Charlotte County. Detert represented the Sarasota area in the state Senate since 2008.

A well-respected member of the Senate, Detert threw her support behind Patterson. In a statement endorsing her earlier this summer, Detert said Patterson knows “this community that she has served and loved for decades.”

Nora Patterson – “Courage” from Consensus Communications on Vimeo.

For some, Patterson seemed like the obvious choice for Detert’s replacement. She’s lived in Sarasota since 1970, and has deep roots in the community, serving eight years on the Sarasota City Commission and 16 years on the Sarasota County Commission. But her past association with Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida has raised a few eyebrows. She said she left the board before the organization began performing abortions, but that doesn’t seem to matter to detractors who have criticized her for her time on the board.

Recent polling commissioned by found Patterson was in third place, with 20 percent of the vote. She trailed behind Steube, who was in second with 23 percent, and Holder, who was in first, with 29 percent.


First elected in 2010, Steube may be best known for his efforts in recent years for legislation he sponsored to expand gun rights to concealed permit holders. That support for the Second Amendment has landed him the support of the NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

“No other candidate in this race has the background of active, dedicated legislative service that you have demonstrated to advancing the cause of Freedom, Second Amendment rights and protection of Constitutional Rights,” said Marion Hammer, the executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida and the past president of the NRA, in a statement endorsing him.

An attorney, Steube sponsored legislation to help create the framework for public/private partnerships. That legislation, according to POLITCO Florida, gave a financial boost to his employer, Becker & Poliakoff.

Those ties were at the center of an advertisement by Floridians for Ethics and Truth in Politics, which slammed Steube for cronyism.

Steube has been gaining traction in the race, but Holder is well-respected in the community and has the backing of some business groups. Elected to the Florida House in 2006, Holder represented parts of southern and central Sarasota County until 2014.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce backs Holder in Senate District 23, saying his pro-jobs, pro-business commitment helped secure the endorsement.

“As a state representative, Doug Holder consistently championed free enterprise, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce believes he will bring that same spirit for free enterprise to the Florida Senate,” said Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political strategy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in a statement endorsing him.

Holder led in the money race, raising $305,899 for his campaign through Aug. 5. Records show Steube’s campaign account has pulled in $295,150; while Patterson’s campaign has raised $156,161.

Elected in 2010, Pilon has been focused on highlighting the work he’s done in the Florida House. Records show Pilon had raised $129,890 for his official campaign account. Levine, a Sarasota businessman, has raised $3,640 and loaned his campaign $1,900.

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MARCO RUBIO ATTEMPTS TO DEFEND RECORD IN WSVN PROFILE — Rubio, who has one of the lowest attendance records in the United States Senate, defended his absences during an interview on WSVN Miami. “I was not on a Caribbean cruise, I was running for president of the United States,” he said in the profile. Patrick Murphy, his likely Democratic opponent, pounced on the comments. “Call me crazy, but I enjoy this job. I enjoy fighting for the people of Florida.” Rubio also talked about his presidential run, and comments he made about Donald Trump.

TRACKER VIDEO: RUBIO RELUCTANT TO BACK MITCH MCCONNELL AT PINELLAS CAMPAIGN STOP via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – At an Aug. 1 question-and-answer session in Pinellas County, Rubio was asked if he was “firmly committed” to McConnell, as majority leader or “could we do a little bit better?” It was caught on video by a “tracker” sent by a rival campaign and posted on YouTube. “Well first of all, I can just tell you about Mitch, I don’t know of anyone else that’s running for majority leader. Nobody wants the job,” Rubio said. “So I’m not sure you’re going to have a contested majority leader race because the real influence in the Senate — the headlines may be driven by the majority leader, but the real influence lies outside of that position.” But he didn’t answer whether he thought the Senate could do better than McConnell. Asked if Rubio supports McConnell or believes he’s doing a good job, Spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement that McConnell hasn’t been opposed in his bid to lead the Senate Republicans. “He will be unopposed again in January,” she said. “His opponent for majority leader will be Chuck Schumer, and unlike Alan Grayson or Patrick Murphy, Marco will never vote for Chuck Schumer.”

RICK SCOTT HAS ALREADY VOTED, BUT HE WON’T SAY FOR WHOM via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times — “I already voted,” Scott said after speaking at a Florida Chamber Foundation event in St. Petersburg. He voted by mail-in ballot for the Aug. 30 primary election. Early in-person voting begins across the state this week and has already started in some counties, including Hillsborough. But the governor is keeping quiet about who he voted for, including in a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate that’s pitting Rubio against Carlos Beruff, who is close with Scott. Several Scott confidantes and former staffers are involved in Beruff’s campaign, including Melissa Stone, the governor’s former chief of staff who managed his 2014 re-election. Though other statewide elected officials have publicly supported Rubio, Scott hasn’t endorsed either Republican candidate — and didn’t Wednesday. “It’s a secret ballot still,” Scott said.

MIKE PENCE TO CAMPAIGN WITH RUBIO IN FLORIDA via Ines De La Cuetara of ABC News — Though he’s shied away from campaigning with Donald TrumpRubio will be appearing with Republican vice-presidential nominee Pence, an aide to the Indiana governor told ABC News. The two could begin campaigning together in … Florida in the next few weeks, the aide said, adding that Pence and Rubio have been in regular contact over the phone. According to the Rubio campaign, no joint events are “scheduled at this time,” but “Marco has tremendous respect and admiration for Gov. Pence.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Rubio will address the Republican Party of Palm Beach County’s Lobersterfest at 6:30 p.m. at 2401 Willow Springs Dr. in Boca Raton. Media must RSVP to by noon.

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS SUPPORTS PATRICK MURPHY, DRAWING BACKLASH FROM PAM KEITH via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times — It’s unknown whether the caucus gave any consideration to Murphy‘s main primary competitors — Alan Grayson or Miami labor attorney and former naval officer Keith, who is African-American and the only woman in the Senate race … Keith criticized the endorsement — alleging that it was a reward for Murphy’s financial support of the caucus’ members through political contributions. “Patrick Murphy, his PACs and his parents and family have donated liberally to current members of the CBC to obtain their support … Therefore, this endorsement has nothing to do with the candidate best suited to represent African-American voters or who has an actual platform of ideas to address issues facing the African-American community, and has everything to do with the candidate best suited to financially assist CBC members in their own races. In that regard, Patrick Murphy’s personal wealth definitely leads the pack.” Murphy said he was “proud” of the caucus’ support and reiterated his vow to “fight for our progressive priorities,” such as criminal justice reform and raising the minimum wage.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Alan Grayson will host an environmental town hall at 6 p.m. at the West Palm Beach Marriott, 1001 Okeechobobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and Grayson is expected to discuss algae blooms and other issues of concern for voters.

NEAL DUNN GETS NOD FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — Dunn’s campaign announced recommendations from: Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford; former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner, former Bay County Sheriff and Bay County Commissioner Guy Tunnell; and former Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen. Dunn is running for the newly redrawn and now heavily conservative 2nd Congressional District in northwest Florida. “I know Neal Dunn and believe Neal is a man of integrity who is committed to his community and his family,” Ford said in a statement. “Neal has been nothing but supportive of our law enforcement community, and I am proud to give him my support in his race for Florida Congressional District 2.” Tunnell added: “The Neal Dunn I know is supportive and respectful of the responsibilities of law enforcement, and knows firsthand what it takes to serve our country. Neal Dunn has my support to serve North Florida in Congress.” And McKeithen said, “The law enforcement community needs a strong voice in Washington that understands its important role in North Florida and in communities across our state. Neal Dunn … is the candidate we need fighting for the safety and security of our families in our nation’s capital.”

JOHN RUTHERFORD REPORTS $136K CASH-ON-HAND via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Since July 1Rutherford raised $132,810 and spent $301,927. Among Rutherford’s interesting contributors: The Geo Group, the private prison company, which gave $2,500. As well, Shannon Miller (the Olympic gymnast of years gone by who married former Duval GOP Chair John Falconetti) and St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar donated as well. Thus far, Rutherford is the only major candidate in the CD 4 race to file his pre-primary financial report. [Note: a previous version of this post claimed Shoar issued another CD 4 candidate a warrant; Shoar did not, and we regret the error.]

CHARLIE CRIST RAISES $23K IN 6 DAYS FROM SOME NOTABLE DONORS via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Crist‘s campaign has raised more than $23,200 in less than a week, including contributions from some high-profile donors. Tom and Leslie Murphy, the parents of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy, each gave the maximum $5,400 contribution to Crist’s congressional campaign, while Bob Butterworth gave $1,000. Either directly or through the construction company he runs, Tom Murphy has given $500,000 to a super PAC backing his son’s bid for Senate. Butterworth, a Democrat, served as Florida attorney general for four terms under three governors, including Jeb Bush. When Crist, then a Republican, became governor in 2006, he named Butterworth secretary of the Department of Children and Families. Crist does not have a primary opponent, but will face incumbent Republican Rep. David Jolly in the general. Through June 30, Crist has raised just over $1 million and has $670,689 in the bank, while Jolly raised $1.4 million and has $409,101 cash-on-hand. Jolly got back in the race after dropping out of the Republican U.S. Senate primary.

HOW THE GOP ABANDONED ONE OF ITS OWN, DAVID JOLLY via Heather Caygle of POLITICO — Republicans say they’re fighting for every seat in the House. Every seat except Florida Rep. David Jolly‘s, that is. The first-term GOP incumbent is running a lone-wolf re-election campaign, fighting for his political life as Democrats aim to unseat him … But Republican leaders have left him for dead, after a falling-out over money in politics, even though party strategists say they’re doing everything they can to protect the GOP’s House majority. “When we win this, we will have done it our own way, with nobody owning us,” Jolly said in an interview.

NEW POLL SHOWS DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ CRUSHING TIM CANOVA IN CD 23 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics — The survey of 400 likely primary voters was conducted by Global Strategy Group July 31 and Aug. 1. It shows the former DNC chair is familiar to 97 percent of those surveyed in the Miami-Dade/Broward County district, and 61 percent give her a favorable rating. Only 23 percent rate her unfavorably, with 13 percent neutral. In comparison, only 28 percent gave Canova a favorable rating; 27 percent were neutral, and 10 percent were undecided (the information provided does not list where the other 35 percent stand). The poll stands in strong contrast to an internal survey Canova released July 31 that showed him “within striking distance,” down by just eight percentage points. According to the survey, three-quarters of this Democratic Primary electorate believes Wasserman Schultz “shares your values” (76 percent describes well) and a large majority say she is “willing to stand up to her own party to do what is right” (64 percent describes well). Very few think Wasserman Shultz “sides with special interests at the expense of South Florida families” (only 36 percent describes well), believes she “is not progressive enough on the issues” (only 35 percent describes well), or that she “is too close to Wall Street” (only 25 percent describes well).

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FIRST IN SUNBURN — OUTSIDE GROUP BLASTS KATHLEEN PASSIDOMO FOR ‘PROMOTING LIBERAL POSITIONS’ — The Tallahassee-based political committee, called “Conservatives,” has released a series of advertisements calling Passidomo a liberal. The ads and a companion website focus on two issues — the Second Amendment and abortion. “Kathleen Passidomo, just another politician who says she’s a conservative but votes like a liberal,” an announcer says in a 30-second spot called “Wrong.” The ad has been in heavy rotation in Southwest Florida, where Passidomo faces Rep. Matt Hudson in Senate District 28. “Matt Hudson and I have pretty much the same voting record. He’s obviously running scared because he has nothing to offer. He’s attacking me, and that’s the whole thing,” she said. “Obviously, he and I are as conservative as you can get in the Legislature.” Records show the political committee has raised $351,682 since March 2016. All but $182 of that money came from Sun Coast Patriots, a Fort Myers-based political committee. Making the Right Call for Florida, Hudson’s political committee, gave Sun Coast Patriots $388,000 between July 12 and Aug. 4.

IN ULTRACOMPETITIVE SD 37 RACE, MIGUEL DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA NOW AT $457K IN THE BANK via Florida Politics — … nearly double that of his main rival … Miami Democratic Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez. The haul came in across 46 contributions, including 25 checks for the maximum contribution of $1,000. The second-term senator only spent $1,023 during the reporting period, leaving him with a hefty balance of about $456,000 in his campaign account. Among his donors were Delta Airlines and a string of donations from Miami-Dade and Broward-based medical groups, including a check from Fort Lauderdale chiropractor Robert Lewin, who also founded medical and lawyer referral service 1-800-411-PAIN. The only expenditure of note was a $1,000 payment to Nicole Hagerty for campaign consulting work. Rodriguez, who entered the race after new Senate maps created a more favorable district for Democrats, raised $15,735 during the weeklong reporting period and spent nothing.

FLORIDIANS FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY LEND SUPPORT TO JONATHAN TALLMAN — The organization released a new TV ad this week backing Tallman in House District 4. The 30-second spot, called “Troubled Twins,” focuses on troubles both Wayne Harris and Mel Ponder have had in the past. “Stop the incompetence and end the scandals. Jonathan Tallman. Okaloosa County native. Small business owner. Family man. Stand with the trusted hometown conservative.

FIRST IN SUNBURN — KATHERINE VAN ZANT TOUTS CONSERVATIVE CREDENTIALS IN NEW AD — The 30-second spot gives Van Zant a chance to highlight her beliefs, and talk about how she’ll approach being a legislator. “Standing up for what you believe in, for your God, your nation and your family. I’ll stand for strong borders, defend our Constitution and our freedoms endowed by our creator.” Van Zant faces Leslie Dougher and Bobby Payne in the Aug. 30 Republican House District 19 primary.

DICK KRAVITZ DOUBLES DOWN ON NRA RATING DECEPTION via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — When it comes to House District 16 Republican Kravitz and the NRA, Kravitz must feel he’s being graded on a curve. Kravitz posted a flyer to his Facebook page touting an A-plus rating … The trouble is, the National Rifle Association didn’t give him an A-plus this year. And double trouble: Kravitz has already been called out on this deception, and persists in misrepresenting the NRA position. “Dick Kravitz DOES NOT have an A+ rating from NRA,” wrote Marion Hammer, past NRA president and executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida. Candidate ratings are posted on NRA’s website; and Kravitz was provided with a link to his A rating. More from Hammer: “No responsible candidate would claim a grade without first checking to find out his grade … One can only assume that Mr. Kravitz is deliberately misrepresenting his NRA rating.” Kravitz’s mendacity is especially ironic given his grandstanding Facebook post on probity earlier this week: “IMPORTANT FACT. LIES HAVE TO BE ANSWERED AND I AM IN THE PROCESS OF DOING JUST THAT!” … “I ALSO HAVE BEEN A or A+ rated and ENDORSED BY THE NRA 3 TIMES! ALL NRA MEMBERS CAN LOOK THIS UP THEMSELVES … 2002, 2004, 2006, 2016,” Kravitz wrote, apparently believing that there is no difference between an A and an A Plus.

FIRST IN SUNBURN — WENDA LEWIS TAKES A SWING AT CHUCK CLEMONS IN NEW AD — In a new adLewis is taking a swipe at Clemons over his decision to switch party affiliation. Clemons was elected to the Alachua County Commission as a Democrat in 1996. Three years later in 1999, he changed parties and became a Republican before running for the Florida House. He told the Gainesville Sun at the time he was changing his party affiliation, not his beliefs. Those words are coming back to haunt him in the new ad, where Lewis calls him “liberal Democrat Chuck Clemons.” “Remember the real Chuck Clemons, a liberal Democrat,” a narrator says the 30-second spot. Lewis faces Clemons and Tim Rogers in the Aug 30 Republican primary in House District 21.

IN HD 47 RACE, BETH TUURA BLASTS HENRY LIM FOR GUN INCIDENT via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Tuura blasted her primary opponent Lim … following reports he had been arrested last year for carrying a loaded gun into a federal building. In a blistering statement … Tuura said Lim suffered a telling lapse in judgement that day that makes him the wrong candidate to carry gun issues into the Florida Legislature, especially from Orlando. “Henry Lim broke federal law and put real lives at risk when he carried a loaded weapon into a federal building,” she declared. “His carelessness and poor judgment demonstrates he is not the leader we need to prevent gun violence and confront Rick Scott and the NRA” … “Lim’s illegal and reckless behavior demonstrates he is unable to follow the lax gun laws already in place, and that he cannot be trusted to advance the Democratic values my campaign is fighting for every day in Florida,” Tuura concluded.


Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, running for Florida Senate District 39, has been endorsed by the Democratic Veterans Caucus of Florida.

Rebecca Smith, running for Florida House District 60, has been endorsed by four-term Tampa Mayor Dick Greco.

Ben Diamond, running for Florida House District 68, has been endorsed by the Florida Education Association.

MaryLynn Magar, running for Florida House District 82, has been endorsed by the Florida Realtors Political Advocacy Committee.

SOUTH FLORIDA POLITICIANS REPEATEDLY FINED FOR FAILING TO DISCLOSE DONORS ON TIME via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — State Sen. Dwight Bullard is a busy man. He’s a politician, teacher, newly minted uncle and chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party. Filing campaign finance reports on time is one of Bullard’s items on the back burner: He’s been fined seven times, totaling $7,000, for filing campaign finance reports late since declaring his current state Senate candidacy in 2013. It’s possible that more fines will be announced against Bullard in the coming months. Bullard is the worst offender among Miami-Dade and Broward state Senate and House candidates running for office in 2016, but he is hardly alone: 31 candidates for the Legislature have been fined for missing campaign finance reporting deadlines in this election cycle. The offenders include 24 Democrats, six Republicans and one no-party candidate.

SUPREME COURT MAY CONSIDER CANDIDATE’S QUALIFYING CASE via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — The 3rd District Court of Appeal … unanimously affirmed a lower-court decision keeping a candidate for Miami Gardens mayor off the Aug. 30 municipal ballot. But the three-judge panel did so holding its collective noses: “We recognize the statute produces a harsh result in this case.” Candidate James Wright, a former Opa-locka police chief, was the victim of a mistake beyond his control, the court explained. Wright’s $620 check to the city clerk to pay his qualifying fee was kicked back by Wells Fargo Bank. The reason: “Unable to locate account.” He was then disqualified. But Wright had used a starter check from his brand-new campaign account, which had “ample funds,” and Wells Fargo wrongly rejected paying the check … Wright sued, but a trial judge later ruled against him, citing the plain language of state election law. “If a candidate’s check is returned by the bank for any reason, the filing officer shall immediately notify the candidate and the candidate shall have until the end of qualifying to pay the fee with a cashier’s check purchased from funds of the campaign account,” it says. But Wright wasn’t told about the check being returned unpaid until after qualifying had ended, and “the city clerk then refused Wright’s tender of a cashier’s check,” the opinion said. Despite their “distaste” for their own decision, the judges said the “statute’s use of the term ‘returned by the bank for any reason’ renders irrelevant any consideration of whether the candidate bore responsibility for the check being returned.” They then asked the Supreme Court to consider a “question of great public importance”: “Does (state law) require a candidate’s disqualification when the candidate’s qualifying fee check is returned by the bank after the expiration of the qualifying period due to a banking error over which the candidate has no control?”

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JEFFREY BRAGG FAILS TO MAKE FINAL CUT FOR PSC SEAT via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Conspicuously absent … Bragg, previously Scott’s top pick for state insurance commissioner. Chief financial officer Jeff Atwater didn’t support him for that post and the job eventually went to David Altmaier. Bragg mentioned the episode during his time at the podium … “I want to tell you that as much fun as that was, I’ve decided to come before you today to seek a position on the Public Service Commission,” he said. “All kidding aside, I hope the take-away … is my desire to serve the citizens of Florida and make a contribution in any way I can.” But the top vote-getter after successive interviews before the PSC Nominating Council was Donald Polmann, a trained civil engineer from Dunedin, with eight votes. Gainesville city commissioner Todd Chase won seven votes. Cynthia Wilson Orndoff, who teaches construction management at Florida SouthWestern State College won six votes — the minimum required.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DELIVERY COMING TO NORTHWEST FLORIDA via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News — It’s been awhile since Gov. Scott signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act into law, but two years later, medical marijuana dispensaries are bringing the drug to patients across the state at last. One of the most special deliveries will happen Thursday. On that day, Rep. Matt Gaetz will be making the first delivery in Northwest Florida to an as-yet-to-be disclosed patient. Surterra Therapeutics, the first licensed cannabis farm in Florida, will be the company to deliver legal therapeutic cannabis products to their first patient in the Northwest Florida region. Alpha Surterra received one of the five coveted licenses to dispense medical marijuana in Florida. “We’re true believers of the potential of therapeutic marijuana, delivered in a very professional way,” said Susan Driscoll, president of Alpha Surterra. “We believe we can do this in a way people feel very comfortable and safe with a consistent product.”

FLORIDA CHAMBER FOCUSES ON VETERANS DURING SUMMIT — More than 100 people attended the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit in St. Petersburg Wednesday. The summit brought together leaders in economic development, policy and military and defense industries to brainstorm about how to address the challenges for facing Florida in the coming years. One issue raised during the daylong summit was the need for better transition services to help military veterans and their families transition back to civilian life. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, vice chair of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said someone can spend up to a year “training as members of the Armed Forces, but are only given three to five days to prepare to be successful as a civilian. It’s our responsibility to give servicemen and women the tools they need to excel after their service to the nation.” The need for transition services was echoed by Mark Reid, the executive vice president and chief human resources officer at USAA. Reid said his company takes a three-pronged approach to helping veterans transition and have a long career. “These folks are dedicated, they’re focused, they’re hard working. I would urge you to hire (veterans) for that attitude,” said Reid. “I can’t hire everybody that would like to come to us, (but) many of you can hire more than you do.” Speakers at the event included Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and Sen. Jeff Brandes.

HAPPENING TODAY — ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES OF FLORIDA HOLDS TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE SYMPOSIUM — Transportation, infrastructure and economic development are on the agenda for a day-long symposium hosted by Associated Industries of Florida. The 2016 Building Florida’s Future Symposium begins at 9 a.m. at the Port Tampa Bay, and is meant to bring together community leaders, legislators, corporate executives and industry experts to talk about issues important to Florida’s growth and prosperity in the transportation, infrastructure and economic development industries. FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold is expected to lay out FDOT priorities and initiatives, and Bob Burleson, president of Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, is scheduled to moderate a panel on economic development and infrastructure needs featuring Ken Armstrong, president of the Florida Trucking Association; Joe Lopano, president and CEO, Tampa International Airport; and Stephanie Lane, director of Industrial Development South, CSX Transportations Strategic Business Development Group. Other speakers include Sen. Jeff Brandes, who is slated to talk about the future of transit in Florida, Sen. Jack Latvala, who will discuss funding for Florida’s transportation and infrastructure, and Rep. Jamie Grant, who will talk about ways to connect partners for the future of Florida transit.


Matt Bryan, David Daniel, Jeff Hartley, Jim Naff, Andrea Reilly, Smith Bryan & Myers: The Able Trust, Gulf Unmanned Systems Center

Tara Reid, Strategos Public Affairs: Early Childhood Initiative, Inc.

SPOTTED at a fundraiser for Caitlin Murray‘s campaign to be Leon County GOP state committeewoman: Faron and Jeanne Boggs, Erin Power, Jim Magill, Bill Pfeiffer, Cora Meritt, Celia Bass, Jeff Ivey, Bill Helmich, Pete Murray, Ellen Anderson

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to John Dowless, congressional candidate Bob Poe, and my friend Noah Pransky.


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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