Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 8.18.17 – Rick Scott’s lunch date; Tom Lee to run for CFO; Speaker doles out new cmte. assignments; Bill Nelson’s proud of Marco Rubio; The poker player with the heart of gold

in Peter by

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry, and Jim Rosica.

Good morning. Let’s start with ‘welcome to the world’ messages for two sets of parents in The Process. Congrats Ashley Ligas and Franco Ripple on the birth of Carson Alexander. He came in Wednesday evening at a healthy 9 pounds 5 ounces. We’re told big brother Evan is excited to meet his new sibling. Meanwhile, Jennifer and Brock Mikosky are “thrilled” to announce the arrival of Collins Elizabeth. Brock says everyone is happy, healthy and doing well.

Now, on to politics …


Some Florida Republicans are condemning President Donald Trump‘s reaction to events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Others are tiptoeing around the issue, or remaining silent.

Florida’s governor, meanwhile, went on a lunch date with him Thursday, reports Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press.

Gov. Rick Scott dined with Trump at his New Jersey golf club, even as the president continues to draw criticism for saying that protesters and counter-protesters share blame for violence at a white nationalist rally that turned deadly. Trump also said that the group of white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis included some “very fine people.” Trump’s comments were the last straw for executives on a presidential business council, who decided to disband.

Talking turkey (or maybe a nice salad): President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott, who had lunch together Thursday in New Jersey.

And Trump added to the debate Thursday, by criticizing people who want to remove Confederate monuments.

But a spokesman for Scott, John Tupps, said the subject of Charlottesville and Confederate monuments never came up during their lunch, which was scheduled before the violence in Virginia.

“Governor Scott was solely there to promote Florida,” said Tupps said, adding that “a wide-range” of subjects were discussed. “Additionally, they discussed the terror attack in Barcelona and the efforts President Trump is taking to keep America safe.”

Scott’s condemnation of white nationalists Wednesday did not include criticism of Trump, though he did say the president and other elected officials need to focus on unity and love. Asked what he thought of Trump’s comments, Scott told a reporter: “You can ask President Trump what he said.”

“Instead of condemning President Trump’s heinous remarks, Rick Scott did what he always does: put his own political ambitions and self-interest ahead of what’s right for Florida,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein said in a press release. “Instead of sitting down to eat with President Trump, Scott should have stood up to him.”

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Democratic gubernatorial candidates call for removal of Confederate monument from Capitol” via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates are calling on Gov. Scott to remove the monument to Confederate soldiers that stands on the grounds of the historic Capitol building. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said he would remove the monument as governor if Scott refuses, and Orlando businessman Chris King called this week for the removal of all Confederate monuments on public land in the state. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to acknowledge that while we cannot change history, we do not have to glorify its ugliest moments with displays on public lands,” Gillum said. “And most certainly not in our state’s capital, and not in front of our historic state house. This weekend’s tragedy calls all decent people to act with courage, and I hope the Governor will do so.” King slammed Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, considered one of the front-runners in the gubernatorial race, for his resistance to the idea. “Putnam argues that the removal of these Confederate [statues] would create a slippery slope to the removal or renaming relics of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson,” he wrote. “But these men, our founding fathers, sought to build our nation and create a more perfect union — unlike Confederate generals who sought to dismantle the Union and preserve slavery.”

Dem lawmaker also wants special session on Confederate statue. (Scott already rejected idea)” via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – The statue of Edmund Kirby Smith is already set to be replaced, but lawmakers failed to agree last spring on whom to replace Smith with. “With the recent acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, it is more imperative than ever that we complete the process we started in 2016 to replace this statue,” Democratic state Rep. Lori Berman of Lantana, said in a statement that accompanied her letter to Scott. “There is no place for racism or bigotry in our civil society, and Florida certainly should not be represented in our nation’s Capitol by General Smith. Let’s finish the job and get this done immediately,” she added.

Big-name donors step up to move Tampa’s Confederate monument” via Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal –Less than 24 hours after the Hillsborough County Commission voted to leave the Confederate monument in front of the Hillsborough County courthouse in place unless enough funds were raised to move it, organizers have raised more than the $140,000 needed. The Tampa Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday it will donate $70,000 to move the statue. Bob Gries, former owner of the Tampa Bay Storm, told the Tampa Bay Times he would donate $50,000. A GoFundMe page created to crowdsource funds pulled in more than $42,000, bringing the total raised so far to $163,000, and contributions are still coming. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy donated $5,000. At least four Tampa City Council members have also donated to the cause. Yvonne Capin donated $300 to move the statue; Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez, who are both considered likely candidates for mayor next year, contributed $250 each; Luis Viera donated $150.

– “Tampa teams dedicate funds for Confederate monument removal” via The Associated Press— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —

With election heating up, Bill Nelson floods Tampa Bay” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times Nelson seems to have set up a residency in Tampa Bay, a crucial area for his upcoming re-election campaign. Nelson isn’t doing campaign events; he’s visiting the area as an elected official. But the repeated visits give him exposure in the market … he’s in St. Petersburg to meet with a group of minority-owned business leaders and discuss legislation he’s filed to provide small business with a tax break. His staff notified reporters and offered a reminder “If you want to catch Nelson on any other news of the day – including President Trump’s remarks – he will be available immediately after the event.”

A ridiculous statement in Republicans’ radio ad says Nelson ‘supports murderers’” via Amy Sherman of PolitiFact –The NRSC radio ad says Nelson “has aligned himself with communists and dictators,” “went to Venezuela to admire Chávez’s revolution” and “supports murderers.” Though Nelson did visit Venezuela with other senators in 2005, he also repeatedly criticized Chávez in 2004 and 2005, calling him a “serious threat” and raised concerns about his property seizures, judicial appointments and “anti-democratic consolidation of power,” as well as his ties to Cuba. Nelson has also been critical of Nicholas Maduro, including the recent election, which he called a “sham.” While Nelson agreed with Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba in 2014, Nelson called for democratic reforms. This ad grossly distorts Nelson’s record about his visit with Chávez and about his record on the leadership of Venezuela and Cuba. We rate this statement Pants on Fire.

Adam Putnam consultant behind ‘Liberal Jack Latvala’ website” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Latvala, a “liberal.” The committee responsible for the “Liberal Jack Latvala” site is funded by the political committee United Conservatives for Florida. That committee’s chairman is 20-year-old Skylar Lee Frey, who is registered to vote At  a Sarasota home owned by Mac Stevenson. Asked about the site, Stevenson said only, “I’d like to let the site speak for itself.” Putnam spokeswoman Amanda Bevis said the site is not “a campaign effort.” … “I saw it when it popped up in my Twitter feed like everyone else,” she said.

Firefighters place their bets in GOP gubernatorial primary” via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State NewsPutnam announced the endorsement of Professional Firefighters/Paramedics of Palm Beach County, with more than 2,500 members, was behind his campaign. “Thank you for your dedication to something larger than yourself,” Putnam told the West Palm Beach crowd. “Our vision for our state would not be possible without you. But Putnam wasn’t the only Republican gubernatorial hopeful to unveil the backing of firefighters … New candidate state Sen. Jack Latvala announced that he had the support of firefighters in South and Central Florida … Freddy Delgado, the president of the Miami Association of Firefighters, I.A.F.F. Local 587, offered an endorsement letter for Latavla. Orlando Professional Firefighters Local 1365 President Ron Glass, whose organization has more than 500 members, also offered Latvala an endorsement letter.

“Can we get a yellow shirt for Adam, too?”: Putnam gets the endorsement of firefighters, paramedics and other first responders in Palm Beach County.

Jack Latvala vows more mental health, substance abuse money, rips Richard Corcoran” via Scott Powers of Florida PoliticsLatvala said Florida has neglected mental health and substance abuse funding because the House is too interested in cutting taxes to consider funding necessary services. Speaking to the Florida Behavioral Health Conference at Walt Disney World, Latvala vowed he’d do a better job of getting money for those programs. “Since 2000 we’ve cut $2.7 billion in recurring taxes. That’s $2.7 billion more each year that could be spent on mental health, substance abuse, education, environment, all of the things that we have to provide as a state for our citizens,” Latvala said. “This area that you work in has not been properly death with, has been actually neglected.” At one point Latvala recognized Republican state Rep. Jason Brodeur of Sanford, the chairman of the House Health Care Appropriations Committee, and said the lack of funding for mental health and substance abuse programs was not Brodeur’s fault, but his boss’s. And then he ripped into Corcoran, who may announce a campaign to run for governor himself. “Richard Corcoran, what he knows about real-life problems like you deal with every day, he reads in a book. He also reads in that same book, the Koch brothers’ manifesto, about how you first cut taxes, and how people should help themselves, and the government should not people.”

Tom Lee gets closer to formally entering CFO race” via Florida Politics – “It’s my intention to run for the Republican nomination (for CFO) in 2018 and it is my intention to announce my candidacy this fall,” Lee said. Lee lost to Democrat Alex Sink in the 2006 general election for CFO. He is likely to face a tough primary challenge this time against current CFO Jimmy Patronis of Panama City. Lee could benefit from an expected strong turnout in Central Florida because of the presence of Bartow’s Adam Putnam on the ballot for governor, and locally in the Tampa Bay market with Ashley Moody’s campaign for attorney general. Lee also has strong name recognition and about $2 million in the bank for his political committee, while Patronis is a relative unknown statewide. Lee also has been quietly making the rounds, concentrating on fundraising and lining up support. That will continue until he officially decides to join the race, perhaps as soon as next month.

Paul Chandler ties Bobby Olszewski to Donald Trump in HD 44 race” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – “Let me be clear. A vote for Bobby Olszewski is a vote to bring Donald Trump style politics to Orange County,” Chandler stated. “Bobby supports Donald Trump on health care. He supports him on taxes. He supports all of Trump’s misguided policies. There is no place for that in District 44.” … he’s turned on his campaign, now that he has a Republican opponent. “Bobby Olszewski is going to have to explain to the voters of this district why he supports Trump’s plans to strip away health care from tens of millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of Floridians,” Chandler stated. “Or why he supports giving huge tax breaks to millionaires like Trump, while the middle-class struggles … The race is on. And the choice is clear. Donald Trump style politics in Orange County, or real plans to move the 44th forward.”

“Republican switch House races in Tampa Bay” via the News Service of Florida – After initially planning to run in 2018 to try to replace House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, Republican Christopher Licata this week switched races to run for an open Pinellas County House seat. Licata filed paperwork with the state Division of Elections to run in House District 69, which will be open next year because Rep. Kathleen Peters has decided to seek a seat on the Pinellas County Commission. In a letter to the Division of Elections, Licata said he had been living temporarily in Cruz’s House District 62 but grew up in House District 69. The change sends a ripple through the races in both districts. It left only four Democrats — Michael Alvarez, Carlos Frontela, John Rodriguez and Jose Vazquez Figueroa — running to replace Cruz in her Hillsborough County district. It also led to a GOP primary opponent for Madeira Beach Republican Raymond Blacklidge, who had been the only candidate running to replace Peters in District 69.

– “Scott Sturgill grabs two sheriffs’ endorsements in CD 7 race” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

– “Aaron Bean backs Wyman Duggan in HD 15” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

 Republican files for District 47” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools

 – “Two more filed for District 58” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools


“Richard Corcoran releases new committee assignments” via Florida PoliticsHouse Speaker Corcoran released his committee assignments for the 2018 Legislative Session Thursday with just a few changes from 2017, notably some freshmen getting vice chairmanships and new chairs for the Ways and Means and Commerce Committees. Corcoran’s changes in committees look more like mid-term adjustments for the two-year term, rather than the wholesale reshuffling that Senate President Joe Negron announced earlier this week for that chamber’s committees … With the departure of former Commerce Committee chairman Jose Felix Diaz, who is running in a special election for the Senate, state Rep. Jim Boyd of Bradenton will slide over from chairing the House Ways and Means Committee to chair Commerce, with Paul Renner of Palm Coast taking the chair of Ways and Means. Otherwise, the committee assignments reward a handful of freshmen with new vice chairmanships of committees and subcommittees, and give Rep. James Grant of Tampa with a chairmanship, that of the Health Quality Subcommittee of the House Health & Human Services Committee … Twenty-one of the 27 freshmen lawmakers now have vice chairs.

Larry Ahern’s defense of Corcoran goes off rails” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – It seemed innocuous enough: an “end of session report” from state Rep. Ahern of Seminole to the Clearwater City Council. Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed. Things went downhill fast as Ahern became a punching bag for all of the city’s frustrations with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the state’s most vocal critic of cities and counties. It was Corcoran who led the charge for a referendum on a higher homestead exemption in 2018, who wants to abolish tax-supported community redevelopment agencies and who supported an unsuccessful proposal to require cities to seek legislative approval for local ordinances that affect business and commerce. Corcoran demanded broad new accountability provisions on local tourism boards and he thinks cities and counties should be prohibited from hiring outside lobbyists with tax money. “We’re pretty upset,” said Mayor George Cretekos, as he lectured Ahern over what he saw as Corcoran’s unfair attacks. “If the speaker believes that cities shouldn’t exist, and that local governments don’t know what they’re doing, that goes against a very core principle that we as Republicans have … We don’t need you to be the speaker’s ally. We need you to be the city of Clearwater’s ally.”

“Senate demands information in harassment lawsuit against Maria Sachs” via Florida Politics –  A federal judge has given an ex-aide to former state Sen. Sachs till next Tuesday to explain why he shouldn’t provide information in his still-pending sexual harassment case. Matthew Damsky, then 28, had sued the Florida Senate in Leon County Circuit Civil court last year on gender discrimination and retaliation charges. The 68-year-old Sachs, first elected to the Senate in 2010, declined to run for re-election last year. Damsky, whose case was later moved to federal court in Tallahassee, claimed that she “exposed (him) to unwelcome sexual conduct” by frequently undressing in front of him. The Palm Beach County Democrat was known for her frequent wardrobe changes, particularly on long days of the legislative session. The Senate this week filed a motion to compel discovery, saying Damsky was nearly a month late and has “no(t) produced a single document.” It has denied liability … Sachs has “categorically denied” all of his allegations, telling Florida Politics last July she believed the lawsuit was an attempt to short circuit a criminal investigation. She said Damsky admitted to charging nearly $50,000 in plane tickets on Sachs’ credit card without her knowledge, among other things.

Senate committees to meet three days in September” via the News Service of Florida – The meetings are slated to start the afternoon of Sept. 12, with time set aside that day for the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, the Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee, the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, the Commerce and Tourism Committee, the Criminal Justice Committee and the Education Committee. The meetings will run through the afternoon of Sept. 14, with seven appropriations subcommittees slated for the final day. Also, the tentative schedule indicates the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, made up of House and Senate leaders, will meet Sept. 13. The 2018 Session will begin in January.

Hamilton County School Board to join the lawsuit against House Bill 7069” via Alexis Spoehr of the Suwanee Democrat – The Hamilton County School Board approved to join seven other counties in a lawsuit against House Bill 7069 … “Seven districts that have committed to the lawsuit,” School attorney James Willingham said. “Bay, Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, St. Lucie, Palm Beach and Volusia. There is indication that Pinellas and Orange county will come in. With just the seven that have committed that is over 1 million students in their total student body.” Willingham and Superintendent Rex Mitchell agreed that the House Bill 7069 is unconstitutional. The board approved that Hamilton County School District will join the lawsuit and put forth a maximum of $5,000 toward the $350,000 total, of all seven counties.


Cities face ‘all or nothing’ choices on medical marijuana” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida – State lawmakers approved regulations in June that left city and county officials with a Hobson’s choice about the sale of medical marijuana in their communities. Local governments can either impose outright bans on medical-marijuana dispensaries or allow unlimited numbers of marijuana retail outlets, under an “all or nothing” approach approved during a special legislative session. Dozens of cities have approved or are considering temporary moratoriums on medical- marijuana dispensaries, but it’s unknown exactly how many local governments have acted on the issue, because nobody — including state health officials – is officially keeping track … while saying they respect the will of voters, many local officials also want the power to regulate the number of dispensaries, and where the businesses can be sited, something that’s essentially off the table in the new state law, which requires local governments to treat medical marijuana distribution centers in the same way pharmacies are handled.

Ballot fraud won’t send elderly Miami woman to jail but she will lose right to vote” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald – Everybody agreed: When Gladys Coego covertly filled in other people’s absentee ballots while working at the Miami-Dade elections headquarters, she chipped away at the integrity of the voting system. But at 74, Coego is elderly, diabetic and depressed, her relatives told a judge …  She had no previous criminal record. And nobody — not detectives, prosecutors or even Coego herself — could say why she filled in the ballots. She had no known ties to any campaign, there was no evidence anyone paid her and she illegally filled only a few ballots before being spotted. Yet her small-time case led to bigly national headlines, coming as then-candidate Donald Trump railed about widespread national voter fraud. “Emotionally, I am destroyed,” Coego said in Spanish. “I have no explanation for what I have done. … No one offered me anything in exchange for what I did.” For those reasons, a Miami-Dade judge declined to sentence Coego to jail, instead ordering her to serve two years of house arrest, plus three years of probation.

Ethics board refers City Manager case to state ethics commission” via Tallahassee Democrat An anonymous complaint to the city ethics board that Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez used his position to get a discount from the Edison restaurant for catering his daughter’s wedding reception is headed to the Florida Commission on Ethics. The complaint also claims Fernandez helped line up a job for the restaurant’s catering director in the city’s communications department after he’d been fired from the Edison. After meeting in closed session, board chairman Richard Herring reported that he and the board members present voted unanimously to refer the complaint to the state ethics commission … “I welcome the review and expect a positive outcome after all the facts are fully vetted,” Fernandez said. The Edison is a city-subsidized restaurant owned by Adam Corey, a lobbyist who has represented clients before the city and organized fundraisers for Mayor Andrew Gillum and others … Corey is also a person of interest in an FBI investigation into the business dealings of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.


Bill Nelson texted Marco Rubio to tell him he was proud of him” via Divya Kumar of the Tampa Bay TimesNelson stressed the need for bipartisanship at a luncheon at a Tampa Bay Minority Enterprise Development conference … But bipartisanship, he said, was especially important in light of Trump’s recent tweets and statements after violence in Charlottesville. “The president’s comments did not bring us together,” he said. “It was more divisive. The president is in a unique role as a role model for the country. And he should clearly point out where there is racial hatred, where there is bigotry, where there is anti-Semitism, that is not to be tolerated in this country.” He praised Republican Sen. Rubio for condemning Trump’s reaction, and said he texted him to tell him he was proud of him. “There are a lot of folks in the president’s party who are unwilling,” he said.

Francis Rooney calls on Trump to show moral guidance” via Alexandra Glorioso of the Naples Daily News – “The role of the presidency is the person who is leading our direction and that’s very important. And past presidents have referred to our moral principles and have had a healing tone, and a unifying tone,” Rooney, a devout Catholic, said. “I would like to see the president do more of that. I think the country needs it. I think the country is crying out for it.” Rooney said if he were the president, he would say, “We need to come together in this country and oppose white supremacists and others that divide us in hate and create violence. “Hatred, violence and bigotry have no place in the United States. If he would just say that and focus on getting our economy and our place secure in the world, that would be a good thing, I think.”

Former Debbie Wasserman Schultz IT aide indicted on four counts” via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – Former IT aide Imran Awan, who Wasserman Schultz defended until the day he was taken into custody, was indicted on four counts, including fraud and making false statements. The grand jury for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia made the decision almost a month after Awan was arrested on bank fraud charges at an airport trying to fly to Pakistan in July. Once the charges became public, Wasserman Schultz cut the cord with Awan, who had already been banned from accessing the congressional computer network and had been fired by two other members of Congress. Awan applied for a $165,000 home equity loan for a rental property, which violates credit union’s policies because he was not the owner. Investigators said the funds from the home equity loan were then used as part of $283,000, which was wire-transferred to two people in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Alan’s wife, Hina Alvi, who had left the country and was not expected to return, was also indicted.


“Art Graham, Ronald Brisé win nominations to be returned to PSC” via Florida Politics –  Graham and Brisé on Thursday won nominations to be returned to their seats on the Public Service Commission, which regulates investor-owned utilities in the state. If selected, both men would serve third terms; each was first appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2010. The Public Service Commission Nominating Council also decided on six people—including former state Rep. Ritch Workman—to fill the unexpired term of former Commissioner Jimmy Patronis, who stepped down to replace Jeff Atwater as state Chief Financial Officer. Patronis’ term is up at the end of 2018 … Losing candidates include Greg Evers, a Baker Republican who left the Senate to run last year for northwest Florida’s Congressional seat, losing to Matt Gaetz; and current state Rep. Tom Goodson, a Brevard County Republican who chairs the House Agriculture and Property Rights subcommittee and is term-limited next year. Another noteworthy applicant, former state Comptroller and retired Marine general Bob Milligan, was shut out early in the process, receiving no votes to move forward when the council met in Tampa last week. The council will forward its recommendations to Gov. Rick Scott, who will decide on the appointments, subject to final approval by the Florida Senate.

Personnel note: Lottery fills two top positions via Florida Politics – After a July ‘housecleaning,’ the Lottery has replaced two officials in its departmental power structure, a spokeswoman said Thursday. David Guerrieri is now general counsel, and Samantha Ferrin has taken over as deputy chief of staff and legislative affairs director, spokeswoman Connie Barnes said in an email. A third opening, deputy secretary of administration, has not yet been filled, she added. Guerrieri was previously a senior attorney for the Department of Economic Opportunity, according to his LinkedIn page. Secretary Jim Poppell, who took over the Lottery this summer, was previously DEO’s chief of staff. Ferrin was external affairs manager for the Department of Management Services and has been a legislative analyst for the Florida House, her page says. Poppell had accepted the resignations of three top officials in what insiders called a ‘housecleaning.’


Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: James examines a new study that suggests the stress of poverty and racism raise risk of Alzheimer’s for African-Americans with clinical psychologist Eddy Regnier, Ph.D.

Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues that affect the area’s citizens.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Panelists this week include Stacie Blake Collins, Director of Government and Community Relations/U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants; NPR Media Critic Eric Deggans; Tampa Bay Times columnist Dan Ruth and Josh Emerick, membership director for the Tampa Bay Young Republicans.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: The topic is digital literacy in a 21st-century classroom. Guests include Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, state Rep. Chris Latvala, Winter Park City Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel, Dr. Diana Greene, and Bill Sublette.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran will talk digital literacy in the 21st-century classroom on “In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres.”

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: Democrat Ryan Torrens on his campaign to be Florida’s next Attorney General; PolitiFact Scott-O-Meter updates the status of Gov. Scott’s campaign promise to examine all standardized tests administered in Florida.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Host Gary Yordon will speak with Rob Olin with the Panacea Oyster Co-Op and attorney Sean Pittman.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: This week, the entire show is devoted to Jacksonville Consolidation, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next month. Guests are former Jacksonville Mayor Jake Godbold, former WJXT Editorial Director Harry Reagan, former city of Jacksonville General Counsel Rick Mullaney, former city of Jacksonville Chief of Staff Chris Hand, WJXT-TV news anchor Tom Willis.

— ALOE —

Five scare zones unveiled for Halloween Horror Nights” via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – Universal Orlando revealed details … scare zones include: Trick ‘r Treat, where the infamous Sam lurks in the shadows behind jack-o’-lanterns waiting to scare trick-or-treaters. The Purge features the return of fan-favorite characters from the Purge film saga. INVASION! allows guests to become the human experiments of alien scientists who plan the destruction of planet Earth. Altars of Horror is an assemblage of haunted mazes based on iconic horror films and terrifying TV shows. Festival of the Deadliest includes a ghastly collection of madmen and monsters. Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will also feature two live shows. Academy of the Villains returns for a second consecutive year with an all-new show and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure Show will bring their Farewell Tour after a 26-year run. Halloween Horror Nights begin Sept. 15.

Pensacola man surprises mom with $23,000 poker win to help with medical bills” via Emma Kennedy of the Pensacola News-Journal – Josephine Langevin was just ending a hospital stay when her son, John, said he was going away. He didn’t tell her where he was going and only described it as “down the road,” a not-quite-truth he told to shield his mom from potential disappointment if he came back empty-handed … John Langevin actually traveled two hours to D’Iberville, Mississippi, for the final entry day of the 2017 Card Player Poker Tour Scarlet Pearl. The 30-year-old Pensacola man came home from the tournament with a first-place trophy and $23,000, which he plans to spend on his mom’s medical bills. His mother is hesitant to talk about her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Happy birthday to John Dowless, Bob Poe, and my friend Noah Pransky. Early birthday wishes to the Tallahassee Democrat’s Bill Hatfield and the awesome Merritt Lindstrom.

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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