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Sunburn for 8.25.16 — 5 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.

FORECASTERS PREDICAT INVEST 99L COULD TURN INTO TROPICAL STORM HERMINE, HIT FLORIDA via the Tampa Bay Times – The system … hung in the Atlantic 100 miles north of Puerto Rico on Wednesday evening. The National Hurricane Center predicted the disturbance had an 80 percent chance of turning into a tropical depression and, with the right wind speed, Tropical Storm Hermine.

As of 8 p.m., the wave still did not have a well-defined circulation, according to reports from a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane.

“It’s still very disorganized,” said 10Weather WTSP chief meteorologist Jim Van Fleet. “On Thursday or early Friday, if we can find a center, then models will get more accurate. If it does impact Florida in any capacity, late Sunday, Monday and Tuesday would be the days to watch.”

weather forecast

CONTINUING OUR HYPER-FOCUS ON THE PRIMARY ELECTIONS: GOP PRIMARY FOR SD 17 MAY BE NASTIEST RACE IN THE STATE

Just when you thought the 2016 election couldn’t get any stranger, along came the Senate District 17 race.

It has been marked by feuds and attacks on families. Outside political groups have poured thousands into the race in hopes of defining the candidates. And with less than a week to go before the Aug. 30 primary, there’s still plenty of time for the race to take another turn.

Republicans Debbie Mayfield and Ritch Workman are vying to replace Sen. Thad Altman in the newly drawn Senate District 17. The district covers all of Indian River County and part of Brevard County.

First elected in 2008, Mayfield succeeded her husband, Rep. Stan Mayfield, in the Florida House. The Vero Beach Republican is a staunch opponent of Common Core, and has the backing of Florida Parents Against Common Core.

The group, which is the largest parent-led organization to stop Common Core, said it endorsed her because she has “demonstrated a repeated and sincere commitment to bottom-up politics, in education that means respecting and championing those most affected by education policy.”

She’s also been backed by the Florida Board of Realtors, The Republican Liberty Caucus, and Florida Right to Life. And in a rare move, Sen. Marco Rubio threw his support behind Mayfield.

“I’m supporting Debbie not only because she is my friend but also because she is a committed conservative with the courage to stand up and fight for what she believes in,” the Miami Republican said in a statement. “She’s honest, hardworking and the type of proven leader that Republicans can be proud of.”

But the long list of backers hasn’t spared her from attacks. Workman called for her resignation after a bio box appeared in Florida Today saying she moved to Brevard County in 2015. Her House district doesn’t include any part of Brevard.

And the Accomplished Conservative Leaders Fund — a political committee funded largely by Workman’s political committee, Citizens United for Liberty and Freedom — has taken a swipe at her voting record, family businesses, and personal loans to her campaign.

The attacks seem mild, though, compared to what has been thrown at Workman. His campaign has been rife with controversy since the beginning. Stop Career Politicians, a political committee backing Mayfield, has called out Workman for using taxpayer dollars to send a mailer outside of his House district, votes on immigration, and support for an alimony reform bill.

And after months of attacks, Workman’s wife and ex-wife came to his defense. The campaign released an advertisement featuring both women, who hammered Mayfield for attacking Workman.

“Ritch and I used to consider Debbie and her husband Bob to be good friends,” said Tiffanie Lande, his ex-wife. “We introduced Debbie to Bob, even vacationed together. It’s sad that people I held in such high regard would stoop so low for the sake of politics.”

Workman is a Melbourne Republican first elected in 2008. He rose to the position of House Rules chairman under House Speaker Steve Crisafulli. Workman previously served as the chairman of the House Finance & Tax Subcommittee, and played a role in shepherding through tax cuts the Florida Legislature. That role is highlighted in a TV ad featuring Gov. Rick Scott.

“He’s one of the hardest working members of the Florida Legislature, and I got to work closely with him when we passed the single largest tax-cut package in Florida’s history,” says Scott in the advertisement.

While the governor didn’t endorse Workman, he did receive the backing of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Medical Association.

“Representative Ritch Workman continues to place Florida’s long-term future at the forefront of his campaign,” said Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political operations for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  “As a Representative he helped move our state in the right direction and we are confident he will do the same as a Senator. We are proud to endorse Representative Workman for the Florida Senate.”

Recent polling by St. Pete Polls found Mayfield led Workman 43 percent to 25 percent.

Mayfield has raised $175,145 for her campaign. That sum doesn’t include $500,000 in personal loans. Workman has raised $422,290 for his official campaign. Records show political committee has raised $816,881.

Republican Mike Thomas is also running in Senate District 17.  The winner of the Aug. 30 Republican primary will face Amy C. Tidd in November.

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LATEST FLORIDA VOTER FIGURES – As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,070,986 Floridians have cast either vote-by-mail (862,371) or early in-person ballots (208,615); 34 percent of the 2,403,080 mail-in ballots provided have been returned: 416,046 Republican (37 percent of 1,059,959 provided), 332,833 Democrat (34 percent of 911,769 provided) and 113,492 NPA/other (25 percent of 431,352 provided). As for early in-person voting, 98,052 Republicans, 95,022 Democrats and 98,052 NPA/others have cast ballots. Total early voting turnout stands at 8 percent of 12,379,292 registered Florida voters (11 percent Republican; 9 percent Democrat).

HALLELUJAH – LAST DAY TO DONATE TO CAMPAIGNS AHEAD OF PRIMARY — Expect a flurry of emails from candidates today asking for last minute donations ahead of the Aug. 30 primary. The deadline to donate to a candidate is midnight on Aug. 25. According to Contribution Link, candidates had received $67.9 million in contributions through Aug. 12.

REPUBLICANS’ VOTER REGISTRATION GAINS PROBABLY AREN’T GAINS AT ALL via David Wasserman of FiveThirtyEight.com – Take … Dixie County, near Florida’s Panhandle, where President Obama won a measly 26 percent of the vote in 2012 and Trump took 63 percent of the GOP primary vote in March. Between November 2012 and March 2016 … the Democratic share of registered voters in Dixie County fell from 60 percent to 52 percent … The county’s voter rolls also fell 7 percent during that period. Trump didn’t spur new registrations, he simply accelerated Dixiecrat migration to the GOP. In Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — the three most important supposed “ray of hope” states … ancestral Democratic registration advantages are simply coming into alignment with the modern competitive realities of each state … Between November 2012 and August 2016, Florida Democrats’ registration advantage fell from 535,987 voters to 259,321 voters. About 59 percent of that decline occurred during the run-up to the March 2016 presidential primary, when many voters switched to the GOP to choose between Trump and home state Sen. Marco Rubio. And about 86 percent of that decline took place in counties Mitt Romney already carried in 2012. Helpfully, Florida also breaks down its registration tallies by race — and that breakdown tells a far different story. Since November 2012, Florida has added a net 436,484 voters to its rolls. Hispanics have accounted for 55 percent of this net growth, and overall, nonwhites have accounted for 76 percent. In other words, most voters who are truly new to Florida’s electorate belong to demographic groups that are generally hostile to Trump.

MARCO RUBIO SAYS SUPREME COURT IS BIG REASON HE RAN AGAIN via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Rubio, at the Republican Party of Florida’s new victory office in Lee County, said he had a lot of reasons to rejoin the race in June, but focused on the eventual replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia who died earlier this year. “And now the balance of power in the U.S. Supreme Court is going to be determined by the next Senate and the next president who will appoint but the next senate must confirm,” Rubio said. Rubio went further, warning that if Democrat Patrick Murphy wins in November, he would be a “rubber stamp for Hillary’s agenda, if God forbid she were elected.” And like he did earlier in the week, warned supporters that if Democrats win the majority in November, Sen. Chuck Schumer … is in line to become the Senate Majority Leader.

FAU POLL: PATRICK MURPHY, RUBIO POISED FOR A TOUGH RACE IN THE FALL — A statewide poll by Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative found Murphy and Rubio are locked into a tight general election race. In the likely general election match-up, Rubio leads Murphy 44 percent to 39 percent. The poll found 12 percent of voters were undecided, while 5 percent said they were going to vote for someone else. Rubio leads among white and Hispanic voters, and has strong support among voters in the northern and central parts of Florida. Murphy, the survey found, has strong support among African American voters, and leads in the southern part of the state. When it comes to the presidential race, the FAU BEPI poll found Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton, 43 percent to 41 percent. Gary Johnson, the survey found, was polling at 8 percent; while 2 percent said they’d back Jill Stein. The Florida poll was conducted from Aug. 19 to Aug. 22. The general election poll consisted of 1,200 registered likely voters, and had a margin of error of 2.7 percent.

FIRST ON FLORIDAPOLITICS.COM – FLORIDA CHAMBER POLL: RUBIO, MURPHY WALLOPING OPPONENTS via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — The statewide poll shows Rubio leads Manatee County Republican Carlos Beruff by nearly 50 percentage points. The poll shows Rubio is at 68 percent, while Beruff is at 19 percent. Ten percent of respondents said they were still undecided. Marian Johnson, the senior vice president of government and political relations at the Chamber, said it is unusual to see so many voters still undecided. “A week sounds like a short time, but it can be a lifetime for a campaign and provide candidates the opportunity to make solid gains that can improve their outcome,” she said in a statement. “It’s unusual to see this many undecided voters this close to the election, but for candidates, it’s good news. They still have time to move the voters.” While Rubio and Murphy are poised to win their primaries, they both face some problems when it comes to how voters view them. The survey found 44 percent of voters polled said they had an unfavorable view of Rubio, while 41 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party. The survey didn’t include favorability ratings for Murphy, but 46 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party; while 56 percent said they had an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Patrick Murphy will hold a news conference with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at 1 p.m. at Royal Media, 960 Alton Road in Miami Beach. RSVP to Press@MurphyForFlorida.com.

HAPPENING FRIDAY — MARCO RUBIO RALLIES SUPPORTERS IN PLANT CITY, ORLANDO — Sen. Rubio will attend an early voting meet-and-greet Friday at 11:15 a.m. the Courier Field & Veterans’ Monument, 703 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. Doors open at 10:45 a.m. Media interested in attending must RSVP to press@marcorubio.com by 8 a.m. on Friday. Rubio will then head to Orlando to open the Republican Party of Florida regional volunteer headquarters at 2:30 p.m. at 1654 N. Semoran Blvd, #160 in Orlando. Doors open at 2 p.m. Media interested in attending must RSVP to press@marcorubio.com by 9 a.m. on Friday.

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MARION HAMMER CRITICIZES SUPER PAC AD BACKING NEAL DUNN via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – When Hammer heard a radio ad calling Republican congressional candidate Dunn a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, she was amused. “I kind of chuckled,” the National Rifle Association’s top Florida lobbyist [said]. “I do what I always do when I get questions about someone’s membership, I called the [National Rifle Association’s] membership division.” What she found is that Dunn first became a member on an annual basis starting in 2009 through 2011. That membership lapsed and two years later he signed up as a National Rifle Association life member. “It is just wrong,” Hammer said. “Anyone hearing that is going to think he’s been a lifelong member, which usually you think means a member their entire life. Not three-and-a-half years.” The ad came from Right Way PAC, a super PAC that the Dunn campaign cannot directly coordinate strategy or message with … It does underscore the heated fights over Florida’s gun politics. Each election cycle, candidates in Republican primaries fight to be seen as most gun-friendly and those in some Democratic primaries do the reverse. In the process, the truth is often distorted. It got so intense last week that Hammer had to send out an email to media and political consultants reminding people of National Rifle Association grades and primary endorsements. The Right Way PAC, which is a group that popped up this year to help boost more establishment Republicans against those candidates seen as more cut from a tea party cloth. Specifically, the group is targeting members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of members that sits on the chamber’s conservative flank. Mary Thomas, Dunn’s top primary rival, says she will join the caucus if elected, and Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who leads the group, has done a campaign event for her.

JOHN MCCAIN ENDORSES HANS TANZLER IN CD 4 via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – The endorsement is rooted in family legacy and the candidate’s father’s relationship to prisoners of war, McCain said. “I know firsthand how much the Tanzler family cares for veterans above all else,” said McCain. “Mayor Tanzler took care of my family while I was a POW in Vietnam. He always gave special attention and care to my fellow veterans and their families. I know and trust that Hans Tanzler will do the same for all Florida families.” McCain has a historical connection to the Jacksonville area; his family lived here for a dozen years beginning in the Vietnam War era and extending to the late 1970s … a timeframe that coincided with the Tanzler mayoralty, which saw the mayor give McCain the key to the city.

POLL: JOHN RUTHERFORD LEADS CD 4 FIELD WITH 33% SUPPORT via Florida Politics — A new poll by St. Pete Polls found Rutherford leads the pack with 33 percent support. The poll, commissioned by FloridaPolitics.com, found Lake Ray was in second with 22 percent, followed by Tanzler with 17 percent. The poll found Bill McClure received 10 percent support, Stephen Kaufman received 4 percent, Deborah Katz Pueschel received 3 percent, and Edward Malin received 3 percent. The survey found 8 percent of respondents were still undecided. Nearly 39 percent of those polled said they have already voted in the primary; 61 percent say they plan to vote in the primary. The automated phone poll was conducted on Aug. 23. The poll surveyed 490 likely Republican primary voters, and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

DENA GRAYSON LEADS SUSANNAH RANDOLPH 33% TO 27% via Florida Politics — A new St. Pete Polls survey found Grayson has a 6 percentage point lead over her nearest competitor in the district. The survey, conducted for FloridaPolitics.com, found Grayson is at 33 percent, followed by Susannah Randolph at 27 percent. Darren Soto is in third with 19 percent, while Valleri Crabtree rounds out the field with 10 percent. The survey found 10 percent of voters were still undecided. The poll was conducted on Aug. 23, and surveyed 336 likely Democratic primary voters. It has a margin of error of 5.3 percent. The survey found 46 percent of respondents have already voted in the primary. The survey found 54 percent still plan to vote.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS — Charlie Crist will host an education roundtable with teachers and educators at 3 p.m. at Kidz World Preschool, 50 50th Street South in St. Petersburg. Media interested in attending should RSVP to franco@catecomm.com.

FRANCIS ROONEY MAKES CLOSING STATEMENT IN NEW CD 19 AD — The Naples Republican is making his final pitch to Southwest Florida voters in a new advertisement. In the 30-second spot, called “Closer,” Rooney says the region needs a lawmaker “with substantive real world knowledge and an honest agenda of working for … the people of Southwest Florida.” A prominent Republican fundraiser, Rooney has put nearly $3.2 million of his own money into Florida’s 19th Congressional District. “Our country can still be great, and I think I can make a difference … I’m asking for your support and your vote,” he says in the advertisement. Rooney faces Republicans Chauncey Goss and Dan Bongino in the Aug. 30 primary.

BERNIE SANDERS A NO-SHOW FOR TIM CANOVA via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – Sanders, the politician who elevated first-time candidate Canova to national attention and a rich campaign warchest, doesn’t appear to be coming to South Florida to help out his protégé in his battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. At a news conference … at his Hollywood campaign office, Canova pushed back against reporters’ questions about why Sanders hasn’t appeared in the Broward/Miami-Dade district. “You tell me why he isn’t coming,” said Canova defensively. “I don’t have an answer to that. I am very proud to have his support. Quite frankly we don’t need him here to win this election. Our field operation is growing by the day. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the one who needs to run out and get folks to come in from out of town to help protect her — to shield her from the voters. I am out there talking to voters every day.” Wasserman Schultz has recruited many of the party’s top names to campaign for her in the district … For Canova, he has only one big backer: Sanders. In May, Sanders announced on CNN that he was backing Canova and has since sent fundraising emails on his behalf. But it appears Sanders has blown Canova off — perhaps because Canova still appears to be a long shot.

REPUBLICANS COVERTLY SEEK TO SWAY RESULTS IN KEY DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY RACES via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – In Tampa Bay’s most hard-fought Senate primary where black Democrats could be decisive, a new mailer in support of Rep. Darryl Rouson … makes it appear he has the support of President Barack Obama (he doesn’t). The mailer was paid by a group supported by Republican interests. In Palm Beach County, the same group, operating under the nebulous name Floridians for a Better Florida, is helping Rep. Irv Slosberg … with mailers attacking his rival, Sen. Jeff Clemens. Floridians for a Better Florida is a political committee that was dormant until July, when it suddenly got an infusion of nearly $100,000, enough to pay for an avalanche of mail in the campaign’s final days. Of that total, $30,000 came from the Local Business Advisory Council, a GOP-allied Tallahassee group. Another $22,500 came from a political committee called Protecting Leadership Principles chaired by former state Rep. Eduardo (EddyGonzalez, a Republican from Miami-Dade. Gonzalez’s committee, also largely inactive for the past year, was suddenly flush with cash thanks to $55,000 from a committee called Jobs for Florida. It’s controlled by Sen. Wilton Simpson a member of the GOP Senate leadership.

FUNDRAISING INVITATION OF THE DAY via the Ed Narain campaign:

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JASON PIZZO FOCUSES ON EDUCATION IN HIS FINAL SD 38 — Pizzo is focusing on gun laws and education in his final pitch to voters. The 30-second spot will air on cable and expanded broadcast stations. “As a father of twin boys, I know children deserve to have a stronger education system. As your state senator, I will work to ensure every child has access to a quality education regardless of their zip code. It’s time to bring fresh leadership and a new vision to Tallahassee,” he said in a statement. The new ad comes as Pizzo received the backing of Rep. David Richardson and Bishop Victor Curry.

WEB AD CLAIMS ANITERE FLORES IS A FRIEND OF DONALD TRUMP via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald – The ad, titled “Ironic,” attacks Flores for taking the minimum-wage challenge and cutting taxes for private jets. Flores … has not decided if she supports Trump.

— “Democrats file complaint after state Sen. Anitere Flores forgets to mention party in TV ad” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald

WHAT JEFF PORTER IS READING — FLORIDA CHAMBER POLL FINDS 34% OF FLORIDIANS HAVE UNFAVORABLE VIEW OF TRIAL ATTORNEYS via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — Floridians aren’t fond of trial attorneys. Those were among the findings of a new poll released by the Florida Chamber Political Institute on Wednesday. The survey, among other things, tried to gauge public opinion of plaintiff trial lawyers. The response? Not great. The survey found 34 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of plaintiff trial attorneys, while 15 percent said they had a favorable view. The survey found 27 percent of those polled said they never heard of them. The survey also tried to gauge the mood of Florida voters. The survey found the economy and jobs remain the No. 1 issue for voters. Twenty-one percent of voters said that was their top concern, followed by education and schools at 13 percent. Florida voters also are split on whether they feel Florida is moving in the right direction. The poll found 40 percent of voters said the state was moving in the right direction, while 41 percent thought it was moving in the wrong direction.

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will make a job creation announcement at 10 a.m. at Reilly Arts Center, 590 NE 9th Street in Ocala. He will then travel to Bradenton where he will present veterans with the Governor’s Veterans Service Award at 1:30 p.m. at the Bradenton National Guard Armory, 2100 13th Ave. East in Bradenton.

HILLARY CLINTON WANTS ‘RAPID RESPONSE FUND’ FOR ZIKA, OTHER THREATS via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – In a statement … the Democrat said it would provide consistent funding “to better enable the CDC, HHS, FEMA, state and local public health departments, hospital systems, and other federal agencies to quickly and aggressively respond to major public health crises and pandemics.” She did not provide details on the level of funding or the source. The idea is not unique to her campaign. “I will also ensure that our government has strong leadership and is organized to better support and work with people on the ground facing public health challenges. Doctors and public health experts have been warning for months that the Zika virus was likely to reach the continental United States, but Congress has failed to pass the president’s emergency funding request. As a result, the Zika virus has gained a foothold in Miami, and 196 people have already been infected in the city—infections that may have been preventable.”

RICK SCOTT ACCUSES FEDS OF NOT BEING A ‘PARTNER’ IN ZIKA FIGHT via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida – Scott accused the federal government of not sending Florida enough Zika tests or prevention kits for pregnant women or for supplying enough kits for the state to test for the virus. “Here’s what’s frustrating. The federal government has not been a partner,” Scott told Fox News … Scott has been requesting the additional Zika prevention kits for pregnant women for weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though, says it’s delivered what the state needs to protect pregnant women. CDC Director Tom Frieden said he met with the governor August 4 and authorized that 10,000 DEETs – diethyl-meta-toluamide – be sent to the state. If Scott wants other products that were included in Zika prevention kits sent to Puerto Rico – including mosquito netting, standing water treatment tabs and permethrin spray for clothing – he could buy those products with the Zika funding the state has received … the state has received more than $8 million in specific Zika funding and another $27 million in emergency preparedness funding that can be used to support Zika response efforts, including Zika prevention kits.

FLORIDA ZIKA OUTBREAK WILL BE SMALL AND DONE BY WINTER, SCIENTISTS PREDICT via Andres Viglucci of the Miami Herald – Just under 400 people will be infected with the Zika virus by mosquitoes in Florida by mid-September, and about 80 of them will develop symptoms, according to projections developed by an international team of scientists from the University of Florida and half a dozen other research institutions. The study’s authors caution that the numbers, issued by UF, are preliminary and subject to considerable uncertainty, but they say the projections provide reassurance that the current outbreak will be likely small and limited to Florida and other Southern states whose warm climates make them susceptible to mosquito-borne transmission. The outbreak is almost certain to peter out on its own by November or December as dipping temperatures put a damper on mosquito populations and an effective end to transmission, the projections show. “I don’t think large-scale epidemics are possible in the U.S. because of window screening and air conditioning,” said Ira Longini, a professor of biostatistics at UF and one of the lead authors of the study. “We’re talking about small clusters here and there.” The projections also put the number of babies in Florida that will be born from mothers who are infected by the virus during the first trimester — the period at which research suggests they’re most vulnerable to Zika-related birth defects — at eight. Infection does not necessarily mean that babies will be born with smaller than normal brains or any of the other birth defects, ranging from eye problems to joint problems, also associated with the virus.

FLORIDA PLANNED PARENTHOOD: MORE ATTENTION NEEDED TO EDUCATE WOMEN ABOUT ZIKA VIRUS via POLITICO Florida – Planned Parenthood … was going door-to-door in mostly Latino and Haitian communities in Miami to educate thousands of residents, especially women of child-bearing age, about the Zika virus, saying public officials must pay more attention on women – not just mosquitoes – in dealing with the growing public health crisis. “You cannot have a Zika strategy that focuses on mosquitoes, but not women. It is past time for meaningful action to combat this virus. Our leaders must put women and families at the center of the Zika response and fund family planning and education efforts,” said Lillian Tamayo, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida at a news conference in Miami. The Zika virus can be spread three ways: mosquito bites, sex with an infected partner and from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Zika can cause birth defects in children, making pregnant women the most at-risk population for the virus. Said Dr. Christopher Estes, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood in Florida: “There is no way to fight the Zika public health crisis without comprehensive access to reproductive health care.” Tamayo said canvassers will be visiting Miami neighborhoods over the next six weeks and expect to contact 25,000 households, handing out pamphlets in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

TWEET, TWEET:

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INSURERS WARN FLORIDIANS TO PREPARE FOR TROPICAL STORM via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America … recommended Floridians review their policies now, to make sure they’re covered against storm damage, or add coverage, if necessary. “Flood insurance is not covered by your standard homeowners’ policy; however, additional coverage can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program or your insurance company,” said Logan McFaddin, PCI’s Florida regional manager. “Florida is unique in that some insurers are offering flood insurance coverage, unlike other states, so it’s important to contact your agent or company right away.” There’s a caveat: “Just be aware that there is typically a 30-day waiting period between the date of purchase and when the actual flood coverage goes into effect,” she said. Here’s what McFaddin recommended: Review your policy, especially the declarations page. Does it cover replacement costs or actual cash value for a loss? Inventory household items, photographing or videotaping them for documentation. Keep these records and your policy in a safe place. Keep the name, address and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer handy, in a safe place. Deploy hurricane shutters or board your windows, and move vehicles and patio furniture indoors. Secure your boat. Keep any receipts for repairs so you can be reimbursed.

LUKE RUSSERT TO ADDRESS LOBBYISTS CONVENTION IN TAMPA via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – Former NBC News correspondent Russert will deliver the keynote address during the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists annual conference next month … foundation chairwoman Keyna Cory said. “Luke’s accomplished career and valuable insight will give our lobbyists the freedom to enhance their education and understanding of the political process.” The meeting brings together leaders in Florida’s political influence sector to learn latest trends, best practices and have a chance to meet and greet legislators. Once again, the industry’s premier event will be held from Sept. 7-9 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Dr. in Tampa. Russert will speak Sept. 8 beginning at 12:15 p.m.

PERSONNEL NOTE: CHRIS CATE JOINS SALTER>MITCHELL PR via Florida Politics — It’s a bipartisan move: Firm president April Salter was communications director to the late Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. Cate has served as spokesman for top Republicans, including Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Florida Secretaries of State Kurt Browning and Ken Detzner, and a variety of state agencies. “We are very excited to have Chris join our team and enhance our ability to engage the public and community leaders,” Salter said in a press release. “His expertise will help us better serve our clients’ needs at the local, state and national level.” Cate becomes Senior Public Affairs Director for the firm. In his portfolio: the Weyerhaeuser paper and lumber company, Bank of America, Verizon and Nestlé Waters.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to this guy, the best government reporter in Florida (and a friend, to whom I owe much for his wise counsel):

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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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