Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
MARCO RUBIO, PATRICK MURPHY WIN FLORIDA’S U.S. SENATE PRIMARIES via Brendan Farrington and Gary Fineout of The Associated Press – Rubio and Murphy each easily won their primaries … setting up a November showdown that’s guaranteed to be nasty as each party grapples for a majority in the Senate. Rubio, who decided at the last second to seek a second term, easily fended off millionaire homebuilder Carlos Beruff and Murphy used the backing of President Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders to defeat Alan Grayson, who was counting on his party’s most faithful liberal voters to overcome Murphy’s money and establishment support. Rubio had declared during his failed presidential campaign that he would not run again for Senate. But he nearly cleared what had been a crowded GOP field with his last-minute turnabout. Rubio supporters at his party near Walt Disney World whooped and chanted “Marco! Marco! Marco!” when The Associated Press declared him the winner. “I voted for Marco only because I’ve been a longstanding supporter,” said Diane Martin-Johnson, 66, after voting early Tuesday in Pinellas Park. “It’s unfortunate he didn’t do his job fully in Washington this term. I do think he deserves another chance. He thought he was doing the right thing (by running for president). That’s my only complaint against him. He’s a good man.” Murphy, a former Republican, quickly earned party support and raised significantly more money. He was also backed by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Grayson, a fiery liberal known for brash comments and hamstrung by a difficult divorce, relied mostly on small donors and feuded with party leaders. This year’s primary turnout could top ones held in 2012 and 2014- a sign that competitive races for Congress and the Florida Legislature could be driving up turnout this time around.
FALL OF THE HOUSE OF GRAYSON via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Grayson and his new wife, Dena Grayson, wanted to be the first husband-wife time to serve in the U.S. Senate and House at the same time … Instead the two became co-losers … Alan Grayson was crushed by his fellow congressman, Patrick Murphy, in the U.S. Senate race. And Dena Grayson – who married Alan Grayson mid-campaign and changed her last name over Memorial Day weekend as she ran for his congressional seat – lost in a three-way race won by state Sen. Darren Soto. There was a deep irony in the Graysons’ losses. Alan Grayson ran for Senate with the belief that Democrats needed a true-blue progressive. But in having his wife run for his 9th Congressional District seat, she divided up the progressive with Grayson’s former aide and adviser, Susannah Randolph. And that allowed Soto – the type of deal-making Chamber of Commerce-like centrist Democrat that Grayson has denigrated – to waltz in, partly with the strong backing of voters of Puerto Ricans in the Orlando-area district … The Grayson’s marriage had a political hue. According to numerous sources, Alan Grayson repeatedly boasted that he would marry her, give her his name and that she would win as a result. After the two were married, he appeared in commercials with her and at tele-town hall forums. Alan Grayson knew he was defeated long before the last ballots were cast … He barely advertised and he didn’t disclose his whereabouts to the press earlier on Election Day. He and Dena Grayson – who largely shied away from the press and tried to win on an ad campaign based heavily on Grayson’s name – said little Tuesday night when it was clear each had lost.
BY WIDE MARGIN, VOTERS ADD SOLAR TAX BREAK TO STATE CONSTITUTION via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – The amendment, which will become part of the Florida Constitution, exempts solar and other renewable energy devices on business and industrial property from property taxes for 20 years. The same tax break already exists for residential property owners. The amendment also exempts renewable energy devices from Florida’s tangible personal property tax. Amendment 4 … got more than 70 percent of the vote … Backers of Amendment 4 were all along the political spectrum, including environmental advocates Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Nature Conservancy and Florida Conservation Voters, and the business-backed Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Retail Federation and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Business groups like tax relief, and environmental groups hope it will encourage more talk in the conservative state Capitol about climate change and the need to cut dependency on fossil fuels. The opposition was led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the TV and radio talk show host and president of the National Action Network, and Bishop Victor Curry of Miami, NAN’s southeast regional director, who said they opposed “unnecessary and unjust tax breaks for corporations.” It was one of the most cost-effective referendum campaigns in Florida history, as supporters raised less than $150,000.
MATT GAETZ PREVAILS IN CD 1 via Kelly Humphrey of NWFdailynews.com – Gaetz defeated six other Republicans … He will face Democrat Steven Specht, 33, of Pensacola in the general election Nov. 8. Either Gaetz or Specht will fill a seat vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller. “I am humbled that the people of Northwest Florida would put such confidence in me,” Gaetz said. “We’re very pleased by the margin of victory — it shows that the people want a congressman who will focus on bold conservative reform.” Miller’s announcement in March that he would be retiring set off a chain reaction among Republican politicians across Northwest Florida. Gaetz, who currently serves as District 4’s state representative, abandoned his efforts to succeed his father, Don Gaetz, in the race for the Florida District 1 state senate seat. Greg Evers, the incumbent state senator for District 2, chose not to run for re-election in order to throw his hat in the ring for the congressional seat. Other candidates vying for the seat were Brian Frazier, James Zumwalt, Rebekah Bydlak, Cris Dosev and Marck Wichern. Gary Fairchild qualified for the election but withdrew from the race.
NEAL DUNN WINS CD 2 GOP PRIMARY via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – Dunn rode to victory Tuesday on a wave of Bay County votes in the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District. Early returns from Leon County foreshadowed his win over Tallahassee attorneys Mary Thomas and Ken Sukhia. They showed the three Republican candidates nearly evenly splitting Leon’s votes. That was bad news for Thomas and Sukhia. Bay County is Dunn’s base. About 46 percent of the district’s registered voters live in Bay and Leon counties, but Bay Republicans outnumber Leon Republicans 5-3. Dunn beat Thomas by 11 points in Bay. That was enough for him to claim victory despite Thomas winning 11 of the district’s 19 counties.
TWEET, TWEET – @joerondone: So… @crew just threw the press out of her function as she was lead in. Graceful in defeat
JOHN RUTHERFORD WINS CD 4 PRIMARY via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – Rutherford started the Congressional District 4 GOP primary as the establishment favorite, and with almost 39 percent of the vote, defeated Hans Tanzler at 20 percent, Jacksonville State Rep. Lake Ray at 19 percent, and St. Johns County Commissioner Bill McClure with 10 percent. Rutherford, though outspent by a 2 to 1 margin by Tanzler, maintained his positives throughout the campaign, even as Tanzler and his “Conservative Outsider” political committee attacked Rutherford as being a liberal who is soft on illegal immigration and accommodating to Muslims. Rutherford’s own fundraising would have been stronger had the candidate not made the unwise decision to praise Angela Corey at a fundraiser hosted by Peter Rummell, who backed Melissa Nelson in her bid to unseat Corey as 4th Circuit State Attorney. As Tanzler started to fall behind Lake Ray in the polls, the aforementioned committee attacked the current state representative and former Duval GOP chair (who got very little support from inside his own party’s Republican Executive Committee after resigning his post to run for the seat vacated by outgoing Ander Crenshaw).
HOBBLED BY SCANDAL, CORRINE BROWN IS DEFEATED BY AL LAWSON via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Unofficial results showed Lawson with 47 percent of the vote, to Brown‘s 39 percent. Brown, first elected in 1992, has endured controversy before, but in June she was indicted on fraud charges over connection to a charity, One Door for Education Foundation Inc. She and others are accused of taking money intended for scholarships. She also had the challenge of a redrawn district that extended into Lawson’s turf. Brown, 69, vehemently fought the charges and brought up race as a factor. But Lawson, who is also African-American, said it made her unfit for office. Former state legislator Lawson celebrated at the Moon in Tallahassee. “Thank you to the voters of Florida’s 5th Congressional District for inviting me into your homes and businesses, sharing your stories, and giving me the great honor of being a candidate for Congress,” he said in a written statement. “Now we’ve got to get out there and meet even more people, hear what’s on their minds, and make sure we’re doing all we can to encourage others to get out and vote this November. I promise be a leader District 5 can trust and to work hard to deliver for the people of North Florida.”
JOHN MICA GETS TUNEUP ELECTION OUT OF THE WAY, SET FOR DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGE IN CD 7 via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Mica generally takes primary challenges like Sunday morning walks in the park … the 12-term Republican congressman from Winter Park once again never broke much of a sweat on his way to the finish line. Mica swept away challenger Mark Busch, a Casselberry businessman and former Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor. Mica cruised to 77 percent of the vote, compared with 23 percent for Busch. “It’s pretty humbling when you lead the ballot in all the races in Central Florid,” Mica said … “It makes me feel very proud that people have kept their faith and trust in me.” Mica said he “limited his campaign” to focus on congressional business, including a trip earlier this week to storm-ravaged Louisiana. He said the same will hold for the next few weeks, saying he’ll spend September in session and not turn to the general election until October. For Mica the primary race was a warmup lap for the real contest ahead, a challenge from Democratic nominee Stephanie Murphy, a Winter Park businesswoman with the full-throated backing of national Democratic organizations who think this year he might be vulnerable.
DARREN SOTO WINS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IN CD 9 via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Soto took perhaps the biggest step Tuesday in his quest to become the first Hispanic from Central Florida and the first Puerto Rican from the state to be elected to Congress by rolling toward victory the Democratic primary in Florida’s 9th Congressional District. St. Cloud businessman Wane Liebnitzky, who easily won the Republican nomination Tuesday, wants to have something to say about that first, but Soto is heading toward November with several electoral advantages. With nearly all precincts reporting in Orange, Osceola and Polk Counties, Soto had a solid lead over three tough challengers, including Dena Grayson, wife of the incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson; progressive activist Susannah Randolph; and businesswoman Valleri Crabtree, who set out 20 months ago to shake thousands of voters hands in the district. Overall, Soto drew 37 percent while Grayson and Randolph both had 28 percent, and Crabtree 8 percent.
VAL DEMINGS EARNING BIG CD 10 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VICTORY, VINDICATION via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The former Orlando Police chief, dubbed years ago as the next big rising star in Central Florida Democratic politics, handily won the Democratic primary to be the nominee in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. “I am so humbled and honored to stand on this stage tonight and be one step closer to serving Central Florida in Washington,” she declared at her victory party … “The voters have decided, and I have faith they will decide again in November, that I am the leader that they want to represent them.” In doing so, she overcame widespread disappointment and a certain amount of bitterness toward her because she had unexpectedly dropped out of the 2014 Orange County mayoral race, leaving that seat uncontested by Democrats. And she also overcame major opposition, from the popular and almost universally respected state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, the all-but-unlimited-resourced businessman Bob Poe, and the indomitable lawyer Fatima Rita Fahmy. It was easier than any of them might have hoped. Early voting and mail-in vote showed Demings with an almost overwhelming lead. In unofficial returns reported this evening by Orange County Supervisor of Elections, Demings drew more than 57 percent of the votes, while none of the other candidates was over 20 percent.
DAN WEBSTER HANDILY WINS GOP PRIMARY IN CD 11 via Dan DeWitt of the Tampa Bay Times – Late Tuesday, Webster had built a lead of more than 15 percentage points over his opponent in the Republican primary, Justin Grabelle with only a few precincts in Webster’s home county of Lake remaining uncounted. … Webster will face Democrat Dave Koller of Ocala and no-party candidate Ray Bruce Riggs of Crystal River in the November race in the heavily Republican district. “I think the primary was the roughest part,” Webster said.
DAVID JOLLY WINS CD 13, WILL FACE CHARLIE CRIST IN NOVEMBER via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – The war of words between David Jolly and Charlie Crist has already started, with Jolly accusing his Democratic opponent of lying about his support for Donald Trump. David Jolly defeated Mark Bircher in the Republican race for Pinellas County’s 13th Congressional District earlier in the evening, and now looks forward to what could be one of the most interesting congressional races in the country as he faces Crist in November. Jolly led Bircher, 75 to 25 percent, with not all the votes completely counted. “This Republican primary season has been pretty frightening,” Crist said in a statement. “It saddens me to think that anyone who supports Donald Trump’s agenda could ever represent Pinellas County. And I look forward to sharing our vision for seniors, veterans, women, students, and our environment in the weeks ahead.” But Jolly has not come out in support of Trump, something he made sure that Crist – and everyone else – knows going forward. “On Day One of the general election campaign, Charlie Crist has already knowingly lied to the people of Pinellas County,” Jolly said.
VERN BUCHANAN HAS CAKEWALK IN CD 16 PRIMARY via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times – Buchanan took a step closer to another term in Congress … easily besting a political novice in the Republican primary of the redrawn 16th Congressional District. The new district now covers a swath of Hillsborough County south of the Alafia River, bringing about 150,000 new voters into the district, which has been represented by Buchanan since 2006. Buchanan, 65, had strongly criticized the court-ordered redraw last year. But the new boundaries didn’t pose much of a hurdle for him … He won 73 percent of the vote in Hillsborough County. Overall, Buchanan won 81 percent of the GOP vote to 19 percent for James Satcher, 37, a minister and missionary from Parrish who was making his first bid for political office … The traditionally Republican-leaning district, which also covers all of Manatee County and the northern half of Sarasota County, also had a Democratic primary. Sarasota attorney Jan Schneider, 69, bested Brent King, 50, a commercial airline pilot who lives in Lakewood Ranch. Schneider received 76 percent of the vote to King’s 24 in the Democratic race.
DEMOCRAT RANDY PERKINS, GOP’S BRIAN MAST WIN CD 18 PRIMARIES via Elena Schneider of POLITICO Florida – … setting up what could be one of the country’s most expensive House races. Mast, a double-amputee combat veteran, had 38 percent of the GOP primary vote with 67 percent of precincts reporting … Rebecca Negron, a Martin County school board member, had 26 percent. Perkins, a businessman, had 60 percent of the vote with 67 percent of precincts reporting … Jonathan Chane was in second place with 33 percent of the vote. Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy left the seat open to run for Senate … Perkins spent $3 million and self-funded nearly all of his campaign, defending the expense as proof that he was not controlled by special interests and calling fundraising “disgusting.” Chane, an attorney and an activist, raised more than $600,000, but was unable to overcome the financial gap. Mast relied on his biography and national security bona fides in television advertising on the Republican side, a narrative that topped Negron’s strong name recognition in the district. (Negron is married to state Senate President Joe Negron.)
FRANCIS ROONEY DEFEATS CHAUNCEY GOSS, DAN BONGINO IN CD 19 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — The Naples Republican came out on top in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, defeating Sanibel Island Republican Goss and Palm City Republican Bongino. According to preliminary election results, Rooney received 53 percent of the vote. Goss came in second with 30 percent, followed by Bongino with 17 percent of the vote. Rooney, a prominent Republican donor and a former ambassador to the Holy See, gave his campaign an estimated $3.9 million and spent heavily on TV advertisements. He racked up several big-name endorsements, including Gov. Rick Scott, who cut an advertisement and attended several fundraisers for Rooney. The district includes most of Lee County and coastal Collier County. Rooney now heads to the general election, where he’ll face Democrat Robert Neeld. But in the solidly Republican congressional district, it is unlikely Neeld will gain enough support to topple Rooney come November.
DWS PREVAILS, BEATS BACK PRIMARY CHALLENGE FROM TIM CANOVA via Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel – Debbie Wasserman Schultz decisively defeated challenger Tim Canova in Tuesday’s Democratic congressional primary, a victory she called “incredibly sweet and satisfying.” “Thank you for your love and your support and your friendship and your knocking on doors, making phone calls, practically living in our campaign headquarters,” Wasserman Schultz told supporters who gathered for her election night party at Sunrise Commissioner Joey Scuotto’s pizza restaurant in Sunrise. Serving in Congress is “the greatest professional privilege of my life, the chance to be our community’s voice, the chance to stand up for the principles and values that our community stands for.” Wasserman Schultz is virtually guaranteed a seventh term representing Broward and Miami-Dade counties in Congress.
TWEET, TWEET: @GeorgeRichards: @gives his concession speech: “I will concede Debbie Wasserman Shultz is a corporate stooge. There you go.”
JOE GARCIA WINS SQUEAKER OVER ANNETTE TADDEO, SETTING REMATCH AGAINST CARLOS CURBELO via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – “The campaign starts here,” Garciasaid as he celebrated at a La Carreta Cuban restaurant in West Kendall. “Talking about the issues that matter to the people of Florida, clean water, the Zika virus, guns and most of all, better jobs for our families.” Garcia eked out a victory against Taddeo by 51-49 percent … even though he was outspent by about 4-to-1 by Taddeo, who raised more than twice as much as Garcia and had the political and financial support of the national Democratic Party. Yet Garcia was so well-known in the Westchester-to-Key West district that he led in public-opinion polls from the start. His big advantage tightened only in recent weeks after Taddeo began advertising on television and in the mail. She never attacked Garcia in TV ads, however, and he didn’t spend a dollar on the air … Taddeo edged Garcia in mail-in ballots, and in the Florida Keys. But in-person voters and the far larger portion of the district in Miami-Dade County put him over the top.
ILEANA ROS LEHTINEN CLAIMS VICTORY IN GOP CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Ros-Lehtinen … claimed an early victory in her Republican primary. Early results in her Miami-Dade County district showed her trouncing her two little-known rivals, David “Tubbs” Adams and Maria Peiro. “I work diligently for our community both at home and in Congress and that message came through loud and clear during this Republican primary election,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “From supporting small businesses and our economy to helping ensure our national security, I know that South Florida needs an advocate in Congress. I’ve been proud to stand up for our community on bipartisan issues like climate change to ensure our children and grandchildren have economic as well as environmental futures here … I invite Democrats, Independents, and all South Floridians to join my campaign so that we will continue to have a strong voice in Congress … I’m grateful for the trust South Florida’s Republican primary voters have put in me and am ready to again make my case for why I’m the best qualified candidate to represent our community.”
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DOUG BROXSON VICTORIOUS IN SD 1 via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – By 9 p.m. Tuesday, Broxson … had nearly 57 percent to fellow state Rep. Mike Hill‘s 43 percent. Given the area’s significant conservative lean, and no other competition but two write-in candidates, Broxson is likely to win in November’s general election. He would succeed term-limited GOP state Sen. Don Gaetz, also a former Senate President. The primary election wraps up a brutal competition between the two men, each trying to outgun the other as the “true conservative” in the race. The war culminated in a homestead exemption fraud investigation filed against Hill by a Broxson supporter. Escambia County Property Appraiser Chris Jones cleared Hill as recently as last week. The Hill and Broxson camps have accused each other of running “dirty tricks,” including the fraud accusation.
DENNIS BAXLEY NARROWLY EDGES MARLENE O’TOOLE IN SD 12 via the Daily Commercial – Baxley emerged the winner Tuesday by a razor’s edge from the rough and tumble Senate District 12 race. … District 12 represents southeast Marion County along with Sumter and Lake counties. The race had been close when O’Toole, of Lady Lake, had tapped much of her political support in Sumter County and The Villages, where she is a popular elected official. Those votes were reported earlier than the other two counties, which put her in the lead. In Sumter County, she had garnered 10,538 votes, which was as many as Baxley and Gee combined. Each had received about half that. But Baxley received 9,340 votes in Marion County, or 49 percent of the votes. His opponents split the rest with about 25 percent of the votes each. Baxley pulled out ahead when Lake County’s votes were tabulated, showing he received about 42 percent of the votes, enough to beat O’Toole, who had about 31.35 percent of Lake County’s votes. In that county, Baxley garnered more than 10,400 votes.
LINDA STEWART WALKS OVER MIKE CLELLAND’S BANKROLL TO WIN PRIMARY IN SD 13 via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Clelland’s sizable campaign bankroll proved no match for former state Rep. Stewart‘s indomitable ground game in east Orange County, as Stewart captured the Senate District 11 Democratic primary. “I walked myself so silly, I bet you we covered 6,000 doors,” Stewart said … “I know we called through 10,000 phone calls, twice. And all mine was behind the scenes. I don’t have all those big commercials on TV. But we went directly, directly, into the voters’ households.” That’s been Stewart’s patented campaign plan in past elections, as she’s twice won Orange County commission races and a state representative race, though she has lost some elections too, including the 2014 race to keep her House seat. Stewart drew 43 percent of the vote … with Clelland — whose campaign and independent political action committee combined to raise about $700,000 and spent much of it on television — drew 34 percent. Former Orange County School Board Member Rick Roach drew 23 percent.
DEBBIE MAYFIELD DEFEATS RITCH WORKMAN IN SD 17 GOP PRIMARY via Rick Neale of Florida Today – Riding a surge of support in the southern portion of Florida Senate District 17, Vero Beach Republican Mayfield defeated Melbourne rival Workman in their high-profile primary battle. According to unofficial results from the Florida Division of Elections, Mayfield won 42 percent of the vote (23,018 votes), compared with 35 percent for Workman (19,024 votes). A third candidate, Brevard Republican state committeeman Mike Thomas of Melbourne, took 23 percent (12,374 votes). Mayfield won Indian River County, and Workman won Brevard County. With all 170 Brevard precincts reporting, Workman took 42 percent of the county vote (14,580 votes), compared with 34 percent for Mayfield (11,652 votes) and 24 percent for Thomas (8,179 votes). The script was flipped to the south. With all 37 Indian River County precincts reporting, Mayfield won a lopsided 57 percent of the vote (11,373 votes), compared with 22 percent for Workman (4,447 votes) and 21 percent for Thomas (4,199 votes). “Debbie whooped me in Indian River County. I wish her well, and I’m going to move on with the next chapter of my life,” Workman said.
DARRYL ROUSON HOLDS NARROW LEAD OVER ED NARAIN, RACE GOES TO RECOUNT via Caitlin Johnson of the Tampa Bay Times – Rouson declared victory, though his winning margin of less than half a percent would appear to trigger a recount. “We’re not afraid of a recount,” Rouson said from his watch party … “At this point, the people have spoken. … Big money interests didn’t win today. It was the people that spoke.” If the vote holds, Rouson will have edged out Narain of Tampa in one of the state’s most closely contested elections. Rouson’s lead was notable considering Hillsborough County, which Narain currently represents in the Florida House, drew higher turnout in the tight contest than Rouson’s home turf of Pinellas County. By law, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state’s chief elections official, must order a machine recount of all ballots if two candidates are within one-half of 1 percent. That could happen within a day or two. “I’m guided by what statute says with regard to the results,” Detzner said. “I don’t have any discretion.” If the machine recount ends and the candidates are separated by less than a quarter of 1 percent, a manual recount is required of all overvotes and undervotes — that is, every paper ballot in which an optical machine recorded a voter as having voted for more than one candidate or for no candidates. Here is where things get complicated. That manual recount is driven by Florida’s voter intent law, which means that three-member canvassing boards in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties will examine the overvotes and undervotes by hand and discern the voters’ intent. The canvassing boards also will review provisional ballots cast in the race, and their decisions are subject to challenge in circuit court, which could delay the result for a long time. “Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Narain said … “but we still want to make sure that the outcome is correct, so we’ll follow the process … We knew it would be close. We didn’t think it would be a handful of votes.”
GREG STEUBE WINS IN SD 23, WILL FACE DEMOCRAT FRANK ALCOCK IN NOVEMBER via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Steube defeated four other Republicans to clinch the GOP nomination in Senate District 23 … Steube received 31 percent of the vote. Former state Rep. Doug Holder came in second with 26 percent, followed by Nora Patterson with 25 percent … Sen. Nancy Detert represented the Sarasota area in the state Senate since 2008, and her decision to run for Sarasota County Commission sent a ripple through the Southwest Florida community. A well-respected member of the Senate, Detert threw her support behind Patterson, saying Patterson knows the “community that she has served and loved for decades.” But Patterson trailed in recent poll, and the backing from Detert wasn’t a match for support from groups like the NRA and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Steube was backed by the NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida. While he trailed in early polls, he appeared to rebound in recent weeks.
VOTERS CHOOSE KATHLEEN PASSIDOMO IN SD 28 via Ryan Mills and Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – Passidomo edged out a GOP primary victory Tuesday in the race to be Southwest Florida’s next state senator, ending a blistering campaign that turned nasty as each side accused the other of being a closet liberal. Passidomo, a state representative from Naples, received 31,076 votes, or 58 percent, according to unofficial results from the Collier, Lee and Hendry county supervisor of elections offices. Her opponent, state Rep. Matt Hudson of Naples, received 22,950, or 42 percent of the vote. … Passidomo, 63, won commanding victories in both Collier and Lee counties, where the majority of the district’s voters live. Hudson more than doubled Passidomo’s support in rural Hendry County, but there weren’t enough votes there to make up the difference.
JEFF CLEMENS DEFEATS IRV SLOSBERG IN SD 31, JIM WALDMAN LOSES IN SD 34 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Clemens is headed back to the Florida Senate. Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat, defeated Irv Slosberg in the Senate District 31 race. According to preliminary election results, Clemens received 50 percent of the vote, followed by Slosberg with 32 percent. Emmanuel G. Morel came in third with 18 percent. … Nearby, the race for the 30th Senate District saw state Rep. Bobby Powell win a contentious Democratic primary against West Palm Beach attorney Michael Steinger by a 67 percent-33 percent as of 10 p.m. Tuesday. The two got personal, with Steinger’s campaign running an ad featuring a mugshot of Powell’s father. … The 34th Senate District, another Democratic safe zone, had trial attorney Gary Farmer taking 43 percent to former House Democratic Whip Jim Waldman’s 28 percent and state Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed’s 29 percent.
DWIGHT BULLARD BULLDOZES ANDREW KORGE – Bullard easily defeated his Democratic opponents, receiving nearly half of the vote in Senate District 40. The Cutler Bay Democrat will now head into November, where he will face Rep. Frank Artiles. According to unofficial election results, Bullard received 49 percent of the vote. Ana Rivas Logan came in second place with nearly 25 percent of the vote, followed by Andrew Korge with 23 percent of the vote.
TWEET, TWEET: @mcimaps: All af-am senate seats staying in Af-am hands. And SD30 going to Powell. Redistricting complaints dead
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JAYER WILLIAMSON WINS FLORIDA HD 3 SEAT via Julio Diaz of the Pensacola News-Journal – Williamson, 37, a Milton electrical contractor and former Santa Rosa County Commissioner, defeated fellow Republican Huston Walters, 25, a Navarre restaurateur, in the primary. With no opposition outside the party, Tuesday’s primary decided the seat. After losing the race for the District 3 seat in 2012, Williamson was appointed to fill out his father’s term in the Santa Rosa County Commission. He said being on the winning side felt a lot better than losing, but felt his time in the commission will make him a better representative … Williamson celebrated his victory with supporters at Nichol’s Seafood in Milton, complete with dinner and live music from Blackwater Pearl. “I’m one of those who waits to the very end, but it’s time to smile and breathe a little easier,” he said. “Everybody was excited when they announced we were up 7,000 or 8,000 votes.”
MEL PONDER HOLDS ON FOR HD 4 SEAT of Tom McLaughlin of NWFdailynews.com – “We’re just ecstatic and thankful and humble and moved, all at the same time,” the former Destin mayor said when contacted soon after Okaloosa County unofficial election results were released. Ponder should be sworn in during a January ceremony to replace outgoing state Rep. Matt Gaetz, who appears to be headed to Washington to represent Northwest Florida in Congress … Ponder will face a November write-in opponent in Niceville resident Christopher Schwantz, but that isn’t considered a serious challenge. The District 4 race was close all night, and it appeared Ponder (6,198) won the five-person duel with less than 30 percent of the vote. Niceville businessman Jonathan Tallman (5,565) and former Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris (4,639) finished second and third, respectively.
LORANNE AUSLEY SECURES EASY WIN IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR HD 9 SEAT via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat – The Matchup: Looking to represent Tallahassee again in the Florida Legislature, Ausley locked up the Democratic nomination for House District 9 … earning 76 percent of the vote against her two opponents in the primary. She beat Josh Johnson, a Parole Commission employee and president of the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency, and Arnitta Grice Walker, an educator. Keys to victory: Water quality, Medicaid expansion, raises for public employees were important to all candidates. But Ausley proved experience wins out. Ausley also outraised and outspent her opponents by a mile. Ausley raised close to $390,000 and spent over $150,000 in the primary. She had $185,000 on hand for the general election. Walker raised close to $6,000 and spent $3,600 through Aug. 25. Johnson spent $2,000 of the $2,700 he raised. What’s next? Ausley, who held the District 9 seat from 2000 to 2008, will face off against Republican Jim Messer in the general election.
FIVE PRIMARY WINNERS APPEAR HEADED TO FLORIDA HOUSE via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – Very little stands in the way of Cord Byrd, Kimberly Daniels, Jason Fischer, Bobby Payne and Clay Yarborough joining the Florida Legislature in November. All five won their House primaries … and now face write-ins or candidates from parties with almost no chance of winning in the general election. Rep. Elizabeth Porter, whose district includes Baker County, also won her primary and is expected to remain in office. The most competitive Northeast Florida House race in the general election looks to be the match up in District 13 between incumbent Reggie Fullwood, a Democrat and pastor Mark Griffin, a Republican. Fullwood, 41, almost decided against seeking another term while he faces federal wire-fraud charges. He said Tuesday that the Election Day result is proof that his constituents believe he is an asset in Tallahassee. “I think the people feel like, ‘Hey he’s a good guy; he’s certainly made mistakes but nobody’s perfect. Let’s give him another chance,’” Fullwood said. Byrd, Fischer and Yarborough each face a lone write-in candidate in November. Along with Payne, they are expected to win seats vacated by Republican state representatives who faced term limits.
CHUCK CLEMONS TOPS WENDA LEWIS IN HD 21 via Florida Politics — The Alachua County Republican defeated Lewis in House District 21. According to unofficial election results, Clemons received 46 percent of the vote, followed by Lewis with 36 percent. Republican Tim Rogers received 17 percent. A Santa Fe College administrator and former Alachua County commissioner, Clemons was endorsed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. The Florida Chamber ran TV and digital ads backing him, and also received the backing of Allen Bense, the former House Speaker. Clemons will face Marihelen Wheeler in November.
AMY MERCADO TAKES HOME A WIN IN HD 48 AGAINST ALEX BARRIO via Larry Griffin of Orlando Rising – Mercado won with near 60 percent of the vote. Barrio came out with 40 percent. The only other candidate running in the district was Augustin ‘Gus’ Martinez, who lists no party affiliation. Mercado is a mother of six children, a wife and a businesswoman. Those things, she said, give her an insight into the problems facing children in the state, such as education, as well as the issues involving health care and the economy. She also serves as a caretaker to her ailing grandparents. What all this has taught her, according to her website, is that “people can’t afford to get sick” … “I understand doing what’s best for us means affordable health care so working families don’t have to choose between life-saving medication and paying for rent,” she said. “And as a mother, doing what’s best for our children means teaching to a child’s potential not a test. Tallahassee is out of touch – it isn’t doing what’s best for us and it’s time we fix that.”
RENÉ PLASENCIA SQUEAKS, TOM GOODSON & THAD ALTMAN COMFORTABLY WINS BREVARD PRIMARIES via R. Norman Moody of FLORIDA TODAY – Plasencia … currently serving in House District 49, won the primary election in the GOP race to represent District 50, which includes parts of north Brevard and east Orange County. Plasencia … garnered 52.02 percent of the votes to George Collins‘ 47.98 percent. He will face Democrat Sean Ashby in the Nov. 8 election. Goodson carried a comfortable early lead and went on to win over Tim Tumulty for a chance to represent the Space Coast in Florida House District 51. Goodson had 61.87 percent to Tumulty’s 38.13 percent. Goodson … is currently serving in District 50. He will face Democrat Mike Blake in the Nov. 8 general election. District 51 includes the beachside areas of north Brevard, as well as central Brevard. Altman took 33.96 percent of the votes to win a four-way GOP primary race for Florida House District 52. Altman had 33.97 to Brian Hodgers 22.88 percent; Monique Miller 22.77 percent; and Robert “Fritz” VanVolkenburgh 20.38 percent. Altman is a state senator who cannot seek re-election to the Senate due to term limits. Altman will face write-in candidate Edward Bollinger in the Nov. 8 general election, but he was already making plans to serve in the Florida House.
ERIN GRALL COMES OUT ON TOP IN HD 54 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Grall was the winner in the race to replace Mayfield in House District 54. She received 42 percent of the vote. Lange Sykes came in second with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Greg MacKay with 21 percent. Dale Glading came in last with 13 percent.
JACKIE TOLEDO NARROWLY DEFEATS ‘ESTABLISHMENT FAVORITE’ REBECCA SMITH IN HD 60 PRIMARY via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics – Toledo will oppose Democrat David Singerin the November general election. With all precincts reporting … Toledo held a 222-vote margin out of more than 12,000 votes cast. The district includes all of Davis Islands and South Tampa while extending into southern Hillsborough County and north to the Town ‘n Country area. Toledo, who lost a close runoff last year for a seat on the Tampa City Council, was a staunch supporter of the controversial TBX plan by the state Department of Transportation. It would include express toll lanes alongside existing interstates. Smith, while not rejecting TBX outright, has expressed concern about some of its proposals. Toledo also played to anti-immigration sentiments with mailer this month that opposed granting in-state college tuition for what she called “illegal immigrants.” She also wanted to repeal a law allowing undocumented immigrants to receive a Florida law license.
ST. PETERSBURG’S BEN DIAMOND WINS HD 68 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY via Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times – Diamond edged out defense strategist Eric Lynn … Taking 54 percent of the vote to Lynn’s 46 percent, Diamond will go on to face Republican home health care company founder Joseph Bensmihen in the general election Nov. 8 … Diamond, 37, who previously worked as counsel to former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, said the priorities in his first bid for elected office will be increasing funding for water protection and endangered lands, reinvesting in public schools, and expanding energy policy to focus on solar power. For a time, Diamond had a clear path to victory as the only Democrat vying for the legislative seat being vacated by state Rep. Dwight Dudley, which covers much of St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park, Lealman and the Feather Sound area. That changed in May when Lynn dropped his bid for Congressional District 13, after former Gov. Charlie Crist jumped in to that Democratic primary, and switched to the House 68 race … Diamond’s campaign edged on, raising $268,028, along with $68,000 by his political committee. Lynn’s campaign raised $111,142 on top of the $384,205 from his committee. Diamond said he’s looking forward to “a great debate” in the coming weeks with Bensmihen, who lost a bid for Congress last year and relocated from Palm Beach County in April.
IN HD 72: ALEX MILLER WINS PRIMARY, SET FOR TOUGH GENERAL via Zach Murdoch of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Miller handily defeated longtime TV news anchor John Hill, securing more than 59 percent the vote … The win sets up what is expected to be a tough general election bid against Edward James III in November. “I’m honored,” Miller said … “It’s going to be a tough two months ahead, so the celebration will be short-lived … but I’m very, very excited — I think the numbers are great and I think it is reflective of four months of hard work.” Miller, 42, is established in political circles and previously served on the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board. She considered entering state politics before, including for this same seat two years ago, and received current Rep. Ray Pilon’s endorsement to replace him. Even though the district leans Republican, James is considered a formidable challenger. The 26-year-old State Farm insurance agent and Sarasota native has been lauded by political operatives in both parties for his public speaking and fundraising skills. Miller raised more than $177,000 through the end of August, while James has more than $344,000 between contributions and a political committee supporting him.
JOE GRUTERS EDGES STEVE VERNON IN HD 73 via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Gruters, who also serves as vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and co-chairman of presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s Florida campaign, beat former Tea Party leader Vernon in a contentious race that featured highly combative debates and a flood of attack mailers financed by outside groups. Vernon gave Gruters a much stronger test than expected — the race was decided by just a few hundred votes — thanks to his personal spending and the big assist he received from shadowy political committees. But Gruters’ strength in the Sarasota portion of the district, which spans eastern Sarasota and Manatee counties, allowed him to secure the win and position the Sarasota accountant to be an even bigger player in state politics. Gruters, 39, faces a general election challenge from Democrat James Golden but is a strong favorite in Republican-leaning District 73. The victory comes with a mixture of relief and redemption for Gruters, who lost two bids for the Florida House in his 20s before building up his political clout by working for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and steering the local GOP. Now one of the best-known political figures in the region, Gruters seemed like the overwhelming favorite to win the seat. He raised $87,394 in June last year, a monster one-month haul.
SLOSBERG, JACQUET, HAWKINS-WILLIAMS, KEECHL WIN HOUSE RACES via Dan Sweeney of the Sun-Sentinel – Delray Beach City Commissioner Al Jacquet beat Realtor Angie Gray and Riviera Beach attorney Edwin Ferguson in this largely African-American district. … Slosberg won her battle to claim the state House seat her father, state Rep. Irv Slosberg gave up to run for the state Senate. She now faces a write-in candidate in November. In HD 92 … This largely African-American district saw four candidates trying to replace term-limited state Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach. Victory went to the only candidate with electoral experience, Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner Patricia Hawkins-Williams. And that win came despite the fact that she raised far less money than her competition — $21,800. Business consultant Sajan Kurian raised $79,400; attorney Paulette Armstead, $60,500; and business consultant Whitney Rawls, $56,700. … Ken Keechl has won the most financially lopsided Democratic primary in Broward County. The former Broward County Commissioner raised $66,600 in his run against Florida Atlantic University college student Doug Oberman, who raised $2,300.
BROWARD ELECTION SUPERVISOR REFERRED TO STATE ATTORNEY FOR PUBLISHING RESULTS EARLY via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Secretary of State Ken Detzner has referred Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to the state attorney and sheriff after election results in the county were released online about 20 minutes prior to the primary election ending … “It’s unacceptable for voting results to be reported prior to polls closing,” said Detzner … Early results were released on the Broward supervisor’s website at around 6:40 p.m. Tuesday. The polls closed in the statewide primary election at 7 p.m. State law requires election supervisors to wait until the polls close in their county to publish results. It is a third-degree felony to release election results before the polls close. Asked if Snipes could be fined by following action by the state attorney, Detzner said, “It’s a little more serious than that.” Detzner has not been in touch with Snipes. However, he did inform Gov. Scott of the breach. “His reaction was to follow the law and do the right thing,” Detzner said.
ANGELA COREY, MATT SHIRK LOSE ON HISTORIC NIGHT IN JACKSONVILLE via the Florida Times-Union – Melissa Nelson, an unknown corporate lawyer and former prosecutor three months ago, cleared her path to become one of the most powerful and influential figures in Northeast Florida … when she easily defeated incumbent 4th Judicial State Attorney Angela Corey. Clay County voters elected Darryl Daniels, a retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office jails chief, as sheriff. Daniels becomes the first African-American sheriff in county history … Clay voters also ousted incumbent school district Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr., who is under investigation following accusations of plagiarism and other unethical conduct. Van Zant lost to Addison Davis, the chief of schools for Duval County Public Schools, in a bitterly fought Republican primary Davis goes on to the Nov. 8 general election where he faces Rebekah Shively, a veteran teacher running with no party affiliation, and a write-in candidate Marion Keith Nichols, a school bus driver … Charlie Cofer easily defeated Matt Shirk … Shirk is blaming one person — himself.
MIAMI-DADE MAYOR RACE HEADING FOR NOVEMBER RUNOFF via Douglas Hanks. Monique Madan, and Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald – Miami-Dade County’s bitter, pricy mayoral race will go to a run-off vote in November, with challenger Raquel Regalado forcing incumbent Carlos Gimenez into a one-on-one contest with the two-term school board member. “The people have spoken and they have rejected Carlos Gimenez,” Raquel Regalado told supporters in Spanish … “For years, many said ‘Raquelita Regalado’ could never do this. Well, here you have it.” The race pitted the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado against a county mayor who came to office in 2011 and has presided over Miami-Dade’s recovery from recession to the expanded revenues that came from a second housing boom. Gimenez, 62, who at 48 percent fell shy of the 50-percent-plus-one votes he needed to win outright … promised “a clear victory” in November. “There’s a clear difference,” Gimenez said in the ballroom of the Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center. “And a difference in vision.” Tuesday’s results upended polling by the Gimenez camp, which was confident enough of ending the race that it drained most of the record-breaking $4.5 million war chest in an aggressive ad, mailer and call-bank operation that touted the mayor’s five years in office and tried to brand Regalado as not ready for the job. Regalado, 42, was outspent roughly four-to-one, but used her campaign to try and portray Gimenez as beholden to the lobbyists and county vendors who helped fund his re-election effort.
FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Jack Latvala: I made my lonely walk into the polls today in my valiant effort to forestall my Supervisor of Elections’ efforts to have a mail election. I cast my ballot and I hear this little voice from one of the clerks. “Sir. Sir. Are you Chris Latvala’s brother?” … There it is… After 14 years in office, name on the ballot at least 10 times, millions spent in campaign advertising, 175 bills passed and hundreds of plaques on the walls. … I was irritated at first. Then it dawned on me… Great job, son!
2018 WATCH – LEAVING CONGRESS, GWEN GRAHAM HITS ROAD FOR OTHER DEMOCRATS – AND FOR HER LIKELY 18 RUN FOR GOVERNOR via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Graham … was in Miami Lakes with her father to campaign with Patrick Murphy. Wednesday she’ll join a phone bank for state Rep. Amanda Murphy in Holiday then attend a “Women for Hillary” house party at the Tampa residence of Blair and Ron O’Neal. “On Thursday, she’ll tour MacDill Air Force Base with Congresswoman Kathy Castor, then join Rod Smith for a general election campaign kickoff in Gainesville,” Graham’s team wrote in an email to reporters, inviting them to attend the events. She returns to Tampa Bay on Sept. 10 for a speech before Pasco Democrats.
AT MARTIN COUNTY WORKDAY, GWEN AND BOB GRAHAM PRAISE NEGRON RESERVOIR PROPOSAL via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Gwen Graham said in Martin County that Sen. Joe Negron‘s proposal for the state to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee is a “good first step” for dealing with the region’s water issues. Graham was in Stuart with her father, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, doing a “workday” during which she tested water for blue-green algae in the St. Lucie River estuary. Discharges from Lake Okeechobee were blamed in June for algae washing up on beaches in Martin and St. Lucie counties. “Water is not a North Florida issue or South Florida issue or a Central Florida issue – it’s a Florida issue,” the congresswoman said … “I actually think we as a congressional delegation should be working together on the water issues across the state” … “Certainly this is an issue that is not going away until we come together and work on a multi-tiered comprehensive solution,” she said. Graham … invited Negron … to attend the workday but he said he couldn’t because his wife, Rebecca, is running for a congressional seat in the Republican primary. “I appreciate that he has come forward with some constructive ideas,” Graham said of his reservoir proposal. “I think it’s an example where we can all work together and bring everybody to the table and talk about the need to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee, which I know we need to do.”
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HAPPENING TODAY — RICK SCOTT TO TRAVEL STATE TO UPDATE FLORIDIANS ON TROPICAL DEPRESSION 9 — Gov. Scott will hold four briefings in four different cities on Tropical Depression 9 and the potential impact it will have on Florida. Scott will start the day with an 8:30 a.m. briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center, 2555 Shumard Oak Blvd. in Tallahassee. He’ll then travel to Jacksonville, where he’ll give a briefing at 11 a.m. at the Duval County Emergency Operations Center, 515 North Julia Street in Jacksonville. At 1:30 p.m., Scott will hold a briefing at the Alachua County Emergency Operations Center in Gainesville. He’ll end the day at 3 p.m. (CST) at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center, 700 Highway 2300 in Southport.
WHAT THE GOV’S OFFICE IS READING – FLORIDA ECONOMY PREDICTED TO GROW 1.7 PERCENT OVER NEXT 6 MONTHS via Brendan Cheney of POLITICO – … between August 2016 and January 2017 … according to numbers released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The economic leading index produced by the Philadelphia Fed predicts the growth or decline of overall economic activity over the next six months, using variables that often indicate how the economy is likely to change in the near future. The index uses new housing permits, initial unemployment claims, manufacturing delivery times, the difference between the 10-year Treasury bond and three-month Treasury bill interest rates, and the state’s coincident index, which measures current overall economic activity in the state in one statistic. Florida’s economy grew 4.2 percent over the past year according to the July coincident index, released by the Philadelphia Fed last week. The coincident index uses nonfarm employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements. The Philadelphia Fed is predicting that Florida’s economy will grow faster than the nation as a whole over the next six months, with the nation predicted to expand 1.5 percent.
HALF OF FLORIDIANS CONCERNED ABOUT GETTING ZIKA via Naseem Miller of the South Florida Sun Sentinel – … and they’re not happy with how state officials have been handling matters related to Zika, according to a new poll. “I didn’t think that state officials were going to get an A-plus for handling it,” said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll. “I assume people weren’t too crazy about the back and forth and infighting.” The non-partisan group conducted a telephone poll of 625 registered Florida voters Aug. 22-24, with two questions: how concerned people were about getting the Zika virus and how they rated Florida state officials’ performance in dealing with the Zika virus. Only 7 percent of responders said that state officials were doing an excellent job. Twenty-eight percent rated them as good, 37 percent fair, 22 percent poor, and 6 percent weren’t sure … 48 percent of responders said that they were very or somewhat concerned that they or their family could get the Zika virus. women were more likely to be concerned with Zika than men; people’s level of concern dropped the further away they lived from South Florida; and those over the age of 50 were most concerned with getting the Zika virus.
FIRST VICTIM OF LOCAL ZIKA INFECTION IS TAMPA FIREFIGHTER LIVING IN PINELLAS via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times – Personnel at the station where the firefighter works also were tested for Zika and the results were negative … The firefighter who was infected no longer has the virus … The firefighter works at Station No. 3, Kennedy Boulevard at Willow Avenue. No personal information of about the firefighter is being released … because of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects the privacy and security of health information. Mayor Bob Buckhorn said … he’s known about the case for “a while” and is aware of the precautions that have been taken. “We do not feel that any firefighter or anybody else is at risk,” Buckhorn said. “We’re confident that every precaution that needed to be taken has been taken, and that the particular firefighter will be back on the job and doing the great job that he or she has always done.”
WHAT CHRISTINE SEXTON IS READING – ZIKA CAN INFECT ADULT BRAIN CELLS, NOT JUST FETAL CELLS, STUDY SUGGESTS via Brady Dennis of The Washington Post – Now, in a study in mice, researchers have found evidence that suggests adult brain cells critical to learning and memory also might be susceptible to the Zika virus. “This was kind of a surprise,” Joseph Gleeson, a professor at Rockefeller University and one of the authors of the study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, said in an interview. “We think of Zika health concerns being limited mostly to pregnant women.” In a developing fetus, the brain is made primarily of “neural progenitor” cells, a type of stem cell. Researchers believe these cells are especially susceptible to infection by the Zika virus, which can hinder their development and disrupt brain growth. Most adult neurons are believed to be resistant to Zika, which could explain why adults seem less at risk from the virus’s most devastating effects. But some neural progenitor cells remain in adults, where they replenish the brain’s neurons over a lifetime. These pockets of stem cells are vital for learning and memory. Gleeson and his colleagues suspected that if Zika can infect fetal neural progenitor cells, the virus might have the same ability to infect adult neural progenitor cells. That’s precisely what they found. “We asked whether [these cells] were vulnerable to Zika in the same way the fetal brain is,” Glesson said. “The answer is definitely yes.”
FLORIDA COURT UPHOLDS CITY’S RIGHTS TO PLACE LIENS ON ZOMBIE HOMES via Ben Lane of housingwire.com – The decision … comes from the 4th District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida, which upheld a lower court’s ruling that liens placed on abandoned properties by Florida cities for code violations cannot be extinguished once the home is sold through the judicial process. The decision is impactful for Florida cities because the state currently has the third highest total of zombie foreclosures, which are homes that have been foreclosed on and abandoned by the homeowner but not yet sold … Florida has 2,467 zombie foreclosures as of the second quarter of this year, ranking behind only New Jersey, which has 4,003 zombie homes, and New York, which has 3,352 zombie homes … Florida’s foreclosure timeline, that is the time it takes from the first public notice of foreclosure to complete the foreclosure process, is the fifth highest in the nation, checking in at 1,012 days. The decision in question stems from a home that was foreclosed on in 2008, but not sold at a foreclosure sale until 2012.
911 CALLS: ‘GUNSHOTS GOING LIKE CRAZY’ IN PULSE NIGHTCLUB via Mike Schneider of The Associated Press – People were texting, calling and video-chatting for help during the mass shooting of 49 people in June, and their loved ones frantically called police dispatchers in turn, according to numerous audio recordings of 911 calls released \by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office took overflow 911 calls when Orlando Police Department dispatchers were inundated during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The recordings show sheriff’s dispatchers mostly got busy signals when they tried to transfer calls back to police. The Orlando Police Department has yet to release its 911 calls. A dozen news media companies including The Associated Press are suing for access to these public records as well as the communications between gunman Omar Mateen and the Orlando Police Department, during which authorities say Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The sheriff’s dispatchers sound calm and sympathetic on the 911 calls. They took down names and identifying traits or clothes, and told callers to tell their relatives or friends to stay in place until officers and deputies at the scene could rescue them. “What I need him to do is just stay where he is and don’t have him do anything or go anywhere until deputies or officers clear the area,” a dispatcher told the mother who was texting her son in the bathroom, about 20 minutes after the shooting started. “Tell him to stay tight and just follow the officers and deputies’ directions.” More than an hour and a half after the shooting started, one man called dispatchers a second time, clearly frustrated that his ex-girlfriend hadn’t been rescued from a bathroom where she was trapped with almost 20 others, including two dead people. “People are shot and dead … Are you guys sending anybody there?” the man said. “They are all scared to death, and they all think they are going to die.”
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PERSONNEL NOTE: CHERYL FLOOD BECOMES FLORIDA STATE FAIR DIRECTOR via Florida Politics — Flood moves from interim to full-time director of the State Fair. She worked for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam when he was a congressman representing the state’s 12th Congressional District in 2001-11. “Cheryl’s passion for the Florida State Fair’s mission and drive to see it succeed is unrivaled,” Putnam said. “I have the utmost confidence in her experience and ability to continue to make the Florida State Fair the best in the country.” Flood was then-Congressman Putnam’s district director and was promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff, according to a press release. The fifth-generation Floridian was a legislative assistant before joining the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2002 as assistant director of legislative affairs. The fair is held every year at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa; the next one is Feb. 9-20. Begun in 1904, the fair now attracts a half-million visitors.
PERSONNEL NOTE: SYDNEY RIDLEY JOINS FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS via Florida Politics – Ridley, former House Republican Leader Dana Young’s right hand woman, is leaving to head government and regulatory affairs for Frontier’s Florida operations. Ridley, who will be based in Tampa, “will represent Frontier’s Florida interests, involving extensive interaction and advocacy with public officials to include state and federal legislators (and) state agency representatives,” according to a press release. Ridley, who has been Young’s top legislative aide and her state Senate campaign manager, joins Frontier after a widely-publicized customer service disaster earlier this year that resulted in a rare public apology from the company. In a text message, Young called Ridley her “political right arm … I will miss her terribly, but am very excited for her as she starts this new chapter in her professional life.”
TWEET, TWEET: You will be missed! You have done a wonderful job for me and for our constituents! I am very proud of you, and sad
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to FloridaPolitics.com’s Joe Henderson, Ashley Green, Gene McGee, and my friend Dr. Ed Moore.