Sunburn for 8/18 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the state’s dominant public affairs PR firm: Until this day 94 years ago, neither political party thought much about the “women’s vote” – because women didn’t have the right to participate in the electoral process. After more than 70 years of struggle by the women’s suffrage movement, Tennessee’s ratification made the 19th Amendment the law of the land, granting women the constitutional right to vote. Women now make up well more than half (53%) of all Florida registered voters, forming a potentially potent voting block 6.1 million strong. More women are registered as Democrats (44%) than as Republicans (34%), and moving that number in the “R” direction is an integral part of the national and state GOP’s ‘bigger tent’ strategy.

Now, on to the ‘burn…


What exciting tricks does the Republican Party of Florida have up its sleeves to wreck havoc in the run-up to the Democratic gubernatorial primary?

Will either of the two Democratic candidates for Attorney General do something — anything — to gain an edge before next Tuesday’s primary?

How heated will the back-and-forth get when Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis hears arguments on Wednesday about redrawn congressional districts and a possible special election?

How low can the political committees go in the tough primaries for House seats 15, 40, 61, and 74?

With second quarter compensation totals now in the books, which lobby firms will finish atop the leaderboard?


SaintPetersBlog’s second annual list of the “30 under 30″ – thirty rising stars in Florida politics who are 30 years-old or younger – will be published in September.

Your suggestions for the next generation of top operatives, lobbyists, staffers and politicians are welcomed.

Please email your nominations to with your nominations.

The deadline for nominations is September 8.

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The South is the fastest-growing region of the country, and Democrats are hoping that a flood of Northern expats and demographic change will allow them to turn red states to blue at a fast enough pace to counter the region’s growing share of the Electoral College.

Democrats have already made big gains in some Southern states, like Virginia and Florida. But Republicans have held firm or even made gains of their own in other states, including Texas, a state where demographic and migration trends seem as if they should be helpful to Democrats.

Data shows that the scope and sources of population growth vary considerably across the South. The migrants moving to Tennessee and Texas bear little resemblance to those moving to Virginia or Florida, and Democrats will struggle to make similar gains so long as that’s the case.

In 1900, the South was an impoverished backwater, and that wasn’t lost on the era’s migrants. People in the Northeast moved west, to the Great Lakes or Pacific Coast. Immigrants followed the same path. Ninety-five percent of Southerners were born in the South.

None of that is true today. The gap between the South and the rest of the country has closed, and the region’s population is booming. The Southern-born share of Southern residents has declined as a result, but the pace of change is uneven across the region. In Florida, people born outside the South represent a majority of the population, but in low-growth and more rural states like Mississippi and Louisiana, 90 percent of the population remains Southern-born.

Domestic migration plays a larger role in the Mid-Atlantic States, while foreign-born residents have become nearly one-fifth of the population in Texas. Florida leads the way in both types of migration.

The relatively small contribution of domestic migration to Texas’ population growth is part of why the significant decline in the state’s Southern-born population hasn’t brought Democratic gains like those in Virginia or Florida. These foreign-born residents are generally Democratic, but they’re disproportionately ineligible to vote. Just 43 percent of foreign-born residents (and only 32 percent of those from Latin America) are naturalized citizens.

The somewhat lower contribution of domestic migration means that the native-born population in Texas is likelier to be born in the South than are their counterparts in other fast-growing states like Florida, where Democrats have made their biggest gains. Indeed, people born in the South still represent at least 80 percent of native-born residents in every Southern state except Virginia, Florida and the Carolinas.

DO ENDORSEMENTS STILL MATTER? via James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune

Most politicians hunger for endorsements and are eager to announce when they get them. But do they really move the needle when it comes to swaying voters?

The consensus among political scientists: The more attention a race gets, the more minds are made up and the less important endorsements are.

Research suggests that goes for issues as well as candidates.

People still pay attention to newspaper endorsements, according to a pair of Brown University researchers, but even here voters sift through editorial imprimaturs.

In 2008, Brian Knight and Chun-Fang Chiang found that endorsements “for the Democratic candidate from left-leaning newspapers are less influential than are endorsements from neutral or right-leaning newspapers, and likewise for endorsements for the Republican.”

In other words, voters “do rely on the media for information during campaigns, but the extent of this reliance depends upon the degree and direction of any bias,” they said.

Newspaper endorsements’ influence may have declined, says Tampa Tribune opinion editor Joe Guidry, but candidates still seek them and readers still ask when they’ll be published.

Beyond editorials’ influence, the endorsement interviews themselves are valuable for the editorial board, Guidry added.

BILL NELSON IN LINE TO LEAD CRITICAL PANEL via Ledyard King of the Tallahassee Democrat

Nelson’s name won’t appear on the ballot, but he’s got a lot riding on this fall’s election.

Florida’s senior senator is next in line to chair the influential Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. But he only gets the gavel if his party retains control of the Senate, an increasingly iffy scenario, according to several political handicappers who study congressional campaigns.

The current chair, West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller, is not running for re-election. That provides Nelson a rare opportunity to run a panel that oversees a range of issues important to Florida and that has a history of achievement despite acrimonious partisanship on Capitol Hill.

He’s already been meeting with representatives of industry groups that come before the committee. And he’s been talking with the panel’s top Republican, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, about issues likely to confront Commerce next year.

The prospect of running the panel was a key reason the soon-to-be 72-year-old passed on a gubernatorial run this year despite deep concerns about the direction of the state and what he says was encouragement from many to challenge Gov. Scott.

Nelson, first elected to the Senate in 2000, concluded he’d be in a better position to help his home state by presiding over a committee whose jurisdiction includes matters vital to Florida’s economic and environmental health.

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Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers spent months sifting through hundreds of public records to determine the statewide extent of Scott’s deregulation and how it affects waterways, including the Indian River Lagoon. The investigation found these types of projects pose more harm to the environment than allowed under previous governors and are tied to drastic policy changes, sliced budgets, reduced staffing and relaxed permitting since 2011.

Revamped agencies often approved projects with less review and sometimes dispensed with established guidelines, the investigation found.

On Aug. 4, Scott announced he would recommend spending more than $1 billion in the next decade to restore, protect and increase water resources. He also vowed to get tougher on violators.

Conservationists say Scott’s plan is an election-year tactic that doesn’t make up for weakened oversight.

Scott backed legislation in 2011 to shrink the water districts’ budgets by a combined $700 million. That resulted in 500 layoffs and several dozen vacant jobs being slashed or frozen.

Trimming staff saved the agency about $6.5 million, which it “reinvested in priorities,” DEP spokeswoman Tiffany Cowie wrote in an emailed statement, though she didn’t say what were those priorities.

Victoria Tschinkel, former environmental secretary under Gov. Bob Graham, said DEP and the districts should hire more technical, legal and regulatory staffers, not lay them off.

The state’s water supply — including springs and the underground state aquifer — is depleted, and Florida is on the brink of a huge growth spurt that will suck up even more water, Tschinkel said. State agencies need more scientists to replenish and sustain water resources, and more legal experts to fend off lawsuits from those who don’t want their water use curbed.


Rick Scott stepped to the podium to start a Tallahassee press conference when a man approached him with a handshake.

“Mr. Scott,” the man said. “I have a subpoena here for you.”

Scott’s brief smile fell from his face as he grabbed the subpoena.

Scott didn’t know it at the time, but he had indirectly just come in contact with a man who would become a persistent thorn in his side for the next four years: Steven R. Andrews, a Republican Tallahassee trial lawyer with mad-scientist hair and a flair for headline-grabbing.

Andrews had sent the process server at the time — Aug. 10, 2010, to be exact — to deliver a lawsuit that sought to force Scott to disclose a sealed deposition he gave in a healthcare lawsuit six days before announcing his bid for governor. Andrews lost that suit, which sought to declare Scott a “public hazard.”

Now, almost four years later to the day, Andrews is still vexing Scott over public disclosure.

On Wednesday, Andrews won a battle in a public-records lawsuit against Scott’s administration when a Tallahassee judge ruled that Google and Yahoo must disclose information about private email accounts held by Scott as well as his current and former employees.

Asked later by reporters if he or his staffers used the accounts to discuss public business privately, Scott issued a blanket denial.

“Absolutely not. We follow the law,” Scott said. “This is just an individual that sues the state, tries to cause problems”

Brace yourself for more “problems,” governor.

SCOTT TO KICK-OFF TRANSPO TOUR via Allison Nielsen of Sunshine State News

 Gov. Scott will be kicking off a new statewide tour focused on transportation this week, starting the first leg in Jacksonville today.

“Let’s Keep Florida Moving” will be focused on Scott’s $41 billion, 5-Year Department of Transportation work plan, which is centered on investments on to expand a variety of transportation in the Sunshine State, including airports, sea ports, state road networks, and the space industry.

Scott honed in on making Florida a hotspot for tourism and business.

“In Florida, we are proud to be a worldwide destination for business and tourism,” said Scott. “I am committed to keeping Florida moving by creating strategic investment opportunities to expand our state’s transportation system.”

The tour will make stops in Daytona, Ft. Myers, Miami, Panama City and Tampa.


It’s getting meaner. And it won’t get any better.

In a punch-counterpunch round of ads, Gov. Scott’s team is going after Crist’s ties to a convicted Ponzi schemer and Crist’s camp is responding with a broadside against the incumbent for everything from his “lies” about education funding to his pleading the Fifth Amendment 75 times in a deposition.

Scott”s ad, paid through the Republican Party of Florida, fired first.

“Convicted swindler Scott Rothstein bought expensive things with stolen money. He even bought a governor,” the ad intones, pointing out how the Ponzi schemer recently claimed Crist essentially sold judicial appointments, which Crist denies.

“Charlie Crist. For governor. For sale,” the ad closes.

Now, Crist’s campaign plans to run its counter to the “smears;” but it does its own smearing in the process.

“Now,” the Crist ad says of Scott, “he’s teamed up with a felon convicted of running a Ponzi scheme to smear Charlie Crist with false attacks.”

To be clear: there’s no evidence that Scott has “teamed up” with Rothstein. And, beyond the word of the convicted Ponzi schemer, there’s no solid evidence that Rothstein “bought” Crist.

“Rick Scott,” Crist’s ad closes, “Too shady for the Sunshine State.”


TWEET, TWEET: Wait, does that @CharlieCrist ad really say Rick Scott “teamed up” w/ Scott Rothstein. C’mon guys, that’s BS.

CRIST GETS ANOTHER BOOST WITH PUBLIC MONEY via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press

Crist received more than $474,000 when he received his second check of public matching funds. He has now received slightly more than $1 million in state money to assist his campaign.

Crist is not the only politician getting taxpayer-matching help during the 2014 election. Former state senator Nan Rich has received slightly less than $200,000. Crist and Rich are Democrats. But all three Republican incumbents running for state Cabinet spots have also received taxpayer funds. Crist also accepted public money back in 2006 when he ran as a Republican.

Any candidate running for a state office can qualify for matching money from taxpayers. The GOP-controlled Legislature tried to repeal public financing of campaigns, but voters defeated the constitutional amendment in 2010.

The amount of matching money each candidate receives is based on how much money is raised from Florida residents. Donations from corporations or out-of-state residents can’t be matched. Those who accept the matching money must abide by spending limits, but that limit does not apply to money spent by outside political committees or parties.

Some Republicans have labeled public financing “welfare for politicians” but Crist in the past has defended accepting the money.


A committee associated with Crist received a $500,000 boost from the Democratic Governors Association last week, according to newly filed finance reports.

“Charlie Crist for Florida,” raised $737,500 from Aug. 2-8, bringing its total to $13,857,950.

The committee also funneled $1 million to the Florida Democratic Party Aug. 5, spending a total of $3,822,134, reports show.

“Let’s Get to Work,” the committee backing Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election effort filed reports showing $900,000 in advertising spending last week. “Work” raised a total of $33,111,427 overall and spent about $21 million to date.


“(T)he Aug. 26 primary is not about whether Rich — a former state senator from Weston — is “the only real Democrat in the race.” It’s about which Democrat has the only real chance to win. Based on that — but also on his record — the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board recommends Charlie Crist.

… “Democrats say they stress children’s issues more than Republicans. No recent governor did more than Crist to make the chronically dysfunctional state Department of Children & Families work better. Crist did so by naming two Democrats — former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth and former Deputy Attorney General George Sheldon — to run the agency.

“In his attitude toward Nan Rich, however, Crist has shown the arrogance that he displayed during his later years as governor. Crist refused to debate Rich, saying he didn’t have time. It was a lame excuse that came across as smug and disrespectful toward the lifelong Democrat — 12 years in the Legislature, service as the Democratic leader in the Senate — who has a loyal following in South Florida, particularly among women. By debating Rich, Crist could have explained himself to skeptical Democrats and not come off as dismissing a credible opponent who has spent 18 months campaigning across Florida.

… “Some Democrats rightly suspect Crist’s sincerity on key issues. But if Crist really were that conservative, how did he lose to Marco Rubio?

If Democrats want party purity, they should pick Nan Rich. If Democrats want a chance to win, they should pick Charlie Crist.”

ATTACK ON CRIST SHOWS TOM LEE IS BACK via Jeff Henderson of Sunshine State News

Lee has floated his name as Senate president candidate to lead the chamber after the 2020 elections. But, despite his past tenure in charge of the Senate, Lee is drawing opposition, namely from Wilton Simpson and Bill Galvano.

His past glories aside, Lee is still a factor though he has not come close in sealing up another term as Senate president. While he has been a familiar figure in Tallahassee for almost 20 years now, Lee is only 52. Despite the loss to Sink, Lee is correct in thinking he’s not done yet. He will still be a factor in Tallahassee for years to come, even if he doesn’t reclaim the Senate presidency.

With his attacks on Crist, Lee has inserted himself back into the political dialogue. Lee has also opened up a pretty impressive line of attack against Crist. Even with his economic record, party switches and flips on every major issue, Crist is much more charming and charismatic than Rick Scott. That will be on display when the candidates are paired together in the months to come. 

At the very least, Lee’s attacks on Crist will draw Republican cheers for the once and possible future Senate president. Eight years after losing to Sink, Tom Lee is showing he remains a force in Florida.

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My July trip to Los Angeles was not intended as an exploratory mission to delve into the issue. But in between In-N-Out Burgers and mosquito-free canyons, it was hard not to notice the overwhelming presence of cannabis dispensaries and clinics.

To buy weed in California, look a block in any direction for a green plus sign – a blend of the leaf’s color and the medical cross. A more appropriate insignia would be a giant hoop – as in, what a person must jump through, and easily, to become a legal marijuana consumer in the state. There’s not a grown soul from Del Norte to San Diego who wouldn’t qualify for a medical cannabis “recommendation.”

Why, then, did California opt to go through doctors at all? And, how does a state do this right the first time?

First, let’s say that marijuana has some legitimate medicinal value. Let’s also assume that for some people, this value is great, while for others it may be nothing more than a kitschy alternative to melatonin or Advil. We can also acknowledge that there’s potential for abuse, as with any substance. And that nobody knows exactly what all of those benefits and costs may be.

I did a little field research so that I could return to Florida with opinions based on something more than supposition.

The upshot is this:

Why create a law that uses doctors in ways that are a waste of their education and time, and take them out of circulation for patients who have actual medical needs? How, in California, is a doctor’s cannabis recommendation anything but a formality?

A Bay Area friend explained: “Why would I go through all that to get a prescription? It’s everywhere. You smell it on the streets, indoors, it’s everywhere.”

The seediness (no pun intended) of California’s “medical” marijuana landscape is dramatically increased by the pretense of medicinal use – not diminished.

If Florida’s voters approve Amendment 2, our state will have an opportunity to implement a marijuana law that avoids heading down this same cynical path. It will be a challenge, but the reward of fostering an honest, quality health care system is well worth the effort.

WINNER OF THE WEEK IN FLA. POLITICS via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

“Medical marijuana opponents. They landed a big voice in their corner — Jeb Bush. He gave a kind of full-throated call to reject the ballot initiative, something Gov. Scott has declined to make.”


A group of doctors challenging a Florida law restricting what they can tell patients about gun ownership has asked that the entire 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals consider the case.

Last month, a 3-judge panel of the appeals court upheld the law known as the Firearm Owners Privacy Act, which prohibits doctors from asking patients about gun ownership or noting that information in medical records unless medically necessary.

The Fulton County Daily Report reports the group of doctors filed a petition Friday, asking the full court to consider the case and arguing the panel’s decision conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction that professional speech is not protected by the First Amendment.

In its 2-1 decision, the panel had called the law a “legitimate regulation of professional conduct.”

THE LATEST FROM KING RANCH via Michael Van Sickler and Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times

To say that Steve Crisafulli is comfortable working with the sugar industry is an understatement.

Crisafulli, who becomes the most powerful man in the Florida House of Representatives this fall, has been a major beneficiary of the state’s sugar industry. During the last two election cycles, agricultural interests have contributed at least $200,000 to Rep. Crisafulli and his political action committees. U.S. Sugar contributed nearly half of that total, $94,500.

And now, through a spokesman, the House speaker-designate has confirmed that he took at least one secret hunting trip to King Ranch in Texas.

The Times/Herald revealed last month that Gov. Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and other Florida politicos took secret hunting trips to King Ranch that were orchestrated by and at least partially paid for by U.S. Sugar. The cost of lodging, travel and other items was funneled through the Republican Party of Florida, which said it was for fundraising.

U.S. Sugar contributes to nearly everyone in the state’s GOP leadership. During the 2014 election cycle alone, the company and its officers gave $2.2 million to state Republicans. But the company is exceptionally close to Crisafulli. For the past two election cycles, U.S. Sugar makes up about 4 percent and agribusiness makes up nearly 10 percent of Crisafulli’s total contributions.

Other Republican leaders don’t come close to matching that.

Weatherford, a prodigious fundraiser, mustered only 3 percent of contributions in his last two elections from agribusiness, and 2 percent from U.S. Sugar. Senate President Don Gaetz drew only 2 percent of his contributions from agriculture, with about half from U.S. Sugar. Incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner drew 2 percent from agriculture, 1 percent from U.S. Sugar.

Of those four leaders, only Crisafulli has received $500 contributions from people sitting on the board of directors of U.S. Sugar, and their wives, as well.


Attorneys for the League of Women Voters submitted an official public records request to the Florida Senate asking for all documents related to the recent redistricting trial.

Dated August 14, a request to the Florida Senate was made through the Orlando-based law firm of King, Blackwell, Zehnder & Wermuth.

The demand pertains to all Senators and their district staff as well as the Office of the President, Office of the Secretary, the Majority Office, Minority Office, the Bill Drafting Office, the Reapportionment Committee and the General Counsel’s Office.

Senate President Don Gaetz reminded Senators and Senate staff they must retain records related to the redistricting process. In addition, the request includes documents from political strategists or consultants such as Data Targeting, Inc., Public Concepts LLC, Strategic Image Management LLC, or Bascom Communications.

Also named in the order are lists of the top names in Florida’s political consultancy: Pat Bainter, Matt Mitchell, Michael Sheehan, Marc Reichelderfer, Rich Heffley, Richard Johnston, Thomas Piccolo, Anthony Pedicini, Ryan Tyson, Benjamin Ginsberg, and Thomas Hofeller.

Officers, consultants and employees of the Republican Party of Florida, Republican National Committee, Republican State Leadership Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee Redistricting Majority Project or REDMAP active between 2010 through today, including Joel Springer, Frank Terraferma, Mark Jefferson, Mike Wild, and Chris Jankowski were named as well.

According to a memo from Senate Counsel George Levesque, the Senate is not required to provide “bills or amendments that were filed, bill analyses, or other documents that were created and maintained by professional staff.” They also do not need to provide copies of notes for personal reference, but they must provide notes intended to be shared with others.


With a hat-tip to LobbyTools, here is latest on who is on and who is off the legislative staffing merry-go-round.

On: Brian Logan is in as acting staff director of the House Office of the Majority Leader, replacing Jeff Takacs. Logan was the the staff director of the House Office of the Majority Whip.

Off: Ieva Smidt is no longer an executive assistant to the chief of staff in the House Speaker’s Office.

Off: Katie Patchett has left her position as a legislative analyst in the House Speaker Pro Tempore Office.

On: Nikolas Pascual is the new legislative assistant for Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.

Off: Nick Corvino no longer serves as district secretary for Rep. Jason Brodeur.

Off: David DaPonte is out as legislative assistant for Rep. John Tobia

Off: John Rodriguez is no longer the legislative assistant for Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda.

On: Teri Cariota is Rep. Vasilinda’s new district assistant.

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Florida’s proposed constitutional amendment, which seeks to set aside money for land conservation efforts, received $100,000 from the environmental advocacy group Nature Conservancy, according to newly filed finance reports.

The money went to Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, Inc., the organization spearheading efforts to pass Amendment 1 in November.

As of Aug. 8, Water and Land Legacy has received $3,129,426, in addition to $375,000 in loans while spending $3,193,188. A majority of money was used to collect the required number of petition signatures for inclusion on the ballot.

Amendment No. 1 will require the state to set aside a portion of the state’s documentary-stamp tax revenues to acquire conservation lands and fund projects to protect water sources.

Documentary stamp taxes is collected every time real estate is sold


In 1984, Ronald Reagan famously said, “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

That’s not the case in House District 31, with the second negative turn on the GOP primary to replace term-limited state Rep. Bryan Nelson.

A new mailer is appearing up in HD 31 mailboxes promoting businessperson Terri Seefeldt and her “life experience” while talking down Youth Development Leader Jennifer Sullivan, who is 23 years old.

Nature Coast Conservatives, headed by Mark Zubaly from Southern Campaign Resources Inc., produced the mailer.

On the flyer’s front: “State Representative isn’t an internship or job training course,” accompanied by a checklist of experiences, with all boxes checked for Seefeldt, an Apopka insurance expert, with a black and white photo of Sullivan and “No!” under nearly every item in her column.

On the back: “Can a 23-year old still living at home truly represent us?”

Sullivan has made no bones about her age from the start of the campaign, but opponents have been slowly making it an issue as Aug. 26 approaches.


If anything, going negative in a campaign, especially in Lakeland’s House District 40 GOP primary, proves one thing: sympathy can be an excellent way to open wallets.

Attack ads –  produced by outside groups — have recently come from all sides in the contest between Republicans John Shannon and Colleen Burton. And they certainly appear to have an effect, whether intended or otherwise, on fundraising numbers.

Both candidates enjoyed an outpouring of support after the ads hit the local airwaves. The result is solid numbers, the best in months, for the week of Aug. 2-8.

Shannon, the Lakeland attorney and Marine Corps veteran, experienced his most-effective fundraising week since entering the race in February. He easily won the weeklong reporting period with $30,750, bringing his total to $134,810. Most of Shannon’s support came from attorneys and law firms. During that time, he spent $24,303 — mostly to Strategic Management for print and other media buys. So far, Shannon’s expenditures are $108,486 to date, leaving him with $26,324 cash on hand.

Burton, the former executive director of Polk Vision, also experienced her best week since drawing a primary opponent earlier in the year. She received another $12,975 in contributions — most of which were from Tallahassee-based PACs — while spending only $2,516. Her total now stands at $163,845, with $103,284 in expenditures and just under $60,000 on hand.


Chris Sprowls continues his fundraising dominance as the lead Republican hopeful for House District 65 against incumbent Democrat Rep. Carl “Z” Zimmerman.

The first-time candidate from Tarpon Springs added another $9,650 from Aug. 2-8 for an overall total of $194,051 in the race the district covering parts of north Pinellas County, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and East Lake.

Recent filings with the state Division of Elections show Sprowls spending $56,212 in the weeklong period — including some major media and print buys — for nearly $178,000 in total expenditures to date. That leaves him with $17,561 cash on hand.

In contrast, Zimmerman reported only $1,700 in fundraising for the weeklong reporting period. His total stands at $78,326, remaining about 40 percent of the amount raised by Sprowls, who has amassed several key endorsements in the race.

Zimmerman spent $2,607 during the reporting period, for a total expenditure of $14,112, leaving him with cash on hand of $64,214.


With only weeks to go until the primaries for the open seat in House District 67, Chris Latvala breaks $200,000 in fundraising.

At the same time, other prospective HD 67 candidates appear to be fading fast, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

Son of state Sen. Jack Latvala, the Largo Republican raised another $8,250 during Aug. 1-8 to reach an impressive $202,015 in his inaugural effort to succeed term-limited GOP State Rep. Ed Hooper for the northeast Pinellas County seat. Latvala worked as Hooper’s legislative aide for three years.

Meanwhile, Latvala paid $63,757 in expenditures in the weeklong reporting period — including a $54,000 advertising buy through Southern Campaign Resources — leaving him with $22,657 on hand.

Latvala is facing Christopher Shepard the upcoming Aug. 26 primary. Shepard filed a waiver of report for the current period, keeping his total of $2,120 and $64 on hand.

The main Democratic HD 67 candidate, activist Shawna Vercher, pales in comparison to her Republican counterpart. Vercher took in only $775 for the period, bringing her total to $24,415.

The author, public speaker and radio talk show host — who has come under fire for questionable campaign reporting and claims about her role in President Obama’s 2008 campaign — also spent $949, giving her just over $4,200 on hand.


A big-money battle for House District 74 between Richard DeNapoli and Julio Gonzalez will definitely get a little bigger before both square off in the Aug. 26 GOP primary.

DeNapoli and Gonzalez — each vying for the title of “biggest conservative” – is armed to the teeth with large media buys and even bigger war chests.

Fundraising for the two first-time candidates — including loans and in-kind contributions — have now reached $570K as of the first week of August. After taking in account total spending, they have nearly $169,000 combined to spend on winning votes in the heavily Republican district of Osprey, Venice and parts of North Port and Englewood.

DeNapoli, a former Broward Republican Party leader, added another $8,505 during Aug. 1-8, bringing his total to $112,639. With $150K in loans, and total expenditures of $173,893, DeNapoli goes into the final weeks with $88,746 on hand.

Notable in the weeklong reporting period is DeNapoli’s $25,000 media and mailer buy with Strategic Image Management and Tallahassee-based Seven Hills Strategy Group.

For his part, Gonzalez added $1,550 in the same period, for a total of $282,281. The Venice orthopedic surgeon spent $6,718 — including $1,500 for robo calls — for a total of $200,613 in expenditures, and just under $80,000 in cash on hand


Photos of a military veteran supporting state Rep. Dane Eagle’s re-election has created a bit of a dust-up on social media lately, fanned in part by one of Eagle’s opponents, Jim Roach, a veteran himself and former Democrat who switched to Republican and faces Eagle in the primary.

The photo shows a man in camouflage attire, which some say runs afoul of rules that bar military personnel in uniform from actively campaigning for a candidate.

But there’s no insignia or symbols, no bars or medals or badges, and the man in question is not active duty, all of which led to use of the photo being OK’d by various legal and military experts, Eagle said. “Anybody can buy and wear camouflage,” Eagle said. “It’s not an official uniform and he’s not on active duty.”

Roach said that even creating the perception that a uniform is involved is wrong, but Eagle said he’s proud of the support he has from veterans, and they have the right to express their opinions.

“This man fought overseas for his First Amendment rights, and Jim wants to take them away,” Eagle said.

“It’s a shame he brought the negative tactics he used as a Democrat into our Republican primary, but I appreciate the interest he’s brought to our positive ad. We’ve done everything right. Perhaps he should focus on his own campaign.


@anitere_flores: Early voting is going on today through 8/24. Why wait till Election Day? Vote today!

@ColleenLBurton: Thanks to all of our volunteers who worked hard to continue to spread our conservative message!

@CortesBob: Out campaigning and I get a visitor at my home at lunchtime. @micaforcongress you got my vote.

@Danmartinez305: The rumors are true! @NelHern is canvassing for @RepMannyDiazJr on this sunny afternoon #MDJ2014

@EdNarain: Two church services, a Souls 2 the Polls event, a Stop the Violence rally, & 1 glass of iced tea all day. I must be running for office 🙂

@joenegronfl: Thanks to all my volunteers that came out and walked with me today!

@mattgaetz: 90 degrees in the shade and still walking!

@RepMoraitis: Thanks to my family and all the fantastic volunteers that came out for our first neighborhood walk today!

@SaintPetersblog: Better than when Nixon met Elvis: Democrat @SteveSchale walking for HD 67 GOP’er @ChrisLatvala.

***SUNBURN is sponsored in part by Floridian Partners, LLC, a statewide Public and Government Affairs firm with offices in Tallahassee, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Their firm’s success is measured by its clients’ success. Outreach and Public Advocacy; Strategic Issue and Campaign Development; Grassroots and Grasstops Coalition Building – Floridian Partners is a one-stop firm for clients needing assistance at all levels of government in Florida.***


Lobbyists faced a deadline Friday for submitting reports about the sources and amounts of their compensation during the second three months of 2014.

That makes this Shark Week, except for Lobbyists. Who do you think are the biggest sharks in Tallahassee? Of course, Ballard, SSG, Capital City Consulting, Johnson & Blanton, and Ronnie Book, but who else will be in the Top 10?

Email me at Peter@Extensive-Enterprises with insights, predictions, and pre-butting (“Well, we didn’t have as big a second quarter as we expected because our contracts were deferred until after the start of the fiscal year.”)


Brian Ballard, Bradley Burleson, Ballard Partners: Hackney Nursery Company; May Nursery

David Browning, Southern Strategy Group: U.S. Assure

Bradley Burleson, Ballard Partners: 3M

John Hallman Chris Hansen: Miami Community Charter School, Inc.

Jon Rawlson, Armory Hill Advocates: Physician Specialty Compounding


Daniel Nordby, former General Counsel to the Florida House of Representatives, is joining the Tallahassee office of the Shutts & Bowen law firm as a partner specializing in governmental affairs.

Nordby, a civil litigator with extensive knowledge of Florida government, has worked on several high-profile, high-stakes matters of law and public policy.

Having served as General Counsel under Speaker Will Weatherford, Nordby also acted as General Counsel to Florida’s Secretary of State and, through his private practice, as outside General Counsel to the Republican Party of Florida. He is current chair of The Florida Bar’s Administrative Law Section and a member of the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.

“Dan is a significant addition to our firm’s already powerful Tallahassee office,” said managing partner Michael Grindstaff. “He has invaluable experience with Florida’s government and courts at many levels and deepens our firm’s statewide presence and institutional knowledge.”

Nordby joins Jason Gonzalez and former Lt. Gov. Bobby Brantley as a partner in the firm’s Tallahassee office.

“This is a terrific opportunity to put years of Tallahassee experience and knowledge to work at a great firm with a long history and deep presence throughout the state,” Nordby said.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you in part by the Florida Medical Association: Affordable, safe, patient-centered health care in Florida starts with a physician-led team, with all health care professionals playing valuable and appropriate roles. Learn more here.***


Jameis Winston and defending national champion Florida State are No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll.

The Seminoles will start the season No. 1 for the sixth time — the first since 1999 when they became the first team to hold the top spot for the entire season.

Florida State received 57 of 60 first-place votes Sunday from the media panel. No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 Oklahoma each received one first-place vote. Ohio State is No. 5 and Auburn is No. 6.

Winston, the Heisman Trophy winner last season as a redshirt freshman, led Florida State to a 34-31 victory against Auburn in the last BCS national championship game.

This season the Bowl Championship Series is being replaced by the College Football Playoff. A selection committee will pick the top four teams in the country for two national semifinals.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Reps. Ben Albritton and Sharon Pritchett, Rick Kriseman’s man, Ben Kirby, political consultant Rockie Pennington. Celebrating today is Bob Poe and my friend, Noah Pransky.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.