Sunburn for 8/27 – 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 firm best known for smart, strong and strategic counsel across the diverse and ever-changing media landscape: Two years ago today, Florida hosted what may have been the shortest opening day in the history of major party national political conventions. After several years of preparation, the Republican National Convention was to come to order in Tampa on August 27, 2012. Unfortunately for the planners, Tropical Storm Isaac had a different idea, and almost all convention activities for that day were postponed or canceled. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called the convention to order at 2:00 pm and started a “debt clock” in the arena; 10 minutes later, the session was over as Priebus put the convention into recess – a wide decision widely perceived as prudent. It just goes to show: No matter how much you plan and prepare, Mother Nature’s meteorological power trumps political power.

Now, on to the ‘burn…

CHARLIE CRIST WINS via Brnedan Farrington of the Associated Press

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist won the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday, marking another step in an unlikely political comeback four years after leaving the GOP.

Crist defeated Nan Rich, a former Senate Democratic leader who has been campaigning for governor longer than Crist has been a Democrat. He is the first person in Florida to win the nomination for governor as a Republican and a Democrat. With 39 percent of the precincts counted, Crist had 75 percent to 25 percent for Rich.

He now faces Scott and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie in a race that’s already been highly negative. Scott anticipated a Crist victory and has already spent millions of dollars in ads attacking him for political flip-flops and for supporting President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Crist was also focused on Scott leading up to the primary, refusing to debate Rich while reminding voters that Scott is a former hospital chain CEO who ran a company that paid a $1.7 billion settlement for Medicaid fraud.

Crist, 58, was once considered a potential running mate for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain. He also had the backing of GOP leaders in a 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate — until Marco Rubio used an image of Crist hugging President Barack Obama to chase Crist from the primary. Crist lost an independent bid for the seat Rubio now holds.

After campaigning for Obama in 2012, Crist completed his political transition later that year by posting a photo of his voter registration card on Twitter during an event at the White House.

TWEET, TWEET: @JKennedyReport: Dark clouds over @CharlieCrist’s primary win: Turnout in Broward, 10%, PB, 12%. Dems don’t win statewide like that.

GEORGE SHELDON WINS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR AG via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press

George Sheldon, a one-time top official in the Obama administration, easily defeated state Rep. Perry Thurston on Tuesday in the Democratic primary for attorney general.

Sheldon moves on to the November ballot, where he will challenge Republican incumbent Pam Bondi and Libertarian candidate Bill Wohlsifer. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Sheldon led Thurston 61 percent to 39 percent.

During a victory speech to supporters, Sheldon vowed during the next two months to draw a contrast between himself and Bondi on issues such as medical marijuana and same sex marriage.

She tried to block the medical marijuana amendment from reaching the ballot. Bondi has also led the legal fight to retain the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

“Help me give Pam Bondi the job she really wants as an anchor on Fox News,” Sheldon said.

In a statement, Bondi immediately called on Sheldon to debate her.

“The voters will have a clear choice between candidates in this election, and they deserve to hear directly from us on the distinct difference in visions and leadership that each candidate will offer,” Bondi said.

Sheldon won a low-key primary in which the two rivals largely refrained from criticizing each other directly and instead focused most of their energy on criticizing Bondi.


Secretary of State Ken Detzner says for the first time in state history people using absentee ballots and voting by mail may have surpassed the number of people voting on Election Day.

The 2014 primary was largely quiet, with big-ticket statewide races all but decided before Election Day.

What piqued the interest of many political junkies and election observers is the continued spike in the use of absentee ballots, which were up more than 40 percent from the 2010 primary.

Though early voting was down, overall early voting and absentee ballots were up 23 percent compared to the 2010 primary.

When a reporter suggested that pre-election day ballots would not outnumber Election Day voting in November’s general election, Detzner said he “might not agree.”

Turnout for the 2010 primary, the last time there was a gubernatorial race, hit 22 percent.

Detzner told reporters during an 8:30 p.m. news conference that the number would be a good benchmark, but did not sound optimistic.

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Touting the support of former Gov. Jeb Bush and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, on Tuesday night Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo won the Republican primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, in November. Garcia ranks as one of the top Republican targets in the nation.

With 97.3 percent of the votes in, Curbelo led the five-candidate field with 47.1 percent. Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall placed second with 25.2percent followed by former Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez in third with 17.4 percent. Scandal-plagued former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., who beat Garcia in 2010 but lost in the rematch in 2012, flopped in his comeback bid taking fourth with 7.5 percent. Attorney Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck lagged in fifth with 2.8 percent.

Garcia quickly went on the attack as soon as Curbelo was declared the victor.

“This election is about choosing a representative who will put our South Florida values first,” Garcia said. “Someone who will fight for the middle class. For a better economy and for better jobs. We don’t need someone like Carlos Curbelo — a lobbyist who refuses to disclose his big money clients and is only looking out for his own political interests.”


While several Republican congressmen from North Florida faced primary challenges, all of them easily kept their seats.

Out in the Panhandle, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, easily bested primary challenger John Krause in the primary. With more than 63 percent of votes in, Miller had 76.3 percent and Krause 23.7 percent.

Out in North Central Florida, freshman U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, made sure lightning did not strike twice. Having upset 24-year incumbent U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, in the 2012 primary, Yoho made it two in a row as he easily beat attorney Jake Rush. With 75.7 percent of the vote in, Yoho had 79.3 percent of the vote with Rush taking 20.7 percent. Rush had been aggressive, hitting Yoho on a number of fronts, but he never recovered from stories and photos showcasing his role-playing hobby that made national headlines.

Over on the First Coast, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, continued his winning ways.

With 98 percent of precincts in, Crenshaw beat back a spirited Republican primary challenge from retired Navy Capt. Ryman Shoaf. Crenshaw took more than 71 percent of the vote while Shoaf took less than 29 percent of the vote.

U.S. Rep. John Mica also easily kept his seat.

With more than 97 percent of the vote in, Mica took more than 72 percent while his closest opponent, David Smith, took 18.7 percent. Don Oehlrich stood in third with 5.1 percent and Kelly Shirley lagged behind with 4 percent.


Leading Republican Sens. John Thrasher, Jack Latvala and Joe Negron each appear to have little problem cruising to victory in Tuesday night’s primary contests.

As of 8 p.m., Thrasher, the St. Augustine Republican chairs the powerful Senate Rules Committee, received about 71 percent of the vote in the contest against Derek Hankerson in Senate District 6, which includes parts of St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia and Putnam Counties.

In November, Thrasher will face Democrat Kathleen Trued and no-party candidate Greg Feldman

Negron, a Stuart Republican who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, took around 85 percent of the vote against Brandon Cannon in Senate District 32, which covers parts of Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach Counties.

Negron faces Democrat Bruno Moore in November.

Meanwhile, Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who chairs the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, received 87 percent of the vote in his primary against Zahid Roy in Pinellas County’s Senate District 20.

Latvala faces Libertarian Tony Caso in November.


State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto is heading back to Tallahassee for four more years.

Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican, defeated Bokeelia Republican Michael Dreikorn in the state Senate District 30 election. Benacquisto received about 60 percent of the vote.

First elected to the state Senate in 2010, Benacquisto quickly ascended to a leadership role. She was named Senate majority leader in 2012 and served in that capacity during the 2013 and 2014 legislative session.

The state Senate race was the second time this year Benacquisto and Dreikorn faced off. They were among four Republicans who ran in the April 22 special congressional District 19 primary. Benacquisto came in second; Dreikorn came in fourth.

District 30 includes most of Lee and portions of Charlotte.

State House Rep. Matt Caldwell also came out on top his re-election campaign. Caldwell received 9,924 votes, or about 60 percent, while Republican Matt Miller received 6,444, or percent.

Neither Benacquisto nor Caldwell drew general election opponents.


Incumbent State Rep. Eric Eisnaugle enjoyed an easy victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary for Orange County’s House District 44, where he will next face no-party candidate Matthew Falconer in November.

After all precincts reported, Eisnaugle received 84.7 percent, while Stephen Facella, his primary opponent, took just over 15 percent.

Also in Orange County, Republican Mike Miller also defeated Maurice “Mo” Pearson in the House District 47 GOP primary. Miller received about 74 percent. He will take on Democratic Rep. Linda Stewart in November. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia beat Ed Rodriguez in the House District 49 GOP primary, to face Democratic Rep. Joe Saunders in the general election.


Chris Sprowls will face incumbent Democrat Rep. Carl “Z” Zimmermann for House District 65 in November, after easily winning the primary campaign. With 66 percent of the vote, the Tarpon Springs Republican beat opponent Debbie Faulkner to become the GOP nominee for the seat covering Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and East Lake.

For first-time Republican candidate Chris Latvala, political success must be in his DNA. Latvala, son of longtime Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala, overwhelmed Army veteran Christopher Shepard 67 to 23 percent for House District 67.

Charles William Young II, or just Bill Young, as he appeared on the ballot, follows his father’s example by handily winning his first campaign for House District 68.

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Internal dissension and apathy have helped keep Democrats out of the Governor’s Mansion for 16 years. So when the primary votes are counted after a particularly low-key Democratic primary for governor, party leaders intend to push aggressively for unity.

Democratic front-runner Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg and underdog Nan Rich of Broward County have agreed to appear together at unity rallies in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, along with both Democratic candidates for attorney general, George Sheldon and Perry Thurston. Assorted other party leaders are expected to be on hand, including Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who regularly annoyed Crist allies this year by hinting he might jump into the race for governor.

The rallies represent the party’s most aggressive effort to heal divisions from a primary in years, as Democratic strategists understand they need as much enthusiasm as possible from the Democratic base if they hope to overcome the traditional turnout advantage Republicans enjoy in non-presidential elections.

Alex Sink had no serious primary rival before she barely lost to Rick Scott in 2010, but the primary between Jim Davis and Rod Smith in 2006 was so bitter that it took three weeks for former state Sen. Smith to publicly endorse the Tampa congressman. In 2002, Janet Reno did not even concede the primary to Bill McBride for a week because of problems counting the votes in South Florida.

Almost nobody expects similar suspense from this year’s primary. Rich never managed to raise enough money to air any TV ads and Scott has been spending millions of dollars for months attacking Crist as if he already were the Democratic nominee.

Statewide, early voting has been light.

As of Monday, only 1.1 million pre-election day ballots had been cast — 73 percent by mail and almost 27 percent by in-person ballots during early voting, which ended Sunday.

CRIST, SCOTT TO BATTLE FOR EVERY FLORIDA VOTE via Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post

One of the biggest questions in politics this year and beyond is whether the spectacularly successful ground operation that Obama built for his two presidential campaigns will have lasting benefits for other Democrats down the road.

The acid test may come this year in Florida, a state Obama won by less than a percentage point over Mitt Romney in 2012, where Crist is trying to unseat unpopular incumbent Rick Scott.

What may determine the outcome is how much of that old Obama campaign energy is transferable to Crist.

Scott’s advisers scoff at Crist’s ground operation, which got started months after theirs did and has fewer than half as many field offices. One senior official of the governor’s re-election campaign dismissed it as a “tactical copy-and-paste” of Obama’s, which “I don’t think the voters will buy.”

While Crist is counting on the strength of a retro-fitted Obama operation, Scott has had to build his practically from scratch. The campaign estimates that its volunteers have already knocked upon 700,000 Florida doors — far surpassing the 200,000 that Romney’s campaign had reached by this point in the 2012 election.

Meanwhile, Democrats say the former Republican governor is making more of an effort in places like vote-rich South Florida than their last gubernatorial nominee, Alex Sink, did.


1. Democratic intensity – That Rich failed to crack 30 percent of the primary vote statewide should provide some comfort to Democrats worried that former Republican Crist might still have a lot of work to do with skeptical members of his party’s base.

Crist needs much more than Rich’s endorsement and a lopsided primary win. He needs energy and enthusiasm — far more than the past three Democratic nominees managed to generate.

2. The Obama factor – Energizing the Democratic base is crucial for Crist, and Obama can still fire up rank-and-file Democrats. The Crist campaign may not be eager for Obama to campaign among Tampa Bay’s swing voters, but he could do a lot of good in Democratic strongholds in Jacksonville or Miami-Dade.

3. Money – Between Crist’s assorted political committees and outside groups or allies, Democrats are likely to spend at least $50 million toward unseating Gov. Scott. That would be impressive for any Florida Democratic candidate, but in this election, the normal assumptions about campaign spending are out the window.

4. Negativity – If you’re tired of the negative ads now, wait until Nov. 4 finally arrives. Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie could well be an attractive “None of the Above” selection by Election Day.

5. Tampa Bay – The region represents 25 percent of the electorate statewide, as well as the biggest pool of persuadable swing voters who don’t necessarily vote straight party line. For decades it has been an axiom of Florida politics that Tampa Bay is ground zero for any statewide campaign. This year may be the exception.

That’s why Crist spent primary night in Broward, and is renting a condo there. That’s why his running mate, Annette Taddeo, is from Miami-Dade. As the demographics of Florida steadily change, and Republican-leaning white voters represent an ever-shrinking portion of the electorate, the path to Democratic victory relies more and more on what happens in South Florida, and Miami-Dade in particular.

THE RISK OF CRIST via Rick Wilson of

In essence, it isn’t about Crist the candidate. It’s about the Democratic Party. It’s a window into the deep, desperate soul of a state party looking for a foothold back into power. They know Crist is lying to them, and they love it. They know he’s playing them for patsies, and they’re lined up around the block to kiss his manorexic backside.

You’ve never seen such abject fawning for a man they know is a pathological liar and weapons-grade weirdo. It’s not masochism; to Democrats it looks like cold, objective calculation. Don’t ever mistake them for a party that isn’t willing to make sweeping compromises to win. Crist speaks directly to the id of Florida’s Democratic voters: “Screw my record, character, or history, you wanna win don’t you?”

You may share the kind of visceral dislike of Crist with most Republicans, but you need to know that the risk of Charlie Crist reaches far beyond Florida, and offers an insight into an emerging behavior of national Democrats. While we chase perfection, they chase election. They demonstrably don’t care about character, and Crist is a perfect example of the moral vacancy of Democratic voters.

Next, Charlie is very much a road-test for limits of reinvention of future Democratic candidates, including the Damsel of Chappaqua. He transformed himself from far-right Reagan Republican to left-of-Obama liberal in a year and a half without missing a beat. There is no lie the man won’t tell, no promise he won’t make, and no deal he won’t cut to return to power. Hillary is watching, as are other Democrats, as Crist attempts to define history down.

Governor Rick Scott’s team has pounded Crist with over $25 million in negative ads, and they’ve finally moved the needle. Scott’s outstanding economic record – and seriously, it’s phenomenal – should be a massive political asset, but against the soulless, shark-eyed sociopathic campaign demon that lives in Charlie Crist’s skin, Scott has only recently been able to open a lead. The sheer tonnage of TV against Crist may eventually triumph, and Scott’s numbers are moving – albeit slowly, in the right direction.

Either way, it’s going to be a paid media bloodletting, but the lesson isn’t just in the campaign it’s in seeing Crist as the exemplar of future Democrats; limitless ambition, a base that forgives even absurd historical revisionism, and a campaign powered by the Obama machine’s technology and organizing model. It’s not just Florida that should be nervous.

MEANWHILE ... @fineout: .@PamBondi is starting to buy ad time. Records show she has begun purchasing time in Sept. for stations that are in N. Fla.

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In a new book, former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll describes the misery of being in a “boys’ club” led by Gov. Rick Scott, who showed no interest in her ideas to reach out to black and Hispanic voters and whose staff members treated her shabbily.

Carroll, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, was the first black woman to serve as lieutenant governor of Florida and held the largely ceremonial job for more than two years. She’s now a political analyst for WJXT, Channel 4 in Jacksonville. Her 174-page book, “When You Get There,” is published by Advantage, a South Carolina company.

She describes Scott’s chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, as “even more ruthless” than his predecessor, Steve MacNamara, a control freak who choked off access to the governor and shut her out of important meetings. She describes being “ambushed” on March 12, 2013, the day Hollingsworth and general counsel Pete Antonacci forced her to resign because of her past public relations work for a veterans’ group linked in an internet cafe fraud investigation.

Carroll was not accused of any wrongdoing.

Carroll describes Scott as overly controlled by his own staff and lacking in a personal touch, who ignored her birthday and showed no concern after she fainted and struck her head on the floor at a hot Greek church. “Clearly, something was missing there, some ability to make personal connections that he just didn’t have,” Carroll said of Scott.

“I was still wondering why he had chosen me. He never gave me a real answer to that question,” Carroll writes. “I wasn’t one of the good old boys, and he was a millionaire with his own plane. Why me?”

In a parting shot, here’s what Carroll has to say about her successor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who was chosen after a 10-month absence: “The new lieutenant governor is being treated even worse than I was from what I hear. He only has a small staff and he doesn’t have security. They gave him a car to drive himself around in. They haven’t given him much to do.”


While Florida lost 1,600 jobs between June and July, the Sunshine State fared better over the past year as a job creator. Between July 2013 and July 2014, Florida trailed only Texas and California in adding jobs to its economy. Overall, 30 states had statistically significant changes in employment in the past year, all of which were positive, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

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Consumer sentiment among Floridians remained flat at a post-recession high of 82 for the third consecutive month in August, according to a University of Florida survey.

“While an overall reading of 82 is historically nowhere near a recessionary level, it is also not a number associated with strong economic growth,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “However, it is higher than the confidence level for the U.S., which declined from 81.8 last month to 79.2 mid-month. While U.S. consumers are somewhat more pessimistic, Florida consumers are holding steady.”

The five-component survey showed mixed results. Survey participants’ perception of being financially better off now than a year ago remained unchanged at 73, while their confidence in having improved personal finances a year from now rose three points to 84.

Trust in the national economy over the next year fell two points to 78, and confidence in U.S. economic conditions over the next five years dropped one point to 80.

Respondents’ opinion about whether now is a good time to buy a big consumer item, such as a car, went down one point to 92.

Age and income were key factors in this month’s study. The overall index fell four points for those under age 60 but rose four points for those aged 60 and over. Households with incomes over $30,000 saw a drop in confidence of four points, while confidence among low-income households remained flat. Further analysis found increased pessimism among respondents ages 50 to 65, who may be concerned about their current personal finances. If this continues, it may be a sign they feel unprepared for retirement, McCarty said.


FSU football player Devaughn Darling died more than 13 years ago. That October, Devaughn’s parents sued Florida State.

The civil suit alleged insufficient breaks and not enough chances to get a drink. It alleged inadequate medical equipment. It alleged a slow emergency response. Mainly, though, the civil suit alleged that the coaches knew Devaughn was having trouble, obviously, visibly, and didn’t let him stop, made him keep going.

Florida State’s attorneys and the Darlings’ attorneys, led by the flamboyant Willie Gary from Stuart, Fla., reached a settlement within two years, avoiding a trial in which Bowden and other coaches and so many players could have and almost certainly would have been made to testify.

The payout to Dennis Darling Sr. and Wendy Hunter — the money for the death of their son — was $2 million.

But not really.

The beginning of the reason for why that was the case, even back then, even in the summer of 2004, right from the get-go, was in the record, committed to paper, written in black on white, as clear as dense legalese can be: “… because the State’s sovereign immunity bars any claim by Plaintiff against FSU in excess of $200,000, in total, pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, the Parties also agree to support the passage of a Claims Bill by the Florida Legislature in the amount of $1,800,000.000, as specifically appropriated by the Legislature …”

The rest of the money — most of the money — was not going to come from Florida State. It was going to come from the state of Florida.

All that was left was the claims bill.

Claims bills hardly ever pass.

From 1995 to 1999, less than two in five had passed, according to Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union, and the success rate started to get worse from there. Since 2000, it’s less than one in four.

The parents of Devaughn Darling didn’t get their $1.8 million in 2005.

Florida’s 2014 legislative session is over. No claims bills passed.

The parents of Devaughn Darling didn’t get their $1.8 million.

WHILE WE FOCUSED ON ELECTIONS, THIS STORY BROKE: “Florida Child Welfare Worker, Three Others Charged in Girl’s Starvation Death” via The Miami Herald

A Broward County grand jury has charged four women — one of them a child welfare caseworker — with ignoring the suffering of a severely disabled Lauderhill pre-teen who withered away and died while under the protection of the state.

Tamiyah Audain suffered from a devastating disease, as well as autism and an intellectual disability. After her mother died from the same disease, tuberous sclerosis, Tamiyah was sent by the state to live with a young cousin, though a more capable caregiver in Kentucky was eager to take custody. On Sept. 25, 2013, Tamiyah’s emaciated, bedsore-pocked body was found in her caregiver’s home. An autopsy concluded Tamiyah was ravaged by infection, and starved to death.

The 12-year-old’s cousin, Latoya Patterson, was charged in an indictment with felony murder, meaning the child died as a result of another felony, aggravated child abuse, said Ron Ishoy, a spokesman for Broward State Attorney Mike Satz. Patterson was arrested Tuesday, and booked into the Broward jail. The charge is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.

A caseworker who was responsible for ensuring Tamiyah’s welfare, Jabeth Moye, was indicted on charges of child neglect causing great bodily harm, a second-degree felony. Moye worked for a foster care agency under the umbrella of Broward’s privately run child welfare agency, ChildNet, which has a contract with the Department of Children & Families. Her charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

Also indicted Friday were two psychologists who were involved in Tamiyah’s care, Juliana Gerena and Helen Richardson, Ishoy said. The two women were charged with failing to report suspected child abuse or neglect to DCF’s abuse hotline, which is required under Florida law. The charge is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, Ishoy added.

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Candidates in state House District 65 and District 67 will appear at a Suncoast Tiger Bay meeting. District 65 is currently held by Rep. Carl Zimmermann, while District 67 is being vacated by term-limited Rep. Ed Hooper.


Louis Betz, Travis Mitchell: Parsons Brinckerhoff

Bill Rubin, Melissa Akeson, Heather Turnbull, The Rubin Group: Sunrise Mills (MLP) Limited Partnership

Ginger Green: ACT, Inc.

David Griffin, Jason Unger, GrayRobinson: Orlando City Soccer Club

Paul Vincent, Wells Fargo

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On Context FloridaMark O’Brien asks opponents of raising the minimum wage to try living on that paltry $7.25 an hour. The experience might change their minds, or at least make them a little less willing to consign people to living on $290 a week. Do the math; you can’t live on $290 a week (before taxes). Floridians voted yesterday. But it hardly mattered, says Stephen Goldstein. Worse than gerrymandered, Florida’s voting districts have now been “terrymandered,” thanks to Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis. Catherine Durkin Robinson has an idea. Stop focusing on why others perform acts of kindness. Intent doesn’t matter. When any kindness is shown, from trivial to magnificent, why someone did it should not be a concern. Not ever. Two incidents, decades apart, made Vanessa Lopez-Littleton, Internship Programs Director at UCF’s School of Public Administration, question if diversity and inclusiveness are possible.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.


A leading ad research firm recently estimated that more than $270 million will be spent across the country this cycle on digital campaign efforts – an 1,825 percent increase from 2010, when the first generation of tablet computers was just hitting the market. And just wait until 2016, when online political spending could top almost $1 billion and for the first time surpass newspapers, direct mail and telemarketing. Digital spending will still lag a long way behind TV, but it’s creeping closer to cable and radio budgets. The next big thing in political campaigns is finally here, and it represents a nice payday for the likes of Google, Facebook, Pandora …

Democratic and GOP candidates inspired by … Obama’s 2012 digital effort are trying to change their ways, … putting Web-savvy staffers in senior slots and interviewing online-focused consultants at the earliest stages of their races. … Xbox gamers in Florida … saw Gov. Rick Scott’s commercials, while Pandora listeners in Atlanta heard from Senate GOP candidate Jack Kingston. … Digital campaign spending still won’t tally anything close to television – which is projected in 2014 to hit almost $4.6 billion and by 2016 to reach a staggering $6.4 billion.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to former LG Jennifer Carroll and Adam Goodman’s better half, Liz.

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.