Sunburn for 9/22 – 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:

One of the most important documents in American history first came to life 152 years ago today. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in two parts, beginning on September 22, 1862. On that day, President Abraham Lincoln declared his intention to emancipate slaves in certain Confederate states – including Florida – if they did not stop the war. When the 10 states did not give up the fight, they were named in the second, more famous part of the proclamation, which was issued and took effect on New Year’s Day 1863. Florida and the country have certainly come a long way since then – but the Confederate flag still generates extreme emotions whether displayed on a truck, a t-shirt or a front yard.


In celebration of our daughter Ella Joyce’s second birthday, Michelle and I are taking her on another Disney Cruise. By the time you read today’s edition of Sunburn, we will already be on the high seas. There may be a Tuesday edition of Sunburn, but it’s likely your morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics will return on Friday.


This week on SaintPetersBlog, we are revealing the 2014 list of the “30 under 30″ rising stars of Florida politics.

They say, “Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.” For the 30-plus young men and women you will read about this week, this phrase is still meaningful — for each in their own way — as their careers in Florida’s political process rise.

We received over 500 nominations from political veterans, lobbyists, public officials and others who they see as rising lights on Florida’s political scene.

The nominations were reduced to 30-plus up-and-comers under the age of 30 who include legislative aides, folks who left Florida for DC, and top communications staff from each area of the state.

Here are links to the profiles of those featured on Monday (the profiles will not be live until later in the day).

Britton AlexanderKevin ClearyStephen LawsonMorgan McCordKristen McDonald, and Michael Worley.

Thank you to series sponsor Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC.

Now, on to the ‘burn…


A few hours after the polls closed on Election Day 2000, George Prescott Bush addressed a large rally of Republican supporters here. Votes were still being tallied in Florida, where George P., as he’s known to his friends and family, had grown up and where his father, Jeb Bush, was serving as governor.

“Hold on tight,” George P. said as he warmed up the crowd for his uncle, George W. Bush. “Florida will put us on top, and we are going to have some change in this country.”

George P. Bush was just 24 at the time — a bright, ambitious law school student who seemed poised to make his own leap into politics. But instead of using the moment to build up his profile, as many predicted, Bush quietly retreated to Texas to focus on his private-sector career, becoming a lawyer, a businessman, a husband and father, and serving in the Navy Reserve.

Nearly six years have passed since a Bush has held public office, but that’s about to change. George P. Bush, now 38, is the Republican nominee for Texas land commissioner, a powerful post that controls the state’s oil and gas contracts.

This is Bush’s first race. Assuming he wins — Republicans have not lost a statewide election here since 1994 — it probably won’t be his last. Every land commissioner in the past three decades has gone on to run for lieutenant governor or governor.

Bush would be the state’s first multicultural land commissioner (his mother is Mexican, and he speaks Spanish). His Hispanic background makes him different from previous Bushes. But he receives financial backing from the same oil, banking and real estate forces that helped bring his family to power.


Gotcha stories — ranging from those tangentially related to issues of the day to the completely ephemeral and even absurd — have been front and center in an abnormally large number of top races this year. And many of the most memorable hits bear the hallmarks of opposition research — the unglamorous grunt work of combing through public records and, increasingly, tracking candidates in search of a compromising vote, court filing, financial transaction or quote.

In an election in which candidates have mostly dodged the big issues facing the country, the dark art known as “oppo” seems to be filling the void. And the trend lines suggest oppo’s golden age may just be beginning.

“In all my years of doing this I’ve not seen a cycle where I’ve seen this many seemingly oppo-driven hits shape so many big races,” said Joe Pounder, a veteran GOP researcher who last year co-founded America Rising, a new model of super PAC and LLC that plans to spend between $8 million to $12 million in the 2014 cycle digging up dirt on Democrats.

The risks of wading into the thorny major issues vexing the body politic are rising, while the rewards are diminishing. There’s the growing intensity of a media cycle fueled by the salacious and voyeuristic. And, while there is exponentially more information available online about politicians and anyone in public life, there are ever fewer traditional political journalists to process and report on it.

These ferocious crosscurrents are being harnessed by an increasingly robust opposition research field that has grown from an ad-hoc collection of henchman roving from campaign to campaign into a lucrative private industry that is teeming with ambitious young operatives attracted by the glamour of notching scalps. Undergirding it all is a newly deregulated campaign finance system that has allowed huge checks to flow to research outfits that pay the eager kids and feed the overstretched reporters an unending stream of dirt on rival campaigns.

A series of top Senate races have been shaken by granular research into obscure records or happenstance finds — the types of stories that often emanate from oppo-based tips. In Montana, Democratic incumbent John Walsh withdrew after The New York Times reported that he plagiarized the final paper for his United States Army War College master’s degree. In Georgia, a leaked campaign memo has been used against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn. In Kansas, research-based stories set back both incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, whose home-state residency came under scrutiny from the Times, and Roberts’ vanquished tea party primary challenger Milton Wolf, whose macabre jokes about gunshot and accident victims found their way into the public domain.

SPOTTED: Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm with Charlie Crist before Saturday’s before Palm Beach County Democratic dinner. Photo here. H/t to George Bennett.


Education has turned into a battle-scarred landscape in this year’s Florida governor’s race, with standardized testing, vouchers, charter schools and the level of spending for kindergarteners to college students deployed as political weapons. Consuming more than half the state’s general revenue, education is the big-ticket item at play in this fall’s campaign.

Supporters of the candidates are sharply divided. Crist’s strongest backing comes from teachers and advocates for public schools, while Gov. Scott is bolstered by individuals and businesses tied to non-traditional schooling – the charter school and the voucher and online programs flourishing in Florida since the era of former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.

But Crist and Scott both have decidedly mixed track records. As with so many policy matters, their stances on education seem largely driven by situations.

Crist, the state’s Republican governor from 2007-11, once called himself a “Jeb Bush Republican,” and backed many of the charter and voucher programs he now wants to rein in.

He even signed into law a 2010 expansion of the state’s Tax Credit Scholarships, a voucher program the FEA just last month sued to declare unconstitutional.

Besides wanting to halt expansion of the tax credit vouchers, Crist also says it’s time to hit the brakes on charter schools, whose enrollment has skyrocketed under Republican leadership.

Scott is a fan of both charters and vouchers – saying they provide competition, which has spurred overall improvement in Florida schools.

ENERGY RATES AND POLICIES HANG ON OUTCOME OF GOVERNOR’S RACE via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The outcome of the governor’s race could have a significant impact on state energy policy and utility rates for millions of Floridians.

On one side is Crist, who had a reputation for appointing consumer-friendly members to the Public Service Commission — often much to the chagrin of Florida’s major utilities and powerful lawmakers.

On the other side is Rick Scott, who emphasizes his pro-business policies and has been rewarded with strong financial backing from Florida’s utility companies in this year’s campaign.

The current majority of the PSC was appointed by Crist. But Scott named his first appointment, state Rep. Jimmy Patronis and reappointed Julie Brown, who was originally named to the commission by Crist.

The major utility companies are supporting Scott and the Republican Party in this election cycle, to the tune of $3.7 million in contributions through August. They have also given the Democratic Party more than $400,000, with no direct major contributions to Crist.

Duke Energy has given Scott‘s “Let‘s Get to Work” political committee some $600,000 since 2012 and Sterling Ivey, a company spokesman, said this was because the utility supports Scott’s overall policies for the state.

But Scott’s critics say PSC decisions have tilted toward the major utility companies since Crist left office in early 2011. For instance, the three largest utilities — Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy and Tampa Electric — have received rate increases in the last two years.

WITH BLACK VOTE CRUCIAL TO CRIST, WILL THEY TURN OUT? via Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times

Mary Wilkerson is aware there’s a governor’s race on the November ballot, but “it’s not on my radar,” says the 60-year-old from Jacksonville.

Wilkerson, a black Democrat and reliable supporter of Barack Obama, is the kind of voter who is pivotal to the candidacy of Crist.

His campaign has put a premium on building a field operation aimed at turning out the vote in key communities and has crafted a careful message of inclusion that aims to avoid the mistakes that imperiled Alex Sink, the Democrat who lost to Gov. Rick Scott four years ago by less than 2 percent of the vote.

Blacks made up 11 percent of the vote in 2010, “but if that vote share had been over 12 percent, Rick Scott would not be governor,” said Omar Khan, Crist’s campaign manager.

While the two remain virtually tied in recent polls, black voters overwhelmingly support Crist over Scott this election cycle. Black voters showed up in larger numbers in 2008 and 2012 than white voters, but will they bring record numbers to the polls if Obama is not at the top of the ticket?

That’s a question black leaders across the state have been asking since the August primary, when less than 5 percent of the 1.6 million black voters in Florida cast ballots, and it has influenced their answer.

“We’re not doing it for Charlie, we’re doing it for us,” said former North Miami City Councilman Jacques Despinosse. He is using his show on Haitian radio to promote Crist and running mate Annette Taddeo because, he said, he “doesn’t trust Scott.”

POLLING 101 via Steve Vancore of VancoreJones Communications and Clearview Research

The question came to us, “Why poll just Rick Scott versus Charlie Crist? Why not also include the other folks on the ballot?” Good questions.

There are times when a campaign or an independent pollster will need to see trend lines.  For good reason, they will want to compare old data with new findings.  To compare the new data with older polls, you need to poll using the exact methodology as the prior poll so that you are comparing apples to apples. This means asking the same question the same way.  This helps people understand things like … How is Rick Scott trending?  How is Charlie holding up with his base?

On this basis alone, it would appear that the inclusion of these other candidates took more votes away from Rick Scott than Charlie Crist.  And that is a good interpretation. But it’s not that simple.

As is typical in a campaign cycle and with the primaries in our rear view mirror, pollsters have shifted from polling just the top candidates (just rick Scott versus just Charlie Crist) to also including the other candidates who will be on the ballot.

This is great for two reasons: It is a more accurate read of what is happening. We can measure what impact these other candidates are having on ballot dynamics.

So which is better, a survey administered by phone or one given online?

There are clear advantages to both. An internet poll can be conducted almost instantaneously, it can be less expensive, it can better – WAY better – replicate the actual ballot experience and it can help you reach people who do not take phone surveys (Think people who do not have a landline.) But, there are real problems with Internet polls, which so violate basic polling principles that you should be very cautious about using them.


Florida Republicans have a deep and wide bench of candidates for top statewide offices, but according to 140 of the state’s most plugged in political players the next Republican nominee for governor is almost a foregone conclusion.

Take a bow, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Even with lots of potentially strong Republican contenders in the mix, more than two thirds of those participating in the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider poll predicted Putnam, the red-headed 40-year-old from Bartow, will be the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2018. None of the other most popular choices – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio – cracked 10 percent.

Predicting the next Democratic nominee for governor is much harder, given the thin Democratic bench. But of the 100 Florida Insiders who ventured a guess the most common choice was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, 56, picked by 36 percent of our Insiders. A dozen people picked Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, 10 said they expected current Democratic nominee Crist to give it another go, and eight said former state Sen. Dan Gelber. A handful of people also mentioned U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa and Gwen Graham, the daughter of former Sen. Graham, who is running for congress in north Florida.

Florida Insider Polls are unscientific surveys of veteran campaign professionals, activists, fundraisers, lobbysists and the like. Needless to say, conventional wisdom is often wrong and this is hardly a reliable predictor of future nominees. But the survey show who many political elites see the state’s rising stars and strongest contenders for top state offices.

“Adam Putnam is a star. He has a remarkable ability to connect with Floridians and totally understands the complex issues that impact the state.  I think he is a mini Jeb Bush – a policy wonk at heart,” one Republican said.


A Florida think tank wants to know the reason why so many voters steer clear of the polls. There are plenty of worthy reasons.

The business-backed Florida TaxWatch is launching a new Center for Florida Citizenship, designed to educate voters and study why more of them don’t cast ballots. Florida just witnessed a paltry performance in the August primary when only 17.6 percent bothered to come out.

The center’s board of directors includes former Republican Gov. Bob Martinez, the head of a public-relations firm, two well-known Florida political scientists in Florida State University’s Carol Weissert and the University of South Florida’s Susan MacManus, and outspoken Leon County Election Supervisor Ion Sancho.

Martinez faulted the lack of civic education in classrooms, but also described the structural limitations like an onion.

The first layer is those who are here but ineligible to vote. The second: those eligible but who do not register. Then there’s people who register because it is made easy to do so, but aren’t motivated to show up. Martinez noted no-party-affiliated voters, excluded from “closed” primaries under Florida law when a write-in candidate files (a frequent campaign tactic).

Voter turnout as a research question is a Golden Oldie of psychology, economics and political science. Researchers have considered voters’ sense of civic duty and social benefits, their economic status, education and skills, the influence of social norms and sanctions from family and peers, psychological predispositions toward being partisan and politically interested, and even genetic differences that may be correlated with voting.

And for all the hand-wringing, Florida’s voter turnout in presidential and midterm general elections hasn’t dropped that much since the 1960s, even though we’ve had waves of voter reforms – from the civil rights movement and federal Voting Rights Act, to the rise in “convenience voting” in Florida.


Taking a page from Rick Perry, Miami congressional candidate Carlos Curbelo called Medicare and Social Security “a Ponzi scheme” that needs extensive reforms in order to remain sustainable.

Curbelo, who was in D.C. fundraising, made the comment in a talk to George Washington University College Republicans. A Democratic “tracker” filmed Curbelo’s university remarks — unbeknown to him, Curbelo said.

“I speak about both of these programs as one because they both suffer from the same long-term insolvency, meaning that they won’t be around for us, meaning that we’re paying into a system that, you know, is a Ponzi scheme,” he told the college students. “Rick Perry said that. That’s one of the few things I think Rick Perry contributed when he ran for president last time — and I worked for him, so I can say that.”

Perry, the Texas governor, characterized Social Security as a Ponzi scheme in his 2010 book leading up to his 2012 presidential run, and then repeated it in interviews and debates. He wasn’t the first one to use the term. Several times, PolitiFact has rated the claim False.

Curbelo maintained his point that Medicare and Social Security need changing. His website lists entitlement reform as a priority, though without going into much detail.

The Miami-Dade school board member is challenging Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia in Florida’s 26th congressional district.

RESERVATIONS ABOUT CONSERVATION AMENDMENT via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Lakeland Ledger

Amendment 1, which would require the state to set aside more funding for conservation programs each year, is running into some opposition.

But its backers say the amendment is critical to protecting waterways, woodlands and other natural resources, and they remain confident it will be approved.

This week, Florida TaxWatch, the nonpartisan, business-oriented watchdog group, released a voter’s guide for November, arguing that Amendment 1 — and Amendment 2, which would allow the use of medical marijuana in the state — do not belong in Florida’s constitution.

“It is clear that the amendment would decrease legislative flexibility in budgeting, which Florida TaxWatch has consistently held to be a vital tool for responsible budget decisions,” the guide said. “Regardless of the merits of either argument on this issue, this is a policy decision that does not belong embedded in ‘constitutional concrete.’ “

That drew a rebuttal from Will Abberger, campaign manager for Amendment 1, who said the groups supporting the Florida Land and Water Legacy campaign “fundamentally disagree” with TaxWatch’s assertion.

Abberger said the amendment, which must be approved by 60 percent of voters, represents the “best opportunity” to reduce pollution in drinking water supplies — not to mention numerous rivers, springs and lakes — while also protecting wildlife habitat and natural areas.

POLITICAL STAGE FADE-OUT FOR ALEX SINK via Jeff Henderson Sunshine State News

These are not the best of times for Alex Sink as she tries to end her political losing streak.

After losing to Rick Scott back in 2010 by a narrow margin, Sink left the door open to a rematch. But few Democrats wanted to back her and she got shoved aside for former Republican Charlie Crist.

Things went from bad to worse for Sink. She backed Alex Clendenin to lead the Florida Democrats in early 2013 but he lost out to Allison Tant who had the support of the likes of Crist and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. A year ago this week, Sink announced she would not run for governor, preferring to make a difference in private life and it looked like her political career was done.

But a month later, Sink jumped into the special election for the congressional seat opened by Bill Young’s death, despite living outside the district. Democrats cleared the decks for Sink, and national figures, including Bill Clinton, pitched in. But when the dust settled, she lost out to David Jolly, a far lesser known figure who, unlike Sink, had to go through a primary. Despite being encouraged to run again, Sink opted out of a rematch against Jolly.

Sink’s losing streak continued last month. Back in her Hillsborough County home turf, Sink campaigned with Sean Shaw who had worked for her up in Tallahassee and was running for an open Florida House seat. But despite Sink campaigning with him on primary day, Shaw lost out to Ed Narain.

Even as her losing streak continues, Sink shows no signs of going away even if she never runs for office again. Despite sending a few shots his way when she was mulling over running for governor again, Sink has offered some help for Crist, sending out emails, encouraging Democrats to support the former Republican.

TWEET, TWEET: @JackLatvala: Great morning to walk with Firefighters and Ellyn Bogdanoff in Delray Bch this morning!

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This is an important moment for Florida State University and its Board of Trustees, which is charged with selecting a new president from the finalists for the job.

More is at stake than who will lead the institution; this also is about what kind of place Florida State will become.

All indications suggest the trustees are ready to select former House speaker and current state Sen. John Thrasher, one-time chair of the state Republican Party who also chairs Gov. Rick Scott’s election campaign committee.

The real question before the trustees begin is not with who, but what. That is, what is FSU really?

Is it simply a political prize to be awarded as spoils by victors in political elections? Let’s be honest: Who believes Sen. Thrasher would be considered a serious candidate were someone besides Rick Scott the governor?

Will it simply be an athletic powerhouse, content to ride the laurels of football national championships?

Will it just be a slave to the cash flowing from corporate givers?

Or can it ever reach its potential as a top public university, doing important work to benefit the nation and humanity?

We mean no disrespect to Sen. Thrasher nor to diminish his accomplishments. He is simply the wrong person for this job.


State Rep. Jimmy Patronis told me more than once that I would miss him after this year when he leaves the Florida Legislature because of term limits.

Maybe I won’t be covering him in the Legislature any more. But he’ll still be in Tallahassee.

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday appointed Patronis, R-Panama City, to the Florida Public Service Commission.

The move came as no surprise to me.

Patronis, 42, was an early supporter of Scott in the 2010 election. And, like the governor, Patronis is a darling of industry and business groups.

Patronis jokingly said I would miss him because, as a reporter covering environmental issues at the Capitol, I wouldn’t have anything left to write about.

That’s because he introduced bills each year that would have rolled back environmental regulations and were a catch-all for industry, developer and agriculture groups. He was as well known for his controversial environmental bills as his promotion of “seersucker suit” day at the Capitol.

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA TO HAVE MINIMAL IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENT, STUDY FINDS via Kimberly Miller and Jennifer Sorentrue of the Palm Beach Post

All Aboard Florida’s passenger train service between West Palm Beach and Orlando will have a minimal impact on the environment, while improving air quality and reducing noise in surrounding communities, according to a draft study released by the Federal Railroad Administration on Friday.

But the 522-page study also found the project could affect the marine industry, wildlife, and traffic if measures aren’t taken to reduce its impacts. As part of the study, All Aboard Florida has proposed more than a dozen measures to reduce negative impacts, including efforts to minimize bridge closures, vibrations and noise.


Seafood workers and oyster harvesters say they are worried about the future of Apalachicola Bay.

The Panama City News Herald reported that dozens of workers from the oyster industry protested during a meeting of an association created to represent them.

The bay, famed for its oysters, is threatened by both over harvesting and a water supply dispute with Georgia.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley cautioned that oyster harvesting in Apalachicola Bay might need to be halted, which could affect thousands of jobs, if newly enacted winter restrictions fail to improve the oyster population.

“It’s very likely that we’re going to have to entertain a possible complete closure of the Apalachicola oyster harvest,” Wiley said during a recent meeting in Kissimmee. “We want to take that very carefully, and only do that if everybody feels that’s what we have to do.”

In August, the state agency implemented new conservation measures for the winter, from closing certain commercial and recreational areas to lowering the number of oysters individuals can harvest.

Since 1990, control of water in the river system shared by Florida, Georgia and Alabama has been the subject of lengthy litigation. Recent rulings have favored Georgia. Last fall, Gov. Rick Scott announced a new lawsuit against Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court, which has asked the U.S. Department of Justice for advice on whether to accept the case; that decision is pending.


Florida State University’s Presidential Search Advisory Committee will meet to consider four finalists for the school’s presidency and to make recommendations to FSU Board of Trustees. Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center, 555 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee. 1 p.m.


Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater are scheduled to speak during a Florida Association of Health Plans conference. Also expected to speak is Republican strategist Karl Rove. Rove to speak at 9 a.m., others later, Hilton Bonnet Creek, 14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando.


The Visit Florida Board of Directors is scheduled to meet to discuss tourism initiatives. Also Monday, Visit Florida will start hosting a three-day Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Boca Raton Resort & Golf Club, 501 East Camino Real, Boca Raton. 9 a.m.

***Today’s SUNBURN is sponsored by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. One of Florida’s Top Lobbying Firms, Corcoran & Johnston has demonstrated the ability to navigate government and successfully deliver results for clients, time and again.  To learn more visit***


Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. has expanded its multidisciplinary Land Development, Environmental & Government Affairs team with the addition of two senior members to the firm’s Tallahassee office.

Shareholder Reggie L. Bouthillier and Director of Planning Kenneth Metcalf each bring over 20 years of experience serving private and public sector clients throughout Florida.

“We are thrilled to welcome these two top-notch additions to our team,” said Managing Director Rick Schatz. “Reggie and Ken bring a wealth of experience from across the state, enhancing our ability to assist clients with their land planning, environmental and growth management needs from the Panhandle to the Keys.”

Bouthillier advocates clients’ interests in the areas of land use, growth management, environmental, land development, governmental affairs, real estate and administrative law. Metcalf is an AICP Certified Planner who navigates his clients through Florida’s complex growth management and permitting arena, providing innovative solutions and planning strategies across a broad range of planning issues.

The arrival of Bouthillier and Metcalf at Stearns Weaver Miller follows the firm’s addition earlier this year of shareholders Glenn Burhans, Jr. and Bridget Smitha.

“We are growing our presence and capabilities in the Tallahassee market,” said Schatz. “The recent additions of these accomplished attorneys are part of our ongoing expansion.”


Jeff Sharkey, Taylor Biehl, Capitol Alliance Group: Medical Alternative Solutions

Phillip Johnson: Seven Seas Cruising Association

Nick Iarossi, Ron LaFace, Chris Schoonover, Gerald Wester, Capital City Consulting: Stellar Energy America; Voya Services Company

Curtis Unruh: Agency for State Technology

Ron Watson: Red Hawk Fire & Security

Kristina Wiggins, The P5 Group: Agency for State Technology


HAPPY BIRTHDAY to William Stander, shhhhh!

TWEET, TWEET: @MarcACaputo: The cats at FSU officially have 8 lives left

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.