Sunburn: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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The app is only a few weeks away, so I figure, why not begin rolling out a preview of what ‘Sunburn’ will be: a morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.  Think Politico Playbook, only right-sized for the Sunshine State…

OBAMA 46, ROMNEY 45 ACCORDING TO LATEST SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY POLL…

President Barack Obama is clinging to a 1-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney in Florida, 46 percent to 45 percent, with 7 percent undecided, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-Miami) poll of likely voters in the Sunshine State. The figure is well within the survey’s 4 percent margin of error.

…BUT JEB OR MARCO AS VP WOULD HELP ROMNEY 

Both Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush could move voters to Romney. A Romney-Bush ticket would lead Obama-Biden by 2 points, and a Romney-Rubio ticket would lead Obama-Biden by 3 points, 47 percent to 44 percent.

RAND PAUL BACKS CONNIE MACK

The latest salvo in the endorsement war between George LeMieux and Connie Mack IV in the Florida U.S. Senate primary: Sen. Rand Paul, son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, backs Mack, according to a note from Mack campaign spokesman David James.

HOUSE WIDENS INVESTIGATION OF VERN BUCHANAN

The House Ethics Committee announced it is broadening an existing review of Rep.Vern Buchanan to include a new allegation, reports the Wall Street Journal. Ethics investigators said Wednesday that they will look into a charge that Mr. Buchanan sought false testimony from a key witness in a case against the lawmaker. At issue is an increasingly complicated probe into Mr. Buchanan that turns on the question: Did Mr. Buchanan direct (or know about) reimbursements to former employees for campaign contributions they made to Mr. Buchanan when he first ran for Congress?

STEVE MACNAMARA, “ARE YOU RESIGNING?”

Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, sat down with the Herald/Times Wednesday to rebut elements of a series of articles about his tenure as the governor’s top adviser and the contracts he signed when he was chief of staff in the Florida Senate.

MacNamara said that while the stream of stories may hasten his plans to leave the administration later this year, he is not leaving — yet.

“This whole thing may just hurry my departure by a few months,” he said.

As MacNamara then left — 20 minutes late — for the staff meeting on the Sunburst system, he said as he approached the room: “They all think I’m resigning.”

This reporter asked the obvious, “Are you?”

“I knew you’d ask that,” MacNamara said. “No, I’m not.”

US CHAMBER TARGETING LOIS FRANKEL

The US Chamber has launched a TV and grassroots communications blitz against Lois Frankel in FL CD 22.

“Our economy is still fragile, and it is vital that we have leaders in Congress who support free enterprise and the job-creating policies that will lead our recovery,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We’re asking constituents to hold their members of Congress accountable for how they vote on the policies that harm economic growth.”

View the ad against Frankel here.

DAN GELBER BLOGS: ‘LUGAR’S DEFEAT IS AMERICA’S

Former State Senator Dan Gelber has a blog post worth a click of your time: “Lugar’s loss is what is so wrong with politics today. Because of Dick Lugar, America has far fewer nuclear weapons to worry about; and unquestionably we are better prepared for the new terrorism threats that continue to emerge. There are precious few statesmen left in the Senate, and for sure there is one less today.”

PROMINENT TEA PARTY BLOGGER QUESTIONING RICK SCOTT

In a must-read blog post, Tom Tillson of the Florida Political Press continues to urge Gov. Rick Scott to distance himself from Chief of Staff Steve MacNamara.

“It’s time to make a choice, Gov. Scott, stand up as man of principal who values integrity and trust in doing the people’s work, or become just another politician beholden to special interests and a self serving agenda.  And you can start the process by disinfecting your own administration.”

PETITION WATCH

Republican Ron DeSantis announced that officials have certified enough petition signatures for him to qualify for the ballot. “Although we could have paid the hefty fee that the government charges the process of gathering petitions has helped us meet with voters, listen to their concerns and articulate our views,” said DeSantis, of Ponte Vedra Beach.

ELECTIONS, HIGHWAY OFFICIALS FLAG POSSIBLE INELIGIBLE VOTERS

State elections officials are working with the agency that licenses drivers to identify voters illegally on the rolls because they aren’t citizens, and has already flagged 2,600 people who are registered but may be ineligible.

BOGDANOFF UP 7 OVER SACHS IN BATTLEGROUND STATE SENATE RACE, POLL SAYS

A poll taken in March shows Bogdanoff beating District 34 rival Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, by 7 percent in a head-to-head matchup. The poll sampled 300 most likely general election voters and found that if the election were held today, Bogdanoff would get 34 percent of the votes to Sachs’ 27 percent, with 39 percent undecided. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

PROMISING NEWCOMER BRIAN SCARBOROUGH WITHDRAWS FROM RACE FOR FLORIDA SENATE DISTRICT 7

The newly drawn Senate District 7 doesn’t look like Scarborough Country. At least not to Brian Scarborough. The Gainesville Democrat had been one of the party’s promising newcomers and had hoped to capture the seat, which currently has no incumbent , but said Wednesday he is withdrawing because the district is drawn to favor a Republican from Clay County.

PIRATE PARTY CANDIDATE RUNNING IN HD 91

t’s time to mention that Ryan Moffitt is running as the Pirate Party candidate in House District 91, which would put him up against Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, who while not a pirate, is still one of the most colorful members of the Legislature. While Moffitt is running in a fringe party, his candidacy seems serious and thoughtful based on his campaign website – http://www.ryanmoffitt.org/. Moffitt, who was raised in Texas, says he’s a populist, and “liberty-focused,” and says the two party system is broken. “I will dedicate my time in office to stopping the two party oligarchy and creating the populist, modern government you deserve,” Moffitt says on his site. He’s generally libertarian, opposed to restrictions on guns, opposed to GPS tracking devices put on cars or people by the government, and has a section on his site about expanding the Sunshine laws and increasing government transparency. He also is calling for more casino projects to boost tourism. “I will make it a point to close the state budget deficit without cutting the budget of our already strained public schools,” Moffitt says. He is the founder of the Florida Pirate Party, and has just finished serving as its chairman.

WEBSITE I’M NOT VISITING: Department of Health unveils new website for new septic tanks law.

KUDOS TO RON SACHS COMMUNICATIONS

Ron Sachs Communications has won the prestigious national “Best Education/Public Service Campaign” Silver award by the respected industry journal Bulldog Reporter for outstanding achievement by communications agencies and professionals that represent the very best in PR/corporate communications campaigns.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to mommy-to-be Ryan Wiggins.

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