Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray and Jim Rosica.
DEBATE NIGHT IN AMERICA
Bernie Sanders may need a game-changing moment in tonight’s debate with Hillary Clinton to alter the trajectory of next week’s critical New York primary.
The two Democrats meet at the Duggal Greenhose on the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a two-hour forum that will be broadcast live by CNN at 9 p.m. eastern time.
Wolf Blitzer will moderate, and he’ll be joined by CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash and NY1 political anchor Errol Louis in the questioning.
It’s the 10th Democratic debate this election cycle, but the first in over a month. That’s when Sanders and Clinton engaged in a Univision sponsored forum at Miami-Dade College in the week leading up to the Florida Primary.
Clinton won that election overwhelmingly, but it’s the self-described democratic socialist who has been on a roll ever since, having taken seven out of the last eight contests, most of them not even close.
Well, not close in terms of the margin of victory, but regarding delegates? it’s been a different story.
Over the weekend, Sanders defeated Clinton by 12 percentage points in the Wyoming caucus, but under the Democratic Party’s byzantine delegate system, he only split Wyoming’s 14 pledged delegates – 7 to 7 under the caucus calculus.
However, with Clinton getting the state’s four superdelegates – she ended up taking 11 delegates in Wyoming to Bernie’s 7, despite “losing” to him with the popular vote.
The two candidates have been getting under each other’s skin in the Empire State, where they’ve been campaigning up and down New York for the past 10 days, and hitting each other hard on issues like guns, immigration and Wall Street.
But it’s Sanders who needs to make his mark in tonight’s forum.
Clinton leads Sanders 51%-39% among NY Democrats, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday. The poll found Clinton and Sanders effectively tied among white voters -48% for Sanders, 46% for Clinton – but he’s getting hammered when it comes to people of color –with Clinton leading the Vermont senator 62%-22% among black, Hispanic and other non-white voters.
BERNIE SANDERS HAS RUN MORE TV ADS THAN HILLARY CLINTON IN EACH OF THE LAST SIX MONTHS via Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post – Amazing, no? And even more amazing if you consider where the two candidates started this race. Clinton was the clear front-runner, expected to have hundreds of millions of dollars at her disposal in a primary campaign that was really nothing more than a light jog on the way to the general. Sanders was to be a nonfactor — due in no small part to his presumed inability to raise money at anywhere near Clinton’s pace. (In Sanders’s 2012 Senate re-election race, he raised and spent just more than $3 million.) If I told anyone — including Bernie Sanders — that he would raise almost $15 million more than Clinton in ANY month (he did just that in March) and that he would also outraise her in three straight months (as he has in January, February and March), he would not have believed me. I mean, that is STUNNING.
SHOT — “Battery case against Trump campaign manager seen as strong” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO on 3.29.16
CHASER — “Donald Trump campaign manager will not be prosecuted, sources say” via Hadas Gold and Marc Caputo of POLITICO on 4.13.16
MORE CAPUTO LEGAL INSIGHTS re: Javier Manjarres case: “We don’t know the facts. But if a person tries to hit another w/a car, the pedestrian might be justified in shooting”
TED CRUZ ON MARCO RUBIO FOR VP: ‘YOU’D BE A FOOL NOT TO CONSIDER HIM’ via The Hill – “Anyone would naturally look at Marco as a terrific candidate for vice president,” he said during a CNN townhall in New York. “You’d be a fool not to consider him. He’s very, very talented. I think the world of Marco. “He is one of the best communicators in the Republican Party,” the GOP presidential candidate added. “He ran a campaign that inspired millions of people. It inspired me.” Cruz stopped short of admitting that Rubio is in the mix for his potential running mate.
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NONE OF FLORIDA’S GOP U.S. SENATE CANDIDATES READY TO COMMIT TO ATTENDING RNC IN CLEVELAND via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – The feeling that this year’s Republican National Convention could be a raucous and uncomfortably unpredictable affair has led to some top Republicans, including former Governor Jeb Bush, to say that they’ll be staying home when the party gets together for its four-day confab this July … [Of the] five Republican candidates for Florida’s U.S. Senate … none of them were ready to commit to attending – Carlos Beruff, Ron DeSantis and Todd Wilcox – said they definitely would not attend. David Jolly … has not reached a decision yet. “The congressman will decide closer to convention dates.” Meanwhile, a representative for Carlos Lopez-Cantera was uncertain about his plans.
DAVID JOLLY SAYS HE’S ‘SICK AND TIRED’ OF GOP POSITION ON CLIMATE CHANGE via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – “I’m going to tell you something you rarely hear a member of Congress say: I think the climate’s changing. I think man’s had an impact, and we need to stop arguing about the science,” Jolly said at the University of South Florida. “I have a confession to make … I’m a Republican.” … “I truly do not understand why members of Congress argue over science. I don’t understand it. I understand the healthy argument and constructive dialogue over the solutions because we all have different solutions.” Jolly’s comments to the Citizens’ Climate Lobby are notable given his party’s stance on the issue, but also because he’s running in the crowded Republican primary for U.S. Senate. The remarks are also stronger than when he was running in the primary for the House seat in 2014, raising questions whether he has shifted his position. “I’m sick and tired of going nowhere in addressing large problems and I’d like to see our party accept the science and say we believe in conservative solutions.”
SHOT — Jolly in 2014: “I don’t think the impact that humans have had on our climate is so dramatic that it requires a significant shift in federal policy.”
CHASER — Jolly in 2016: “I’m going to tell you something you rarely hear a member of Congress say: I think the climate’s changing. I think man’s had an impact, and we need to stop arguing about the science.”
U.S. SENATE TRACKER — Republican Carlos Beruff will be in Orlando and Melbourne.
HEARING that former Congressman Ric Keller will be making an annoucement about his political future this morning. Tune into Orlando’s Fox 35 after 7:30 a.m. for the details or check back on FloridaPolitics once the embargo on the news has been lifted.
VAL DEMINGS ENDORSED BY CALIFORNIA U.S. REP. TONY CÁRDENAS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – “The decision was easy – Val Demings ran in 2012 in a much tougher district, nearly upsetting a well-funded incumbent, showing that she is willing to fight for her community not only when it’s easy, but when it’s hard,” Cárdenas stated in a news release … “Her thirty-year record of public service proves that she will serve as a powerful, unifying voice for the people of Central Florida.”
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ANDER CRENSHAW RETIREMENT SETS OFF SCRAMBLE FOR SUCCESSOR via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Crenshaw‘s decision was apparently made after a late night meeting with some of the region’s top political power brokers, after which rumors that Crenshaw was not going to seek re-election began to seep out. Crenshaw had a spot of on the full House Appropriations Committee, which impact all corners of the state. A seat on the chamber’s top budget-writing committee is seen as a premium post, and allows members easier access to securing federal dollars for their district. He also held a seat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which helped him procure assistance for Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport. As news of the announcement broke, the names of potential replacements included: Sen. Aaron Bean, who represents Nassau County and parts of Jacksonville; former Sheriff John Rutherford; supervisor of elections-turned-turned property appraiser Jerry Holland; term-limited House members Lake Ray and Janet Adkins; former Jacksonville city councilman Richard Clark, and others. Crenshaw becomes the eighth member of Florida’s congressional delegation to announce he will not return to Congress.
— “John Rutherford strongly considering congressional run” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics
LOOK FOR former Mayor John Delaney to take himself out of consideration on Thursday.
CRENSHAW’S RETIREMENT COULD DRASTICALLY CHANGE JACKSONVILLE’S VOICE IN WASHINGTON via Andrew Pantazi and Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – With the decommissioning of the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy and all of Naval Station Mayport’s frigates, [Crenshaw] fought to bring in new ships. He also helped approve the 526-acre National Veterans Cemetery in Northside. And two years ago, he sponsored the ABLE Act, which created tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities … Corrine Brown, who also represents Jacksonville, has not yet filed to run again for her seat, and she has already attracted a primary opponent … Ron DeSantis, who represents St. Johns County, is running for the U.S. Senate instead. Losing DeSantis, Brown and Crenshaw at the same time would create a significant and rare shift in Jacksonville’s voice in Washington. Before Crenshaw, only two people — Tillie Fowler and Charles Bennett — had represented that part of the city since 1949. Mayor Lenny Curry said Crenshaw had institutional knowledge and could get things done. His retirement, Curry said, was “a big loss for Jacksonville.”
— @SpeakerRyan: @AnderCrenshaw has done so much to help people w/ disabilities realize their potential. A great public servant.
— @Apantzi: Q: Who is Ander Crenshaw? A: A pro-military, fiscal conservative representative known for civility.
— @LakeRay3: Thank you @AnderCrenshaw for your service to Northeast Florida, appreciate all you’ve done for our region. #jaxpol
— @AbelHarding: Brace yourself, Jax. The stench of dirty laundry being aired to block potential candidates might overwhelm us.
— @mcimaps: Dem chances of picking up #fl04 are somewhere between 0% and negative 20%
— @NateMonroeTU: In a 2014 UNF poll, Rutherford had a 66 percent approval rating. Curry’s campaign recognized his popularity, made him a visible surrogate.
— @AGGancarski: Money will coalesce; Jax field will narrow. Jax can’t lose 2 House seats this year. Losing seniority is bad enough.
KEN DETZNER, CALL YOUR OFFICE via Election Smith – According to the Florida Division of Elections, voter turnout in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary (as of 3/27/2016) was 46.23 percent. The Division reports that 4,089,516 votes were cast (out of the total number of active registered Republicans and Democrats (8,845,892) as of the registration deadline). This official vote is slightly different from the FDOE’s “2016 Presidential Preference Primary March 15, 2016, Official Election Results” website, which reports that the total votes cast was 4,164,001. There’s no explanation from FDOE why the totals are not the same, but I can certainly understand why they may differ. Really, why quibble over a couple (OK, several) thousand votes cast in Florida? What is more disconcerting, however, is that these two totals are far greater than what is recorded in the March 31, 2016, Voter History File. The Voter History File reports the method of voting of all those who cast ballots in the election. A quick sum finds only 3,408,945 ballots appear to have been cast by individual voters. What accounts for the 755,056 missing from in Voter History File (if we compare it to the “Official Election Results” website)? A quick analysis reveals that several counties have not properly uploaded their individual vote histories to the statewide Florida Voter History File, maintained by the Bureau of Voter Registration Services (BVRS). Clearly, there’s a syncing issue with these counties.
AFTER STATE GOP REFORMS, ONE STAFFER FRONTS BIG-MONEY EXPENSES via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The Republican Party of Florida’s facelift over the past 15 months has left some of the party’s biggest power brokers on the sidelines, and has revamped how the state GOP both raises and spends donor cash. The most salient example of the overhaul is James Blair, a 26-year-old staffer who is House speaker-designate Richard Corcoran’s right-hand man. As incoming speaker, Corcoran is in charge of the wing of the state GOP responsible for raising money and coordinating House Republican campaigns. In the role, he has changed how the party pays expenses both big and small, in the process running a massive amount of spending — more than $800,000 — through a personal charge card held by the young staffer. … Blair’s expenses and reimbursement level dwarfed other party officials’ in 2015. Coming in second is Will Rodriguez, a party fundraiser who had $6,500 in reimbursements. Corcoran had $4,603 in reimbursements in 2015.
EPILOGUE — JIM GREER ELECTED TO SERVE ON NATIONAL DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING ASSOCIATION BOARD via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – “As the former chairman of the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association, and as a current board member, I am pleased that Jim has been elected to our national governing board,” said Joseph Reilly, past chair of the DATIA, said in a statement. “Jim’s experience as a successful businessman and elected official, along with the knowledge of the political process on the state and national level will be a great asset to achieving DATIA’s goals.” A news release announcing the appointment touted Greer’s resume, including his time as president and chair of Regulatory Compliance Services, Inc. He served in that role from 1984 until 2007. The announcement also mentioned Greer’s political work, saying he served as a senior adviser to various political campaigns and his community service, including his work with the Rotary Club. But it didn’t include employment information after 2007.
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FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via FloridaHealth.gov – As of Wednesday, there were no new cases reported, with six cases still exhibiting symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. There are still 85 total cases in Florida; by county (number of cases): Miami-Dade (33), Broward (13), Orange (5), Alachua (4), Lee (4), Osceola (4), Palm Beach (4), Hillsborough (3), Polk (3), Brevard (2) and a single case each in Clay, Collier, Santa Rosa, Seminole and St. John’s and five cases involving pregnant women. The DOH recommends women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to Zika affected areas. The CDC has put out guidance related to the sexual transmission of the Zika virus. This includes a recommendation that if you have traveled to a country with local transmission of Zika you should abstain from unprotected sex. The department also urges Floridians to drain standing water weekly, no matter how seemingly small. A couple drops of water in a bottle cap can be a breeding location for mosquitoes. Residents and visitors also need to use repellent when participating in any outdoor activity.
MARCO RUBIO CALLS FOR CDC TO QUICKLY CLEAR ZIKA TESTING KIT BACKLOG via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – In a letter to Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rubio urged the CDC “to use whatever steps necessary to dedicate currently available resources to clearing its current backlog of Zika diagnostic tests, and to prioritize these tests for women who are pregnant … These essential steps will help us to not only ease mothers’ minds who test negative for the virus, but also to provide critical care for a child whose mother tests positive for the Zika virus. We know that screening for microephaly should happen early and often, and receiving the results of a diagnostic test is the first step in that process,” he said in the statement. “The CDC should have the capability to provide those services immediately to those who are waiting. Rubio announced last week he supported a $1.9 billion request to combat the Zika virus. On Tuesday, the Seattle Times reported that the CDC initially faced a backlog of several thousand tests. The paper reported the backlog has “been whittled down to about 500.”
— “Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services educates pest control companies on Zika response” via FreshFromFlorida.com
RICK SCOTT PLANNING TRADE TRIP TO UNITED KINGDOM via The Associated Press – Enterprise Florida officials announced Scott is expected to attend an international air show in the United Kingdom this July. Since becoming governor Scott has routinely taken trips to air shows that are held in Paris and London … a final decision hasn’t been made on the trip to the Farnborough International Air Show. Scott may also make a trip in November to Dusseldorf, Germany where Enterprise Florida will have a pavilion for a medical/life sciences trade show. The trips would Scott’s 12th and 13th abroad since he became governor in 2011.
SCOTT SIGNS DOWNSIZED TAX CUT PACKAGE INTO LAW via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Scott initially asked for $1 billion in tax cuts. The House offered $991 million over two years and the Senate proposed $250 million, then about $400 million when the property tax cut rollback was included. Highlights of the final package include a permanent repeal of the sales tax on certain manufacturing equipment; a three-day back to school sales tax holiday; and repeal of sales tax on food and drinks sold by veterans’ organizations to their members.
SCOTT ORDERS FULL AUDIT OF VISIT FLORIDA via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel – Scott sent a letter to Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe praising him and the agency for a surge in tourists in recent years, but he also said taxpayers need to know what they get for their money. Visit Florida will receive $78 million in public funding in the coming year. “We hope to use this inquiry as an opportunity to … ensure we’re serving the taxpayers in a transparent and accountable manner,” Scott’s letter states. Scott also sent a letter to executives of Space Florida, another public-private group that secures deals with aerospace companies to base operations in the state, alerting them of a pending review. The audits will be conducted by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the state jobs agency. The results will be made public and are expected to take a month to complete.
SCOTT TO SPEAK AT RNC MEETING IN BROWARD via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – The RNC will hold its spring meeting at the swanky oceanside Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood starting [next] Wednesday. The RNC has not yet released a schedule of events but several Florida politicians are expected to attend the event including Republican Party of Florida chairman State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia. The RNC committees could discuss rules related to the July presidential convention in Cleveland — the first potentially brokered convention in decades.
NEW ERA BRINGS SOME RESHUFFLING INSIDE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE via Gary Fineout of The Fine Print – With Kim McDougal in as the new chief of staff, there has been a shuffling of responsibilities inside the governor’s office … things could change now that Scott has switched over to his fifth chief of staff. McDougal, who has a long background on education policy, is maintaining her oversight in that arena even though she has been promoted from her previous position as legislative affairs director and deputy chief of staff … as part of the reorganization Kristin Olson, Scott’s cabinet aide is now titled a deputy chief of staff and has added some of those agencies under her guidance including the Department of Management Services. DMS is a very important agency to Tallahassee lobbyists and insiders because it controls many important contracts and is involved in everything from the recent bat guano dustup at a state office complex to the state’s health insurance program. Frank Collins, who has held a couple of different positions in the executive office, is no longer dealing with the Department of Corrections, another agency that has been in the news a lot in the last couple of years. That department has now shifted over to Jeff Woodburn, the director of policy. Brad Piepenbrink, meanwhile, has picked up the Department of Transportation from Collins. Another interesting detail on the new chart: The head of Enterprise Florida no longer reports directly to Scott … Scott has also said he wants to look at a restructuring of the agency.
ENTERPRISE FLORIDA SHOULDN’T “BE OVERLOOKED,” VICE CHAIR SAYS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – “As you read some of the newspapers, they make it sound like we’re out of business,” said Alan Becker, co-founder of South Florida’s Becker & Poliakoff law firm. Though Scott is the chair, Becker presides over meetings as vice chair. He was responding to a report on EFI’s recent business development efforts, including more than 270 active projects “in the pipeline” … “The fact is; business is good” Becker said. “We’re doing well. We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing … People probably don’t realize how much we do to help small business, early-stage companies, and we want to make sure they continue to thrive … Let’s make this a legislative priority.”
FLORIDA BEAR HUNT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN THIS OCTOBER DESPITE PROTESTS via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times – During a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting … commission chair Brian Yablonski noted that the state’s administrative code calls for holding a hunt every October. Yablonski, a power company lobbyist first appointed to the commission in 2004 by former Gov. Jeb Bush, told his fellow commissioners to be ready to set a quota for the second hunt at their next meeting. The commissioners were not scheduled to discuss bear hunting at their meeting Wednesday. The subject was not on their agenda. Yablonski brought it when Wiley mentioned a new population estimate by the scientists on his staff that showed there were now 4,350 adult bears statewide. That’s about 60 percent more than the population found by a similar study 14 years ago. The newer population estimate, however, was based on data gathered before October’s hunt, which claimed 36 mother bears.
$260 MILLION CONTRACT FOR PRISON HEALTH CARE STANDS, JUDGE DECIDES – A contract worth over $260 million for health care at the state’s prisons will stand after an administrative law judge sided with the Department of Corrections. Wexford Health Sources challenged the contract for prison health care in north and central Florida awarded to Centurion of Florida. Centurion wanted to replace Corizon, the current vendor, which is pulling out as of May 31. Wexford provides prison health services in the rest of the state. The department said that it had authority “to award such a contract without a competitive bidding process,” according to Judge R. Bruce McKibben’s order. He then cited precedent that “a contract awarded (under) exemption from competitive bidding could not be challenged in an administrative hearing by a third party.” Wexford’s complaint, “though not without merit, is a matter for resolution by the Legislature,” McKibben added.
GOOD LISTEN — CLAY INGRAM: AN EIGHT-YEAR GUY via Rick Outzen – On “Pensacola Speaks,” [Ingram] explained, “You’re sometimes outright asked by the leadership, ‘Are you an eight-year guy? Do you plan to see this through, your full terms through, or do you have ambitions to run for something else?’ My response was always, ‘I plan to be an eight-year guy,’ on the assumption that I was doing a good job and got re-elected.” Had the district lines remained the same, the 2018 election cycle would have had him terming out of the House just as Greg Evers was terming out of his State Senate seat. Ingram could have run for the open senate seat. “That changed with the redistricting process. All of the sudden that wasn’t the case anymore. (Evers) got the ability to serve longer because District 2 was redrawn” … when Congressman Jeff Miller announced that he would not run again, the political landscape changed yet again. Party leadership asked Ingram if he would be interested in running for the Evers’ seat, if the state senator chose to run for Congress … The couple ultimately decided the House race made the most sense. Ingram, who chairs the House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said, “If you’re doing that job well and you’ve been successful at it, you want to take advantage of that and leverage all of the goodwill that I’ve built up over the first terms I’ve had.”
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Yolanda Cash Jackson, Karen Skyers, Becker & Poliakoff: Black Farmers & Agriculturalist Association – FL Chapter
Rob Fields, Danny Jordan, One Eighty Consulting: Salesforce.com
Samuel Poole III, Berger Singerman: Kendall Properties & Investments
Jeffrey Sharkey, Capitol Alliance Group: Golf Florida
BASEBALL’S LOBBYING HAS SHIFTED WITH THE TIMES via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Around the turn of the century, the Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Office was annually spending $1 million or more lobbying Congress and federal agencies. But its spending is down, and the focus of the lobbying has changed in recent years. From a high of $1.6 million in 1999, the amount Major League Baseball spent lobbying fell to $330,000 last year, according to MLB’s filings with the federal government. And, the issues have changed too: while the ’90s were all about steroids and other drug-related issues, baseball’s lobbying has shifted its focus to stadium security and Cuba
EPILOGUE #2 – JEFF GREENE’S LIBEL LAWSUIT AGAINST TAMPA BAY TIMES SCHEDULED FOR TRIAL LATER THIS MONTH via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Although the Miami Herald has settled a libel suit brought against the newspaper by 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Greene, his suit against the Tampa Bay Times continues. “We have a trial date set for the end of April,” [said] Times attorney Alison Steele … Greene filed his suit against the two newspapers for articles that alleged suspect real-estate deals and parties on his yacht in 2010. The Palm Beach real estate billionaire is seeking $500 million in damages. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Valerie Manno-Schurr dismissed the suit in 2012, saying Greene couldn’t “prove the paper acted in malice,” a legal standard in libel actions brought by public figures. Greene would have to show the Times and Herald knew their stories were wrong or that they had a “reckless disregard” of whether their reporting was false or not. But Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal reversed the judge’s decision and revived the suit in 2014, saying Greene’s claims were “legally sufficient” to move forward. At issue are two news articles written by St. Petersburg Times reporters … In one article, the Times reported that Greene was party to a real estate deal that left 300 California families homeless and a partner of his in jail. The other left the impression that the boxer Mike Tyson, who was the best man at Greene’s wedding, used drugs while on Greene’s yacht. The paper later ran a front-page correction clarifying that Tyson said he had not used drugs on the yacht.
OUTRAGE! PRES. OBAMA GOT ADVANCE COPIES OF THE NEW SEASON OF ‘GAME OF THRONES’ via Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post – For all I know, Obama is sitting in his White House movie room finding out ALL THE SECRETS of Season 6 right now. (The White House offered no comment when I asked if I could have all of the screeners. Oh, and also for a comment.) If Obama is watching, these are the questions I need answered ASAP. 1. Is Jon Snow actually dead? 2. Is Jon Snow actually dead? 3. Is Jon Snow actually dead? 4. Who are Jon Snow’s real parents? 5. Is Jon Snow actually dead? Mr. President, feel free to email me with the answers.