A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
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YESTERDAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH
It was “Who won the shutdown?” day across the capital, with pundits and politicians alike conducting post-crisis autopsies in search of answers about the next election cycle. I’ll spare you the suspense: The polls say the latest round of brinkmanship was bad politically for everyone involved, but especially bad for Republicans and the Tea Party—as well as a significant setback for the economy that all parties involved promise they’re protecting. But, lest you get spun too far from the calendar, there are 13 months before any of the “winners” and “losers” will have elections to win or lose, and so projections for how this affects next November should be taken with a grain of salt.
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ECONOMISTS SPLIT OVER BAD VS. TERRIBLE via Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal
Some leading market watchers sound off on the impact of the shutdown and debt-ceiling fights. The immediate damage may be modest, but the experts are split on how big the long-term impact will be.
MITCH MCCONNELL SAYS HE WILL NOT ALLOW ANOTHER SHUTDOWN
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Hill that he will not allow another government shutdown as part of a strategy to repeal Obamacare.
“One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” said McConnell. “The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid 1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days. There is no education in the second kick of a mule. There will not be a government shutdown.”
OBAMA DEMANDS KUMBAYA—OR ELSE via The Washington Post
The government—national parks, federal agencies, and all—reopened yesterday morning after a 16-day shutdown and an almost-miss with a default on the debt, but many expect Washington to be fighting in the same sandbox come January. President Obama declared “there are no winners here” and instructed Congress to ignore “pressure from the extremes.”
SHUTDOWN PUTS HOUSE IN PLAY via National Journal:
The government shutdown and debt crisis has made 14 House seats more winnable for Democrats, according to new independent ratings released Thursday from The Cook Political Report. There are now — for the first time this cycle — more Republican seats ‘in play’ than the 17 Democrats would need to win in order to take the majority in 2014.
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JEB BUSH SAYS GOP NEEDS ‘AGENDA’ via POLITICO
Bush said Thursday that Republicans need to craft a positive agenda and can’t just rail against Washington, D.C.
“We have to have an agenda, we just can’t be against what’s in front of Washington, D.C.,” Bush said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Much of what goes on in Washington is completely irrelevant to the lives of everyday people. I mean it’s just amazing.”
Bush talked up the “huge bench” of Republicans at the state level and said they should be driving the conservative conversation, not the Washington branch, which Bush criticized.
“There’re 30 Republican governors, I think all of them probably will get reelected, the ones that are running, and it’s because they are focused on those issues not on overreaching or trying to say, ‘Well, we have one-half of one-third of the power of Washington therefore we have three-quarters of the ability to get things done,’” Bush said.
Taking one last dig at lawmakers on the Hill, Bush called on them to pass immigration reform and hoped it would set a precedent of lawmaking.
“This would be interesting — maybe Washington actually ought to pass a law through the regular, normal order and see if it works,” Bush said.
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CONGRESSMAN BILL YOUNG NOT DEAD, JUST ‘GRAVELY ILL’ via The Tampa Bay Times
A week after U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young surprised the Tampa Bay area with his plans to retire, an aide confirmed Thursday that the nation’s longest-serving Republican congressman has become “gravely ill.”
“Rep. C. W. Bill Young’s condition turned for the worse over night and he is gravely ill,” read a family statement. “His doctors say his prognosis is guarded.”
Young’s illness was initially attributed to back issues but it has become clear since then that he is in serious condition.
He is surrounded by family and friends. On Wednesday Young got a call from former President George W. Bush, who thanked the lawmaker for his support of the U.S. military as former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and current head of the defense subcommittee.
News of his more serious illness spread among political insiders Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and then blew up when a local blogger and national news sites erroneously reported that Young was dead.
MY BLOG POST: HOW I GOT IT WRONG Full post here
I was one of, if not the first, to say Young had died. I had it confirmed with two members, albeit distant, of the Young family who said they had been contacted with news of Young’s death. When I asked why they were telling me, they said it was because of my “fair coverage.”
Keep in mind, I’ve been watching this situation for the last 24 hours. It did not surprise me when I heard Young had passed, as it probably did surprise others.
My first tweet about Young’s situation reflected the knowledge I had from the family members, but was qualified with a second tweet that it was unconfirmed. Once I read Russert’s tweet, I greenlighted my second series of tweets about multiple sources confirming Young’s death.
Like I tweeted, I’d rather be wrong than right about this one. Bill Young is a great man.
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IT’S WORKING? NOT QUITE YET BUT RICK SCOTT’S GAINING TRACTION via Jeff Henderson of Sunshine State News
In the past week, two polls have shown Rick Scott closing Charlie Crist’s lead as they get ready to fight it out in next years governor’s race. Crist had been up in the polls by double digits for most of the year. The University of North Florida (UNF) took a poll which found Crist up 44 percent to 40 percent. The Florida Chamber came out with a poll earlier this week which was pretty similar: Crist leading 46 percent to 41 percent for Scott. The liberals at Public Policy Polling (PPP) took a poll earlier this month and found Crist beating Scott 50 percent to 38 percent.
It’s a pretty far cry from what the Florida Chamber’s poll shows but there is one underlining similarity: Both PPP and the Florida Chamber found there are voters who don’t really like Scott as a person but still approve of the work he’s done in Tallahassee. Both polls found there are voters who don’t have a favorable view of Scott but still intend to vote for him over Crist. This means Scott’s benefiting from a pretty unique political circumstance. A sizable chunk of Scott voters don’t really like their guy personally but still intend to vote for him over Crist.
THE HOLLINGSWORTH EFFECT, PT. 2: FL CHAMBER POLL SHOWS RICK SCOTT APPROVAL SLIPS via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
Gov. Rick Scott’s poll numbers continue to remain somewhere between not-so-good and bad — even in a survey touted by one of his biggest backers, the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Its poll, released Tuesday, showed Scott’s job approval rating has dropped 7 percentage points since its last likely voter survey in June. But the chamber won’t actually tell you that. The trend stat was absent from the chamber’s press release.
The drop is yet another sign that Scott’s poll-obsessed chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, is struggling in fulfilling his mission of improving the governor’s public standing (yes, as noted previously, Scott bears ultimate responsibility for his image).
Hollingsworth made public-opinion surveys front and center when he told staffers that they need to help Scott’s numbers improve, as we noted last month. But Public Policy Polling and Quinnipiac University surveys indicated that not much has improved in the Hollingsworth era. Add the chamber’s polls, conducted by Cherry Communications, to the mix.
Rather than mention the Scott slippage, the chamber said its poll showed Scott would crush Democrat Nan Rich, 40-29%, and would do pretty well in a hypothetical match-up vs. former Gov. Charlie Crist, trailing his predecessor 41-46%. The relatively small, 5-point margin vs. Crist would seem like an outlier (other public and private polls show Crist with leads around 10 or so) were it not for a recent University of North Florida survey showing Scott trailing by just 4 points, 40-44 percent. Maybe there’s a trend.
But let’s stick with the number we know: The 7-point drop. Is 7 points a big deal? It was when Scott’s job-approval ticked up that exact amount between the chamber’s March and June polls. At that time, Scott’s all-time high was singled out by the chamber: “Governor Scott’s job approval rating has risen to 54 percent, up from 47 in March, and Floridians credit Governor Scott by nearly two-to-one (42 percent to 23 percent) over President Barack Obama for the state’s improved right track direction.”
So a 7-point uptick is great. But a 7-point drop? Nothin’ to see here, folks. But look at how bad Crist is doing!
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APPOINTED: Jeffry R. Jontz, Jefferson P. Knight, and Rachel E. Nordby to the Statewide Nominating Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Governor Rick Scott will highlight the importance of Florida manufacturing at Gatorade’s Kissimmee facility. 1650 South Poinciana Boulevard, Kissimmee. 9:20 a.m.
FEDERAL SHUTDOWN TO DELAY RELEASE OF FLORIDA’S JOBLESS NUMBERS via The News Service of Florida
The federal shutdown, while ended, will still impact the state’s calculation of unemployment. The jobless numbers for September that were scheduled to be released Friday at 10 a.m. are on hold
SCOTT SAYS WASHINGTON LEADERS HAVE ‘HEADS IN THE SAND’ via Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel
After maintaining radio silence on President Obama’s government shutdown standoff with House Republicans, Gov. Scott weighed in Thursday with a two-paragraph statement bashing lawmakers for having their “heads in the sand.”
The statement doesn’t single out Democrats, and reads as if the governor is attempting to channel the tea party disappointment with the budget compromise struck late Wednesday that will at least temporarily re-open shuttered federal agencies, parks and other operations — while raising the debt ceiling until February.
“Washington’s failure to reach a long-term agreement on the debt ceiling confirms our nation’s leaders have their heads in the sand about our economic future. America’s unchecked debt, along with the increase in inflation that follows, will only put us deeper in the hole we have been trying to climb out of since the national economic downturn,” Scott said in the statement.
“In Florida, we have paid down $3.5 billion in state debt over the last three years – ending the decades-long practice of racking up state debt – and paid back another $3.5 billion reemployment assistance federal loan. We need leadership in Washington. We need negotiation and compromise to reign in spending, pay down debt, and keep the dollar strong for our economy to grow. Americans deserve nothing less.”
TWEET, TWEET: @ItsWorkingFL: Today @FLGovScott announced 110 new jobs at Photon-X in @OsceolaCountyFl. #ItsWorking
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BONDI’S RE-ELECTION GETS BOOST FROM CURIOUSLY-TIMED TRUMP CONTRIBUTION via Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times
For the second time in more than a month, campaign contributions fueling the re-election efforts of Attorney General Pam Bondi are raising questions about the overlap between politics and how Florida’s top law enforcement officer performs her duties.
Bondi apologized last month after she persuaded Gov. Scott to delay an execution so she could host a fundraiser at her South Tampa home that ended up raising $140,000.
Now comes criticism of a $25,000 contribution made by one of Donald Trump’s foundations to a political committee associated with Bondi. The donation came three days after an Attorney General’s office spokeswoman said Bondi was reviewing allegations in a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general against get-rich-quick seminars associated with Trump.
FLASHBACK: LOOK WHAT I FOUND: AN ECO FOR BONDI, FLUSH WITH CASH
While Gov. Scott’s re-election committee garners all of the media attention, a political committee has been quietly established to bolster the re-election prospects of Bondi … and has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to the $624,594 Bondi raised for her campaign, her re-election campaign has the support of an Electioneering Communication Organization called “… And Justice for All” that is showing a HAUL of MORE THAN $850K in cash that should make any challenger very nervous. (Paging, George Sheldon.)
This ECO, which is managed by uber political accountant Nancy Watkins and chaired by Carlos Alfonso, is showing a single contribution of $500K from the Republican State Leadership Committee out of Washington, making it clear that keeping Bondi as Florida’s AG is a priority for the national GOP.
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FLA. SUPREME COURT PAGE “BLOCKED” BY FACEBOOK via James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune
To many, he’s still the face of the 2000 presidential election challenge in Florida, but he can’t get respect from Facebook. Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters says he recently set up a news feed page on the social networking site “as a test run to lay the groundwork for an official Facebook page” for the court.
“Facebook demolished those efforts when it blocked me from friending or communicating with anybody outside my existing circle of friends,” Waters posted. “There will not be an official Facebook page for the foreseeable future,” he added. “People understand that I cannot rely on a medium that arbitrarily restricts the Court’s ability to communicate with the public. I will find other media.”
The state’s highest court has used Twitter with no problems since April 2010, Waters said. On Thursday, Waters updated his post, saying he “made several attempts to contact (Facebook) and received no response.” An email to Facebook from the Tribune was auto-responded with, “We understand that you may be on deadline and will do our best to respond as quickly as possible.”
In the 2008 HBO film “Recount,” Waters is played by actor Alex Staggs in scenes reenacting announcements of court rulings that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore case that put George W. Bush in the White House.
POLL SHOWS FLORIDA VOTERS STRONGLY SUPPORT OFFSHORE DRILLING
Sixty-four percent of voters in Florida support offshore drilling for domestic oil and natural gas resources, according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive for API’s “What America is Thinking on Energy Issues” series. This support bridged across party lines, with clear majorities of Republicans (89 percent), Democrats (55 percent) and Independents (57 percent) all in favor of offshore drilling.
In Florida, 87 percent of voters also say producing more oil and natural gas here at home is important. Again, there was broad agreement between Republicans (92 percent), Democrats (86 percent) and Independents (81 percent). The Obama administration will soon begin work on its next five-year offshore leasing plan, in which areas of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico could be included for oil and natural gas leasing. Early next year, the administration is also expected to decide whether to permit seismic surveys in the Atlantic from Delaware to northern Florida for the first time in 30 years.
Seismic surveys, which have been used safely around the world for decades, are the most accurate method available to prospect for oil and natural gas reserves offshore apart from drilling. More accurate survey data makes offshore energy production safer and more efficient by reducing its environmental footprint. Technological advances and data collection improvements since seismic surveys were last conducted in the U.S. Atlantic OCS have rendered old resource estimates obsolete.
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AG PAM BONDI ENDORSES CHRIS SPROWLS IN HD 65
AG Bondi endorsed Chris Sprowls. Sprowls is running in District 65 covering the communities of Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and East Lake. Bondi touted Sprowls’ work as a prosecutor and his experience “on the front lines seeking justice.”
MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE DAVID WELCH TO RUN FOR DISTRICT 35 SEAT via Danny Valentine of the Tampa Bay Times
Welch, 48, is a residential counselor at a mental health center and the president of the Hernando chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He’s served on a number of local boards, including Friends of Weeki Wachee State Park, the Hernando Symphony Orchestra and the Anti-Drug Coalition.
The district, covering most of Hernando County, is currently held by Rep. Rob Schenck, who must leave office because of term limits.
Welch will become the second candidate to run for the seat, joining Republican Blaise Ingoglia, the Spring Hill home builder and vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
Asked about Welch’s candidacy, Ingolgia, in an email reply, said only that he wanted to continue to learn the concerns of Hernando voters.
This is Welch’s first time running for office.
SEAN SHAW BREAKS 100K RAISED MARK IN HD 61
Shaw last week filed a financial disclosure report that showed he had raised in excess of $100,000 for his campaign. The amount, $101,126.02, keeps Shaw at the front of the candidate pack once again, and makes him the first to pass this important financial milestone.
STATE ATTORNEY MARK OBER ENDORSES SHAWN HARRISON IN HD 63
Mark Ober, State Attorney for Hillsborough County, endorsed Shawn Harrison for House District 63 on Thursday. Ober has known Harrison for over twenty years and worked with him during the 2011 and 2012 sessions on criminal justice issues.
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NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Dan Barrow, Randy Enwright, Enwright Consulting Group: No Casinos, Inc.
Slater Bayliss, Sarah Busk, Al Cardenas, Justin Day, Stephen Shiver, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners LLC: Hillsborough County Aviation Authority
Doug Darling: Hammer Haag Steel, Inc., Vir-Sec, Inc.
James Harris: Hartman & Tyner, Inc.
Matthew Jackson, Brennan Manna & Diamond PL: Casbah Cafe, Inc.
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THE END OF STARBUCKS via Christopher Mims of Quartz
Robot baristas are coming—they’re already here, in some places—and there’s nothing we can do to stop them.
THE END OF THE WORLD via George Dvorsky of io9
Ukrainian scientists have detected an enormous “minor planet” asteroid that could hit Earth in 2032.
TODAY ON CONTEXT FLORIDA
Ben Kirby offers his take on the “shutdown debate that wasn’t”, and what he sees as the “societal malpractice of false equivalence” of presenting the parties as two “equally aggrieved sides.” Then, Rick Outzen shares his disappointment in President Obama’s mere veneer of transparency and openness, detailing the administration’s use of various “threats, intimidation and fear” to stifle watchdog efforts. Dominic Calabro advocates the expansion of Florida’s recreational fishing industry to diversify the use of water resources and grow and diversify the state’s economy; and Julie Delegal pens the fourth installment in her series on Common Core State Standards, this one on local control of curriculum.
Visit Context Florida to dig in.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to ‘Tally Madness’ winner Monica Rodriguez.