Sunburn for 10/19 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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***Only two finance reports for legislative candidates remain until the general election. The G3 totals due tonight include everything raised/spent from September 29 – October 12, 2012. If you’re not getting On 3 Public Relations’ comprehensive finance reports for your clients and contacts, turn in your politico card at the door on the way out.  www.On3PR.com. ***

NEWSMAX POLL OF FLORIDA: OBAMA 47%, ROMNEY 44%

Candidates are gearing up for a heated race in Florida, with President Barack Obama edging past GOP candidate Mitt Romney 47 to 44 percent, according to new data from a NewsmaxZogby Tracking Poll.

The numbers are within the margin of error for a dead heat, and it could be the undecideds who make up the difference: A full 10 percent declared themselves as such in the data.

Though Florida is leaning slightly Obama, the pressure is on for the president: Overall, more think it is “time for someone new” than think Obama “deserves to be re-elected” — 45 percent to 43 percent.  The NewsmaxZogby online survey of 828 likely voters is the first in a series of three focusing on Florida, and was conducted from Sunday, Oct. 14., through Tuesday, Oct. 16.

CHARLIE CRIST, OBAMA ATTACK DOG by Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald

Introduced by a top Democratic spokesman as “the great former governor,” Crist did just that this afternoon, criticizing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as they descend on Florida.

“Let’s call the Romney-Ryan economic plan what it is: A so-called five-point plan that is really a one-point plan. One set of rules for them and their friends and another set of rules for everyone else – the same bad ideas that created the crisis in the first place. Mitt Romney is offering the American people, as the president said, a ‘sketchy deal,’ ” Crist said.

Crist said Romney “mislead” voters during Tuesday’s debate on his attacks on Obama over the Libya attacks and by ignoring his previous pledge to veto the Dream Act. He mentioned the “Ryan-Romney budget” that would force deep cuts and increase costs for Medicare (Romney says he likes the House budget but has made it clear he’d pursue his own.)

… In a Q&A with reporters, Crist was asked about his previous support for the Bush tax cuts, and extending them. “What I’ve supported is trying to keep taxes low,” he said. “What we’re talking about in this election is a candidate that wants to give tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and we have a president who wants to make sure that everybody gets a fair shake and a fair share …”

OCTOBER SURPRISE

Gawker reports a mysterious new website promising “an October Surprise that will change the 2012 election.”

The big news — which is hinted in blurry teaser documents — will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. on October 22nd.

Let the speculation begin.

ROMNEY TO JOIN RYAN AT RALLY IN DAYTONA TODAY 

Romney‘s campaign announced that the GOP nominee will join running mate Paul Ryan at a rally in Daytona Beach on Friday night. The rally was announced earlier in the week as a Ryan-headlined event.

Ryan will be in Boca Raton earlier Friday for a fundraiser. And Romney will make a pair of money stops in Palm Beach on Saturday.

Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in the state Friday and Saturday, including a Friday appearance in Fort Pierce.

Romney and President Obama will be in Boca Raton on Monday for the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University.

TWEET, TWEET: @TroyKinsey: Gov. Scott’s Friday schedule is out; he conspicuously won’t be attending the Romney-Ryan evening rally in Daytona Beach.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @pambondi: Enjoying hanging w/staunch conservative Dennis Miller before intro’ing @PaulRyanVP tonight

OBAMA TO RALLY POST-DEBATE IN DELRAY NEXT TUESDAY

President Obama will apear at a rally in Delray Beach next Tuesday, a day after the final presidential debate. The campaign did not release more details.

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. With more than 45 years of combined legislative and regulatory knowledge and experience, Corcoran & Johnston’s ability to navigate through the processes and politics of government and deliver for their clients is unmatched.***

CONNIE MACK ASKS FOR ANOTHER DEBATE WITH “TIRED OLD LIBERAL … DRUNKEN SAILOR” BILL NELSON by William March of the Tampa Tribune

The morning after their only televised debate, which took place Wednesday night in Fort Lauderdale, Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen made the request in a letter to Nelson campaign manager Pete Mitchell.

He said, in essence, that another debate is needed so voters could see more of what an incompetent liberal Nelson is, which Cohen says is what they saw Wednesday night.

Wednesday night, Cohen wrote, voters “saw dramatic contrasts between Congressman Mack’s mainstream conservative principles and his unwavering belief in freedom versus Senator Nelson’s tired old liberal ways of raising taxes, spending like a drunken sailor, and his double-talk about virtually every topic discussed during the debate.”

EXCLUSIVE FIRST-LOOK AT LATEST POLLING DATA IN FLA.’S KEY CONGRESSIONAL RACES

Here is a look at fresh polling numbers in five key battleground races via St. Pete Polls.

CD 2 – Democrat Al Lawson 46.7%, Republican Steve Southerland 47.4%, Undecided 5.9%

CD 9 – Democrat Alan Grayson 44.8%, Republican Todd Long 40.3%; Undecided 14.9%

CD 10 – Democrat Val Demings 42.3%, Republican Dan Webster 50.0%

CD 18 – Democrat Patrick Murphy 41.8%, Republican Alan West 50.9%

CD 22 – Democrat Lois Frankel 48.0%, Republican Adam Hasner 44.8%

CD 26 – Democrat Joe Garcia 43.4%, Republican David Rivera 45.9%

VERN BUCHANAN DEBATES CHALLENGER KEITH FITZGERALD Storify here. Video here.

ABORTION-RIGHTS NO ON 6 GROUP KEEPS ON MOCKING RICK SCOTT by Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel

The No on 6 group that has drawn some $2.5 million from Planned Parenthood clinics around the country has a new ad out that depicts Scott look-a-like walking into a woman’s exam room and wrestling her chart away from the doctor.

“Have you noticed how politicians keep trying to play doctor, trying to get their political agenda into your doctor’s office?” the narrator says.

And the critics of the amendment have already made use of the unpopular Republican governor– a supporter of the amendment — to try and damage the amendment. The No on 6 group has already spent $2 million on television spots to run over the final weeks before the election, but spokesman Damien Filer won’t say where specific ads are running.

DAN WEBSTER OFF OF STU ROTHERNBERG’S UPSET WATCH

Stu Rothenberg: “There are now so many GOP surveys showing Dan Webster in pretty good shape that I left the race in Florida’s 10th district off the list.”

***To learn the facts about Florida’s new university, Florida Polytechnic University, and the growing group of supporters that make up Poly Vision, visit www.floridapolyvision.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @FLPolyVision.***

NEW POLL CONFIRMS FRANK BRUNO’S CHANCES OF WINNING SD 8 ARE SLIPPING AWAY

It was suggested yesterday by the Orlando Sentinel that Democratic hopes for a Frank Bruno win over Dorothy Hukill in State Senate District 8 are beginning to fade. A new survey from St. Pete Polls confirms the Democrats’ worst fears. Hukill leads Bruno 50% to 38% in this new poll with a margin of error of 4.4%.

LATEST POLL OF SD 34: ELLYN BOGDANOFF 48%, MARIA SACHS 45%

The match-up between Democrat Maria Sachs and Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff is living up to the competitive expectations political observers had for the race for State Senate District 34 as just three points separate the two candidates, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls.

Bogdanoff now leads Sachs 48% to 45%, although these numbers fall within the poll’s margin of error of 4.0%. Still, these new numbers represent a six-point swing in Bogdanoff’s favor over the last week. Then, Sachs narrowly led Bogdanoff, 43.5% to 43.1%.

REP. CLAY FORD OFFICIALLY ON HIS WAY BACK TO TALLY AS OPPONENT WITHDRAWS

Another day, another random write-in candidate for the Florida House has dropped out of a race. Write-in candidate Christine Bruha has withdrawn from the race for House District 2.

Bruha’s presence on the ballot, just as a write-in candidate, meant that the Republican primary between incumbent Clay Ford and first-time candidate Jeremy Bosso was closed to Democrats and Independents.

With Bruha’s withdrawal Ford is officially on his way back to Tallahassee. Not that there ever was any doubt.

PROMINENT DEMOCRATS ENDORSE HALSEY BESHEARS FOR HD 7

Beshears announced the endorsements of several prominent Northwest Florida Democrats including: Former President of the Florida Senate and former Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Crawford, Former Speaker of the Florida House and former President of Florida State University TK Wetherell and former Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources Virginia Wetherell.

“I am honored and humbled by the continued bi-partisan support received during the campaign,” said candidate Halsey Beshears. “My campaign has been based on bringing our north Florida values to Tallahassee. Much the same as Mr. Crawford and the Mr. and Mrs. Wetherell, my campaign is not focused on party affiliation, it’s focused on improving on north Florida communities and fighting for every hard working family in House District 7.

IN HD 34, JIMMIE SMITH ADDS TO $ EDGE, WHILE NANCY ARGENIZANO SUES FLORIDA GOP

Trying to fend off a challenge from former lawmaker Nancy Argenziano, state Rep. Jimmie Smith collected $32,160 in contributions between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, according to newly filed records.

Smith has raised an overall total of $222,622 for the District 34 race in Citrus and Hernando counties. During the latest period, he received checks from companies and groups such as Humana, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Argenziano’s latest fund-raising totals were not posted on the state Division of Elections website Thursday.

… Argenziano filed suit against the Republican Party of Florida, claiming that a direct mailer sent by the party falsely accuses her of breaking the law. The mailpiece doesn’t specifically say how, but the intimation is that she broke the law when “she filed to run for Congress as a Democrat.”

Argenziano denies she broke any law. She never actually filed as a Democrat, a fact that is easily checked, she said. The mailer, she said, is a libelous attempt to hurt her current campaign for a state House seat.

HORNER-REPLACEMENT MIKE LAROSA RAISES A QUICK $60K FOR HIS CAMPAIGN

Buoyed by $45,000 from the state Republican Party, last-minute candidate Mike LaRosa collected $60,300 in contributions between Oct. 1 and Oct. 12 as he tries to capture the House District 42 seat, new records show.

LaRosa, who also loaned his campaign $25,000, entered the race after Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee, stepped aside because of being named in a prostitution investigation. Along with getting money from the state party, LaRosa also received contributions from companies and groups such as TECO Energy and the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association.

MARCO PENA ENDORSED BY PUERTO RICAN LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: House District 49 is 31% Hispanic; this endorsement could have impact.

TAMPA BAY TIMES ENDORSES DEMOCRAT DWIGHT DUDLEY IN HD 68, KATHLEEN PETERS IN HD 69

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board is endorsing Democrat Dwight Dudley in House District 68 and Kathleen Peters in House District 69.

About Dudley vs. Farkas, Nickens and Co. write that Dudley, ” …understands the importance of properly funding public schools and higher education, supports improving Florida’s ports and opposes paying for expanded highways by adding toll lanes”; Farkas “too often went along with wrongheaded House leadership in his first stint, and the nuclear plant law was not the only time he voted in favor of special interests and against the consumer.”

About District 69, the editorial board writes, “Both candidates offer thoughtful approaches to governing, but Peters’ experience in government makes her best prepared to make an impact.”

OTHER TIMES ENDORSEMENTS: District 34: Nancy Argenziano, District 35: Rose Rocco, District 57: Jake Raburn, District 58: Dan Raulerson, District 59: Gail Gottlieb, District 62: Janet Cruz, District 63: Shawn Harrison
District 65: Carl Zimmermann, District 66: Mary Louise Ambrose, District 67: Ed Hooper.

SUN-SENTINEL ENDORSES BILL HAGER FOR HD 89 – Read the editorial here.

WALKING THIS WEEKEND: HD 69 candidate Kathleen Peters, meeting at Leverock’s, 840 South Pasadena Blvd., St. Petersburg. Beginning at 9:00 a.m.

***Are you tired of getting your ASSETS TAXED OFF? Amendment 4 can help. Join the movement at TaxYourAssetsOff.com or check us out on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.***

COMEDY CENTRAL’S “5 RULES TO WIN THE MILLENIALS VOTE THROUGH HUMOR: “Avoid political hack. Save the joke writers for AARP night. You can’t force funny with young voters. Millennials want a candidate with a genuine sense of humor. … Don’t make light of serious issues, as fun as that is. As much as Millennials love a good laugh, they are fiercely compassionate. They want candidates with solutions, not wisecracks. … It’s ok for a candidate to make fun of himself. Humor humanizes, and a well-timed joke at one’s own expense shows personality and self-awareness. Just don’t make fun of your opponent, that’s the job of professional comedians. … Stay up late. Do an interview with a respected late night comedian. They’re a great way to connect with the electorate. Not only will you have a professional host to keep things from stalling, but you’ll be allowed to lighten up.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY this weekend to Disney lobbyist Adam Babington.

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.