Sunburn for 10/31 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! IT’S SIX DAYS TO ELECTION DAY!

HURRICANE FORCES ANTI-POLITICS POLITICS by Jonathan Allen

“As wind and driving rain began to whip the East Coast in earnest Monday, President Barack Obama hunkered down in Washington to attend briefings – but dispatched Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton to continue campaigning without him. … Romney is headed to Dayton, Ohio, where at he plans to devote an event to hurricane relief. Paul Ryan will collect donations at a campaign center in La Crosse, Wis. … Romney, in particular, finds himself in a box: He can’t campaign or raise money in states affected by the storm while the president’s every move, from calling governors to visiting Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to convening meetings in the Situation Room, wraps the trappings of the Oval Office around his campaign.

“But Romney has one big advantage: He is free of the risk the president bears in failing, or even appearing to fail, to pull the levers of government to effectively respond to the expected devastation. And he has little choice but to limit his campaigning. … Romney canceled a slate of campaign events late Monday. A campaign aide said there was fear that the media would look for ways to criticize the campaign if it had gone on with a full schedule. … Obama, who bolted from Florida to Washington, D.C., ahead of schedule, sent out a note to his donor list Monday afternoon soliciting contributions not for a final ad push but for the Red Cross. It borrowed from the language he used in official remarks that seemed intended to remind his supporters of his commander in chief bona fides. … But even as Obama sought donations for the Red Cross, his aides were knocking Romney on a conference call with reporters and his campaign prepared to release a new TV ad in Ohio. ‘We’re obviously going to lose a bunch of campaign time but that’s as it has to be,’ … David Axelrod said on the conference call. ‘For us, it’s not a matter of optics, it’s a matter of responsibility and Gov. Romney can decide for himself what he wants to do. … The president has real responsibilities and those responsibilities come first.’

HURRICAN-OMICS

Matthew Yglesias: “The recession could be cured by unorthodox monetary policy or by fiscal policy measures, but it hasn’t been. So you’re left hoping that the marginal product of capital will increase, thus bringing savings and investment back into equilibrium. An exciting new technological discovery could make that happen. And so could a hurricane. If there are already a bunch of perfectly good cranes in town, then nobody wants to invest in new cranes, and the crane factory sits idle. But if a hurricane wrecks a bunch of cranes, then the marginal value of a new hurricane goes up, and people want to invest in new cranes.”

NELSON SENDS OUT PITCH FOR RED CROSS by John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post

With the Northeast digging out from Hurricane Sandy, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson paused Tuesday to send out a fund-raising email for the American Red Cross.

“One days like today, it’s crucial we put politics aside and come together as Americans,” Nelson said in a message to supporters with a link to the Red Cross site.

SANDY TO DISRUPT ELECTIONS? 

FEMA is preparing for that possibility, reports POLITICO’s Alex Guillén. “Based on the storm, there could be impacts that would linger into next week and have impacts on the federal election,” agency administrator Craig Fugate told reporters. “We’re going through the regulatory policy and making sure all that’s in place and we can support it.” But can federal elections be delayed? That’s up to individual states, Guillén reports.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There has been a series of extreme weather incidents. That is not a political statement, that is a factual statement. Anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns is denying reality,” – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

TWEET, TWEET:

@ananavarro: I don’t care who it may help/hurt politically, I’m happy state & fed authorities cooperating in #Sandy relief. When they don’t, ppl suffer

@FiveThirtyEight (Nate Silver) CAN’T BELIEVE METOROLOGISTS USED MATH AND SCIENCE TO PREDICT THIS STORM. THEY MUST BE MAGIC WIZARDS.

@GovChristie: I want to thank the President personally for all his assistance as w recover from the storm.

@SStossel: That Romney convention zinger about Obama wanting to stop the seas from rising seeming less zingy about now

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TIGHT RACE, BUT OBAMA LEADS IN SWING STATES

A new NPR poll shows Romney edging Obama among likely voters nationally, 48% to 47%.

However, Obama leads by 4 percentage points, 50% to 46%, in 12 states battleground states: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

MORE SWING STATE POLLS

Florida: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (Newsmax/Zogby); Florida: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (SurveyUSA); Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (Newsmax/Zogby); Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 47% (Newsmax/Zogby).

IS OBAMA’S FL CAMP TOO CONFIDENT ABOUT HISPANIC NUMBERS by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald

Public Policy Polling, a firm that typically surveys for Democrats, found that Obama was actually losing the Florida Hispanic vote 46-54 to Republican Mitt Romney. But it doesn’t poll in Spanish, and the sample size was small. Two Mason-Dixon polls this weekend had mixed news for Obama. It showed him up 56-37 percent in the crucial I-4 corridor, but he was down 19-76 percent among Cuban voters in Miami-Dade. And they’re amped to vote, casting about 44 percent of the 134,000 absentee ballots that have been mailed in so far.

CROSSROADS FINISHING WITH MASSIVE AD BUY IN FLORIDA by Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

A fresh ad from American Crossroads, which suggests President Obama has no ideas to cut the deficit and grow jobs. The ad buy is a whopping $4.4 million, a Crossroads official said. Also, the sister group Crossroads GPS is up with a Spanish-language ad. View the ad here.

ROMNEY IN FLORIDA TODAY

Romney’s campaign website says he is scheduled to speak to supporters at Landmark Aviation, 2450 N. Westshore Boulevard in Tampa. Doors for the event open at 8:45 a.m. with Romney scheduled to speak around 10:45 a.m. Later, he speaks in Coral Gables, then Jacksonville on Wednesday night. To attend visit the Romney website here.

VP BIDEN DROPS IN ON SARASOTA

Biden visited an Obama campaign office this afternoon in Sarasota, in advance of his rally there tomorrow.

Biden greeted two young girls whose mother is deployed to Iraq, her 8th tour. “God love you,” the VP said dotingly to the girls, according to a press pool report. He shared that his son had been deployed there for a year. “I probably met your mom,” he said, telling them how often he’d visited.

Biden also remarked to volunteers, “It must be strange for you Floridians to see a hurricane up north.” Response was some agreeing yeses and hesitant laughs, the report said.

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MACK CAMPAIGN PREDICTS MACK WIN, BY 1.4%! by John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post

Although most public polls show Mack trailing in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, the underdog’s campaign manager made a bold and very precise prediction Tuesday:

Mack will win. By 1.4 percent.

“Virtually every public poll shows that the race between Connie Mack and Bill Nelson has remained close and is now too close to call,” said the Mack campaign’s Jeff Cohen. “Our own campaign’s internal data shows very similar and even stronger trends.”

Cohen said those in the campaign “are absolutely confident that Connie Mack will win by 1.4 percent and will be Florida’s next U.S. senator.” 

BLOG POST OF THE DAY: DO NEWSPAPER ENDORSEMENTS HAVE ANY EFFECT? by Bill Cotterell for Florida Voices

In 2010, a Republican named Rick Scott ignored editorial boards, knowing they would never support him for governor anyway. Almost unanimously, newspapers recommended Attorney General Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination, then Democrat Alex Sink for governor. … So much for endorsements.

JOE HENDERSON COLUMN: DON’T FALL VICTIM TO TALLAHASSEE’S CAMPAIGN

I acknowledge I’m saying no to religious freedom (Amendment 8), reducing property taxes (Amendment 4), a homestead property tax exemption for surviving spouses of military veterans or first responders (Amendment 9) and a property tax break for low-income seniors (Amendment 11).

You know why?

Because the Legislature played the voters in this state for chumps, that’s why.

NYC’S BLOOMBERG GETS INVOLVED IN DEMINGS VS. WEBSTER RACE 

What the heck did Florida congressman Dan Webster do to piss off New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

That’s what Webster’s campaign must be asking itself after Bloomberg’s political action committee Independence USA launced a $1.1 million ad blitz against Webster and on behalf of Democrat Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief who has sided with Bloomberg on gun control issues.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that officials with Independence USA could not be reached for comment. But Demings’ support for some measure of gun control could be a factor in why Bloomberg’s committee is coming to the aid of Demings.

“Nearly every liberal special interest group has attacked Dan Webster this cycle — Planned Parenthood, organized labor, EMILY’s list, and now Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun PAC,” said Webster spokeswoman Katie Patchett. “Clearly Bloomberg, who only supports candidates aligned with his anti-gun agenda, believes $1.1 million is the going rate for a Congressional seat.”

TWEET OF THE DAY: @BrechtHeuchan: #Sandy will feel like warm bath to Bloomberg compared to Marian Hammer encounter

SUPERPAC AD BASHES ADAM HASNER FOR NOT SUPPORTING STEM CELL RESEARCH Watch ad here.

DID ALLEN WEST MAKE HIS TRACKER CRY?

U.S Rep Allen West seems to have berated a Democratic tracker — a staffer from the opposing side assigned to follow him — to the point of tears at an event last week, reports BuzzFeed.

“There’s a person here that has been tracking me around,” West said in the middle of his speech at a Vietnam memorial. “She is here for political purposes. And young lady, I ask that you leave. Because you are disrespectful to the men and women who have given themselves to this great nation. We do not need, we do not care for what you are presenting here.”

“So if you have any amount of respect within you, I ask that you leave right now, turn off that camera, and stop using this for political purposes,” West said.

At the end of the video, the tracker sounds to be sniffling as she leaves the event. Video here.

ALLEGED STRAW CANDIDATE IN RIVERA RACE TAKES FIFTH via the News Service of Florida

A man who allegedly served as a straw candidate in the Democratic primary in Congressional District 26 has declined to fill out a required report with the Federal Elections Commission on Fifth Amendment grounds. “On counsel’s advice, I invoke my rights under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States not to answer or submit the information requested on FEC Form 3, on the grounds that I may incriminate myself,” Justin Lamar Sternad wrote in a letter to the FEC. Sternad earlier filed a blank copy of the report.

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SD 4 CANDIDATES BEAN, SODERBERG DEBATE ON RADIO 

Democratic state Senate candidate Nancy Soderberg peppered Republican Aaron Bean about health care industry contributions and Bean said she got money from the industry too in a debate on Jacksonville area radio.

The Times Union‘s Matt Dixon sums up here.

>>>On Tuesday, the T-U endorsed Bean over Soderberg.

IN HD 7, A TAME CLASH WITH FEW DIFFERENCES IN UNIQUE DISTRICT by Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida

The race between Halsey Beshears and Robert Hill for a north Florida House seat has in some ways become an almost genteel affair, as a recent forum here showed. The two agreed on most of the issues, were understated in their disagreements, and neither launched any of the “zingers” that were the standard fare of the presidential debates.

“What’s the point of being nasty to each other?” said Beshears, a president of the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association and a businessman, when asked if the two were always that nice.

Hill, who served for the last 12 years as Liberty County clerk of court, was similarly unsurprised by the tone.

“It has been that way,” said Hill, whose position required him to double as county administrator. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

The peace could come from the oddities of the district. It spans nine counties from Calhoun in the Panhandle to Lafayette in the Big Bend and also takes in a piece of Leon. It is essentially a new seat, covering at least a share of what used to be six different House seats, created by this year’s redistricting process. 

COMMITTEE PUMMELS HD 67 CANDIDATE FOR ‘RECORD’ OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. View mailer here.

MUDSLINGING CONTINUES IN HD 68 RACE BETWEEN DWIGHT DUDLEY AND FRANK FARKAS by Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times

The video begins with Heather Carter sitting in a chair near a window. For 11 minutes, she talks softly about her abusive relationship with her ex-husband.

She recalls the time he tried to attack her with a shovel in April 2011 at their daughter’s school.

Then she blames his criminal attorney — Dwight Dudley, Democratic candidate for Florida House District 68 — for ruining her life by helping her ex-husband avoid jail time.

Dudley’s opponent, Republican Frank Farkas, paid for the video and began using 30-second clips as television spots this week.

MY TAKE: With Frank Farkas’ latest negative attack, it’s clear Farkas’ consultant Jack Hebert never learned the lessons of 2006. Blog post here.

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BIG DAY FOR BUDGET REQUESTS

The Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget hears presentations from state agencies about their legislative budget requests for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 and long-range program plans for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 through Fiscal Year 2017-2018. The presentations start 9 a.m. Wednesday the Knott Building, Rooms 116 and 117, in Tallahassee.

COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TAX WORKING GROUP MEETS

It continues its work on a report on tax issues related to the sale of communications services. The report is due to the governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House by Feb 1.

FLORIDIANS CONSUMER CONFIDENCE REMAINS AT NEAR POST-RECESSION HIGH

The five survey components that measure overall confidence indicate that Florida’s consumers were both upbeat and concerned in October. For example, their level of confidence in the nation’s economic health over the next year rose three points to 84, “a post-recession high.” The survey, however, also showed that confidence in personal finances compared with a year ago fell three points to 61.

FLORIDA EMPLOYMENT UNCHANGED AT ITS SMALLEST BUSINESSES

At Florida’s businesses that employ 20 people or less, the employment picture was unchanged in October, according to Intuit Payroll in a report released Tuesday. Nationwide, the smallest firms created 10,000 fewer jobs in October, a 0.05 percent decrease since September.

PERSONNEL NOTE: JENNIFER FENNELL NAMED A VP AT COREMESSAGE; JAMIE MONGIOVI JOINS FIRM

Following four years as the firm’s Managing Director, Jennifer Fennell has been promoted to Vice President of Tallahassee-based CoreMessage. She will assume a strategic leadership role at the firm in addition to managing client accounts. Fennell also earned her Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) credential through the Florida Public Relations Association this summer.

Jamie Mongiovi recently joined CoreMessage as an account executive. Mongiovi, who previously served as a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Education, brings a decade of experience in education policy, legislative affairs, and public relations to the CoreMessage team.

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.