Sunburn for 10/4 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

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A House Republican tells The New York Times that the speaker has reportedly told colleagues he will refuse to allow a federal default even if he has to violate the so-called Hastert Rule, the informal policy of not bringing action to the floor that does not have at least a majority of Republican votes. A spokesman for Boehner denied Boehner has made such a decision. 


Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert tells National Journal the rule that bears his name is a figment of the media’s imagination: “There is no Hastert Rule, no.” 


But only if it means GOP lawmakers will pass a bill that funds the government for six months. “We need to find some resolution to the stalemate,” said Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis. “We are also interested in trying to fix a flaw we perceive in the Affordable Care Act, the medical device tax.” 

WINNING THE SHUTDOWN via Nina Strochlic of the Daily Beast

Some unlikely bedfellows—Dolly Parton, foreign spies, and the Newseum—are getting the most out of the crisis. 

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Back in 1998, Times columnist Maureen Dowd reflected on her father’s career working for the Capitol police shortly after the deaths of John Gibson and Jacob Chestnut, two Capitol officers who “died doing something large and brave and important, defending freedom.” Dowd discusses the importance of men like Gibson, Chestnut and her father, whom she was embarrassed to call a cop when she was a child. “Nowadays, I never say my father worked in politics. I simply say, with the greatest possible pride, that he was a cop.” Dowd’s op-ed is here.


Others before him helped make Washington a dysfunctional capital, but is President Obama most to blame for government’s current state of disrepair? Beth Reinhard: “Obama’s tendency to impugn Republican motives–instead of attributing conflict to a different view of the federal government’s role or contrasting economic philosophy–has helped erode what little good will was left between the two parties when he took office.” More from the National Journal here.


Obama has undoubtedly failed to do lots of things–from gun control to immigration reform–but that’s not most accurate gauge of his power or how much he’s accomplished. He’s been forced to become a do-it-yourself president amid tea-party obstructionism, but acting unilaterally on the budget crisis might elicit the strongest backlash yet from his detractors. More from the National Journal here

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House Majority PAC announced today that it would begin running a multimedia campaign – including search and television advertising – calling out Rep. Steve Southerland for what it describes as “his role in causing a government shutdown and playing reckless games with the economy.”

The Google and Bing search advertising campaign will ensure that as north and northwest Floridians search for information about Rep. Steve Southerland’s, they’ll be able to learn more and register their disapproval through  

Additionally, House Majority PAC will begin airing tomorrow in Tallahassee a television ad taking Rep. Steve Southerland to task for what it says are “the dangerous games he’s playing with our economy in backing a government shutdown.” In particular, the ad points out that Southerland is still being paid during this shutdown, even though Southerland said that his $174,000 a year taxpayer-funded salary is “not so much.”

“Shutting down the federal government is just a political game for Steve Southerland that puts jobs, retirement security and our economy at risk,” said Andy Stone, Communications Director for House Majority PAC. “Of course, what else should Floridians expect from Southerland since he still gets paid during this GOP shutdown, even though he once said his $174,000-a-year taxpayer-funded salary is ‘not so much.’” 

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FLORIDA’S NEW VOTER PURGE MAP via The News Service of Florida

Secretary of State Ken Detzner kicked off a five-city “Project Integrity” tour in Panama City to educate supervisors of elections about a controversial non-citizen voter purge.

Detzner’s staff distributed a flow chart and FAQ to supervisors laying out the process state and local officials will use to determine whether someone should be removed from the voting rolls.

Despite assurances from Detzner, supervisors remain skeptical about the purge based on their experiences last year. Lists generated by Detzner’s office created by matching voter registration data and driver’s license records flagged thousands, many of whom turned out to be citizens and therefore eligible to vote. More than half of those flagged on one list were minorities, a voting bloc that played a huge role in President Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012.

In a telephone conference with reporters Thursday morning, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz blasted Gov. Rick Scott, who’s pushed the non-citizen voter purge, for resuming what Schultz called an “unmitigated disaster” last year.

“Rick Scott and his Republican friends can’t win elections on their merits so they resort to intimidation and voter suppression,” Wasserman Schultz said.

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APPOINTED: Gary Harrod and Martin Garcia (reappointed) to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.

APPOINTED: Anthony Anderson as the Interim Liberty County Superintendent of Schools.  

APPOINTED: John Stafford to the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority.


Alan Edwards is the new Director of Administration for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Alan was previously the Director of Policy and Budget and has served with the agency for more than 20 years in various accounting roles. Prior to joining the department, he was the Controller for a multi-million dollar construction company and sole proprietor of a CPA firm.

Derek Buchanan is the new Director of Policy and Budget. Derek joined the department in 2008 and has held several positions in finance and accounting and policy and budget. Previously he served as a Senior Auditor for the Florida Auditor General’s Office. 

Brooke McKnight has been tapped to be Cabinet Affairs Director. McKnight was promoted from Deputy Cabinet Affairs Director, a position she was named to in 2011. Previously, she served as Senior Legislative Assistant for Putnam during his time in Congress. Prior to that, she worked for Florida state Rep. Rich Glorioso. 

Jessica Field moves into McKnight’s former job as Deputy Cabinet Affairs Director. Field began work with the agency on Oct. 1 after serving with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection since 2008, most recently as an environmental consultant within the Siting Coordination Office and prior to that as a Senior Cabinet Aide. Previous work also includes stints at Southern Strategy Group and the Florida Department of Financial Services. 

Jon Rees is the new Deputy Legislative Affairs Director. Rees will start at the department on Monday, Oct. 7. Rees is a former governmental and political affairs coordinator for Associated Industries of Florida and most recently served as the legislative assistant to state Rep. Ross Spano. 


The Florida Board of Medicine: Meets to consider dozens of disciplinary cases involving physicians at 8 a.m., Caribe Royale, 8101 World Center Dr., Orlando.

Detzner continues to meet with Elections supervisors: Secretary of State Ken Detzner will continue meeting with local elections supervisors to discuss renewed efforts to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls at 11 a.m., 117 West Duval St., Jacksonville.

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Gaetz re-emphasized his support of Rep. Steve Precourt for the leadership position at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, saying he should not be counted out for the job simply because he is a legislator.

In the state House, Precourt was “deeply involved” in legislative issues that affected the Expressway Authority, including efforts to consolidate the OOCEA with other regional highway authorities, according to Jason Garcia in the Orlando Sentinel.  

Now the Orlando Republican has become one of over a dozen candidates looking to replaced ousted chief Max Crumit as executive director.

If he were to be named to the top job, the term-limited Precourt would have to resign his remaining year in the House.

“I’ve worked with Rep. Precourt. I’ve negotiated with him. He’ s not someone who has developed his interest and his expertise in transportation policy solely as a legislator. This is an area that he truly understands and can contribute to,” Gaetz told the Sentinel.  “I don’t think Rep. Precourt should be discriminated against because he is a legislator.”

Gaetz also told reporters he has the ability to prevent a vote this legislative session on gambling legislation which would allow construction of several Florida “destination resort” casinos. As a Senate president, Gaetz has complete control over which issues get a vote on the floor.

It “depends on how much support the bill has in the body…If it’s a close call, as president of the Senate, I’m allowed to put my thumb on the scale,” Gaetz said.

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JAY FANT FILES TO RUN FOR DAN DAVIS’ HOUSE SEAT via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union

Jacksonville Republican Jay Fant filed paperwork Thursday to run for the House seat currently held by state Rep. Daniel Davis, who is not seeking reelection.

“I intend to do everything in my power to make sure that Jacksonville’s entrepreneurs, small businesses and working families have economic opportunity,” he said in a statement.

He says his campaign will focus on “improving northeast Florida’s economy,” according to the release announcing his candidacy. Fant has hired Front Line Strategies, a consulting firm founded by Brett Doster, one of the state’s best known political consultants.

The initial release came with early endorsements from former JEA Managing Director Jim Dickenson and former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton.

“Jay and his family have been fixtures in Jacksonville’s small business community for decades,” Peyton said.  “Jay understands our community, reflects our values, and has a strong sense of what needs to be done to bring more jobs to northeast Florida.”

Fant is best known as the third-generation chairman and CEO of First Guaranty Bank, which was Jacksonville oldest until its eight branches were closed in Jan. 2012 and taken over by CenterState Bank.

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BEST CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT EVER via Public Campaign’s Adam Smith 

This may be the single best campaign finance report ever filed. Betsy Pauline Elgar- a special election candidate for president, according to her filing – claims to have $3.2 billion cash on hand. Her cover letter to the FEC begins: ‘I wanted to inform you how some people like to mess [unreadable] with me.’ She stamped every single page of her FEC report “confidential.” And the “contributions” to her campaign are all government benefits: She claims to have received $20 million in food stamps and $30 million in social service grants. 

FOLLOW: @CampFinMoments




Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Dr. Darryl Paulson, Professor Emeritus of Government -USF-St. Petersburg; Carol Gentry, Editor and Founder, Health News Florida/WUSF; April Schiff (Americans for Prosperity), Political Consultant; Dr. Mona Mangat, Physician/Physicians For America

Political Connections on Orlando’s 13 News: Sen. Darren Soto

Political Connections on Tampa Bay’s BayNews 9: Rep. Darryl Rouson

The Usual Suspects on Tallahassee’s WCTV: Some crazy-ass blogger named Peter Schorsch

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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will speak to the Economic Club of Florida at noon on Friday, October 4, in A2-A3 of the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee.  Media are invited to cover his presentation: “Economic Impact of the Republican National Convention and Super Bowls.”

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY this weekend to the most beautiful girl in the entire world, Ella Joyce Schorsch. Can you believe she’s one year old already?!?!

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.