A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
***Today’s SUNBURN is sponsored by Ron Sachs Communications, Florida’s preeminent public affairs communications firm. Ron Sachs Communications provides its clients with a competitive advantage built on strategic relationships, dynamic creativity and smart and aggressive communications strategies that generate superior results. If you want to win, you’ll want to have Ron Sachs Communications on your side. www.RonSachs.com ***
IT TOOK UNTIL SATURDAY, BUT OBAMA DECLARED WINNER OF FLORIDA via Amy Hollyfield of the Tampa Bay Times
Chris Cate, spokesman for the Florida secretary of state’s office tweeted at 12:40 p.m. Saturday: All counties have reported their 1st unofficial results. The website is updating to reflect these results. **No presidential recount.**
The results for the presidential race show: Barack Obama, 4,236,032, 50.01 percent; Mitt Romney, 4,162,174, 49.13 percent.
Shortly after, the Associated Press called the race for Obama, adding 29 eletoral votes to his count for a final 332 to 206 advantage.
TWEET, TWEET: @yoonCNN: Obama becomes 1st Democrat to carry Florida twice in presidential elections since FDR
FLORIDA SCREWED UP AGAIN
Rick Hasen: “Think of all the problems in Florida: the on, again off again in-person absentee balloting in Miami Dade, put in place by local election officials against the wishes of the mayor to get around the cutbacks on early voting by the governor and legislature; the multiple ballot snafus in Palm Beach County; long lines in cites throughout the state; major problems in handling some absentee ballots; election officials in one county telling people that they could vote through the end of the day Wednesday. … Let’s declare Florida an election disaster area and bring in the feds.”
2VERY TELLING STATISTICS
In 38 of 67 counties, fewer people cast a ballot for president this time than in 2008.
Only 80,351 more people voted now than in 2008 even though the voter rolls increased by 686,812, according to the latest numbers from the state’s elections division.
10 FLORIDA REPUBLICANS WHO HELPED MAKE VOTING MORE DIFFICULT via the Huffington Post: Dennis Baxley, Mike Bennett, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Miguel Diaz De la Portilla, Eric Eisnaugle, Don Gaetz, Carlos Gimenez, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, David Rivera, and Rick Scott.
MUST-READ ANALYSIS: DID LITTLE HAVANA JUST GO BLUE? On my blog here.
‘UNFRIENDING’ MITT ROMNEY: Soon after Romney conceded the presidential election, more than 55,025 Facebook users have “unliked” Romney, at a rate of about 847 an hour, according to Mashable.
SMITH’S WINNERS AND LOSERS here.
***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Tucker/Hall — a top-notch public affairs and public relations firm. Visit TuckerHall.com to read about their team, success stories and case studies.***
DID PAUL RYAN HURT THE GOP IN FLORIDA? by John Fund of National Review
Mitt Romney’s margin of loss the clearly can be explained by Romney’s collapse in support from perhaps the most anti-Communist voting bloc in the country. … But there are signs that the Romney-Ryan ticket even lost support among older Cubans.
Democratic operatives told the Miami Herald that they exploited the fact that Paul Ryan had been a long-time supporter of lifting the 50-year-old embargo on direct trade with Havana.
“They did their ticket a lot of harm with Cubans, and allowed us to at least get a hearing with them on other economic issues,” an Obama-campaign official said.
QUICK HITS ON HOW OBAMA PERFORMED IN FLORIDA compiled by the Political Hurricane
— Republicans carried Volusia County for the first time since 1988, when they carried 66 of Florida’s 67 counties as part of George H.W. Bush’s 61-39 win over Michael Dukakis. Volusia has typically been the best Democratic medium-sized county in the state outside of Leon and Alachua.
–Obama’s performance in 2012 was down from 2008 in several Republican-oriented medium-sized counties, such as Pasco, Sarasota, Lee and Marion counties.
–Obama once again failed to hit gubernatorial type margins in Alachua and Leon counties. For whatever reason, Democratic gubernatorial candidates perform better in both counties than Obama has and in direct contrast to the rest of the state.
–Duval County saw a strong performance as well, with the President once again over-performing expectations in the Jacksonville area.
–Polk County performed remarkably well for the President a trend worth noting and keeping an eye on.
–Obama’s relatively strong performance in the suburbs north of Tampa (Carollwood, Lutz, and Town and Country) was a key to his carrying the state.
RUBIO, BUSH TRAIL HUCKABEE IN FIRST POLL OF 2016 IOWA CAUCUS
The Republican Party has no front-runner for the 2016 Iowa caucuses, with even Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan scarcely drawing double-digit support in a new Public Policy Polling survey of the contest.
The poll found former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as the nominal leader of the pack, taking 15 percent of the vote in a nine-candidate field.
But that was only 3 points better than Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, each of whom took 12 percent. Bush had 11 percent, followed by Rick Santorum at 10 percent and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at 9 percent.
Bringing up the rear were Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 5 percent and Sarah Palin at 4 percent.
*** The Florida Health Care Affordability Summit, taking place in Orlando, Fla., on January 10-11, 2013, will bring some of the most knowledgeable stakeholders in health care to the table – from health plans, hospital executives and health care providers, to some of Florida’s biggest employers and elected officials – to discuss how to make Florida healthier and bring affordable, accessible, quality health care to Floridians. To register to attend or for more information, please visit www.healthcareflorida.com ***
NUMBERS SHIFT, PATRICK MURPHY CAMP CLAIMS WIN, ALLEN WEST CAMP VOWS LEGAL ACTION by George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post
A partial recount of early ballots from St. Lucie County further narrowed Democrat Patrick Murphy’s thin margin of victory over Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West, prompting the West campaign to call for a recount of all the early-vote ballots.
Murphy’s total dropped by 667 votes and West lost 132 votes in the recount of 16,275 ballots from the last three days of early voting in St. Lucie County. West’s net gain of 535 votes still leaves him about 0.58 percent behind Murphy in congressional District 18, which also includes Martin County and part of Palm Beach County.
A margin of 0.5 percent or closer is needed to trigger a recount under state law.
West’s campaign manager, Tim Edson, called the recount a “sham” because St. Lucie County’s canvassing board originally announced it would recount all 37,379 early votes cast in the county. He said the West campaign will pursue “every legal action available to make sure every vote is counted fairly and accurately in this election.”
AS DEMOCRATS TURN TO 2014, CHARLIE CRIST EMERGES AS MOST VOCAL OPPONENT OF RICK SCOTT by Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald
The populist former governor is undergoing a metamorphosis that is substantial even by political standards. He left his party in 2010 as a candidate for U.S. Senate, ran without party affiliation and lost to Republican Marco Rubio.
As an independent, he has since spent this election cycle campaigning aggressively for Obama, chastising his former party for an “extremist” agenda, and, in the last week, he has been accelerating criticism against Rick Scott.
When Scott refused to extend early voting hours as Crist had done in 2008, Crist tweeted “indefensible.” When Scott defiantly defended his decision Friday, Crist sent out a link to his statement and added: “I don’t think the people would agree, Governor.”
MORE CRIST VS. SCOTT HEADLINES: Daily News: Think election’s over? It’s just beginning for Gov. Rick Scott and challengers; Herald-Tribune: Crist dipping toes back in politics, with Democrats
TWEET, TWEET: @CharlieCristFL: [email protected] I don’t think the people would agree, Governor. MT @HuffPostPol: Scott: “The Right Thing Happened”
EDITORIAL: DEMOCRATS CREEP TO RELEVANCE from the Tampa Tribune
“Florida Democrats have every right to be happy about the results of the general election. But they need to calm down a bit and face the reality that they’ve got a long way to go before they become a major player in Sunshine State politics again.
… A stronger Democratic Party actually would benefit the Republican Party, which has become increasingly arrogant in its use of power. Witness its creation of a costly 12th university when the state cannot adequately fund existings ones, solely because a powerful lawmaker demanded as much. Or its adoption of “election reforms” that made it more difficult to vote when there was no evidence of voter fraud.”
EMAIL OF THE DAY from Democratic House candidate Ross Hancock to consultant Derek Newtwon: “Just wanted to let you know that I did exactly what you recommended and got 49% in a GOP district against a 25-to-1 money disadvantage. Thanks.”
BLOG POST OF THE DAY – JEFF BRANDES SHOULD BE A TOP DEMOCRATIC TARGET IN 2014 by Kartik Krishnaiyer of the Political Hurricane
DORWORTH RECOUNT EFFORT WENT LATE INTO SUNDAY NIGHT by Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel
Seminole County election workers were slogging through a state-mandated recount Sunday night that should determine once and for all the fate of state Rep. Chris Dorworth.
As a machine recount progressed into the evening, Democratic challenger Mike Clelland’s paper-thin lead over Dorworth grew by four more votes — to 127 out of nearly 74,000 cast.
But Clelland’s margin remained less than one-quarter of one percent, likely ensuring that the machine recount would be followed by manual tally. Mike Ertel, the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections, said his goal was to complete the entire process by late tonight or predawn Monday.
LATE INFLUX OF PARTY MONEY MANY HAVE HELPED CARL ZIMMERMAN DEFEAT PETER NEHR IN HD 65 by Will Hobson of the Tampa Bay Times
Scott Arceneaux had just received the results of a poll that showed Zimmermann up 2 points, according to Zimmermann.
“What do you think it will take to win this race?” Arceneaux asked.
“If you just get me $10,000, I can win,” Zimmermann replied. “I promise.”
On Oct. 26, the state party gave Zimmermann $10,000, according to campaign filings. As Zimmermann reflected this week on his upset win over Nehr, he pointed to that money — combined with $5,000 Pinellas County Democrats gave him Oct. 23 — as the difference between his 2006 and 2008 losses to Nehr and this year’s victory.
FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via former Representative Peter Nehr
“… And for those of you who are still defacing my signs, turning them upside down, writing nasty stuff on them: gee whiz you won the election. What’s your problem?”
NEXT ELECTION WATCH: SEN. JOHN LEGG, KEN ROBERSON FILE FOR RE-ELECTION; JIM WALDMAN FILES FOR JEREMY RING’S SEAT
The state Division of Elections website shows that Sen-elect John Legg filed paperwork last month to run in Senate District 17 in 2016. Legg, who has served in the House since 2004, was elected to the Senate seat in a Republican primary in August. He did not face opposition during this week’s elections.
Rep. Jim Waldman, who will face term limits in 2014, filed papers to run in Senate District 29. Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, won re-election Tuesday in the district, but he will be term-limited in 2016.
State Rep. Ken Roberson, R-Port Charlotte, filed papers this week that are an initial step toward seeking re-election in 2014.
***Bascom Communications congratulates its 2012 election cycle clients: Senator John Thrasher, Senator Greg Evers, Senator-elect John Legg, Senator-elect Rob Bradley, Senator-elect Aaron Bean, Representative Doug Holder, Representative-elect Travis Cummings, Representative-elect Travis Hutson and also congratulates its strategic partners Marc Reichelderfer, Pat Bainter and the Data Targeting Team, David Johnson, Peret Pass and Andy Palmer. For more information on Bascom Communications and its political communications consulting team, visit www.bascomllc.com.***
APPOINTED: Jeffrey T. Kuntz to Fifteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission by Governor Rick Scott. Kuntz, 31, of Boca Raton, has practiced with Gray Robinson, P.A., since 2006. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning November 9, 2012, and ending July 1, 2014.
ELECTION FALL-OUT HELPED JOSE OLIVA SECURE SPEAKERSHIP FOR 2018 by Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald
Oliva had faced the prospect of being challenged for the speakership by two former legislators, Frank Farkas of St. Petersburg and Alex Diaz de la Portilla of Miami. Both lost on Tuesday as the wave of Obama supporters crushed Republicans in a handful of newly-drawn House districts.
Now, Oliva’s supporters say he has secured the pledges free and clear. Dorworth even acknowledged it in his fairwell note to colleagues on Friday.
Florida economists on Friday trimmed their national economic forecast projections by about 5 percent to account for uncertainty they say will come in the weeks ahead as Congress and President Barack Obama wrangle over efforts to avert a “fiscal cliff” that will trigger automatic spending cuts beginning in January.
Meeting to recalibrate national economic indices, the Revenue Estimating Conference rolled back economic projections to take into account public reaction to efforts to avoid the automatic remedies that will kick in Jan. 2 if Congress does not pass a financial package acceptable to Obama. The president said Friday afternoon that any bill must have provisions requiring the wealthy to pay more. Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, says businesses have already become more cautious in their economic outlook in anticipation of possible cutbacks. Consumers, on the other hand, have been too involved in election-year politics and are only now beginning to focus on budget issues, which will require the president to adopt austerity measures if an agreement is not reached by Jan. 2. If not, the plan calls for a combination of spending cuts totaling about $1 trillion over nine years. The automatic cuts include military and non-military spending.
“All of those issues are going to be on the table and inundating (consumers) for the first time,” Baker said. “You will see a much stronger response in regards to consumer sentiment as we move forward over the next several weeks.”
LAS VEGAS SANDS SAYS IT HAS NO INTEREST IN 2014 BALLOT MEASURE
Pardon me for missing this during this past week, but did anyone else notice uber lobbyist Nick Iarossi’s interview with the Florida Current, especially this part:
Florida Current: After the destination casino bill failed, there was talk of the casino interests going after a ballot measure for 2014. Where is Las Vegas Sands on that idea?
Iarossi: I think it’s an idea being circulated out there by others. My client has no interest in participating in a ballot measure. We feel that the best way to address the destination resort issue is dealing directly with members of the Legislature.
Very interesting answer, right?
It will be interesting to see what Sands does do if Genting and Co. does, in fact, move forward with a ballot measure in 2014.
SCOTT MAY SHIFT STANCE ON OBAMACARE by John Dorschner of the Miami Herald
Time is running short for decisions as the once-distant consequences of the Affordable Care Act are scheduled to kick in during the next 14 months.
The first deadline is Friday. That’s when states must tell Washington whether they plan to set up exchanges — marketplaces where individuals can purchase insurance at discounted group rates and cannot be denied because of pre-existing conditions.
CAN’T WAIT TO READ: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman, and today to the Governors Club’s seemingly permanent resident Taylor Biehl, my paisan Nick DiCiglie, one of St. Petersburg’s leading lights, Anne Drake and Leon County’s schools superintendent Jackie Pons.