Sunburn for 11/21 — 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 day before Thanksgiving.  In the spirit of the holiday, the ‘burn asked some of our favorite readers — for whose friendship we are especially grateful — what they were most thankful for (even about Florida politics) this Thanksgiving.

Barney Bishop – “I’m most thankful that in our country can we argue for two years about who should be President and when the election is over we all go back to the business of running our country in a peaceful manner…that we try to export our version of Democracy all around the world which is why America continues to be a beacon that attracts others to our shores…and that we honor those in the military who risk their lives every day so that we can live free in this beautiful land…God Bless America!”

Jack Cory – “My family including my partner in Business and Partner in Life Keyna Cory,  our Associate Erin Daly who got engaged this year to Capt. James Ballas (USAF), our God Son Jeffery Jackson Kottkamp and his wonderful Parents, our Friends who include all of our Clients and the Dogs who let us be there Human Companions. … I most thankful for in Florida politics is for all the wonderful Men and Women that take the time to Offer them self’s as Candidates for the Florida Legislature and to those who get the great Honor to serve the People of the State of Florida.”

Mark Ferrulo of Progress Florida: ““At Progress Florida we’re thankful for the thousands of progressive Netroots activists across Florida who this year turned ‘virtual world’ activism into ‘real world’ victories at the ballot box. Oh, and also that Progress Energy is changing their name to Duke Energy, definitely thankful for that too.”

Shawn Foster of Southern Strategies Group:  “I am thankful for the things we take for granted; my health, family, friends, and time spent with loved ones. I am thankfull we live in a country that allows everyone through hard work, an oppotunity to succeed and has the potential to live a happy, successful life.”

Adam Goodman – “I’m thankful that Florida’s reputation as a laboratory of political innovation and close elections will continue long past this cycle. And I’m most appreciative of my family for understanding what it takes to be a part of that.”

Jeff Johnson of AARP Florida –  “I’m thankful for any time Florida politicos recognize their opponents on an issue or campaign for what they are: decent, patriotic fellow Floridians who happen to disagree on a political viewpoint. I’m even thankful for the birthday, job news, marriage and birth announcements in Sunburn that remind us that the person we’re arguing with has a life beyond politics. I’m thankful for any sign that Florida’s leaders might walk back from the brink of hyper partisanship in order to address together the very real issues we face as a state and nation.”

Ashley Intartaglia – “I’m thankful that at 25-years-old I’ve had the opportunity to work among political legends in one of the most influential states in the country. This year, I’m most thankful for some time off to celebrate old traditions with my family, and start new ones with my fiancé. I am grateful to both for putting up with me during this political cycle.”

Steve Kurlander – “So no matter how you cut the cranberry sauce, whatever way the numbers are counted (and whether this “gifted” 47 percent actually did vote for President Obama), this Thanksgiving there are too many Americans not living as well as they used to, and too many more living in some form of hardship.” Read Kurly’s full column here.

Mark Mills of the Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute – “I’m thankful for the women and men who – despite the craziness we call politics – put their lives on public display as candidates, believing they have something positive to offer in public leadership.”

Anthony Pedicini – “After 33 years of life and 12 years in politics, I am most thankful for the most supportive and loving family anyone can have. They are endlessly supportive, constantly loving, and infinitely forgiving. They are the basis for everything I am and will be.  They are the foundation for which I have built my business and the compass that keeps me true north in a very directionless world.”

Ron Sachs – “We all are privileged to live in this American democracy and can be thankful for spirited differences of opinion to hopefully give rise to good policies that are always the best politics.  Even after a contentious political year, it’s time to recognize, respect and even revere that the returning or changing of any guard in our leadership is something to behold.”

Cory Tilley – “Despite the criticism surrounding the elections in Florida and the frustration voters feel over the tone of many campaigns, I am thankful we still have men and woman from all over our state and both sides of the political aisle who are willing to step forward and run for public office. Campaigns in the modern age are quite an undertaking for those running, as well as their families. Those who choose to seek public service deserve our thanks. They keep our democracy moving forward even if it is not always pretty.”

Rep. Dana Young – “I am very thankful to live in Florida with my wonderful family…  I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to serve the citizens of Tampa for another two years in the Florida House.”

Mark Zubaly of Southern Campaign Resources – “Thankful for probably the most prosperous of years as far as win loss ratio, but even more thankful for the many lessons learned along the way and there were a lot.”

Now on to to politics…

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Public Affairs Consultants Inc., one of the oldest and most well respected Public Affairs and Governmental Consulting firms in Florida. The PA Team of Jack and Keyna Cory and Erin Daly have represented clients before the Florida Legislature, state agencies and local governments for over 20 years. They don’t just show up for the legislative session.  Instead they custom design and implement a Grassroots Program for each of their Clients that functions all year long.  As one former legislator stated, “They are tough, well-organized, dedicated to their clients and in full command of the facts.”***


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that 2013 could be a “very good year” for the U.S. economy if politicians can strike a quick deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, Reuters reports.

The powerful central bank chief called for a credible long-term framework to put the federal budget on a sound path, but warned against action that would needlessly add to the headwinds facing the economy.


President Obama “is preparing to expand the fiscal cliff fight beyond the confines of Washington, travelling the country and leaning on Democratic activist groups to help apply political pressure,” the Huffington Post reports.

The goal, organizers said, is to keep engaged the activists and followers who have stood with Obama through two campaigns, and to begin applying external pressure to the president’s negotiations with congressional Republicans.

And so, top Obama operatives are gaming out ways to squeeze political capital out of the 2012 elections, aiming to affect the lame-duck session in Congress. Obama previewed the strategy in a conference call with activists after the election, saying that a second term that will include some barnstorming across the country.


A new Gallup Poll finds 65% of Americans believe President Obama will make a sincere effort to work with the Republicans in Congress to find mutually acceptable solutions to the nation’s problems. In addition, 57% also expect the Democrats in Congress to try to work with the opposing party’s leaders, but just 48% say the same of the Republicans.

STAT OF THE DAYSmart Politics finds that when the 113th Congress convenes in January, 29.4% of the Democratic caucus will hail from either California or New York  — up from a previous all-time high of 28.1% recorded after the Republican tsunami of 2010.


The founder of “Unskewed Polls” has launched a new website alleging that President Obama did not legitimately carry Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida, but instead won those states — and the election — thanks to voter fraud.


When all the votes are counted, could Mitt Romney really end up achieving perfect poetic justice by finishing with 47 percent of the national vote, asks Greg Sargent?


Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report says new votes in from Maryland put Romney at 47.56 percent.

He predicts with certainty that with all of New York and California counted, Romney will end up below 47.5 percent of the vote. Rounded, of course, that would put the final tally at 51% to 47%.


After watching Rubio fall into the trap laid nicely by a reporter asking him about the age of the Earth, Marc Ambinder notes the answer is not a “mystery” as Rubio claimed. The Earth is “about 4.5 billion years old, give or take a few million.”

Nonetheless, “there’s a way for Christian conservatives who believe in the literal (or proximately literal) truth of the Bible to answer the question without denying science. Denying science is not just a position; it is fundamentally a denial of modernity, which is why it is so, well, stupid, to the ears of elites, and even to the ears of folks who just know that geology isn’t a just-so story.”


Asked if Pitbull’s music is too cheesy, Rubio told GQ: “His songs are all party songs. There’s no message for him, compared to like an Eminem. But look, there’s always been a role for that in American music. There’s always been a party person, but he’s a young guy. You know, maybe as he gets older, he’ll reflect in his music more as time goes on. I mean, he’s not Tupac. He’s not gonna be writing poetry.”

TWEET, TWEET: @MarcoRubio: “Story about me not liking @Pitbull music flat wrong. Have much respect 4 & proud he comes from #305 … Read chapter 1 of my book … @Pitbull makes party music not message music. Always been place for that in #HipHop. As he gets older he will have more 2 say about life.”


Newt and Callista Gingrich will stop in Tampa on Saturday to sign copies of their new books. The couple will be at Barnes and Noble in Carrollwood, 11802 N Dale Mabry Highway, at 1 p.m.

Newt will sign Victory at Yorktown, and Callista will sign Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride.

***Ron Sachs Communications congratulates Senate President Don Gaetz, House Speaker Will Weatherford and the new and returning members of the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives. Thank you for your service to the people of Florida. Learn more about Ron Sachs Communications at***


After two weeks of battle with St. Lucie County elections officials – and a recount of early votes that wound up extending Murphy’s lead – West acknowledged that he couldn’t surmount his 1,904-vote, or 0.58 percent, deficit. That difference was just outside the 0.5 percent threshold to automatically trigger a recount of all votes. So the brash conservative opted to bow out rather than wage a long and costly court battle he was unlikely to win. … West said: … ‘While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election.’ West congratulated Murphy, saying, ‘I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.’

Democrats fell short in their bid to retake the House, but taking out West is one victory they’ll savor. … West was expected to win in the swing district, if only narrowly – he outraised Murphy 4-to-1, and enjoyed almost universal name ID against a candidate waging his first bid for public office. West ran as a rare truth-teller in politics, trying to turn his blunt talk into a campaign asset. Murphy bet that voters were tired of hearing it. … After ending election night trailing slightly, West and his legal team took aim at St. Lucie County election officials, alleging they mistakenly double-counted some ballots to Murphy’s benefit and missed others. … That led to a wild few weeks: Tea party activists rallied to West’s defense, raising money in preparation for a protracted legal battle.


“I appreciate Congressman West’s gracious concession today. I am truly humbled that the voters of the 18th district have entrusted me to represent them in Washington.  To those who supported my opponent, my door is open and I want to hear your voice.  I campaigned on a message of reaching across the aisle to get things done for the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, and that is as important in this district as it is in Washington.  I am excited and honored to get to work.”


“What happened in West’s home state of Florida 12 years ago is burned into every Al Gore supporter’s mind; given that George W. Bush’s administration is the great liberal bugbear of recent years, the 2000 election fiasco, which many Democrats contend wrongly handed the presidency to Bush, is central to liberal victimology. But that searing experience has perhaps given them the idea that they have a monopoly on election grievances. It isn’t so.”


emember back in January when some conservative blogs accused  Weatherford of trying to sideline West by backing a redistricting map that would make it more difficult for him to win reelection. Some blogs even went so far as to accuse Weatherford – who had been a surrogate for Mitt Romney – of doing Romney’s bidding by trying to get rid of West (the motive of why Romney would want to marginalize West was not fully explained).

Turns out these bloggers were right.

Not about Weatherford trying to sideline West or about Will doing Mitt’s bidding (I still don’t understand how it would have helped Romney had West not been on the ballot) but about their prediction that West would be a victim of redistricting.

***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***


>>>Local budget requests might become more transparent in the coming legislative session: “I don’t know if we’ll call it CBIRs because I don’t want to start a CBIRs parade, because there is no onrush of new money,” said Gaetz, But he did tell reporters after the Senate’s organizing session Tuesday that there might be other ways to make the process more open; despite a years-long moratorium on CBIRs in the difficult budget environment, lawmakers are set getting pet projects into the state spending plan. “But I think what we should do is ask people to bring their priorities that they think are important from a budgetary standpoint, bring them to the surface soon so that we can see if they make sense, so we can debate them and if they’re valuable, be able to bake them into the budget,” he said.

>>>Promises review of contracts: I want a separate schedule of every contract that is over a set amount,” Gaetz told reporters after the conclusions of Tuesday’s organization session. ” … Every contract needs to be evaluated in the context of the individual appropriations line items.” Gaetz conceded that he doesn’t know right now what the level would be that would trigger the review. He said contracts take up 56 percent of the state’s operating budget. “Let’s make sure we’re getting value received and the best price,” Gaetz said.

>>>Riddles reporters with descriptions of his colleagues: “We came today as forty different people – a nurse, a strawberry grower, a dentist, four educators, a printer, a banker, a dad with a three month old daughter, a mom whose daughter was just wounded in combat halfway across the world, a singer-songwriter, an auctioneer with a putt putt golf course, a guy who spent part of the summer figuring out how to get Turkish olive oil to Miami, a farmer with a million chickens and he’s named each one of them.  There’s the usual posse of lawyers and the rest of us.”

TWEET, TWEET: @fgonzalez1978: Hey, that’s “Dad” to you RT @mattgaetz: Great day & great tone set today by Speaker @willweatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz #sayfie


>>>Asks members to leave election rancor behind: “Whether you were happy or disappointed with the results the truth is this; We have a president. For those who wish him to fail or, for that matter, wish our Congress to fail only wish for Florida to fail and that is unacceptable,” Weatherford said as the chamber erupted in applause.

>>>Says he has little time for partisan bickering: “We are living at a time when the state of Florida needs us to act.”

>>>Watch his speech here.


Sen. Joe Negron filed a proposal this week that would ensure members of the public have a “reasonable opportunity” to speak on issues being considered by local and state government boards. The proposal (SB 50), which will go before the Legislature in 2013, would create guidelines for getting public input. For example, an opportunity to be heard would not have to come at the same meeting when a board makes a decision on an issue. But the opportunity would have to come at a meeting during the decision-making process that complies with notice requirements. Negron filed a similar proposal that received Senate approval during the 2012 session. That proposal died in the House.


>>>Jim Rimes to head Senate Majority Office: The uber consultant and former executive director of the Republican party of Florida is going “inside” to serve as Staff Director of the Senate Majority Office. Rimes’ officially came aboard on Monday.

>>>Kristen McDonald named Communications Director for House Majority Office: She will be responsible for helping to communicate the Majority’s agenda as well as respond to media inquiries for all Republican members of the Florida House. Kristen was previously Press Secretary at the Republican Party of Florida.

>>>Caitlin Murray and Chris Spencer join Senator Jeff Brandes’ staff.


Responding to a tourist’s death earlier this year off Pompano Beach, Sen. Maria Sachs has filed legislation to put safety and new insurance requirements on parasailing companies, which currently are largely unregulated. Sachs filed the measure (SB 64) on Tuesday. The “White-Miskell Bill,” is named for victims who died in separate accidents while parasailing in Florida. The measure would put restrictions on when and where parasailing can occur, and require a safety briefing for customers. Kathleen Miskell, 28, died Aug. 15 after falling 200 feet into the Atlantic when a harness apparently broke. An estimated 120 parasailing companies operate in the state.

TEXTING AND ‘SHARIA’ BANS AMONG FIRST BILLS FILED FOR 2013 by Brittany Davis of the Miami Herald

Florida lawmakers have filed their first bills of the season.

Several are familiar: A ban on texting while driving, a requirement that parasailing operators carry insurance and a ‘foreign law’ bill criticized by opponents as anti-Islamic.

Of the 26 bills that  have been filed, 19 are claims bills.

***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.***

HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND to Jennifer Davis, former Reprsentative Rick Glorioso, Aelon Suskey (Alan’s better half), and Todd Thomson.

JUST IN TIME FOR T-GIVING: MAN ARRESTED FOR SELLING FOOD STAMP CARD ON CRAIGSLIST: A 21-year-old Bradenton man was arrested recently and charged with multiple crimes in Manatee County, including unauthorized use of public assistance for selling his food stamp card on Craigslist. This is the first known arrest in Florida resulting from a collaborative effort of state agencies and local law enforcement to monitor social media sites for public assistance fraud.

NATIONAL TURKEY FOUNDATION SETS FUNDRAISING RECORD bringing in more than $310,000 and directing the bulk of its contributions toward Republican candidates and committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

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.