Sunburn for 11/26 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

in Uncategorized by

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida 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.”***

TWEETS OF THE WEEKEND

Before the game…

@WillWeatherford: Prediction: the FSU Seminoles win by 10 today over the Gators. What say you? #rivalryweekend

After the game…

@WillWeatherford: I will be eating crow this week! Congrats to the Gators. No question they were the better team today. #rivalryweekend

Speaker Weatherford won’t be the only one eating crow…

@SaintPetersBlog: Noles by 17!

Finally, if you needed another reason to like/dislike Marco Rubio, there is this Tweet…

The fat lady has been spotted warming up at Doak Campbell stadium. #GoGators

Speaking of Rubio…

GOP SEES RECORD BENCH FOR 2016 by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen of POLITICO

Upwards of 15 prominent Republicans are privately contemplating 2016 campaigns for the presidency … [Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio] both will unveil new policy plans at an awards dinner of the Jack Kemp Foundation [on Dec. 4]: Ryan will begin a new push on a more modern approach to alleviating poverty, focused on education; Rubio will lift the curtain on an economic empowerment message, heavy on college affordability and workforce training. That upcoming duet is one of the clearest signs that this presidential race is beginning as early as any in history. … Rick Santorum is telling friends he wants to run again. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said publicly that he might, too, and has begun talking to donors … like he means it. …

[T]op Republican officials are encouraging the never-ending presidential campaign … ‘On every conference call, the message is the same,’ one top official said. ‘We’re going to push out our new generation of leadership. We’re not going to sit back and let the extreme voices define what it means to be a conservative.’ Republicans are still haunted by the post-election chaos of 2008, when, with John McCain diminished by defeat and few clear future leaders with national juice on the scene, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin filled the void … This time feels different: … [M]any of the most influential voices are calling for substantial rethinking of the conservative approach to politics.

NY TIMES: JEB BUSH MULLING PRESIDENTIAL BID

Mr. Bush is said by friends to be weighing financial and family considerations — between so many years in office and the recession his wealth took a dip, they said, and he has been working hard to restore it — as well as the complicated place within the Republican Party of the Bush brand.

After Mitt Romney’s defeat by a Democratic coalition built around overwhelming support from Hispanics and other fast-growing demographic groups, many Republicans are looking for a candidate who can help make the party more inclusive without ceding conservative principles — and no one is the subject of more speculation at this point than Mr. Bush.

To his supporters, Mr. Bush is the man for the moment. His wife, Columba, was born and raised in Mexico. He speaks Spanish and favors overhauling the immigration system in a way that would provide a route to citizenship for people already in the country illegally but otherwise law-abiding.

PARAGRAPH OF THE DAY via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times: Rubio, 41, and Bush, 59, are mutual admirers — both repeatedly suggested Romney should choose the other for his running mate — and it’s hard to imagine both running in a 2016 primary. So while Rubio steadily builds his profile in advance of 2016, his biggest threat may be his longtime friend, Bush, quietly mulling his own future.

BLOG POST OF THE DAY – RUBIO PLAYING IOWA GOP ELECTORATE ALREADY via The Political Hurricane

The challenge for Rubio is to somehow keep the Republican Party desperate for him while continuing to play his cards correctly with BOTH national Republican power brokers/media elites AND the fundamentalist Iowa caucus goers. The Iowa Caucus winners on the GOP side include the televangelist Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. To say Iowa, a largely Democratic state at the Presidential level has a religious dominated Republican caucus would be an understatement. Rubio has to show he can connect with this important base of Iowa voters if he is to get a ticket to New Hampshire, assuming he runs for President in 2016.

MORE JEB/RUBIO

Caputo: “We are in a state of constant campaigns brought to you by the political-consultant class, polarizing bloggers, cable TV personalities, political reporters and the ubiquitous partisan trolls who patrol Twitter in search of the latest outrage.”

Kurlander: “Coming off Romney’s defeat, momentum is now building to transform the GOP.  And Jeb is the right candidate at the right time to lead a conservative reformation.  But he can’t afford to wait. He has to make a decision quickly and decisively, for the 2016 race for the White House is well under way.”

OBAMA CAMP THOUGHT JON HUNTSMAN WOULD HAVE BEEN TOUGHEST GENERAL ELECTION OPPONENT

“I think Huntsman would have been a very tough general election candidate. He’s a good guy. We looked at his profile in a general election and thought he would have been difficult.” — Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, in an interview with POLITICO.

***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 www.RonSachs.com.***

STEVE SCHALE: GOP’S AD ATTACKING CHARLIE CRIST COULD BACKFIRE via Troy Kinsey of BayNews 9

The state GOP is pumping money into ads aimed at reminding Democrats there was a time when Crist was a loyal Republican, until he turned his back on the party.  The message is that he is anything but loyal.

The ads are part of a pre-emptive strike designed to prevent a former governor from becoming a future governor, in part by derailing his campaign before it even begins.

The the ad campaign also carries a fair amount of risk. Democratic strategist Steve Schale said the assault on Crist could backfire.

“The only people who are paying attention right now are the most hardcore of partisans,” he said. “And if you’re a Democrat and you’re not sure you can get your arms around Charlie Crist as a Democrat, the fact that Republicans are attacking him makes you go, ‘Well, maybe he’s not that bad of a guy.'”

GREER SAYS VOTER SUPPRESSION WAS REASON FLORIDA GOP PUSHED NEW ELECTION LAW by Dara Kam and John Lantigua of the Palm Beach Post

A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post.

Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law’s main purpose: GOP victory.

… Greer told The Post that people who attended the GOP’s behind-the-scenes meetings on early voting included: Andy Palmer, former state GOP executive director, now a Tallahassee political consultant; Bret Prater, head of party development; Randy Enwright of Enwright Consulting, a veteran Tallahassee political consultant; Jim Rimes, former state GOP executive director and now a consultant with Enwright; Kirk Pepper, a former top aide to House Speaker Dean Cannon; and Rich Heffley, a former top aide to Crist.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR CONGRESSMAN-ELECT PATRICK MURPHY? by Melissa Holsman of the TC Palm

Murphy, 29, last week discusses with Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers the emotionally-charged ballot counting in St. Lucie County, why he’s a good fit for the powerful House Financial Services Committee, his desire to push for Everglades restoration and his status as the youngest new member of the House.

MUCH AS LEFT LOVES HIM FOR BEATING WEST, MURPHY NEEDS MODERATING by George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

The most significant break with Democratic orthodoxy that Murphy spelled out in his campaign was on taxes. While Obama and party leaders favor higher taxes on individuals making more than $250,000, Murphy said only those earning more than $1 million should see higher income tax rates.

As Congress wrangles with trillion-dollar deficits and a $16 trillion national debt, Murphy said, he’d be willing to support higher taxes on incomes below $1 million if it’s part of a package that provides relief in other areas, such as estate taxes and taxes on capital gains and dividends.

“We have to meet in the middle is my point. If it’s not $250,000, maybe it’s half a million dollars where you draw the line,” Murphy said.

***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.***

BRANDES, CORCORAN, EAGLE. GALVANO FILE FOR RE-ELECTION via the News Service of Florida

Newly elected state Senator Jeff Brandes and future House Speaker Richard Corcoran are among those incumbent legislators who filed paperwork last week to start the process of running for re-election in 2014, according to the state Division of Elections.

Brandes, a former House member, won a bruising primary in August before easily getting elected this month in Senate District 22. Corcoran, who is in line to become House speaker in 2016, manhandled a primary opponent in House District 37 and did not face opposition in the general election.

Also filing paperwork for 2014 were newly elected Rep. Ricardo Rangel in House District 43, and newly elected Rep. Dane Eagle in House District 77.

Looking out four years, newly elected Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, filed paperwork to prepare to run in 2016 in Senate District 21.

Filing the paperwork allows candidates to raise money.

IS JEFF BRANDES VULNERABLE IN ’14? IS HE RUNNING FOR SEN. PREZ IN ’19? 

In my estimation, yes he is, but really not. At least not yet.

Again, this should be a seat where the Democrats are active. In fact, my blogging colleagues at the Political Hurricane suggest that if the Florida Democratic Party is not able to recruit a candidate to run in Senate District 22 “many will be calling for the head of the new FDP chair as, again, it would be a tragedy.”

And here’s why Democrats should really be interested in this seat: Rick Scott will be at the top of ticket.

Except, which Democrat is going to run against him? (Full blog post here.)

CHARLES VAN ZANT USES CAMPAIGN MONEY BUILD CHURCH, MINISTRY by Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union

The Clay County Republican has given a total of $73,078 in leftover campaign funds to Gospel Lighthouse International during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. He also gave $3,600 to Columbia Properties, a company he owns, for rental expenses related to his campaign office. During both races Van Zant ran unopposed.

He says the money is used to repair buildings, some of which have been there for more than 60 years, and to help to run a ministry that serves the Gainesville area.

“It’s for a good use. We help a lot of people who have nothing else,” Van Zant explains as two men he says are homeless work on the property’s smallest building.

TRIO OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS HEADED TO STATE HOUSE by Jerome Stockfish of the Tampa Tribune

This month, west-central Florida voters sent a trio of newcomers to Tallahassee. They all knocked off entrenched incumbents. They’re all Democrats.

And they’re all public school teachers.

While it’s not unheard of for those in the academic ranks to pursue politics – several veteran members of the Legislature identify themselves as retired educators or one-time teachers – two of the three rookies will juggle day-to-day classroom responsibilities with their Capitol duties.

TWITTER RECOMMENDATION: My list of Florida House members on Twitter here.

LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND

The latest about who is on and who is off the legislative staffing merry-go-round in the Florida Senate.

On: Jessica Neer and Emily Slosberg with Senator Joe Abruzzo.

On: Nancy Bernier as a legislative assistant to Sen. Thad Altman.

On: Tom Griffin, Steven Richardson and Tonya Shays as legislative assistants to Sen. Rob Bradley.

On: Rashida Bartley and Tyrell Hall as legislative assistants and Venus Fernandez-Lovely as district secretary to Sen. Dwight Bullard.

On: Sen. Jeff Clemens has brought in Elizabeth Hartnett-Murphy as legislative assistant and Johanna DuPlecy as district secretary.

On: Kathy Galea, Allie Mattice and Debra Scott have joined the office of Sen. Bill Galvano.

On: Sen. Denise Grimsley has hired legislative assistants Larry Ford and Marty Mielke.

On: Sen. Dorothy Hukill has hired legislative assistants Connie Mullisand Lindsey Swindle, and district secretary Edith Little.

On: Sen. John Legg Lutz has named Tim Couet his legislative assistant and Becky Zizzo as district secretary.

On: Christine Aleknavich will be a legislative assistant for Sen. Darren Soto, while Tracy Brooks and Cecilia Figueroa are district secretaries.

Off: Wallace Eccleston has left the office of Sen. Jeremy Ring.

Off: Zachary Learner has departed from Sen. Eleanor Sobel.

On: Sen. Kelli Stargel has hired Rachel Barnes to be her legislative assistance and Chris Dowdy as district secretary.

On: Sen. Geraldine Thompson has brought in Landra Robeson and Dan Rogers as legislative assistants.

Off: Rebecca Stagg has parted ways with Sen. John Thrasher.

***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.***

GOV. SCOTT TO MAKE ANNOUNCEMENT RE: HIGHER ED

A media advisory sent Sunday afternoon says Scott will make an announcement regarding higher education at St. Petersburg College at 10 a.m.

FLORIDA AMONG HIGHEST IN CELL PHONE TAXES

You may find a surprise on your cell phone bill. You may be paying much more in taxes than you think. Florida has one of the highest cell phone taxes in the nation. “I think it’s ridiculous,” said Bruce Hammond, who moved to Tampa from Indiana. “If I changed to an 813 [area code], my bill would go up because of taxes… I said I’ll keep the 219 area code, why pay more?”

PSC TO RULE ON FPL SETTLEMENT IN DECEMBER via The News Service of Florida

The state Public Service Commission is expected to decide Dec. 13 whether to approve a controversial base-rate settlement proposal for Florida Power & Light. Commissioners late Tuesday finished two days of technical hearings about the proposal, which reflects an agreement reached by FPL and some major power users. The state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, opposes the proposal and has tried to kill it since August. The proposal would allow FPL to increase base electric rates by $378 million in January and another $165.3 million in June 2013, when a new power plant starts operating at Cape Canaveral. Also, the utility would be able to increase rates after new plants start operating in 2014 and 2016 at Riviera Beach and Port Everglades.

The Office of Public Counsel has argued that FPL’s base-rates should drop — not increase — by as much as $253 million next year. If the Public Service Commission does not approve the settlement, it is expected in January to consider another proposal that would allow FPL to raise rates by $690.4 million in 2013.

OIL SPILL PREPARATIONS DISCUSSED TODAY

The Florida Commission on Oil Spill Response Coordination, which was formed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, will discuss issues related to protecting the state from potential future disasters. Beginning at 9 a.m. at the  Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach.

VOTING ON NEW LICENSE PLATE BEGINS by Kathleen Haughney of the Sun-Sentinel

Florida drivers now have their chance to decide which of four new, sleek state license plate designs they like best.

Today, the state Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles is launching vote4floridatag.com where residents can vote on four potential new automobile tags through Dec. 14.

***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.***

CAN’T WAIT TO READ: Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse by Calvin Trillin.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to former Senator Dan Gelber.

POLITICAL GIFT IDEA: When the Democratic Dream Mug is filled with coffee all 50 states turn blue.

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.