A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
***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.***
First and foremost, a huuugggeee hapyy birthday wish to Representative Dana Young. Of course she’s charismatic. Of course she’s smart. But the qualities I think of when I think of Rep. Young are generous and thoughtful. Best wishes!
Now on to politics…
FIRST IN SUNBURN — SPEAKER DESIGNATE CHRIS DORWORTH LIKELY TO CONCEDE TODAY
A senior Republican leader in the Florida House told me late Thursday night that they expected Chris Dorworth, the one-time future Speaker of the Florida House to concede the race for House 29 after the counting of provisional ballots worsened Dorworth’s deficit to Democratic challenger Mike Clelland.
This story is still fluid and developing. More details below.
Back to the other headlines…
MITT ROMNEY(SORTA) CONCEDES FLORIDA
“Though votes are still being tallied, President Obama is all but assured a victory in Florida because the lion’s share of the outstanding ballots come from Democratic-heavy counties,” the Miami Herald reports.
Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 55,825 votes — or 49.9 percent to 49.24 — but there just aren’t enough votes from Republican areas to allow the challenger to catch up.
Romney’s Florida campaign has acknowledged their candidate lost in Florida as well. Romney already conceded the national race after he lost the other battleground states.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The numbers in Florida show this was winnable,” said Brett Doster, Romney’s man in the Sunshine State. “We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win. Obviously, we didn’t, and for that I, and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table. I can assure you this won’t happen again.”
…AND THEN IT WAS ALL OVER
Late Thursday afternoon, as sleet fell in Boston’s North End, Mitt Romney visited his campaign headquarters for one final staff meeting. He thanked his aides and said goodbye. His Secret Service detail gone — and with it his code name, Javelin, after a car once made by his father’s company — Romney was spotted driving off in the backseat of his son Tagg’s car. His wife, Ann, was riding shotgun.
ROMNEY EVEN PLANNED FIREWORKS IF HE HAD WON
Romney had planned to celebrate his election victory with an eight-minute fireworks display over Boston Harbor, the Boston Globe reports.
“A permit filed with the City of Boston said the detonation could occur any time between 7 p.m. Tuesday, just after the first polls closed, and 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, which ended up being just before Romney conceded the race.”
HEADLINE FROM THE ONION: “Romney Camp Retooling Campaign After Latest Setback”
OBAMA CAMPAIGN WAS SURPRISED AT QUICK CALL
President Obama’s re-election team “was confident he would win another four years in the White House. But even his top campaign aides were surprised at how quickly the television networks called the race in the president’s favor on Tuesday,” the Washington Post reports.
“Obama had arrived at the Fairmont Hotel, where his aides were staying on Tuesday night, but they did not expect him to be declared winner so soon. In fact, the president had not yet gathered with his aides; he was with his family in their suite on the 37th floor, with the staffers in another room, said one senior aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private moments.”
Coming later this week for the Kindle: Why Romney Lost by David Frum.
MORE AMERICANS VOTED FOR DEMOCRATIC HOUSE MEMBERS THAN REPUBLICANS
Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of this writing, votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates … 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million.
POOR KARL ROVE
The Sunlight Foundation finds Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS spent more than $200 million on the elections but backed no winning candidates.
VOTE DATA SHOWS CHANGING NATION
President Obama’s election victory “exposed tectonic demographic shifts in American society that are reordering the U.S. political landscape,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The 2012 presidential election likely will be remembered as marking the end of long-standing coalitions, as voters regroup in cultural, ethnic and economic patterns that challenge both parties–but especially Republicans.”
ELECTION’S BARELY OVER AND RUBIO’S ALREADY HEADING TO IOWA
The Florida Republican will headline Iowa Gov. Branstad’s annual birthday fundraiser in Altoona on Nov. 17, according to an announcement on Thursday.
JEB VS. HILLARY IN 2016? via POLITICO
American politics may be headed back to the future. Four years after the country elected a 40-something African-American newcomer named Barack to the presidency, a more familiar political order is poised to reassert itself: the House of Clinton representing Democrats and the House of Bush atop the GOP.
The restoration of either is no sure thing, but what’s certain is that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush loom the largest over their respective parties as the long road toward 2016 begins. Any other would-be presidential candidate will first take a long look toward Chappaqua and Miami before moving forward.
***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.***
HISPANICS VOTE DRIVE DEMOCRATIC SUCCESS IN FLORIDA by David Royse of the News Service of Florida
Anyone looking at registration numbers in the state likely saw Tuesday’s results among Hispanics coming, said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center. Increasing numbers of Hispanics throughout the last year have been registering mostly as Democrats and independents in Florida, following decades in which much of the state’s Latino population had been Cuban and Republican.
State figures show 644,876 Hispanics registered as Democrats in time for Tuesday’s election, while only 476,488 Hispanics signed up as Republicans. More than a half million Hispanics – more than Republicans – registered with no party affiliation.
That this year Latinos wouldn’t be voting with the GOP was evident in how they were registering. “We saw that, even way back in December,” Lopez said.
Smith said Democrats worked hard to become the home for those voters, particularly in swing areas like central Florida. Soto, who is of Puerto Rican descent, “spent the last two months energizing Hispanic voters,” Smith said.
LENNY CURRY SAYS GOP NEEDS TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union
“We have some serious and significant work to with Puerto Ricans and the younger generation of Cubans,” said the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. “Really, we need to become a more inclusive party.”
TWEET, TWEET: @SaintPetersBlog: Why hasn’t RPOF chair @lennycurry fallen on his sword already? Full blog post here.
FLORIDA DEMOCRATS THINK 2012 GAINS WILL PAY OFF IN 2014 by Bill Cotterell of the Florida Current
“We’re moving in the right direction but comebacks are always done in fits and starts,” state Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith said in an assessment of returns. “I believe this was the first significant pick-up of seats since the 1980s, but what we can’t do now is lose momentum.”
“For the governor last night, the more daunting prospect was overwhelming rejection of the constitutional amendments and the lingering reaction to the long lines at polls, which were totally unnecessary,” said Smith.
… Lawyer John French, who heads the governor’s campaign committee, said Scott’s popularity in polls has risen from about 30 percent just after he was elected to above 40 percent now. French said an improving economy should help Scott’s currently low popularity rating.
“He’s going to be in pretty good shape by 2014 and he’s going to be imminently re-electable,” he said.
JOHN ROMANO COLUMN: CONSIDER YOURSELF ON NOTICE RICK SCOTT
Rick Scott has been on the job for a couple of years, and has a pretty recognizable body of work behind him. It’s true he’s been critiqued by some columnists along the way, but we all know they tend to be whiners or communists.
No, this time, Scott’s review is coming directly from his employers.
All 8.3 million of them.
And what message did Florida’s voting shareholders want to impart to their CEO via Tuesday’s general election?
Straighten up, bucko.
KEVIN CATE: 2014 DEM. NOMINEE MUST BE ABLE TO ENERGIZE MIAMI-DADE/HISPANIC VOTERS
It’s not too early to be talking about the 2014 Democratic primary for Governor, argues/warns Democratic strategist Kevin Cate.
One of the first lessons Cate believes Democrats must takeaway from the results of the 2012 elections is that the Democratic nominee must be able to energize Miami-Dade and Hispanic voters.
“Statewide, the nominee will have to maintain margins in Palm Beach, Broward, continue successful neutralization of Duval and slight margins in Hillsborough,” writes Cate. “But my first question to a potential 2014 candidate will still be: how are you going to energize Miami-Dade and Hispanic voters? If they can’t answer, they can’t win.”
TWEET OF THE DAY – @MarkFoleyFLA: AG Holder likely leaving Justice … I imagine Charlie Crist former Fla Governor and Attorney General is a top contender
***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.***
ALLEN WEST CAMPAIGN MOVES TO ‘PROTECT’ BALLOTS via the News Service of Florida
As counting of some ballots continues in the race between Republican Congressman Allen West and his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, West’s campaign is moving to lock down voting materials in two counties. West’s campaign has asked courts in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties to impound voting machines and ballots in effort to shield them from the “bitter partisans” who serve as supervisors of elections in those counties, said campaign manager Tim Edson.
West is currently trailing in the unofficial counts, with provisional and military ballot still being tallied. Edson suggested the campaign was worried that elections officials might tamper with the materials. “We are going to take all precautions to make sure the ballots are protected,” Edson said. A hearing on the motion is set for tomorrow in Palm Beach County; Edson said the campaign didn’t yet know when a hearing might be held in St. Lucie County.
PROSPECT OF CHRIS DORWORTH OVERCOMING VOTE DEFICIT NARROWS AFTER PROVISIONAL BALLOTS COUNTED
With “almost all of the provisional ballots” examined for their relevance to the race and their votes added to each candidate’s totals, Clelland now leads Dorworth by 123 votes.
The final margin puts Clelland at 50.08% to Dorworth’s 49.92% — a margin still close enough to trigger a manual recount.
SPEAKER WILL WEATHERFORD ON ‘LIFE WITHOUT DORWORTH’
“We’ll cross that bridge if we get there,” Weatherford said in an interview with the News Service of Florida. “If he doesn’t (win the election) the body will deal with it.” Weatherford said there’s no plan to simply appoint a replacement for Dorworth rather than leave it up to members of the caucus. “I can assure you there will be no appointment,” Weatherford said.
SEN. DAVID SIMMONS: DORWORTH TROUBLES MAY HAVE HURT OTHER REPUBLICANS: “It possibly bled over to all kinds of Republicans,” Simmons said.
***Capitol Consulting would like to thank the clients we were privileged to serve this election cycle. Congratulations to election winners Sheriff David Gee, Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, State Representative-Elect Dan Raulerson and State Representative-Elect Jake Raburn. To see some of the most creative work we produced, visit our YouTube Channel and to sign up to receive information from us visit here.***
5 QUESTIONS FOR INCOMING SENATE PRESIDENT DON GAETZ here.
APPOINTED: Governor Rick Scott announced the appointments of Vance Aloupis, James Croteau, Linda Gonzalez, Wayne Mullican, Mayor Sam Seevers, and Sherry Wheelock to the Florida Commission on Community Service.
DEAN CANNON LAUNCHING LOBBYING FIRM, CAPITOL INSIGHT
Former Speaker Dean Cannon is launching Capitol Insight, a full-service lobbying firm based in Tallahassee. Cannon is teaming up with another former Speaker, Larry Cretul, and Cynthia Lorenzo.
Cretul and Lorenzo will lead the firm’s legislative affairs practice, while Cannon will focus on strategic consulting, the executive branch and business development consulting.
By launching Capitol Insight, Cannon is returning to what he did so well before climbing the legislative leadership track. Cannon was a lobbyist and lawyer prior to being an elected member of the Legislature.
Although Cannon’s legislative district was based in Central Florida, he and his family are moving to Tallahassee as he returns to law and government affairs consulting.
HOUSE COMMITTEES WILL GET MAKEOVER, SAYS WEATHERFORD
The changes, outlined in a memo sent to House members Wednesday, include creating an education Choice & Innovation Subcommittee, which will deal with a wide range of issues such as charter schools, virtual instruction and voucher-type programs.
Also, the changes include creating a Regulatory Affairs Committee that will have three subcommittees — Business & Professional Regulation, Energy & Utilities and Insurance & Banking.
Under the Health & Human Services Committee, the structure will include a Health Innovation Subcommittee, a Health Quality Subcommittee and a Healthy Families Subcommittee.
In the memo, Weatherford asked members to provide information by Nov. 14 about their preferences in committee assignments.
MEDIA NOTE: DUKE MAAS LEAVING THE TAMPA TRIB via Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times
PERSONNEL NOTES: SEN. WILTON SIMPSON MAKES SMART HIRES
Patrick Weightman will serve as Senator Simpson’s Legislative Assistant. Born and raised in Pasco County, Patrick has been working for Senator Simpson in various capacities since graduating from the University of Florida in 2011. Patrick will travel to Tallahassee for committee weeks and the legislative session.
Rachel Perrin Rogers will serve as Senator Simpson’s Chief Aide in Tallahassee, handling legislative requests and public relations. For the last four years, she was employed as an aide in the Florida Senate. Prior to that, she worked as an analyst for the Senate Commerce Committee and the Legislative Article V Technology Board.
Judy Parker, a lifetime resident of New Port Richey, will be serving as District Office Manager.
PERSONNEL NOTES: SEN. AARON BEAN, REP. DANA YOUNG MAKE STAFFING DECISIONS
James Kotas has been tapped by Bean to serve as his Chief of Staff.
Moving up to replace Kotas in Young’s office is Sydney Ridley, who is fresh off campaign victories in the senate campaigns of Jeff Brandes and Dorothy Hukill. Officially, Ridley will be Young’s chief Legislative Aide.
Longtime Palm Beach County Republican Party Chairman Sid Dinerstein said today that he will step aside in December after 10 years.
Dinerstein has been elected to five consecutive two-year terms as head of the county GOP. His current term ends in December.
“It’s been 10 years and it’s a volunteer job and my wife and I have given up a lot of things so that I could do this. This is a discussion that went on over many months and it has absolutely nothing to with the outcome of the election,” Dinerstein said.
PSC STAFF RECOMMENDS NEARLY $300M FOR NUKE PROJECTS via The News Service of Florida
The Florida Public Service Commission’s staff is recommending that customers of Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida pay about $294 million next year for nuclear-power projects. The recommendation is an important step as the PSC prepares to decide Nov. 26 how much should be passed along to customers. The costs stem from upgrades at existing nuclear plants and plans by Progress and FPL to eventually build reactors in Levy and Miami-Dade counties.
The recommendation, dated Tuesday, calls for FPL customers to pay $151.5 million next year, and Progress customers to pay $142.7 million. Trying to encourage more nuclear power, Florida lawmakers in 2006 approved a measure that allows utilities to pass along such costs. The costs are a relatively small part of customers’ overall monthly electric bills. But the issue has been highly controversial, at least in part because it is not guaranteed that the planned reactors will ever be built. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which is spearheading a constitutional challenge to such costs, issued a statement Thursday blasting the staff recommendation and pointing to what it described as an “anti-consumer mentality.”
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