Sunburn for 12/11 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

BATTLEGROUND POLL: HIKE TAKES ON RICH via James Hohmann of POLITICO

A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll finds that 60 percent of respondents support raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year [38% oppose] and 64 percent want to raise taxes on large corporations. Even 39 percent of Republicans support raising taxes on households making more than $250,000. Independents favor such a move by 21 points, 59 to 38 percent. Only 38 percent buy the GOP argument that raising taxes on households earning over $250,000 per year will have a negative impact on the economy. Fifty-eight percent do not.

POLL ALSO SHOWS SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

62% of those surveyed support an immigration reform proposal that would allow illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship over a period of several years. Thirty-five percent oppose it. The poll reveals significantly greater overall support, 77%, for an immigration law that allows the children of illegal or undocumented immigrants to earn the right to stay here permanently if they complete a college degree or serve in the military. Just 19% oppose this key element of the so-called DREAM Act.

OBAMA CAMPAIGN HEROES

Rolling Stone profiles the ten key operatives who helped President Obama win re-election.

RNC TO INVESTIGATE WHAT WENT WRONG

The RNC is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn’t for the party in the 2012 cycle, Politico reports.

The plan is to focus on: campaign mechanics, fundraising, demographics, messaging, outside groups, campaign finance, the national primary process and, last but not least, what the successful Democratic efforts revealed about the way forward, and recommend plans for the way forward.

However, BuzzFeed reports that two of the people leading the effort — former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer and Republican committeeman Henry Barbour — pushed the narrative that the polls were skewed, and Mitt Romney would ultimately prevail.

TODD HARRIS WILL BE RUNNING WASHINGTON, D.C.

Buzzfeed highlights “23 People Who Will Be Running Washington Next Year,” placing an emphasis on “young, tech savvy operatives. Among them is Marco Rubio aide Todd Harris. Harris, 41, has a résumé that reads like a who’s-who list of the Republican Party, with Sen. John McCain, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush among his former bosses. 

But it’s his current gig, as a senior adviser to Rubio that has propelled both Harris — and Rubio with him — into the upper echelon of national Republican politics. Alex Conant, who worked as Tim Pawlenty’s press secretary on the campaign trail before joining Rubio’s office roughly one year ago calls Harris “amongst the most respected operatives I’ve ever worked with.”

 “He’s very good at taking the long view and not getting sucked into any one media storm of the moment,” Conant said. Rubio’s office has faced its share of media storms, even during the past year: The questions about his parent’s immigration story; the potential that Rubio might be picked as Mitt Romney’s running mate; this week, an interview with GQ Magazine in which Rubio said he doesn’t know how old the earth is. 

But to those stories and others, Conant said, Harris brought “a level head.”

TWEET, TWEET: @kerpen: Please welcome @marcorubio’s chief of staff @CesarConda to Twitter!

PERSONNEL NEWS TWEET: @learyreports: Amy Graham, who worked for Gov. Rick Scott before joining Romney campaign, has new gig: Com director for U.S. Rep.-elect Ron DeSantis.

***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.”***

5 REASONS WHY CRIST SHOULD RUN FOR GOVERNOR; 5 REASON HE SHOULDN’T by Steve Bousquet and Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Pro: He has an all-consuming desire to hold elective office. If he wants to return to it, there may be no better time than now — against an unpopular governor and fresh off helping Obama win re-election.

Con: Be patient, Charlie. Make some more money at Morgan and Morgan. You’re 56, and ultimately 81-year-old U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young will retire. Winning a congressional seat in your home turf is a much easier lift than running statewide again — and possibly losing.

DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS ASSOC. CHAIR: ‘CRIST IS A VERY STRONG CANDIDATE’ by Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, is pretty receptive to newly christened Democrat Charlie Crist running for governor. “He was hugely helpful in electing president Obama,” Shumlin said Sunday on C-SPAN. “He’s an incredibly capable leader. Now, I want to be clear, as DGA chair, we don’t take sides before we know that we have one single candidate as opposed to a primary. But having said that, everybody knows he was a great governor, led Florida with tremendous vision and is focused on jobs and job creation. So if he’s a candidate, we would welcome him to the club.” Asked if he would recruit Crist to run, Shumlin said, “We will be having conversations with him, certainly. Now I want to say that we’re not eliminating other candidates, I want to be clear about that. But Charlie is a very strong candidate.”

MY TAKETHE COURAGE – AND DANGER – OF CRIST’S PARTY CHANGE

For those, such as the RPOF’s Lenny Curry, who viewed Crist’s party switch as a foregone conclusion, they should know that in doing so, Crist has done the one thing his opponents say he has never done before: He’s putting his own neck on the line.

That could be electorally dangerous for Charlie Crist. But right now, it’s just politically courageous. Full blog post here.

WHO BRINGS A VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION TO A WHITE HOUSE RECEPTION? by George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

While in Washington last week to attend a holiday reception at the White House, Crist said he decided the time was right to complete his journey from the GOP to no party affiliation to the Democratic Party.

“I thought I’d like to do this and I’d like to do it at the White House, but I didn’t have the form,” Crist said. So he said he went to the business center at his hotel in Washington and printed out an application from the Pinellas County elections website, then brought it to the White House.

Crist said he signed the application on a music stand that was being used by the United States Marine Band, which was playing at the reception.

CRIST ON HARDBALL: For those with a high tolerance for uncomfortable television, here is Charlie Crist undergoing a test of his conversion by Chris Matthews on Hardball.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: ”I really think it’s the leadership of the party, more than the membership,” Crist said on MSNBC. “But what’s happened is, on issue after issue, whether it’s immigration, education, voter suppression — what the leadership of the party has done is say on immigration, we want deportation. When it talks about education, it’s talking about not funding it anymore. When they talk about voter suppression, they deny people the right to vote in a civil manner.”

TWEET, TWEET: @MarcACaputo: Did Chris Matthews promise a “nice platform” on MSNBC for Charlie Crist?

SINK SOUNDS BITTER…

“We’ve been anticipating this and we’re a big tent party, we welcome people to the party and I hope he’ll find a place in the Democratic Party that’s maybe more aligned with whatever his philosophy is,” said Sink.

…WHILE STEVE SCHALE VOUCHES

“…whereas there was a question a year ago about whether he could pass the basic smell test as a Democrat, I don’t think that’s the case now.”

SINK TO LEAD DEMOCRATIC GROUP URGING CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON TAX CUTS

Sink will join Floridians on a press call on Wednesday, December 12th at 10:30 a.m. to urge congressional leaders to take action so middle-class Floridians do not see their taxes go up next year. On January 1, income taxes are scheduled to go up for 7.6 million middle-class Florida families, and tax cuts such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, the 10 percent tax bracket, marriage penalty relief, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit all expire.
PAM BONDI: ‘I’M DEFINITELY RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION’ by Eric Giunta of Sunshine State News
Bondi emphatically rebutted suggestions by one reporter that she might not run for re-election as the Sunshine State’s chief legal officer in 2014.
“That’s a billion, billion perfect false,” she told the reporter. “Whoever told you that is a very bad source!”
PINELLAS, SARASOTA REPUBLICANS ELECT PARTY CHAIRS
Michael Guju was elected the new chair of the Pinellas Republican Executive Committee, while Joe Gruters was returned for another term as the chair of the Sarasota GOP.
***Today’s SUNBURN is sponsored by the Smart Justice Summit. With an eye towards creating Smart Justice legislation for the state, the Florida Smart Justice Summit will convene December 12-14 to develop a far-reaching initiative that offers common sense ideas to improve outcomes, reduce costs and enhance public safety for the people of Florida. For more information, visit JusticeSummit.org.***

BILL WOULD CREATE POVERTY-BASED ED CATEGORICAL via The News Service of Florida

School districts with a higher percentage of low income students would receive additional funding from the state, under a bill filed Monday by Rep. Frank Artiles. The bill (HB 31) would authorize state education officials to create another special category of funding to address districts with higher percentages of low income students. The bill would require the Department of Education to develop a threshold level above which schools would be eligible for funding. The formula would be based on the percentage of students eating free or reduced lunches. Lawmakers would annually approve the distribution of funds. The bill would leave up to school districts how to divvy up the money, but the funding must be used for class size reduction, reading initiatives and intervention programs targeting students in kindergarten through third grade.

REP. SETH MCKEEL HINTS AT MORE SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION FUNDS by Joey Flechas of the Gainesville Sun

McKeel, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, addressed the (UF Board of Trustees’) Committee on External Relations, asserting his commitment to seek more state money for higher education and the Public Education Capital Outlay, the fund the pays for construction projects across the education system.

He noted that increased funding could depend upon two key situations in Tallahassee.

One is the pending lawsuit brought against the state by the statewide teachers union over the requirement for state employees to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to their retirement plans.

FIVE QUESTIONS FOR REP. MATT HUDSON

Here, including… Q: How would you describe the new Legislature?

HUDSON: You know, for the upcoming session I think we’ve already seen from our new presiding officers a desire to work together, a desire to be inclusive. You see some of the committee chairmanships that President Gaetz has offered up that I think are very good. You’ve heard Speaker Weatherford in his opening remarks chat about making sure that we’re working together more. Just yesterday, I had a meeting with the ranking member of my committee, to be able to sit down and talk about her involvement in the committee and her participation and how my door would always be open.

FORMER SPEAKER LEE MOFFITT JOINS LAW FIRM ADAMS & REESE

Adams and Reese has announced that H. Lee Moffitt, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and founder of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, has joined the firm as special counsel in the governmental relations and legislative law practice areas. Also joining the firm with Moffitt is professional lobbyist Karen K. MacFarland, who will serve as a governmental affairs advisor.

“We are very pleased to have Lee and Karen join us,” said Adams and Reese managing partner Charles Adams, Jr. “Lee’s distinguished legal and political career has made him one of the most widely-respected figures in the state of Florida and he is nationally known for his philanthropic efforts as a leading advocate for cancer research.”

Adams continued regarding MacFarland, “Karen is a skilled and respected strategist with over 25 years of experience working on behalf of clients’ interests, including appropriations, taxation, transportation, professional regulation, environmental protection, education, and juvenile justice.”

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Jim DeBeaugrine, RFJ Governmental Consultants: Philote, LLC

Mark Maxwell, Richard Reeves, Lane Stephens, SCG Governmental Affairs: Philote, LLC

Teye Reeves, Floridian Partners: Independent Pharmacy Cooperative

***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.***

GOV. SCOTT TO HONOR MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT

On Tuesday, Gov.Scott will honor Medal of Honor recipient, the late Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller, and his family at the Wall of Honor.

CABINET MEETING TODAY

The Governor and Cabinet have a packed agenda as they round out business for 2012. They are expected to approve the 2013 Florida Forever priority list to steer land-buying and leasing efforts for the coming year. Department of Environmental Protection officials have said they will focus on projects that are substantially complete and those that impact water quality and access. The proposed budget and legislative agenda for the Department of Highway Safety, the Department of Revenue and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will also be on the agenda.

The Cabinet will also look at bonding requests totaling $560 million for education construction and $125 million in Florida Turnpike  construction. The Division of Bond Finance will submit its debt affordability report while the State Board of Administration conducts quarterly performance reviews of various state programs including investment plans for the Florida Retirement System, The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and  the Prepaid College Board.

FLORIDA BUSINESSES RALLY FOR HOLIDAY GIVING

Florida businesses and their employees continue to rally around local charities “even though their dollars are stretched more than ever before,” said David Biemesderfer, president and chief executive officer of the Florida Philanthropic Network. The group expects donations in Florida to have risen slightly or remained flat after leveling off to about $1.26 billion in philanthropic giving in 2011.

PERSONNEL NOTE: Joe Culotta  is joining the Florida Chamber of Commerce as the Corporate Relations & Marketing Manager.

RULING THREATENS PLANNED SHANDS JAX HOSPITAL via the News Service of Florida

A state judge has ruled that Shands Jacksonville Medical Center did not prove a need for a new 100-bed satellite hospital in northern Duval County and said regulators should deny the project. Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins issued a 60-page decision Friday that recommended the state Agency for Health Care Administration turn down what is known as a “certificate of need” for the planned hospital near Jacksonville International Airport. Watkins ruled in favor of Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, which challenged the project after AHCA in December 2011 gave preliminary approval to the certificate of need.

“Shands Jacksonville failed to persuasively establish need for its proposed satellite hospital,” Watkins wrote. “Any improvements in geographic access, including access to emergency services, would be modest at best. On the other hand, the approval of yet a third new hospital (two others already are planned in the Jacksonville area), in an already competitive market, would further heighten the competition for both patients and hospital personnel, potentially driving up the costs for hospital services.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Ron Sachs Communication. 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 ***

CONGRATULATIONS to one of Tallahassee’s best and favorite couples, Eileen and Ben Stuart, on the birthof their baby boy, Theodore Ellis. He weighed in at eight pounds, six ounces and came out twenty-two and a half inches long.

NAUGHTY OR NICE: 49% of Americans believe Obama won’t be getting presents from Santa this Christmas.

THE WHITE HOUSE has officially joined Pinterest.

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.