Sunburn for 5/18: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

AWWW, YOU’RE MAKING US BLUSH: “New morning essential” — Doug Bush; “I just wanted to let you know know that the daily Sunburn is AWESOME!!!” — Sydney Riley, aide to Rep. Dana Young; “Quick and witty” — our friends at Corcoran & Johnson.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEKEND TO ERIN CHOY.

MORE BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEKEND: Brendan McDowell, Rep. Greg Steube, Tampa City Councilman Mike Suarez

POLITICO: THE FLORIDA GOP’S LOOMING NIGHTMARE

“The prospect of the state party’s dirty laundry being aired as the nation’s attention turns to Florida – not to mention its possible splash on Rubio – won’t help state or national party leaders sleep any better in the run-up to the convention. Already, Florida Democrats have signaled they’ll work overtime to publicize the potential mess. Two weeks ago, in a press release memo attacking Rubio, the state Democratic Party listed the ‘upcoming pesky Jim Greer trial’  as number 7 on their list of ‘why we hope Republicans place Rubio on the GOP ticket this fall.’” Read the rest here.

HEY, US CHAMBER, BEN NELSON CAST THE DECIDING VOTE FOR OBAMACARE, NOT BILL NELSON

An Orlando television station, WESH, last night aired an examination of claims by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in its ad distorting Sen. Bill Nelson’s record on Medicare and health reform – and, declared the ad is false and full of distortions.  The Chamber’s ad even mistakes Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson for Florida’s Bill Nelson in accusing (Bill) Nelson of casting the “deciding vote” on health reform, WESH reported. WESH now joins PolitiFact and FactCheck.org in exposing false claims and mistakes in the Chamber’s ad.

NY TIMES’ FORECASTNate Silver updated his Senate forecast and concludes that Democrat Bill Nelson has a 65% chance favorite to win re-election.

LEMIUEX ON MSNBC: ‘MACK CAN’T WIN A CHARACTER CONTEST WITH BILL NELSON’

George LeMieux defended and reiterated his character attacks against Connie Mack during an appearance on MSNBC.“If Connie Mack is the nominee, I don’t think he can beat Bill Nelson. It’ll be a race about character. Connie Mack can’t win a character contest with Bill Nelson,” LeMieux told host Chuck Todd.

MACK CAMPAIGN FIRES BACK

“Facing dwindling fundraising, a voting record praised by Barack Obama, and seeing Connie Mack earn the support and full endorsement of the next President Mitt Romney, George LeMieux is losing his grasp.  LeMieux’s meltdown is revealing the real George LeMieux Republicans cannot trust.  After all, when Charlie Crist was in trouble he could go to George LeMieux. On his downward spiral, not even Charlie Crist will take his calls anymore,” stated David James, Deputy Campaign Manager of Mack for Senate.

LEMIEUX, MACK AND MCCALISTER TO GO PICNICKING

The three leading Republican U.S. Senate candidates, George LeMieux, Connie Mack IV and Mike McCalister, will appear at a Hillsborough County Republican Party picnic in Plant City Saturday. The 11 a.m.-3 p.m. event, for a $2 fee, will include free barbecue and other state and local GOP candidates.

TWEET OF THE DAY ABOUT THE #FLSEN RACE: @hannaman00: Fiancee doesn’t want to take my last name until I stop running smear campaigns. Clearly not getting married until post LeMieux slaughter.

RUBIO TO GEITHNER: ‘WE HAVE A DEBT CRISIS’

“We are having a debt ceiling crisis on a daily basis and here is why: this government, every year, is spending $1.5 trillion more than it takes in. … That has to be dealt with. That is not going to solve itself. It’s not going to go away on its own. And every year that goes by that it remains unresolved, the harder it becomes to solve.”

MORE RUBIO: ‘OBAMA CAME OUT FOR GAY MARRIAGE FOR POLITICAL REASONS’

“He did it for political reasons because he doesn’t want to talk about the economy. What I just pointed to you a moment ago, are you better off today than you were four years ago. He doesn’t want that to be what this election is about. And so it’s not just on gay marriage, I think every week he’ll roll out another issue to distract from it. I think they’ve actually admitted that it was politically calculated, because they said they were going to make this decision anyway, they just want to do it closer to the convention. He admitted that he was going to announce this anyway, he just wanted it to be around the convention, he wanted it to be even more dramatic. So of course this was all about politics.”

JUDGMENT DAY FOR DEPT. OF EDUCATION: The Florida Department of Education will release scores for 2012 FCAT 2.0 Grades 9 and 10 Reading, FCAT Writing, FCAT 2.0 Reading retakes and FCAT Reading and Math retakes at noon.

COURT UPHOLDS LAW REINING IN POLITICAL GROUPS

A federal appeals court Thursday quickly rejected a constitutional challenge to a 2010 Florida election law regulating some outside groups that run political ads or send mailers. … A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued a brief ruling that upheld the law, which places requirements on what are known as “electioneering communications organizations,” or ECOs.

ON SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF OIL SPILL, BP PAC PADS POLITICAL POCKETS

During April – the month that marked the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform disaster in the Gulf of Mexico – the political action committee of rig operator BP made half-a-dozen contributions to federal political candidates, new federal filings show. … After months of inactivity during much of 2010 and early 2011, BP’s PAC has since been regularly donating to federal-level politicians.

SPOTTED: Uber lobbyist David Ramba with actor Armand Assante at Longboat Key Club and Resort.

FLORIDA’S OWN RICK WILSON INTERVIEW BY BUZZ FEED: Wilson says he wishes he had Twitter IN 2008 — but he doesn’t believe planned jeremiah Wright ads against Barack Obama can work in 2012.

BARS CAN STAY OPEN UNTIL 3 A.M. DURING REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION…

The Tampa City Council voted to allow bars to stay open until 3 a.m. during the Republican National Convention. Concealed weapons, later last calls, tens of thousands of protesters. What could go wrong?

MEANWHILE, BIG NAMES ARE BOOKING DOWNTOWN TAMPA’S BIGGEST VENUES

Media outlets, big name corporations and Republican State Delegations have been touring some of Tampa Bay’s biggest venues looking for work and party space during the 2012 Republican National Convention, reports Carson Chambers. … Story here about some of the bookings that are in the works or done deals.

COUNTIES SCRAMBLING TO FIGURE OUT TERM LIMITS FOR OFFICIALS

Last Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court Thursday either reversed or receded an earlier decision and now, the 20 charter counties in Florida can impose term limits on local elected offices. Because of that ruling, counties are trying to figure out what happens next.

In Broward, four long-time commissioners will be terming out in the next two years. … In Duval County, the clerk of the court Jim Fuller could be stuck waiting to learn if he’s allowed to hold onto his job. The same question could be on the horizon soon enough for Sheriff John Rutherford, Property Appraiser Jim Overton and Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland. Eventually, it could even wait for Tax Collector Michael Corrigan. … In Pinellas, County attorney Jim Bennett says he’s not sure about the effect of the new ruling. He said he plans to meet with a group of lawyers Friday to discuss the case and any possible fallout. Former county attorney Susan Churuti says the future is not murky: The only way term limits could return for elected county officials is for voters to pass a new referendum.

SACHS/MASON-DIXON POLL

The most significant poll to date on the impact of social media in the 2012 presidential race reveals that almost 70 percent of likely voters believe the race will be heavily shaped by social media platforms.  The survey also finds that the Internet is deepening its role as a major factor in what promises to be a tight, hard-fought presidential race.

SAGE WISDOM FROM RON SACHS

“Modern political campaigns can no longer rely exclusively on traditional ways of reaching voters, and this is the first poll I’ve seen that takes the so-called ‘new’ media and matches it up to people’s voting preferences.”

MORNING MUST-READ FROM DR. SUSAN MACMANUS: So you think you know Florida voters?

Using a series of graphs breaking down Florida’s registrants (placed at the end of the column), Dr. Susan MacManus shows how different pictures of our state’s voters emerge, depending on how they are “sliced and diced.”  Even the most seasoned political junkies are sure to be surprised by what some of the numbers show. For example, bet you didn’t know that:

  • Voters living in I-4 corridor media markets are slightly younger and whiter than the state’s registrants overall.
  • 30-49 year olds are the plurality age group in the Sunshine State—not seniors (as is the image of Florida held by many)
  • In the Orlando media market, the proportion of Hispanic and African American registrants is nearly equal—13% and 11% respectively (many think Latinos are much more dominant); statewide, the two minority groups are almost identical (13.26%—black; 13.22%—Hispanic).
  • A majority of voters with No Party Affiliation or registered with a minor party are under age 50.

ELECTION SUPERVISORS: LISTS OF ‘NON-CITIZENS’ FLAWED

Some elections supervisors are expressing discomfort with a new state-led effort to purge voter rolls based on a check of driver records aimed at turning up fraud. The Associated Press reported that several elections supervisors at an annual meeting of the elections chiefs from around the state were skeptical of the effort. State officials said last week that they’ve identified about 180,000 possibly ineligible voters and sent about 2,600 names to some local elections supervisors to check further. Some supervisors said the information they’ve been sent has so far not been totally accurate. “We don’t have confidence in the validity of the information,” St. Lucie County Supervisor Gertrude Walker said, according to the AP.

SUSANNAH RANDOLPH OP-ED ON FLORIDA GOP’S “COORDINATED” WAR ON WOMEN

Let there be no doubt that the Republican war on women is coordinated, intentional and dangerous. The first battles began in state legislatures, and what most people don’t know is that the GOP’s war on women has been quietly raging for years. … Like a stealth attack, model, uniform legislation targeting women’s healthand reproductive rights was filed simultaneously in several states. Forced ultrasound bills, virtual bans on abortions, and the de-funding of Planned Parenthood all came out of a central command — Americans United for Life, which functions alongside the American Legislative Exchange Council as a GOP legislative factory focused solely on women’s issues. … In 2010, Republicans in the Florida House voted against expanding unemployment benefits to women who were victims of domestic violence, leaving many women with a choice between protecting their children from their attackers and providing for their children. That same year, then-Rep. Sandy Adams, a Republican who now serves in Congress, sponsored a bill that would have required some women to pay $200 to get a domestic-violence injunction. … Read the full text of the op-ed here.

SPOTTED: Rep. Jose Oliva in St. Petersburg with lobbyist Alan Suskey, consultant Anthony Pedicini and potential legislative candidate LJ Govoni.

ANGELA COREY COREY AT FIRST COAST TIGER BAY

Angela Corey, the state prosecutor in the Jacksonville area, and the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, is the speaker Friday at the First Coast Tiger Bay Club in Jacksonville. Corey’s been a prosecutor in the area for 30 years.

TAMPA TRIBUNE: BLACK AND WHITE & NOT READ ALL OVER

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to buy 63 daily and weekly newspapers owned by Media General Inc. for $142 million. This move is Berkshire’s second in six months to expand into the depressed newspaper market.The purchase, however, does not include the Tampa Tribune. Media General said it is in discussions with other prospective buyers for its Tampa print assets. Press release is here.

BOOK I’M NOT READING: DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: Steve MacNamara’s resignation makes Leno: “Leno (who might have erred in implicating MacNamara’s relatives) included the former staff chief in a monologue around 2:36 in the video below where he says: “And Steven MacNamara, the chief of staff for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, has resigned amid allegations that he steered lucrative state contracts to his friends and relatives. The people most upset about his resignation? His friends and relatives.” H/t to the Miami Herald.

MORE ALOE: Yes, you can buy “Flunked FCAT” shirts online.

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.