Sunburn for 5/24: A morning read of what's hot in Florida politics

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

APOLOGIES for the lighter ‘burn today. Yesterday, a story of mine made its way to the top of Drudge (which is a good thing) leading to more traffic to my site than I’ve ever experienced.  The downside was it all but crashed my servers throughout the day. I believe the term is called “Drudge-alanche.”

ALMOST-A-SHOCK POLL FROM QUINNIPIAC: IN FLORIDA, ROMNEY LEADS OBAMA 47% TO 41%

Romney was preferred by 47 percent to Obama’s 41 percent among a random telephone survey of 1,722 registered Florida voters conducted between May 15 and May 21 by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. That poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

The survey also indicated that having U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Miami on the Republican ticket with Romney would have little effect on voter decisions. Romney led Obama 49 percent to 41 percent with Rubio as his running mate.

FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE Q-POLL

  1. This is a 13-point shift for Mitt Romney since late March.
  2. The Obama Campaign continues to have issues with Florida’s independent voterS, who back the Republican ticket 46 – 37 percent in this poll.
  3. Yeah, adding Marco Rubio only adds two points to Romney’s column, but, hey, it’s two points!
  4. Obama leads Romney among women by just one point.
  5. Killer: Romney’s favorability rating is 14 points higher than Obama’s.

TWEET OF THE DAY ABOUT THE Q-POLL – @TheRickWilson: Fl QPoll takeaway: Catholics Romney 60-28. How’s that contraception mandate working for ya?

A new poll from NBC/Marist poll on Florida will be out today, Chuck Todd says.

BUT “FLORIDA, FLORIDA, FLORIDA” ISNT AS ESSENTIAL IT USED TO BE

At least that what’s Jim O’Sullivan of the National Journal writes.  In fact, of the five paths the Obama campaign deems likeliest to victory – laid out in December with a memorable profanity from campaign manager Jim Messina – only one includes the Sunshine State. … That’s a recognition that Obama’s performance among aging voters is weak. According to the U.S. Census, Florida had the nation’s fifth-highest median age. And Romney’s already won there once this year; recall that it was his crucial and commanding win there that firewalled him against Newt Gingrich’s surge. … Writing off Florida would be, in many ways, liberating, since its pricey media markets and sui generis politics make it a resource-draining state. But the looming loss of a state the president carried four years ago by three points, after Florida had gone for George W. Bush twice straight, poses longer term, ominous concerns for Democrats.

ANA NAVARRO IN POLITICO ON WHY MARCO RUBIO IS NO SARAH PALIN

“I traveled with Palin in 2008 and have known Rubio since before either of us had gray hair. Palin and Rubio are as similar as Alaska and Florida,” writes Ana Navarro in a op-ed for Politico.

“The population of Alaska during Palin’s time as governor was less than 700,000. Rubio now represents a state of 19 million. Though Alaska has a rich history, it lacks Florida’s diversity. Rubio represents a microcosm of America — practically every U.S. demographic group is represented in Florida.”

US SENATOR TOM COBURN ENDORSES GEORGE LEMIEUX

Interesting, if not surprising, get for LeMieux from a high-profile hard-right conservative.

“I am proud to endorse George LeMieux in his election to return to the U.S. Senate,” said Senator Tom Coburn. “I served with George and have seen firsthand his commitment to reducing our national debt and stopping Washington’s out-of-control spending. During his time in the Senate, George was a proven leader. He passed necessary legislation to prevent Medicare fraud and offered the 2007 Solution, a roadmap to balance our budget. America is facing a difficult time and it is imperative we elect people like George LeMieux to go to Washington to make the difficult decisions that will save our country for future generations.”

WEATHERFORD SAYS HE’S STANDING PAT ON STAFFING CHANGES GOING INTO SPEAKERSHIP

“We expect to make announcements regarding the House structure sometime this summer,” says Speaker Designate Will Weatherford. “The House already has a top notch staff that has a proven record of success. While I do not anticipate making any major changes, I look forward to complementing existing staff with a strong team that will continue to serve Floridians well.”

MORE WEATHERFORD: The Speaker Designate helped Rep. Peter Nehr raise another $20K for his re-election bid on Tuesday, further cementing Nehr’s inevitability towards locking up a fourth term.

CONNIE MACK ENDORSES TREY RADEL AS HIS SUCCESSOR FOR CONGRESSIONAL SEAT

Rep. Connie Mack endorsed Trey Radel to succeed him in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Trey Radel is the perfect person to represent Southwest Florida in Washington.”

ADAM PUTNAM ENDORSES AARON BEAN FOR NORTHEAST FLORIDA SENATE SEAT

“I support Aaron Bean in his race for the Florida Senate,” said Commissioner Putnam.  “We need a strong conservative from Northeast Florida in the Senate who will focus on creating jobs and getting our state’s economy back on track.  As a small businessman, Aaron understands firsthand the trials and tribulations that business owners go through on a daily basis to keep their doors open and keep our state’s workforce going.”

JOHN LEGG TO SWITCH RACES, CHALLENGE JIM NORMAN

Rep. John Legg announced Wednesday that he’s switching Senate races and will run in District 17 against incumbent Sen. Jim Norman. Legg had been planning to run in District 18, which covers parts of Pasco, Hernando and Sumter counties, but said he now will run in the district that covers southern Pasco and part northern Hillsborough County. Legg told the Tampa Bay Times the decision essentially came down to where his family wants to live and raise their children. Pasco egg farmer Wilton Simpson is running in District 18.

DORWORTH OPPONENT ‘CALLS IT LIKE HE SEES IT’

Lake Mary Republican John Moffitt filed paperwork this week to challenge Rep. Chris Dorworth in House District 29, saying he’s concerned about the party’s image because of Dorworth’s personal difficulties. In taking on Dorworth, Moffitt, the treasurer of the Seminole County Republican Party, will likely face off against the House leadership – Dorworth is in line to be speaker of the House starting with the 2015 legislative session. As a professional umpire of college softball games, Moffitt is likely used to getting some heat, and evidently isn’t afraid to call it like he sees it. “My opponent has been involved closely with the shameful episode of our state party leader Jim Greer,” Moffitt said in an email. “He has also shown, as reported in the media, that he cannot even manage his own finances. Foreclosure, spending far in excess of his reported income as well as unexplained assets …. Given all of this, my opponent is not qualified to be speaker of the Florida House.” Dorworth didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. One Democrat, Michael Clelland, is also seeking to run against Dorworth.

YOU’RE INVITED: Fundraiser for legislative candidate David Santiago, tonight, in Tallahassee. Invite here.

DAVID PHILLIPS FILES FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 69

David Phillips, an attorney with Macfarlane Fergson & McMullen, has filed papers with the Division of Elections to to run for State Representative in District 69.

“St. Petersburg and the beaches need someone who isn’t a career politician to change the direction Tallahasssee is headed,” Phillips said.  “We can promote tourism by making sure our beaches are healthy and productive. We can preserve Medicaid for our seniors by eliminating and prosecuting fraud.  And, we can balance Florida’s budget without tax or fee increases.”

ENDORSEMENTS GALORE

…Republican Senate candidate Mike Weinstein was endorsed by the North Florida Hispanic Leadership Alliance. Jacksonville businessman, and GOP fundraiser Tom Petway also endorsed Weinstein this week.

…Former State Representative Faye Culp endorsed Jim Frishe for FL SD 22.

…Former U.S. Rep. Ric Keller endorsed businessman Craig Miller in the race for the 6th Congressional District.

…Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton endorsed Republican Ron DeSantis in the race for the 6th Congressional District.

…Karen Harrington, a Republican running in the 20th Congressional District, was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross. Harrington is seeking to challenge U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

LEE CO. VOTERS TO HAVE SAY ON SLOTS

The Lee County Commission on Tuesday approved holding a November referendum about whether slot machines should be allowed at the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track, the News-Press reported. The 4-1 vote came amid uncertainty about whether slot machines can be approved through such referendums. Attorney General Pam Bondi issued a non-binding opinion earlier this year that said such referendums would only be valid if they are authorized by lawmakers or in the Florida Constitution. But voters in Gadsden, Washington and Hamilton counties have already approved slots referendums, and other counties, such as Lee and Palm Beach, plan to put the issue in front of voters. The Florida Supreme Court added to the debate last month when it ruled that lawmakers can allow slots in various parts of the state. That case stemmed from a legislative change aimed at allowing slot machines at the historic Hialeah Park horse track in Miami-Dade County.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to slammin’, jammin’ Jim Browne, legislative assistant to State Representative Shawn Harrison. Speaking of Harrison, he may be out of the woods as to whether he’ll face-off against former State Rep. Bob Henriquez. There’s a lot of pressure on ‘Coach’ to run for Hillsborough Co. Property Appraiser if the embattled Rob Turner is forced out.

NEW TO THE TWITTER: @DwightDudleyFL – He’s the Democrat running in battleground District 68.  Legendary Tampa Bay Times reporters @JeffKlinkenberg and @LaneDeGregory.

SPOTTED: Charlie Crist at a fundraiser for former State Senator Dave Aronberg who is now running for Palm Beach State Attorney.

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.