Sunburn for 6/11: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics brought to you by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.

CAN A WOLF GET SUNBURN? “This is an amazingly quick compilation of important data. Thanks for doing what you do – you provide a lot of sunburn with plenty of lotion!” – Bob Levy

MORE KIND WORDS: “I love Sunburn” – Julie Delegal


“‘Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras’ (Mitt Romney: In His Own Words) … highlights working Latinos’ reactions … The $4 million campaign will run on television and on the radio in Colorado, Nevada and Florida throughout the summer [beginning this week]. … ‘If elected President, Mitt Romney’s policies would be devastating to Latino families … ,’ said Paul Begala, Senior Advisor for Priorities USA Action. … ‘This ad is part of a broader effort to ensure Latino voters know the stakes in this election and who has been on the side of Latino Families … ,’ said SEIU National Political Director Brandon Davis.”  (Via the Politico Playbook.)

See, hear ads here.


A new Super PAC ad that will run in Florida and other states and resumes criticism of Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, reports Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times. The spot from the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action features a former worker at a steel plant in Kansas City. Bill Burton, head of the PAC, said it’s part of a $7 million buy on Romney’s corporate experience. Watch the video here.

STAT OF THE DAY: 0.2% – The current polling margin between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in Real Clear Politics’ average of recent polls

3 SIGNS MARCO RUBIO’S VP PROSPECTS are gaining momentum: 1) An ABC News poll released Friday found Americans view Rubio favorably than unfavorably; 2) He’s Jeb Bush’s choice;  3) He made Politico’s Mike Allen’s Final Four list.


>>>George LeMieux wins straw poll of Florida’s Young Republicans – LeMieux (70%) Mack (19%) Weldon (9%) McCalister (1%)

>>>Connie Mack’s campaign says IV will not be participating in Monday’s straw poll in bellweather Pinellas County (unlike Marco Rubio in 2010, who came to Charlie Crist’s home-county, won the straw poll and changed the course of the campaign).

Just a thought, but is Mack campaign spokesman, David James, the most obnoxious campaign spox of 2012? His quotes do his boss no favors.


Several polls have shown now that Rick Scott would lose in 2014 if Charlie Crist became a Democrat and ran against him but our newest survey finds that Democrats might not need that high of a profile candidate to knock off Scott, at least if he remains this unpopular. 5% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of State Senator Nan Rich. Only 14% have even heard of her. And despite that she still leads Scott by 12 points in a hypothetical match up, 47-35.


Some people have compared Scott to Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, saying he could have a similar sort of resurrection in his standing. But the lowest level of popularity Walker ever hit in Public Policy Polling’s research was 43%. That would be a record high for Scott if he ever got there.

THE PUSH BACK: “Scott pumps up tea partiers, digs in over voter purge” by Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post

“Gov. Rick Scott pumped up a conservative crowd at a Tea Party Express event in the Capitol city Sunday afternoon,” reports Kam,  “urging the activists to help him gain support for a controversial non-citizen voter purge now in federal court.”

… ” ‘Okay so the latest is who should get to vote in our state and in our country. People that are citizens of our country. It’s very simple, right? Who comes up with the idea that you get to vote if you’re not a citizen?’ Scott asked near the end of a 15-minute speech at the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum.”

… “But a defiant Scott instructed the tea partiers to contact “everybody that’s involved” and demand that the state get access to SAVE, adding that he’s not backing down.”

… “In her introduction of Scott, Tea Party Express co-founder Amy Kremer also riled up the anti-Obama administration crowd over the purge, calling it part of an effort by Democrats to ‘steal’ elections.”

SCOTT’S NEWEST PROBLEM: “Scott administration purging environmental agencies of expertise” by Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel

An attempt by investors to start an environmental-land “bank” in Florida, a business initially valued at more than $100 million that would profit by replacing wetlands destroyed by developers, has left in its wake three state officials forced to resign or suspended after they objected to the project.

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS – AN ABSOLUTE MUST-READ FROM MATT DIXON: “While two companies road contracts, FDOT shrugs”

In the big-money business of state-funded road projects, two powerful contractors have dominated Florida’s Panhandle for the past decade to a potentially illegal level. Though publicly silent, the work has not gone unnoticed by state transportation officials, reports Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union.

report produced in 2006 by Florida Department of Transportation staff looked at contracts from 2002 to 2006 and found “disturbing signs of market sharing among five major contractors.”

Stop reading SUNBURN and click on the link to Dixon’s story — it’s that good.


As if the looming trial of former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer wasn’t sordid enough — legislative leaders living lavishly off donor money, efforts to pay off Greer to step down, charges that Greer stole more than $100,000 from the party — now we learn that Greer’s lawyer threatened to press former Gov. Charlie Crist about alleged gay trysts and drunken behavior, blogs Adam Smith.

Kudos to the Tampa Bay Times, especially reporter Lucy Morgan, for demonstrating a degree of class concerning this story: Smith explains that the Times on Saturday published a story about Crist’s attorney, John Morgan, reporting the perceived threats to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement but opted not to include allegations of gay affairs because there was no evidence they occurred.

Since then, multiple other media outlets reported the gay allegations. It’s not the first time Crist has dealt with gay rumors and he has always denied them.


Crist’s enemies will suggest that the “real issue”s are: 1) what did he do to cover up his personal life that may have involved pay-offs? 2) what (if any) monies were used? 3) who were those monies paid to? 4) who else knew about it — among other issues surrounding the alleged cover-up?

Leave it to the Miami Herald‘s Marc Caputo to explain it all: “In one way or another, the case has roped in every high-level Republican Party official who served while Crist was governor from 2007-2010 … (I)t’s difficult to believe these latest claims are true. … Greer has never mentioned them before and, along with other one-time defenders of Crist, once explicitly told me (as did Crist himself) that the former governor isn’t gay.”

“So pull out the popcorn, gawk at what Crist and Greer have wrought and remember: just when you think we can’t shatter the ceiling of weird or fall through the ground floor of tawdry in Florida, stuff like this is bound to come along.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Charlie Crist “would have to be a sick son of a bitch to try to kiss Porky the Pig,” Morgan told an FDLE case agent, who noted the statement was “in reference to Greer.”

Now, back to the fact-based world…
Adam Putnam — former congressman, current commissioner of agriculture and widely viewed as the future of Florida politics — became a very rich man in 2005 when taxpayers spent $25.5 million on 2,042 acres of his family’s ranch that had been valued at $5.5 million a year earlier, The Palm Beach Post has learned.


As the Sunshine State aims to lure business from overseas, South Florida could improve its competitiveness, a panel of officials from Spain, Mexico and Israel said Thursday. South Florida has a strong reputation as a gateway for business with Latin America and the Caribbean, thanks to excellent airline links to the region. It’s a good base to tap the growing U.S. Hispanic market. And it’s a well-established safe haven for capital from countries facing problems at home.


Like voters in most of the country Floridians are moving on gay marriage.

They’re still narrowly against it with 45% opposed and 42% supportive, according to a new research from Public Policy Polling. But that three point margin represents an 8 point shift from last September when 48% were opposed and just 37% in support.

This very much looks to be an Obama effect. Republicans and independents have moved very little on the issue but Democrats have moved 20 points from +15 support (48/33) to +35 support (61/26). The most dramatic movement has been among African Americans who’ve shifted 48 points from being opposed -30 in the fall (23/53) to now supporting it by 18 points (49/31).

72% of Florida voters support either gay marriage or civil unions, with only 26% opposed to any form of legal recognition. Even 61% of Republicans support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples.
APPOINTED – Dr. Richard G. Shugarman to the Board of Medicine.
GO NOLES – The Florida State University Board of Trustees elected Trustee Allan Bense to succeed as chairman Wm. Andrew Haggard, who had completed his two-year term at the helm.
LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND – On: Devin Barreto, new legislative secretary to Rep. Larry Ahern
PERSONNEL NOTE – Carolyn Gosselin named Chief Communications Officer at the Dept. of Economic Opportunity: Gosselin replaces Nancy Blum-Heintz, who left for Enterprise Florida, the state’s other economic development arm. Gosselin started her own communications firm, Gosselin Inc., in 2010, and was senior vice president and chief communications officer for CNL Financial Group, Inc., a real estate investment company in Orlando. She also has 10 years of experience in marketing and public relations at SunTrust Bank. (Via The Florida Current)

***A special message about KEVIN CATE COMMUNICATIONS. I’ve called Cate one of the smartest guys in any room, but that was last year. His firm continues to change the way public relations works in Florida. Believe me, you want on your side.***


Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford will stand unchallenged for re-election in both August and November with no other candidates qualifying to be on the ballot against the Wesley Chapel Republican slated to take over the chamber in November. Senate President-designate Don Gaetz wasn’t so lucky. Gaetz, R-Niceville, has no primary opposition, and the Democratic Party stayed out of the race, but he’ll have to face no party candidate Richard Harrison in November.

FIRST IN SUNBURN — JEFF BRANDES’ LATEST TV SPOT FOR SD 22 CAMPAIGNHere is a first look at State Senate candidate Jeff Brandes’ new campaign ad “Real Experience” which began airing this weekend.

Political Ad Watch club member Greg Wilson weighs in on Brandes’ spot: “I’ll say one thing for Brandes, he never spares any expense producing beautiful commercials. And though there’s no way to know how many takes it took, he can certainly stand and deliver on camera. Once again, maybe too many things going on here, but it’s early, one day after qualifying, to be exact—and that’s surely the whole point, because Jim Frishe isn’t on TV yet—and, like I said, it sure is purdy!”


Democrats are taking a pass this year on two state House districts and one in the Senate that with their current makeup would have been won by President Obama in 2008, according to state redistricting statistics.

The Florida Democratic Party failed to field a candidate for House District 36 in the Pasco County area and District 83 along the Treasure Coast, with no Democrats filing to run in those districts by the end of qualifying Friday. The majority of voters in both of those districts voted for Obama. Three Republicans will square off to see who will represent District 36. Current state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, is likely the favorite, with two other Republicans, Michael Kennedy and James Mathieu, also having qualified for the Aug. 14 primary.

In District 83, which includes Stuart, Port St. Lucie, and Jensen Beach, Republican incumbent Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, drew no opponent other than a write-in qualifier. Write-in candidates aren’t actually on the ballot.

In Senate District 22, in the Tampa Bay area, Republican House members Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe will square off in the Aug. 14 primary with the winner headed to the Senate. That district also was won by Obama. Democrats also failed to field candidates in 13 House districts and one Senate district where at least 45 percent of voters chose Obama in 2008.


Two Republican and two Democratic newcomers were essentially elected to the House on Friday when qualifying closed and they didn’t have any opposition, reports the News Service of Florida’s David Royse.

Republican Travis Cummings, a benefits consulting firm owner and Clay County commissioner, will be elected to House District 18, which includes part of northern Clay County. “This new seat has given us the unique opportunity to elect one of Clay County’s own, and I am excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work, and be the strong conservative voice our families and neighbors need in Tallahassee,” Cummings, of Orange Park, said in a statement. “Having deep family roots in our community, it is important to me that we continue to grow our economy and create jobs for our residents and all Floridians.” In House District 22, a mostly rural area along the Nature Coast west of Gainesville and into the Ocala area, Republican Charlie Stone drew no opposition. Stone, owner of Stone Petroleum Products, is currently on the Marion County Commission. Two Democrats will walk unopposed into the House, as well. Victor Torres, a labor activist, was elected to District 48 in Orange County. “My district will have a tireless representative who will always remember that, too often, too many are left behind,” Torres said.  “We will be changing that in the next legislative session…..For too long, the collective voice of Florida’s working class families has been silenced in Tallahassee.  We will build a coalition that addresses their needs and concerns.” Torres, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is a former New York City Transit cop. The other Democrat elected without opposition is Shevrin Jones, who was the only candidate to qualify in District 101 in Broward County.

EMAIL NO ONE SHOULD OPEN: “Agenda 21 at The Villages Tea Party on Monday night”

CORRECTIONS: On Friday, I identified Mary Lou Ambrose as a Republican and that she would be running against Rep. Larry Ahern in a Republican primary for District 66. While Ms. Ambrose is running in District 66, Ms. Ambrose is a Democrat and will be in a primary against Joanna Kennedy. On Friday night, I referred to State Senate candidate Aaron Bean when I meant to refer to reporter Matt Dixon.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.