Sunburn for 6/14: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

***SUNBURN is brought to you by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit www.bascomllc.com to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.***

POLL: MORE THAN HALF OF OBAMA VOTERS MORE EXCITED THAN ’08

New polling from Daily Kos and SEIU conducted by Public Policy Polling up-ends conventional wisdom that President Obama’s supporters are less enthusiastic about his re-election bid than they were about his first run for the White House.

ADVISORY: Today, Sen. Marco Rubio will address the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington DC.

FOUR THEORIES ON WHY JEB is pulling a Bill Clinton on Mitt Romney here.

PAM BONDI ENDORSES CONNIE MACK

“It is crucial that we elect strong and fiscally conservative leaders to the United States Senate, who will stand up to overreaching federal government power and out of control federal spending in Washington, D.C.  During my service as Florida’s Attorney General, and through our united efforts to fight the prescription drug epidemic in our state and nation, I have developed an incredible respect and personal friendship with both Connie and Mary Bono Mack, and I am pleased to offer Connie my endorsement and support of his campaign for U.S. Senate,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.

DEBATE SERIES SET FOR PRIMARY, GENERAL ELECTION

Three Republican candidates hoping to unseat Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will tilt verbal lances next month in a debate sponsored by a group including Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association, reports the News Service of Florida. GOP hopefuls former U.S. Senator George Lemieux, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and businessman Mike McCalister will test their mettle against each other during the first in a series of debates leading up to the general election. Yet to confirm is Rep. Connie Mack, who according to polls leads the pack of Republicans hoping to trip up Nelson. Mack’s campaign said earlier their candidate would skip the event, saying it would only help his Democratic opponent. The Republican primary debate is set for July 24 at Tallahassee Community College – and the general election debate is set for live statewide broadcast from Nova Southeastern University on Oct. 17.

MY TWEET: @SaintPetersblog: People who say @ConnieMackIV has nothing to gain by debating forget the fact he could prove to the world he’s not a boob.

ADAM HASNER AMONG FIRST ENDORSEMENTS BY INFLUENTIAL HOUSE CONSERVATIVES FUND

Adam Hasner is among the first endorsements by the House Conservatives Fund, a leadership PAC chaired by Rep. Patrick McHenry and dedicated to increasing membership in the Republican Study Committee.

In an announcement on HouseConservatives.com, McHenry writes that this is ‘the vanguard of the newest conservative leadership in the House.”

DC TRANSPO BLOG: MICA UNSEEN ON BIGGEST FIGHT

A seeming new focus  by U.S. Rep. John Mica on taking a hard line against  federal agencies isn’t  hard to figure out – Mica is in a fight for his seat against tea party challenger Rep. Sandy Adams. But DC Streets blog looks at Mica’s shift in focus during a crucial transportation fight (via The News Service of Florida).

Is Adams vs. Mica Florida’s nastiest primary? The Orlando Sentinel thinks so. “Adams has called Mica a “bully,” while Mica has been dismissive of Adams. Tuesday, though the pair stood just a few feet apart, Mica rarely used Adams’ name, referring to her instead as ‘the other candidate.’ “

REP. TOM ROONEY IS CALLING ALL MUSIC BUFFS

Know a lot about ’80s and ’90s music? Rep. Tom Rooney wants you for his first annual Music Trivia Night. Donors will face off in teams of four with music trivia and “name that tune.” Put together your own team for $2,500 per PAC. Two players can attend for $1,500 per PAC or one person can play for $1,000 per PAC or $500 per individual. Invite here. Via Politico Influence.

FLA.’S CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS TO INTRODUCE BILL TO DETER ‘STAND YOUR GROUND’ LAWS

Congressional Democrats from Florida will introduce legislation seeking to force states to repeal “stand your ground’ laws that give those under attack more lenient treatment when they’ve fought back, reports the News Service of Florida.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., is spearheading the move, saying Trayvon Martin, who lived in her district, might not have been shot this year if George Zimmerman hadn’t felt protected by such a liberally-applied self defense law.

ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES ASKING CONGRESS TO SUPPORT U.S. SUGAR FARMERS

n a recent letter to Florida’s Congressional delegation, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) urged members to oppose federal legislation that would hurt the U.S. and Florida’s sugar industries. Additionally, AIF asked Congressional members to maintain current sugar policy outlined in the 2008 Farm Bill, which prevents subsidized sugar imports from foreign nations and maintains market balance for domestic sugar producers.

“U.S. sugar farmers deserve a level playing field and should not be forced to compete with farmers subsidized and supported by foreign governments whether by direct loans, cash incentives or foreign ethanol programs,” said Tom Feeney, Associated Industries of Florida President and CEO. “AIF calls on Congress to oppose any measures that would create an unfair climate that will hurt an important sector of our nation’s agricultural industry.”

WHILE ROME BURNS, WE FIDDLE ABOUT CHARLIE CRIST by Mary Jo Melone in Florida Voices.

(T)the greatest issue before us is whether Charlie is gay, writes Melone.

“The former governor, then single, once elegantly deflected this rumor that refuses to die by saying he was married to Florida.  A woman who had no truck for his views once popped the question at a big Tampa political luncheon; Crist simply said, ‘I’m not.’ How he endures this garbage, of late inflicted by the indicted Jim Greer as a way to save his skin, is anybody’s guess. … The rumors naturally reveal far more about those who spread them than Crist.”

ROLLING STONE MAG DEBUNKS THE VOTER FRAUD MYTH

“But here’s the thing: Not only is voter fraud not rampant – it’s virtually nonexistent. The iron-clad word on the subject comes from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, whose 2007 report, ‘The Truth About Voter Fraud,’ sorts through thousands of allegations going back to the 1990s in the most in-depth voter fraud study ever undertaken. The bottom line, confirmed by all subsequent research: ‘Usually, only a tiny portion of the claimed illegality is substantiated — and most of the remainder is either nothing more than speculation or has been conclusively debunked.’ In fact, ‘one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud.’ “

Rubio comments on voter purge issue: “How can you argue against a state identifying people who are not rightfully on the voter rolls?”

CITIZENS BOARD PICKS NEW PRESIDENT

Following a national search and a day after the top five candidates were interviewed by a presidential search committee, the full board of Citizens Property Insurance unanimously chose Barry Gilway, president and CEO of Mattei Insurance Services, a Seattle based commercial insurance company, to take over Citizens, which now handles nearly 1.5 million policies and faces more than $500 billion in potential risk.

EPILOGUE: JIM NORMAN

Tampa Tribune editorial – Jim Norman’s sad departure: “His tainted legacy should serve as a warning to other elected officials. Finely honed political instincts are no substitute for conscience.”

ADDRESSING NORMAN SITUATION, LATVALA DEMONSTRATES WHY HE’S SENATE PREZ MATERIAL

Did you happen to catch Latvala’s quote about Jim Norman withdrawing from his State Senate race?

He didn’t say I told him so or I told you so.  He did not bury Norman further with feint praise.  He didn’t rush to embrace the new front-runner.

No, Jack Latvala defended Jim Norman.  Not for what he did to win office, because that’s all but indefensible, but for what Norman did while in office.

“Regardless of the issues that he had before he became a Florida senator, he was a good Florida senator,” Latvala said. “And I think he fought for the people he represented and he worked hard.”

Again, you can say what you will — and there’s a lot — about Jim Norman, but it takes more than a little courage to stand up for him, just as everyone else is walking away.

That’s what defines being a good colleague in the Florida Senate.

SCHORSCH’S STATE SENATE RANKINGS

In these initial rankings, after redistricting and qualifying, the Republican lock on the Florida Senate is as strong as expected, but not as firm as two years ago. Right now, I predict the Republicans to hold at least 25 seats after November — down from the 28 they control now, but more than what the Times/Herald forecast after the Supreme Court approved the new map. The Democrats should hold at least 13 seats after the 2012 elections. That leaves two seats as genuine toss-ups.

Read the full analysis here.

NEW OFFICERS FOR THE FLORIDA FEDERATION OF YOUNG REPUBLICANS

Chair: Peret Pass of Jacksonville, Vice Chair: Dan Ruoss of Broward, Secretary: Bryan Tupper of Manatee, Treasurer: Josh Cockrell of Jacksonville, National Committeeman: Cameron Coward of St. Johns, National Committewoman: Carmen Myers of Jacksonville, Asst. Secretary: David Baldauff of Volusia, Asst. Treasurer: Kelly Phelan of Seminole

***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 www.CateComm.com on your side.***

PREVIEWING MARQUEE STATE HOUSE RACE CASTOR VS PLAKON by Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel

“One of the highest-profile Florida House races this year pits a two-term Republican with the advantages of incumbency against a Democrat school teacher with a prime political pedigree, writes DeSlatte.

“For the newly drawn House District 30, Rep. Scott Plakon, a Longwood businessman, is running against Karen Castor Dentel, a teacher at Maitland’s Dommerich Elementary who comes from a prominent family of Democratic elected officials.”

… “She actually invited Plakon to speak to her class two years ago, and has occasionally posted kind words on his Facebook page about some non-controversial bills he pushed. Plakon has called Castor Dentel a “nice lady with bad ideas,” and plans to highlight her teachers’ union membership.”

“Conversely, Castor Dentel says Plakon will have to defend his vote to support legislation that would have allowed parents options including “privatizing” some failing schools.”

“She says the “Rick Scott” agenda has been destructive to schools, and plans to draw attention to cuts to education funding as well as the “parent trigger” bill the House passed last session.”

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>In SD 4, the Florida Medical Association endorsed Aaron Bean, while State Representative Larry Metz went with Mike Weinstein for the State Senate.

>>>In SD22, Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran is getting behind colleague Jeff Brandes; also in SD 22, Rep. Shawn Harrison endorsed Jim Frishe.

>>>In HD69, Kathleen Peters was endorsed by prominent local mayors Steve McFarlin and Mike Yakes

BLOG I AM READING (EVEN IF I DISAGREE WITH IT): Reaganista, described as “Florida’s premiere source of conservative commentary, news, and smiting of leftists, RINOs, backstabbers, and other such malcontents.”

BOOK I WANT TO READIt’s the Middle Class, Stupid! by James Carville and Stan Greenberg.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tony DeSisto’s better half, Courtney.

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: Diana Newland and Edward Lapeyre tied in their runoff election last week for the Webster, TX city council with 111 votes each. KTRK-TVreports a dice roll was the only way to break the tie. Lapeyre lost on the third roll of the dice.

MORE ALOE: In case you missed it, watch the the Daily Show‘s devastating takedown of the wide range of voter registration changes enacted by a GOP-controlled state legislature and Republican governor, which seem calculated to disproportionally affect those who typically vote Democratic (h/t to Eric Deggans). Watch here.

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.