A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
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FIRST IN SUNBURN: Republican State Senator Jack Latvala tells me he will file his candidate qualifying paperwork on Wednesday for State Senate District 20 in north Pinellas, ending any speculation he and Rep. Jim Frishe might “switch” seats so that Latvala could take on Rep. Jeff Brandes in State Senate District 22 in south Pinellas. Please check out SaintPetersBlog.com for the latest developments.
HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY WISHES to the People’s State Senator, Paula Dockery. Sen. Dockery is a big fan of SUNBURN, writing unsolicited, Great job, Peter! Love reading stories without having to wait for links to open, especially on my Blackberry.
WOULD ANY OTHER LEGISLATOR receive as many birthday well-wishes on Facebook and Twitter as Sen. Dockery is sure to receive today?
OBAMA UP 50 – 46 PERCENT OVER ROMNEY IN FLORIDA
Public Policy Polling’s newest Florida poll finds little change in the state compared to mid-April. At that time Barack Obama led Mitt Romney 50-45 there, and now his advantage is 50-46. Voters in the state narrowly approve of Obama, 49/46, and continue to dislike Romney, giving him a 39/53 favorability rating.
Obama’s strength is based on what’s become a pretty predictable set of groups. He’s up 57-39 with women, 61-36 with Hispanics, 93-7 with African Americans, and 65-27 with voters under 30. Romney’s up 52-46 with seniors and 55-41 with whites but he’d need larger advantages with those demographics to be ahead overall.
Neither of Florida’s most discussed Vice Presidential prospects would have a huge impact on the race. Marco Rubio is slightly popular with a 44/40 approval rating, but his presence on the ticket would only narrow Obama’s lead to 49-46. Rubio would help some with Hispanic voters, taking Obama’s lead down to 55-40 with that group, but doesn’t make a huge dent overall.
CHECKING IN … with one of Pres. Obama’s key fundraisers in Florida, Justin Day: “With qualifying starting this week, I’m looking forward to a busy election season in the Tampa Bay region and working with various candidates. With both Presidential campaigns locating their headquarters here and the Republican Convention in August, Tampa Bay will no doubt be the center of the political universe for the next 5 months.”
NATIONALLY, MASSIVE CAMPAIGN SPENDING SO FAR THIS CYCLE
A Huffington Post survey of federal spending reports “shows that the top 150 consulting companies — media, fundraising, digital/social, direct mail and others — have grossed $465.76 million so far in the 2011-12 electoral season, out of a total of $1.24 billion spent.”
“These figures presage an eventual take for the consulting industry of as much as $3 billion if, as some expect, total spending on all levels of campaigns tops out at some $8 billion this time (compared with $6 billion in 2007-08 and $4 billion in 2003-4).”
BIG GET: ADAM PUTNAM ENDORSES CONNIE MACK FOR US SENATE
Connie Mack’s campaign announced the backing of Adam Putnam, who offered a pretty powerful endorsement: “It was the strength and determination of members like Connie that kept the agenda moving in the conservative direction, and Senator Rubio needs an ally, not someone married to the liberal agenda of Barack Obama in Washington.”
George LeMieux will file the primary qualifying papers in person in Tallahassee at 10:00 a.m.
DEADLINE FOR STATE RESPONSE TO DOJ ON VOTER PURGES
The Department of Justice has given Florida elections officials until June 6 to notify Washington what it intends to do about concerns that efforts to purge non-citizens from the voter rolls may be illegal the way they’re being done.
HOW’S THAT VOTER PURGE WORKING OUT FOR YOU, RICK SCOTT?
Public Policy Polling’s newest Florida poll finds Rick Scott’s approval numbers have taken a step back in the wrong direction compared to April and now only 31% of voters give him good marks to 56% who disapprove.
INTEGRITY FLORIDA TO RELEASE CORRUPTION REPORT
Integrity Florida, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute is calling Florida the most corrupt state in the U.S. The startup ethics watchdog group is releasing its second research report titled Corruption Risk Report: Florida Ethics Laws today at 10:30am. The report is a state-level follow up to the Florida Corruption Risk Report Card released in 2012 by State Integrity Investigation that gave Florida a failing grade for ethics enforcement agencies. The new report proposes several ethics reform policy recommendations for the Florida Commission on Ethics to consider when they meet on June 15 to set their 2013 legislative priorities.
NEW EVERGLADES PROPOSAL UNVEILED
The state agency overseeing Everglades restoration efforts has mapped out an $880 million project list for the herculean state and federal program to restore water flow and storage to the South Florida region. Meeting in West Palm Beach, South Florida Water Management District executive director Melissa Meeker outlined a tentative revised plan that attempts to reduce phosphorus levels into the region by bolstering containment areas and regulating water flow.
STAT OF THE DAY: Through the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, slot machines in Florida have netted $373.6 million, 4.6 percent more than last year.
ALAN GRAYSON ALL SET IN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 9
Former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson qualified Tuesday to run for Congress in the new District 9 in Orange, Osceola and Polk counties, a day after Republican John Quinones filed qualifying paperwork. Grayson, a Democrat, is seeking to return to Congress after being ousted by Rep. Daniel Webster in 2010.
BILL CLINTON TAKES ON ALLEN WEST
Former President Bill Clinton is taking aim at U.S. Rep. Allen West, The Hill reports, for comments he made that there were at least 80 Democratic members of Congress who are “communists.” In a speech on Monday night, Clinton bashed the GOP leadership in Congress and on the campaign trail for not slapping West on the wrists for his comment. “Nobody has seen a communist in over a decade,” Clinton said.
CHECK OUT: West’s website for his “Endorsement Map.” That’s a smart feature for a congressional candidate who is also a national figure.
TOM ROONEY DRAWS A PRIMARY CHALLENGE IN CD 17
“U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney will not get a free pass to the GOP nomination in a new Congressional District that includes all of Charlotte and part of Manatee County,” reports Jeremy Wallace. “Okeechobee County Republican Joe Arnold has qualified to run” against Rooney.
IN CD 22, UNIONS LIKE BOTH KRISTIN JACOBS AND LOIS FRANKEL
The AFL-CIO couldn’t decide between Democrats Lois Frankel and Kristin Jacobs in the primary for the 22nd Congressional District. So it endorsed both. “They’re two very strong Democratic candidates, and there’s a lot of union support for both,” said the AFL-CIO’s Rich Templin. “In order to keep the house of laor together, there was a co-endorsement.” Local unions are now free to work for either or both of them. The winner will face Republican Adam Hasner.
TWEET OF THE DAY is from ESPN announcer Dick Vitale: @DickieV Follow my buddy Sarasota Congressman @vernbuchanan
NEIL COMBEE WRITES RIGHT CHECK TO QUALIFY FOR STATE HD 39
Republican Neil Combee of Polk County was listed by the Division of Elections on Monday as having qualified to run in House District 39, which runs from the east side of Lakeland northeast through Polk City and up to the south end of Celebration and the area around Disney.
Qualifying on Monday may have been a good idea for Combee, in case something goes wrong he has until Friday to fix it. Back in 2010 Combee filed to run for House District 64, at the time planning to challenge Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and paid his $1,781.81 qualifying fee. Unfortunately the qualifying fee was actually $1,781.82 and nobody from the state warned Combee that he was a penny short – so he was unable to run.
BILL HAGER DRAWS A DEM CHALLENGER IN HD 89
The Political Hurricane reports that Pamela Goodman, a very well connected local woman’s leader has filed in HD 89 (Palm Beach County) versus Republican Bill Hager. This is one of five seats won by Obama that entered the week without a Democratic candidate. The seat was carried by Rick Scott in the 2010 election.
WYMAN DUGGAN DROPS OUT OF RACE FOR SD 4, CLEARING WAY FOR BEAN VS. WEINSTEIN SHOWDOWN
Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union reported that Jacksonville attorney Wyman Duggan has dropped out of the race for State Senate District 4, making way for an Aaron Bean vs. Mike Weinstein primary that will cost only a few million special interest dollars.
After Duggan dropped out, I checked in with Jax political blogger Abel Harding who said: “Duggan’s withdrawal has to be seen as a plus for Mike Weinstein. It reduces the field to a Duval County candidate and a Nassau County candidate. And in a district that will be dominated by Jacksonville voters, that’s a plus for Weinstein.”
DEMOCRAT CARL ZIMMERMANN QUALIFIES TO CHALLENGE REP. PETER NEHR
If Apollo Creed had beaten Rocky Balboa in not just the first Rocky, but the second one as well, would there have been a third movie?
Democrat nice guy Carl Zimmermann would probably argue otherwise. He’s running for third time against Rep. Peter Nehr, despite having been beaten by Nehr twice before.
MORE NOTES FROM QUALIFYING WEEK
>>>Incumbent Republican Rep. Jimmie T. Smith qualified Monday to run for re-election as did Independent Party candidate Nancy Argenziano in House District 34 on the Nature Coast.
>>>A write-in candidate has filed to challenge state Senate candidate Wilton Simpson, a move that should have little impact on the outcome — other than to require a contest — unless another Republican challenger emerges.
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>>>Former state Sen. Lee Constantine, an Altamonte Springs Republican, submitted his name today as a candidate for the Seminole County commission. He hopes to unseat longtime incumbent Dick Van Der Weide. (H/t to Bob Shaw.)
>>>Several elected officials from the Beaches City Governments endorsed Rep. Mike Weinstein for State Senate District 4, including Lee Buck, Jacksonville Beach City Council, Jonathan Daugherty, Atlantic Beach City Commissioner, Steve Hartkemeyer, Jacksonville Beach City Council and Jeanell Wilson, Jacksonville Beach City Council
>>>Travis Hutson officially qualified for Florida House District 24, which includes parts of Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia Counties.
>>>Speaker Designate Will Weatherford has endorsed Wilton Simpson for State Senate District 18