A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
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BIPARTISAN GROUP CLAIMS IMMIGRATION DEAL via Roll Call
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has come to an agreement on immigration overhaul legislation, but one key Republican member will not sign off on it and will write his own proposal instead.
Rep. Raúl Labrador “said he told the group that he would no longer work with it because language he had offered to prevent newly legalized immigrants who entered the country illegally from getting subsidized health care will not be included in the final version.”
CLOTURE FILED ON IMMIGRATION BILL; SENATE COULD TAKE IT UP MONDAY
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on a motion to proceed with the comprehensive immigration-reform bill, and an aide said that the Senate will consider the measure following completion of its work on the farm bill. The Senate could begin consideration of the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration measure as soon as Monday.
JOBS NUMBERS DUE OUT
The Labor Department will report Friday on the employment situation, and economists expect an increase of roughly 167,000 jobs in May. Expectations have been tempered somewhat, as the payroll processor ADP earlier this week reported that only 135,000 jobs had been added for May. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 7.5 percent. In April, 165,000 jobs were created.
OBAMACARE MORE UNPOPULAR THAN EVER
President Obama’s signature health care reform law “remains unpopular with the American public just months before it fully goes into effect,” according to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The poll shows 49% of Americans say they believe the Affordable Care Act is a bad idea. That’s the highest number recorded on this question since the poll began measuring it in 2009. Just 37% say the plan is a good idea.
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RUBIO RAMPS UP FUNDRAISING via contributor Karen Cyphers
Marco Rubio may not be running for president in 2014, but were he to choose to, his finance team will be prepared. Two weeks ago, according to today’s online edition of The Hill, Rubio met with a group of established fundraisers to discuss raising money for his leadership PAC. A lobbyist who attended the meeting said that the purpose was to get people raising money on a more full-time basis, and that Rubio plans to be increasingly engaged in helping conservative candidates around the country get their message out. Unspoken but assumed by meeting attendees was that these activities could help lay the groundwork for a launch of a potential presidential campaign.
Among the colleagues Rubio has already raised funds for are Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Gabriel Gomez who is running against Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey; and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, to counter attack ads funded by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Rubio is focused on helping his party win the majority in 2014 — but of course, as The Hill writes — “these political favors could also help him if he runs for president and needs to expand his donor network and recruit staff in primary states around the country.”
>>>Florida Trend interviewed former Sen. Mel Martinez and asked him about the 2016 presidential race, which could feature Rubio or Jeb Bush, or both. Video here.
WEST CONVERTS CAMPAIGN ACCOUNT TO ‘DEEP STRIKE PAC’
The former congressman has converted his campaign committee to a federal PAC and registered it as Deep Strike PAC
Deep Strike PAC will support or oppose more than one federal candidate and is affiliated with the Allen West Guardian Fund, his leadership PAC. The treasurer is Gregory Wilder in Deland.
Under its former name, Allen West for Congress, reported cash on hand of $142,672 as of March 31.
During the first quarter of 2013 the committee donated $400,000 to the Allen West Foundation; paid $131,784 to Holtzman Vogel Josefiak PLLC for recount legal expenses; paid $27,500 to Dickinson & Mcdonald, P.A. for accounting; paid $110,000 to Out Loud Strategies Inc., for fundraising planning; among other expenses.
WHY DC DEMOCRATS CAN STILL PICK SIDES IN PRIMARIES
Though some other Dem House candidates are criticizing the DCCC for anointing its “Jumpstart” candidates in competitive races with contested primaries, don’t expect DC Dems to stop playing in local nominating contests. Here’s one of several reasons they can usuallyget away with this but Republicans usually can’t: 60% of Democrats approve of their party’s congressional leaders, while only 42% of Republicans say the same.
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ROSS AND CASTOR TAKE AIM AT ID FRAUD via contributor Karen Cyphers
Back in May, it was reported on Saint Petersblog that Florida leads the nation in identity theft, and not just by a little bit. According to statistics compiled from the Federal Trade Commission’s most recent Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, Florida’s rate is nearly double that of the second leading state — Georgia — and more than three times as high as the next in line — California, Michigan, New York, and Nevada. US Rep. Dennis Ross wants to do something about that. He and colleague Rep. Kathy Castor introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent ID theft by uniformly truncating Social Security numbers on written documents.
“The Safeguarding Social Security Numbers Act of 2013 will ensure that our personal information remains personal and that everyone remains safe,” said Ross. HR 2229 requires the Commissioner of Social Security to work with relevant agency heads in creating and implementing a method to de-identify SSNs that are stored or transmitted – particularly over the internet. It further prohibits federal, state or local governments from displaying, transferring, recording or utilizing the full SSN of living Americans to the public. Finally, HR 2229 will convert a currently existing grant program to provide financial support to entities seeking to comply with this legislation.
UNNECESSARY PRESS RELEASE OF THE DAY: “Patrick Murphy Statement on Severe Storms Impacting District”
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A TOUGH ASSESSMENT OF NAN RICH’S CAMPAIGN RESUME Full blog post here
She wants to be Governor of Florida. A woman who never once faced another Democrat in a primary, and who — with one notable exception — has never fought her way through anything resembling an actual race. A woman who rode the Wasserman-Shultz coattails into the Florida House and then into a ready-to-go State Senate seat, made possible by the mighty Broward Democratic machine of the early 1990s. Nan Rich was first elected to the Florida House in 2000 when the District 97 seat was vacated by Debbie Wasserman-Shultz who headed to the State Senate. Nan was unopposed in the primary, and faced Republican Eric Garner in the general election — if to “face” means to walk into a safe Democratic seat with 62 percent of the vote.
For now we’ll skip 2002, since it is the only interesting that ever happened on Nan’s watch — though not in a way that bodes favorably for her. In 2004, Nan was once again unopposed in the primary to assume the State Senate District 34 seat vacated by DWS who was leaving for Washington. A seat that DWS had won in 2000 with a safe 67 percent, and which Nan took with 66 percent of the vote against Republican Fabio Andrade. That was Nan’s last race. She was unopposed in 2006 and 2010, for both primary and general elections, and had an off-year in 2008. So what happened in 2002?
DEMOCRATS HIRE NEW DATA DIRECTOR via Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel
National and statewide campaigns are becoming increasingly sophisticated in making use of data on polls, voters and consumer habits — so called “big data” — and the Florida Democratic Party hopes to move forward with a new data director, Aly Sheets, a veteran of the Obama for America 2012 campaign.
In that campaign — and in President Barack Obama’s first campaign in 2008 — the Democrat’s use of data analysis to target voters, communicate with them and get them to the polls was widely credited with boosting turnout, especially of young people and minorities.
Sheets was directly involved, managing voter databases in North Carolina, training hundreds of staffers, and working in Obama’s campaign headquarters. Previously she did similar work in Massachusetts, Nevada and Virginia.
“We are thrilled to have Aly Sheets on board as we build our party’s ability to communicate with voters,” said Chairwoman FDP Chairwoman Allison Tant stated in a news release Thursday. “Aly is a veteran data director and analyst who will manage our technology infrastructure, train Democrats how to use it statewide, and help us win races up and down the ballot in 2014.”
FLORIDA GOP CHAIR LENNY CURRY URGES LAWMAKERS TO EXPLOIT IRS SCANDAL
Curry told GOP lawmakers that “when it comes to the ongoing Internal Revenue Service scandal: Use it to your political advantage.”
“Let there be no mistake, the IRS wields considerable power,” said Curry. “It touches the lives of millions of Americans. And once ObamaCare comes into effect, the IRS will have an even broader scope, affecting every American. We need to play big, bold hardball now. This is an opportunity where good politics and good policy intersect well.”
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STATE WON’T APPEAL RULING AGAINST GRETNA’S BARREL RACING LICENSE via the News Service of Florida
The state won’t appeal an administrative law judge’s ruling against a license that had been issued in 2011 to allow wagering on rodeo-style barrel racing in Gadsden County. A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation said Thursday the agency has decided not to appeal the May 6 ruling by Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham. The judge said the department’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering violated state law when approving the license in October 2011 for Gretna Racing to run its unique horse racing contests. The state had 30 days to appeal.
The pari-mutuel facility, which includes a card room, is west of Tallahassee. The ruling has no impact on the card room license, according to the state department.
A spokeswoman for Creek Entertainment Gretna, the parent company of Gretna Racing, replied via email Thursday that while Tropical Storm Andrea will push the scheduled June 8 races to June 22, “it’s business as usual” at the facility.
The Florida Quarter Horse Track Association, an industry group tied with Gretna Racing, filed an appeal of the administrative ruling Tuesday. The track association, which intervened in the case and defended the license, argued that state law doesn’t define how quarter-horse races must be run. The track association is not affiliated with the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association or the Florida Quarter Horse Breeders and Owners Association.
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DANIEL DAVIS WON’T SEEK RE-ELECTION TO FLA. HOUSE via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union
Jax Chamber board members have agreed to allow state Rep. Daniel Davis, their new president and chief executive officer, to finish his term in the Legislature. He will not seek reelection.
“They thought it was the right move because I was elected by the voters,” Davis said.
Since being hired by the chamber in May, it was unclear if Davis would keep his House seat. He said throughout the process he would leave it up to the board.
He said that balancing both positions won’t be an issue.
Randy Glisson, Republican candidate for the Florida House District 31 seat, is holding a “Rally for Randy” event in Sorrento in the attempt to gain momentum in his primary race against Terri Seefeldt and a few others.
Seefeldt is a well-known committeewoman on the Orange County Republican Executive Committee, and recently held a fundraiser hosted by a bevy of Apopka leaders and residents. District 31 is highly conservative, giving the Republican nominee an advantage in the general election.
The seat is being vacated by Republican Bryan Nelson due to term limits.
To Glisson, public service is in his blood. His father, Dr. Jim Glisson, served in the state legislature from 1968 to 1978. Glisson is active in the community, serving as a deacon at Bay Street Baptist, and as a member of regional chambers of commerce.
You can join Glisson on Thursday, June 20th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the RedTail Golf Club. Invite here.
WILL DWIGHT DUDLEY PULL A BRANDES AGAINST JEFF BRANDES? Full blog post here
One of the loudest rumors swirling in Tampa Bay’s political circles is that Dudley might pull a Brandes against Brandes and challenge him for his Senate seat, thereby creating an open seat in HD 68.
Pulling a Brandes refers to the first-term reps decision in 2012 to run for the Senate instead of seeking re-election to the House because the numbers in the Senate seat in a presidential election cycle were more attractive than facing-off, even as an incumbent, against a well-funded Democrat in a House race.
In a midterm election, when Republicans historically run stronger than Democrats, it might be easier for Dudley to challenge Brandes in Senate District 22 than play defense against expected challenger Billy Young, who has signaled his intent to run in 2014.
I’m not saying I agree with the Democrat’s logic. In fact, I believe Dudley is rapidly realizing that he is going to find himself between a rock and a hard place in 2014 — between two-time winner Brandes, who can easily raise three million dollars for his campaign and the affable, well-intentioned son of a enormously popular congressman, who can also raise millions of dollars for his campaign.
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Jim Naff, Smith Bryan & Myers: Foundation for the Florida Horse Park
SPOTTED: Gov. Scott dining with Corcoran & Johnston team last week at Ocaen Prime’s Board Room in Tampa.
THE SUGAR SOLUTION
This is how successful Everglades restoration works: get science and nature to work together. That’s what Big Sugar has done, and it’s working. Florida’s sugar farmers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the most advanced environmental research being done anywhere, and in implementing these science-based Best Management Practices. Use of BMPs by sugar farmers has reduced phosphorus levels by 55 percent over the past 17 years. This is the message of a short vignette titled “Florida’s Sugar Farmers, Part of the Solution,” showing the role of Florida’s farmers in preserving the Everglades ecosystem.
Together, Florida Crystals, US Sugar Corp, and Sugar Can Growers Cooperative of Florida have undertaken an outreach program to educate viewers about their role in successful restoration efforts, and to celebrate the passage of landmark state legislation that will complete the final phase of the process. During the 2013 session, Big Sugar worked closely with policymakers and environmental advocates to set terms that provide a framework for the funding of ecosystem restoration projects — and the resulting bill was passed unanimously by the Florida House and Senate.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Jason Brodeur