Sunburn for 6/7: 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.***

THANK YOU FOR THIS TWEET via @ElectBeaven: @SaintPetersblog #SunBurn + Coffee Brew Timer = More Time w/ the Fam!!! #NewThingsILove

WORKING OUT TO SUNBURN: “Alarm on my phone goes off at 5am for the gym, and I naturally just start checking emails as we politicos do. So now I’m reading Sunburn everyday at 5:01am (hours before Sayfie is updated!). Great start to the day. Good stuff, keep it up.” — Dane Eagle.

SUNBURNED IN WASHINGTON D.C.

Today’s edition of Sunburn is coming to you from Washington, D.C. after a reception last night at the Florida House themed “MacDill Means Mobility.”

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn demonstrated again why he is the ‘Mayor of Tampa Bay’ crunching policy one moment and cracking jokes the next. Congresswoman Kathy Castor made the case for MacDill Air Force Base to serve as the home of the Air Force’s future refueling aircraft. Castor CoS Clay Phillips was more than helpful introducing us around the room (I was pleasantly surprised to learn how many SaintPetersBlog/Sunburn fans there are, such as Sen. Bill Nelson’s right-hand Pete Mitchell, there are in the capital).

US Reps. John Mica and Pat Rooney were in attendance as was one of my faves, US Rep. Dennis Ross, and his hard-working staff, including CoS Fred Piccolo. Ross and Piccolo got an an earful of serious conversation centered around why the television show ‘Duck Dynasty’ is so good.

SUPER PACS BOOST ROMNEY OVER OBAMA IN FUNDRAISING FROM FLORIDA 

“Raising more Florida money than President Obama and Newt Gingrich combined, Mitt Romney appears to hold a financial advantage heading into the fall election,” writes Kenric Ward. … (Romney) “drummed up $7,829,150 compared with Obama’s $5,867,102. Add Gingrich’s $1,44,912, and Romney is still the cash king.”

–In Jacksonville, Romney outraised Obama $865,645 to $250,218. In Naples, the Republican held a $565,283 to $181,453 advantage.

–Even in the Democratic enclave of West Palm Beach/Boca Raton, Romney bested Obama. Romney raised a whopping $1,678,167 to Obama’s $745,037.

–Obama’s heaviest donations came in Miami-Dade and Orlando, where he raked in $1,496,618 and $652,974 respectively.

MARCO RUBIO SAYS OBAMA POLICIES ARE CRUSHING HISPANICS’ DREAMS

Rubio: “No community values entrepreneurship and small business more than the Hispanic community. Unfortunately, President Obama’s failed policies of new regulations, higher taxes, and Obamacare and his anti-business rhetoric have hit Hispanics especially hard. Big government really hurts those who are trying to make it.  And with unemployment still abysmally high, the Obama economy is crushing Hispanics’ dreams for their children to live a better life. The Hispanic community cannot afford four more years of double-digit unemployment and higher levels of poverty. Mitt Romney will stop the attacks on job creators, encourage entrepreneurs to chase their dreams, and bring good jobs and a better future to all Americans.”

JEB BUSH ENDORSES CONNIE MACK

Former Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday endorsed U.S. Rep. Connie Mack in the U.S. Senate race.

“Connie Mack is the principled conservative that the people of Florida deserve representing them in the U.S. Senate,” Bush said in a statement. “Connie has the courage, conservative values, experience and determination to confront the tough issues facing our nation. We must return conservatives to the majority in the U.S. Senate.  Connie is the person Floridians need in Washington working with Senator Marco Rubio to reduce our national debt and limit out-of-control spending.”

TWEET, TWEET: @JeremySWallace: Ran into Connie Mack IV at the U.S. Capitol today. His first words: Did you see Jeb endorsed us today?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’ve not made that decision, although there’s a window of opportunity in life for all sorts of reasons, and this was probably my time. Although I don’t know, given kind of what I believe and how I believe it, I’m not sure I would have been successful as a candidate, either.” — Jeb Bush, in a CBS News interview, on not running for president in 2012.

TAMPA BAY TIMES TO HOST DEBATE FOR GOP SENATE CANDIDATES ON JULY 26…

The Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and FPBS and its member stations are partnering to produce a U.S Senate Republican debate for Florida voters on July 26.

…BUT MACK SAYS RACE IS OVER AND DECLINES INVITATION TO DEBATE

After news of the preparations for the debate got out, Mack declined an invitation to participate in the statewide prime-time televised event, effectively declaring the GOP U.S. Senate primary over.

“It’s clear the race for the U.S. Senate in Florida is now between Connie Mack, the Republican, and Bill Nelson, the Democrat,” Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen wrote in a letter to Jeanne Grinstead, deputy managing editor of the Tampa Bay Times.

FIRST IN SUNBURN: 57% OF FLORIDIANS OPPOSED TO AMENDMENT 8 

Only 17% of Florida voters interviewed in a new survey (via Wayne Bertsch) said they would vote for Amendment 8, which would prevent individuals from being barred from participating in public programs if they choose to use public funds at a religious provider. Fifty-eight percent said they would vote against it and 25% were unsure.

Although public schools might face drastic losses of funding that could adversely affect school budgets, as well as academic programs and services, parents of public school students were, statistically speaking, no more likely to oppose the issue, with 57% saying they will vote against it, compared to 60% among voters who were not public school parents. This indicates parents may not fully comprehend the stakes of this complex constitutional topic.

STATE DEFENDS VOTER PURGE, ACCUSES FEDS OF BREAKING LAW

he Scott administration disagrees with the federal Department of Justice’s interpretation of elections law, saying the state’s efforts to clear its voter rolls of non-citizens are not only legal but necessary to ensure eligible voters’ choices aren’t diluted.

In a letter Wednesday to the DOJ, Secretary of State Ken Detzner defended the state’s voter purge effort, echoing Gov. Rick Scott’s assertion that it wouldn’t disenfranchise any legal voters and that the only people removed would be those who are truly ineligible to vote.

Detzner also turned the allegations of illegality back on the Obama Administration, arguing it has improperly denied Florida access to a key federal database that would help the state root out ineligible voters.

For a conservative viewpoint on the ‘voter purge’ issue, be sure to read this widely-circulated piece from National Review arguing that AG Eric Holder is telling Florida to leave non-citizens on the rolls.

FLORIDA’S RECESSION WORSE THAN ORIGINALLY THOUGHT

Even though it’s officially over, Florida’s recession keeps getting worse. New statistics from Washington define a much more severe recession for the Sunshine State than first believed. In 2009, during the depths of the financial crisis, Florida’s economy shrank by 5.4 percent — much worse than the original estimate of a 3.7 percent drop.

SCOTT ASKS FDLE TO LOOK INTO SUP. CT. JUSTICES

Gov. Rick Scott has forwarded Rep. Scott Plakon’s call for a review of three Supreme Court justices’ campaign filings to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement without ordering an investigation, according to a report on The Palm Beach Post‘s political blog. Scott wrote a letter telling Plakon, R-Longwood, that FDLE could still take actions “it independently deems necessary and appropriate,” according to the report. Plakon wrote a letter to Scott in April asking for FDLE to look into reports that the judges had court employees notarize two documents in a last-minute scramble to file papers necessary to make sure the trio appeared on the ballot. Conservatives unhappy with the liberal bent of the court’s majority have made it clear they will try to oust Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince in retention elections this November.

VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES TO RESUME

The League of Women Voters of Florida said Wednesday it will resume voter registration efforts following a federal judge’s ruling last week overturning portions of a 2011 state election law critics say is too restrictive. “Failure was never an option in this battle against voter suppression,” said President Deirdre Macnab. “Now it’s time for our volunteers to work overtime to make up for lost ground. Our goal? To make sure every eligible Floridian has the opportunity to have their voice heard and their vote counted.”

PUBLIC DEFENDER CASELOAD DISPUTE GOES TO SUPREME COURT

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether the public defender’s office in Miami-Dade County could decline to take some cases because of an excessive workload. The state has fought the attempt to withdraw from cases, saying in part that the public defender’s workload was not so large that it endangered the rights of criminal defendants to get adequate representation.

JEB BUSH TO SPEAK IN ST. PETE ON FRIDAY

While former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been busy denying rumors he is interested in being Mitt Romney’s choice for vice president, he is still being politically active in his home state, writes Bill Mansell of Patch.

On Friday, Bush will be the keynote speaker at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Florida Summit, a two-day event at the Vinoy.

NEW TO THE TWITTERS: @AshbyForFLHouse

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FORMER NASA OFFICIAL CHALLENGING BILL POSEY IN CD8

Democrat Shannon Roberts qualified on Wednesday to run for Congress in House District 8 against incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Posey. Roberts worked seven years at the Kennedy Space Center, one of the biggest institutions in the district. She worked in several jobs at the Cape, and also worked as a NASA administrator in Washington, D.C. and a space program and budget official at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Roberts is also on the Cape Canaveral city council and lists creating jobs, particularly research and tech jobs, as the top issue she’d work on. Posey is in his second term and serves on the House Financial Services Committee. He served eight years in the state Senate before his election to Congress.

IN CD 9, NINA HAYDEN-JESSICA EHRLICH FORUM A CIVIL AFFAIR

Hayden and Ehrlich met at a Tiger Bay candidate forum held at the St. Petersburg Yacht club, where the first question asked during the Q&A session was if there were any substantive policy differences between the two, reports Mitch Perry.

Hayden said she couldn’t really point out any differences as she is just now getting to know Ehrlich’s political bent.

…Ehrlich is the clear favorite of Democrats outside of St. Petersburg. She’s won several major endorsements, and is out-fundraising Hayden by a nearly 8-to-1 margin.

RANDALL TERRY READY FOR ANOTHER RUN

Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who unsuccessfully ran against former state Sen. Jim King in 2006, could be making a comeback to Florida politics. Terry, listing a Purgitsville, W.Va., address, qualified this week to run as a no-party candidate in Congressional District 20 in South Florida. That comes after the former leader of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue has run this year as a Democratic candidate for president. Other candidates who have qualified in District 20 include incumbent Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings and write-in Anthony Dutrow, according to the state Division of Elections website. Terry could not be reached Wednesday by e-mail.

NOTES FROM QUALIFYING WEEK

>>>Democratic State Representative Leonard Bembry qualified in Florida’s CD2, setting up a primary with Al Lawson.

>>>Rep. Lake Ray has drawn a Green Party candidate for an opponent. Karen Morian, G-Jacksonville, qualified by petition this week to run in House District 12, against Ray

>>>State Rep. Jeff Brandes has qualified to run in a newly drawn Senate district, setting up a likely primary fight against fellow Republican House member Jim Frishe.

SPOTTED: Pasco’s soon-to-be State Senator Wilton Simpson at the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

Former Speaker of the Florida House Allen Bense is backing former Senate President Tom Lee for State Senate.

Write-in candidate Ed Collins closes the Pasco County Republican primary for schools superintendent. This “sham” makes clear that Pasco needs to move away from an elected superintendent, the Tampa Bay Times editorializes.

You’re invited: Rep. Jamie Grant has a major fundraiser scheduled for tonight.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Jason Brodeur

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: Take a moment to read Carl Hiaasen’s essay about how “all of us who live in Florida struggle to explain this bizarre place to distant friends and family.”

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.