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.***
NBC POLL: BARACK OBAMA 49%, MITT ROMNEY 43%
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney nationally by six points, 49% to 43%.
“The poll also finds a resurgence of anxiety about the economy as job growth has slowed, though Obama maintains his edge on several fronts despite that. Half of registered voters feel less optimistic about the direction of the economy, with just 27% predicting the economy would improve over the next year-a sharp drop in optimism from recent months.”
“One result stands out, though: Both candidates clocked their highest count to date among Americans who now view them ‘very negatively.’ Nearly a third of voters saw Mr. Obama that way, compared with nearly a quarter for Mr. Romney.”
Said pollster Bill McInturff: “We have two candidates who are in deep, double-digit negatives. There is no precedent for that in the modern era.”
DEMOCRATIC MAYOR OF JACKSONVILLE WON’T ENDORSE OBAMA
Alvin Brown’s non-appearance at President Barack Obama’s campaign rally in Jacksonville last Thursday was officially because Brown was out of town at a mayors’ conference. It turns out that if he had been in town he probably wouldn’t have been there anyway.
“I’m not going to get involved in presidential politics. I’m not getting involved in any campaigns,” Brown told the Tampa Bay Times today, reiterating what he said before the GOP debate in January and during campaigns last year.
HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER WITHHOLDS ENDORSEMENT OF CONNIE MACK
Connie Mack’s hometown newspaper, The Naples Daily News, wrote glowingly about Mack’s primary opponent David Weldon and then announced it would be withholding its endorsement.
BOCA ASKING STATE TO HELP PAY FOR PRES DEBATE SECURITY
The mayor of Boca Raton is asking Gov. Rick Scott for the state to pitch in a quarter million dollars to help with security around a presidential debate planned for later this year at Lynn University, reports the News Service of Florida.
Mayor Susan Whelchel appealed to Scott for the $250,000 after initially being turned down for money to help with the October debate security costs. “Much of the long-term positive benefits of having a Presidential Debate in Florida would be erased if there were to be a security incident,” Whelchel wrote to Scott, according to a report Wednesday in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The city is facing a $5 million budget shortfall, and officials there are set to debate a proposed increase in the local property tax rate later this summer.
>>>The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the format for the 2012 series. The debate in Boca Raton will focus on foreign policy.
CHARLIE CRIST: RICK SCOTT’S VOTER PURGE ‘NOT DOING DEMOCRACY A FAVOR’
Efforts to remove voters from the rolls because of possible ineligibility, reduce early voting and other issues that may make it harder to vote are “unconscionable,” former Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday during an appearance on MSNBC.
Crist, an independent who was a Republican for most of the time he was governor, said “it’s a great concern” that the administration of Gov. Rick Scott, which followed him, has aggressively been trying to push for removal of ineligible voters through a check of records seeking to find people who may be in the country illegally. Crist noted the Scott administration also reversed a move that Crist championed to automatically restore the voting rights of former felons, and that Scott signed a law that, among other things, reduced the number of days during which people can vote early. “In Florida, we have a history of having some pretty close elections,” Crist said. “The idea of making it more difficult to exercise this precious right … is just unconscionable to me,” said Crist, who also agreed with criticism of a Pennsylvania requirement that voters have driver’s licenses. “If you make it more difficult … you’re not doing democracy a favor, you’re impeding that process,” Crist said. He said he hasn’t decided whether to support either presidential candidate yet, but that he is following the election closely. Crist, who was defeated in a bid for a U.S. Senate seat by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, declined to comment much on what he thought of Rubio’s rise to stardom and place as a vice presidential contender, other than to say “I think he’s a real nice guy.”
TWEET: @Kevin_Cate: Crist voter purge embrace shows you he’s looking at the primary. The issue wouldn’t be an advantage in general.
WHERE IS RICK SCOTT, BY THE WAY?
Spokeswoman Jackie Schutz responded to a request for information about Rick Scott’s vacation with a brief statement saying only that he was “out west” with his family and would return next week, reports the Associated Press.
Scott bought a home and 60 acres in Montana last year.
JIM GREER: THERE ARE NO PLEA NEGOTIATIONS, TAPE EXONERATES HIM by William March of the Tampa Tribune
Through his lawyer, former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer says a newly released tape of a recorded conversation exonerates him of the charges he faces of defrauding the party, and denies that there are plea negotiations in the case.
… “The recording clearly proves beyond any doubt that Jim Greer had no idea what Delmar was doing with Victory Strategies and the Republican Party finances, and that Delmar was the one driving the bus,” Damon Chase said. “It is the smoking gun that completely exonerates Greer.”
***SUNBURN is brought to you by 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.***
MIKE HUCKABEE ENDORSES JOHN MICA OVER SANDY ADAMS
Mike Huckabee today endorsed U.S. Rep. John Mica in his fight for another term, calling him a “proven leader who doesn’t just talk; he achieves sound conservative results.” The high profile endorsement comes after Mica’s rival, Republican Rep. Sandy Adams, got Sarah Palin’s backing.
In a statement, Huckabee said “Mica’s 100% pro-life, pro-family, and pro-2nd amendment record is one I commend and salute! He’s voted against every bailout and Obama stimulus plan and is an original co-sponsor of the FairTax. He joins me in sheer determination to repealing Obamacare.”
VAL DEMINGS WINS KEY STRAW POLL IN CD 10
Democratic congressional candidate Chief Val Demings won the straw poll at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando’s Hob Nob on Tuesday night.
DCCC TOUTING ROBO-POLL SHOWING US REP BILL YOUNG UNDER
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is sharing a new survey that shows Republican incumbent Bill Young polling below 50% in his race against Democratic newcomer Jessica Ehrlich.
In this poll, Young leads Ehrlich 49 to 35 percent, but this lead is tentative. Among voters who “know” who they are voting for, Young leads by just five percentage points.
The newly drawn 13th District is a classic swing district. In 2008, Barack Obama won 52% of the two-party vote; in 2004, George W. Bush also won 52% of this vote. When voters in this poll were asked about who they voted for in 2008, Obama led John McCain by four points — identical to the actual margin.
Bill Young, having been elected in 1970, is the longest-serving Republican member of the U.S. House, and considered to be well-known in the Tampa Bay market. However, 17% of the new 13th District is new to Rep. Young. So while it is not surprising that 21% of his new electorate has never heard of Congressman Young, it is troubling that another 20% cannot rate him.
Rep. Young’s favorable ratings are also worrisome. About one-third (32%) of the electorate rates him favorably, while 27% have an unfavorable view. This 1:1 ratio is not a good sign for a long-time incumbent.
The DCCC is quick to point out that, in addition to this apparent vulnerability, Young “only” has $325,000 cash-on-hand to defend his record — the lowest amount he has had at this point in a campaign since 2002
IN POWERFUL NEW TV SPOT, SOLDIER CREDITS ALLEN WEST FOR SAVING HIS LIFE
“When we got our orders to go to Iraq, my wife was eight months pregnant,” Sgt. Robert Delgado (Ret.) says at the top of a bone-chillingly powerful, 60-second spot that Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) will air during the Olympics. “So it was a little nerve wracking not knowing, you know, ‘Will I get to see my unborn child?’ My commander was Lt. Col. Allen West, and he said, ‘I’m going to make sure you come home to your wife and your newborn baby.’ Before we went into Iraq, he gave me his body armor. We were driving with night vision goggles. Well, this car came flying by and this AK-47 just starts firing. And I got shot. If I hadn’t had that body armor though, I don’t think I’d really be here because where it hit is where my lung was. Lt. Col. Allen West saved my life. It was just the greatest feeling in the world to hold my son for the first time. Col. West gave me his body armor. Because of that, I’m here today.” Watch here. (First posted by POLITICO’s Morning Score.)
JEB BUSH ENDORSES JEFF BRANDES FOR SENATE DISTRICT 22
“Jeff Brandes has the right stuff to lead in the Florida Senate,” Governor Bush said. “Jeff has the courage and real world experience to tackle the complex issues facing the State of Florida. Having Jeff in the Florida Senate will ensure the residents of the bay area have strong, principled leadership in Tallahassee.”
IN SD 27, JEFF CLEMENS QUESTIONS VERACITY OF NEGATIVE MAILER
Democrat Jeff Clemens, running for Senate District 27, issued a press release challenging a campaign mailer that says he supported Lake Worth’s 2007 plan to discharge briny concentrate from a reverse-osmosis water plant while serving as the city’s mayor.
The flier shows a brownish substance spewing from a discharge pipe behind a photo of Clemens. It says Clemens, then mayor of Lake Worth, supported the utility’s plan to allow the discharge into the ocean off Lake Worth Beach, which opponents argued would harm coral reefs.
… The campaign mailer accusing Clemens of being weak on the environment was paid for by the Committee for Effective Representation. The committee is controlled by Associated Industries of Florida, the big-busness group that is supporting Clemens’ opponent, Mack Bernard, in the race for the new Senate District 27 that covers much of east-central Palm Beach County.
IN HD 59, ROSS SPANO RECEIVES ENDORSEMENT OF FOP, SEN. ALAN HAYS
Republican Ross Spano, running in House District 59, received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida State Lodge.
“After careful review of the candidates, the Florida Fraternal Order of Police proudly endorses Ross Spano in the District 59 race for the Florida House of Representatives. It is clear that Ross is the most qualified and informed candidate on public safety issues facing our communities today. We look forward to working with Ross to help our members protect the people of the State of Florida,” announced James W. Preston, President.
“I am extremely humbled to have the support of the Fraternal Order of Police. It is an honor to be supported and recognized by a group representing the brave public safety officers of our great state. I will be a tireless advocate for the safety of these officers and our communities. It is essential to our growth as a state,” stated Spano.
Also today, Spano announced the endorsement of conservative firebrand Sen. Alan Hays.
“I am honored to endorse Mr. Ross Spano in his effort to be the next Representative for Florida House District 59. Ross is just the kind of person we need to lead our State in these challenging times. His lifelong residency in the district gives him exceptional insight to the needs and desires of the people in District 59. He is a man of unquestionable integrity, morals, and his values are those of traditional Americans. Ross Spano will be a wonderful public servant for the constituents of House District 59. I proudly endorse Mr. Ross Spano with no reservations whatsoever!” emphatically stated Senator Hays.
Sunshine State News on House District 77: Dane Eagle, a former staffer in the Crist administration who rose to deputy chief of staff to the governor, is looking to return to Tallahassee — with the support of Republican leaders and business groups that his old boss bucked to run instead as an NPA U.S. Senate candidate.
The Florida Current on HD 107: House Republicans wishing to tout their impartial redistricting process pointed to several new districts that pitted incumbents against each other. But although GOP incumbents in most cases generally dropped out in favor of another, Democrats are fighting it out over one South Florida seat.
>>>State Seantor Alan Hays endorses Dave Weldon for US Senate.
>>>Joining her colleagues Jacksonville Beach Mayor Fland Sharp and Atlantic Beach Mayor Mike Borno, Neptune Beach Mayor Harriet Pruette endorses Mike Weinstein for Senate District 4.
FLORIDA’S KRISTEN CALLAWAY #3 ON THE HILL’S LIST OF ’50 MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE’
Callaway, a legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, comes in at #3 on The Hill’s list of the 50 Most Beautiful People working on Capitol Hill.
Callaway worked with Christina Johnson at On 3 PR “… and truly made a difference in the organization,” says Christina Johnson. “A self starter and team player, her grasp of policy issues made her a tremendous asset to clients and causes. I knew she was destined for great things in life. There is no doubt she will continue to excel in Washington and wherever her career path takes her.”
TWEET: @VinBioDiesel: Holy sh*t who is Kristen Callaway and why did I never see her once while I was in Tally? #winner
CONSIDER: Larry Bartels says the current “drought may not be entirely irrelevant for the upcoming presidential election” — Several years ago, Christopher Achen and Bartels examined the impact of droughts and floods in presidential elections throughout the 20th century. We found a surprisingly strong and clear tendency for voters to punish the president’s party when their states were too wet or too dry. In the 2000 election (the most recent in our data), we estimated that Al Gore got about 2.8 million fewer votes than he would have under ideal climatic conditions.
ROLL CALL’S FUN QUESTION FOR U.S. REP. DANIEL WEBSTER
Q: Disney World is one of the major attractions in your district. If you could create a ride for the theme park, what would it be like?
A: For someone with an engineering degree, this is a dream question. … I’m envisioning a system where visitors choose a party allegiance before entering that respective wait line, and since we’re on the I-4 corridor, both lines would be relatively the same length. Democrats would quickly move on to the Tower of Terror, while Republicans proceed directly to the Hall of Presidents.