Sunburn for 8/9: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

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ROMNEY’S POPULARITY REMAINS VERY LOW

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds Mitt Romney is laboring under the lowest personal popularity ratings for a presidential nominee in midsummer election-year polls back to 1984.

Just 40% of Americans overall view Romney favorably, 49% unfavorably – leaving him underwater, at least numerically, in 10 straight polls this year. A new high of 30% now see him “strongly” unfavorably, nearly double his strongly favorable score.

“Romney’s inability to gain on Obama since then may be a sign that his image has been damaged by summer stumbles, including new attention on his tax returns and an overseas trip that included several gaffes.”

DOSTER (ROMNEY) VS. SCHALE (OBAMA) ON HOW THEIR CANDIDATES WILL WIN FLORIDA

Doster: “We have been stressing to each one of our county leaders and each one of our grassroots networks that we must try to achieve an 85% base turnout of Republicans in the state of Florida. If we achieve that, I’m confident we will win.”

Schale: “The calculus of winning Florida doesn’t change that much from year to year. Basically you have to get your base and win half the swing vote or a little more than half the swing vote.”

BONDI AMONG FIVE MORE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED FOR RNC

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has been added to the roster of key speakers at the Republican National Convention, according to RNC chair Reince Priebus.

Bondi is one of five elected officials, including Texas Republican U.S. Senate Nominee Ted Cruz, Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, announced as speakers Wednesday.

Bondi will stand behind Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and advocate for a reduction in government regulation.

“The government takeovers coming out of Washington have to stop. As an attorney general, we are constantly fighting the federal government back from overreaching and over-regulating – from the EPA to health care,” Bondi said in a statement.

>>>Alex Burns: “Bondi and Olens … both endorsed Mitt Romney in the GOP primaries. … Luis Fortuno and Ted Cruz are two of the Republican Party’s young Latino stars. Still no sign of Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich.”

THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN

>>>Armed fleet of boats to patrol Tampa’s waters during RNC.

>>>Convention protesters have questions for Tampa officials during ACLU forum.

>>>The James Madison Institute will host a private lunch on Tuesday, August 28 featuring provocateur James O’Keefe, the Breitbartian investigator who ‘exposed systematic corruption’ in ACORN.

>>>Signs welcoming visitors to the Republican National Convention are going up around Tampa.

>>>Justin Sayfie, publisher of SayfieReview.com will host “Sayfie Review at Noon,” a 15-minute live interview segment each day during the four-day broadcast.

>>>Summer will turn up the heat on RNC.

>>>Tampa’s bridges will illuminate in color for the RNC starting Friday night, when Mayor Bob Buckhorn leads a lightning ceremony at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

DAVE WELDON SPENDING LAST DAYS BEFORE PRIMARY WORRYING ABOUT TROUBLED DAUGHTER

The Tampa Bay Times reported a tragic story involving the family of Dave Weldon, the former Congressman from Indialantic who’s heading into the final weekend of campaigning for the Republican nomination to run for U. S. Senate.

He and his wife’s adult daughter, Katie Weldon, of Texas, apparently is struggling with drug addiction and just gave birth July 21 to a child born with heroin in her system, according to news reports cited by the Tampa Bay Times’ The Buzz political blog.

“My wife and I love our daughter, Katie. We have often disagreed with her decisions but she is an adult and has set her own course in life that we cannot control,” the blogs quote Weldon as saying this week when asked about his daughter. Weldon also has a 14-year-old son.

LAWSUIT CHALLENGING BALLOT STATUS OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICES TOSSED by John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post.

A lawsuit by a conservative legal organization seeking to remove from the ballot the last three Florida Supreme Court justices appointed by a Democratic governor was dismissed Wednesday by a Leon County circuit judge.

Judge Terry Lewis sided with a lawyer for Justices Peggy Quince, Fred Lewis and Barbara Pariente, who argued that the Southeastern Legal Foundation and its clients lacked “standing” to challenge whether the justices should appear on the November ballot.

John DeVault, attorney for the justices, said that only a state attorney or the Florida Elections Commission can determine whether a candidate should be removed from the ballot because of wrongdoing.

TWEET, TWEET: @BethMatuga: Will do wonders for my sleep patterns

BOOMERS WORRY THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO RETIRE

About half of all Florida voters aged 50-64 say they fear they’ll never be able to retire, and large majorities say they’ll have to rely more heavily on Social Security and Medicare than they expected, according to a new survey by AARP released Wednesday via the News Service of Florida.

Most Florida voters in that age range also say the presidential candidates have done a poor job explaining what they plan to do in terms of Social Security and Medicare spending. “They’re worried about their future, and they want to know what the candidates would do to alleviate their worries,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director.  The poll also creates a new AARP “Anxiety Index,” measuring the degree to which people over 50 worry about various things. The biggest anxiety they have right now, according to the poll, is prices rising faster than incomes, which 70 percent of those surveyed say they worry about “somewhat or very often.” Non-retired boomer voters in Florida are pessimistic about retirement.  Nearly 70 percent said they believe they will have to delay retirement, the same percentage are somewhat or very worried they won’t have enough money in retirement, and 51 percent worry they will never be able to retire.

NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL’S FOURTH FLOOR

The Florida Society of Ophthalmology has hired Ballard Partners for the coming legislative session, reports the News Service of Florida. Ophthalmologists are always heavily involved in issues related to what types of procedures may be done by various types of health care professionals.

RON SACHS COMMUNICATIONS ACQUIRES TOP ORLANDO MARKETING FIRM HEADED BY DISNEY VET

In its second major acquisition in two months, Ron Sachs Communications has announced the acquisition of Vicki Johnson Communications, headed by a longtime former Disney veteran, who brings extensive experience in marketing, travel and tourism and strategic planning.

PERSONNEL NOTE: USF PROFESSOR DENNIS COOKRO NAMED INTERIM DEP. SECRETARY OF DOH

Physician Dennis V. Cookro, an associate professor of medicine at the University of South Florida, has been appointed as the state’s interim deputy secretary for health and deputy state health officer for Children’s Medical Services, the Department of Health announced Wednesday via the News Service of Florida.

The appointment comes after Deputy Secretary Steven Harris took a job last month as director of medical services for the state Department of Corrections. Cookro has held a number of public-health positions, including as director of three county health departments, according to Wednesday’s announcement. At USF, he is an associate professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine. State Surgeon General John Armstrong, who was named in April as the head of the Department of Health, also served on the USF faculty before his appointment.

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US REP. KATHY CASTOR FORMS ‘ATHENA PAC’

Democratic US Rep. Kathy Castor has formed a new leadership political action committee she’s calling (I’m not making this up) Athena PAC. Congressional members may use such PACs to raise and spend money separate from their campaign committees for purposes that include travel, touting ideologies or making donations to political brethren. Amy Martin is the treasurer.

FOUR UNION GROUPS ENDORSE JESSICA EHRLICH IN CD 13

The Communication Workers Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Association of Iron Workers and the United Transportation Union endorsed Democrat Jessica Ehrlich in the newly-drawn CD 13.

After receiving the endorsements Jessica Ehrlich released the following statement, “I’m honored to have the support of the hardworking men and women who build our bridges, our tallest buildings, keep our lines of communication working, transport our goods and keep our roads safe. Without these hardworking men and women, Pinellas County would be a very different place – no bridges, no office buildings, no transportation, no communication and no bus system. As a member of Congress, I will always be an ally to the hardworking people of the Pinellas, Florida and America.”

THE NEW NORMAL: OUTSIDE GROUP GOES NEGATIVE, CANDIDATE STAYS POSITIVE by Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union

It’s the new normal for political campaigns.

When a piece of advertising is paid for with money from an outside group, it’s negative (here and here). When it has the candidate’s name on it, however, the spot is usually clean.

The most recent example locally comes from state Senate candidate Mike Weinstein. He takes a shot at President Barack Obama’s now famous “you didn’t build that” line, but leaves opponent Aaron Bean out of the ad.

BLOG POST OF THE DAY: THE 40 MOST INTERESTING PRIMARY RACES (40-31) via Dave Trotter of The Political Hurricane

An excerpt: 37. Florida State House 82 (R Primary) – Some will argue that this race should be higher on the list, and maybe it should be. Carl Domino is looking to return to the Florida Legislature and is battling it out in this race against four other Republican opponents. His toughest opponent is MaryLynn Magar. Magar is accusing Domino of turning this into a negative campaign by running a series of radio commercials attacking her conservative credentials. While the other three Republicans running in the primary haven’t raised as much money as Magar or Domino, they could possible split enough of the vote, which might result in a surprise come Primary Day.

WELL-LIKED STATE REP. DAN DAVIS ENDORSES AARON BEAN FOR SENATE DISTRICT 4

Representative Daniel Davis joins Jacksonville Senators John Thrasher and Steve Wise in endorsing Aaron Bean’s bid for the newly-drawn State Senate District 4 seat.

“The needs of Northeast Florida are always at the forefront of Aaron’s mind,” said Representative Davis. “He is committed to working to protect our children’s education, create a friendly environment for new businesses and generate a sustainable marketplace for health care. Aaron truly cares about the future of our area, and I am pleased to join the Bean team!”

COMMITTEE HAMMERS HD 69 DAVID PHILLIPS FOR NOT VOTING IN 17 OF LAST 19 ELECTIONS

As much as we all like to say we detest negative politics, there are those campaigns where a contrast must be made. Case in point: The GOP primary for House District 69 between David Phillips and Kathleen Peters. On one hand is Peters, who has rarely missed voting in an election.  On the other is political newcomer Phillips, who has not voted in 17 of the last 19 elections in which he as been eligible to cast a ballot.

The Committee to Protect Florida has sent this mailer hammering home this contrast.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Cliff Stearns was endorsed in CD 3 by US Rep. Allen West.

>>>The Communication Workers Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Association of Iron Workers and the United Transportation Union have endorsed Jessica Ehrlich for Cd 13.

CAMPAIGN PROFILES

Florida Current on Senate District 22: The race is of interest to Capitol insiders because it may figure into who leads the Senate during the 2017-2018 term.  Frishe, 62 is an ally of Sen. Jack Latvala who during the past two sessions formed coalitions to defeat initiatives supported by leadership on prisons, schools and unions.

AMERICANS DON’T LIKE THE POLITICAL MEDIA: A new Daily Kos/SEIU poll finds that 78% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the political media, as compared to 10% who have a favorable view.

CHECK OUT: The Associated Press Florida’s new Facebook page.

PLEASE DON’T GET ME THIS BOOK: Gov. Rick Scott is among 14 governors featured in a book of quotations by two Maine political scientists which collects Tea Party governors’ words “from mild to wild, from bombastic to cautious, and from harsh to gentle.”

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: Allen West upset members of the Congressional Black Caucus by bringing Chick-Fil-A to one of their lunches.

MORE ALOE: Tallahassee institution, Andrews Downtown, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an online competition asking locals to recall their fondest memories of Andrews from the past four decades.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Slater Bayliss and on time to Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman.

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.