Sunburn for 9/13 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. With more than 45 years of combined legislative and regulatory knowledge and experience, Corcoran & Johnston’s ability to navigate through the processes and politics of government and deliver for their clients is unmatched.***


Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday said it would likely cut its “Aaa” rating on U.S. government debt, probably by one notch, if budget negotiations fail.

If Congress and the White House don’t reach a budget deal, about $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases will automatically kick in starting Jan. 2, a scenario that’s been dubbed the “fiscal cliff,” because it is likely to send the economy back into recession and drive up unemployment.

TWEET, TWEET: @TheStalwart: This is the part where Moody’s threatens to destroy the American economy.


The Obama campaign is going up with a huge TV ad buy in Florida, including in the expensive Miami market, according to a senior campaign official, reports Chuck Todd for NBC’s First Read. … The Obama camp, in fact, is claiming this is the largest and earliest buy in Miami for a presidential contest. The statewide buy targets 10 media markets — including Tampa (2,700 advertising points), Orlando (2,700 points), Miami (1,300 points), Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and even neighboring Mobile, Ala. MITT ROMNEY ONLY HAS A 2% CHANCE OF WINNING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IF HE LOSES FLORIDA via Nate Silver of the New York Times

Imagine that the election is very close: the popular vote is within one percentage point either way. This condition occurred roughly 3,000 times out of the 25,000 simulations that I ran in the forecast model on Monday.

For each of the top 12 states on our tipping point list, I looked up the probability of Mr. Romney winning the election conditional upon losing the state in these 3,000 simulations. If Mr. Romney has great difficulty winning the Electoral College without the state in a close election, we can fairly describe it as a must-win.

These simulations estimate that Mr. Romney has only a 2 percent chance of winning the election if he loses Florida — even assuming that the election is very close over all. Losing its 29 electoral votes just presents too daunting a challenge for him, given his inability so far to penetrate into states like Pennsylvania that could plausibly substitute for it.

ROMNEY’S CABINET-IN-WAITING COALESCES by Sara Murray and Damian Paletta in The Wall Street Journal.

Mitt Romney’s presidential transition team, stocked with veterans of the George W. Bush administration, is studying personnel and policy moves that would prepare Mr. Romney to reorder federal spending and quickly propose a budget, should he win the White House. The team, which moved into Washington, D.C. offices last week, offers an early peek at how a Romney administration might run. It is peppered with old GOP hands and fresh faces from the business world.

JEB BUSH WORKING ON BOOK ABOUT IMMIGRATION via The Associated Press The former governor is a working on a book about one of the Republican Party’s most contentious issues: immigration. … Bush has a deal with Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster, for “Immigration Wars: Forging An American Solution.” Threshold announced Wednesday that the book is scheduled for next spring and will be co-authored by conservative attorney and activist Clint Bolick. Financial terms aren’t being disclosed. According to Threshold, Bush hopes to “bridge the partisan divide” on immigration.

***Newark’s nationally-recognized mayor, Cory Booker is the keynote speaker at the Hillsborough Democratic Party’s Kennedy King Dinner on Saturday, September 22.  Reserve your tickets here.***

FLORIDA BUDGET PICTURE INCHES CLOSER TO “ROSY” by Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel

For the first time in five years, Florida policymakers are looking at a horizon free of projected budget shortfalls, thanks to growing tax collections and cuts to classrooms, road-building and the state’s social safety net. The state’s top economist told the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Wednesday that lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott would have more flexibility next year when they write a new budget than at any time since 2007 — a product of deep “recurring” cuts enacted over the years, and the slow economic recovery that has led to some re-hiring. All told, state government is projected to have $2.7 billion in its three main reserve funds this year, and that could create political temptations for lawmakers and Scott to spend it on tax cuts or restoring more classroom dollars. After adjusting for growth in programs and education expenses in the current 2012-13 fiscal year, the state would carry over $1.55 billion in surplus revenue. By 2014-15, state revenues are expected to be $2.5 billion higher than expenses, although revenue forecasts two years out are typically revised. STATE PURGE LIST SHRINKS, AGREEMENT REACHED via Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida A controversial list of 2,600 allegedly illegal voters has been whittled to 207, Florida election officials said Wednesday after running the names through a federal immigration database. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the names, about 8 percent of the initial list, will be forwarded to local election officials as early as next week. The revised list was released the same day as an agreement was announced between the state and voting rights groups over efforts to remove non-citizens and other ineligible voters from the ranks. “We want every Florida voter to be confident that their vote is protected and not hurt in any way by the illegal activity of others,” Detzner said in a statement. “We know that every vote counts, especially here in Florida where only 537 votes decided the presidential election in 2000.”


Gov. Rick Scott today meets with parents, teachers and students at schools in Fort Myers and Madeira Beach, and then meets with members of the PTA in St. Pete Beach. Scott this week is showing up at several schools around the state as part of what he calls an education listening tour. In an interview Wednesday morning on 92.5 Fox Radio in Fort Myers, Scott hinted that the education system might need more money: he said he’s hearing from teachers who are frustrated about having to spend their own money for supplies. “One of the things we talked about with the teachers yesterday, it came up, is how much teachers are having to spend out of their own pocket for supplies,” Scott said. “And so, that’s one of the things.” He also said he has heard lots about testing, but didn’t go into details.

NUKE COSTS TO BE DECIDED NOV. 20 via The News Service of Florida

The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday finished hearing testimony about requests by Florida Power & Light and Progress Energy Florida to pass along about $300 million in nuclear-project costs to customers in 2013. The PSC is scheduled to rule on the requests Nov. 20. FPL is seeking $151.5 million to cover costs related to upgrading already-existing plants in Miami-Dade and St. Lucie counties and initial work on two potential new reactors in Miami-Dade. Progress is seeking about $145 million related to upgrades at an existing plant at Crystal River and two potential new reactors in Levy County. Attorneys representing consumers and business groups opposed portions of the requests during a hearing that started Thursday and continued Monday and Tuesday. But utility officials said the projects would have long-term benefits, such as reducing the amount of money that would have to go to buying natural gas for other power plants.


House Speaker Dean Cannon is getting ready to leave the Legislature. But would he be interested in returning to his alma mater, the University of Florida, as its president?

The Gainesville Sun reports that third parties have nominated a list of potential candidates to replace outgoing UF President Bernie Machen. Among those on the list are Cannon and University of North Florida President John Delaney, a former Jacksonville mayor and Gator alum.


Three county Republican parties have moved to intervene in Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown’s lawsuit over cuts to early voting days. Brown’s lawsuit challenging the 2011 decision by state lawmakers to reduce the number of early voting days from a maximum of 14 to eight is pending in federal court in Jacksonville. The Florida Times Union reported that the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan, accepted a motion Monday to allow the Republican Parties of Broward, Clay and Sarasota counties join in the suit – in opposition to Brown.

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Republican-turned-Independent Charlie Crist embraced and kissed Democrat and Congressional candidate Lois Frankel after a private fundraiser in West Palm Beach on Wednesday, adding to speculation the former governor of Florida would consider a run for office as a Democrat.

“I am so proud to be here with Lois Frankel,” Crist said. “She and I served in the legislature together in Tallahassee. And, she’s a great public servant. [She] was a great mayor. And, she will be a great member of Congress. God bless you, Lois.”


The Florida Democratic Party released a new television ad, Love,” featuring Frank Bruno, Democratic candidate for Senate District 8.  The ad will began airing on TV stations yesterday.

“Over the last 40 years, Florida has been a place where my family and small business have been able to thrive and grow,” said candidate for Florida Senate District 8 Frank Bruno. “I am so grateful for the blessings our community has given my family. Send me to Tallahassee and I promise to fight everyday to preserve the quality of life that makes this state a great place to live and work.”


A new television ad, “Tools,” highlightS House District 30 candidate Karen Castor Dentel’s “commitment to improving our schools which are key to attracting businesses that create good paying jobs and ensuring that our children have the tools they need to succeed.”  The ad will began airing on TV stations yesterday.

“Our number one priority needs to be a good education for our kids. And as a mother and as a teacher, I see first hand how Tallahassee is hurting our schools,” said Castor Dentel. “It’s just about making sure our kids have the tools they need to succeed.”

TEACHERS FOR DWIGHT DUDLEY TONIGHT IN HD 68 — The Florida Education Association, the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association and Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner are among those hosting a “Teachers for Dudley” meet-and-greet for the Democratic candidate who seems to be gaining momentum in this battleground seat. More details here.

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BEAR-HUGGER WOULD HIT THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: The hulking pizzeria owner whose presidential bear hug has thrust him into fame is readyto hit the campaign trail if he’s asked.

CAN’T MISS FUNDRAISER OF THE DAY: For Bill Helmich and Evan Power for the Leon Soil and Water Conservation District, tonight at 5:00 p.m. at Clyde’s & Costello’s in Tallahassee.

EMAIL I DID NOT OPEN: From Audrey Mullen: “The Machine: The new video from … Reason TV … about teachers’ unions, taxpayers and government.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Florida Voices’ Rosemary Goudreau and lobbyist Will McKinley.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You know what I’m here for” — former Governor Charlie Crist upon meeting the Fort Pierce pizza parlor owner who hugged and lifted President Obama on Sunday.

RIDICULOUS POLITICAL EMAILS FROM YESTERDAY: From Allen West: “(Patrick) Murphy Puts Fundraising Before South Florida Jewish Community“; From the Florida Democratic Party: “(Vern) Buchanan Steals From The Poor To Give To The Rich”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.