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Sunburn for November 5 – Happy birthday, David Johnson

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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray, and Jim Rosica.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, happy birthday to the great, great, great, grandson of Florida House SpeakerRobert Brown, David Johnson. Like many, I am blessed to call DJ a friend. And, genuinely, he makes me think — and laugh — as much as anyone in this process. I savor every conversation with him, even the ones when he calls me to task.

SPOTTED at The Edison in Cascades Park for a champagne toast at sunset in honor of the late Fred Leonhardt: Chris Carmody, Robert Stuart, Chris Dawson, Susan Glickman, Nick Iarossi, Adam Corey, and many others.

SPOTTED at an open house reception to celebrate the renovation of the offices of Metz Husband & Daughton (perfectly timed in between redistricting conferences): Senate President Andy Gardiner, Sens. Aaron Bean and Jeff Brandes, Reps. Clay Ingram, Holly Raschein and Dana Young, Jon Costello, Gary Rutledge, Kirk Pepper, Stephen Shiver, and Stephanie Smith.

GOOD MORNING, Bill Pfeiffer.

HOUSE, SENATE SEEK TO BRIDGE DIFFERENCES ON SENATE DISTRICTS via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press  The Senate decided Wednesday to go to conference with the House after the two chambers approved different maps for the 40 Senate districts. During a meeting Wednesday night, Senate Chair Bill Galvano brought up concerns raised during Wednesday’s Senate session about how the House-approved map has certain districts drawn in Lake, Duval and Miami-Dade counties. … After brief discussions, Galvano and House Chair Jose Oliva instructed their staffs to look at the base maps to try and keep three Hispanic-majority seats in Miami-Dade. The proposed House map has only two.

The committee is expected to meet again Thursday morning. The GOP-controlled Legislature has until Friday to agree on a new Senate map. … “The real goal is to return the legislative branch to its proper role and to do it in a way that is legal. I would hope that the court would see that we have a legal process that has been carried out,” Oliva said.

DLP KEY via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami HeraldMiguel Diaz de la Portilla said late Wednesday that if Galvano and Oliva choose S9080, the draft “base” map drawn by staff which Galvano said would be considered as an alternative to the House map, he would not support it. According to the data, he said the map packs Hispanics into proposed Districts 36 and 37 and divides communities in proposed District 35, his home district, that he says does not guarantee a Hispanic could be elected.

NO SIDE DEALS EITHER – Hovering over the Senate vote is the bitter feud over who will be Senate president in 2016 as Sen. Joe Negron appears to have the votes. His rival, Sen. Jack Latvala, believes that a vote should not be taken until the maps are finalized by the courts or an election occurs. Senate President Andy Gardiner has set a Dec. 2 meeting of the Republican caucus to elect Negron as the next president. … Galvano was asked if he was willing to agree to postpone the vote in order to win votes of some senators. “We’re not going to make political side deals to get votes on the map with regard to leadership of the Senate,” he said.

PANHANDLE MAP TWEAK COULD HAVE BIG POLITICAL RIPPLE EFFECT via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The current state Senate lines have Senate District 1, held by Don Gaetz, representing the coastal areas of Okaloosa County — an area much different from the northern part of the county, marked by more rural areas and military families. The proposal put forward by the House changes the seat by giving it a northeast chunk of Okaloosa County that the seat currently does not cover and removing roughly the same number of people from a southwestern portion — essentially a trade-off. Overall, the proposed seat has 1,121 fewer voters, all of whom are from Okaloosa County. … The change would add to the district a few thousand rural voters who have not previously been represented by either Gaetz, who hail from the county’s coastal region. It could pose a hurdle for (Matt) Gaetz in a run against (George) Gainer


On Wednesday, two senators had excused absences and weren’t on the floor as their colleagues OK’d a conference process to finish redrawing the district map.

Sen. Maria Sachs, a Delray Beach Democrat, “had a personal commitment” and Sen. Denise Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, “had a prior commitment in her district,” according to an email from Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta.

No senator planned to be out either Thursday or Friday, the last day of the latest Special Session.

In the House, spokesman Michael Williams said six members planned to be out Thursday: state Reps. Jose Felix Diaz, a Miami Republican; Jamie Grant, a Tampa Republican; Jeanette Nuñez, a Miami Republican; Cary Pigman, an Avon Park Republican; Patrick Joseph Rooney Jr., a West Palm Beach Republican; and Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican.

Excused in the House for Friday were Reps. Diaz, Nuñez, Rooney and Steube again, and also Mike Bileca, a Miami Republican; Julio Gonzalez, a Venice Republican, Mike Hill, a Pensacola Beach Republican, and Jennifer Sullivan, a Mount Dora Republican.

Reasons for those absences were not provided.

MY TAKE: WHY NONE OF THIS MATTERS – The Florida Legislature could pass 50 maps next week and it won’t matter. Why not? The settlement agreement that brings us to this point clearly states that any maps passed by the legislature WILL GET NO SPECIAL DEFERENCE. None. Zippo. Nada.  It’s not even like a red flag play in the NFL where the call on the field stands unless there is evidence on the replay to overturn it. No. Special. Deference.

That functionally means that the map submitted by James Riley from Harris Texas has as much gravitas as the one passed by both Chambers – even if (hell freezes over) the maps passed both chambers unanimously.

Don’t take my word for it, read it for yourself.  It’s right there in the stipulation agreement – agreed to by the Senate and signed by Judge Reynolds – and it clearly states on page 2: “No deference shall be afforded to the Legislature’s decisions in drawing Senate district boundaries…” – League of Women Voters of Florida v. Detzner Case No.: 2012-ca-2842.

In case you don’t have a law degree that means no deference shall be afforded to the Legislature’s decisions in drawing Senate district boundaries.  Whatever map passes the legislature is just another map and Mr. Riley might as well be the Senate President.

So every potential candidate who is out there checking boundaries, cities, and district lines and wondering who will run against who based on a base map or the latest submission by a chair or an agreement in conference, please keep in mind that whatever the Legislature does … Well, you know.

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POLLING DU JOUR – Donald Trump and Ben Carson still lead the way in the New Hampshire Republican primary, but Marco Rubio is quickly gaining, according to a new WBUR poll. Trump tops the field with 18%, followed by Carson with 16%, Rubio with 11% (up from 2% in Sept.) and Kasich with 10%. Chris Christie jumped six points to 8%, and Jeb Bush finished with 7%. On the Democratic side, a Monmouth University survey shows Hillary Clinton edging Bernie Sanders 48-45% in the state. In Sept., Sanders led 49-41%. And nationally, a Quinnipiac University poll finds Trump at 24%, Carson at 23%, Rubio at 14%, Ted Cruz at 13% and Bush at 4%. No other GOP candidate garnered more than 3%. As for the Democrats, Clinton leads Sanders 53-35%.

BUT… THE GOP’S PRIMARY RULES MIGHT DOOM DONALD TRUMP, BEN CARSON AND TED CRUZ via – (I)f a moderate emerges from the Republican primary that individual “will have a hidden structural advantage: the party’s delegate math and geography … There are plenty of reasons to be cautious of national polls that show Trump and Carson leading. They may fail to screen out casual voters … But perhaps the biggest reason to ditch stock in these polls is that they’re simulating a national vote that will never take place.

CARSON BEST-LIKED OF ALL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES via Andrew Dugan for Gallup (h/t to Mike Allen) – Carson is popular not only with Republicans, he also has a net favorable score of +21 among national adults — the highest of any candidate from either party.”

OTHER NET FAVORABLE SCORES: Carson +21 … Fiorina +6 … Rubio +5 … Sanders, Kasich, Huckabee +4 … Jeb -2 … Cruz -3 … Clinton -6 … Christie -10 … Trump -22.

— “Ben Carson commits to attend the Sunshine Summit” via the Tampa Bay Times

— “Thousands turn out to see GOP hopeful Ben Carson in Fort Myers, Naples” via the Naples Daily News

TRUMP RETWEETS IMAGE OF JEB BUSH AND SWASTIKA via CNN – Trump found more Twitter trouble when he retweeted a message “that read: ‘ADIOS, JEB aka JOSÉ.’ Unfortunately for the Republican presidential candidate, that tweet was accompanied by more than a dozen images seeming to attack his rival Bush and his family, and one of those graphics featured a swastika next to Bush’s face.” Trump’s since deleted the retweet, and says he didn’t see the image.

BUSH GETS LOUDER, MORE COLORFUL ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL via Thomas Beaumont of the Associated Press – “We’re Americans, dammit!” he shouted Wednesday at a pharmacy in Hollis, N.H., as he complained that the U.S. was not leading in key foreign policy disputes.

He saved special words for Donald Trump, the former reality show star who remains a leader in the unpredictable GOP nomination fight. “A president can’t say ‘You’re fired,’ and go to commercial break,” Bush told more than 100 people at a senior center in Raymond, New Hampshire, Tuesday night. “A president has to roll up their damn sleeves and get to work.”

A night earlier, his voice showed signs of strain as he railed against what he called anemic economic growth. “That means more people stuck in poverty. That means one in five children on food stamps,” Bush said, raising his voice during an event Tuesday in Rye, N.H. “That’s the new normal. I hope you agree with this: we need to reject that out of hand. And we can do it.”

The volume and feeling reflect the urgency of Bush’s drive to push his campaign into a winning position ahead of the first votes of the GOP nomination fight in Feb. Once seen as the probable favorite, Bush’s viability has never really thrived in the face of unexpectedly strong support from outsiders Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who are leading the pack. Also a thorn for Bush: Rubio, his onetime protege, who has approached the dynamics as an opportunity to win over the GOP establishment turned off by Trump and Carson.

Bush took a more restrained tone on Rubio, with whom he’d clashed in last week’s debate. “He hasn’t changed the culture in Washington,” Bush told reporters aboard his campaign bus. He refused to answer questions on Rubio’s personal spending habits, which had had come up during last week’s debate.

JOURNALISM! – How Jeb Bush Cheats the Paleo Diet” via  Alexander Mallin of ABC News

MARCO RUBIO FIGHTS BACK TO DEFEND FINANCIAL PAST via Eliza Collins of POLITICO – Rubio’s financial past is coming back to haunt him, and … [he] is ramping up his counterattack, trying to make a line stick that he’s just like millions of Americans struggling to manage their credit cards and access to cash. It’s not a new attack … or a new defense … So far, Rubio has successfully batted away probing questions from the media, presenting himself as the son of immigrants who never enjoyed a silver spoon and has often barely scraped by as he made his way through law school and then up the food chain of Florida politics. “I think it would be good for this country to have a president that knows what it feels like to have your house lose its value because of irresponsible and reckless behavior by Fannie and Freddie, by the Federal Reserve … I think it would be good for this country to have a president who knows what it’s like to owe money in student loans like I once did, someone who grew up paycheck to paycheck.” But rivals are sharpening the knives.

— “Rubio says he will release new credit card records in the next few weeks” via Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post

AFTER TAKING DONATIONS FROM HEDGE FUNDS HOLDING PUERTO RICAN DEBT, MARCO RUBIO OPPOSED BANKRUPTCY via Florida Politics– In opposing the bankruptcy filing for Puerto Rico … Rubio said he does not believe in a “silver bullet.” Puerto Ricans should tighten their belts, he declared … Rubio fails to mention is that he received thousands of dollars in campaign cash from individuals – particularly hedge fund executives – who would lose big if Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy … campaign finance reports that show Rubio’s campaign received contributions from a minimum of six hedge fund managers holding Puerto Rican debt. [Rubio] has been the only presidential candidate openly opposed to bankruptcy reform for Puerto Rico.

RUBIO SNAGS ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT via Eliza Collins of Politico – Rubio made it three senators in three days – locking down the endorsement of Idaho’s Jim Risch. “Having worked with Senator Rubio since his early days in the Senate, I have been greatly impressed with his understanding and quick grasp of the serious issues that arise here,’ Risch said in a statement.”

GET SMART FAST – SMALL DONORS ARE CLICKING MORE WITH DEMOCRATS THAN REPUBLICANS via Eric Lichtblau and Nick Corasaniti of the New York Times – Seventy-four percent of the $26 million that … Sanders raised came through ActBlue, an online platform that lets people donate a few dollars at a time to Democrats — and Democrats only — with just a few clicks. Eighty-eight percent of contributions … came from donations of $200 or less. On the Republican side … Carson … who has tapped into an enthusiastic base of evangelical voters. Almost three-quarters of the $31.3 million … raised through Sept. 30 came from donations of $200 or less … one exception, at least of late, appears to be … Cruz, who raised about half of his total of $12.2 million in the third quarter from donations of $200 or less, most of it — about $4.2 million — through digital platforms. Republicans have struggled to keep up with the Democrats in attracting smaller donors in bulk. Bush, for instance, managed just $1.4 million in donations of $200 or less — a nickel for every dollar he has raised over all.

STATE AUDITS CONTRIBUTIONS TO PRO-JEB BUSH SUPER PAC, BUT NOT TO MARCO RUBIO’S via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida  Election officials said they were not aware of the $100,000 that went to the super PAC backing Rubio … even though one $30,000 check came from the same committee that also gave a $1,000 to the super PAC supporting Bush. It means while auditing the same committee, the state flagged a contribution to the group backing Bush, but not the one backing Rubio. The officials said they will now look at those checks. Through the first five months of the year, 21 state political committees gave a total of $247,000 in campaign contributions to Right to Rise, a super PAC backing Bush’s presidential campaign.

MEANWHILE – CHRIS CHRISTIE ON THE DEBATE BUBBLE via Hadas Gold and Steve Shepard of Politico  It’s looking like Christie may not make the primetime debate stage at next week’s Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal debate. While Fox Business will not officially announce the lineup until Thursday, a new Fox News poll released late Wednesday puts him at 2 percent. That likely means Christie will get bumped to the undercard stage – a big blow for the New Jersey governor since it comes as he appeared to be gaining some traction in the presidential race.

NRCC CONFIDENT THE GOP KEEPS RICH NUGENT’S SEAT via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News – With … Nugent … announcing his retirement this week … Greg Walden … the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), sounded confident that the GOP will keep the seat.  “Congressman Rich Nugent has been a strong voice for his Florida constituents and his leadership in Washington will be missed … I am confident that Florida’s 11th District will remain safely in Republican hands as the NRCC works to maintain and grow our historic Republican majority.”

HEARING that state Rep. Danny Burgess, a former mayor, may take a hard look at running in CD 11.

HEARING that state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, is NOT taking a hard look at running in CD 11.

KEN WELCH LATEST DEMOCRAT TO EMBRACE CHARLIE CRIST’S CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDACY via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Considering he was at Charlie Crist‘s pitch two weeks ago to run for Congress, it was no surprise …  [Crist] now has Pinellas County Commissioner Welch‘s backing … “I’ve known Charlie for years – he’s a man of the people, and I know he will move us forward and get things done. We should send someone to Washington who will lead and effectively represent all of Pinellas County – that’s why I’m supporting Charlie Crist.”

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TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: .@FLGovScott is going today call on #FLLeg to cut taxes by a staggering $1 billion in coming year – with most of it targeted to business … .@FLGovScott setting up another budget battle with Legislature – a $1 billion tax cut package that includes $770m cut in corp income taxes … … .@FLGovScott tax cut package coming out today also includes cut in commercial lease taxes, manufacturing sales tax break … … .@FLGovScott will also advocate 2 sales tax holidays – a 10 day back to school holiday and a 9-day hurricane preparation holiday


SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES STATEWIDE POLICY FOR WATER AND NATURAL RESOURCES via Sunshine State News – Charlie Dean‘s Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation … passed Senate Bill 552, Environmental Resources, which provides for a statewide policy to restore and preserve Florida’s water and natural resources.  “This legislation represents a comprehensive plan to restore our unique springs to make sure they are preserved for the next generation of Floridians and visitors to our state,” said Dean … “The bill will also help protect Florida’s Everglades and estuaries by ensuring we stick to our action plans and implement best management practices that will improve our water quality and make sure we have the clean water supply we need to accommodate the needs of a growing state.”

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR CAUTIONS AGAINST SEA LEVEL RISE SPECULATION via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – A House subcommittee chairman, who this week during a meeting twice cautioned a state environmental protection official about expressing ‘speculation’ on sea level rise, tells POLITICO Florida that ‘the world goes through cycles’ of climate change. Rep. Ben Albritton, a Republican from Wauchula and chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, said in an interview that the world may be headed for a cold spell, as he read in a 2011 book written by someone who does not believe that humans contribute to climate change.  “I don’t understand sea level rise, global warming – this whole discussion,” Albritton said. “I’ve seen really good data that shows global warming. I read a book recently that had really good data in it that shows we are actually entering into a cooling period that happens about every 200 years.”

BODY-CAMERA BILL EASILY WINS INITIAL APPROVAL IN FIRST COMMITTEE HEARING via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – As police officer-worn body cameras become a more common accountability tool in Florida and throughout the country, state lawmakers again want to require law enforcement agencies to have standard protocols in place for officer training, use of the device and storage of the footage it captures. After earning unanimous favor in the House last spring, the proposal stalled in the Senate amid the chaotic end to the 2015 legislative session. … New legislation filed for the upcoming 2016 session unanimously cleared the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee during its first hearing Wednesday.

GUNS ON CAMPUS BILL CONTINUES TO MOVE AHEAD via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – In its second of three committee stops in the House, a bill that would allow guns on Florida’s college and university campuses garnered support again Wednesday, mostly along a party-line vote. The House Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee passed HB 4001, 10-3. Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda — a co-sponsor of the bill — joined Republicans in supporting it. … The proposal — introduced by Rep. Greg Steube — would allow the 1.4 million Floridians with a concealed-weapons permit to carry their weapons and firearms on college and university campuses statewide.

HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO REMOVE STATUE OF CONFEDERATE GENERAL via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Since 1922, the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith has been on display in the U.S. Capitol Building as one of two figures meant to represent Florida in National Statuary Hall … in the Florida House …  lawmakers took the first step to shipping Smith’s statue out and replacing him with someone new … it is not clear who that new person will ultimately be, but suggested names like industrialist Henry Flagler, entertainment pioneer Walt Disney or environmental legend Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

PERSONNEL NOTE: MEENAN P.A. ADDS 2 NEW LAWYERS via Florida Politics – Tallahassee-based law firm Meenan P.A. announced the addition of two new lawyers … Stephen C. Burgess will work in an “Of Counsel” capacity; Sarah Niewold is the firm’s newest associate. Burgess is a former consumer advocate for the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS). During his time at DFS, he was consumer advocate on three separate occasions, most recently under Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater … Niewold interned with the Florida Association of Health Plans as a legislative intern and law clerk. She also worked as a legislative and legal intern with Capitol Insight.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Carlos Cruz. Celebrating today is David Hurley.

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.

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