Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray and Jim Rosica.
EMPIRE STATE OF MIND
The first meaningful New York presidential primary in more than two decades is finally here, and the big question on the GOP side is not whether Donald Trump will win, but by how much?
Trump has the potential to scoop up all of the Empire State’s 95 delegates Tuesday if he can win the majority of the vote in each of NY’s 27 congressional districts.
The Queens native is leading the field with 54 percent support, followed by 21 percent for Ted Cruz and 19 percent for John Kasich, according to a CBS News battleground poll.
A candidate who scores at least 50 percent in a NY congressional district gets all three of the locale’s delegates. If a candidate places first in a district with at least 20 percent – but less than 50 percent- then he gets two of the three delegates. The statewide winner would get NY’s remaining 14 delegates if he breaks 50 percent.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders needs a massive turnout effort to shock pollsters who show him losing to Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state leads Sanders by 12.5 points in the Empire State, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
That’s despite the fact that the Vermont senator has been drawing huge audiences to his insurgent campaign, with two separate events held in Brooklyn over the past week where he drew crowds of at least 25,000.
There are 291 Democratic delegates up for grabs. Forty out of NY’s 44 superdelgates have declared their loyalty to Clinton in advance of the primary.
The polls open in NYC and 7 other counties at 6 a.m., with the rest opening at noon. They all close at 9 p.m.
HILLARY CLINTON, BERNIE SANDERS MAKE FINAL PUSHES via The Associated Press – Clinton greeted recently-unionized workers at a Queens car wash during her final day of campaigning ahead of the New York primary … Clinton cited the workers as evidence of how “real change happens” … echoes her recent attacks on rival Sanders, who she says promises an impossible-to-achieve “political revolution.” Clinton is campaigning with Sen. Charles Schumer, who joined the effort. She’s also backing legislation that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible for any role in the attacks in US courts. Meanwhile, Sanders is backing legislation that would let Americans sue Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The bill is opposed by the Obama administration but is important to families of 9/11 victims, some of whom believe Saudi officials played some part in the attacks.
POLL: DONALD TRUMP KEEPS LARGE LEAD IN NEW YORK; AHEAD IN CALIFORNIA via Anthony Salvanto, Fred Backus, Sarah Dutton and Jennifer De Pinto of CBS News – Trump heads into his home-state primary of New York with a large edge over Ted Cruz and John Kasich, 54 percent to 21 percent and 19 percent respectively. The lead, if it holds … would net him the bulk of the state’s delegates and put him back on a path — albeit a narrow one — to the 1,237 needed for nomination. Underpinning Trump’s lead in New York, as in Pennsylvania and California, is that Republicans believe he would be “effective,” “authentic” and that he understands people like them. He leads Cruz and Kasich on these measures, as well as on electability, as Republicans see him as most likely of the three to win in November. Whether that convention is wide-open or not likely comes down to California, the last, largest remaining state to vote, June 7. There, Trump leads Cruz and Kasich as the CBS News Battleground Tracker begins looking at the contest, 49 percent to 31 percent for Cruz and 16 percent for Kasich. At the race’s current pace, Trump would need a sizable win there — as well as strong performances in between — to clinch the nomination outright.
— “Trump orders new campaign hierarchy, spending plan” via POLITICO
TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER DISTRUSTS FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN BLAISE INGOGLIA – MAYBE FOR GOOD REASON via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – [Corey Lewandowski] appeared on Fox News Sunday and, almost out of the blue, blasted the Florida GOP’s delegate selection process and suggested … Ingoglia can’t be trusted to carry out the will of Florida’s GOP primary voters: “Here’s the problem with the rules, let me give you one example. In the state of Florida, Trump dominated and won by 23 points over his competitors down there. He was awarded 99 delegates under the party rules. Of those 99 delegates, the chairman of the party of Florida, who is an avid and outward supporter of Marco Rubio, gets to appoint 30 of those delegates … Now, I understand those are the rules but Donald Trump won. And now … [You] got a person who is supporting Marco Rubio who gets to appoint 30 of the 99 delegates. That’s not what the rules should be. The rules should be that Donald Trump won 99 delegates and all 99 people, while they are bound on the first vote, we should have the opportunity to appoint those people.” He has cause for concern. When the stakes are as high as they are, paranoia is prudent. And Trumpeters have ample reason to be skeptical of the Florida GOP chairman’s allegiances and motivations … Ingoglia has never publicly criticized Trump, let alone declared himself a Rubio backer. But in some respects the real leader of the state GOP is incoming Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, just as traditionally the real leader for the past couple of decades has always been the Republican governor. And Corcoran has voiced utter contempt for Trump.
RICK SCOTT CALLS FOR DELEGATES TO RALLY AROUND TRUMP via Amy Sherman of the Times/Herald — As controversy continues about Florida GOP leaders choosing delegates to the convention, Gov. Rick Scott avoided a question about delegate selection but still showed support for Trump while in Broward Monday. When asked if the Republican Party of Florida should mostly appoint Trump supporters since he won the Florida primary, Scott said: “you’d have to go talk to RPOF.”
MORNING MUST-READ — HOW THE HYPER- LIBERAL ENCLAVES OF AMERICA COULD PICK THE GOP NOMINEE via Shane Goldmacher of POLITICO Magazine – From Berkeley to the Bronx, the Republican Party’s most isolated members are getting the last laugh … Roughly 70 percent of the Republican delegates have already been allocated, but more than half of the 100 most liberal districts in America – including 39 in California, Maryland and New York alone – have not yet voted. And those 39 districts are worth a combined 117 delegates – more than the state of Florida. They could very possibly be the difference between Trump sealing the nomination and not.
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FIRST IN SUNBURN — ALAN GRAYSON, DAVID JOLLY TO DEBATE NEXT MONDAY! via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising — Jolly and Grayson will debate for Florida’s U.S. Senate race Monday in a format to be broadcast on the internet. The very existence of the debate, which Grayson and Jolly announced with no details March 1, is controversial because it features just one Republican of five major candidates and just one Democrat of at least two major candidates. And it has them facing off four months before anyone has a chance to become their parties’ nominees in the Aug. 30 U.S. Senate primaries.
EMAIL I DIDNT WANT TO OPEN BUT I DID — “I Hate Immurement” via Alan Grayson: “Another week, another $500,000 in right-wing propaganda ads aired by Carlos Beruff, my rolling-in-dough GOP opponent. Two weeks = $1,000,000: Already! Beruff is emulating his pal, Gov. Rick Scott, who bought a four-year lease on the Florida Governor’s Mansion with $70 million of his ill-gotten gains.”
STATEWIDE TELEVISED U.S. SENATE DEBATE SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 26 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association announced … its televised U.S. Senate debate will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 … broadcast live from Broward College Central Campus in Davie, and will be aired statewide. The producing television state is Hearst-owned ABC affiliate WPBF 24 in West Palm Beach … WJXX (ABC) in Jacksonville; WFTV (ABC) in Orlando; WTVJ (NBC) in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale; WFTS (ABC) in Tampa/St. Petersburg; WBBH (NBC) in Ft. Myers; WCTV (CBS) in Tallahassee; WMBB (ABC) in Panama City; WEAR (ABC) in Pensacola; and SNN-SunCoast News TV in Sarasota have signed on as broadcast partners … simulcast on all Florida Public Radio member stations.
FINANCE INDUSTRY BACKING SUPER PAC FLOATING RON DESANTIS BID via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Large financial industry donors continued to pump big money into a super PAC backing the US Senate bid of Republican Ron DeSantis, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday. During the first three months of 2016, the Fight for Florida Fund, a super PAC backing DeSantis, received another $150,000 from John Childes, a Vero Beach resident and founder of J.S. Childs Associates, a Massachusetts public equity firm. That’s on top of $200,000 he gave the committee shortly after it was formed in late 2015. Of the $1.1 million the committee has raised so far, 91 percent has come from three donors in the finance industry.
TEACHERS UNIONS BACK PATRICK MURPHY IN U.S. SENATE RACE via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising – The Florida Education Association, National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers all are supporting Murphy’s Democratic run, FEA President Joanne McCall announced … “Patrick Murphy is one of our hardest working advocates for education in Congress.,” McCall said. “That’s why we urged our national affiliates, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers, to come out and support Patrick’s candidacy for the United States Senate … We know we can trust him as he moves from Congress to the United States Senate,” she added.
— “Better Florida Alliance releases U.S. Senate report cards” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics
U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Republican Todd Wilcox will be in Tampa. Republican Carlos Lopez-Cantera kicks off his Florida First Tour in Brandon.
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COURT REJECTS CORRINE BROWN’S BID TO THROW OUT CONGRESSIONAL MAP via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press – Brown … argued that the current map, which dramatically altered her Jacksonville district, violates federal voting laws because it diluted the voting rights of minorities. But the panel of three judges disagreed sharply and said that Brown and her attorneys had not produced evidence to prove her case.
Brown, who had previously vowed to keep up the fight as long as she could, said in a brief statement that she was “extremely disappointed” and is reviewing the ruling with her attorneys. Any appeal, however, would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court since a three-judge panel handled the initial decision.
The decision could have immediate reverberations because the new map upends the state’s political landscape and could lead to the defeat of several incumbents. The current map was approved by the state Supreme Court in December after a lengthy battle.
— “Gwen Graham disappointed by redistricting decision” via Ryan Ray of Florida Politics
GREG EVERS FILES TO RUN FOR CONGRESS via the Pensacola News Journal — Evers on Saturday filed a statement of candidacy and registered a committee called “Greg Evers for Congress” with the FEC on Saturday. The filings come after weeks of speculation by political watchers that Evers would enter the race for Jeff Miller’s 1st Congressional District seat, following Miller’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election. Evers’ filing sets up for a heated race between the senator and Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz, who filed for the seat last month and raised $350,000 for the race in 10 days.
LAKE RAY FORMS EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE FOR CD 4 RUN via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – “After much consideration and discussion with friends and family,” Ray wrote on Facebook … “I have decided to open an exploratory committee to look into running for Congressman Ander Crenshaw’s soon-to-be vacant seat … As you know, the halls of Congress are no place to learn on the job and we need an experienced legislator with a proven track record to represent Northeast Florida … This is not an easy decision.” Ray, a state representative for eight years and a former two-term member of Jacksonville’s City Council, is chairman of the Duval County GOP and head of the powerful First Coast Manufacturers Association.
JOHN MICA DOESN’T PAY HIS OWN DC TAXES ON TIME via Will Sommer of the Washington City Paper – Rep. John Mica ripped into the District’s finances at a hearing on Metro last week, fuming that he won’t “bail out Washington, D.C.” by funding the transit system. Now District tax records reviewed by LL reveal that Mica isn’t so fiscally responsible when it comes to his own share of the city’s tax money. Between them, Mica and his wife Patricia Mica own six units on Capitol Hill, according to Office of Tax and Revenue records. Between 2006 and 2013, they’ve racked up $1,071.81 across 17 penalty payments for paying their property taxes late. In 2006 alone, the Micas were hit with $608.29 in combined late penalties. Mica didn’t respond to LL’s requests for comment.
SAVE THE DATE: State Rep. Jason Brodeur kicks off his house District 28 re-election with a fundraiser Wednesday, April 27, at the Red Cypress Brewery, 855 E. SR 434 in Winter Springs (located in the Senor Tequila’s Plaza. Event begins 5:30 p.m. RSVP to karis@JasonBrodeur.com.
HD 53 CANDIDATE RANDY FINE CAMPAIGNS FOR HOUSE SPEAKER via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – Fine is not a member of the Florida House. But that has not stopped the House District 53 candidate to mount a bid for House Speaker after the 2022 election … it would make that his fourth two-year term, despite the fact that Fine has not yet been elected or has ever served in elective office. As a self-financing candidate … Fine has been busy collecting pledge cards from fellow Republican House candidates also vying to join the 2016 freshman class. “I’m interested in being a leader in the class,” said Fine … “I want to make sure Brevard County has a strong voice in the legislature.”
HAPPENING TODAY: First year state Rep. Chris Sprowls is holding his re-election campaign kickoff beginning 5:30 p.m. at the Bon Appétit Restaurant, 148 Marina Plaza in Dunedin.
PALM BEACH CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE FILES FOR DWIGHT DUDLEY’S SEAT via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Joseph “JB” Bensmihen … the former CEO and owner of Boca Home Care Services … filed for the seat using a St. Petersburg address … but less than a year ago, he declared candidacy for a South Florida congressional race. Bensmihen filed to challenge U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel … State lawmakers must live in their district but do not have to prove residency until after the election. Bensmihen, 47, was born with spastic cerebral palsy and has advocated for the disabled since he was 12, according to his campaign website.
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MUST-READ REPORT: FLORIDA’S TOP TEACHERS FOUND AT AFFLUENT SCHOOLS via The Associated Press – New bonus payments aimed at attracting and keeping good teachers in Florida have gone disproportionately to those who work with students from affluent families, an analysis by a Florida newspaper has found. … Teachers who received bonuses under the $44 million “best and brightest” teacher scholarship program started last year were more than twice as likely to work with students from affluent families than with students living in poverty … The report highlights how the bonuses have failed to address the state’s long-standing goal of more equitably distributing quality educators … The newspaper’s analysis of education data on the statewide program found that for every 954 students in a high poverty Florida school this year there was only one bonus-winning teacher. But the ratio was far less for those schools with students from more affluent homes, one “best and brightest” teacher for every 398 students.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will make a jobs announcement at 10 a.m. at Space Life Sciences Lab, 505 Odyssey Way, Exploration Park in Merritt Island.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Senate President Designate Joe Negron will continue his four-day state university listening tour at 9 a.m. with a tour of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. He will then head to the University of Florida in Gainesville at 12:30 p.m., before finishing his day at 4:30 p.m. at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
SENATE MURAL WILL BE SAVED, BUT REMOVED FROM CAPITOL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Senate President Andy Gardiner said the mural will be preserved, however, for viewing elsewhere. It’ll be stored till then. The letter was sent … to Jeff Howell, the Republican Party of Florida treasurer. Howell, a Tallahassee attorney, leads an informal volunteer campaign to save the artwork. The 10-foot-by-16 foot “Five Flags Mural” greeted visitors to the Senate’s fifth floor viewing galleries. The mural’s removal comes as the chamber is undergoing an almost-$5 million renovation, the first since the Capitol opened in 1978. The work also happens to depict a Confederate general and flag. The Senate previously voted to remove that symbol from its official seal and insignia. The name of the mural refers to the five flags that have flown over the state: U.S., Confederate, Spanish, French and British.
LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools
Off: John Hinchee has stepped down as legislative assistant for Longwood Republican Rep. Scott Plakon.
On: Jervonte Edmonds will be Plakon’s new assistant.
Off: Bryan Roberts is no longer district secretary for Opa Locka Democratic Rep. Cynthia Stafford.
On: Dalie Sejour will be Stafford’s new secretary.
Off: Kamia Brown has stepped down as legislative assistant for Orlando Democratic Rep. Vic Torres to file as a candidate for House District 45. Brown seeks to replace state Rep. Randolph Bracy, the Orange County Democrat who is vacating his seat for a state Senate run.
FLORIDA’S FIGHT TO KEEP GAY MARRIAGE BAN COULD BE COSTLY via The Associated Press – U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle has ordered the state to pay the fees of attorneys who filed federal lawsuits challenging the state’s voter-approved ban. Hinkle said in an order the attorneys were eligible for payment because they were successful in their lawsuit. Hinkle ruled in 2014 that the ban was unconstitutional, but he stayed the ruling until January 2015. Same-sex couples started getting married throughout the state then. The total amount of the fees will be determined later. One attorney filed an initial estimate late last year that his firm was eligible for more than $300,000 in fees.
FLORIDA’S TOP JURIST TO TALK CIVIL LEGAL HELP FUNDING IN D.C. via Jim Rosica of FloridaPolitics.com – Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga is heading to the White House on Tuesday. This’ll be the second year he’s participated in the White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice. Labarga is one of six state chief justices to attend. The nation’s brightest legal minds will seek answers to providing civil legal help to those who can’t afford it. That includes things like child custody and landlord-tenant cases. The forum will be live-streamed at https://www.whitehouse.gov/live. It will include CEOs of major corporations and leaders of legal aid programs, a release said. “(G)aps in access to civil justice are bigger than the legal community,’’ Labarga said in the release. “We are grappling with a societal problem. And it needs a societal answer.”
CHARGES DROPPED AGAINST BROWARD POLITICAL BLOGGER via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – A single-page court file signed by Assistant Palm Beach County State Attorney Christy Rogers said charges of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and burglary with assault or battery against Javier Manjarres, would not be filed. “Victim refused to cooperate by refusing to identify to view a lineup,” the filing read.
COURT BATTLE CONTINUES IN FLORIDA FLOATING HOME CASE via The Associated Press – Fane Lozman is asking an Atlanta-based federal appeals court to award him at least $378,000 for the value of his floating home, legal fees and other costs from his lengthy court fight with the City of Riviera Beach. Lozman is appealing a decision that rejected his claims for reimbursement. Lozman contends the city wrongly seized and destroyed his floating home in retaliation for his opposition to a marina development plan and frequent comments at city meetings. The Supreme Court in 2013 found that Riviera Beach improperly seized the structure using U.S. maritime law because not everything that floats can be considered a vessel.
ORLANDO CLOSER TO DECRIMINALIZING SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA via Orlando Rising — The city of Orlando is a step closer to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, which other cities around Florida have done. The city council’s 4-3 vote Monday in favor clears the measure for a final decision May 9. It would make possession of 20 grams or less a violation of city code carrying a $50 fine for first-time offenders.
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LINDA ROBISON APPOINTED TO THE NORTH BROWARD HOSPITAL DISTRICT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Robison would be appointed to a one-year term. The announcement comes just days after David Di Pietro resigned from the board. Scott suspended Di Pietro as the chairman March 18, after his chief inspector general accused Di Pietro of interfering with the review of hospital district operations. Di Pietro sued Scott, and last week a Broward circuit court judge ordered that Scott reinstate Di Pietro. Di Pietro resigned days later, saying there was too much political interference on the board.
APPOINTED: Tamela “Tammy” Perdue to the Florida Workers’ Compensation Panel.
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Gregory Black, Metz Husband & Daughton: Genentech
Richard Brightman, Gary Hunter, Hopping Green & Sams: Triple S Ranch,
Jose M. Gonzalez, Francois Illas: Florida East Coast Industries
David Shepp, Southern Strategy Group: Harrell’s
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Frank Walker, who spent part of Monday at the Chamber’s well-attended, informative regional briefing at the gorgeous Florida Polytechnic University. Happy birthday wishes to our friends Jennifer Doerfel and Rob Kapusta.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD the fourth child of Carrie and Towson Fraser — “Sophie James Fraser made her appearance at 12:12 pm, weighing 7 lbs, 3 oz. We are doing well and she is totally loved!” It’s Towson’s birthday today, too.