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Sunburn for March 31 – The latest on Donald Trump, Rick Scott, Zika, and FSU football

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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.


TWEET, TWEET: @BylineBrandon: Donald Trump apparently woke up today determined to break his own land-speed record for comments that go viral

DONALD TRUMP SAYS ABORTION BAN SHOULD YIELD ‘PUNISHMENT’ FOR WOMAN via Todd Richmond of The Associated Press – In a heated exchange with MSNBC host Chris Matthews at the taping of a town hall in Green Bay, Wisconsin … Trump was asked whether he believes that abortion should be outlawed in the country … “you have to ban” them and that, “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who violate that restriction. Pressed by Matthews on the nature of that punishment, Trump responded, “I haven’t determined what the punishment should be.” Trump also suggested that women could continue to receive abortions, but at “illegal places … You know you’ll go back to a position like where they had where people perhaps will go to illegal places,” he said. Asked to clarify his position, Trump’s campaign issued a statement after the taping saying that he believes the issue should rest with the states.

TRUMP CALLS GENEVA CONVENTIONS ‘THE PROBLEM’ via Ben Schreckinger of POLITICO – Trump believes American troops are afraid to fight for fear of violating the Geneva Conventions … “The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight,” Trump said at an afternoon town hall during remarks on torture. “We can’t waterboard, but they can chop off heads,” Trump said, referring to the United States and the Islamic State, respectively. “I think we’ve got to make some changes, some adjustments.” Trump has called for changing laws that govern interrogation techniques to “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”Trump has also previously said that American troops would not disobey him if he gave them illegal orders, but he later walked that remark back.

A FULL LIST OF DONALD TRUMP’S RAPIDLY CHANGING POLICY POSITIONS via Jane Timm of NBC News – It’s difficult to glean a platform from Trump‘s powerfully incoherent rhetoric while navigating the quicksand-like task of separating fact from Trump’s many exaggerations and outright falsehoods in thousands of interviews: Abortions – Criminalize women who have abortions … Let the states decide what to do about criminalizing abortion … Never mind. Don’t punish the women … Current position: Ban abortions. But women won’t be criminalized. Defeating ISIS – Maybe send troops in. Definitely go after the oil fields … Bomb the oil fields. Send some troops in. … Send troops to defeat ISIS. Don’t forget about the oil fields. … Destroy the oil. Let our regional allies send ground troops. If they don’t, stop buying their oil. … Current position: To defeat ISIS, Trump would destroy the oil fields controlled by the militant group. U.S. allies in the region must commit ground troops to defeat the Islamic State.

HERE ARE 30 TIMES DONALD TRUMP HAS SAID SOMETHING THAT COULD HAVE SUNK ANOTHER CANDIDATE via Reid Epstein of the Wall Street Journal – June 16: Calls Mexican immigrants “rapists” in his announcement speech … July 18: Says John McCain is “not a war hero” … July 24: Bans Des Moines Register from campaign events … Aug. 8: Says Megyn Kelly has “blood coming out of her … wherever” … Aug. 16: Says he gets foreign policy advice from “the shows” … Aug. 16: Says he would deport all undocumented immigrants … Oct. 18: Blames George W. Bush for not stopping 9/11  … Nov. 11: Calls for “deportation force” to evict undocumented immigrants … Nov. 12: Asks “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” … Nov. 12: Compares Ben Carson to a “child molester” … Feb. 13: Blames George W. Bush for not stopping 9/11, again … March 12: Canceled Chicago rally sparks violence … March 29: Campaign manager charged with battery against a reporter … March 29: Says two of three most important functions of federal government are providing health care and education.

TRUMP’S POPULARITY NOSEDIVES IN CRITICAL STRETCH via Steven Shepard of POLITICO – Trump wasn’t wildly popular to begin with. And now he’s becoming even more disliked among American voters, creating a significant threat to his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination. Trump is, by far, the GOP delegate leader — and the only candidate with a realistic shot at winning a majority of delegates before the July convention. But at the same time, nearly two-thirds of Americans view Trump unfavorably — and his image rating has declined since Republican voting began in February. The danger for Trump is twofold: His declining popularity is taking a toll on his standing in the 17 states that will hold primaries between now and the end of the process in early June. That’s where Trump’s horrific poll numbers could haunt him again: If Trump misses the threshold to win the nomination outright in bound delegates, it will be more difficult to persuade unbound delegates to put him over the top if they see him as a general election disaster-in-the-making due to his high unfavorability ratings among all voters.

NEW HILLARY CLINTON TV AD ATTACKS DONALD TRUMP, WITHOUT MENTIONING HIM via YouTube – Clinton does the voice-over, but is unseen, in a spot launching in New York … An aide says: “In remarks at her campaign event today in Harlem, Clinton will echo the same points” … “New York. Twenty million people strong. No, we don’t all look the same. We don’t all sound the same, either,” Clinton says in the ad. “But when we pull together, we do the biggest things in the world. So when some say we can solve America’s problems by building walls — banning people based on their religion — and turning against each other — well, this is New York. And we know better. I’m Hillary Clinton. And I approve this message.”

MUST-READ — GQ INTERVIEW WITH ROGER STONE via Jason Zengerle — I spoke with Stone about the Cruz story, but also about the state of the race and how Trump might be preparing for a fight at the GOP convention.

DAVE ARONBERG PLEDGES NO POLITICS IN DECISION ON TRUMP AIDE via The Palm Beach Post — Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, whose office will decide whether to pursue misdemeanor battery charges against Donald Trump’s campaign manager, is a Democratic Hillary Clinton donor who knew Ted Cruz in law school and has close ties to Republican Attorney General and Trump endorser Pam Bondi. Politics won’t be a factor in deciding whether to prosecute Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Aronberg said Wednesday, and some prominent local Republicans have given Aronberg high marks for the way he’s run his office since his 2012 election.

‘TRUMP’ MISSING – FROM A SIGN OUTSIDE HIS FLORIDA RESORT via The Associated Press – … someone removed the script lettering spelling the owner’s surname from a Trump National Jupiter entrance sign. Resort officials did not immediately respond to calls and emails. Jupiter police spokesman Officer Adam Brown told The Associated Press Wednesday that no report has been filed and the club has not requested assistance.

ADAM PUTNAM ‘NOT REAL THRILLED’ WITH DONALD TRUMP; WON’T BACK HIM via Steve Bousquet of the Miami Herald – Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are firmly in Donald Trump’s camp, but Agriculture Commissioner Putnam won’t be joining them anytime soon … Putnam says he can’t envision a scenario in which he would endorse Trump, at least not before the Republican National Convention in July. “As the father of three girls, I’m not real thrilled with his language and his history of ungentlemanly things that he has said about women,” Putnam said. “But he has clearly tapped into a visceral discontent with the brokenness of Washington.”

GLUMLY, PINELLAS GOP LEGISLATORS PLEDGE TO BACK DONALD TRUMP AS NOMINEE via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Sens. Jack Latvala and Jeff Brandes and state Reps. Larry AhernChris Latvala, and Kathleen Peters promised they would support Trump as the nominee, but only Trump supporter Ahern sounded remotely enthusiastic about it. “Every day almost,’ Sen. Latvala said, “something comes out of his mouth that disappoints me, and I do hope as he matures as a candidate and certainly as an elected official if he wins…” His son, Rep. Latvala said he is “by no means a fan of Donald Trump, I think that in large part he’s an embarrassment and not representative of myself or my party. But I do think it will be interesting to see how many Democrats publicly support and jump on board a potential U.S. Senate nominee that is equally as erratic as Donald Trump — Alan Grayson.”

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EPILOGUE — JEB BUSH RETURNS TO WORK via Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal – Bush is back on the speaking circuit. The Washington Speakers Bureau … will once again “exclusively” be representing the former presidential candidate and governor of Florida. “Rejoining WSB from the campaign trail, Bush is a unifying leader who brings civility and intellect to discussions of the key issues facing audiences in 2016 and beyond,” reads the email announcement. “An articulate student of policy, Bush offers fresh insights on hot-button current events while focusing on what matters most to organizations facing an evolving political landscape.” Bush reported last year earning nearly $10 million in speaking fees since 2007, receiving as much as $40,000 a speech in the U.S. and as much as $75,000 overseas. “I made less than Chelsea Clinton,” Bush quipped at the time. Now, “fees vary based on event location,” according to the speaking bureau’s website.

NORMAN BRAMAN AND A BUNCH OF LLCS TRY TO WIN A SENATE SEAT via Alex Glorioso of – Braman could still get another favorite … Carlos Lopez-Cantera …  nominated as the Republican candidate to fill the Senate seat left open by former presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, for whom Braman was a longtime patron. The wealthy car dealer leads the statewide finance committee for Lopez-Cantera. He’s also given $200,000 to the single-candidate super PAC backing him – almost one-quarter of its total contributions – and has maxed out his personal donations to the candidate … Braman’s not the only one wearing multiple hats … The other four finance team members – Bernie NavarroTrey TraviesaDaniel Dosoretz and Pedro Martin – are listed as either managing members or managers of a series of nine different limited liability companies that gave significant sums to the super PAC. The LLCs’ managers founded many of the companies themselves. In all, Braman and these LLCs have provided nearly one-third of Reform Washington’s total haul through the end of February: $306,000.

WE GET IT ALREADY: “With Donald Trump leading, nearly all Senate candidates seek ‘outsider’ label” via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times; “Super PACs collect big checks as U.S. Senate candidates seek ‘outsider’ label” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

PATRICK MURPHY: I HATE SUPER PACS BUT HERE’S SOME VIDEO THEY CAN USE via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Murphy strolling on a beach with a young man. They appear to be engaged in serious talk, and Murphy points in the horizon, but the video is silent. Murphy traverses hallways, looking busy. Works the phones in a darkened office. Visits a mapping business. Walks the street in friendly conversation with people. Pops into a welding garage. The 5 minute 42 second video posted on the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate’s campaign website isn’t for the public. It’s “b-roll” to be used by super PACs or another related outside group that wants to make an ad on Murphy’s behalf. This is how candidates in both parties get around the law barring direct coordination with super PACs and it’s notable given Murphy’s public stance against the super PAC era, calling it “gross.”

GOP CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES SQUARE OFF IN DEBATE via Eryn Dion of the Panama City News Herald – Sparks flew at FSU Panama City’s Holley Center … as the four Republican candidates for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District squared off for their first, and so far only scheduled debate … Mary ThomasNeal DunnKen Sukhia [and] Jeff Moran … hosted by the Republican Veterans of Florida. On matters of national security, all the candidates agreed a fully funded military should be a top priority and lamented the recent downsizing of the armed forces. Moran and Dunn shied away from committing combat troops overseas, and Dunn promised to send troops only if the country has “no other choice.” Sukhia touted his record putting “foreign and domestic” terrorists behind bars as a U.S. attorney, while Thomas said the country must be prepared to use force to the “fullest capacity.” “When America strikes, we mean business,” she said. All the candidates promised to work to repeal the Affordable Care Act immediately, although they were clearly split on whether they would reach across the aisle. There were several heated moments between Dunn and Thomas, who have sparred previously in the media. Thomas repeatedly referred to Dunn as a “liberal lobbyist,” pointing voters to the website to “expose” his record. The attacks did not go over well with the audience, and Dunn himself answered only by repeating his pledge to run a “positive” campaign.

PINELLAS COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CHAIRWOMAN THINKS D’S CAN PICK UP LEGISLATIVE SEATS THIS YEAR via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Pinellas County, one of the most populous counties in the state, was among the seven flipping from blue to red. Democratic Executive Committee Chairwoman Susan McGrath, though, downplays that jump. McGrath says it’s too early in the election cycle to say where Democrats could take back a seat controlled by a Republican, but says she believes it will happen this fall. “We feel really good that based on what’s happening with the Republican Party this year,” she said Tuesday. “That it’s going to be a good electoral cycle for Democrats. Not all of the candidates have qualified yet, so I can’t speak on their behalf yet, but I know that there’s good interest in seats and there’s opportunities for us to be competitive, and I think we will pick up seats.”

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NEW FEATURE — DAILY FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via – As of Wednesday, there was one new case in Palm Beach County, which has been added to the Declaration of Public Health Emergency. Of the cases confirmed in Florida, three cases are still exhibiting symptoms. According to the CDC, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. County (number of cases, all travel related): Miami Dade (32), Broward (11), Orange (5), Alachua (4), Osceola (4), Hillsborough (3), Lee (3), Brevard (2), Polk (2) and a single case each in Clay, Collier, Palm Beach, Santa Rosa, Seminole, and St. John’s. There were four cases involving pregnant women. The DOH recommends women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postponed travel to Zika affected areas.

TWEET, TWEET: @MarbiniusThank you, Florida AHCA, for agreeing to process my public records request from eight months ago. #Betterlatethannever?

AFTER YALE REJECTION, RICK SCOTT ASKS MORE CONNECTICUT COMPANIES TO MOVE TO FLORIDA via Florida Politics – The governor doubled down … listing a slate of CT-based firms that could benefit financially from a move, and issued an appeal for firms in the Yankee north to liberate themselves from higher taxes and freezing winters by coming on down to the Sunshine State. “As the Orlando Sentinel has pointed out, there are many businesses and organizations currently in Connecticut that already have a great relationship with our state – including ESPN, Lego and the WNBA – that could flourish by moving their operations here,” said Scott in a statement. “We would proudly welcome these job creators to our state, and I stand ready to meet with any organization interested in growing their business in our low tax environment.” Scott’s unusual Yale memo came after the Connecticut Legislature approved a bill to levy a 7 percent tax on investment profits from the university’s $25.6 billion endowment. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat, was none too pleased by Scott’s reaching out.

SCOTT CALLS FOR REVIEW OF TOURISM MARKETING AGENCY via The Associated Press – Scott wants state officials to review spending by Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency. The move comes after the Orlando Sentinel reported that taxpayers have paid thousands of dollars for Chinese and other foreign journalists to vacation in the Keys. The state also paid unknown amounts to celebrities, race car drivers and soccer teams to promote the Sunshine State. Florida legislators this past spring agreed to set aside $78 million for Visit Florida. Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said Visit Florida has “been has been incredibly successful in getting a record number of tourists to our state.” But she said the governor wants to assure the state is getting a good return on its investments.

SCOTT OKS BILL ABOUT TROUBLED REFORM SCHOOL via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press – Seeking to close a dark chapter of Florida’s past, Scott signed into law a measure that pays for the funeral and reburial expenses of students at a shuttered reform school, where some ex-students accused authorities of physical and sexual abuse … takes the first few steps in dealing with the legacy of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, which is located 60 miles west of Tallahassee and closed in 2011. The new law requires the state to pay up to $7,500 to families for funeral and reburial expenses. It also would require officials to preserve records, artifacts and remains found on the school site. Lastly, the legislation would create a task force charged with devising plans for a memorial and figuring out what to do with any unidentified or unclaimed remains. “This law finally ends a tragic chapter in Florida’s history,” said Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat and one of the bill sponsors. “It buries the dead with dignity, and establishes a permanent reminder so that the atrocities the children endured at Dozier are neither forgotten nor repeated.”

COTT’S BILL ACTION DEADLINES LOOM via Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools — Scott was presented with 24 bills Wednesday but has until mid-April to act. According to Article III, Section 8 of the state constitution, Scott has “fifteen consecutive days from the date of presentation” to act on any bill once the regular legislative session ends. The governor can sign the bill, strike down the bill in its entirety, or decide to take no action, in which case the bill is made law without signature. The following are the lists of bills and the dates by which Scott must act: Bills Presented to Governor Friday, March 18, 2016 — Governor must act by Saturday, April 2, 2016; Bills Presented to Governor Tuesday, March 22, 2016 — Governor must act by Wednesday, April 6, 2016; Bills Presented to Governor Friday, March 25, 2016 — Governor must act by Saturday, April 9, 2016; Bills Presented to Governor Monday, March 28, 2016 — Governor must act by Tuesday, April 12, 2016; Bills Presented to Governor Wednesday, March 30, 2016 — Governor must act by Thursday, April 14, 2016. The governor has yet to be presented with 3 bills that passed the Legislature during the 2016 session.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will attend a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. for Anheuser-Busch’s new aluminum bottle line at its Metal Container Corporation, 1201 Peavy Road in Jacksonville.

HOUSE RELEASES REPORT ON WHAT COUNTIES WILL GET FROM STATE BUDGET via Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools — The Florida House of Representatives released a breakdown of allocations by county in next year’s state budget March 30, 2016. The report only includes line-items in the General Appropriations Act that are identifiable by county. For instance, the $20 billion education funding program for public schools known as the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) is not included. Typically the report is published before the governor issues vetoes and signs the budget. But this year, Gov. Scott moved swiftly and signed the plan March 17 before the issuance of the document. So, vetoed projects are indicated.

SENATE RENOVATIONS PROCEED APACE via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Long overdue renovations in the state’s Senate chamber are underway. Most of it has been gutted in preparation for a fresh look. The very day after the Legislature adjourned this year, work began with furniture being hauled off and put in storage. The Florida Channel removed its cameras, and the voting board and related electronics also were stored. Sergeants-at-arms then took down all the portraits of Senate Presidents that once ringed the chamber above the floor and below the galleries … old chamber desks will be replaced. They’re available for purchase for $160, with senators and former senators getting first dibs … The carpeting now has been torn up, the old paneling ripped out, acoustic tiles and lights taken down. Workers now are dismantling the metal framing underneath in preparation for a new dome, modeled after one in the Old Capitol. Scaffolding will soon be erected so they can reach the ceiling. As sometimes happens in renovations, little bits of history are uncovered … on the rostrum, after the carpet had been pulled up, someone had scribbled on the wood the places where the original filing cabinets, since removed, were to be placed.

EVERGLADES RESTORATION COST INCREASES BY NEARLY $3B via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida — The estimated cost of Everglades restoration soared from $13.5 billion in 2009 to $16.4 billion in 2014, according to a five-year update sent to Congress last week. The report, submitted to Congress by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior, said the cost increase was due to inflation, changes in the project scope and schedule and new project authorizations.

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APPOINTEDMori Hosseini to the University of Florida Board of Trustees.

EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY PICKS TAMPA REAL ESTATE CEO TO CHAIR ITS BOARD via Frances McMorris of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – Vincent J. Cassidyhas been elected to serve as the new chair of the Board of Directors of THEA [Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority], the owner and operator of the 14-mile Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. Cassidy, who brings experience in both real estate and finance, is president and CEO of Majesty Title Services LLC, a national title insurance and settlement company servicing the needs of national mortgage lenders and local real estate professionals in Florida, New York, and New Jersey. Prior to forming Majesty, Cassidy spent 25 years with JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he held various leadership positions.


Gus Corbella, Greenberg Traurig: Phoenix Tower International

FEDERAL LOBBYING REGISTRATION OF THE DAY via POLITICO Influence — Etsy registered to lobby for the first time. The online arts & crafts marketplace will be represented by Julie Stitzel, formerly with The Pew Charitable Trusts, Mack|Crounse Group and NARAL Pro-Choice America. She’ll provide handmade artisanal lobbying on trade, internet sales tax, net neutrality and the gig economy.

TWO TAMPA BAY MAYORS NAMED ‘TWITTER ELITE’ via Jo-Lynn Brown of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – Mayors Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg and Mayor Bob Buckhorn of Tampa were named among the “Twitter Elite” mayors of the largest 250 cities in the United States by Development Counsellors International. The Twitter Elite was compiled by studying the Twitter activity of each mayor over a 60-day period including scale of audience, tweet frequency, engagement with followers, responsiveness and scope of influence. Kriseman came in at No. 20 and Buckhorn at No. 25. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore nabbed the No 1. spot.

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ESQUIRE LOSES A MAN AT HIS BEST via Danny Funt of the Columbia Journalism Review – Above all, Esquire editor-in-chief David Granger wants to bring his readers to tears. As the longest-serving editor of America’s oldest men’s magazine, Granger, who exits this week, restored Esquire’s relevance by embracing the emotional depth of men’s interests. Cars, sports, sex and suits have their place, but with ambitious reporting and inventive storytelling, Granger has sought to bring readers to their emotional edge, and even to tip them over it. His Esquire succeeded when its manliest reader was compelled to weep. Great editors embody their brands: Anna Wintour of Vogue, David Remnick of the New Yorker, Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair. Granger, who at 59 belongs to their generation, has used Esquire to stretch the bounds of conventional masculinity even as the culture was forcing us to re-imagine what it means to be a man. He is conservatively stylish, married with twin daughters in their 20s, exceptional at golf and tennis, a wordsmith and frequent F-bomber, impatient, competitive, fond of tequila and novels (including the “American tough guy” genre), gentle, reticent and beloved by his staff. After 19 years and 234 issues spanning an era of editorial and financial resurgence for the once-comatose monthly, he and Esquire have become inextricably intertwined.

FSU OFFERS SCHOLARSHIP TO TALENTED EIGHTH-GRADE QUARTERBACK via Gary Shelton of Florida Politics – The Florida State Seminoles … have offered a scholarship to eighth-grader Drew Pyne of Connecticut. Pyne, a fledgling quarterback, is still months away from high school. He did lead his team, the Fairfield Falcons, to the Pop Warner title … Pyne, 6-1 and 170, is the first FSU recruit to be offered a scholarship in 2020. Still, scholarship offers are going to younger and younger athletes.

NBC RINGS UP ONE DOLLAR BILLION IN AD SALES FOR RIO OLYMPICS, FOUR MONTHS FASTER THAN LONDON via Tim Baysinger of AdWeek – Last time NBC reached that mark July 25, 2012, just two days prior to the opening ceremonies. This year, NBC reached that mark with 129 days left to go until the Aug. 5 opening ceremonies. … One of the possible reasons for the four-month lead on London: Rio’s TV-friendly time zone. The Brazilian metropolis is only one hour ahead of the East Coast, ensuring much of NBC’s prime-time coverage will be live.

THE NEW YORK TIMES MAY MAKE IT HARDER TO USE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER TO JUMP ITS PAYWALL via Peter Kafka of re/ – The Times is experimenting with limiting the number of stories that Facebook and Twitter users can read each month without paying for a subscription … the Times began capping some Facebook users’ access to the site at 10 articles a month … the NYT expanded the test limits to referrals from Twitter and other services.

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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