Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, and Ryan Ray.
FIRST AND FOREMOST — HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY GARY FINEOUT!
What do you get the reporter who knows where to find everything? Seriously, Gary is the tops. And Sunburn apologizes for not mentioning his birthday yesterday. Universally regarded as the best reporter among a first-class Capitol Press Corps, Fineout has been a true friend to the ‘burn for the last couple of years and we are indebted to him for his counsel and guidance. We hope you had a great day.
NOW ON TO POLITICS …
Rick Scott has been governor of Florida for over 5 1/2 years now, but other than his two election-day victories, he’s been more down than up when it comes to his personal approval ratings throughout his controversial tenure.
That’s why the governor and his supporters have to be giddy, after a Quinnipiac poll released early Tuesday shows Scott right side up, 45-44 percent, with 10 percent undecided.
“With little attention on him these days, Gov. Rick Scott gets his best approval rating ever,” says Q pollster Peter Brown, who says it’s “perhaps useful for the lame-duck governor, who is rumored to be interested in running for the Senate in 2018.”
One thing becomes certain after reading this survey — Scott certainly has substantially better name recognition than all of the four major Republicans and two major Democrats apparently have in the 2016 U.S. Senate race.
In what seems hard to believe, Quinnipiac didn’t even ask the question about who was leading the in Democratic or Republican Senate primaries. “None of the possible candidates in the 2016 race for Rubio’s Senate seat has achieved enough voter recognition for a valid measure of their favorability,” says Quinnipiac.
That apparently includes Orlando Congressman Alan Grayson, whose unfettered and raw style has made him a star among progressives and anathema to conservatives. Yet Quinnipiac says that two-thirds of voters (67 percent) don’t know enough about Grayson to offer an opinion. Of those who do know who he is, he’s upside down with his favorability ratings (10/22 percent). His Democratic Party challenger, Jupiter Representative Patrick Murphy has an 11 percent favorable, 8 percent unfavorable rating, with 81 percent saying they don’t know who he is.
Even Bill McCollum is apparently an unknown, according to Quinnipiac. The former nine-term Congressman and state Attorney General from 2006-2010 is not a candidate (yet) for GOP nomination for Senate, but was included in Quinnipiac’s survey of candidates. And apparently, 71 percent of Floridians (and 69 percent of Republicans) don’t know who he is. Of those who do, his plus/minus favorability ranking is 16-12 percent.
David Jolly is unknown by 86 percent of the public, Todd Wilcox is unknown by 92 percent, Ron DeSantis is unknown by 87 percent of the public and Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera is unknown by 86 percent.
MARCO RUBIO GETS HIGHEST JOB APPROVAL RATING IN Q-POLL via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times
Rubio may be stuck in the middle of the pack in the race for the White House, but back home he is getting his best ratings ever from Floridians for the job he is doing in the U.S. Senate.
57 percent of 1,093 voters said they approve of the job Rubio is doing as senator. It is the highest rating Rubio has ever had … And it is light years ahead of where he was at the start of his tenure in the Senate. In February 2011, just 42 percent approved of Rubio’s performance, though he had only been in office for a month at that point.
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LEGISLATIVE FRICTION SENDS REDISTRICTING CASE BACK TO SUPREME COURT via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel
With the Republican-led House and Senate at odds over redistricting, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis decided … to forward the unprecedented disagreement to the Florida Supreme Court. “I’m just going to ask them what they want me to do … I just don’t feel that I have any authority to do anything other than to report the situation.”
Bill Galvano … leader of Senate redistricting efforts, called the ruling, which withheld jurisdiction to the courts, and the gray legal area … “the most unique circumstances I’ve ever encountered.” … Normally the GOP-controlled chambers will work in tandem on legal matters, but the House filed a motion to have the courts take two months to review the districts it prefers, while the Senate pushed the courts for more time to come to an agreement with the House … that would mean another special session and more costs to taxpayers with little hope of reaching an agreement between the chambers.
IS REDISTRICTING DIVIDE MORE ABOUT BUILDING FOUNDATION FOR OCTOBER? via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald
Republican leaders in the House have argued that the Senate map lacks “consistency” … The proposed Senate plan no longer divides Hillsborough and Sarasota counties, but it creates a new division by shifting the Orlando-based district, now held by … Dan Webster … into Lake County.
Republicans in the Senate has staunchly defended the Senate’s position … Bill Galvano … argues it is the preferred approach, even though his home county remains more whole in the House’s map than the Senate’s.
The House argues that by failing to apply the same standards across the map … Senate counters that the House’s base map, as drawn by staff, fails to include the legislative input essential to the redistricting process. Now, both want the court to decide which map is better.
If the Senate wins, the court confirms that notion that a map can reflect the regional input of local legislators inconsistently without violating the redistricting standards as interpreted by the court. That’s important as lawmakers prepare to redraw the Senate map in October. If the House wins, the call for consistency will prevail.
GWEN GRAHAM ON REDISTRICTING: LEGISLATURE DIDN’T DO THEIR JOB via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics
Graham … flunked the Florida Legislature because it failed to agree on a new map of congressional districts after a 2-week special session … “When you’re given a job to do, you do the job … The Legislature did not complete the task put before them.”
Graham’s political future is in question because of a court case over gerrymandering in congressional redistricting … That would stretch it into Graham’s territory in the Big Bend and Panhandle … almost certainly taking away Democratic votes in Gadsden and Leon counties.
When asked her confidence level about a new map being favorable to her, Graham laughed and said, “Who knows? We are in uncharted territory. But I don’t deal with ‘what if’s. I’ll wait to see what the outcome is …”
— 2016 WATCH —
DONALD TRUMP IN COMMAND IN KEY PRIMARY STATES: NH AND SC via Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News
Trump has a strong lead in polls … New Hampshire … with 35 percent. John Kasich … places second with 11 percent while … Carly Fiorina … takes third with 10 percent.
Trump leads with tea party voters, conservatives, independents who plan to vote in the primary and both men and women. Most New Hampshire Republicans — 56 percent — see Trump in a favorable light while 32 percent see him as unfavorable …
Jeb Bush … Scott Walker … are knotted together in fourth with 7 percent each … Ben Carson with 6 percent. Chris Christie … Ted Cruz … Marco Rubio … take 4 percent apiece.
Trump is also out front in a poll of South Carolina … with 30 percent followed by Carson … with 15 percent. Bush takes third with 9 percent. Cruz takes 5 percent while Graham, despite hailing from the Palmetto State, pulls 4 percent, tying him with Walker. Huckabee, Kasich and Paul take 3 percent each. Christie gets 2 percent …
TRUMP STARTS NEW MEDIA FEUD WITH UNIVISION ANCHOR JORGE RAMOS via Thomas Beaumont of The Associated Press
Trump engaged in a prolonged confrontation Tuesday with Jorge Ramos, the Miami-based anchor for Univision, during a news conference in Dubuque, Iowa.
Ramos stood and began to ask Trump about his immigration proposal, which includes ending automatic citizenship for infants born in the United States to parents in the country illegally.
As Ramos began to speak, Trump interrupted him, saying he hadn’t called on Ramos before repeatedly telling him to “sit down” and then saying, “Go back to Univision.”
As one of Trump’s security detail approached Ramos, the anchor continued to speak, saying: “You cannot deport 11 million people.” Ramos was referring to Trump’s proposal to deport all people in the country illegally before allowing some of them to return.
As he was taken from the room, Ramos said, “You cannot build a 1,900-mile wall,” another proposal in Trump’s plan.
Moments later, Trump justified Ramos’ removal, saying: “He just stands up and starts screaming. Maybe he’s at fault also.”
Ramos was later allowed back into Tuesday’s news conference. Trump greeted him politely, though they quickly resumed their argument, interrupting each other during an extended back-and-forth.
“Your immigration plan, it is full of empty promises,” Ramos began. “You cannot deny citizenship to children born in this country.”
“Why do you say that?” Trump replied. “Some of the great legal scholars agree that’s not true.”
JEB BUSH’S CAMPAIGN TAKES STEPS TO REIN IN SPENDING via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times
Bush’s presidential campaign has asked various divisions to be mindful of their spending, in a reminder that despite his giant “super PAC” bankroll, campaign dollars are ultimately more valuable … asked workers to tighten their belts a few weeks ago … In some cases, staff members’ paychecks shrank, these people said.
The cuts were not a result of fundraising shortfalls … intended to correct needless spending before the campaign gets into the heat of the election season.
BUSH REACTS TO OUTCRY OVER TYING ASIANS TO ANCHOR BABY DEBATE via Andrew Rafferty of NBC News
Bush … said he was referring to “a very narrowcasted system of fraud” when he suggested that Asian immigrants are most responsible for “anchor babies” … pointed to his multicultural family when defending his use of the controversial term. Bush outraged some Asian-Americans … when he said the issue of anchor babies is “more related to Asian people coming into our country — having children in that organized effort, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship.”
Bush’s continued dismissal of criticism over his use of the term “anchor babies” has overshadowed his campaign in recent days … he called it “ludicrous” to think he was insulting immigrants and called on people to “chill out a little bit as it relates to the political correctness.”
BUSH CAMPAIGNS IN COLORADO, POKES FUN AT TRUMP via CBS Denver
Bush held a town hall meeting at a VFW Post in Colorado … his first public campaign event in the state since announcing he was running for president … started out talking about his experience reforming government as governor of Florida … discussed immigration issues at length … poked fun at … Donald Trump, implying that the poll front-runner talks a good game but might not be able to back it up.
“I’m a doer, not a talker. There’s a lot of really good talkers running for president. And there’s one, in particular, I’m thinking of …”
MARCO RUBIO TO TAKE ON CHINA IN FOREIGN POLICY ADDRESS via Gerry Mullany of The New York Times
With a financial crisis in China rattling global markets … Marco Rubio plans to deliver a major foreign policy speech on Friday outlining how a Rubio administration would more assertively challenge the Chinese, joining leading Republican rivals in pressing this line of attack. Rubio … has in the past been critical of China’s human rights record.
PATRICK MURPHY GOES ON THE ATTACK, HEATING UP FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC SENATE PRIMARY WITH 11 MONTHS TO GO via Andrea Drusch of the National Journal
The Democratic Senate primary in Florida was already the nation’s ugliest — and that was before one side started fighting back … before he officially entered the race, outspoken liberal Rep. Alan Grayson and his allies spent months slinging attacks at his rival for the nomination, fellow Rep. Patrick Murphy. Now the Murphy campaign, which has so far taken a hands-off approach to its incendiary rival, is starting to fight back: accusing Grayson of hypocrisy in his personal business dealings … Murphy’s campaign launched its toughest attack to date against Grayson, going after his business arrangements in an effort to undermine his progressive credentials … questioned whether Grayson misled voters by withholding information about the hedge funds he operates overseas from financial-disclosure forms.
The focus on Grayson’s hedge funds comes after he has spent months making headlines at Murphy’s expense, on subjects from his voting record to his age.
‘WE NEED TO SAVE THE COUNTRY,’ RON DESANTIS TELLS BROWARD ACTIVISTS via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun Sentinel
Ron DeSantis continued courting South Florida support … with a call to end big government tyranny, which he said both sides of the political aisle are imposing on the American people.
“We don’t have a lot of time. We need to get this right. We need to save the country,” DeSantis told about 200 Republicans in Plantation as he wrapped up three days of campaigning in the most Democratic region of Florida.
DeSantis … meeting with potential supporters and campaign donors in Boca Raton, throughout Broward County and in northern Miami-Dade County. Though Democrats are dominant in that territory, DeSantis said, “You have a lot of Republican votes, and I think you neglect that at your peril.” … he appeared before Tea Party Fort Lauderdale … spent two days campaigning in Palm Beach County, addressing big party gatherings on two successive nights. Even Republicans, he said, sometimes aren’t aware of how big government hurts average citizens … His anti-Congress and IRS comments got the strongest applause.
MY TAKE: FLORIDIANS THROWING SHADE ON SHADY SOLAR AMENDMENT via Florida Politics
Floridians are throwing a lot of shade on the “Shady” solar energy amendment … Consumers for Smart Solar announced a recent poll showing Florida voters have clearly rejected the solar energy constitutional amendment offered by Floridians for Solar Choice for the 2016 ballot … only 47 percent of Florida voters support the “Shady Solar Amendment” from Solar Choice — well below the 60 percent needed for the measure to pass.
The poll, commissioned by Solar Choice itself, proves a “tacit concession” that the flawed amendment would ultimately fail on Election Day. On the other hand, another independent survey shows the popularity of the Smart Solar Amendment, which garners wide approval — 66 percent — more than enough to pass; just 22 percent oppose it. In the same Mason-Dixon poll, only 30 percent of Florida voters supported the Shady Solar Amendment, with 45 percent against it.
EPILOGUE: HOW TO RECOVER FROM BEING THE ‘COCAINE CONGRESSMAN’ WITH TREY RADEL via Benny Johnson of IJReview
Trey Radel perpetually pushed boundaries … becoming the youngest person in history to represent Florida’s 19th congressional district … Instead of having a staff dedicated to carefully managing his image, he ran his own social accounts, where he would live tweet everything … coined the term “Hip-hop Conservative” … regularly quote rap lyrics from the House floor.
“Boy did that term come back to bite me in the ass,” Radel says of the now infamous ‘Hip-hop Conservative’ trope while lacing up his boxing gloves … all part of coming clean for the former Florida congressman. “I know I let a lot of people down, and it hurts … I’m not a victim here.”
Still, he’s not entirely repentant: “If I am at fault for being crazy in any way, it’s for a lust for life.”
Radel’s return to public life has been a slow, cautious embark — and for good reason; following his public arrest, he was subject to endless social harassment and invasive news coverage. “If there is one thing that I fucking hate, it’s bullies … There are trolls that make threats on my life, but when people start picking on my family, that really burns me.” The brutal harassment led to a deep retreat … Over time, the once hyper-combative Twitter user had to learn to ignore the trolls … Getting sober has led to a drastic lifestyle change as well.
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JEFF BRANDES FILES BILL TO GIVE PROPERTY OWNERS TAX BREAK ON LEASED RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVICES via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
A bill that would place a renewable energy-tax exemption amendment … introduced by Jeff Brandes … would create an abatement on tangible personal property tax assessed against renewable energy devices. As Brandes explains, many owners of large-scale corporate locations won’t purchase solar panels for their roof, but they would prefer to lease them from a renewable energy company. “How many companies are able to install panels on people’s homes because the cost up front is so expensive?”
POLICY NOTES via Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools
EDUCATION BUDGET REQUEST
The State Board of Education will approve its 2016-17 Legislative Budget Request for operations as well as construction and maintenance at a 9 a.m. meeting at Santa Fe College, Northwest Campus Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd Street in Gainesville.
ELECTIONS COMMISSION TO HEAR VIOLATION CASES
The Florida Elections Commission meets to review allegations of election law violations. Meeting begins 8:30 a.m. in Room 110-S of the Senate Office Building.
NEW ON THE TWITTERS: @— the state’s Insurance Consumer Advocate
UBER, LYFT APPEAR TO BE IN SOUTH FLORIDA TO STAY via Michael Vasquez and Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald
Uber and Lyft showed up in South Florida last year … 15 months later, they seem to have turned their tenuous toehold into a permanent place in the local transportation grid.
Broward and Palm Beach counties, reeling under a wave of consumer protests about their attempts to clamp tough controls on the ride-sharing companies, are drafting new ordinances that will make it easier for them to operate … Miami-Dade may be about to do the same.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he expects to unveil a proposed regulatory framework in the “near future.” … expected to arrive around November. The likely scenario: a combination of some new rules for Uber to operate legally in Miami-Dade, combined with a loosening of the regulations governing traditional taxis.
The popularity of ride-sharing not only gave “transportation network companies” or TNCs, unexpected political clout but rendered government enforcement efforts useless. Uber has 10,000 drivers working in Miami-Dade … Working out an accommodation between the TNCs and regulators, though, hasn’t been easy, and there are still significant issues to resolve.
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— MORE FROM CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
LEROY COLLINS INSTITUTE, INTEGRITY FLORIDA REPORT ON MONEY IN POLITICS via LobbyTools
A new report by the LeRoy Collins Institute and Integrity Florida analyzed divergent policies by the state and some local governments when it comes to addressing money in politics. The state has recently increased the amount a donor could give to a candidate … a handful of counties and cities passed policies to decrease amounts given.
(Candidates) for the Florida House and county commissions raised more campaign contributions since the passage of a 2013 state law (HB 569) that increased the previous cap of $500 to $1,000 for legislative and local races.
“Florida Senate candidates raised less, even with higher contribution limits, likely as a result of less competitive elections,” according to the report … also found Florida has one of the lowest limits in the country … Florida spent more on political ads than any other state at $114.1 million.
IN DIRECTIVE, FLORIDA ELECTIONS CHIEF DECLARES IT AN “YEAR OF APPORTIONMENT,” FREEING UP STATE SENATE CAMPAIGNS via Florida Politics
Secretary of State Ken Detzner has issued a directive declaring 2016 a “year of apportionment” … all candidates for the Senate — including those set to term out in 2018 — can continue to collect campaign funds and collect petitions across the state, not just the district for which they are running.
“[W]hile state senate candidates seeking 2016 ballot placement will be running for office based on newly drawn district lines, such candidates may not know in a sufficiently timely manner from which voters they may obtain petition signatures or how many signatures they must obtain,” wrote Detzner.
The move significantly increases the latitude for quasi-“lame duck” state Senators set to term out in 2018 — like Sen. Jack Latvala, who was the first to be accorded the expanded privileges after petitioning the state — to operate politically … The ruling is effective immediately, until such time as it is countermanded by a subsequent directive, law, or final court order.
FIELD TO REPLACE SENATOR NANCY DETERT IN FLORIDA SENATE GROWS via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times
The race to replace state Sen. Nancy Detert … just got a little more crowded.
Though Detert still has not officially filed to run in 2016 for a county commission seat back in Sarasota … The latest to enter the contest is Nora Patterson, a Republican who has spent 24 years in public office, first as a city commissioner then as a county commissioner.
Patterson is aiming to bill herself as a fiscal conservative with deeper ties in the community … notes she has lived in the community for 45 years …
Ballard is planning to develop a six-story office complex in downtown Tallahassee.
The CEO of Ballard Partners, and his wife, Kathryn, have purchased a parcel that houses the Florida Homebuilders Association, at 201 S. Monroe St., along with an adjacent property where Guaranty Bank is located — totaling $3 million for both properties.
Early sketches illustrate a restaurant on the ground level, modern office space and covered roof terrace. The project, which will be handled by Culpepper Construction, may range from $15 to $20 million. Construction may begin early next year.
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Thomas Arnold, Jerry Lee McDaniel, James McFaddin, Monte Stevens, Southern Strategy Group: Tusk Montgomery Family Foundation; E4 Health; Bradley Stinson & Associates
Charles Cliburn, New Capitol IT: Century Link
Gary Hunter, Hopping Green & Sams: Gulfstream Natural Gas System; Spectra Energy Transmission
Martin Lyon, Lewis Longman & Walker: West Manatee Fire & Rescue District
Derek Whitis, Whitis Consulting: A. Duda & Sons; Polk State College Foundation
CONTEXT FLORIDA: ELSTON EDWARD “STEVE” ROADY, GENERATIONAL POVERTY AND CYBER-SKIMMING
On Context Florida: Martin Dyckman writes that Florida lost one of its oldest and best citizens when Elston Edward “Steve” Roady, a professor emeritus of political science at Florida State University, died at Tallahassee last week, four months into his 96th year. Nearly 1 million children live at or below the poverty line in Florida — roughly defined as having an annual income of about $24,000 for a family of four. Jeff Kottkamp discusses effective and cost-efficient ways Florida can break the cycle of generational poverty, such as after-school programs like those operated by Florida’s Boys & Girls Clubs. Blake Dowling warns Florida consumers to be aware of cyber-skimming at the gas pump. The skimming device is a fraudulent keypad that sits on top of the actual credit card keypad. It allows you to run your fuel transactions, but then steals your credit card info.