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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – Dec. 9

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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.


The Orlando Sentinel’s loss is Florida Politics’ gain.

Scott Michael Powers, a veteran reporter who has spent the past 15 years at the Sentinel, is joining the Florida Politics roster of writers, publisher Peter Schorsch announced Wednesday.

Powers – who for the last five years has covered government, politics, NASA, Kennedy Space Center and business – also will be leading coverage for the soon-to-launch Orlando Rising website, another project of Extensive Enterprises Media.

“There are few political reporters more trusted or more experienced than Scott,” Schorsch said. “Readers who have enjoyed his unique coverage of Sunshine State politics will be able to continue to do so at his new home, where we are very fortunate to have him.”

Powers has worked on the Sentinel’s investigative projects desk, and covered Orlando theme parks and tourism business, transportation, and higher education.

Prior to that, he spent 19 years reporting for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, and smaller newspapers in Ohio and Texas.

During his career he has won numerous awards for both enterprise and investigative reporting.

“I’m convinced that what Florida Politics is doing represents the future of journalism, and I am very excited to have this chance to to be a part of it,” Powers said. “I’m sure we’ll be able to deliver Orlando-area political news and insight on a very high level, with maybe a dash of amusement.”

Powers, 56, and wife Connie, a speech pathologist, have three grown children and live in east Orange County. He has roots in both Ohio and San Antonio.

He is a journalism graduate of Ohio University, though he defaults to rooting for the Buckeyes whenever his OU Bobcats are out of national championship contention.

Powers joins other recent arrivals at Florida Politics, including Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, a 10-year veteran of the Naples Daily News now writing on regional and statewide politics and policy from her Southwest Florida base, and Jim Rosica, the Tampa Tribune’s former Capitol reporter now covering state government from Tallahassee.

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DONALD TRUMP’S MUSLIM BAN IDEA PUSHES GOP TOWARD CHAOS via Steve Peoples and Laurie Kellman of the Associated Press – The crossfire between Trump and frustrated Republicans became a furious blur the day after the billionaire businessman announced his plan. Beleaguered 2016 rivals condemned his proposal and complained that his divisive positions were dominating attention in the crowded Republican contest. Party elders, meanwhile, warned that too much criticism might indeed push him to abandon the GOP and launch a third-party bid that could hand the presidential election to the Democrats. And Republicans up for re-election in the Senate grew terse in the Capitol hallways as they were asked again and again to respond to Trump’s remarks — a glimpse of their political futures if the former reality show star captures the GOP nomination. One by one, Republican officials across the country lashed out … But party leaders are well aware that he could leave the GOP, run as an independent and challenge the party’s presidential nominee next year. It’s a threat they have long feared.

WHITE HOUSE: ALL GOP CANDIDATES SHOULD DISAVOW DONALD TRUMP via Josh Lederman of the Associated Press – Calling it “disqualifying,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest deemed Trump‘s plan “offensive and toxic” and warned it would harm U.S. national security. He called on the rest of the Republican candidates to declare they will not support Trump if he wins the GOP nomination. “If they are so cowed by … Trump and his supporters that they’re not willing to stand by the values enshrined in the Constitution, then they have no business serving as president of the United States themselves.”

IN TESTY EXCHANGE, TRUMP INTERRUPTS AND ‘MORNING JOE’ CUTS TO COMMERCIAL via Michael Barbaro and Alan Rappeport of The New York Times – Trump’s unusual style of interviewing … earned him an on-air rebuke … from Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. After Trump repeatedly interrupted questions about his plan to ban Muslim immigration from the co-host Mika Brzezinski … Scarborough scolded Trump for not allowing the hosts to ask the candidate questions and, finally, threatened to send the program into a commercial break if Trump did not stop speaking. “Go to break, go to break right now,” Scarborough eventually demanded. “Go to break, then, Joe,” Mr. Trump said, tauntingly … So Scarborough did. The segment abruptly ended.

DAVID JOLLY CALLS ON TRUMP TO DROP OUT ON HOUSE FLOOR via Christina Marcos of The Hill – Rep. David Jolly … said Trump … should drop out. “It is time that my side of the aisle has one less candidate in the race for the White House. It is time for Donald Trump to withdraw from the race … We must always insist on a security test. But we must never require a religious test … I’m a born-again Christian. I believe in the saving grace of the Jesus Christ that I call my God. And the beautiful thing about this country is I can stand here on the House floor among my peers and in front of the nation and declare that faith without fear of any reprisal … But if Donald Trump has his way, we may not have the liberty to do that anymore.”

— “Imagine Trump and Jolly campaigning together in Florida” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY via The Washington Post: “it’s time for Republicans to renounce Donald Trump’s candidacy

POLL: 68% OF TRUMP’S SUPPORTERS WOULD VOTE FOR HIM IF HE BOLTS THE GOP via Susan Page of USA TODAY – The nationwide survey … finds a trio of Republican candidates who show emerging national strength — Trump … Cruz and … Rubio — as other once-serious contenders struggle for traction. And in a chilling sign for Republicans, 68% of Trump’s supporters say they would vote for the blustery billionaire businessman if he ran as an independent rather than a Republican; just 18% say they wouldn’t. The rest were undecided. Among Democrats … Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over … Bernie Sanders to nearly 2-1, 56%-29%. Clinton leads Trump by 4 percentage points, Cruz by 2 and Ben Carson by 1. Rubio leads Clinton by 3 points.

SOME BIG GOP PLAYERS SAY TRUMP HAS A POINT via Eliza Collins of POLITICO – From established party figures such as … Cruz and Rick Santorum to the more hardcore right-wing personalities such as Ann Coulter, numerous Republicans are either stopping short of condemning Trump’s audacious proposal or are outright applauding the billionaire businessman as finally offering a commonsense solution to terrorism threats. They are offering a glimpse into why Trump has continued to zoom ahead in the polls, despite a series of jaw-dropping comments … “I’ve proposed actual concrete things and immigration law that would have – not the effect of banning all Muslims, but a lot of them because we need to get rid of the visa lottery system, which is the way in which a lot of radicals have come into this country,” Santorum said.

MY TAKE: JOE GRUTERS NEEDS TO EITHER RESIGN FROM TRUMP CAMPAIGN OR FSU BOARD — Because he wants to hold public office and because he is a leader at a major institution of higher learning, it’s only fair to know whether Gruters supports Trump’s xenophobic position. … If Gruters does agree with Trump on this issue, this, in my mind, makes him unfit for public office. As James Grant, a member of the legislative body that Gruters wants to serve in, stated Monday in reaction to the proposal, Trump is espousing fascism.

COUNTERINTUITIVE THOUGHT OF THE DAY — THIS IS A BRILLIANT MOVE BY TRUMP via Erick Erickson of the Erick Erickson Show – Trump just trumped all the Republican candidates for President … demanded we bar any Muslims from entering this country and bar any American citizen who is Muslim from re-entering the United States … This is actually brilliant politics for the here and now. Immediately, every other Republican candidate except Ted Cruz rushed out to attack … He’s unhinged, hateful, etc. And the responses all amounted to “we must let Muslims enter our country,” which sounds a whole lot like “we must allow all Mexicans in our country,” which everyone knows is blatantly untrue on both counts … the day after the president failed to reassure a scared public following the second worst terrorist attack since 9/11 on domestic soil … Trump not only got himself to the right of all the other candidates, but also got every single one of them save for Ted Cruz to align themselves with Barack Obama. Hate Donald Trump all you want, be offended by his proposal all you want, but it is really brilliant politics for Trump right now in the Republican primary and the reactions from the other candidates prove it.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @J.K. Rowling re: Trump: How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad.

THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE JEB BUSH STUCK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POLLS via Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post – Being Jeb Bush these days means coping with a series of petty humiliations … the press corps following … is dwindling and focused mostly on his terrible polling numbers, now mired in the low single digits. While front-runner Trump packs arenas with thousands, fifth-place Bush rarely musters more than a couple of hundred at any given stop. At an event in Newton, Iowa, last week, Bush sounded almost incredulous at his position in the race. “Who has the leadership skills to actually make the tough decisions to fix the things that aren’t working right now that are holding people back? And who has the ideas going forward that will allow us to rise up as a nation? … And finally … who can beat Hillary Clinton for crying out loud?” The crowd applauded. A few minutes later, an older gentlemen in the back nodded off. “Sooner or later people are going to have to get rid of the fun and figure out who’s best to run the country,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch … one of Bush’s most prominent supporters. “And he has to be in there. He has to be there.”

— “Thad Cochran backs Jeb Bush” via Ashley Killough of CNN

PATRICK MURPHY URGES BAN ON GUN SALES TO THOSE ON TERRORIST WATCH LIST via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – … the same legislation that the GOP-led Congress rejected … in both the House and the Senate, coming in the same week of the massacre in San Bernardino, California. Two Florida Republicans running for U.S. Senate, David Jolly and Ron DeSantis, voted against the bill in the House. “This bill isn’t perfect and there’s going to be too many people on it,” Murphy said … reciting the argument that most Republicans used … to reject the legislation. “Let’s have a simple conversation about how you improve the legislation, get it up for a vote immediately, and show not just Americans but the world that we are going to act.”

— “Murphy: GOP more scared of NRA than terrorists” via Marc Caputo of Politico Florida

TWEET, TWEET: @KevinFranck (Alan Grayson’s outgoing spokesman): A thoughtful person could possibly come to the reasonable conclusion that Patrick Murphy is a stone fucking idiot

MEANWHILE … SOUTH FLORIDA SHERIFF EVOKES “GOOD GUY WITH A GUN” TO COUNTER SHOOTER THREATS via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics – Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey is taking a hard stance on the risk of terrorist attacks … In a nearly 7-minute video posted to the official Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, Ivey calls on all residents, law enforcement, military or otherwise, to be “mentally and physically ready to respond to an attack … Let there be no mistake in what I’m about to say, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun… If you’re a person who is legally licensed to carry a firearm, now is the time more than ever to realize that you and you alone may very well be the first line of defense for you, your family.”

— “Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says ‘No plans to run for Congress‘ ” via WCTV

FIRST IN SUNBURN — PROGRESSIVE VOICE, CONGRESSMAN KEITH ELLISON ENDORSES SUSANNAH RANDOLPH IN CD9 via Florida Politics  – “Susannah is a true Progressive Democrat with a lifelong commitment to grassroots organizing and helping Democrats win,” Ellison said … “I am proud to support her campaign and I look forward to working with her in Congress to build the bench of Progressive, Democratic candidates.” Randolph said she was “honored” by the endorsement from Ellison, who is both the first Muslim to be elected to Congress and the first black congressman from Minnesota.

RUNNING IN NEW TERRITORY, TED DEUTCH GETS ENDORSEMENT FROM FELLOW DEMOCRATS via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – In a move that may be aimed at defusing potential opponents in his re-tooled congressional district, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch was endorsed Tuesday by a handful of prominent Democrats. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was joined by U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach and Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach in backing Boca Raton’s Deutch in his bid for the 22nd District, which now stretches deep into Broward County.

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GAMBLING DEAL WITH SEMINOLE TRIBE STILL HAS A LONG WAY TO GO via Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press – While both sides praised the deal, it’s far from done. “I’m sure they’re going to say, ‘We don’t want any changes,’ and that’s just impossible,” said Brian Ballard, a lobbyist who has represented several gambling interests. Gambling isn’t an easy subject to navigate through the Florida Legislature … With widely ranging views on the issue, from those who want no gambling at all to those who want more … horse breeders who are concerned that tracks will be allowed to have slot machines and blackjack and stop live racing, and there are areas of the state that want slot machines at their dog and horse tracks and jai-alai frontons that won’t be allowed to under the agreement … Voters in six counties have approved slot machines at dog and horse tracks or jai-alai frontons, but the compact only allows slot machines in one of them – Palm Beach County. “It’s going to be tough for them to go home and face the voters of their counties who approved a referendum for slots if they aren’t also included if a county like Palm Beach gets it,” said lobbyist Nick Iarossi, who represents a Brevard County dog track as well as horse breeders … A provision of the compact allows lawmakers the option of letting current pari-mutuel license holders stop live events but continue operating their poker rooms or slot machines, where they’re allowed. That’s a huge concern in Ocala. The horse industry there generates more than 72,000 jobs and has a $6.5 billion economic impact on the state.

AG PAM BONDI REACTS TO SEMINOLE GAMING COMPACT PROPOSAL via Mary Ellen Klas and Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times – … [Bondi] hadn’t yet read the proposed compact …  and couldn’t say whether the tribe is currently violating the law. “I want to read the compact and see what the expansion is … My goal is for Florida not to become Atlantic City; I’ve always said that. I don’t want a casino on Longboat Key, where I grew up, and all of our beaches in the Panhandle. That’s been my greatest concern, obviously. But I’d like to look at the compact and see how extensive it is.”

JACK LATVALA: GAMING COMPACT WITH SEMINOLE TRIBE OFFERS NOTHING FOR TAMPA BAY AREA via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – “What’s missing from the compact is anything whatsoever for the Tampa Bay area,” Latvala said at [the] meeting of the Bay Area Legislative Delegation at Amalie Arena in Tampa … “this compact opens the door for expanded gaming in South Florida in a big way” and provides new games like roulette and craps to the Seminoles, creating competitive advantages that could threaten the very existence of Tampa Bay Downs and Derby Lane. “I think we need to band together and do something about it.”

NO CASINOS: COMPACT SHOULD LIMIT, NOT EXPAND GAMING via Florida Politics – After Gov. Scott announced a new gaming compact deal with the Seminole Tribe, No Casinos head John Sowinski doubled down on his group’s opposition to gambling expansion of any kind. Florida should use the compact revenue to shrink the industry by buying back pari-mutuel licenses, which would create more revenue, humane treatment for animals at outdated gaming tracks, and help stoke development and employment, Sowinsky said.

JOE NEGRON, RICHARD CORCORAN DIFFER ON DAILY FANTASY SPORTS ISSUE via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Negron … says lawmakers “should respect the entertainment decisions that our constituents make,” and that fantasy sports “is a contest based on skill” … sponsoring a bill to regulate daily fantasy sports websites … “It’s no different from a bowling league … and the winning team gets a prize” … Corcoran isn’t so sure … “the state should move forward very judiciously, as opposed to get engaged and take a position that wasn’t necessary.”

NEGRON WILL END PRACTICE OF STAFFERS PINCH-HITTING FOR SENATORS via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – … outlined his priorities … $1 billion more for state universities, more money to curb pollution discharges from Lake Okeechobee and a review of what he sees as overly harsh juvenile justice laws … he’ll support rules changes to fine-tune Senate procedures … discontinue the practice of staff members presenting bills in committee meetings on behalf of their bosses, who are busy elsewhere. Negron also would allow senators to offer amendment to their bills when they are heard in a committee in which the senator is not a member … would relax Senate floor procedures so that senators could have longer exchanges with each other during Q&A sessions on bills, eliminating a time-consuming requirement that senators be recognized from the rostrum each time they ask a question.

DEPOSITIONS SHOW HOW THE PRESIDENCY RACE IMPACTED REDISTRICTING via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Just minutes after Sen. Jack Latvala shook the state Capitol with … fiery, must-watch testimony … he put an exclamation point on his anger with a text message to another veteran of many Senate battles. “I think I’m done. I’ve had enough. Let the bastards have the place. I’m going home,” Latvala sent in a text message to state Sen. Tom Lee, who sat on the committee Latvala had just addressed. Senators publicly said the leadership fight had nothing to do with the redistricting session, but a different perspective is given in hundreds of court documents released as part of next week’s five-day redistricting trial. “I know Senator Latvala was of the opinion that the process was prejudicial to his interest to become Senate president,” Lee said in a deposition given the day before Thanksgiving At a Holiday Inn Express in Brandon. “I absolutely stand by the statement that redistricting was done to help perpetuate the leadership train that [DonGaetz tried to set in place,” Latvala said.

WHY 2016 PROBABLY WON’T BE THE YEAR FOR AN ‘UBER BILL’ via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – House and Senate leaders are on record this year saying they want to see minimum insurance requirements for drivers with companies like Uber and Lyft … Just don’t expect a bill to pass … leaders in the House and Senate are still far apart on the big question: Should the state override local bans and rules set by cities and counties? “I don’t see where the need for preemption is when a deal’s been cut in every major market,” Senate President Andy Gardiner said. “I’m not sure why you would do that, but, you know, if the Legislature wants to, it’s fine.”

HILLSBOROUGH LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION OKS MEASURE TO REGULATE UBER AND LYFT, BUT FUTURE UNCLEAR via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – On a nearly party-line vote … Darryl Rouson joined the majority of Republicans … the delegation approved a measure sponsored … Dan Raulerson that would establish a new regulatory framework for allowing Uber and Lyft to operate legally in the county. Although Raulerson’s name was on the bill, it was … Dana Young who provided a “strike all” amendment that dominated the proceedings … would require TNC’s to operate in Hillsborough by being required to provide insurance at the three different stages that an Uber or Lyft driver is in the process of picking up a passenger. At the end of the discussion, the measure passed, but … it only takes one senator to kill it in Tallahassee.

FLORIDA DEBT RISES SLIGHTLY AFTER 4 YEARS OF DECLINE via the Associated Press – … an annual report presented to Scott and members of the Cabinet … shows that Florida’s overall debt stood at $25.7 billion at the end of June. That’s an increase of $1.5 billion over the previous fiscal year … due primarily to money borrowed to cover the expansion of Interstate 4 in central Florida. Despite the slight increase this year overall state debt has declined $2.5 billion since 2010.

— “Florida gas prices lowest in more than 6 years” via The Gainesville Sun

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA CIRCLES THE WAGONS BEFORE INCENTIVES FIGHT via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Vice chair of Enterprise Florida … Alan Becker, also co-founder of South Florida’s Becker & Poliakoff law firm … held a conference call for Enterprise Florida’s executive committee. Becker also wanted a review of all “costs and expenses” besides employee pay. “Enterprise Florida is the governor’s priority and there are people who have personal agendas … that may be at odds with what we do, so that there will be some criticism.” … he wanted to “take a very hard look at our compensation structure … not just salaries, but benefits, (and) where we stack up on bonuses, not just the amounts but the process.” The idea is to track it “with how we would want it to be in our businesses, as well as accountable to the public for the job that we are doing.”

PRE-SCOOP: LOOK FOR CISSY PROCTOR TO BE NAMED NEW EXEC. DIRECTOR AT DEPT. OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY via Florida Politics – Nothing official yet, but is hearing that Cissy Proctor will be … replacing Jesse Panuccio, who has announced he plans to step down in January. Proctor currently is Panuccio’s Chief of Staff. Proctor previously was Director of Strategic Business Development for the DEO. She has been with the department since 2013, also as the Deputy Legislative Affairs Director.

HARD LIVES OF DISFIGURED KIDS MADE HARDER STILL via Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald – In conjunction with a special health care program called Children’s Medical Services, Florida currently maintains eight clinics throughout the state designed to be full-service providers for impoverished children who have cleft lips and palates. There used to be 10. Two strategic objectives of CMS’ “three-year-strategic plan” are to reduce “clinic utilization” and to “close clinic[s]” … in recent years … dollars have no longer matched the need, a situation greatly exacerbated by the state’s decision four years ago to require that providers receive prior authorization for every expenditure. Obtaining it, doctors said, often injected a monthslong wait to an already burdened system … the story of how Florida came to turn its back on some of the sickest and most disabled children in the state — the ones whose parents’ poverty left them unable to secure health care without taxpayer help.

— “Senate chief wants full briefing on cuts in care for sick, disabled kids” via Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald

FLORIDA POWER AND LIGHT, CONSUMER ADVOCATES PLEAD FRACKING CASE TO SUPREME COURT via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – The plan … to invest in a natural gas fracking project in Oklahoma was okayed by the Public Service Commission last December. But consumer advocates say that approval wasn’t within the PSC’s authority. FPL insists that the fracking deal will result in cheaper electricity for its customers in the long term — as much as $49.2 million in savings in the next 50 years. Yet, so far, the drilling project has cost more than it would have to buy natural gas at a market rate. This year, the project lost $5 million, and it is projected to lose even more money next year. The justices … focused on two key points: Whether FPL is allowed to charge its customers for a deal that may or may not result in savings, and if the PSC was empowered to approve it.

BROWARD COMMISSION GIVES $86 MILLION TO FLORIDA PANTHERS via Brittany Wallman of the Sun Sentinel – The Florida Panthers hockey team won one of the most important contests of its existence Tuesday, when the Broward County Commission agreed to give it $86 million in public funds. The agreement increases the public investment in the team to $342 million, county officials confirmed. … A majority of commissioners said they were swayed by an analysis that showed the team was bleeding millions, and that if it were to declare bankruptcy or leave, the county could be on the hook for even more than $86 million.

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THAD ALTMAN SWITCHES SEATS FOR HIS NEXT ELECTION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Altman moved up his next run for office by two years … term limited in the Florida Senate next year, [he] had originally filed to run for House District 51 in 2018. Altman wrote, signed and sent a note to the Division of Elections asking to be re-designated for House District 52 next year. District 51, held by term-limited House Speaker Steve Crisafulli … is being sought next year by Republicans Tim Tumulty and current state Rep. Tom Goodson. District 52 is now represented by state Rep. Ritch Workman … also is term limited next year.

— “HD 11 hopeful Barry Holloway has quiet November fundraising

— “HD 11 Republican candidate Donnie Horner hits November fundraising lull

— “Jay Fant posts $3,000 in September fundraising

— “HD 16’s Dick Kravitz clears $10,000 in November fundraising

HAPPENING TONIGHT: Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniela Levine Cava hosts a fundraiser to support Daisy J. Baez in her bid for House District 114, which covers parts of Coral Gables, West Miami, South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay. Event begins 7 p.m. at 3901 Hardy Ave. in Coconut Grove.

HAPPENING TOMORROW: Top Florida Republicans will gather in Miami Beach Dec. 10 for pair of fundraising events benefiting House and Senate Majorities, featuring a guest list including House Speaker designate Richard Corcoran, Republican Majority Leader Sen. Bill Galvano and Chairman Jose Oliva, who is a favorite to become House Speaker after the 2018 elections. Stuart Sen. Joe Negron will also be on hand to celebrate his official naming as Senate President designate. Festivities begins with a 5 p.m. reception at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., in Miami Beach, followed by a 7 p.m. VIP dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab, 11 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach. RSVP with James Blair at 813-781-2504 or; Will Rodriguez at 305-904-1672 or; and Ashley Ross at 850-980-0421 or

APPOINTED: Adria Starkey and James “Jim” Rasmussen to the Florida Prepaid College Board.

PERSONNEL NOTE: JENNIFER WEST JOINS CONSUMER FEDERATION OF THE SOUTHEAST AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR via Florida Politics – [The] longtime consumer advocate … will succeed CFSE founder Walter Dartland … brings an extensive history of business, nonprofit and campaign work in California. Dartland will take a new role as director emeritus of the not-for-profit consumer advocacy group, which has worked since 2003 to establish a pro-consumer agenda built on public awareness, consumer education and coalition-building. West previously served as owner of the California-based J. West Group, an independent marketing, public relations and political campaign consulting firm.


Albert Balido, Anfield Consulting: HP

Brian BallardJan Gorrie: Ballard Partners: Google

Melanie BostickJennifer GreenThomas Hobbs, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Auto Care Association

Dean Cannon, Capitol Insight: Florida Municipal Power Agency

Jasmyne Henderson, Pittman Law Group: Broward County; Miami-Dade County

Nick IarossiJennifer GaviriaChristopher Schoonover: Capital City Consulting: League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates

M. Lane Stevens, SCG Governmental Affairs: Youth Opportunity Investments

SPOTTED at the Southern Strategy Group – Tampa office’s holiday party on Monday: Rep. Dana YoungJamie GrantShawn Harrison, Mike GriffinRick Homans, and Drew Weatherford.

— “The Hill staffer guide to holiday party invites” via Rebecca Gale of The Hill

DIGITAL HOLIDAY GUIDE HELPS CANDIDATES, CAMPAIGNS STAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA “NICE LIST” via Florida Politics – Strategic Digital Services … launched its 2015 Holiday Guide: a social media blueprint to help Florida associations, candidates and elected officials have a happy, trouble-free holiday season. The guide offers a wealth of examples – many taken from national campaigns – of what to do (and what to avoid) in crafting effective messages to the public. It helps users avoid pitfalls found in discussing both secular and religious themes …  the nine-page PDF offers suggestions on the preferred spelling for Hanukkah, ways to highlight a candidate’s family life in holiday messages, and how to reach out to secular constituents during the winter season.

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ONE DIRECTION LEADS THE WAY ON TWITTER’S LIST OF 2015 TWEETS via The Associated Press – One Direction members accounted for half of the 10 most [retweeted], including the three most popular. … Obama nabbed the fourth spot … with a June 26 tweet that hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage [@POTUS: ‘Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins’] … Other tweets in Twitter’s Top 10 came from Saudi Arabia King Salman after his crowning, hip-hop personality Kayne West [‘Please: Do everything you possibly can in one lifetime’], actor Leonard Nimoy philosophizing five days before his death and Caitlyn Jenner … [Most popular hashtags] included [#PrayFor Paris,] #JeSuisParis, … #BlackLivesMatter after police shootings of African-American, … #LoveWins after the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage and #RefugeesWelcome as people fled the Middle East for Europe.

SEAWORLD THINKS SMALLER WITH REGIONAL APPROACH via Sandra Pedicini of the Orlando Sentinel – SeaWorld … acknowledged its daily prices can’t keep matching those of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando … [its] planned Mako roller coaster is considered an attraction more typical of a smaller theme park than a Disney and Universal. And SeaWorld is marketing more heavily to people within a 300-mile radius of its theme parks, which also include Busch Gardens … SeaWorld will stress price to stand out among its increasingly expensive neighbors. The gap in pricing with Disney and SeaWorld … will likely widen over time.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend, Richard Reeves, and Beth Lerner.

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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