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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — Jan. 6

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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 random renumbering of Florida’s state Senate districts Tuesday, notes Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times “touched off a series of complicated twists that one key lawmaker said only adds more chaos to a continuing redistricting saga.”

Renumbering is important, at least in part, because the assignment of odd or even numbers can determine which senators are required to run again in 2018 and which will run again in 2020.

TWEET, TWEET Are they going to randomly renumber my twitter handle?

NEW DISTRICT NUMBERS BOOST WILTON SIMPSON, BUT JOHN LEGG SAYS HE WON’T MOVE via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — The new numbers give an even number, Senate District 10, to a seat where both … Simpson and Legg live. That’s good news for Simpson’s aspirations to become Senate president for a two-year term starting in 2021. The renumbering process coming off redistricting is important: Odd-numbered seats get a four-year term, while even-numbered seats initially get just a two-year term. Had Simpson, first elected in 2012, gotten an odd-numbered seat, he would have faced term limits (eight years) in 2020 — which would have meant he couldn’t serve as the chamber’s presiding officer for the 2021-22 term, as is his current plan. But getting an even-numbered seat means he will run again in 2018 for another four-year seat. That would let him serve through 2022. Legg, who is from the region, says he has no intention of moving and will “aggressively” run for the seat, which covers Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties — a decision that could pose a hurdle to Simpson’s future leadership aspirations. “It’s not my intent for Wilton and I to duke it out,” Legg said. “I don’t know what Sen. Simpson’s desire is, but I want to grow where I was planted.”

WARNING SHOT TWEET: @FasanoMike: Look forward to helping my longtime friend John Legg in the new SD 10 where I had the honor to represent for 10yrs in all 3 Counties

TWEET, TWEET: New maps also likely squeeze out Rep. Jimmie Smith’s Senate aspirations (he’s filed). Lives in Simpson/Legg seat

TWEET, TWEET: @JimmieTSmith: I’m proud to announce my endorsement of @WiltonSimpson for Sen Dist 10.

DANA YOUNG TO RUN FOR SENATE via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – House Majority Leader Dana Young plans to run for the Senate this fall, the Tampa Republican said Tuesday. She is eyeing a new South Tampa seat that includes Westchase and Town ‘N Country created last week by Circuit Judge George Reynolds as part of a new Senate map drawn by the plaintiffs in a contentious redistricting trial. “The only box left to check is for the Supreme Court to sign off,” Young said. “But assuming they do so, then I will run for the seat.”

YOUNG HEADS INTO 2016 WITH IMPRESSIVE FUNDRAISING MOMENTUM via Florida Politics —  It was a great year, fundraising-wise, for the House Republican Majority Leader … drew in $712,980 in 2015 to both her campaign and associated committee, Friends of Dana Young PC. The solid year was capped off with nearly $172,000 taken in December, leaving Young with an impressive $615,797 combined cash-on-hand. The yearly breakdown is as follows: Young’s campaign accounted for $238,520 of the total, including $111,875 in Dec., and a war chest of just under $200,000. Friends of Dana Young took in $474,730, $60,000 in Dec., with $416,095 on-hand.

FLASHBACK to July 29, 2015 on SaintPetersBlog – “Dana Young for Florida Senate?

NEW SENATE DISTRICT SHAPE DOESN’T MATTER TO KELLI STARGEL via Rick Rousos of the Lakeland Ledger — If the order stands, Stargel would lose a slice of her western Polk County territory but gain constituents in East Polk and Lake County in the new 15th Senate District. “It’s not that big of a deal,” [she said]. “I’m a state senator,” not a Polk County senator … the shape of her new district doesn’t matter. “Frankly, as a state senator, if someone from Alachua County comes to me, I’m going to try to help,” she said.

BILL GALVANO, NANCY DETERT GET NEW SENATE DISTRICT NUMBERS via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — … numbering is important because depending on whether senators get odd-numbered or even-numbered districts it can impact the time they serve in the Senate, which like the House is under a constitutional term limit of eight years … Galvano … and Detert … received odd numbers. Galvano’s new district, which includes all of Manatee County and a large portion of southern Hillsborough County, will become District 21, meaning he will run for a new four-year term in the fall. If re-elected, Galvano will serve through 2020, with the expectation that he will be the Senate president presiding over the 2019 and 2020 annual sessions. Detert is leaving the Senate to run for the Sarasota County Commission this year. Whoever replaces her in her new District 23, which includes all of Sarasota County and the western half of Charlotte County, will serve an initial four-year term through 2020.

SOUTH FLORIDA SENATE CANDIDATES SCRAMBLE FOR SEATS AS DISTRICTS RENUMBERED via Dan Sweeney of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A small part of southern Broward County will still be represented by state Sen. Oscar Braynon … But every Broward-based senator — Chris Smith … Eleanor Sobel … Jeremy Ring — is out of office due to term limits. Using the old map as a guideline, former state Rep. Jim Waldman and attorney Gary Farmer both jumped in to replace Ring. Waldman, who lives in Coconut Creek, and Farmer, a Parkland resident, both live in Ring’s old district. Meanwhile … activist Lauren Book became the prohibitive nominee to replace Sobel. But under the new map, Waldman and Farmer live in a small Broward portion of Palm Beach-based District 29, which will already be crowded with incumbent senators Abruzzo and Sachs. So, Waldman and Farmer are hitting the beach. District 34 includes the entire coastline of Broward County, cutting in a little westward in Deerfield Beach and in Hollywood. Book [is] looking at the western 32nd district. Finally, state Rep. Gwen Clarke-Reed … and former state Rep. Perry Thurston are both looking to replace Smith in the 33rd district, which includes Lauderhill and parts of the surrounding communities, including Fort Lauderdale.

SITTING MIAMI-DADE SENATORS PITTED AGAINST EACH OTHER IN NOVEMBER – UNLESS 2 MOVE via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – [Under] a new state senate map… lawmakers’ political careers were suddenly thrown into flux. Much of that chaos hit in the middle of Miami-Dade County, where two pairs of sitting senators found themselves living in districts together. Perhaps the biggest question mark hangs over Sens. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, and Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, who were both drawn into District 40 near Kendall.

SAVE THE DATE: Florida’s Senate Republican caucus has a fundraiser planned for Jan. 11 beginning 5:30 p.m. At the Tallahassee Doubletree Hotel ballroom, 101 South Adams St. The 2016 Welcome Back Reception is hosted by Senate President Andy Gardiner, Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Bill Galvano, President Designate Joe Negron and Sens. Lizbeth BenacquistoAnitere Flores and Jack Latvala.

SAVE THE DATE: House Majority 2016 is hosting a series of joint fundraisers Monday, Jan. 11 starting with a luncheon reception to support the re-election efforts of Republican State Reps. Elizabeth PorterBen Albritton, and Larry Metz. Event begins 12 p.m. at the Governors Club Capital Room, 202 1/2 S. Adams St. Next, State Rep. Jamie Grant will hold an event at 4:30 p.m. in the Governors Club Private Dining Room. Later that evening, state Reps. José OlivaFrank ArtilesBrian AvilaMichael BilecaManny Diaz Jr., Jeanette NunezRay Rodriguez, and Carlos Trujillo will hold a separate event at the Governance House, 510 North Adams St.

RAYMOND HICKS FILES FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 92 RUN via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools — The former Broward County sheriff’s deputy who was charged with but acquitted of drug trafficking charges in 2001, is running as a Democrat … In an email to LobbyTools, Hicks said that he was “wrongfully accused of crimes I didn’t commit when I spoke out against my department who were manufacturing drugs and given to us to be sold in a drug sting which is considered to be entrapment.” He was charged with trafficking cocaine, but a jury refused to convict him after the police’s investigation turned up no hard evidence of criminal activity according to Brittany Wallman of the Sun Sentinel. Hicks was also Baker acted in 2013, after posting a YouTube video where he said he “didn’t want to be the next Christopher Dorner.” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the reference to Dorner and Hicks’ mention of an assault rifle is what led him to order the former deputy Baker acted. But Hicks wrote in an email that the incident followed an argument he and Israel had over a job the sheriff promised Hicks as an administrator in the sheriff’s office. Hicks … is currently employed as an investigator with Seminole Tribe at their casino in Hollywood.

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FLORIDA REPUBLICANS BLAST PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA OVER GUN-CONTROL EXECUTIVE ACTIONS via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — Jeb Bush said the executive actions show “an utter disregard for the Second Amendment” … Marco Rubio …  [said] the actions “undermines the Second Amendment and will do nothing to keep people safe … Barack Obama is obsessed with undermining the Second Amendment, an important protection our Constitution recognizes and defends for us.” Carlos Lopez-Cantera … said the president will do anything to advance a political agenda “and restrict our 2nd Amendment right” … “The President has put Washington political power plays above the constitutional rights of Americans today in an attempt to weaken our 2nd Amendment Rights, and we have seen yet again that we have a president who does not think the law, or the constitution, applies to him.” Todd Wilcox, a Republican running for Senate, said he refuses to “accept that we must give up freedom and liberty in exchange for security” … “Trampling all over the Second Amendment will not distract from this president’s failure to keep the American people safe … Now, more than ever, I believe that we, the citizens of this country, have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms in the protection of ourselves and our liberty.” Neal Dunn … said the president’s “unilateral executive actions show the disdain he has for the Second Amendment” … “The rights of law-abiding gun owners have never been under greater attack than they are today from this administration.”

ADAM PUTNAM PREDICTS SURGE IN CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMITS AFTER OBAMA EXECUTIVE ORDER via Jeremy Wallace of the Miami Herald – Putnam is blasting Obama for his latest executive action on guns, saying it is only going to result in a dramatic increase in the number of Floridians who will want a concealed weapons permit.

SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ENDORSES JEB BUSH via Rudolph Bell of Greenville News — Majority Leader Rep. Bruce Bannister of Greenville has made public his pick for president — it’s Jeb Bush. [Bush] also picked up the support of a string of GOP heavyweights who had previously backed South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Those include Greenville lawyer David Wilkins, a former speaker of the South Carolina House and U.S. ambassador to Canada.

— “Bush to keynote Broward GOP Lincoln Day dinner” via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald

MARCO RUBIO: ‘WE’RE NOT GOING TO FIX AMERICA WITH SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN’ via Shane Goldmacher of POLITICO — The issue of Rubio missing Senate business, which is being broadcast by a super PAC supporting … Bush, was raised by the first woman to ask Rubio a question at a town-hall stop … “First of all, my record in the Senate is close to 90 percent in my five years there,” Rubio began. “I have missed votes this year … You know why? Because while as a senator I can help shape the agenda. Only a president can set the agenda. We’re not going to fix America with senators and congressmen … So yes, I’m out there trying to turn this country, running for president, and being here with you and in other early states to try to win. Because this country is at a tipping point.”

RUBIO PICKS UP SUPPORT OF FORMER CLUB FOR GROWTH PRESIDENT via Daniel Strauss of POLITICO —  “I am proud to support Rubio, a strong fiscal conservative and living testament to the American Dream,” [ChrisChocola said in a statement. Chocola served as president of the conservative group before current President David McIntosh, who assumed his post in 2014. Throughout the 2016 election cycle, the Club for Growth has regarded Rubio as one of its preferred candidates, alongside … Cruz … Bush and … Rand Paul. The club has not settled on any single candidate, however.

RUBIO INTENSIFIES NEW HAMPSHIRE PUSH via Eli Stokols of POLITICO — The young Florida senator, who is often attacked for a poor voting record in the Senate and, in parallel, his lighter footprint in New Hampshire, is fighting the narrative that he hasn’t worked hard enough, concerns about his youth and a slight authenticity problem. With the first primary contests finally visible on the horizon, Rubio is intensifying his campaign schedule, joking with reporters … that he’s likely to be in New Hampshire every other day over the next five weeks. He spent four days there in the final week of December and plans to spend four of the first eight days of the New Year in New Hampshire, and to return often over the next several weeks even though the final schedule is not set, according to Rubio’s campaign.

CHRIS CHRISTIE SLAMS RUBIO: ‘WHENEVER IT GETS TOO HOT, MARCO TURNS TAIL AND RUNS’ via The Washington Post — “I just don’t think … Rubio’s going to be able to slime his way to the White House,” Christie said. “He wants to put out a whole bunch of negative ads? Go ahead. I hope that he will acknowledge at some point that I couldn’t care less” … “The guy who advocated for amnesty and then ran away when the topic got too hot tells you two things: He’s not a reliable conservative, A, and B, whenever it gets too hot, Marco turns tail and runs … I’m not the least bit concerned that Marco Rubio will hurt me with conservatives. … Rubio has work himself to do with conservatives.” Rubio’s campaign didn’t immediately react to Christie’s remarks.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORSBush will attend a town-hall meeting and Meredith, New Hampshire. Rubio will attend a town-hall meeting in Marshalltown, Iowa before traveling to Dallas, Texas for a rally and fundraiser.

DONALD TRUMP BANNER IN JAX DEFACED WITH NAZI ICONOGRAPHY via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — In the Riverside area of Jacksonville … a Trump banner in a storefront window was defaced with Nazi iconography … SS insignia were painted on the glass, covering the collar of his shirt … A Hitler mustache, painted over his top lip … A swastika, emblazoned on his forehead. And the banner message? “Heil Donald Trump: Nazi Candidate for President.” Now vacant, the building was prime real estate for the owner, Patricia Butts, to make a political statement … the building owner, who is Jewish, sees the defacement as a “direct affront to the Jewish people.”

FIRST IN SUNBURN — WISCONSIN CONGRESSMAN MARK POCAN ENDORSES SUSANNAH RANDOLPH via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Randolph‘s long involvement advocating for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has won her a Congressional District 9 endorsement from one of the few openly gay people to be elected to Congress, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan. “Susannah fought for marriage equality when it seemed impossible in places like Florida, helping to organize one of the first wedding ceremonies in the state,” Pocan said in a statement. “But Susannah knows the fight for equality is far from over. I look forward to working with her to ensure that all our working families get a fair shot to do what they love in life, and can share that life with who they truly love.”

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FIRST ON FLORIDAPOLITICS.COM — KEVIN MCCARTY STEPPING DOWN MAY 2 via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — Scott got a belated Christmas gift … with the not-entirely-unexpected resignation … It’s not clear where McCarty is going next; he’s been in his position since 2003 … In a resignation letter to … Jeff Atwater, McCarty said he was leaving as of May 2 to pursue “other career opportunities.” McCarty also reports to Atwater. McCarty often took the blame for rising insurance rates in the state, especially when homeowners discovered they would have to pay more in premiums. “Kevin McCarty has long served the people of Florida with the utmost integrity,” Atwater said in a statement. “Throughout his years of service, he’s propelled and ushered in reforms across multiple facets of the industry including workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, health, and auto … He helped navigate consumers and the industry through the hardships and tumultuous effects of natural disaster, and his peers recognized his service and commitment by asking him to serve on a national level as president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,” Atwater added. “I thank him for his years of dedicated service and wish him the best in all future endeavors.”

MIKE FASANO STICKS UP FOR RESIGNING STATE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — Fasano said [the] resignation of Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty means Floridians will be “losing one of their greatest advocates” … “During my many years as a state legislator, I worked closely with Commissioner McCarty and his staff on many pieces of legislation that dealt with insurance issues … I know of no insurance commissioner who has served in Tallahassee who was more consumer-oriented than Kevin McCarty” … McCarty “not only stood up for the consumer, he had an incredible grasp of the complexity of insurance in all its forms … He understood the grave impact a single word change in statute could have for or against the consumer.”

INTEGRITY FLORIDA: LEGISLATURE SHOULD PUSH ‘FULL-SPEED’ FOR ETHICS REFORM via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times — Integrity Florida outlined a series of proposals for ethics reform. It’s mostly a list of long-shot ideas that have not been seriously considered by the Florida Legislature. But research director Ben Wilcox says they’re essential. From 2003 to 2013, there were 622 federal convictions for public corruption in Florida, more than any state but Texas and California … Data from the 10-year period 2000 to 2010 had put Florida at the top of that list. “That’s a lot of corruption, I don’t care how big Florida is,” Wilcox said. “I don’t think the fact that the numbers have declined means that we need to take our foot off the gas pedal. We need to go after this problem full-speed.” SB 582 would expand bribery and other corruption statutes to government contractors and would change the standard required for certain corruption convictions. SB 686 would do that and make a number of other ethics law changes, including requiring city elected officials to file more expansive financial disclosure forms and banning former members of the Enterprise Florida board from lobbying the board for six years.

TWEET, TWEET: @AndrewNappi: Hire more investigators and reclaim the title!

— “Painful lessons for a troubled Florida Legislature” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

AUDREY GIBSON SAYS SHE DIDN’T ARRANGE MEETING ‘TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE’ via Bruce Ritchie of Politico Florida – NextGen Climate says a meeting with Sen. Audrey Gibson in her Jacksonville office on Wednesday is about combating climate change, but Gibson said that wasn’t her understanding of the purpose of the meeting. “I’m really ticked right now — I’m not happy,” said Gibson. “They don’t have permission to do that.”

JACK LATVALA GIVES BOOST TO SUPPORTERS OF ANTI-LGBT DISCRIMINATION BILL via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Latvala has given a big boost to supporters of legislation that would add anti-LGBT discrimination protections to state law. Latvala… has officially become a co-introducer of the Senate’s version of the bill (SB 120) originally filed by Sen. Joe Abruzzo, a Wellington Democrat. Other co-introducers include Democratic Sens. Eleanor Sobel and Darren Soto.

***A special message from Florida’s horsemen: While legislators debate using hard-earned taxpayer dollars for corporate relocation incentives, Florida employers who’ve been hard at work for decades could lose everything, thanks to “decoupling” — a Big Casino cash grab and gambling expansion plan tucked inside the Seminole Compact. It seems senseless to kill established Florida businesses, while spending public money in hopes new business may materialize. But Florida could do just that when “decoupling” leaves horse racing investors with NO WAY to do business and NO CHANCE to recoup financial return.  Gambling policy should be about growing Florida’s economy. Not padding the pockets of Big Casinos. Florida’s horsemen oppose decoupling in ANY form.***

APPOINTED to the Public Employees Relations Commission: James “Jim” BaxSamuel “Curtis” Kiser, and Donna Poole.

REAPPOINTED to the Board of Professional Engineers: Kenneth ToddWilliam Bracken, and Vivian Boza.

REAPPOINTED to the Board of Professional Geologists: Michael Altieri.

TOP TAMPA-BASED LOBBYIST ANA CRUZ MOVING TO BALLARD PARTNERS via Florida Politics — One of the top lobbyists in the state — and certainly one of the top two or three in the Tampa Bay region — is switching firms. Ana Cruz, along with Todd Josko, are moving from Floridian Partners to Ballard Partners, where Cruz will serve as managing partner of the Tampa office. Ballard Partners represents several Tampa Bay-based interests before state and local governments. Among its clients is Jeff Vinik‘s expanding development and real estate empire. … A former executive director with the Florida Democratic Party and recently named to INFLUENCE Magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful people in Florida politics, Cruz had been managing Floridian Partner’s Central Florida office in Ybor City since 2011.

PERSONNEL NOTE: COREMESSAGE NAMES CARRIE PATRICK AS NEW DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY via Florida Politics — In addition to public relations campaigns and managing accounts, Patrick will also be responsible for grassroots advocacy, coalition building and expanding CoreMessage’s advocacy services. Before joining CoreMessage, she worked as a lobbyist with a private-sector public affairs firm, as well as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Florida Lottery. Patrick also was grassroots coordinator for Keystone Automotive and had roles in the offices of Govs. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. She also worked on re-election campaigns for President George W. Bush and Gov. Bush.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to HCA’s Bryan Anderson, Jim Johnson, and Henry Raines.

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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