Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – July 21

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

How busy a day in Florida politics was Monday? Please allow me to put it in personal terms. My wife and I only had TWO of the guests invited to our wedding — David Jolly and Charlie Crist — announce their 2016 political plans yesterday. And that was before noon. With those twin developments, the U.S. and Cuba reopening their embassies in Havana and Washington after more than half a century, Jeb Bush calling for the “disruption” of the U.S. government, and details about the upcoming Special Session, it was yet another consequential day in the most consequential July of a non-election year.


Bush pledged to challenge the ways of “Mount Washington” Monday, highlighting his record in Tallahassee and how he hopes to “disrupt” the federal government by challenging a “culture of spending.”

“The overspending, the overreaching, the arrogance, and the sheer incompetence in that city – these problems have been with us so long that they are sometimes accepted as facts of life,” Bush said of Washington, D.C. “But a president should never accept them, and I will not. We need a president willing to challenge the whole culture in our nation’s capital – and I mean to do it.”

In remarks outlining a portion of his domestic policy agenda, Bush reiterated his call for sustained 4 percent annual economic growth and hinted at forthcoming tax policy and entitlement reform proposals.

“The ultimate disruption of Washington is to reject, as I do, the whole idea of a government forever growing more, borrowing more, and spending more – beyond anyone’s ability to control or even comprehend,’ he said.

Bush embraced a federal Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to limit government spending, and said he supported efforts by House Ways and Means Committee Paul Ryan to give presidents a line-item veto over expenditures. “It’s time to revive Veto Corleone,” referencing the nickname he earned in Florida for cutting down spending bills.

Bush suggested a “three out, one in” rule for federal workers in a bid to cut government payrolls, with exceptions for national security jobs. “This policy can, on its own, reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy by 10 percent within 5 years,” he stated.

Calling for broad reforms to civil service laws, Bush said he wants to bring federal pay in line with private sector pay, eliminate across-the-board raises for workers, while making it easier to fire under-performers.

Highlighting lobbying reforms he signed in Florida, Bush said he hoped to sign similar legislation in Washington, saying the definition of “lobbyist” should be expanded to those who work as ‘government relations’ and ‘government affairs’ specialists, and that their meetings with lawmakers should be publicly disclosed online.

Bush also endorsed an extension of a ban on lobbying by former members of the House and Senate to six years, while saying he would support legislation tying lawmaker pay to their voting attendance — a veiled swipe at the Senators running for the White House who have missed votes on the campaign trail.

“A bill to dock the pay of absentee members might not pass the House or Senate,” Bush said, “but at least it would get them all there for a vote.”


Tallahassee DemocratJeb Bush promises to end ‘era of excuses’ – “ … hammered … incompetent and arrogant bureaucracy … from scandals at the IRS and the Veterans Administration to a problematic roll-out of the Affordable Care Act …” POLITICOJeb Bush vows to shrink Washington’s bloat – “… boasted of his heavy veto pen as governor, having vetoed over $2 billion in state spending, which earned him the nickname ‘Veto Corleone.’” Associated Press… Bush vows to cut spending, Washington lobbying – “In a speech aimed at President Barack Obama …  as well as his rivals for the GOP nomination … Bush called for limiting new hires in government … extending the ban on former members of Congress from lobbying their colleagues from two years to six years. Tampa Bay TimesJeb Bush vows to take on bureaucracy, revolving door of influence if elected – “Standing before a sign that proclaimed “DC Reform,” Bush took a subtle dig at … Marco Rubio … Ted Cruz … Rand Paul … by emphasizing his outsider status.”

SPOTTED AT JEB’S SPEECH: Slater and Sara Bayliss, Allan Bense, Tyler Cathey, Chris and Mandy Clark, Gus Corbella, Randy Enwright, David Griffin, Rich Heffley, Marc Reichelderfer, Toby Philpot, Jim Rimes, Jason Unger, Brian Yablonski, Karen Zeiler

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Bush is in Spartanburg, S.C., for a “Bridging the Gap” forum. Marco Rubio’s campaign says the Senator is feeling under the weather.


When Jeb Bush used his line-item veto powers as governor, he was being “Veto Corleone,” a principled steward of tax dollars and a man deserving of respect. When Gov. Rick Scott used his line-item veto pen, he was petty, vindictive and arbitrary … A man to be loathed.

That’s the version of events being pushed by two prominent pro-Bush Republican state senators who are showcased in a new Bush presidential campaign video, defending his record on the subject of line-item vetoes. This remains a hot-button issue in Tallahassee because of Scott’s meat-ax approach to vetoes.

To Sen. Jack Latvala … and Senate President Andy Gardiner … Bush got it right and Scott totally blew it.

… When Scott whacked $461 million in legislative spending from the new budget on June 23 (without any warning to lawmakers, by the way), both senators had dramatically different reactions.

Gardiner called Scott’s actions “purely political” … suggested the vetoes were Scott’s way of building support for a U.S. Senate campaign in 2018, referring to a “messaging strategy needed to achieve the governor’s political agenda.”

Latvala said the difference is that lawmakers had a chance to defend their spending decisions to Bush, and that the former governor was consistent in his logic. He said he doubts Bush would have axed money to free health clinics as Scott did.

Latvala again placed much of the blame for the latest vetoes on Scott’s chief of staff, Melissa Sellers.


Sen. John McCain said he does not need an apology from Donald Trump following his comments that he was “not a war hero,” but Trump should instead apologize to veterans captured in war and their families.


Donald Trump’s headline-grabbing antics have given him a commanding lead in a new poll, but the good news may be fleeting.

According to a poll released by ABC News and the Washington Post … Trump leads among 16 Republican candidates with 24 percent of respondents’ support. The next candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, had the support of 13 percent of polled Republicans, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was the choice of 12 percent.

Notably, though, Trump’s support dropped dramatically over the course of the four days the survey was conducted, during which time he was widely condemned for saying that Sen. John McCain is not a war hero because he was captured.

Over the first three days of the survey Trump was the choice of 28 percent of respondents, but less than 10 percent of respondents chose The Donald on the final day, this past Sunday. Because of the smaller sample size on each day, though, the margin of error for each individual day is far larger that for the poll as a whole.

Trump was the choice of 23 percent of Republican-leaning independents, 20 percent of moderates and conservatives, and 16 percent of Republicans at large. But the Donald was only the favored candidate of 8 percent of college graduates polled.

Of those respondents who said that immigrants are a burden for the U.S., 38 percent selected Trump as their candidate of choice.

TEMPER, TEMPER via POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt

John Kasich is likely to announce his White House bid Tuesday, but could the Ohio governor’s resume be tainted with a temperament problem?

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks, a trusted provider of industry-leading communications and networking services to businesses of all sizes, from startups to large, multi-site organizations. Our Enterprise Solutions provides the fiber connectivity, cloud and managed services  today’s large organizations demand, while our Business  Solutions team works with small- to mid-size companies to ensure they get the right services to fit their needs and their budget. Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Bright House Networks. Learn more at***


U.S. Sen. Nelson’s doctors informed him … that he is cancer free as a result of prostate surgery last week.

“Our prayers have been answered,” said the Florida Senator’s wife of 43 years, Grace, in a statement. “The pathology report confirms Bill is completely free of cancer.

“We’re humbled and grateful for all your prayers and well wishes,” Grace Nelson added. “Bill is raring to go but the doctors won’t let him out of the house for a few more days.”

A routine test revealed Nelson had prostate cancer, and doctors performed surgery … Doctors say regular checkups and early detection are keys to treating prostate cancer successfully.


A giant game of musical chairs for Florida politicians is underway, with Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly jumping into the U.S. Senate race … Jolly joins what appears to be a wide-open Republican primary with U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis … Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera … soon could include U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller … and former Attorney Gen. Bill McCollum …

All this political maneuvering follows a July 9 Florida Supreme Court decision ordering state lawmakers to re-draw congressional district boundaries because current lines violate the Constitution. Nothing is certain, but many observers expect Jolly’s Congressional District 13 to become considerably more Democratic-leaning as it takes in much of south St. Petersburg — including Crist’s downtown condo, currently nine blocks south of the district.

“Over the next year, I intend to run for the United States Senate on an unwavering platform that will reject the politics of division and class warfare that have defined the current Administration, reject the failed foreign policies that have projected only weakness and apology on the world stage, and embrace a new economy founded on the principle that individuals and families, not government bureaucrats, create success,” said Jolly, a former congressional aide and lobbyist who just 15 months ago won a special election to succeed his old boss, the late C.W. Bill Young.


David McIntosh, Club for Growth: “David Jolly is a big-spending liberal and former lobbyist who can’t win re-election to his House seat, so he’s taking a page out of Charlie Crist’s handbook. When you’re doomed to fail, find a new identity. By jumping into the Florida Senate race Jolly is running away from a district where he knows he’ll lose in 2016.”

DSCC: “Lobbyist turned Congressman David Jolly is just the latest out-of-touch Senate candidate to throw his hat into the crowded GOP Florida Senate primary, and after bouncing back and forth between Capitol Hill and the plush hallways of lobbying firms, he’s angling for a promotion. Congressman Jolly’s candidacy takes the situation for Republicans from bad to worse as they are now staring down a five person primary in one of the most important states for them to defend.”

Allison Tant, Florida Democratic Party: “Koch-backed Tea Partiers, a no-show Lieutenant Governor with more baggage than Rick Scott’s private jet can carry, and now a Washington lobbyist. Could Florida Republicans have assembled a primary field more out of touch with middle class voters than these four? No wonder this field is already being described as ‘weak.’ “


A close observation of Pinellas County Congressman David Jolly‘s record in the House indicates that despite the occasional pragmatic vote (he does represent a moderate district in Congress after all), nobody would accuse him of being a liberal.

Well, almost no one.

Today the Club for Growth, an economic conservative political group, came out with a statement blasting the newest entrant into the GOP Senate 2016 race, with their president, David McIntosh calling Jolly, “a big-spending liberal and former lobbyist who can’t win re-election to his House seat, so he’s taking a page out of Charlie Crist‘s handbook.”

In regards to deciding now to run for the Senate, Jolly admits that the Supreme Court’s ruling was a factor, but not the factor in his decision making process.

“The deciding factor is where’s the place that I feel confident that I can continue serving, and today I’m asking that people in Florida allow me to serve in the US Senate,” he said in an interview with Florida Politics.

The Club for Growth already endorsed Jacksonville Representative Ron DeSantis, who has a lifetime score of 95 percent with the Club, vs. Jolly’s 33 percent.

Jolly pushes back strongly against the assertion that he’s been a moderate in terms of his voting record. Yes, he supports same-sex marriage and voted against the Paul Ryan budget a year ago, but he proceeded to describe a number of votes that he said in some cases proved how truly a conservative he was, as opposed to who like “giving big speeches and taking to social media with rants and tirades.”


WUSF News, David Jolly Announces Run for U.S. Senate – “… proud of what we have accomplished together … confident that the best is yet to come for our region and our state.” Creative Loafing TampaJolly Senate run officially official – “… we already knew that was going to happen … went on the offensive … going after the Obama administration on foreign policy and, naturally, the Affordable Care Act.” Daytona Beach News-JournalAnother Republican joins race for Rubio Senate seat – “Jolly … elected to Congress last year in a high-profile battle with Democrat Alex Sink … offered a conservative message … saying the ‘time to reclaim America begins right here, right now.’” Miami HeraldFact-checking David Jolly, GOP candidate for Marco Rubio’s seat – “Jolly defended his own record as a lobbyist … ‘I have never lobbied for offshore oil drilling’ … Mostly False … Florida Democratic Party … said in 2014 that he ‘supports privatizing Social Security’ … Mostly False … Jolly did speak out on an executive action by … Obama to delay deportation for some illegal immigrants … (saying) a federal judge had called the action “unconstitutional” … Mostly True.” Tampa Bay TimesAnd the David Jolly bashing begins – “Club for Growth: ‘David Jolly is a big-spending liberal and former lobbyist who can’t win re-election … so he’s taking a page out of Charlie Crist’s handbook …’” Tampa Bay TimesDavid Jolly, the pragmatic conservative – “He knows Tampa Bay and he knows Washington … While he lacks statewide name recognition … has a firm grasp of federal issues … demonstrated … even-tempered approach to governing …”


Jolly has demonstrated that he is more interested in governing than in scoring political points. He joined his Republican colleagues in trying to reverse President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration, but when that failed he was one of 75 Republicans who joined Democrats to vote for a funding bill to keep the Department of Homeland Security operating. While he supported repealing the Affordable Care Act, he also introduced legislation to repeal the individual mandate for health insurance and said Florida should have found a way to accept federal Medicaid expansion money. Jolly also has co-sponsored legislation with Democrats on issues ranging from the hiring of military veterans to funding for the Everglades restoration to extending the ban on oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico through 2027.

That hardly makes Jolly a liberal, as some conservative groups predictably mislabeled him after his announcement. The Times editorial board has had significant policy disagreements with the Indian Shores Republican, from his opposition to the Affordable Care Act to his vote against a bipartisan Medicare bill that put the program on more solid ground. He has consistently opposed Obama’s foreign policy, from the reopening of the Cuba and U.S. embassies to fast-track legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement to his likely opposition to the multilateral nuclear arms agreement with Iran. But Jolly is a diligent lawmaker who takes an intellectual approach to public policy, and he prefers researching issues before taking a position rather than talking first and reading the details later.


She has run and won just one campaign, served in office less than eight months, and may soon be a one-term congresswoman thanks to a court ruling over how lawmakers drew Florida’s congressional lines. But already Florida’s political establishment views Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee as her party’s strongest candidate for U.S. Senate next year – if not governor in 2018.

That’s one conclusion from the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll of nearly 160 of Florida’s most plugged in and experienced political hands: More than half said Graham would be the strongest Democratic general election candidate for U.S. Senate between her and U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy. And nearly 70 percent said she should run for senate if her Panhandle district is redrawn to be overwhelmingly Republican, as is widely expected.

… Asked whether they expect Graham, Grayson, or Murphy to be the Democratic Senate nominee in 2016, an overwhelming 63 percent predicted Murphy, while 19 percent said Graham and 18 percent Grayson. The strongest general election Democrat? Fifty-three percent said Graham, 43 percent said Murphy and 4 percent said Grayson.

THE LIBERALS WHO AREN’T LOVING ALAN GRAYSON via Andrea Drusch of the National Journal

(F)or all the grassroots enthusiasm toward Grayson‘s Senate bid, amid national progressive groups the reaction has been more, well, moderate. Compared to Rep. Donna Edwards‘s presence in the Maryland Senate race, those organizations have kept Grayson at arm’s length.

National groups launched no so such ‘draft Grayson’ movement, ahead of his bid, and when he announced two weeks ago that he would run for Senate? Crickets. And in contrast to the instant endorsement Edwards got from the PCCC, the group still hasn’t picked its preferred candidate for the Florida Senate race, and neither has Democracy for America …

(L)iberal leaders lamented Grayson’s divisive rhetoric and personal attacks, saying they detract from a candidate whose contributions to their movement are otherwise almost unmatched.


Former U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland is considering another run in Florida’s Second Congressional District, according to two sources close to the former north Florida Congressman.

Florida Politics first reported in March that Southerland would not seek a rematch against Graham in 2016, however he is now seriously weighing a return to electoral politics because it appears likely that Florida’s congressional districts map will be redrawn in a way that disadvantages Graham and makes it more likely that a Republican will represent some part of what currently constitutes CD 2.

Southerland is “praying about what to do,” says one source who has raised money for his 2014 campaign. He is also asking supporters to hold off before supporting any other possible candidates. Southerland is likely referring to Mary Thomas, who continues to gear up for a congressional run.

Thomas told Florida Politics she will announce that she is a candidate for Congress … Thomas created a Twitter account on Sunday (@MaryThomasEsq) that says that she is a “Conservative Republican candidate for Congress.”


Crist has given the most explicit statement to date that he will run for the CD 13 seat being vacated next by Jolly.

In a tweet sent Monday, Crist wrote, “If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again.” The tweet included a photo of Crist engaging an African-American couple in a discussion.

Crist lives in Bayfront Tower, a waterfront condo located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. Currently that part of the city is included in Kathy Castor’s 14 Congressional District, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that Castor’s district should not extend across Tampa Bay, resulting in what will likely be a much more Democratic oriented voting district in CD 13.

With Jolly now out, the only “name” candidate in the race for either party is Democrat Eric Lynn, the 36-year-old former Defense Department official who worked for six years in the Obama administration.

Lynn told Florida Politics that he was in the race regardless of whether Crist or any other major Democrat got into the race. He has raised over $400,000 so far, though Crist’s name recognition would  undoubtedly make him the favorite in the contest.

TWEET, TWEET: @JackLatvala: Close to a record I am sure. This will be the 6th different office Charlie has run for.

TWEET, TWEET: @AdamSmithTimes: Bad day for Eric Lynn, the Jessica Ehrlich of this campaign cycle in #CD13

TWEET, TWEET: @TheFix: Consider the 2010 Florida GOP Senate primary. Rubio is now a 1st tier presidential candidate. Crist desperate to win a House seat.


POLITICOCrist: ‘I intend on running’ for Congress – “Crist all but announced his intentions to run for Congress … ‘If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again …’” Tampa Bay Times, Charlie Crist looks to run for Rep. David Jolly’s seat – “Crist’s action follows … Jolly announcing his Senate campaign … likely redrawing of the 13th Congressional District due to the recent Florida Supreme Court decision.” Orlando WeeklyCrist says he intends to run for Congress – “Florida’s favorite tanned man … could jump into the political race again …” Tampa Bay TimesWelch won’t run for Congress if Crist does; Dudley still thinking about it – “State Rep. Dwight Dudley … ‘It’s still an open idea’ … County Commissioner Pinellas Ken Welch … sticking to the word he gave Crist after the state Supreme Court’s redistricting ruling … ‘I told him if he ran he’d have my support.’” Washington PostCharlie Crist is going to run for office again. But, why? – “Crist is an odd political duck. The things that most pols hate — gripping and grinning, raising money — are the things that make him excited.”


Few can toot their horns louder than me when I am right about a political prognostication, but I can also admit when I am wrong. And it’s important to admit, for the record and on my blog, when I am wrong about a major prediction.

Well, I was wrong about two major developments today.

The first is about Charlie Crist looking like he will run for the U.S. House. When news of this first broke, courtesy of Marc Caputo of POLITICO, I predicted that Crist would end up not running. I believed Crist was too interested in running for governor in 2018 to run in a redrawn Congressional District 13.

“Charlie Crist will not be running in 2016,” I tweeted. “You can take that to the bank.”

This past weekend, my wonderful wife employed every trick in the book to get Ella to pee in the potty. After two days of frustration, I was ready to give up. I told Michelle that I just didn’t think Ella was ready. She proved me wrong Sunday evening when she sat on the potty and “let it go.”

Like with Crist, I was over-analyzing Ella’s situation. I was forgetting that Ella, like Charlie Crist, often prefers the simplest path.

Bottom line: Ella Joyce peed when she was ready to pee. Charlie Crist will run when he is ready to run.

— “Carlos Curbelo not exactly ‘loser of the week’ after moving into leadership; Annette Taddeo” struggling via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News

BROWARD REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRWOMAN QUITS via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

The chairwoman of the Broward Republican Party told party members … she’s quitting just seven months after winning the party’s top job.

Christine Butler, who comes from the conservative wing of the party and has said she considers the tea party movement the “heart and conscience of the Republican Party,” also said she is moving to Palm Beach County where she is “contemplating” a run for the countywide office of supervisor of elections next year.

The party has had deep internal fissures in recent years and has been plagued with organizational and financial problems. Butler was the party’s seventh chairman in eight years.

Butler wrote in (an) email to the committeemen and committeewomen who make up the governing structure of the county Republican Party that she made her decision after “careful consideration of personal, career and political goals.”

Butler was elected in December 2014, winning 114 votes from the 214 Republican committeemen and committeewomen who voted; two other candidates split the 100 other votes.

The election the internal struggle over the party’s direction, and left social conservatives and political moderates divided.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Jamestown Associates, one of the most successful political and public affairs consulting firms in Florida and the nation. Jamestown produces victories for our clients by creating TV, radio, mail and digital advertising that gets the voters’ attention and their votes. Persuasive ads. Personalized attention. Detailed review of demographics, past election results and history. Understanding the client. Understanding Florida. Single-minded focus on winning. Jamestown’s work has been recognized with 50 Pollie and Reed awards. See how we can help you win. Visit***


Florida House and Senate leaders Monday called a special session from Aug. 10-21 to redraw congressional boundaries thrown out this month by the state Supreme Court.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli … and Senate President Andy Gardiner … said in a three-page memo to legislators that House and Senate redistricting staff have been ordered to prepare a “base map” which complies with the recent 5-2 ruling by justices.

The court found eight districts, including those currently held by U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel … and Ted Deutch … to be unconstitutional. But in redrawing the affected districts, as many as 20 of the state’s 27 congressional boundaries could be changed.

“We believe that presenting a base map that follows the Supreme Court order to you and the public will make it easier to discuss all legislative actions in an open and transparent manner,” Crisafulli and Gardiner said in their memo.

Justices found that Republican consultants played a significant role in drawing the congressional boundaries, violating voter-approved constitutional amendments that bar district lines from being drawn to help or hurt a party or an incumbent.

In their memo, the legislative leaders say they are seeking to avoid a repeat of such interference.


Rep. Jose Oliva … and Sen. Bill Galvano … will chair the respective House and Senate redistricting committees when lawmakers convene in a 12-day session beginning Aug. 10.

Also on the Senate committee are Republican Sens. Rob Bradley, Tom Lee and David Simmons. Democratic senators are Chris SmithAudrey Gibson and Bill Montford.

In addition to Oliva, the House committee will include Republican Reps. Travis CummingsLarry MetzMarlene O’TooleDavid Santiago, Jennifer SullivanCarlos Trujillo and Dana Young. Democratic representatives include Reggie Fullwood, Jared Moskowitz, Mark Pafford and Irv Slosberg.

Here’s the House’s membership and proposed schedule: Monday, August 10, 3:00 p.m. Special Session convenes; Tuesday, August 11, 9:00 a.m. Joint House and Senate Redistricting Committee meeting; Thursday, August 13, 9:00 a.m. House Select Committee on Redistricting meeting; Monday, August 17, 12:00 p.m. the House will be in Session; Tuesday, August 18, 10:00 a.m., the House will be in Session.

The Special Session will conclude on Friday, August 21, 2015, at noon, or upon final passage of a Congressional map.

TWEET, TWEET: @BylineBrandon: @By my count, the Legislature will have met in regular session, special session or committees in nine of the 12 months in 2015


In case you’re not quite following along, allow me to spell it out for you: One member of the Negron family (Joe) is the prohibitive frontrunner to be Senate President in 2016 and he definitely – definitely! – wields a pretty big broadsword. The other member (Rebecca, also a Republican) is making a run for Congress in what is currently Patrick Murphy’s congressional seat; a seat that is, at the present time, a true swing seat.

Let’s keep a close eye on the “currently” and the “at the present time” in that statement.

With the recent Florida Supreme Court ruling, the Florida Legislature must quickly begin redrawing our Congressional seats. Yes, the very same Legislature where Senator Joe wields that above-referenced sword – and he will have a lot to say about how the new congressional districts are drawn.

Including the one Mrs. Joe Negron is running in.

With a nip and a tuck and a few block groups here and nudge to a precinct line over there, that seat can fairly easily become more favorable to the GOP nominee.

A week ago, this wouldn’t seem like much of a temptation, not with the fairly weak Democratic field forming. But with AshBritt CEO Randy Perkins potentially jumping into the race (and likely coming with the backing of people named Kennedy and Shriver, not to mention a healthy checkbook and a robust fundraising list) the outcome of that race is far less certain than it was pre-Perkins.

So if my wife were running, I might be tempted to, you know, drop a few precincts here, add a few there. After all, who would notice? EVERYONE!


Jay Ferrin has left his position as the legislative analyst for the Senate Majority Office.

Chase Daniels has left his position as legislative assistant for state Sen. Charlie Dean.

Drew Aldikacti is the new legislative assistant for Sen. Dean.

Maria Chamorro is leaving her position as legislative assistant for state Sen. Anitere Flores.

Tiffany Lorente is the new district secretary for Sen. Flores.

J.J. Whitson is no longer legislative assistant for state Sen. Travis Hutson.

Jean Van Smith is leaving his post as legislative assistant for state Sen. David Simmons.

Carolyn Grzan is the new legislative assistant for Sen. Simmons.

Jeremy Shir has left his position as legislative assistant for Sen. Eleanor Sobel.


It’s been a relatively slow year so far for Will Weatherford as a political fundraiser and donor.

The former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives lists only seven contributors to his political committee over the past year, campaign finance records show. The biggest check yet given to the Wesley Chapel Republican’s committee is $425,000 from the Republican Party of Florida last July.

The next largest amount – $30,000 – came from Vestcor Companies, a Jacksonville-based real estate concern led by Republican donor John Rood, a former ambassador to the Bahamas under President George W. Bush.

Weatherford, whose name has been mentioned for a future run for governor or U.S. senator, departed the House last year after four terms, serving the last two years as speaker. House members face term limits after eight years.

This year, his “Committee for a Stronger Florida” has made a total of six contributions to campaigns and other committees.

In January, he led off with a $35,000 donation to Jobs for Florida, a political committee founded by Wilton Simpson, a Republican state senator from Trilby. Weatherford previously claimed income from his company, Red Eagle Group, which was paid by Simpson’s Pasco County asbestos removal company.

In February and March, he gave a combined $75,000 to Right to Rise, a political action committee that supports Jeb Bush’s run for president. His others include $1,000 to West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell’s bid for mayor, another $1,000 to Pasco PAC, a business-oriented political committee, and $5,000 to Together for a Greater Jacksonville, Lenny Curry’s political committee.

PRESS RELEASE LOST ON A BUSY DAY IN FLORIDA POLITICS: “Commissioner Putnam Encourages Floridians to Have a Year-Round Wildfire Action Plan”


Patricia “Patti” Nelson, who has led the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use since its inception in 2014, is leaving the department and joining the Executive Office of the Governor, according to a DOH spokesman on Monday.

“Patricia Nelson will be rejoining the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget,” read a response to an inquiry. “The Florida Department of Health is grateful for her service and wishes her well in her new position.”

That leaves a key position unfilled as the department undertakes the momentous task of reviewing applications for one of five licenses to manufacture medical cannabis as part of the state’s nascent Charlotte’s Web regime.

Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida co-founder and lobbyist Taylor Patrick Biehl told SaintPetersBlog he is sorry to see Nelson go.

“We can only hope that her exit doesn’t mean a delay for the patients that need and deserve relief from this important medicine,” he added.

But with 28 applications amounting to tens of thousands of pages currently up for review and now with no one at the helm of a challenging and novel legal process — how could it not?

A DOH spokesperson confirmed the move late Monday afternoon, and said the department does not expect a delay.

“We are actively searching for a new Director for the Office of Compassionate Use and hope to have an announcement soon,” read an email from DOH.

“As we transition, the department remains committed to getting this product to children with intractable epilepsy and people with advanced cancer as safely and quickly as possible. No delays are anticipated as a result of this transition.”

APPOINTED: Suzanne McCormick and Melissa Turney to the Children’s Services Council of Charlotte County.


Christopher Warren: University of North Florida

Chris Dudley: Southern Strategy Group: Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Sanford

Richard Kip: CompTIA Member Services, LLC

Mike Rogers: Florida Home Partnership, Florida Weatherization Network, Indiantown Non Profit Housing, St. Johns Housing Partnership.

***The Fiorentino Group is a full service government relations and business development firm providing a broad range of consulting services to clients looking to influence public policy and create new business opportunities. The Fiorentino Group’s team of advocates is one of the largest in the state and has decades of experience in state, local and federal government relations and new business development.***

LEGO TRIES TO BUILD A BETTER BRICK via Loretta Chao of the Wall Street Journal

Danish toy maker Lego A/S is giving its colorful bricks their first makeover since 1963. But it will take 15 years and, if the company can help it, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Executives are assembling a team of scientists to find a bio-based alternative to the petroleum-based plastic that has been used to make its bricks for decades because the popular building blocks are a significant contributor to the company’s carbon footprint.

It is expected to be a lengthy process, going to 2030, because none of today’s alternatives to plastics, such as those made from raw materials derived from plants, meet the company’s requirements for giving Lego bricks a consistent look and feel, said Tim Guy Brooks, the company’s senior director of environmental sustainability, in an interview.

“The ultimate prize would be not to notice one brick from another” when looking at old Legos made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, or ABS, and new bricks that the company eventually hopes to produce … And each of those pieces, whether basic blocks or the swiveling parts of characters in sets, must interlock with other pieces with unvarying precision.

Making Legos is “incredibly precise. We mold it to about four-thousandths of a millimeter,” said Brooks. ABS is “very durable, holds color really well…it even has a particular sound.”

TWEET, TWEET: @RepJimBoyd: Congrats to @ZachJohnsonPGA #TheOpenChampionship winner and an amazing Christian man of faith and family!

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.