Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – June 23

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The news of the day is really that there is no news. At least not about the issue driving the narrative at both the national and state levels.

The right of same-sex couples to marry and the ability of low- and middle-income Americans to receive subsidies to help them afford insurance under the health care overhaul are the two biggest cases among the seven still to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Opinions from the Court were not released Monday.

The justices will meet again Thursday to hand down more opinions and almost always finish their work by the end of June.

Meanwhile, the debate over the Confederate flag which has engulfed the state of South Carolina made its way to Florida, where every politicians from Rick Scott on down is being asked whether the Stars and Bars should be flown.

INSIDE THE REPUBLICAN REVERSAL ON THE CONFEDERATE FLAG via Eli Stokols and Katie Glueck of POLITICO

The carefully staged announcement came at 4 p.m. Monday, when a bipartisan group of black and white South Carolina elected officials filed in behind their governor as she called for the removal of a Confederate battle flag from the state Capitol grounds.

But it had been in the works since last Friday, ever since the pressure started to build in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s fatal shooting of nine African-American churchgoers by an avowed white supremacist in Charleston.

After a weekend that proved to be a political disaster for the GOP — Republican presidential candidates were knocked back on their heels, faced awkward questions about classifying it as a “hate crime” and also about the contributions some had received from a white supremacist leader whose work influenced the shooter — top party officials and several campaigns quickly fell in line behind the decision to remove the flag.

And for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Lindsey Graham and the state’s new Republican Party, the wrenching debate provided an opportunity, both politically and economically.

MARCO RUBIO NAVIGATES FLAG ISSUE CAREFULLY via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times 

As Gov. Haley said that South Carolina should take down the Confederate flag, Marco Rubio issued a statement praising her leadership.

It again displayed the careful approach GOP presidential contenders have taken since the massacre of nine people in a Charleston sparked a conversation about race.

“I applaud Governor Haley for her leadership at this difficult time,” Rubio said. “I appreciate and respect her statement that ‘This is South Carolina’s statehouse, it is South Carolina’s historic moment, and this will be South Carolina’s decision.’

“I have no doubt that given how the people of South Carolina have dealt with this tragedy so far, they will continue to inspire the nation with their courage, compassion and unity.”

It was the second time Rubio had addressed the issue and second time he avoided a direct opinon on the flag.

JEB BUSH EMAILS SHOW STRAIN OVER 2001 CONFEDERATE FLAG REMOVAL via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

In 2001, after he had the Confederate flag removed, Gov. Jeb Bush took some heat from those who saw it as history worth preserving. Bush told one man the flag would still be “proudly displayed” at a museum.

“With you removing the flags and especialy my beloved Confederate flag from the display at the Capitol grounds it would be proper to address you in a very diplomatic way,” a man named Jim from Madison wrote on Feb. 12, 2001.

“Sir, I cain’t do that, you have no conception of the history of Florida, but then again you are a YANKEE trying to run a Southern State, you just don’t get it do you??

“Sir, I voted for you, but NEVER again. I know you will never read my e-mail as you’ll have one of your flunkies respond, but this is my input and I hope this flag incident will be your down fall.”

Jim was probably shocked to get a response, from Bush himself, just over an hour later.

“Mr. Jenkins, I am reading your email and I don’t have flunkies around me. You will be able to see the flags that flew over Florida in the Museum of Florida History proudly displayed.”

BEN CARSON TAKES SHOT AT BUSH OVER ISSUE via The USA Today

The lone African-American in the GOP race and the only candidate to speak quickly and forcefully last week about the impact of race on the Charleston shooting, penned a USA Today op-ed today titled: “Call it racism.”

In the piece, Carson took shots at Bush and Lindsey Grahamwho declined to call the shooting a hate crime or talk much about race. “There are people who are claiming that they can lead this country who dare not call this tragedy an act of racism, a hate crime, for fear of offending a particular segment of the electorate,” Carson writes, embedding links of news reports about Graham and Bush.

PATRICK MURPHY ECHOES CALL FOR CONFEDERATE FLAG’S REMOVAL via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post

It’s been a touchy issue for Republican presidential contenders. … But U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Jupiter Democrat running for U.S. Senate, called … for South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from its state Capitol grounds in the wake of last week’s racially-motivated church shooting that claimed the lives of nine black residents.

“Now more than ever we must renew our commitment to unity over divisiveness, to healing over pain,” Murphy said.

“As a symbol of one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history, it is past time for the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina state capitol to come down. I urge Columbia lawmakers to make the right decision and remove it, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also out of respect for those who continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones,” he said.

RICK SCOTT, ON I-75 CONFEDERATE FLAG: ‘RIGHT NOW WE OUGHT TO BE MOURNING’ via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott says mourning the victims of last week’s tragic shooting in Charleston, S.C. trumps talking about the Confederate flag. In South Carolina, lawmakers appear poised to move the Confederate flag from the state Capitol in the wake of the shooting.

But in a stop in St. Petersburg … Scott would not address a similar issue inside Florida’s borders: a new movement to take down a massive Confederate Flag that greets I-75 drivers near the I-4 junction.

Every day, a 30 by 60 foot Confederate flag waves above drivers passing in and out of Hillsborough County. The Confederate symbol, long a source of controversy, has been intensely scrutinized since last week’s tragic slaying of nine African Americans in Emanuel AME, a historic black church.

Of special interest is the flag that is displayed above the South Carolina Capitol. There has been heated national debate about the flag, which some see as symbolic of institutional racism and some see as an important historical relic.

Scott’s office released this statement: “In Florida, the flag was removed under Governor Bush – and that was the right thing to do in our state. Right now we are praying and mourning for the loss of those who were brutally killed last week in Charleston. I am sure Governor Haley did the right thing for her state.”

Scott … also points out that the flag displayed above I-75 rests on private property. The flag and its surrounding memorial is maintained by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

HERE’S THE SPEECH A SMART REPUBLICAN SHOULD GIVE ABOUT THE CONFEDERATE FLAG via Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post

Republicans running for president continue to struggle to find the right words to say when it comes to the debate over where and whether the Confederate flag should fly at the state Capitol in Columbia, S.C. — a conversation set off by the admiration expressed for that symbol by Dylann Roof, the man who shot and killed nine people in a church in Charleston last week.

The default position adopted by the 2016 field in the five days since the shootings, appears to be: I, personally, believe the Confederate flag belongs in a museum. But this is a states’ rights issue — and I would let the people of South Carolina make up their own minds about where their flag belongs.

But it’s the wrong position — both morally and politically. Taking a stand against flying the flag — a la Mitt Romney over the weekend — would be a distinguishing moment for someone in this field, a not-insignificant factor given the massive number of people running and the clump of people in single digits in polling right now.  One of the keys to being a successful politician is to see where the country is heading and beat them to it. This is one of those moments.

So for any Republican listening, here’s what you should say — ideally in a speech in Charleston or, at least, in South Carolina:

I know there’s been a lot of talk of late about the Confederate flag in connection to the horrors that Dylann Roof inflicted on this state and this community.  Many of my friends running for the Republican nomination have condemned his actions while also refusing to say whether what he did in the name of preserving some sort of misguided vision of the “old South” should occasion the removal of the Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds.

I am here to tell you it should.

Whether you like it or not — and I recognize that plenty of you won’t agree with  me here — the Confederate flag has become a rallying point for the sort racism and bigotry that Dylann Roof used to justify the tragedy he visited on this state.  No, I am not accusing every person in this audience or in this state or in this country who believes the Confederate flag should keep flying in South Carolina of being like Dylann Roof. But I am telling you that whatever the Confederate flag once meant to you, there is no place for it flying over any government building in this state orany state.

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BUSH, MARCO RUBIO SOLIDIFY FRONT-RUNNER STATUS via Patrick O’Connor of the Wall Street Journal

Bush and Rubio are solidifying their positions at the front of the pack of Republican presidential contenders, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with large shares of social conservatives, centrists and gun-rights backers within the GOP saying they are open to supporting either candidate. Three-quarters of GOP primary voters say they could see themselves supporting … Bush or … Rubio, a significantly larger share than for any other contender.

Three-quarters of GOP primary voters say they could see themselves supporting … Bush or Rubio, a significantly larger share than for any other contender. The news is particularly good for Bush … who has weathered a mixed set of developments in recent weeks. The potential support for Bush rose slightly, by five percentage points, since April and has jumped 26 points since March. Moreover, few voters seem concerned about the relatives of past presidents running for the White House, something that was seen as a liability for Bush when he began building his campaign.

BUSH LAYS OUT POST-OBAMACARE PLAN FOR THE GOP via S.V. Date of National Journal

With a major Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act expected by the end of the month, Bush recently wandered away from the GOP harmony by pointing out that the health insurance exchanges at the heart of the court case were originally “a Republican idea.”

In an interview with The Des Moines Register following his formal announcement as a candidate last week, Bush noted that the concept was two decades old. “They were first conceived as an alternative to Hillarycare,” he said.

Bush, who typically answers every question he is asked, did not respond to a National Journalquery on the topic during his Washington visit last week.

In the Iowa newspaper interview, though, he made his pitch for what congressional Republican leaders should do if the court sides with the law’s conservative challengers and invalidates subsidies in states that don’t have exchanges. Bush sees it as an opportunity to pass legislation giving “broad discretion to states to create exchanges that would look more like a Republican vision of how you expand access to health care insurance.”

“The president’s likely to veto that. You don’t know until you get it there, though,” he told the Register.

LOBBYISTS: EASY TARGET, EASY TOUCH FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES via Tarini Parti of POLITICO

Despite raising millions from lobbyists, many 2016 presidential hopefuls are using a message that then-candidate Barack Obama used in 2008, decrying lobbyists and vowing not to be influenced by special interests. Obama’s campaign, however, went a step farther and rejected lobbyist contributions, and later on, the president barred lobbyists from working for the administration (eventually, the ban was lifted for several lobbyists through a waiver). None of the candidates this time around has gone that far, but that hasn’t stopped them from using the Obama-esque rhetoric – even though many have ties to lobbyists.”

But as voters grow increasingly frustrated with Washington, turning their backs on their wealthy D.C. friends — at least on the stump — is a calculation many candidates have been willing to make.

“Bashing lobbyists has always been very popular,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, a reform group that works on campaign finance and government ethics issues. “It has an inherent appeal to voters, but the hypocrisy this election is breathtaking.”

Several lobbyists who have actively raised money for presidential hopefuls said they’ve become such predictable punching bags that the negative comments have no effect on their decisions about campaign donations, especially since no candidate has announced plans to shun lobbyists like the Obama campaign did.

Many of those supporting Bush said they didn’t notice the former governor’s criticisms of the industry, even though they listened to his speech. Some also stressed that they’re the “white hat” lobbyists and not the ones the candidates are calling out.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Bush will attend a fundraiser tonight in Greenwich, Conn. Co-hosts include Bush’s aunt and uncle, Jody and Jon Bush.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Suffolk University will release results of a poll focused on New Hampshire GOP presidential primary candidates.

PATRICK MURPHY HOLDS SOLID LEAD OVER GOP U.S. SENATE CANDIDATES

Democratic candidates hold small early leads in Florida’s 2016 U.S. Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released Monday.

In possible matchups in the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Florida:

  • Democratic U.S. Rep. Murphy tops Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera 40 – 28 percent;
  • Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson tops Lopez-Cantera 37 – 31 percent;
  • Murphy tops Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis 39 – 31 percent;
  • Grayson tops DeSantis 38 – 32 percent;

The possible candidates are largely unknown at this point as the percentage of voters who don’t know enough about each candidate ranges from 62 percent to 81 percent.

“The U.S. Senate candidates in Florida might want to put their pictures on milk cartons to increase their visibility,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. “U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is the best-known, but 62 percent of voters don’t know him well-enough to have an opinion about him. The ‘don’t know’ numbers for the others are even worse.”

HOW SUNSHINE STATE NEWS FRAMED THE Q-POLL: “Candidates looking to replace Marco Rubio are largely unknown, poll shows

OBAMA UNDERWATER IN FLORIDA, BUT RUBIO AND BILL NELSON IN SOLID SHAPE via Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News

Despite carrying Florida twice, President Barack Obama remains underwater in the Sunshine State… Quinnipiac University … finds a majority of those surveyed — 51 percent — disapprove of Obama while 43 percent approve of his performance in the White House. … Only 5 percent are not sure how they feel about Obama.

… Half of those surveyed — 50 percent — approve of Rubio. … Only 12 percent are not sure how they feel about Rubio.

Despite having been in the Senate since first being elected in 2000, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, is not as well-known, with 48 percent approving of him and 27 percent disapproving of him. … (A) quarter of those surveyed — 26 percent — are not sure how they feel about Nelson who has held elected office in the Sunshine State for four decades.

WHAT THE GOV’S OFFICE IS READING — ENTERPRISE FLORIDA ENTERS FRAY FOR CONNECTICUT-BASED CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS AETNA, GE via Ashley Gurbal Kritzer of the Tampa Bay Business Journal

Enterprise Florida is getting in the game of trying to lure Connecticut-based corporate headquarters to the Sunshine State. The state’s economic development agency … has taken out radio ads in Connecticut, promising a visit from Gov. Scott.

Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy hasn’t yet signed the budget into law, though it’s passed the state legislature. Malloy has proposed a special session to explore cutting some of the tax increases.

Connecticut-based Aetna … officials also said they would consider moving their headquarters out of state if the budget passes. But the state’s proposed budget hikes have drawn anger from Connecticut-based Aetna … and General Electric … both of which issued statements saying they would consider moving their headquarters out of state if the budget passes.

“If you are a business that wants to pay less taxes so you can earn more money, come to Florida,” the ad says. “Florida Gov. Rick Scott is coming to Connecticut to share the Florida story of lower taxes and more jobs.”

Scott is known for a blunt, aggressive approach to economic development. In February, he led a publicized mission to Philadelphia, to recruit Pennsylvania-based jobs. But there’s already heavy competition for attention in Connecticut: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s correspondence with GE went public in mid-June.

If GE and Aetna are sincere about looking to relocate their headquarters, it could be a perfectly timed opportunity for Tampa. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is looking to lure a headquarters to his billion-dollar, mixed-use district in downtown Tampa.

IN MIAMI FOR TAX-CUT TOUR, GOV. SCOTT CALLS STATE SPENDING PLAN ‘A GOOD BUDGET’ via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald

Scott dropped by the Miami suburb of Doral … to trumpet tax cuts in the budget state lawmakers approved Friday — even though they’re only about half of what he had had asked for in January.

Standing at Sergio’s Restaurant, Scott started a chant in English and Spanish — “Cut my taxes! Cut my taxes! Recorta mis impuestos! Recorta mis impuestos!” — and held up his iPhone to note the state’s communications tax charged on most cell phone and cable TV bills will drop to 4.92 percent from 6.65 percent, saving an average person about $20 a year from a monthly bill of $100.

Asked about getting less from legislators than he sought, Scott still declared himself “excited.”

“I’m excited that we got $400 million in tax cuts. I want to thank all the legislators that helped get that done,” he said. “We cut taxes every year. Before this year, 40 tax cuts; $400 million this year. I’m not going to complain…. This is a good budget year.”

He wouldn’t say if the budget has too much spending on lawmakers’ pet projects, or go into detail on how he plans to pick which items to veto.

“I’ll be going through the budget like I’ve done every year,” he said. “I started working on it this weekend…. The same way I go through it every time, I make sure it’s good for all Florida families. I’m going to watch your money. I want to continue to make sure we have tax cuts.”

SCOTT HAS FINAL SAY ON BUDGET ‘SPRINKLING’ via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

It’s so special, politicians in Tallahassee have a code word for it: “Sprinkling.” … sprinkling of the state budget with hundreds of parochial projects, many of them questionable, and every one of them charged to you, the Florida taxpayer. Let’s see if the governor has an inkling about sprinkling. I’ll bet he does.

The brand-new $78.7 billion budget now sitting on Scott‘s wooden desk has a flood of sprinkling in it and Scott is the only person alive with the power to say no to his fellow Republicans and their big appetites.

The fiscally conservative, small government governor who tells us it’s the public’s money, not the Legislature’s, used the sledgehammer to erase $368 million in spending two years ago.

You name it and Scott eliminated it.

He vetoed money for homeless shelters, mobile dental labs, Alzheimer’s respite care and rape crisis centers….  Scott said state tax money is not for local needs, nor should it be given to specific vendors or to private groups “not affiliated with the state,” as his 2013 veto letter said.

The three-week special session … destined to be remembered for last Monday’s late-night lists of House and Senate “supplemental funding issues” that ran $300 million or $150 million per side for colleges, cultural programs, YMCAs, hot meals for seniors and water and sewer repairs.

The rest of the budget is sprinkled with hundreds more projects, and that is why the budget falls short of Scott’s targets of bigger tax cuts and record per-student school funding and why the state “couldn’t afford” a small pay raise for rank-and-file state workers or to make a serious dent in the waiting lists for programs for the needy.

SOCCER COMPLEX AMONG NORTHEAST FLORIDA PROJECTS LISTED ON BUDGET via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union

Tucked inside the state’s new $78.7 billion budget is $5 million to help build a sports complex that will partially serve as a training space for the Jacksonville Armada soccer team.

The money is found in two separate budget line items, each named “Youth Soccer Academy and Training Grounds — Northeast Florida.” The Times-Union obtained a copy of a handout created by the project’s backers that outlines a public-private partnership to build the complex, which is expected to cost $20 million to $25 million at completion.

The project would ultimately include seven pro-size soccer fields, a 15,000-square-foot facility, bleachers and parking. It would be used by the Armada and other professional soccer clubs, the Armada reserve team, as well as the Jacksonville Football Club and other youth teams for practices and tournaments.

The Armada currently trains at Patton Park on Jacksonville’s Southside, a city-owned park leased to the First Coast Soccer Association. The city of Jacksonville and Jax Chamber are listed on the handout as supporters of the training complex, but the handout doesn’t say where this new facility would be located.

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SUE LEGISLATURE FOR FAILING ON AMENDMENT 1 via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

As they threatened to do, the environmental movement in Florida is not abiding by the state Legislature’s failure to comply with Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Initiative in the Florida Constitution approved last fall by voters. A lawsuit was filed in Leon County Circuit Court on Monday afternoon by the Earthjustice group on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Senate President Andy Gardiner and the entire Legislature are named in the suit.

The amendment requires that for the next 20 years, 33 percent of the proceeds from real estate documentary-stamp taxes go for land acquisition. For the upcoming year, the share of the real-estate tax is projected to bring in more than $740 million.

The lawsuit contends that instead the Legislature “misappropriated” more than $300 million of the money and devoted it for to purposes not allowed for the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment finding that the Legislature has violated the state constitution by misappropriating that money.

One of the bill’s biggest critics in the Legislature, Umatilla Republican state Sen. Alan Hays, wrote last week that “while the proponents of Amendment 1 would now like us to believe their purpose was to require the state to purchase more land, the ballot language above clearly shows there is no requirement to spend a specific portion solely on land acquisition. Neither does the language indicate the entire sum is to be used for new purchases. Rather, the actual text of the amendment recognizes the broader responsibility in protecting and improving the state’s natural resources. In fact, arguing in favor of Amendment 1 before its passage, proponents contended the amendment would not require cuts to other programs or increases in revenues since nothing in the amendment prevented the use of funds for existing programs, including operating expenses.”

Hays also said during a committee meeting he chaired, “We don’t need to be known as the hoarding-land state. We need to be known as good stewards of the resources that the people own.”

WOULD LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RESIGN FOR U.S. SENATE RUN? via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald

Scott made light … in Miami that his appointed lieutenant governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, is poised to announce a 2016 U.S. Senate run next month.

“We’re going to do this every year, year in and year out,” Scott said of tax cuts in the state budget. “Carlos and I have another three years in Tallahassee — well he might change what he’s doing,” he added, to laughter. “But we have another three years to cut more taxes.”

Lopez-Cantera, who was standing next to him, told the Miami-Dade County Republican Party … that he will announce his decision July 15 whether to seek presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s seat. Because he holds a state office but would run for a federal one, Lopez-Cantera would not be required by law to resign his position as lieutenant governor.

Scott was asked if he would ask Lopez-Cantera to step aside anyway. The governor said he’d leave that decision to his deputy.

“He’s been a very good lieutenant governor,” Scott said. “I’ve enjoyed working with Carlos. He was very good when we worked together when he was in the House as majority leader. I think he did a great job here in Miami [as property appraiser]. Those are decisions he’ll make.”

BILL GALVANO TAPPED TO LEAD GOP SENATE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News

With the 2015 legislative session behind state lawmakers, Florida Republican senators are wasting no time, already gearing up for 2016 campaign efforts. In a move widely expected to energize Republican Senate fundraising efforts come next year, Sen. Bill Galvano … will take the helm of the 2016 Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Sen. President Andy Gardiner … announced Galvano’s selection in an email sent to GOP caucus members: “Now that session is behind us, it’s time to focus our attention on acquiring the resources necessary to continue our success at the ballot box … It is critical that we remain focused and committed to our Senate majority.”

Gardiner said he was secure in selecting Galvano to head the FRSCC and believed the Bradenton Republican has what it takes to ensure campaign success for Republicans come 2016.

“I am confident he, with the continued involvement of Senator (Lizbeth) Benacquisto, will ensure that the FRSCC has the resources and infrastructure necessary as we head into the 2016 campaign cycle,” wrote Gardiner.

Observers say Galvano is a logical choice since he has already garnered broad support of the Republican Caucus. As Senate majority leader, Galvano has serious influence in the Senate and is widely expected to be elected the Senate president in 2018.

Galvano’s appointment comes on the heels of a back-and-forth between Sens. Joe Negron … and Jack Latvala … both of whom are competing for the title of 2016 Senate president. Negron already has a majority of the votes pledged to him but Latvala refuses to concede.

JOE GRUTERS ROUNDS UP LEADING REPUBLICANS TO BACK STATE HOUSE BID via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News

GOP leader Joe Gruters is running for the Florida House in 2016 … drawing the support of the some of the leading Republicans in the Sunshine State.  Gruters, the current vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), filed earlier this month to run for the House seat currently held by Rep. Greg Steube … who is expected to run for the Florida Senate seat currently held by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, who is expected to run for country office.

Gruters played up his Republican credentials in an email to supporters: “For the last 20 years I have been working at the grassroots level as both a party activist and leader including having served as Congressman Buchanan’s campaign manager, as president of the Young Republicans, as a volunteer on numerous campaigns, as vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and for the last seven years as the chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, a post which I held longer than any other chairman in Sarasota County’s history.”

Showcasing his “strong conservative values,” Gruters promised to fight for Republicans in Tallahassee: “I will fight to support our conservative social values, control the budget, reduce taxes, stop Obamacare’s damage to our health care system, and oppose Common Core from being imposed by Washington on our schools.”

No other candidates have filed for the seat besides Steube.

SAVE THE DATE: Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd announced a major fundraiser in September to support his re-election bid to House District 71. Boyd served as Deputy Majority Leader and Whip for the 2014-2016 Legislative Term. The event will be Wednesday, September 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, 7051 Wireless Court in Sarasota.

District 71 includes most of Manatee County west of U.S. 41, parts of Sarasota north of downtown and along the waterfront through Longboat Key.

PERSONNEL NOTE — LEE KILLINGER LEAVES ANFIELD CONSULTING FOR NEW ROLE AT THE MOSAIC CO.

Influential environmental lobbyist Lee Killinger is leaving the boutique public affairs firm Anfield Consulting for a new role at The Mosaic Co.

As director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Killinger will direct Tallahassee advocacy efforts for the phosphate unit of the nation’s leading producer of agricultural nutrients.

“I’m excited to add Lee to the Mosaic team,” said Eileen Stuart, Vice President, Public Affairs – Phosphates for Mosaic. “His deep environmental expertise and reputation for substance and pragmatism will serve Mosaic well in Tallahassee and help us continue to create economic opportunities in the communities that our 4,000 Florida employees call home.”

Mosaic is the Polk County-based phosphate fertilizer mining and manufacturing firm: the world’s largest combined producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash. Killinger will be a principle adviser to the company’s leadership on government affairs initiatives.

With more than 25 years of environmental know-how, Killinger’s tenure at Anfield helped cement the firm’s reputation as “the water guys,” with advocacy before the Legislature, the Governor’s Office, Cabinet, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and various water management districts.

Previously, Killinger was director of Government and Community Relations for the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, where he directed the group’s state and federal legislative agendas. He also acted as general counsel for the Florida Association of Counties and worked in the Office of Legislative and Cabinet Affairs at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. There, he represented the DEP on Everglades, wetlands, and water permitting matters.

Killinger will be based in Tallahassee.

IN THE DEPARTURE LOUNGE – RIVERS BUFORD, JAMES CALL, ERIN GILLESPIE

Summertime often sees a flurry of personnel moves in the world of government and politics. Continuing this occasional series, we update you on who’s in the Departure Lounge.

First up is Rivers Buford, formerly the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Florida Institute of CPAs and previous to that the Director of Legislative Affairs at the Department of State.

On June 9, Buford wrote on his Facebook page, “Today I begin my last day as Director of Governmental Affairs for the Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA). It has been an enjoyable journey and I had the pleasure of working with a good group of folks. I leave to take care of family business but will return to the policy (and political) arena somewhere once we get our ducks in a row.”

With Buford no longer at the FICPA, does this mean our friend Justin Thames will get a promotion? Let’s hope so.

To date, none of Extensive Enterprises’ writers have found themselves in the Departure Lounge, but veteran reporter James Call is the first. We hired Call last year to help us launch PoliticsOfPot.com and to serve as a correspondent in Tallahassee — both tasks he performed ably. Call’s work for our magazine, INFLUENCE, was especially good. However, this publisher is probably too much of a hot stove player to stay put, so we parted ways with Call, who we are confident will land on his feet.

Erin Gillespie is no longer the Press Secretary for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — but this is a good thing. Gillespie is now the Communications Director at the Department of Economic Opportunity.

CONTEXT FLORIDA: AIF & AMENDMENT 1, THE POPE & POLITICS AND BUREAUCRACIES

On Context Florida: In Tallahassee, there was no shortage of opinions spend the money voters approved for Amendment 1. Throughout the debate, Brewster Bevis of the Associated Industries of Florida says some have tried to hold our lawmakers to an arbitrary standard, arguing for tens of millions of dollars for land-buying that the state doesn’t need and taxpayers simply cannot afford. Thankfully, cooler heads in our state’s representative branch of government have prevailed. There’s a reason your mama told you not to bring up politics or religion in company, says Diane Roberts. Things are bound to get ugly. If you’re a religious conservative politico running for president, you might want to steer clear of science, too, especially now that Pope Francis has delivered himself of an encyclical urging action on climate change. You will sound stupid. Martin County residents tangled with the Florida Department of Transportation bureaucracy last week over FDOT plans for an ugly, six-lane highway with concrete noise walls as the entrance to the county from Interstate 95. Sally Swartz says the FDOT – with the help of its copycat bureaucracy, the local Metropolitan Planning Organization — won. As usual.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

THE HOTTEST SPRING ON RECORD

This past May was the hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May 2015 was the highest for May in the 136-year period of record, at 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F)’ said NOAA. This breaks the previous record, which was set last May.

It was also the hottest March to May on record and the hottest January to May on record as well. So, if trends continue, as they are predicted to, this year will surpass last year as the hottest on record.

OH FLORIDA…

… DRONE FOLLOWS WOMAN FROM BAR, CRASHES INTO HER CAR via CBS Tampa Bay

A drone reportedly followed a woman from a Tampa bar and then crashed into the roof of her car.

WFLA-TV reports Dan Mouneimne’s stepdaughter was at a Tampa bar when a drone started hovering over her. It then followed her to her car and crashed into the roof.

“You can hurt somebody with this,” Mouneimne told WFLA. “By chasing them, just like it did with Emily. It chased her there to here. She got in her car and it fell on her car.”

Mouneimne says he called police after the incident, but that there was little they could do about it.

“It’s an invasion of people’s privacy,” he told WFLA. “Can go places and see what other people are doing, record them, taking video tapes. People’s lives are not a game.”

Attorney Bryant Camareno says “laws are not up to date” on drones.

“Since drones are relatively new, right now there are no laws that cover what a drone can do and can they video tape from afar? … So that’s right, I think the legislature needs to look at it and do something about it.”

… MAN ACCIDENTLY SHOOTS HIMSELF DURING GUN SAFETY CLASS via the Associated Press

A man accidentally shot himself during a gun safety class at an Orlando pawn shop. Orange County Sheriff’s officials did not identify the 23-year-old victim but said the incident happened Saturday at the Instant Replay Pawn Shop and Shooting Range.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the bullet grazed his leg. He was taken to the hospital with nonlife threatening injuries.

… MAN HIGH ON FLAKKA SAYS “SECRET AGENCY” CHASED HIM via Ted Scouten of CBS Miami

A man high flakka told Broward deputies he broke into several apartments because he was being chased by a “secret agency.” … At 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Irakli Matcharashvili heard his mother screaming and saw a strange man tugging on the sliding glass door on her patio.

“She was holding the glass door,” he said, “because the other was already open and she was holding like this and the guy was trying to open from the other side.”

Investigators said the man who was trying to get in was Anthony Demps. Irakli ran after him. He said Demps tried to break in to other apartments along the way.

“When he was running, he was trying to get to the other apartments,” he said. “He was like turning, trying to open the door and when it was not open, he would continue to run.”

Investigators said he tried to get into six apartments, beginning with a ground floor unit a few buildings away from Irakli. He got into an apartment two buildings away.

Shortly after that he was arrested, BSO said he admitted this whole ordeal came after a night of smoking flakka.

“He told the deputy that he was worried a secret federal government was after him and trying to take his daughter away …”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.