Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – May 20

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

Today’s SachsFact is brought to you by the public affairs, integrated marketing and reputation management experts at Sachs Media Group: Today Florida marks the 150th anniversary of its return to the Union and the day slaves formally learned they were free. On May 20, 1865, Brigadier General Edward McCook ordered the United States flag raised over the state’s Capitol building, ending Florida’s period as a Confederate state. McCook, the commander of Federal occupation forces in Florida, also announced the Emancipation Proclamation. The Civil War was officially over for Florida, but the uncertainty of Reconstruction was just beginning.

DAYS UNTIL Special Session 11; Gov. Scott’s Economic Growth Summit: 12; Sine Die: 31; Major League Baseball All-Star game: 54; First GOP presidential debate: 77; Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts: 212; First Day of 2016 Legislative Session: 237; Iowa Caucuses: 257: Florida’s Presidential Primary: 299; Florida’s 2016 Primary Election: 468; Florida’s 2016 General Election: 538.

LENNY CURRY ELECTED JACKSONVILLE MAYOR via Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry defeated Democratic incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown on Tuesday with help from powerful friends like Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Curry was able to tap into friendships he earned while leading the state GOP as well as party resources to defeat Brown, who four years ago became Jacksonville’s first black mayor and the first Democrat to win the position in 20 years.

Brown narrowly won office then by positioning himself as a conservative Democrat who tried to avoid partisan politics. He said he wanted to work with Republican Gov. Rick Scott to bring jobs to the area and upset local Democrats by not appearing with President Barack Obama at a 2012 campaign rally.

The opposite is true for Curry, who made it clear he’s a conservative Republican.

When Curry left his position with the Republican party last year while Scott was battling for re-election, Brown’s approval rating was hovering around 70 percent with crossover support from Republicans.

But Curry was able to use his experience at the party to help build his support, particularly with data-driven campaign techniques. He also repeatedly hit Brown with a message that the mayor was to blame for a spike in violent crime because of cuts at the police department and for budget problems in the city.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry campaigned with Curry, as did Rubio. Bush taped a video for him. All three are eyeing the White House and realize Jacksonville, Florida’s largest city, will be a key area if they want to carry the state in 2016.

HOW CURRY’S WIN IS PLAYING

Orlando SentinelFormer state GOP chairman elected Jacksonville mayor – “… Lenny Curry defeated the mayor by blaming him for rising violent crime and budget problems. He also tapped into state party resources and friendships made while GOP chairman.”  WJXT Jacksonville, Alvin Brown concedes mayor’s race to Lenny Curry – “’I want to thank all my supporters, who were there from the beginning, all the way to the end,” (Alvin) Brown said. ‘I’m so proud of the progress we made. We left a strong foundation to build on.’” Florida Times-UnionLenny Curry defeats Alvin Brown – “Brown is greeted by big cheers … ‘No matter what side of town, I’m going to there for you’ … He said Jacksonville is a city of opportunity for all.” First Coast NewsCurry ousts Brown in Jacksonville mayor race – “The Curry victory follows a series of televised debates in which the pair sparred over everything, ranging from their opponents’ track records to the city’s violent crime problem.” WJCT News, Lenny Curry Wins Jacksonville Mayor’s Race; Brown: ‘Going To Always Be There For You’ – “Just after conceding, Brown told his supporters he won’t stop trying to improve the city.” Tampa Bay TimesLenny Curry defeats incumbent Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown in Jacksonville – “’Soak it in with me. Just soak it in,’ Curry told supporters at top of his victory speech. He pledged to work with Brown on ‘one Jacksonville.’”

REAX

Rick Scott: “I congratulate my friend Lenny Curry, the new Mayor of Jacksonville.  I look forward to working with Lenny to continue to grow economic opportunities in one of Florida’s greatest cities.  I also want to thank outgoing Mayor Alvin Brown for his service to the people of Jacksonville and I wish him well in his next endeavor.”

Florida GOP chair Blaise Ignoglia: “Today, residents across Jacksonville sent a clear message: Lenny Curry is the right leader, with the right vision to help empower the people of Jacksonville. Mayor-elect Curry will return strong leadership to the Mayor’s office, and will help create more economic opportunities for families. This race captured the nation’s attention, and with all eyes on Jacksonville we were able to deliver an important win. This victory is a clear, strong preview of the successful community engagement and digital outreach we plan to execute across Florida for the 2016 elections.”

Florida Democratic Party’s Allison Tant: “I commend Mayor Alvin Brown on running an honorable and hard fought campaign. For the past four years, Alvin stood strong for the values and principles that have made Jacksonville a world-class city. Mayor Brown’s leadership has helped create 36,000 new jobs, brought new businesses to town, and revitalized Jacksonville’s economy. I could not be prouder of Alvin’s successful term as mayor and his hard working campaign team.”

TWEET, TWEET: @JebBush: @Congrats to my friend @LennyCurry on becoming the next mayor of Jacksonville! Proof Republicans can win in cities with the right message.

TWEET, TWEET: @MarcACaputo: Remember all those times Mayor Alvin Brown distanced himself from fellow Democrat Charlie Crist? Sure woulda helped having a Dem gov 2night

TWEET, TWEET: @RPerrinRogers: @Say what you will about him, but @GoMeteoric is a man with a plan who gets results

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NEW PEW POLL SHOWS MARCO RUBIO VIEWED POSITIVELY BY 75 PERCENT OF GOP VOTERS 65 AND OLDER via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

A Pew Research poll … shows that Republican primary voters are more excited to vote for a president than in the past two election cycles. It also shows that while Hillary Clinton remains extremely popular among Democratic voters, her support is the lowest in a Pew Poll since the spring of 2008, when she was last competing to run for president.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults shows that 57 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning registered voters say they have an excellent or good impression of their party’s presidential candidates. That’s higher than this time four years ago, when just 44 percent of Republicans viewed the field of GOP candidates as excellent or good.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush is the best known of those Republican included in the survey, but he also has the highest unfavorable rating: 52 percent of Republicans and those leaning Republican view Bush favorably, while 35 percent view him unfavorably.

About half of Republicans (51 percent) view Marco Rubio favorably, compared with 20 percent who have an unfavorable impression, but 29 percent are unable to rate the Florida senator. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is viewed favorably by 46 percent, while 17 percent rate him unfavorably, and 36 percent are unable to rate him. And 45 percent view Ted Cruzfavorably, compared with 25 percent who view him unfavorably, with 30 percent unable to rate him.

There also are demographic differences in Republicans’ views of these six GOP contenders. Older Republicans and those leaning Republican – those 65 and older – give especially positive ratings to Rubio and Walker. By an overwhelming 64 percent to 6 percent margin, older Republicans hold a favorable view of Walker. And the 43-year-old Rubio is viewed positively by three-quarters of Republicans 65 and older (75 percent), while just 11 percent view him negatively (14 percent did not offer a rating).

TWEET, TWEET: @TomT_FL: Marco Rubio wins Florida Family Policy Council Presidential Forum straw poll … Ted Cruz 2nd, Jeb Bush ties with Scott Walker for 3rd

A (RANDY) FINE BID FOR SENATE? via Marc Caputo of POLITICO

For months, Republican insiders have buzzed with the notion that an independent non-politician millionaire would make a formidable candidate for U.S. Senate – and now it’s looking likelier that they have their man: Randy Fine, a self-made businessman who’s already an announced candidate for the soon-to-be-open Florida House District 53 seat in Brevard County. Fine is willing to drop “seven figures” if he jumps in the race, according to those with whom he has spoken about a run. Whether he spends $1 million or a dollar less than $10 million is anyone’s guess. But it’s clear he’s seriously considering.

Fine has so far met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Heritage Foundation and members of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He flew out to RJC’s Las Vegas meeting earlier this month and spoke with people close to RJC funder/GOP sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson. Like Adelson, Fine is involved with the gaming industry and boasts on his web page of helping “Carl Icahn turn around and sell his gaming company for a $1 billion profit.

JOHN RUTHERFORD FOR CONGRESS? DEPARTING JACKSONVILLE SHERIFF WILL SEEK DESANTIS’ VACATED POST via Dan Scanlan of the Florida Times-Union

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford made his next political step known on Election Day by confirming he will seek the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Ron DeSantis’ run for U.S. Senate.

That makes Jacksonville’s top cop at least the second Northeast Florida person to be pursuing the now vacant Congress seat on the day when two other men were vying for the final votes to take over his job.

DeSantis is running for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, one of many Republicans seeking the presidency in 2016. But during a phone-in conversation on WJCT-FM’s First Coast Connect news program … host Melissa Ross had an Election Day question for the sheriff’s political future.

Since Rutherford is term-limited and retiring this year, Ross asked him if he could “confirm or deny” talk that he is eyeing the DeSantis seat.

St. Johns County Republican Party Chairman Bill Korach knows Rutherford and calls him an “honorable man” who has something to offer for Congress.

ON C-SPAN, DAVID JOLLY CALLS DEMOCRATS CRITICISM ON AMTRAK FUNDING IRRESPONSIBLE AND OFFENSIVE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

House Republicans voted to cut part of Amtrak’s budget, less than a day after a train crash outside of Philadelphia resulted in eight deaths and more than 200 injuries. Democrats criticized Republicans, pointing to the train tragedy as a prime example of the dangers of shortchanging the nation’s transportation needs. However, the cut would apply only to Amtrak’s capital spending, and wouldn’t touch funding levels for safety and operations. The measure still needs to clear the full House and Senate before it would go into effect in October.

David Jolly calls such criticism by Democrats regarding infrastructure spending as “irresponsible.”

“Those who wish to play politics with this, one, it’s a stretch too far, and two, it’s a little offensive,” Jolly said … while appearing on C-SPAN’s National Journal program.

Jolly then went over the timeline of the events … describing how the Appropriations Committee meeting was scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. … the same time that the National Transportation Safety Board officials arrived at the crash site in Pennsylvania to begin their investigation.

Jolly then said if there were “additional resources” needed to address a specific fix with Amtrak that would have prevented the accident, “Of course Congress is going to embrace it.”

The specific answer to slowing trains down is called positive train control (PTC). It was authorized for Amtrak by Congress years ago, but they also did not designate funds to carry it out …  The 2008 congressional measure called for Amtrak to have place positive train control on all trains by the end of 2015, which the train company admits is a deadline they won’t be able to meet. There has been issues with Amtrak having trouble to successfully implement that system.

Meanwhile, one reason why infrastructure spending has not kept pace in recent years is that one of the main sources of funding, the Highway Trust Fund, has seen its revenues sag tremendously over time. The Trust Fund’s primary source of revenue is the gas tax, which has not been raised in over 20 years, staying at 18.4 cents per gallon. Although there has been demand in some quarters for that tax to be raised, Jolly said on C-SPAN the American people don’t want that to happen.

SHOULD RAY PILON BE WORRIED ABOUT DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGE? via Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

With Democrat Edward James III considering running for the state Legislature, incumbent State Rep. Ray Pilon could be looking at a much tougher re-election in 2016 than he had in 2014.

Pilon, a Republican, easily won his re-election in 2014, defeating Democrat Greg Para 58 percent to 42 percent.

While it looks like a one-sided defeat, James is undoubtedly looking at how the district performed in 2012 – the last time the contest was on the ballot in the same year as the presidential cycle like it will be in 2016. In presidential cycles Democrats typically see a boost in turnout that favors their candidates.

In 2012 that boost could be seen in Pilon’s first re-election campaign. Pilon won his re-election over Democrat Liz Alpert 54 percent to 46 percent.

But Pilon’s win came at a cost. He spent more than $235,000 to hold the seat, even though Alpert spent just $35,000.

Of course, that all assumes Pilon even runs for re-election. Pilon has filed for re-election, but has said in past interviews that he is interested in running for the Florida Senate if current Sen. Nancy Detert leaves early to run for the Sarasota County Commission instead.

DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGERS EMERGE IN HDS 39, 95 via Ryan Ray of Florida Politics

Two vastly different House seats drew new Democratic challengers last week and on Monday, according to filings with the Florida Division of Elections.

Rep. Neil Combee, a Republican from Auburndale, will face at least one challenger from the other side of the aisle in his quest for a third term representing the relatively conservative District 39, a rural seat consisting of parts of Polk and Osceola counties along the I-4 corridor in the center of the state.

Democrats there are hoping Augustin “Gus” Martine can improve upon the performance of Combee’s opponent his last two general election cycles, “Grandma” Carol Castagnero.

Martine is a former high school principal from Coral Gables.

Meanwhile in a race with a very different electoral complexion, two Democrats are now engaged in a primary to succeed term-limited Rep. Hazelle “Hazel” Rogers in deep-blue District 95, based in Broward County’s Lauderdale Lakes.

Patrick Jabouin, Sr. has opened a campaign account to run there, joining fellow Democrat Roxanne Valies, who filed paperwork to run for the House back in March.

Jabouin was a community outreach liaison with Broward Sheriff Scott Israel’s office as of 2013. He is also a former president of the Caribbean American Democratic Club of Broward County, according to Brittany Wallman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

CHOOSE YOUR NEWS: “Florida Democrats see political hay to be made from House dysfunction” via Matt Dixon of the Naples Daily News OR “GOP dysfunction to deliver Dems Fla House seats? Don’t count on it” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

***Smith, Bryan & Myers is an all-inclusive governmental relations firm located in Tallahassee. For more than three decades, SBM has been working with our clients to deliver their priorities through strategic and effective government relations consulting that has led us to become one of Tallahassee’s premier governmental relations firms today.***

WHAT THE GOV’S OFFICE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO READ – FLORIDA FAR FROM TOP IN BUSINESS-FRIENDLY RANKINGS via Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times

Business-friendly Florida? Gov. Scott says yes, yes, yes. The latest national analysis says no, no, no.

A study by MarketWatch, part of the Dow Jones company that publishes the Wall Street Journal, ranked the 100 largest metro areas in the country using 23 economic measures to decide which urban markets are the most and least friendly to business.

Dallas landed at No. 1. And Florida metros — the same our governor travels the country touting as the best for biz? Well, Miami ranked No. 37, with Tampa Bay and Orlando trailing at No. 46 and 47, respectively. Poor Lakeland scraped by near the bottom at No. 98.

What’s holding Tampa Bay back at No. 46 with 1,222 points? The “business climate” here ranked low at No. 72. The “company performance” — businesses on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq markets — here did better at No. 31. And the “economic outcome” measure put Tampa Bay at No. 57.

All in all, pretty middle of the pack.

And what happened in low-ranking Lakeland? It’s apparently moving at a slower pace than most larger metro areas, and ranks among the lowest metro areas in the number of graduate degrees. But this survey also revealed a blind spot to Lakeland’s business gem — the headquarters of grocery dynamo Publix Super Markets. Because it is a private company and does not trade on the NYSE or Nasdaq, its significant influence was not captured in the analysis.

SCOTT’S ‘CRITICAL NEEDS’ DEMAND GETS DEFIANT RESPONSES via James Rosica and Matt Dixon of the Tribune/Naples Daily News Capital Bureau

When Scott ordered state agencies to come up with a list of “critical needs” just in case state government shuts down this summer, he got a defiant response from many: Everything we do is critical.

This has been especially true in the state justice system, where elected public defenders and state attorneys are constitutional officers who don’t answer to the governor. What’s more, the state courts report to the judiciary.

But even the office that represents indigent Death Row inmates, and does answer to the governor, couldn’t draw a distinction for Scott.

This follows recent pushback from the state’s hospitals, which Scott had asked to provide financial information for his new state hospital funding commission. The commission holds its first meeting today.

Instead, the hospitals shrugged, responding that they weren’t sure what Scott was asking for or told him the information he sought was already in various state reports.

Last week, Scott asked government agencies to come up with lists of “critical” services they provide, aiming to devise what he termed a continuation budget that would fund state operations through the end of the year. The agencies submitted their responses.

NO TEACHER PAY, PRIVATE PRISON MONITORING IF GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times

If the state government shuts down July 1, street lights will go dark, teachers could go unpaid and the state will stop monitoring privately owned prisons.

At the request of Gov. Scott, state agency heads this week spelled out some of the ways Floridians would be affected if lawmakers can’t agree on a budget by June 30. Scott requested the reports, which show that the state would stop building roads and bridges and that responses to emergencies could be affected in the middle of hurricane season.

Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon didn’t mince words in his response to the governor: “These unintended and unforeseen consequences are numerous and would undoubtedly result in economic losses and could also directly result in the loss of life.”

Scott spokesman John Tupps said there are other options to fund emergency response if need be, particularly during hurricanes.

Schools could be hit hard, too. Without state funding, it would be up to each school district to decide if and how to pay teachers, fund summer school and prepare for the coming school year, Department of Education spokeswoman Cheryl Etters said.

Recipients of Medicaid — the program at the heart of the budget standoff — could face loss of access to pharmacies and physicians, putting a strain on emergency rooms as the only remaining option for health care, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

But the agency responsible for oversight of seven private prisons would stop working.

SCOTT’S HOSPITAL COMMISSION TO MEET FOR FIRST TIME via Kelli Kennedy of the Associated Press

… Scott’s new hospital commission consists of Republican donors and business leaders who will likely help him go after some of the state’s hospitals as the standoff over Medicaid expansion intensifies.

The panel, which will meet for the first time … is beginning its work as the governor has become increasingly antagonistic toward hospitals that receive taxpayer funds in the face of a $1 billion hole in his budget.

The standoff between Scott and the Obama administration has also caused a mess in the state Legislature. Scott and Republican House leaders remain adamantly opposed to taking any money tied to so-called “Obamacare,” including Medicaid expansion. The federal government would foot the bill for the first few years and then pay 90 percent after that – a far more generous deal than the 60-40 split in the current Medicaid program.

Scott says Medicaid expansion would cost the state $5 billion over 10 years. But even if the Obama administration agrees to extend the hospitals funds, it would still cost the state $9 billion in matching funds over 10 years, yet not a single person would have gained health insurance.

The governor is suing the Obama administration over Medicaid expansion, but with the federal government showing no signs of backing down, Scott has turned his attention to hospitals, creating a panel to examine their finances which does not include any health care executives.

WHAT REP. BLAISE INGOGLIA IS READING: “State-run Obamacare exchanges careening toward disaster” via Sally Pipes of Forbes

THE STORY BEHIND SCOTT’S ‘MEETING WITH TIM GOLDFARB’ AT UF via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott’s daily schedule … contains this unadorned entry: “11:30 a.m., meeting with Tim Goldfarb, Gainesville, FL.” Tim who?

Oh, that Tim Goldfarb. Scott agreed to meet with the health care executive, but he dissed Goldfarb when he asked to be appointed to the governor’s new Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding. News accounts have noted that the nine-member commission includes a real estate developer, Carlos Beruff; a banker, Tom Kuntz; a former parks and rec director, Eugene Lamb; and an “integrated beef consultant,” Ken Smith.

The only medical professional on the panel is Dr. Jason Rosenberg, a Gainesville microsurgeon. The commission will hold its first meeting at 1 p.m. Monday in Tallahassee.

Goldfarb, 65, retired last year as CEO of UF Health Shands Hospital and is now executive vice president for regional and governmental affairs at UF Health, formerly known as Shands Healthcare. In a May 6 letter to Scott on the letterhead of the Teaching Hospital Council of Florida, council president Steve Sonenreich enthusiastically recommended Goldfarb for a spot on the panel, but Goldfarb will be a spectator, monitoring the commission’s work.

STORY YOU WON’T READ IN SUNBURN — “It’s SPLITSVILLE for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Live-in Boyfriend” via Jose Lambiet of Gossip Extra.

BUT YOU WILL READ THAT PAM BONDI JOINED THE NAT’L BOARD OF MAGGIE’S LIST via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

Bondi will serve on the national board for Maggie’s List, a GOP version of Emily’s List, that aims to elect women to Congress.

The news came at a fundraiser this evening in Tampa. “We are thrilled!,” the group wrote on Facebook. “Her role in electing women to the 115th Congress and beyond will be potent!”

NEW STATE LAW MAY LEAD TO ‘EXPLOSION’ IN CRAFT DISTILLING via James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune

The same measure that made Florida the last state to allow 64-ounce beer containers also included a gift to the state’s craft distillers.

Now that it’s official, an “explosion” of homegrown liquor production likely will follow, one distiller says.

Gov. Scott last week approved a new law authorizing the most popular size of growler – the containers used to take home craft beer on tap. But it also loosened restrictions on how much Florida’s micro distilleries can sell directly to consumers.

Craft distilleries are defined in state law as those producing 75,000 or fewer gallons per year.

Now, after continued lobbying, a customer can buy two bottles per year of each brand of liquor that a distiller makes. If a craft distiller makes only one kind of liquor, a total of four can be sold.

“So expect an explosion, to be modest, of the number of brands that a craft distillery will carry,” said Michael Cotherman, owner of Dunedin’s Cotherman Distilling Co.

Don’t expect a plethora of homegrown spirits to be available right away, however. The Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco also licenses distilleries, who pay a $4,000 yearly fee.

CHIEF JUSTICE LAYS DOWN THE LAW: BLACK ROBES ONLY IN COURT via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida’s leading jurist, Chief Justice Jorge Labarga of the state Supreme Court, has laid down the law: Every judge must wear a solid black robe in court at all times, and with no “embellishment.”

From now on, colored robes are banned in Florida courtrooms, and no embellishment means nothing else, not even a cross or tiny American flag.

“I think people expect someone up there to be wearing a black robe, and when you see something different, it lessens the seriousness of the proceedings,” Labarga said. “The courtroom is a serious place.”

Labarga said he acted after hearing colorful stories about lax judicial attire, including the one about the judge in rural Union County near Gainesville who wore camo on the bench.

Labarga’s unadorned, one-sentence rule, patterned after a state law in California, states: “During any judicial proceeding, robes worn by a judge must be solid black with no embellishment.”

Justices of the Florida Supreme Court did not wear black robes until 1949, when they moved to a brand new courthouse in Tallahassee. Even then, Justice Rivers Henderson Buford considered the courtroom attire too stuffy and formal and vowed never to wear “one of those damnable black robes.” When wearing black became mandatory, Buford borrowed a colleague’s, as authors Walter W. Manley II and Canter Brown Jr. write in The Supreme Court of Florida, 1917-1972.

FLORIDA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT via the Associated Press

The League of Women Voters of Florida has elected Pamela Goodman as its new leader. Goodman was previously vice president of the state league. She is a former President and CEO of the clothing chain Limited Express, overseeing 850 stores nationwide and $1.5 billion in revenue. She is also president of The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County.

Goodman was elected by delegates at the state League’s convention in Delray Beach. She succeeds term-limited Deirdre Macnab.

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at www.capcityconsult.com.***

FLORIDA CHAMBER PICKS GULF POWER CEO AS PANHANDLE REGIONAL CHAIR via Phil Ammann of Florida Politics

The Florida Chamber of Commerce picked Stan Connally, president and CEO of Gulf Power Co., as Central Panhandle Regional Chairman.

Appointed by Chamber Chairman Steve Knopik, president and CEO of Bealls Inc., Connally will serve the 2014-2015 term as one of the 12 individuals making up the Regional Chair Program.

Connally, who has led Gulf Power since July 2012, previously was senior vice president and senior production officer of generation for Georgia Power.

“Gulf Power Co. is dedicated to investing the resources and time necessary to support the Florida Chamber’s pro-business initiatives that create jobs in our state,” Connally said, adding that the position is “an exciting opportunity to help shape Florida’s future.”

Connally’s role is to work directly with Central Panhandle-area business and legislative leaders to promote a competitive business environment.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Oscar Anderson, Southern Strategy Group: G.L. Homes of Florida Corporation, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors

Travis Blanton, Jon Johnson, Johnson & Blanton: PP+K

David Ramba, Allison Carvajal, Ramba Consulting: Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

Gary Rutledge, Jon Costello, Diana Ferguson, Rutledge Ecenia: American Cancer Society

Van Poole, Will McKinley, Angela Dempsey, PooleMcKinley: Scott Holdings, LLC

Michelle Diffenderfer, Lewis Longman & Walker: City of West Palm Beach

Jason Unger, GrayRobinson: Millenium Health

SAVE THE DATE: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is holding his official re-election campaign kick-off and fundraising event on Tuesday, June 16 at The Abbey lounge/theater, 100 S Eola Dr. #100 in Orlando. The event begins 6 p.m. For information or RSVPs, contact Debra Booth at debrambooth@yahoo.com or (407) 492-0168.

SPOTTED at a private, swanky BlackRock reception on Wall Street: Deborah (Debra) McCoy of the Florida State Board of Administration.

TWEET OF THE DAY via @MacStipanovich: I ALWAYS stop at the Starbucks at the Newberry Road exit in G’ville for a latte & banana bread. Busy Bee my ass. Bunch of damned hillbillies

EVERETT GOLSON GETS CHANCE TO REPLACE WINSTON AT FLORIDA STATE via Ralph Russo of the Associated Press

Everett Golson came oh-so close to beating Florida State with Notre Dame last year. Now, he has another chance for victory at Doak Campbell Stadium – only this time, he’ll be playing for the home team.

Golson is transferring to Florida State, where he will have the chance to replace Jameis Winston as the Seminoles’ starting quarterback.

Florida State said … Golson had signed a grant-in-aid, ending his search for a new school less than two weeks after he announced he was leaving the Fighting Irish.

Golson graduated from Notre Dame … and will be immediately eligible to play under NCAA graduate transfer rules that many college sports leaders are looking to change. He also immediately becomes the most accomplished quarterback on Florida State’s roster, with Winston gone to the NFL as the first pick in the draft.

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.