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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – October 30

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray, and Jim Rosica.


McAllister, the Florida Retail Federation’s longtime president and CEO, is retiring at the end of this year. Veteran FRF Executive Vice President Randy Miller will become the new president/CEO, beginning Jan. 1. McAllister led the organization to “unprecedented success, recognition and prestige” … “It has been an incredible opportunity to lead the Florida Retail Federation for the past 14 years, and to meet and learn about the diverse retailers that are so instrumental in the success of our state,” McAllister said.

A REAL FRIGHT FOR HALLOWEEN: FLORIDA TAX RULES ON CANDY, TREATS via Florida Politics –The most unsettling part of Halloween … figuring the state’s tax rules on candy … Florida does not consider candy to be groceries, and as such, taxes them at full rate. Most are subject to 6 percent state sales tax, in addition to applicable local sales taxes, as long as they cost more than 10 cents … also taxable: candy apples, chewing gum and breath mints, except those containing aspirin, laxative or antacids, cotton candy, fruit-flavored sticks, jelly beans, licorice and lollipops … chocolate and glazed or sugar coated fruit is taxable, but chocolate chips and glazed fruit are exempt from taxes when they are “advertised or normally sold for use in cooking or baking.” Additionally, frosting, powdered sugar, and items used to decorate baked goods are exempt … marshmallows … “both a trick and a treat” …. Marshmallow candy is taxable … Marshmallows alone are exempt.

POLL: AMERICANS FAVOR HALLOWEEN CANDY, COSTUMES IN SCHOOL — Some schools continue to prohibit Halloween costumes and candy, and most Americans still disagree with these policies. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 71% of American Adults believe children should be allowed to wear Halloween costumes in class. This is up from 63% just two years ago. Twenty-one percent disagree. Sixty-four percent believe public schools also should allow children to bring candy to school for Halloween, basically unchanged from a year ago. Twenty-seven percent disagree. There’s little difference of opinion on both questions between Americans with children living with them and those who don’t have kids in their home.

12 MUST-HAVE POLITICAL HALLOWEEN COSTUMES FOR 2015 via Benny Johnson and Colin Chocola of the Independent Journal – Workout Speaker Paul Ryan! … What you need: Workout clothes, red cap, gavel … Assemble and feel the power. Hillary Wipes Her Server! What you need: Tuxedo, Hillary mask, cloth, pantsuit … Assemble and make sure the server looks tired. Enthusiastic Jeb! … Red pen, shirt … Assemble & try to contain yourself. Weekend at Bernie’s! … Bald cap, sunglasses, blue jacket and sweater, two friends. Marco Polo Faceball … Red Polo, football … Assemble & Just hit people in the face with a football. Sad Joe Biden … Silver Hair wig, suit and window pane … Assemble & think deeply… Troll Trump … Troll mask, Trump swag, fancy wig … Assemble and troll everything that moves. White House Jumper & Drunk Secret Service … Sunglasses, plastic knife, hoodie, black suit, beer … Assemble & protect America. Mitt Zombie: Rises from the dead to save the GOP! … Suit with a red tie, Mitt swag, zombie kit … Assemble & repeat 2012 campaign slogans for effect. Chafed Lincoln … Lincoln beard, top hat, track suit, Gold Bond … Assemble & make sure you do the LeBron.

THE U.S. IS GETTING INFLATION IN THE SCARIEST OF PLACES: HALLOWEEN CANDY via Luke Kawa of Bloomberg Buisness – Candy prices, defined as the annual change in the candy and chewing gum sub-index of the Consumer Price Index, is poised to rise 4.2 percent in October … Cocoa prices have also been on a sustained uptrend … Spending on Halloween candy is expected to creep up a modest 0.7 percent, its slowest pace of growth since 2009 … a solid showing, however, building off a 5 percent jump in 2014. Halloween consumer spending on candy is expected to reach $2.2 billion, almost $18 per household.

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AFTER DISMAL DEBATE, JEB BUSH SEEKS WAYS TO STEADY CAMPAIGN via the Associated Press — Bush emerged from the third Republican debate as a candidate in crisis, with supporters struggling to understand why he keeps underperforming and advisers promising a turnaround before it’s too late … Bush insisted his White House bid was “not on life support.” Still, advisers concede November will be his campaign’s most crucial period to date, a stark contrast to their previous assertions that Bush was best-positioned to outlast rivals in a long campaign. Millions of dollars in TV advertising must start yielding stronger poll numbers, advisers say, and Bush himself must find a way to stop being overshadowed by competitors in the large GOP field. “The intensity is going to increase,” declared Sally Bradshaw, Bush’s senior adviser.

THE WAY FORWARD – BUSH’S CAMPAIGN BLUEPRINT via Dave Catanese of U.S. News and World Report  One slide is “titled ‘Marco Is A Risky Bet,’ and it bullet-points Rubio’s ‘misuse of state party credit cards, taxpayer funds and ties to scandal-tarred former Congressman David Rivera.’ … Another bullet point says Rubio’s ‘closeness with Norman Braman, who doubles as personal benefactor[,] raises major ethical questions.’… The Bush team also mocks Rubio’s ‘tomorrow versus yesterday’ argument . … The most cryptic slight is left for last: ‘Those who have looked into Marco’s background in the past have been concerned with what they have found.’ A Bush aide says that line refers to concerns Mitt Romney’s team unearthed when they vetted Rubio for vice president in 2012.


— “The beginning of the end for Jeb?” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

IS THE GOP CRACKING UP? via Frank Rich of New York Magazine – Bush is finished … I’d argue that he was never a real candidate to begin with, for all the money and Establishment support he attracted. There are three basic requirements for running for president: a cause or causes you vehemently want to advance, the proverbial fire in the belly, and an enthusiastic group of grassroots supporters who want to propel you to the White House. Bush had none of the three. His campaign has been a study in incompetence that has mainly dramatized the candidate’s sense of entitlement. What’s also remarkable is how little Jeb is aware of the changes in his own party. He has seemed perpetually surprised by the heathens in the GOP’s midst. He should not have been. His own father, with his race-baiting Willie Horton campaign against Michael Dukakis, helped invite in the crazies. His brother and Karl Rove gave sotto voce encouragement to the gay-bashing forces of the religious right, and looked the other way as Sarah Palin paved the way for TrumpCarson, and Cruz. Yet Jeb still clung to a belief that the old-school patrician ethos of his parents could run to his rescue in 2016. History will look back at him, if it looks at all, as a world-class fool and the last exhausted gasp of a GOP that no longer exists.

THE MAN FOR ONE SEASON via David Frum of the Atlantic – What’s lethal for … Bush’s presidential ambitions … is not the mere fact that he underwhelms on the debate stage, but the particular reasons he underwhelms—these five perhaps above all … [he is] chronically unstrategic … does not improvise … because he dreads confrontation … When Bush fails, he discourages easily … When discouraged, Bush—although a physically big man — psychically shrinks into his own feelings of hurt and rejection.

MATT CORRIGAN ON JEB BUSH: “I THINK HE’LL FIGHT TO THE END” via Melissa Ross of Florida Politics – “As someone who has written about him, what I will say is, he is not a quitter. He is a fierce competitor. I think he’ll fight to the end,” author and University of North Florida professor … Corrigan said. “Here are the questions for him going forward. One, can he raise the hard money, not the Super PAC money, but money to keep going through Iowa and New Hampshire? And two, what is his theory of the rest of the campaign? If Rubio is emerging as the so-called establishment choice, why is Bush any better than that choice? That’s what he needs to determine.”

SHOULD BUSH STEP ASIDE FOR THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF GEORGE P? via Brian Crowley – [W]ith Bush’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination in deep trouble, Bush the father may well start wondering if a humiliating defeat could harm the political future of his son, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush … This presidential campaign is a reminder that Jeb Bush has only faced one serious opponent in his campaigns and he lost. In fact, it is notable that George W. Bush won Florida in the 2000 presidential election by just 537 votes – with his brother as governor. The fact is Bush’s electoral successes have had more to do with the weaknesses of his opponents. Bush has not run against a Republican in more than 20 years.

DAY AFTER DEBATE, MARCO RUBIO LOOKS BEYOND PRIMARY TOWARD via Sergio Bustos and Bill Barrow of the Associated Press — Rubio tried to build on his well-reviewed performance in the GOP debate by lashing out at Clinton … turning toward the general election with a focus on the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi … Given the chance to follow-up on the clash between still-large field of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, and most notably a memorable exchange with … Bush … Rubio said in a series of interviews he’d rather talk about Clinton … The focus on Clinton was notable, as it came hours after Rubio’s campaign was touting how he deflected an attack from Bush in the debate over his attendance record in the Senate. The campaign said it had raised more than $750,000 online from 14,000 donors by 3 p.m. … But rather than pile on, Rubio said … he has “admiration” for Bush and wants only to underscore policy differences between the two.


YES, MARCO RUBIO’S FINANCES ARE A BIG DEAL via Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker — [Rubio‘s] personal finances have been raised as an issue for years. In his own memoir, Rubio wrote about the troubles he had mixing personal and business purchases on a Republican Party credit card, and lamented his “lack of bookkeeping skills.” Rubio must know that the issue of his finances isn’t going away. Rubio “amended his financial disclosure forms … [which] lacked a $135,000 home equity loan he obtained from a bank controlled by his political supporters and “double-billed the Republican Party of Florida and state taxpayers for eight flights while he was House Speaker.” (He said that was a mistake, and that he would repay the party.) … Rubio is about to go through a period of much more intensive media scrutiny. Complaining about media bias won’t be enough to get him through it.

MARCO’S BULL RUN via Ben White of POLITICO – An already perceptible shift in establishment momentum toward … Rubio … away from Bush — could become a torrent … [Rubio] shined in a contentious debate … allowed him to weave in his own personal story while focusing on problems plaguing the U.S. … The big loser of the night was clearly Bush … who needed a dynamic performance to quiet fears among donors and the GOP establishment that he has no path to breakout of his current single-digit standing … Even die-hard Bush supporters on Wall Street admired Rubio’s debate performance.

HISTORY SHOWS MARCO RUBIO RESIGNATION WOULD BE RARE EVENT via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Historical precedent … indicates that if Rubio quit, it would be the exception to usual presidential politics … Smart Politics blog … Writes that since 1972 there have been a total of 50 presidential candidacies by 45 sitting U.S. senators. Only one of these resigned before the presidential election: Bob Dole of Kansas in 1996 … only did so … After he had already secured the GOP nomination, and after the last batch of presidential primaries. During the past 40 plus years no other sitting U.S. senator running for the White House cut short their day job before the presidential election.

TED CRUZ RAISED $772,000 THROUGH MIDNIGHT FROM DEBATE PERFORMANCE via Daniel Strauss of POLITICO – Cruz earned the most-talked-about moment on Facebook and Twitter with a verbal assault on the CNBC moderators, saying their questions illustrate why Americans don’t trust the media … fundraising number comes the same day the Cruz campaign announced it had 77,190 volunteers across the country supporting the Texas senator’s candidacy … in all 50 states as well as five territories … 5,927 of those volunteers are in the first four caucus and primary states.

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FLORIDA DEMOCRATS TO CONVENE THIS WEEKEND via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics — The Florida Democratic Party will gather this weekend for their fall convention in Lake Buena Vista … comes almost a full year before the 2016 election, where in addition to trying to keep the state blue for the third straight time at the presidential level, the party is hoping to get one of their to join Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate. One of the highlights … takes place Saturday night when Senate candidates Alan Grayson, Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith will address the crowd … featured guest speakers will be Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy … Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill … Congresswoman Gwen Graham  Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed  Bishop Adam Richardson, Jr.  Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congressman Alcee Hastings, and other Democratic elected officials … Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant will address party members, along with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar  panels will be held on education and the minimum wage featuring St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, Sen. Dwight Bullard, and others. On Sunday morning, there will be an Equality Brunch that will feature Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson and former FDP Chair Bob Poe.

PATRICK MURPHY’S LIST OF ENDORSEMENT GROWS IN U.S. SENATE BID via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – Murphy says he’s picked up more endorsements from … Tim Kaine of Virginia, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.

BIZARRE EXCESS OF DONATIONS TO ALAN GRAYSON RESULTED FROM SOFTWARE GLITCH via Kristen M. Clark of the Miami Herald — A Chicago retiree’s name appeared nearly 2,300 times in [Grayson‘s] most recent campaign finance report … claimed she gave Grayson altogether $37,600 in varying increments — $1, $5, $20.16, $50, $100, and so on — all on July 15. Jacqueline Kirley said she didn’t know of the reported contributions in her name until a Herald/Times reporter called her … “It was a little harder to spot because we have so many small-number donations,” Grayson spokesman Kevin Franck said. “It just seems to be a very weird, weird software glitch.”

RON DESANTIS ENDORSED BY CONSERVATIVE VETERANS PAC via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News – Support and Defend PAC, a group of conservative veterans, endorsed … DeSantis … for the U.S. Senate in 2016. “Ron has an impressive record of service, from Iraq to Congress,” said Grant Moody, the chairman and founder of the PAC. “He has been a trusted conservative in the House, leading the fight against wasteful spending and Obama’s dangerous Iran Deal. “

SPOTTED at a Wednesday fundraising lunch for DeSantis: Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; Rob Collins, the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, now at S-3 Group; Mitch Glazier, Senior Executive Vice President of the Recording Industry Association of America; Justin Lilley of TeleMedia Policy Corp.; Rob Lively of Allergan; and Pat Raffaniello. H/t to Isaac Arnsdorf.


OBAMACARE FOR FLORIDA (HB 221) DEMONSTRATES WHY VOTERS ARE ANGRY via Florida Politics – House Bill 221 is not only a sorry excuse for addressing the issue of balance billing, it’s also exactly what voters find so frustrating about politicians who campaign saying one thing while doing the exact opposite once they’re safely behind locked Capitol doors … Carlos Trujillo … as a candidate … told voters he opposed Obamacare … Yet curiously, this year he’s pushing legislation that could have been copied out of the federal Obamacare health law.

RENTAL CAR TOLL FEES STIR BACKLASH THAT THREATENS FLORIDA’S IMAGE via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Visitors to Florida who rent cars are being shocked by toll charges long after they get home, and enough are complaining that legislators say it could damage the state’s tourist-friendly image … As cash toll booths are steadily giving way to cashless, all-electronic tolling, car renters are being hit with service fees of $4 to $15 a day on top of unpaid toll charges. The rental car industry calls it a convenience as Florida moves to all-electronic tolling. Others call it a ripoff. In Miami, a federal judge will decide whether to approve a class action lawsuit against Dollar Thrifty’s $15 maximum daily fee, the highest in the industry. Dollar Thrifty says the lawsuit is baseless, and rental car companies say they disclose all fees charged to their customers. But the uproar has caught the Legislature’s attention … the “backlash” from tourists justifies a closer look.

UBER TACKLES PUBLIC POLICY ISSUES WITH NEWLY LAUNCHED “UNDER THE HOOD” BLOG via Florida Politics – Uber’s … new company-sponsored public policy blog will touch on several issues facing the popular ridesharing service, such as car insurance and company benefits. Uber Under the Hood … is the latest effort … to garner more support as it deals with lawmakers and local regulators … tackle public policy issues and how they relate to ridesharing and other aspects of what has been called the “gig economy.”

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MATT GAETZ OPPONENT GEORGE GAINER HOLDS MAJOR SD 1 FUNDER, PROVES HE ISN’T “STANDING ALONE IN THE MIRROR” via Florida Politics – Bay County Commissioner … Gainer pushed back hard on accusations he is “standing alone in the mirror” for his Florida Senate District 1 campaign. As proof, the Northwest Florida Republican hosted a major fundraiser, attended by what supporters call a “who’s who” of Bay County business, civic and political leaders … took in nearly $121,000 … officials said the fundraiser nearly exceeded in a single night “what Gainer’s opponent has raised in-district in two years.”

4TH FLOOR FILES TALKS WITH SKYLAR ZANDER ABOUT MIMOSAS, IPHONES AND EDUCATIONAL CHOICE via Florida Politics – Describe your political persuasion … “I believe every kid has the right to a good quality education, lower taxes, and less government.” If you have one, what is your motto? “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face.”


Brady BenfordChris DorworthStephanie GrutmanMonica Rodriguez, Ballard Partners: Calder Casino; Uber Technologies

Christoper Cantens: Florida International University

Christopher DawsonRobert Stuart, GrayRobinson: City of Neptune Beach

Charlie Dudley, Floridian Partners: Seminole Tribe of Florida

Refik ElerDenise OstertagMatt Shirk: Public Defenders for the 4th Judicial Circuit

Corinne Mixon, Mixon & Associates: Certification Board for Music Therapists

Gary RutledgeJonathan Costello, Rutledge Ecenia: Beverage Law Institute


Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: Political analyst Dr. Lawrence A. Miller breaks down the winners and losers of the CNBC Republican presidential debate.

Facing Florida with Mike VasilindaMatt Carter will discuss the dueling solar energy amendments that could be on the ballot this November.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Sarasota County Democratic Party treasurer Rita Ferrandino, Pasco County Republican Committeeman Bill Bunting, political writer William March, and the Tampa Bay TimesErnest Hooper.

On Point with Shannon Ogden, on WFCN in Jacksonville: Dr. Kelly Wells on the World Health Organization’s recent proclamation on processed meat, a GOP debate recap, and Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union on the ongoing Senate redistricting process in Tallahassee.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Orlando District 5 City Commissioner Regina Hill on Parramore, construction of the new soccer stadium, the city plan to acquire and resell foreclosed apartment complexes, and her first year in office.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Steve Vancore, Gary Yordon, Sean Pittman, and Mary Ellen Klas.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Jacksonville City Council President Greg Anderson and the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute’s Rick Mullaney on the recent audit of Police and Fire Pension Fund and the Google Fiber possibly coming to town, plus WJXT’s Sam Kouvaris joins in to discuss the economic impact of the Jaguars playing NFL games in London.


Trimmel Gomes’ newest episode of The Rotunda recaps CNBC’s awkward presidential debate which left the Jeb Bush campaign on life support and Rubio defying the odds with a steady climb in the polls. Gomes catches some of the fireworks as tempers flare in the Florida Senate over redistricting as Don Gaetz and Jack Latvala verbally attack each other for the chamber’s mistakes. Also, Gomes helps to kickoff a yearlong education campaign about the upcoming changes to Florida’s Constitution with Carol Weissert, director of the Leroy Collins Institute.

FLORIDA STATE’S DALVIN COOK WILL MISS SATURDAY’S GAME VS. SYRACUSE via AP — Running back Dalvin Cook, the nation’s second-leading rusher, will miss No. 17 Florida State’s game against Syracuse on Saturday because of an ankle injury. Coach Jimbo Fisher made the announcement following practice … With Cook out, Johnathan Vickers and Jacques Patrick will get the carries for the Seminoles (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). They have has combined for 21 carries and 68 yards.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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