The Perfect Enemy | Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.4.22
December 2, 2022

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.4.22

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 11.4.22  Florida Politics

Read Time:61 Minute

Good Friday morning.

Since the last time Floridians cast ballots in a statewide election in November 2020, nearly 1.2 million new voters have registered to take part in this civic act. That means that about one in 12 Florida voters today weren’t on the rolls two years ago.

Who are these newly registered voters, and how do they compare with the universe of voters already on the rolls?

The research division at Sachs Media conducted an analysis to identify demographic differences between then and “new,” with some stark findings — particularly relating to party affiliation.

New Florida voters are showing a distinct partisan lean.

Among voters who have registered since November 2020 the share identifying as Democrats declined 13 points to 23%, while the portion affiliating with neither party jumped 11 points to 40%. Meanwhile, Republican registration is about equal, with 37% of new voters checking that box.

This means that Florida’s growing Republican registration advantage is due largely to the share of voters consistently held by the GOP, combined with significant movement away from Democrats and toward nonpartisans.

The portion of new voters who register as Democrats is down among every demographic group. Take voters younger than 35, for example. Two years ago, four in 10 were registered Democrats. And yet, since then, barely more than a quarter of new voters (26%) in this age group affiliate this way — a significant drop-off. Meanwhile, nearly half of young new voters (47%) are unaffiliated with either party and 27% are Republicans.

Read more takeaways from Sachs Media’s research on Florida Politics.

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Nearly three-quarters of U.S. voters say the country is on the “wrong track,” according to a new poll from the Conservative Energy Network.

The annual national survey from CEN, a coalition of 24 state-based conservative clean energy organizations, asked 1,000 registered voters about clean energy, climate change solutions, market competition and other related policy issues.

Four in five voters told CEN that they think candidates should clearly state their views on clean energy and climate change issues.

But the results of a non-climate related question were front and center: 72% said that the country is on the “wrong track.” CEN said that is an all-time high for the seven years it has conducted the survey and that voters’ pessimism will likely drive voters to the polls in droves.

Notably, CEN found that Democrats and Republicans showed equally elevated levels of voter intensity, putting the battle for control of Congress and state legislatures in the hands of third- and no-party voters. Among independents, men are leaning toward Republican candidates and women are more likely to support Democrat candidates.

The poll also found, for the first time ever, that a majority of voters (51%) support Republicans’ efforts to address climate change. That number is up 10% from the 2020 survey and CEN noted that it followed the release of the House Republican Energy, Climate, and Conservation Task Force’s policy recommendations.

Further, 78% of those polled support passage of the Growing Climate Solutions Act, a bill that passed the U.S. Senate with the support of 47 Republicans.

Public Opinion Strategies conducted the poll on Oct. 24-27 via an online survey. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.53 percentage points.

___

A few other items crossing my radar:

💰 — Record-setting cash: Spending on the Midterm Election is expected to reach $16.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. That’s a record. The most ever spent before was $13.7 billion. This year’s spending includes $8.9 billion from federal candidates and committees. Florida races are not among the most expensive. That superlative goes to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin where tossup races dominate and spending reached $1.8 billion. OpenSecrets estimates Democrats raised more for federal offices, but the GOP has spent more. Read more here.

🐘 — Election likely to be red ‘ripple,’ but could be a red wave: FiveThirtyEight’s most recent Deluxe forecasts play out exactly as predicted; Republicans would walk away on Election Day with 51 seats in the Senate and 225 in the House, a victory on both fronts, but far from the red waves seen in 2010 or 2014. A “normal polling error” could mean anything from a landslide or a walloping. FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of its own data finds that if Republicans were to perform an average margin of error better than expected, the GOP would claim 54 seats in the Senate and 259 in the House. If Democrats performed an average margin of error better than expected, an unlikely scenario, they would have 54 seats in the Senate and 227 in the House. Of note, in that Democratic dream scenario, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio would still beat Val Demings.

🙈 — How Dems are losing Hispanic voters: “The party doesn’t care about us.” If you read no further into The Atlantic’s feature on Democrats bleeding support from Hispanic and Latino voters, read that. It’s a quote from a Phoenix woman and restaurant owner. The party only cares every two years, she lamented. Her husband called the party’s platitudes, “bullshit.” What makes their testimonial even more damning for Democrats is that it’s coming from a state with some of the harshest policies targeting the Hispanic population, which have come almost exclusively from Republicans. The bottom line, maybe the left shouldn’t take their voters for granted.

🔮 — Foreshadowing a Republican Congress: If Republicans do as well as they are expected to on Tuesday, they may not only retake the majority in the House but the Senate too. Georgetown law professor Josh Chafetz, in a guest column for The New York Times, speculates less productivity, unwinding previous progress and political posturing as a conservative legislative branch becomes at odds with a liberal executive branch. That includes a robust oversight, such as making “as big a stink as possible” if the Joe Biden administration displays any perceived wasteful spending in the Inflation Reduction Act, among other things. Some may read this as a caution, others as a utopian outcome.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@Mdixon55: 2018, Republicans won most statewide races here, but it was real tight and there were three recounts. But GOP won everything but @NikkiFried race. Their advantage currently is nearly 4x greater than their lead that year.

@davetrotter101: To give you an idea of how bad Orange County (870k voters) is for Democrats, Democrat only have a net gain of 330 votes in Orange so far today. But in Columbia County (43k voters), Democrats have a net loss of 384 votes. #flapol

@NateMonroeTU: A reminder that the Jacksonville sheriff has still not brought himself to publicly affirm that Nazis are bad and that Jacksonville Jewish residents should feel safe under JSO’s protection.

Tweet, tweet:

@learyreports: (Donald) Trump doesn’t mention you know who but asserts his role as the Florida king. Expect to hear more of this Sunday.

@fineout: Right before @GovRonDeSantis comes up there’s a bit of mix-up with the music. When DeSantis is walking up “Peace Frog” by the Doors starts playing. Song opens with “there’s blood in the streets, it’s up to my ankles.” Song is cut off & switched to “Sweet Florida.”

@oneunderscore__: The issue with leaving Twitter is there’s no other app yet where you can search “earthquake” to know instantly if it’s an earthquake and get war updates from Ukrainian civilians while some guy gets 80k retweets for posting “is dandruff vegan.” That’s three apps; needs to be one.

— DAYS UNTIL —

2022 General Election — 4; ‘The Crown’ Season 5 returns — 5; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 7; FITCon 2022 begins — 13; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 13; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 17; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 20; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 29; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 29; 2022 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 31; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 32; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 42; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 58; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 89; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 105; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 106; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 123; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 141; Taylor Swift ‘Eras’ Tour in Tampa — 162; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 165; 2023 Session Sine Die — 182; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 182; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 210; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 259; ‘‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 266; Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 364; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 511; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 567; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 630; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 630; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 672; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 735; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 833; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 910. ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,099.

— TOP STORY —

‘De facto front-runner’: Ron DeSantis’ $200 million haul positions him for 2024 run” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — Between his direct campaign and the aligned political committee, donors big and small have given DeSantis more than $200 million for his reelection bid, a staggering sum that is likely the most raised by any gubernatorial candidate in American history.

DeSantis has used the avalanche of cash to bury Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, a former Republican Governor whose $31 million raised would put him in good shape in most competitive governor’s races across the country. But against DeSantis, Crist’s $31 million left him unable to adequately compete.

Ron DeSantis is sitting on a historic pile of cash that makes him the ‘de facto’ front-runner for 2024.

DeSantis has more than $90 million remaining in the bank after spending about $100 million total this election cycle on his re-election bid via his aligned committee and campaign. That huge sum is fueling speculation that the Florida Governor, who cannot run for a third term, will use it to seed the early stages of a potential 2024 bid for the White House.

“If you look at where the money is coming from, it’s indicative of Gov. DeSantis being seen by national donors as the de facto front-runner for President,” said Slater Bayliss, a longtime Florida Republican lobbyist who supports DeSantis.

DeSantis’ politics and get-it-done governing style, coupled with national donors starting to gravitate toward DeSantis over Trump, has sparked national interest from both large GOP donors and grassroots-type small-dollar contributors to give to the Republican Governor, Bayliss said.

“I think people on the left do not think their candidates sell out, and on the right, we think ours cut deals and are more pragmatic. Former President Trump’s whole brand on the Republican side was that he does not sell out.”


— 2022 —

A slew of high-profile Republicans set to stand with Trump at Miami rally” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The Governor didn’t rate, but the Mayor of Hialeah Esteban Bovo did make the roster of speakers for the 45th President’s Miami rally that features an all-star lineup. Rubio is the “special guest” of Trump’s “Get Out the Vote Rally,” Sunday, but there’s also going to be other names in heavy rotation on the national news, including U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and six other Republican congressional Representatives from Florida, all getting one of those coveted endorsements from the Twitter’s most famous ex-tweeter.

Trump’s Miami rally has a long list of guest speakers, but DeSantis didn’t make the cut” via Antonio Fins of The Palm Beach Post — Trump’s Save America PAC on Thursday released a virtual “Who’s Who” list of Florida Republicans for his Sunday rally in Miami. But one notable name is missing: DeSantis. The list of “special guest speakers” for the “Get Out the Vote Rally” being held for “special guest” Rubio lists 13 elected GOP leaders and candidates from every corner of the Sunshine State.

Cold shoulder: Is Donald Trump rolling up the red carpet for Ron DeSantis?

DeSantis surges, Joe Biden fades in 2024 election odds” via Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner — Biden, whose recent mental and verbal fumbles have led to growing calls to step aside in the 2024 election, has fallen behind Trump and DeSantis in the latest betting odds. The folks at Covers tell Secrets that against the two Republicans, Biden stands just a 16.69% chance of winning. Trump is tops at 25% and DeSantis at 23.26%. The biggest change is for DeSantis, who has surged in the odds as he steps out nationally to help GOP congressional candidates and as he cruises to reelection himself. He is widely viewed as the next-best hope for the GOP.

DeSantis, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist campaign in Central Florida ahead of midterms” via Mike DeForest and Lauren Cervantes of Click Orlando — Midterm elections are scheduled for Nov. 8 in Florida, and candidates are coming out into Central Florida for last-minute campaign pushes to get voters to the polls. DeSantis and Rubio urged voters in Solivita to show up on Election Day. “We’ve got work to do to make sure we continue to lead the way,” DeSantis told hundreds of his supporters. “At the end of the day, a leader’s job is not to worry about protecting his own job. It’s about worrying to protect your jobs and your freedom,” DeSantis said. “And if I have to take the arrows, so be it.”

Puerto Rico Governor, Boricua leader endorse Crist — The Crist-Karla Hernández ticket is getting the backing of Puerto Rican leaders including Gov. Pedro Pierluisi. The endorsement came during a Hispanic GOTV caravan event in Kissimmee with local Hispanic leaders, including Congressman Darren Soto, Hernández and Pierluisi. Crist and Hernández also earned an endorsement from former Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila, former Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rico State Sen. Carmelo Rios, former Puerto Rico Senate President and Chair of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party Charlie Rodriguez, and former Puerto Rico Sen. Roberto Prats. “I’m proud to be supporting Charlie Crist and Karla Hernández because I know they care about the issues that are important to Puerto Ricans,” Pierluisi said. “Puerto Ricans in Florida are ready to vote for the Crist-Hernández ticket. Charlie Crist será nuestro próximo gobernadora!”

In testy moment, Crist stump speech in Palm Beach County draws DeSantis supporters” via Stephany Matat of The Palm Beach Post — Just days before the General Election, Crist’s statewide bus tour made a stop in Boca Raton at an early voting site. But his supporters, voters and poll workers weren’t the only ones there to greet him. Supporters of DeSantis showed up, too, and made their presence known in the West Boca Branch Library’s parking lot Wednesday afternoon. The opposing show of support made for an awkward, if not tense, scene at a time when state and national leaders grow increasingly worried about the volatile tone of this year’s Midterm campaigns.

Crist, FDP add cash to broadcast buys — Crist’s campaign expanded a broadcast buy it booked for Nov. 1 through Election Day with an added $176,979 in ad time. According to AdImpact, the expansion covers seven media markets. Including spending from the initial buy, the flight sends $572,085 to the Miami market, $257,364 to the Orlando market, $91,044 to the West Palm Beach market, $69,715 to the Jacksonville market, $41,429 to the Tampa market, $38,934 to the Ft. Myers market and $31,995 to the Tallahassee market. The Florida Democratic Party also threw another $44,124 into their final-week buy supporting Crist, which now totals $388,239 in Tampa, $224,928 in Orlando and $4,110 in West Palm Beach.

RPOF puts $199K into Governor, Cabinet ads — The Republican Party of Florida spent another $198,575 on cable ads supporting DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. The buy covers ads that begin airing today and continue through Monday in 10 media markets. it directs $50,747 to Tampa, $47,495 to Orlando, $54,173 to Miami, $15,900 to West Palm Beach, $12,000 to Jacksonville, $8,460 to Ft. Myers, $2,500 to Gainesville, $2,070 to Tallahassee, $1,020 to Panama City and $4,210 to the Mobile market, which includes part of the Florida Panhandle. Networks in the buy include CNN, ESPN, Food Network, Fox News, Hallmark, HGTV, History and Investigation Discovery.

Ron DeSantis, Ashley Moody and Jimmy Patronis are boosted with another eleventh-hour ad buy.

‘This is a deeply emotional issue:’ DeSantis’ handling of COVID-19 helped shape his re-election campaign” via Tony Dokoupil and Martin Finn of CBS News — COVID-19 still looms large in Florida’s gubernatorial race and helped shape DeSantis’ image on the national political stage. Political analysts say DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic may have benefited him in his re-election campaign. “People know that Florida is a free state,” DeSantis said earlier this year as he summed up his stance. “They’re not gonna have you shut down. They’re not gonna have restrictions.” For DeSantis, the way he handled the pandemic in Florida meant reinvention. He was seen as a national hero to some and a national target to others.

DeSantis ridicules LGBTQ students in mailer to voters” via Shira Li Bartov of Newsweek — DeSantis has been accused of deriding LGBTQ people in a mailer attacking Crist. The flyer, circulated by Floridians on social media, depicted a student wearing makeup and facial hair at their graduation ceremony. A speech bubble drawn next to them said, “Thank you, Joe Biden and Charlie Crist, for making Floridians pay off my student debt.” A second page showed a photo of Crist hugging Biden. A block of text below the image read, “Charlie Crist is forcing hard-working Floridians to pay back student loans for degrees like Gender Studies and French Poetry.”

DeSantis endorses Paul LePage, other Republican candidates” via Penelope Overton of the Portland Press-Herald — DeSantis, a likely 2024 presidential contender, endorsed fellow Republican LePage for Maine Governor Thursday, calling him an effective leader who will focus on family values and stand firm against the Biden administration. LePage “is an effective leader for the people of Maine,” DeSantis tweeted. “He will focus on family values and stand against the damaging effects of the Biden Regime. Support his reelection.”

Kellyanne Conway: DeSantis should wait for 2028; biggest threat to Trump is third-party ‘spoiler’” via Ramsey Touchberry of The Washington Times — Conway batted down the notion that Trump will have any trouble securing the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 and said potential primary challengers like DeSantis should delay a White House bid. “If I’m Ron DeSantis, sure, I can think about running,” Conway told Washington reporters. “But why not go be the best two-term Governor of the third-largest state in modern history and then walk into the presidency in 2028?” The ex-adviser to Trump rejected the suggestion by some in the party that other candidates could succeed in offering a Trump agenda without the controversies associated with him.

9 things Florida’s election could say about its future” via Romy Ellenbogen, Emily L. Mahoney, Kirby Wilson and Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — Voters will decide who represents their interests on County Commissions and School Boards. They’ll choose whether to retain the state’s top justices, whether to pay additional taxes to support transportation, whether to eliminate a group that can revise Florida’s Constitution and more. Across the state, election night will show how Hurricane Ian and the arrests of people with felony records affected turnout. And Florida’s results could either reinforce or shatter Florida’s reputation as a competitive purple state.

Have a problem at a Florida polling place? Here’s how to report it” via Christie Zizo of Click Orlando — Rarely does an election go off without a hitch. Most problems are not major issues but honest mistakes that can be corrected. However, in an age of misinformation and reports of voter intimidation at the polls, nothing can be taken for granted. Make sure you are registered to vote. If you are not registered to vote, you cannot vote in the election. Go to the Florida Division of Elections website to check your voter registration status. To report problems at your polling place, contact your county Supervisor of Elections office.

— MORE 2022 —

Rubio ‘thrilled’ to rally with Trump, shrugs off 2016 feud and disagreement on 2020 Election” via Zac Anderson of the Northwest Florida Daily News — Lukewarm voters illustrate one of the challenges Rubio faces as he runs for re-election. Not only are Democrats eager to unseat him, but some Republicans are lukewarm about him or may even view him with suspicion. There are questions about the strength of Rubio’s support within the GOP and whether his campaign is generating much enthusiasm. About 200 people came out for his Sarasota rally Tuesday. That enthusiasm question may be one reason Rubio is rallying with Trump on Sunday in Miami.

Lincoln Project ad asks ‘what happened to Rubio’ — A video portraying Rubio as a once presumptive “Republican savior” who devolved into a Trump lickspittle is again making the rounds ahead of Election Day. The Lincoln Project is re-running the ad, titled “Daddy,” Friday on Fox News affiliate WFLX in West Palm Beach. The ad will then run digitally Sunday during a rally Rubio is holding with Trump at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Center. It’ll stream the same day during DeSantis’ rally Sunday in Fort Myers. “We are putting money behind this weekend in a highly targeted way,” Lincoln Project spokesperson Greg Minchak said of the ad, which debuted two weeks ago and has since garnered more than 286,000 views on YouTube alone. It asks and answers, in its own way, the question, “What happened to Marco Rubio?”

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

[embedded content]

Val Demings puts $103K on broadcast — Demings booked another round of broadcast ads for her Senate campaign. The $102,910 flight runs today through Election Day. The buy directs $67,460 to the Tampa media market and $35,450 to the Miami media market. Demings has so far spent more than $35 million on ads in her bid to oust Rubio. However, the incumbent has taken a significant lead in the final phase of the race and is widely expected to win a third term.

Assignment editors — Demings launches her statewide “Showing Up to Work Tour” for the final days of the election. During the tour, Demings will hold GOTV events in Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Broward County: 7 p.m., Jacksonville. Location upon RSVP at [email protected].

Equal Ground makes GOTV push — The Black-led, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Equal Ground and other voting rights groups including the ACLU of Florida, Black Youth Vote, Black Women’s Roundtable and The Experience Christian Center are joining together for a major get-out-the-vote concert on Friday. John P. Kee and New Life Choir will be headlining the gospel concert to engage and activate central Florida’s Black voters. Throughout the concert, Florida voting rights groups will inform voters on the final opportunities for voting in Tuesday’s Midterm Election. Attendees will also be able to text and opt-in to receive updated virtual voter guides, in addition to on-the-ground tabling and resources from the concert partners. The event will be held at Majestic Life Church, 821 S. Kirkman Rd., in Orlando starting at 7 p.m.

— 2022: CONGRESSIONAL —

An energized Florida GOP looks to topple two Tallahassee titans, Al Lawson and Loranne Ausley” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — A Panhandle red wave could sweep out of office two blue Tallahassee titans Tuesday. Democratic Congressman Lawson and Florida state Sen. Ausley find the political currents, money and odds favor their opponents in races that could decide which party controls the U.S. House and whether the Republicans become a supermajority in the Florida Senate — an achievement that would procedurally neuter the Democratic opposition. Lawson believes DeSantis targeted him to reduce minority representation and hand control of the U.S. House to the Republican Party in advance of a DeSantis presidential run.

The Florida GOP is aggressively targeting Tallahassee titans, Loranne Ausley and Al Lawson.

Trump-backed Cory Mills uses MAGA playbook in race for Congress” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — Mills is poised to join a crop of Trump-style Republican newcomers in Congress, flipping a district that includes Seminole County suburbs Biden won in 2020. Mills showcased his platform last week during a rally in Geneva headlined by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, telling supporters that progressives represent a threat to “God, family and country.” “We are fighting not against the Democrats versus Republicans or the socialists versus conservatives. We are now fighting America versus anti-America,” Mills told a group of cheering supporters. Mills, a military veteran and defense contractor, is getting a big assist from a redistricting map that Gov. DeSantis muscled through the Legislature.

Progress Pinellas spends $13K on CD 13 ads — Political committee Progress Pinellas has booked $13,250 in ad time in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. The flight began Nov. 1 and runs through Election Day. Progress Pinellas is backing Democratic nominee Eric Lynn in the contest and has so far spent $7.87 million on TV ads. Lynn is running against Republican Anna Paulina Luna in the Pinellas-based district, which has a Republican tilt but is considered competitive. A total of $8.4 million has been spent on ads backing Lynn compared to $5.2 million on ads backing Luna.

— 2022: LEGISLATIVE —

Janet Cruz slams Jay Collins over ad including controversial far-right activist” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — State Sen. Cruz is calling out a recent campaign ad supporting Republican challenger Collins for including an individual with ties to the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally. The 30-second ad, paid for by the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, features local conservative activist Jeff Hawks praising Collins’ for his service. But Hawks has become something of a controversial figure in Tampa Bay politics, leading Cruz to call out Collins’ campaign. Hawks founded the Tampa group Community Patriots, which touts itself as a “grassroots organization … motivated by a strong sense of pride and love for our Country and its Constitution.” Its mission is to preserve “liberty and freedom.”

Janet Cruz cries foul over a particularly nasty Jay Collins attack ad.

Cruz breaks Democratic record, tops $2.5M raised in final days of campaign” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Less than a week out from Election Day, state Sen. Cruz has reached $2.5 million in fundraising, a record among Florida Senate Democratic nominees. Cruz’s campaign announced the record fundraising mark nearly two weeks after she hit the $2 million mark. “This sum illustrates the support I have here in Tampa and that my neighbors here share my values of lower costs, accessible health care, and fully funded public schools. I am incredibly proud that, unlike my opponent, the majority of our contributions came from in-state,” Cruz said in a statement.

— STATEWIDE —

September revenues beat expectations by $470M” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Florida brought in more than $470 million more in revenues than expected in September, the largest number since the start of the fiscal year in July. The September revenue report, released Tuesday, reflects economic activity during August and wasn’t affected by Hurricane Ian, which hit Southwest Florida on Sept. 28. It shows Florida brought in $4.07 billion, or $471.2 million more than economists projected. The large figure is a return to earlier in 2022 when inflation shot up nationwide, pushing up revenues from sales taxes and monthly reports showing the state beating earlier forecasts built upon lower inflation figures by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Florida medical board is full of DeSantis donors. They vote on transgender care Friday.” via Sam Ogozalek of the Tampa Bay Times — As the Florida Board of Medicine considers banning medical treatments for transgender youth, a move urged by DeSantis’ administration, the board’s Chair has assured LGBTQ advocates that the group “is vociferously apolitical.” But at least eight of the board’s 14 members, who are all DeSantis appointees, have donated to the Republican governor’s campaigns or political committee, according to a Tampa Bay Times analysis. Among the donors are a GOP fundraiser close with the Bush family, a vascular surgeon who wrote a $25,000 check and the board Chair, who contributed $2,000.

— AFTERMATH —

Hurricane Ian’s deadly toll on seniors exposes need for new strategies” via Judith Graham of Kaiser Health News — Of those who perished from Hurricane Ian, two-thirds were 60 or older. Many reportedly drowned and were found in their homes. Even before the storm, there were worrisome signs that disaster preparedness was lagging. 61% of Florida residents 45 and older said they planned to shelter in place during the next bad storm. In 2019, the comparable figure was 55%. at heightened risk are seniors without cars, cellphones that broadcast emergency alerts, extra money for lodging, or family members and friends who can help them get organized.

Florida seniors were hit especially hard by Hurricane Ian.

SBA to open business recovery center in Venice on Friday” via the Venice Gondolier — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it will open a Business Recovery Center in Venice this Friday. The center will start operating from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Venice Community Center, 326 South Nokomis Avenue in Room E, on Nov. 4. The SBA Business Recovery Center will help residents with their SBA disaster loan applications and its regular operating hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. “Our Business Recovery Centers are one of the most powerful resources at SBA’s disposal to support business owners in the midst of a disaster,” said Francisco Sanchez Jr., associate administrator for the Office of Disaster Assistance.

Lake Okeechobee leveling off after rains from Hurricane Ian. But there’s still a threat.” via Chad Gillis of the Fort Myers News-Press — The Lake Okeechobee drainage system is more likely to see a blue-green algal bloom next spring because of Hurricane Ian. Lt. Col. Todd Polk, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Ian whipped up water and stirred nutrients within the system, and that those nutrients could fuel a bloom. That’s what happened in 2018, when nutrients in Lake Okeechobee were stirred up by Hurricane Irma (2017). Those nutrients fed a bloom on the lake in the early summer of 2018. Soon after, a particularly strong blue-green algae bloom gripped the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area for months. Water flowed about 70 miles from the lake, down the Caloosahatchee and miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunseeker Resort sustains $35M in damage” via Elaine Allen-Emrich of the Punta Gorda Sun — Sunseeker Resort reported a $56.2 million loss in its third quarter earnings this week, with nearly half due to Hurricane Ian damage. The Las Vegas-based travel company’s losses include a $35 million “special charge” for property damage at Sunseeker Resort being built by Allegiant Travel Co. along Charlotte Harbor in Port Charlotte. Several cranes and other equipment and parts of the structure at the resort’s 24-acre construction site were damaged when Hurricane Ian hit Charlotte County with wind speeds of more than 155 mph in September.

Englewood Water working through its recovery” via Steve Reilly of the Englewood Sun — The Englewood Water District officials saw far fewer people than expected at their first meeting since Hurricane Ian Thursday. The officials were told by more than 60 customers they intended to be at the meeting. In anticipation of that crowd, the meeting was held at the Westcoast Church on Pine Street. Instead, only 13 to 15 people turned out. Hurricane Ian made landfall on Sept. 28. On Oct. 6, District crews got the potable water system up and running. By Oct. 10, the wastewater treatment system was back online.

Snook Haven’s immediate future is uncertain” via Morgan Simpson of Venice Gondolier — Plans for reopening are still uncertain for Snook Haven restaurant as Sarasota County decides the next steps after the Myakka River flooded the entire park. “We are all committed … in getting the park open in a safe and accessible manner,” said Nicole Rissler, the director of Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources or PRNR. “What that looks like and how that looks is still being determined.” Following Hurricane Ian, the park and its structures were under more than 4 feet of water from flooding, according to an update sent from PRNR to Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis.

— D.C. MATTERS —

In campaign swing, Biden focuses on incumbent Democrats” via Aamer Madhani of The Associated Press — Biden’s travel schedule before Tuesday’s Midterm Elections reveals his defensive stance in the campaign’s closing days: He’s spending the bulk of his time trying to hang on to seats that his party already holds. Biden kicked off a four-state, three-day campaign swing on Thursday to support Democrats in competitive races in solidly blue California, Illinois and New Mexico. His first stop was Albuquerque, where he spoke about his student debt relief program by calling it “a game changer for so many people.” Nearly 26 million people have applied for loan forgiveness, up 4 million from two weeks ago. About 16 million applications are expected to be approved by the week’s end, but no debt can be forgiven until a legal fight over the program is resolved.

Joe Biden hits the trail to shore up incumbents.

GOP congressional majorities would pivot to spending cuts, Biden probes” via Liz Goodwin of The Washington Post — Republicans hope to end two years of unified Democratic control of Washington in next week’s Midterm Elections but are divided over how exactly they would seek to combat inflation and bring down government spending if they do win majorities in the House, Senate or both. Some fiscal hawks are pushing dramatic spending reforms and overhauls of entitlement programs including Social Security and Medicare, while others are insisting that simply blocking future Democratic legislation and attempting to repeal some of Biden’s signature achievements will represent enough of a shift toward fiscal responsibility to appease voters.

Biden says 16M student debt relief applicants to be approved this week” via Alex Gangitano of The Hill — Biden said that 16 million Americans who applied for the student loan debt program will be approved by the end of the week, the last step before they begin receiving forgiveness checks. “By the end of this week, the Department of Education will have approved applications of 16 million Americans and sent the necessary paperwork to student loan servicers — the last step before the 16 million Americans can have their loan discharged,” Biden said in remarks at the Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Those 16 million people “should be seeing relief in the coming days,” he said, while noting that the program is on a temporary hold because of legal challenges.

Rick Scott blames Mike Bloomberg, George Soros for keeping Democrats competitive” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — U.S. Sen. Scott continues to make the rounds in local markets throughout the country, and Thursday saw him on a Phoenix radio station targeting two prominent Democratic donors. Scott, the Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is attempting to push Blake Masters to a General Election victory in Arizona. Asked by a friendly interviewer why the Democrats were able to compete in elections despite Biden’s economic record, Scott blamed two specific targets for big funding. “Well, because the radical left have money,” Scott said. “I don’t know why George Soros does what he does. I don’t know why Mike Bloomberg does what he does.”

Easy blame: Rick Scott chooses to blast some low-hanging Democratic fruit — George Soros and Mike Bloomberg.

Offshore energy battle looms over ‘must pass’ defense bill” via Peter Cohn of Roll Call — One of the most underappreciated high-stakes legislative fights in recent memory — featuring some of the strangest political bedfellows — is coming soon to a lame-duck session near you. The issue: House-passed legislation attached to that chamber’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the use of U.S. crews or similarly paid workers on foreign vessels servicing offshore energy projects. The idea is that by barring cheaper labor from low-wage countries, U.S. offshore services firms can better compete on price and ultimately drive more domestic shipbuilding. But powerful forces working against the measure have kept it out of the Senate’s NDAA, with both sides scrambling to influence the post-election outcome.

New tax break for clean energy draws scrutiny” via Eric Lipton of The New York Times — The climate and tax legislation passed this summer by Congress and signed by Biden, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, increased the carbon capture subsidy by 70%, to $85 per ton of carbon that is captured and buried. These federal tax breaks fundamentally change the economics of hydrogen-based power projects, making them much more attractive to investors like Blackstone and its partners, while in theory also providing benefits to the environment and electricity ratepayers. Burning hydrogen to create electricity generates nitrogen oxide, another pollutant that can cause asthma and other respiratory ailments. And the process of drilling and transporting natural gas to the site often involves the release of methane, which is an even more potent cause of climate change than carbon dioxide.

U.S. Rep. says Miami-Dade mail facility with past problems needs election eve review” via Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Miami Herald — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is asking the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General to review a Miami-Dade County postal service facility before Election Day, following reports in past election cycles of valid mail ballots that sat in the postal facility and were never counted. Wasserman Schultz, who is currently running for re-election, sent a letter to USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb Hull on Thursday asking for access to the Royal Palm U.S. Postal Service Processing Facility in Opa-locka. For the second time in recent years, Wasserman Schultz was denied entry to the facility last week because of what Postal Service officials said was a policy of not allowing anyone on the ballot to access processing facilities 45 days before an election.

— EPILOGUE TRUMP —

Judge appoints independent monitor to oversee Trump Organization financial filings” via Adam Reiss and Dareh Gregorian of NBC News — A New York state judge on Thursday ordered an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial statements following allegations that the company has been vastly overstating its assets. Justice Arthur Engoron signed off on a preliminary injunction that also blocks former Trump’s company from transferring assets without court approval. In his ruling, the judge said the company must also make the monitor aware of all its holdings and assets and give 30 days’ advance notice of any restructuring at the company and any plans for “disposing or refinancing of significant Trump Organization assets.” Given “defendants’ propensity to engage in persistent fraud, failure to grant such an injunction could result in extreme prejudice to the people of New York,” the judge wrote.

Trump: ‘They ought to impeach Mitch McConnell’ if he backs debt ceiling elimination” via Al Weaver of The Hill — Trump says that Senate Minority Leader McConnell should be impeached if he backs a plan for the debt ceiling to be eliminated over fears that House Republicans could cause the U.S. to default on the nation’s credit. “It’s crazy what’s happening with this debt ceiling. Mitch McConnell keeps allowing it to happen. I mean, they ought to impeach Mitch McConnell if he allows that,” Trump said. “Frankly, something has to be — they have something on him. How he approves this thing is incredible.” Members of the Senate and House cannot be impeached, though both chambers can remove a lawmaker with a two-thirds vote. The President is not involved in that process.

Donald Trump calls for Mitch McConnell’s impeachment. Not gonna happen.

Former AG Bill Barr: There will be no FBI accountability after Russiagate debacle.” Via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — Barr does not mince words about FBI misconduct in its pursuit of the candidate, and then President, Trump. “I think the behavior of the leadership of the FBI during 2016 and the first part of 2017 has been catastrophic,” Barr told me. “It harmed the country, it was completely unfair to the President, and it has completely undercut the FBI.” I asked Barr for a brief description of what the FBI did that was so damaging. How would he characterize it? “Well, in July [2016], before the election, they pounced on the flimsiest pretext, on the idea that there was collusion between Trump and the Russians, which is something the (Hillary) Clinton campaign was trying to whip up,” Barr began. “And they jumped on it. I don’t think there was a predicate for them to do it. And they started this investigation [Crossfire Hurricane] of the campaign.”

Trump hasn’t announced a 2024 bid. But he’s acting like he’s running.” via Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Michael Scherer of The Washington Post — Trump’s advisers have spent much of this year talking him out of announcing a third White House bid before the Midterms. So, Trump has stopped short of a formal announcement, but in many ways, he is already acting like a 2024 candidate. He is scheduled to hold a rally Thursday in Iowa — home to the first-in-the-nation caucus that makes it a magnet for presidential hopefuls, but not among the top battlegrounds in this year’s Midterms. Trump is holding events in coming days in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, critical states in the Midterm Elections for any Republican presidential contender. Trump also has repeatedly winked at his supporters in public remarks, strongly hinting that his own mind was made up.

Pensacola native sentenced to federal prison for Jan. 6 Capitol breach actions” via Benjamin Johnson of the Pensacola News Journal — A federal court in Washington, D.C. sentenced Pensacola native Jesus Rivera to federal prison for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. The 38-year-old man will spend eight months in federal prison followed by 12 months of supervised release, according to court documents, and he is ordered to pay $500 in restitution following his June 17 guilty verdict. “Such a sentence protects the community, promotes respect for the law, and deters future crime by imposing restrictions on his liberty as a consequence of his behavior, while recognizing his acceptance of responsibility for his crime,” wrote U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves in the sentencing memorandum.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

“‘Passion to serve’: Marleine Bastien devoted to a brighter, better District 2 in homestretch of Miami-Dade Commission runoff” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — In her bid to represent District 2 on the Miami-Dade County Commission, Bastien is leaning on her more than four decades of nonprofit and social work. That, plus the good word of hundreds of local leaders and countless residents whose lives she’s touched. It’s her first run at elected office. “The skill set I acquired over the course of 40 years helping residents improve their quality of life translates well to the job,” she said. “And whenever I read about District 2 being the poorest district, it never sat well with me.”

Marleine Bastien’s goal is to be of service. Image via VoteMarleineBastien.com.

___

State orders audit of Broward schools giving 3 employees $237,000 in exit pay” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The state has ordered the Broward school district to investigate whether it violated state law by giving $237,000 in separation payments to three administrators forced out by Superintendent Vickie Cartwright. Cartwright and School Board Chair Torey Alston received a letter Friday from the state Department of Education’s inspector general’s office directing the district to respond by Nov. 28 to a complaint of possible waste and overpayment. “The complaint alleged concerns of waste related to the administrators receiving payouts ranging from 19-39 weeks instead of the six weeks of pay permissible by state law,” Amanda Mora, an investigator wrote.

Stuart City Commissioner Christopher Collins under fire for posting racially divisive photo on Facebook” via Lina Ruiz of Treasure Coast Newspapers — City Commissioner Collins is under fire after posting a racially divisive photo on Facebook that prompted Black community members to speak out at a Commission meeting Wednesday. The photo showed Zippy the Chimp from “The Ed Sullivan Show” with a caption urging residents to come to the meeting. The chimp’s shirt, which read “ZIP,” was a nod to the formal name of the issue being discussed at the meeting: zoning in progress. Collins apologized at the beginning of the meeting, calling the photo a “misunderstanding.” The photo was on Facebook for six days until Collins deleted it after the Wednesday night meeting.

Former Dania Beach worker accused of using his job to get cash and gifts” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A former Dania Beach city employee “corruptly” used his job to get benefits, including cash and free home repairs, Broward County’s top government watchdog said Thursday. The Broward Office of the Inspector General, in a report, concluded that former Public Works and Utilities Manager Jose Urtecho “repeatedly committed state ethics misconduct” by setting up contracts to vendors who in turn gave him and his girlfriend gifts, using subordinate city employees to make payments to these vendors using their city purchasing cards.

Outgoing Indian River County Commissioner Peter O’Bryan wants job as Interim County Administrator” via Thomas Weber of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Outgoing County Commissioner O’Bryan wants a new job: Interim County Administrator. The Commission expects it will need someone to take over the Administrator’s responsibilities beginning in January, once Jason Brown leaves his position for a job with the Clerk of Court. Brown announced his resignation on Oct. 21, effective Dec. 31. O’Bryan, 65, who has been District 4 Commissioner for 16 years, did not run for re-election this year and will be out of office when former Sheriff Deryl Loar is sworn into the seat on Nov. 22.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Volusia County Council District 5 seat to be vacant until January” via Sheldon Gardner of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Volusia County Council member Fred Lowry attended his last Council meeting this week, and after his last day this month in office, the seat will remain vacant until January. Lowry said he is planning to leave on Nov. 14. He said he must leave by Nov. 15 because he also ran for the School Board. He lost to Board Chair Ruben Colón. The School Board voted in September to move their organizational meeting, when new members are sworn in, to Nov. 28. Either Victor Ramos or David Santiago, who will face each other in the Nov. 8 election, will take over Lowry’s County Council seat. The swearing-in will happen for the County Council at the first meeting in January.

Fred Lowry makes his exit, but the seat will remain empty for a while.

‘Straight up deceit’: Flagler School Board candidate targeted by outside attack ads, mailers” via Danielle Johnson of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — As election season heats up this November, outside political groups are becoming more prominent in the Flagler County School Board District 2 race between Will Furry and Courtney VandeBunte. While political involvement in School Board races, which are technically nonpartisan, has increased, VandeBunte said Furry’s proponents have taken it a step further by not only funding attack ads but also sending deceptive mailers that appear to have been sent by VandeBunte herself. The two are vying for the District 2 seat, which covers Palm Coast and northeast Flagler County, as Janet McDonald chose not to run for re-election. “This is just straight-up deceit,” VandeBunte said.

Bethune-Cookman students, faculty march to the polls in Daytona Beach for early voting” via Jim Abbott of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — As a criminal justice major at Bethune-Cookman University, David Bartee has spent time in the classroom studying the politics of elections nationwide. On Wednesday, however, the topic came into focus in the real world, as Bartee joined nearly six dozen Bethune-Cookman students, faculty and staff members for a “march to the polls” to participate in early voting and shine a light on the importance of being part of the election process. “Everybody gets to understand how voting is going to affect them,” said Bartee, 24, a senior from West Palm Beach. “It’s a reminder for everyone to get out and vote, to know exactly what they are voting for and to understand the candidates, their values and ideals.”

___

In ‘ghost’ candidate case, Eric Foglesong asks judge to subpoena Orlando Sentinel journalists” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Foglesong, a political consultant charged with falsifying finance records to help a “ghost” candidate’s campaign in the 2020 election, is asking a circuit court judge to subpoena records from one former and three current Orlando Sentinel journalists relating to Florida Power & Light, Matrix LLC and other nonprofit organizations. According to a motion filed Wednesday by Foglesong’s attorney, Jacob Stuart Jr., articles by investigative reporter Annie Martin, opinion columnist Scott Maxwell, content director for local news Jeff Weiner and former investigative reporter Jason Garcia who left the newspaper in January, “paint a picture of a conspiracy” between FPL, the other organizations and Foglesong.

Ocoee Remembers: City hosts observance of Election Day massacre” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Ocoee will host three days of events beginning Friday to mark the 102nd anniversary of one of the worst episodes of racial violence in America. Known as “Ocoee Remembers,” the events grew from city efforts to acknowledge and atone for century-old atrocities inflicted on Black citizens by an armed white mob who burned 25 homes, two churches, and a fraternal lodge on Nov. 2, 1920, in an area that later became part of Ocoee. The total number of dead is still unknown. The lynching of Julius “July” Perry made him the best-known victim. He was a farmer and prosperous labor broker who had dared to register fellow Blacks to vote.

Judge directs Orange election supervisor to not certify results of rent-control vote” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Following direction from an appeals court, Circuit Judge Jeff Ashton ordered election officials this morning not to certify results of the disputed rent-control ordinance, which remains on the Nov. 8 ballot despite court rulings declaring its ballot summary to be misleading. The remedy allows voters to weigh in at the ballot box while preventing the measure from becoming law even if it passes. State law requires voter approval and an electorate’s decision is valid only after the results are certified.

Orlando hotel rooms busier than 2019 in September despite Hurricane Ian” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Orlando, one of the world’s most popular vacation spots, still stayed busy in September despite the roaring Hurricane Ian that closed the city’s airports and its theme parks. “While Hurricane Ian caused a decline during the last week of September, the healthy demand levels through the rest of the month, including Labor Day weekend, ensured an overall positive performance,” said Visit Orlando’s President and CEO Casandra Matej.

Displaced Kissimmee senior community residents to move again. It’s still not the end” via Natalia Jaramillo of the Orlando Sentinel — Good Samaritan Society residents, who have been living at hotels for over a month since floodwaters from Hurricane Ian forced them to flee the Kissimmee retirement community, will be moved to more-permanent housing on Friday. Over 50 Good Samaritan residents who have been living at a Red Lion hotel, Holiday Inn and Candlewood Suites will move into apartments at Westgate Towers, a resort on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee.

Hurricane Ian forces Good Samaritan Society seniors to move — again.

Disney, other tourism workers need $18 minimum wage, report says” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando’s tourism workers, long among the lowest paid in the region’s economy, must earn at least $18 per hour to meet basic needs, a hospitality industry union argues in a report released Thursday. The report by Unite Here Local 737 found that 69% of hospitality staff surveyed at five Orlando employers, including Walt Disney World, struggled to pay their rent or mortgage each month and 39% worried about becoming homeless.

— LOCAL: SW. FL —

Bradenton restricts Council member Bill Sanders’ access to City Hall after ‘unhinged’ behavior” via Ryan Callihan of the Bradenton Herald — Bradenton City Council member Sanders is facing new building restrictions at City Hall and criticism linked to a campaign mailer. Sanders, who represents parts of East Bradenton along the Manatee River on the Bradenton City Council, has come under fire from city employees and officials in recent months. An investigative report recently determined the elected official has shown a pattern of “abusive and threatening behavior” toward staff. City leaders have considered levying some sort of punishment, but a final decision has not been made.

Bill Sanders is ‘unhinged,’ say Bradenton officials. Image via Bradenton.com.

Students, staff at two Cape Coral schools on lockdown after active shooter threat; no injuries” via Tomas Rodriguez of the Fort Myers News-Press — Hours after nearly 3,000 students and 250 staff went on lockdown in response to a call alerting of an active shooter, students ran to their parents’ cars and hugged them tight. The call placed 1,828 Mariner High and 998 Mariner Middle school students, as well as nearly 250 staff, on lockdown, said Rob Spicker, spokesperson for the Lee County School District. Officials later determined the call was false and they are investigating. Shortly after 1 p.m., Cape Coral Police received reports of a threat at Mariner High School, Cape Coral Police Chief Anthony Sizemore said.

Punta Gorda City Council votes to revise sign code” via Elaine Allen-Emrich of the Punta Gorda Sun — James McLynas called the Punta Gorda City Council members “little Putins,” saying they passed an ordinance that punishes people for free speech. McLynas was one of five who spoke in favor of repealing the city’s sign code ordinance at the Wednesday City Council meeting. The Council voted unanimously to have City Attorney David Levin revise the sign code and bring it back at a future meeting for a vote. “One of the things that makes this country great is we can say what we want to say,” McLynas told the City Council. “(Vladimir) Putin is putting people in jail for protesting the war. You are little Putins.”

Doctor offered prescription drugs in exchange ‘for sexual favors,’ Florida cops say” via Mark Price of the Bradenton Herald — A Florida doctor is accused of orchestrating an elaborate scheme that offered prescription drugs for “sexual favors,” according to the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office. Dr. Scott Hollington of Sawgrass Health in St. Augustine has been told he must surrender his medical license, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. His indictment came after a 14-month investigation that began when Hollington was suspected of “prescribing controlled substances in exchange for sexual favors and without a legitimate medical purpose,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “During the numerous undercover operations that spanned more than a year, investigators revealed the scope of Hollington’s illegal prescribing, to include the use of several midlevel practitioners operating on a telemedicine capacity for Hollington,” officials said.

Superintendent’s grades are in: Brennan Asplen scores ‘highly effective’ in Board evaluations” via Chris Porter of the Englewood Sun — Students are graded on a regular basis, but for the Sarasota County Schools Superintendent, grades come once a year in the form of public evaluations from elected School Board members. Asplen received an “A” average from his five School Board members this week, which showed he is considered “highly effective” in most of the categories he is graded on each year. He received “highly effective” grades on 8 out of 10 of his grading standards, with “effective” grades in the other two when all the Board’s evaluations were tallied.

UnidosNow executive director Luz Corcuera announces retirement” via Samantha Gholar of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — After taking the reins as chief executive at UnidosNow Sarasota-Manatee seven years ago, Corcuera, has announced that she will retire from the organization at the end of the year. The UnidosNow board has selected Cintia Elenstar as the new executive director to start in January. Corcuera joined UnidosNow in 2016 after working with the organization in another leadership position where she strengthened and enhanced the nonprofit’s mission to serve Latino students and families. Her work creating programs for low-income, first-generation students on the path to higher education was instrumental at UnidosNow; during her tenure, Corcuera and her team have empowered more than 3,000 high school graduates to pursue college educations and various career paths.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Jacksonville’s ‘remedy’ redistricting map is ready for full City Council vote” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A Jacksonville City Council Special Committee continued its second try at redistricting, refining a map Thursday with an attempt to set up full Council consideration of it Friday morning. But the discussion was heated at times, and outstanding issues remain, even as the committee moved the redistricting plan forward. The appellate process continues, but the Council faces a hard Nov. 8 deadline for a “remedy” map, and committee passage is essential to keep that on track.

Jacksonville redistricting plans draw fire from Riverside Avondale Preservation backers” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union — A leader of Riverside Avondale Preservation said Wednesday that residents of the historic neighborhood will “fight hard” against a proposed redistricting plan that would split that part of the city into three different City Council districts. “It’s outrageous, and it’s being done for all the wrong reasons,” said Wayne Wood, who helped found Riverside Avondale Preservation in 1974. The historic district operates under a zoning overlay enacted by the city aimed toward preserving the historic character of Riverside and Avondale. The district now is entirely in District 14, represented by Randy DeFoor.

City lawyer: Jacksonville doesn’t need compact City Council districts despite charter requirement” via Andrew Pantazi of The Tributary — Even as the city faces a lawsuit alleging it illegally passed non-compact districts, Jacksonville’s top lawyer told City Council members they didn’t need to worry about whether their new districts were oddly shaped or not. “It’s OK to have funny-looking districts,” Jacksonville General Counsel Jason Teal said. “It’s OK that they look like they are oddly shaped.” The city’s charter requires “that all districts and at-large residence areas are nearly equal in population and are arranged in a logical and compact geographic pattern to the extent possible.”

___

In wake of antisemitic hate across Jacksonville, where is the Sheriff?” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — A series of antisemitic hate messages appeared in prominent places across the city beginning Friday afternoon, in what was almost certainly a coordinated effort to terrorize Jacksonville’s Jewish community. Throughout Saturday and Sunday, a broad array of Jacksonville leaders denounced the hate messages — although often in pro forma statements that said little and came too late, hardly profiles in courage or leadership. Neither Jacksonville’s acting Sheriff, Pat Ivey, nor his department even met that unimpressive minimum standard until midday Monday. JSO has had little to say about the Nazis running around town, made no assurances that people should feel safe, no attestation it takes such hateful rhetoric seriously. And throughout the weekend stories across local media included a familiar refrain: “JSO did not respond to questions.”

Amid a wave of antisemitism, Pat Ivey stays silent.

Commission tables request for card room employees to play poker where they work” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — It’s a specific problem for a specific area, card room workers who like to play poker themselves yet have to go out of town to do so because their card room is the only one nearby. State regulations prohibit playing where you work, but the owners of Oxford Downs in Marion County are looking for a variance that would help them and their workers, and perhaps other similarly situated operations. Whether those workers will get that chance has yet to be decided. Where Oxford Downs is located, we’ve got a number of employees in the card room who have expressed interest in playing poker,” attorney John Lockwood said.

Fort Walton Beach looks to recruitment firm to help fill City Manager position” via Devon Ravine of the Northwest Florida Daily News — During their Oct. 25 meeting, Fort Walton Beach City Council members wrestled with the issue of how to permanently fill the position left by departing City Manager Michael Beedie, who announced his resignation to the Council in early October. Previously, the Council had directed staff to arrange a contract with Recreation Cultural Services Director Jeff Peters to serve as interim City Manager. During last week’s meeting, the Council made that official, appointing Peters to serve in that position for a period of 90 days. That period began Oct. 26. While the charter sets forth a clear timetable for selecting a city manager, it does not specify a process.

—“TIAA Bank sold. What does that mean for Jacksonville headquarters, Jaguars stadium name?” via Alexandria Mansfield of the Florida Times-Union

— TOP OPINION —

Joe Henderson: Next time, Democrats must understand their message isn’t working” via Florida Politics — Florida Democrats aren’t even waiting to engage in their regular after-election ritual of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching. While the Republican juggernaut rolls on, Democrats play the blame game. Yet another shake-up in the Dems’ leadership appears inevitable as they search for answers on why Republicans routinely kick their butt.

It’s not that complicated, though, especially when viewed through the lens of this election.

Democratic candidates repeatedly lectured voters on what they should care about in the major races.

Meanwhile, Republicans focused on what voters actually care about — a big difference.

And do we have to say it? It was, is, and always shall be the economy. A candidate who can’t win the kitchen table argument will probably lose. Democrats still don’t understand that.

Democrats believed they had a winning issue with abortion rights. Polls show that most Floridians want to protect a woman’s right to choose, but that’s not all they believe.

Millennials believe the economy left them behind and that rents are too high. Voters also believe gas and food cost too much. Seniors wonder if their nest egg will give them enough cushion through retirement. Dems looked bumfuzzled when the GOP labeled them as socialists and reaped large support from Latino voters.

What did Democrats come back with?

Abortion, mostly.

It was a gross miscalculation.

— OPINIONS —

Bob Cortes: The coveted Hispanic vote” via Florida Politics — Every cycle, I hear about how the Republican and Democratic parties are trying to “get” the Hispanic vote. With over 25% of Florida’s population being Hispanic, anyone can see why this is an important bloc for any campaign. But when I read about how the respective parties are going about trying to do it, I can’t help but ask myself, “what are they thinking?” This is not rocket science. First, it is a mistake to think of Florida’s Hispanic population as monolithic. Diversity creates some challenges, and there are some distinct differences between the nationalities. Those who have relocated to Florida are determined to live the American Dream, just like anyone else who has been able to achieve this in Florida and are very much pro-free markets.

DeSantis’ focus on freedom works for Hispanic voters” via Bertica Cabrera Morris for the Orlando Sentinel — Why do Hispanics support DeSantis? It is a question that is heard daily among Democratic elites. They make it seem as if, behind that support, they’re a great mystery to be solved. The reality is that there is no mystery, and the answer is much simpler than they want to believe or accept. It can be said that the Florida Democrats are in panic mode, since for many years they have believed that the Hispanic vote belongs to them without having to work for it. They have always believed themselves to be owners of our votes, but things are changing.

DeSantis will continue to give Floridians a better quality of life” via Ronna McDaniel for the Miami Herald — Thanks to Republicans like DeSantis and Rubio, the Sunshine State has not only stayed afloat but even thrived these past two years. But as both Republicans made clear on the debate stage, Florida could look like any other Democrat-run disaster if gubernatorial candidate Crist and Senate candidate Demings get their way in November. It’s up to voters to ensure that doesn’t happen. Florida Republicans have led the pandemic recovery. The state unemployment rate has hovered below the national rate for 22 consecutive months. Florida’s private-sector job growth rate doubled the U.S. economy’s in August.

The hate around us draws a pathetic DeSantis response” via the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial boards — Silence speaks volumes. Sometimes it screams. It’s now shouting at peak decibels amid the failure of DeSantis, and many lesser politicians, to speak out more forcefully against the ominous rise of antisemitism in Florida and across the country. These hateful incidents have risen steadily since 2016, rising to a record 2,717 last year, an increase of 34% over the previous year. In Orlando, it goes back as far as January, when an otherwise peaceful weekend was shattered by a group of neo-Nazis who screamed at drivers on a suburban thoroughfare. DeSantis’ response? His then-Press Secretary’s derisive tweet: “Do we even know they’re Nazis?”

Stark contrast between DeSantis and Crist in so many ways” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — The most important race for governor in Florida history will be decided on Tuesday when voters choose between DeSantis and Crist. Rarely in the history of Florida politics have two candidates disagreed on so much. DeSantis signed a 15-week ban on abortion with no exceptions for victims of rape, incest or human trafficking. “I’m proud of the 15 weeks that we did,” DeSantis said in a recent debate. Crist opposed the law and the lack of exceptions. DeSantis ran roughshod over local officials for imposing mask and vaccine mandates. Crist’s approach is the opposite.

Don’t dither, DeSantis” via Bobby Miller of the National Review — Momentum is everything in politics. It’s why many Democrats lament that they “peaked” too early in this Midterm Election cycle. If DeSantis loses steam between now and 2028 and fades from the spotlight, who’s to say he’ll regain it? Six years is eons in political time, and it’s almost certain Trump is running again. The only question now is whether DeSantis will stop him from becoming the next Benjamin Netanyahu, Lula da Silva, or Grover Cleveland. When making this decision, DeSantis might want to heed the advice of hip-hop artist Eminem, who famously said, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

Disney: Under political fire, sued by passholders — and as popular as ever” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney is taking all kinds of heat these days. A class-action lawsuit filed by annual passholders accuses the Orlando parks of stiffing loyal customers out of promised perks. Republican politicians have turned the company into a punching bag for its allegedly too-“woke” culture. And some conservative groups are calling for boycotts with a headline in the Catholic magazine, Crisis, urging readers to: “Boycott Disney to Save Your Child’s Soul.” For all the boycott calls and political rants, its parks are still full. The company’s last earnings report was strong.

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

— WEEKEND TV —

ABC Action News Full Circle with Paul LaGrone on Channel 10 WFTS: Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, Florida Investigates reporter Katie LaGrone and political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus.

Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues affecting the region.

In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A discussion on veterans’ issues and various avenues of assistance that are available for veterans in need of financial, medical or other help. Joining Walker are Rod Cunningham, U.S. Air Force veteran, and Julie Sanderson, founder and president of Patriot Service Dogs.

Political Connections on Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A recap of the last week on the campaign trail for statewide and local candidates; a breakdown of the top races with Spectrum Bay News 9’s political analysts; and a look at opposition on the abolition of the Constitution Revision Commission via this year’s Amendment 2.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: A preview of Tuesday’s November Midterm Elections with Spectrum News 13 political analysts.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Gary Yordon and pollster Steve Vancore.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Agriculture Commissioner candidates Wilton Simpson and Naomi Blemur; and Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney.

— ALOE —

NASA and Boeing delay Starliner crewed flight again” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — The first astronauts to fly on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner won’t climb on board for a planned trip to the International Space Station until at least April 2023. The Crew Flight Test (CFT) schedule falls nearly 3 1/2 years since the original uncrewed flight of Starliner failed to rendezvous with the International Space Station. A retry of that uncrewed flight, which also faced delays, finally made the docking this past May, and there was optimism the follow-up flight with humans could come before the end of the year. Those plans, though, had already been pushed into February, and have now been delayed further, in part due to a busy schedule at the International Space Station.

See you in April. Maybe.

SpaceX launches satellite from Florida; NASA’s Artemis rocket set for rollout” via Emra Kelly of Florida Today — SpaceX lofted yet another communications satellite from Cape Canaveral early Thursday, wrapping up the Space Coast’s 48th mission of the year as NASA prepared to roll out its massive Artemis I rocket at Kennedy Space Center. The 1:22 a.m. EDT liftoff took French satellite operator Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13G satellite, nearly identical to the one launched last month, to orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40. Thursday’s launch marked the seventh for the rocket’s first stage, which was successfully recovered on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean a few minutes later. Once in its final orbital position some 22,300 miles above Earth, the Airbus-built satellite will help serve 160 million homes.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Celebrating today are Reps. Demi Busatta Cabrera, Ingoglia, and Felicia Simone Robinson; Robert Beck, Carlos Cruz, Angela Dempsey, Jamie Jacobs and Joe Marino.

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Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.


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