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Sunburn: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on May 7, 2012


The app is only a few weeks away, so I figure, why not begin rolling out a preview of what ‘Sunburn’ will be: a morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.  Think Politico Playbook, just right-sized for the Sunshine State…

ROMNEY PLAYING CATCH UP IN FLORIDA – BUT HE HAS TIME

The Los Angeles Times‘ Paul West calls the Sunshine State more critical to Romney than any other. “His entire Florida team was dispatched to other states after the January victory and is just now reassembling.  ‘Obama was opening up storefronts all over the state, while the Republican candidates were duking it out in places that don’t matter in the general election,’ said another Romney advisor in Florida, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about the campaign. ‘If you injected me with sodium pentothal and asked me what one thing bothers me most, it’s what the Obama campaign has done at the ground level.’ But sharp restrictions on new voter registration, imposed last year by the Republican-led Legislature, have slowed Obama’s efforts to expand the electorate to make up for those who have soured on him. And even Democratic strategists say Romney’s team has enough time to put together a successful statewide operation.”

CHECK OUT THE NEW OBAMA CAMPAIGN AD AIRING IN FLORIDA

The 60-second TV commercial, titled ‘Go,’ will be on the air early this week in Florida. The campaign describes it as a “significant buy in targeted markets.” This is the ad David Axelrod hinted was on its way during his ABC sit-down yesterday morning. Starting with a reminder of how dim things already were when Obama was inaugurated, with 20 seconds clips of clips from 2008 and a cameo by raging tea partiers in 2009, the last 40 seconds evoke an uplifting mix of Ronald Reagan’s “It’s Morning Again in America” ad and Clint Eastwood’s “It’s halftime, America” spot from the Super Bowl. This is the president’s first proactive, paid spot in the battleground states. Watch here.

RUBIO SAYS HE IS NOT DISCUSSING THE VP SELECTION PROCESS BUT…

Marco Rubio said he was no longer discussing the VP selection process but he did chime in yesterday on Fox News to say, “I’m certainly not the most experienced person in Washington, D.C. But by the same token, I certainly have experience in serving in government and particularly in the legislative branch in one of the largest states and more complex states in the country in terms of public policy.”

MARCO ALSO DEFENDS HIS SCALED BACK DREAM ACT

“Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday defended his plan to develop a scaled-back version of the DREAM Act,” reports the Washington Post, “arguing that his proposal represents not amnesty, but an effort to tackle the “humanitarian issue” of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

HISPANIC REGISTRATION IN FLORIDA OFF? OR NOT?

In a weekend Washington Post piece, there’s an interesting mention of something going on in Florida that would  be important in the upcoming election: according to the Post, there’s a marked  decline in voter registration among Hispanics, including a 10 percent dropoff in Florida.

There’s little about what might be going on specifically in Florida – and generally this is the piece’s main offer of an explanation:

“The only explanation out there is the massive job loss and home mortgage foreclosures, which disproportionately affected minorities,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonpartisan policy group that focuses on Latinos. “When you move, you lose your registration.”

Here’s the story.

But the WaPo figures are from the Census and this morning’s Election Law Blog raises questions about whether the figures are right. And actually if you look at state figures – Hispanic registration appears to be up.

BRETT DOSTER ADDS TO HIS DANCE CARD

One of the architects of Pam Bondi’s successful bid for Attorney General is going to work for Connie Mack’s fledgling US Senate Campaign.  Brett Doster, the principal of Front Line Strategies, has been hired to coordinate Mack’s grassroots efforts, reports The Shark Tank. Doster’s dance card is filling up quickly – Romney in Florida…Mack…legislative campaigns.

COULD GOP TOPPLE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ?

U.S. Rep.  Debbie Wasserman Schultz has used her Broward County base to steadily climb from the state Legislature to the top job at the Democratic National Committee.

Now, Republicans would love to defeat Wasserman Schultz in the 2012 election. But analysts say that is unlikely. Here’s a link to a Sun-Sentinel storyabout the Republicans’ hopes.

RICK SCOTT’S LET’S GET TO WORK COMMITTEE RAISES $1 MILLION IN APRIL

With Gov. Rick Scott making plans to run for re-election in 2014, a closely linked political committee raised more than $1 million in April — and has already collected nearly $2 million this year.

PULLING BACK THE CURTAINS ON SCOTT’S ‘WIZARD OF OZ’ STEVE MACNAMARA

Since becoming the governor’s chief of staff last July, MacNamara has controlled access to the governor and his schedule, assumed authority over appointments and dictated press releases and policy memos. He has directed the governor’s message and reached into the bowels of agencies to remove people he doesn’t like and install favorites.

“No one gets in to see the Wizard. Not no one, no how,” reads the sign on the way into MacNamara’s office, an excerpt from the famous movie.

BUT CAPUTO LOWERS THE BOOM ON MACNAMARA

“Questions about MacNamara’s integrity go back a decade,” reports Marc Caputo. “In between his stints as staff chief to the Florida House Speaker in 1999 and 2000, MacNamara secretly worked out a lobbying gig to help persuade the state to reverse course and permit a cement plant on the scenic Ichetucknee River. More than two years later, the Commission on Ethics cleared him after another lobbyist and MacNamara ally changed his story.”

“Once on Scott’s team, MacNamara the insider got to work.”

“MacNamara walled off the governor from others, played agency heads against each other, hired loyalists at six-figure salaries (paying them more than women in the same jobs), forced out his rivals and helped out his buddies, according to a Herald/Times story Sunday. Tea partiers have expressed concern, noting the governor has vetoed less government spending — a favorite Tallahassee endeavor — when compared to Scott’s first year without MacNamara.”

Caputo tweets in response to question about whether he meant to call MacNamara a ‘loser.” @SaintPetersblog not sure I cd be clearer w/this lede “Rick Scott’s biggest failure: Chief of Staff Steve MacNamara.”

NOTICE THE NUGGET IN CAPUTO’S STORY ABOUT PAM BONDI’S STAFF NO LONGER TRUSTING THE GOVERNOR’S?

MORE BAD NEWS FOR MACNAMARA: AP reports, MacNamara “helped steer a no-bid consulting contract worth $360,000 to a friend who now leads a task force rooting out state government waste.”

SUNSHINE STATE NEWS’ NANCY SMITH TO MACNAMARA: DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT

Insiders say Steve MacNamara is leaving the governor’s office at the end of the year.

“If that’s so, then why wait?” asks Nancy Smith. “Rick Scott should hold the door open for his Machiavellian chief of staff right now.”

GET YOUR CHECKBOOKS READY

Get your checkbooks ready, PAC chairs and Tallahassee uber-lobbyists, there are several fundraisers for legislative candidates planned for this week. Here’s a partial lineup.

JACK LATVALA CONTINUING HIS PRODIGIOUS FUNDRAISING FOR HIS LEADERSHIP FUNDS

Latvala added $32,725 to the Florida Leadership Fund$14,500 for Working Together for Florida, and $7,500 for the Committee for Jobs and Growth since resuming his fundraising efforts. More here.

LATVALA NEEDS MYERS TO DEFEAT STARGEL, RIGHT?

After  the first quarter Rep. Kelli Stargel was leading Jack Myers in the cash race for the Polk County-based Senate  District 16 seat. The Winter Haven News Chief has Bill Rufty’s latest on the contest.

RATING THE SENATE DISTRICTS

Bloggers at the Political Hurricane offer their ratings of all of the Senate races.

WHO WILL RUN FOR DISTRICT 68 IF JEFF BRANDES RUNS FOR THE STATE SENATE

If Brandes makes the jump into State Senate race, it would create an open-seat situation in District 68, which history tells us will be very competitive.  But who will run for the most battlegroundy of battleground seats? Answers here.

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN (Lighter topics)

Just in case you were wondering, Michelle and I are having a girl.

Happy birthday to Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Ah-nold wrote a much-buzzed about op-ed for Sunday’s Los Angeles Times calling on the Republican Party to become more inclusive. Doesn’t he sound a lot like a former Governor we all know, who recently said this.

With his camera, Eric Tournay documented the days of Florida’s last nine governors — cataloging Wayne Mixson’s three days in office to Jeb Bush’s eight years.

Material from the News Service of Florida and Politico were used in this post.

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