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

By on May 8, 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, only right-sized for the Sunshine State…

WILL RICK SCOTT INFECT MITT ROMNEY?

“Rick Scott didn’t endorse Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney until last month, after rival Rick Santorum dropped out,” writes Beth Reinhard. “It was a tardy and lackluster show of support. ‘Mitt Romney will be our party’s nominee, and it is critical that all Republicans coalesce,’ Scott said in a written statement, as if forced to acknowledge the inevitable, like it or not. The two former corporate executives, who could probably spend all day swapping success stories, have never campaigned together.

Polling conducted by one influential Democratic group found that 11 percent more Florida voters said they had “very major doubts” about Romney when he was linked to Scott. The poll, which was not released publicly, tested a negative policy message against Romney, then tested it again while also tying the message to Scott.

MORE TROUBLE FOR STEVE MACNAMARA

Steve MacNamara’s no good, very bad week continued Monday night when a Spanish-language television station in Miami painted a less-than-flattering portrait of Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff, reports Marc Caputo.

Host Oscar Haza, of América TeVe’s A Mano Limpia show, devoted part of a segment in his popular, nightly current events show to how MacNamara, then working in the Florida Senate, helped steer a $360,000 no-bid state contract to a friend, Sarasota business consultant Abraham Uccello. Haza and two invited guests then discussed the story with this headline in the background: “Under the magnifying glass, Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff.”

MY INTERVIEW WITH WUSF in which I compare MacNamare to Paulie from ‘Goodfellas.’

SCOT SPOX AMY GRAHAM OFFICIALLY LEAVING FOR ROMNEY CAMPAIGN

Graham will be working with Kristy Campbell, who formerly worked as a spokesman for Bill McCollum when he ran for governor in 2010; for Romney during his last presidential run; and for Gov. Jeb Bush.

ANOTHER PERSONNEL NOTE: Rick Scott appoints Chris Corr to board of trustees at UF; shifts from State University Board of Governors.

CABINET MEETING IN THE KEYS TODAY, THEN WILL RELEASE A TURTLE

The meeting follows the governor’s decision earlier this year to leave in the budget a $50 million line item for sewer and wastewater projects in the Keys that Monroe County officials had sought. The $50 million will go for a number of projects in the county, with a major portion of it, $20 million, earmarked for Islamorada. KeysNet.com reported it is the first time “in anyone’s memory” that the governor and Cabinet have met in the Keys.

Scott and the Cabinet will then participate in the release of a rehabilitated sea turtle following a meeting of the Florida Cabinet in Marathon.

TWITTER EXCHANGE OF THE DAY

@fineout: Men’s Health Mag calls Orlando the smuttiest city in U.S. and Tampa at no 8…followed by…@MarcACaputo: @fineout Mickey Mouse Orlando beats Dixie’s Trailer Park Tampa, which beats Bang Bus Miami. Ahhh. Florida

MARCO RUBIO’S PIROUETTES

Andres Oppenheimer interviews Marco Rubio and comes away with the impression that he is ” is trying to rebrand himself from a right-wing Cuban-American politician to a center-right Hispanic one. … Rubio — who, if picked to be on the ballot in November would become the first Hispanic on a presidential ticket — stayed a prudent distance from the most extreme foreign policy stands of his hard-line Republican colleagues in Congress.”

PREVIEW THIS MUST-READ ON RUBIO AND HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH UNIVISION

Many millions of Hispanic voters will get a lot of their political information via the Spanish-language network Univision, and will pay particular attention to the nightly take on the news of Jorge Ramos, a.k.a., “the Walter Cronkite of Hispanic News.” Romney–and moreover, the man many consider his savior among Hispanic voters, Sen. Marco Rubio–have at best a rocky relationship with Univision and with Ramos, explains Laura Colarusso in “The Anchor,” the cover article from the upcoming May/June issue of The Washington Monthly.

Colarrusso’s piece, available today in a Sneak Preview online, provides an excellent backgrounder on Spanish-language media, Univision, and Jorge Ramos’ uniquely trusted position in Hispanic-American culture. It is Ramos who tripped up Mitt Romney in an interview just prior to the Florida primary by asking him if he considered himself “Mexican-American” because of his family’s involvement with a polygamous community in Mexico; Ramos has also been pursuing Rubio for an interview, a challenge he will probably have to meet if he intends to appeal to Hispanic voters outside Florida.

BE SURE TO READ THE ATLANTIC’S OPPO FILE ON RUBIO: Although he could be an asset to Mitt Romney, irregularities in the Florida senator’s record would make him a fat target for Democrats.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

“Welcome to the molten core of the political universe,” writes Beth Reinhard for a cover piece in the National Journal. “Since 1960, Hillsborough County has called every single presidential election except for one—and there’s no reason to think that voters here won’t do it again.

“Look around this county of 1.2 million and you’ll find a mash-up of past and future: a solidly Democratic city bracketed by Republican-leaning suburbs; strawberry fields, ranch-style homes, and gentrified urban neighborhoods; Puerto Ricans, Cuban-Americans, African-Americans, Midwestern retirees, college kids, active military, and young families; the brick and wrought iron of historic Ybor City, and the stucco and terra-cotta of the Sun City Center senior community.”

“The county boasts the nation’s seventh-largest seaport, the fourth-largest zoo, three major-league sports teams, and an annual festival honoring pirate invasions of the 18th and 19th centuries. It sits at the intersection of Interstate 75, which traverses the United States from north to south, and I-4, which bisects Florida from east to west. This is holy ground for pollsters and advertisers scouting a cross section of America.”

FLORIDA HAS ADDED 60,000 GOVERNMENT JOBS SINCE 2002, BUT…

According to a new On Numbers analysis of seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Sunshine State added 59,600 government jobs between March 2002 and March 2012, ranking it fourth among the 50 states.

But the Florida Current disputes the importance of these numbers.

However, the analysis by the Business Journals parent site paints an incomplete picture of the changes in Florida’s workforce. Government employment grew by 5.78 percent, according to the analysis, but overall employment grew by 11.2 percent during the same period, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is also the source cited by Business Journals.

In other words, government’s share of the overall workforce shrank in Florida, because the private sector grew more quickly.

DOCKERY’S SWAN SONG

Sen. Paula Dockery blasts the politics that led to the end of USF Polytechnic as she speaks at the school’s commencement ceremony.

ADAM PUTNAM’S EPIPHANY

It’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam had his political epiphany, writes Daniel Ruth in a must-read profile of Adam Putnam.

Putnam recalled a moment when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the Republican caucus to provide a briefing on the spreading financial cancer. Widely regarded as an astute, sober-minded economist, Bernanke was met with ridicule and derision by the Republican House members.

Putnam was flabbergasted by the show of disrespect. “There were guys (in the caucus) who couldn’t count the commas in a trillion dollars talking to Bernanke like he was a dog.”

CANTERO TAKES ANOTHER HIGH PROFILE CASE BEFORE SUPREME COURT

The firm of a former Supreme Court justice who serves as co-chairman of Justice Barbara Pariente’s retention campaign has taken another case set to be heard by the high court. White & Case LLP, the law firm of former Justice Raoul Cantero, has signed up to represent the state in the appeal of a circuit court decision barring the state from requiring most state employees to contribute 3 percent of their income toward their retirement funds. Cantero argued for the Legislature in its defense of a second draft of state Senate maps, which were approved by the court, and is representing Florida Power & Light in a over how to pay for nuclear power plants. Cantero has said there is nothing wrong with representing clients and working for Pariente’s campaign at the same time.

A critic wonders if Cantero realizes he may be jeopardizing Pariente’s retention bid.

Put simply, Cantero, in bundling what is already $150,000 for Pariente, has thereby put himself under the microscrope as to whether he is trying to buy influence with her, which if shown would be worth more powerful in the efforts to oust her than any cash donated to any campaign to do so.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that if a state supreme court justice (or any state judge) gets money the purpose of which is to keep him/her in office, then that raises the question:  Is that justice’s impartiality reasonably questioned in a case that brings before it those who gave the justice the money?

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.

MACMANUS DISPENSES WITH MYTHS

“The first myth is that everyone in Florida is old and the only people that move here are old retirees, and that’s certainly not true anymore,” writes Dr. Susan MacManus in an exclusive for Florida Trend. “(W)e have the registration figures that show now that 51% of registered voters are over 50 and 49% are under.”

“I’d say the biggest change is Florida’s power on the national political stage is well-recognized and gets stronger by the day. It’s because the population has become very polarized, just like the rest of the country. Look back to the 2010 governor’s race, which was 1% difference between the two candidates, and that’s not atypical, and everybody I’ve looked at, everyone who’s created swing state maps, puts Florida in the top five and a lot of them put Florida No. 1 as the biggest swing state this year.”

BLOG POST OF THE DAY DEALS WITH ANOTHER MYTH: THE VALUE OF BILL MCCOLLUM’S ENDORSEMENT

“If I were to show a photo of Bill McCollum to the average Orlando voter in 1984, they might know who he is,” writes Dave Trotter of the Political Hurricane. “If I did it today, most people would probably assume that he does the 6 AM crop report with Orion Samuelson on WGN in Chicago (yes, Google it).

“This also begs the question…are only the political lightweights going to endorse Mack? While the major players might support him as the nominee, will they stay quiet before then? The fact that Mack is going to have a “major announcement”  today doesn’t say much when it is associate with the name Bill McCollum.”

(Cool of Adam Smith to Tweet a little recognition in the direction of the Political Hurricane.)

LATVALA RAISING MONEY FOR SENATE PRESIDENCY

“Billing himself as the first Pinellas resident since John Stansel Taylor in 1925 to have an opportunity to be Florida Senate president, Jack Latvala is hosting a May 16 fundraising reception at Ruth Eckerd Hall.” Contributions, starting at $250, will go toward his Florida Leadership Fund, “which will aid the campaigns of senators pledged to support his candidacy for Florida Senate president.

MAJOR FUNDRAISER FOR REP. DANA YOUNG TONIGHT!

Invite here.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Obama for America proconsul in Florida, Ashley Walker.

ALOE TO SOOTHE TODAY’S BURN

THE FIRST TRAILER for Will Ferrell’s political comedy “The Campaign” went up yesterday. The 2.5-minute video is built around two faux campaign ads.

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