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

By on May 9, 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…

GEORGE LEMIEUX CAMPAIGN SAYS CONNIE MACK WAS PLAYING ‘HOOKY’ AGAIN

The LeMieux camp may have finally arrived at an effective line of attack against Mack — the Congressman’s voting record.  Anna Nix, LeMieux’s spox, lays out the issue in an email, writing that Mack has already missed 41 percent of votes in 2012.

UH-OH: MACK’S FRANKED MAIL LANDING OUTSIDE HIS DISTRICT

“Taxpayer-funded mailers highlighting Rep. Connie Mack’s “penny plan” — a proposal he’s also pitching as a Senate candidate — are landing in mailboxes outside the congressman’s district, an apparent violation of House rules,” reports Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times. “So far, copies have been reported in the Hillsborough County communities Odessa and Lithia as well as Sarasota and Coral Gables.”

POLL FINDS MARCO RUBIO MOST POPULAR VP CHOICE

Public Policy Polling’s State of the Nation poll for the progressive blog and labor organization finds that Obama leads Romney 48-45 among registered voters, with seven percent undecided. Among Republicans, 25 percent picked Marco Rubio from a list of eight names as the best VP candidate. Chris Christie was second at 19 percent. Jeb Bush was third at 16 percent. Paul Ryan was fourth with eight percent. This largely tracks name ID. One-fifth said someone not on the list of names provided. See a four-page preview of the results.

PICTURING THE ROMNEY-RUBIO TICKET:

“The fastest-selling trinkets at the recent Republican Party of Florida meeting in Tampa were a pair of lapel pins — $2 for the little one, $5 for the bigger — bearing the smiling faces of Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio,” writes the “retired” Bill Cotterell.

“Such a ticket is wishful thinking on the part of GOP activists who yearn to return Florida to the red column next November. Although the former Massachusetts governor could appeal to conservative skeptics by picking Florida’s new, Tea Party-backed senator as his running mate, it’s not likely.”

NEW REPUBLIC DEFENDS RUBIO’S EXILE STORY

The fears that drove Marco Rubio’s parents to flee Castro’s Cuba, then, were very real—indeed, they were exactly the same fears that drove out others who had never before left their homeland. This is a point that the Washington Post reporters who “exposed” Rubio’s deceit failed to appreciate. Stressing that Marco Rubio’s parents had spent very little time in post-Batista Cuba, they insinuated that they really never experienced oppression on the island. But no one returning to Cuba in 1961 needed more than a day or two to experience the full crushing weight of repression. 1961 was the year when private property was abolished, bank accounts were seized, and the Bay of Pigs invasion lead to waves of politically-motivated arrests…More here.

RUBIO DEFENDS HIMSELF AGAINST CHARGES OF INEXPERIENCE: ‘I WASN’T PART OF THE LANDSCAPING CREW’

Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard has written a typically thorough and smart analysis of Marco Rubio, who occupies the default spot at the top of most people’s list of vice presidential nominees. In that article, Rubio defends himself against an argument I made a few weeks ago about his lack of executive experience:

“I chuckled when I read an article yesterday,” said Rubio. “The guy wrote that the only experience I have is being on the city commission. I mean, I’m not telling you that I’m the most experienced guy in the Capitol, but I served nine years in one of the largest legislatures in the country. I was in leadership eight of my nine years. I was majority whip, majority leader, and speaker of the house. We had a $72 billion budget—which is larger than most states. I wasn’t part of the landscaping crew until last week, either.”

RUBIO TO DELIVER KEYNOTE TO LATINO COALITION’s ANNUAL ECONOMIC SUMMIT … May 23 in Washington: “The Latino Coalition [was] founded in 1995 … The event [will be] held during National Small Business Week (May 20-26) … The Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit attracts a who’s who of U.S. policymakers and national business leaders as well as hundreds of Latino small business owners from across the country.”

TODAY IS D-DAY FOR VERN BUCHANAN

“May 9 is ‘D-Day’ for Sarasota Congressman Vern Buchanan. That’s the day he finds out if the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee will pursue charges against him,” WTSP reported last night. “Although the wealthy Republican dodged a bullet on charges he violated federal election laws, regardless of what the Ethics Committee decides, Buchanan faces other severe legal problems.”

AN UGLY RACE IN CD 7, A CROWDED FIELD FOR MACK’S OLD SEAT

Roll Call today has a look at the coming Mica v. Adams primary in Florida – expected ugly race, they say.

The Naples Daily News has a look at the 14-candidate free-for-all for the Connie Mack House seat in Southwest Florida.

HOW BOLD!

Florida Chamber names Dean Cannon its ‘2012 most valuable legislator.’

ANYONE ELSE WONDERING WHAT LOBBYTOOLS/FLORIDA CURRENT IS PLANNING?

Last week, LobbyTools/The Florida Current hires Bill Cotterell, today its Jame Call. The subscriber-based information service has as capable a staff as the Times/Herald , just with none of the headaches.

WHO KNEW THERE WAS A NEWSPAPER CALLED THE ‘APALACHEE TORTOISE?

EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: Has anyone ever met and interviewed one of Obama’s old girlfriends?

CHARLIE DEAN, SCOTT PLAKON QUALIFY BY PETITION

Rep. Scott Plakon and Sen. Charlie Dean are among the legislators who have qualified by petition to run for re-election. Dean, R-Inverness, needed 1,552 verified signatures to qualify for the ballot in his mostly rural north-central Florida district, and according to the Division of Elections has turned in 1,581.  Plakon, R-Longwood, said on his Facebook page Tuesday that he was just notified that he has qualified by petition. Candidates seeking to qualify for the ballot by petition need a certain number based on the number of registered voters in their district. Candidates can also qualifying by paying a fee.

DID GENSHAFT LIE TO LATVALA?

If you read a report by CBSSports.com writer Brett McMurphy, who used to cover USF for the Tampa Tribune and has been the reporter of record for the Big East realignment, you would be hardpressed to think otherwise.

Chris Latvala tweets a reminder: @ChrisLatvala: A fellow that “misrepresented the facts” to the old man #USF…How not to lobby, Pt. 2 http://bit.ly/IS0Vfx

JOHN DELANEY PULLS HIS ENDORSEMENT OF AARON BEAN IN UBER COMPETITIVE SENATE RACE

University of North Florida President John Delaney has pulled his endorsement of state Senate candidate Aaron Bean, reports Matt Dixon. … Delaney said he backed the Nassau County Republican before he knew that longtime friend Mike Weinstein was getting in the race. “I’ve known Mike for 30 years. I really like Aaron’s politics, but me and Mike have such a longtime relationship,” Delany said.

JAX MAYOR ALVIN BROWN STILL SILENT ABOUT BILL BANNING SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown won’t take a position on City Council legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, although supporters remember candidate Brown strongly favoring such a bill.

Brown refused to comment Thursday night because he said he hasn’t seen the recently introduced ordinance.

SUPPORTERS REMEMBER A DIFFERENT POSITION FROM THEN-CANDIDATE BROWN ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

“That’s the reason I voted for him, one of the main reasons,” said Jack Slaughter, who played host to a Brown fundraiser attended mainly by gay and lesbian supporters. “As a supporter that gave him money, I think it’s a big deal.” … Slaughter’s nephew, Adam Beaugh, has similar memories, both of the fundraiser and of earlier conversations. … Beaugh worked for mayoral candidate Audrey Moran, and when she lost in the first round of voting, met with Brown’s campaign. Beaugh said he asked about the ordinance right off the bat and was told Brown supported it. … “He straight up said it would be a priority for his administration,” Beaugh said. “He made it sound like he’d go to the City Council members and try to convince them to support it.

UM MEDICAL SCHOOL PLANNING 800 LAYOFFS

The University of Miami medical school plans to lay off 800 people, according to a notice filed with the state economic development agency. The Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine reported Tuesday that the layoffs will all take place July 31. University officials had warned earlier of impending cuts in jobs because of budget shortfalls, with government research money having dropped and Jackson Health System cutting payments to the university, which is the teaching arm at the hospital. The Miami Herald reported Monday that Jackson had dropped payments to UM by more than $15 million in the last year.

NEW REPORT: 1 in 4 FLORIDIANS POSTPONE MEDICAL CARE OR GO WITHOUT

One in four Floridians skipped getting health care they needed because of cost, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report details how Florida has the third-highest share of residents whose medical needs went unmet because of cost. Almost a third of working-age South Floridians went without health insurance in 2010, a record high and well above the national average. The report “demonstrates how profoundly a lack of insurance translates into a lack of medical care,” said Dr. John Lumpkin, senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Full report from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is here (PDF).

CONSTITUENTS TOP LOBBYISTS, SURVEY SAYS

Kevin Cate Communications (KCC)  released an infographic showing that 81.1% of Florida legislative aides believe that an in-person visit from a constituent is a “very effective” advocacy strategy compared with 27.3% for a visit from a lobbyist. KCC polled 52 legislative staff members securely through the internet for the report titled Communicating with the Florida Legislature. … “Genuine communication from constituents trumps all other advocacy strategies, especially messages highlighting the local or personal impact of legislation,” said Kevin Cate. “This poll shows that despite hyper-partisanship and the demands of fundraising, aides still believe that real people with compelling stories to tell hold the most persuasive influence in Tallahassee.” View the full size infographic by clicking here.

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