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Sunburn for 5/15: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on May 15, 2012

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

Thanks for the shout-outs, Abel Harding and Steph Smith.  Big thanks to Thomas Grigsby of the Moya Group who tweeted “Damn good read” and Jacob Perry, who tweeted “Totally worth the read.”

HAPPY LOBBYIST COMPENSATION REPORTS DAY!

Lobbyist compensation reports are due today, offering details about how much money was spent on lobbying during the first quarter of the year, including during the legislative session.

Which firm will be #1? We know it won’t be last year’s winner Smith & Ballard, but it could be Ballard Parners. Or GrayRobinson? Or Southern Straegy Group?

Email your predictions to saintpeter4@gmail.com.  List the firm you think billed the most during the first quarter of the year. Winner will receive a week of advertising for themselves or their cause here in Sunburn.

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA: ROMNEY GETS BIGGER DONATIONS; OBAMA MORE, BUT SMALLER ONES

President Barack Obama received $81,100 in individual donations from Southwest Floridians in the first three months of 2012, according to the Daily News analysis. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, received $129,007 from Southwest Floridians during that same time period.

BET YOU DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE RON PAUL WAS STILL RUNNING

Ron Paul announced he will “no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not voted,” for all practical purposes suspending his presidential campaign, Politico reports. “Paul, however, will continue his bid to collect delegates to the national convention in Tampa this summer. He has earned additional delegates in recent weeks by performing strongly at state conventions in states that have already voted.”

DO RON PAUL’S SUPPORTERS PLAN TO SOW CHAOS AT RNC IN TAMPA?

Mainstream Republicans afraid Ron Paul’s steady accumulation of delegates will cause chaos at their national convention in Tampa just received a terrifying preview of what a worst-case scenario might look like, writes Benjy Sarlin.

VEEPSTAKES: PAWLENTY MORE LIKELY THAN RUBIO?

Here’s the latest speculation on the Veepstakes from Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is said by insiders to want it the most and also to annoy some aides with his aggressiveness; Sen. Marco Rubio,  who is not being as seriously considered as popularly believed because aides don’t see him as experienced enough or appropriately vetted. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez are also seen as too untested and lacking the national experience that would assure officials at Romney headquarters in Boston that they weren’t walking into another Palin problem.

CROSSROADS FUNDED SUPER PAC AIMS AT YOUNG FLORIDA VOTERS

Republicans aren’t ceding young voters to Democrats this cycle. In fact, a new Republican super PAC, Crossroads Generation, has formed to target them. As the name implies, the organization is getting $750,000 in seed money from American Crossroads, along with College Republican National Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee. And, today, it announced a $50,000 online ad buy targeting “young swing voters” in … Florida. … Derek Flowers, a former Republican National Committee national victory director for 2010, will be as the group’s executive director. Kristen Soltis, the director of policy research at Republican polling and consulting firm The Winston Group , will serve as a communications adviser to the group. … (I)t’s launched a flashy new website www.crossroadsgeneration.com , which features a one-minute promotional video, as well as a Twitter account and a Facebook page.

BILL NELSON LAWYERS-UP, ASKS TV STATIONS TO PULL AD FROM US CHAMBER

Bill Nelson is asking television stations across Florida to “stop the spread of false information about an alleged half-trillion dollar cuts to Medicare” in a TV ad by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Nelson through an attorney is asking the stations to immediately pull an issue ad because it directs Floridians to call his office, attacks his Senate record and falsely claims “seniors will see $500 billion in Medicare cuts” because of health-care reform. Read the letter here.

CONNIE MACK LAUNCHES TV-READY WEB AD ATTACKING GEORGE LEMIEUX

The Connie Mack for Senate campaign launched a new 30 second TV-ready web ad featuring President Barack Obama’s public praising of George LeMieux’s vote for a liberal jobs bill that failed to create any jobs. Mack Communications Director David James said: “This ad speaks for itself, but the math here is easy – When Charlie Crist hand-picked George LeMieux to serve in the Senate, George returned the favor and turned his back on conservatives yet again, voting for one of President Obama’s failed pet liberal experiments. Florida already has one liberal in Bill Nelson and they can’t afford another in the form of George LeMieux.”

LEMIEUX JABS MACK ON RESIDENCY ISSUES

Seven state legislators on Monday sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, who is running for the U.S. Senate, asking him to release travel vouchers for 2010 and 2011 as part of an effort by a rival campaign to make an issue of how often he is Florida. Backers of Mack’s opponent in the GOP primary, George LeMieux, have questioned whether Mack spends more time in California or Florida when Congress isn’t in session. The letter was signed by Sens. Paula Dockery and Stephen Wise and Reps. Dennis Baxley, Rachel Burgin, Larry Metz, Jimmie T. Smith and Ritch Workman. Mack has said he spent just 11 days in California last year. “The questions surrounding the amount of time you spend in Florida is an area of inquiry that (Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill) Nelson will surely exploit should you win the primary,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “That is why, for the good of the Republican Party, we ask you to please release your travel vouchers and official calendar for 2010 and 2011 and put this issue to rest.”

MACNAMARA AD NAUSEUM

Editorial from the Tampa Bay Times: “Steve Macnamara was right to submit his resignation Saturday as chief of staff for Florida Gov. Rick Scott. His heavy-handed management style and propensity for insider dealing had become a major distraction for a governor who campaigned as a government outsider. MacNamara helped the new governor increase transparency and improve his relationships in the Legislature. But his manipulations were finally too great to ignore..

TWEET OF THE DAY: @MichaelCBender: Who’d have thought six mos. ago we’d be asking @BrianJBurgess about Steve MacNamara’s exit?

NEW TV AD FOR RICK SCOTT FROM RPOF: The latest ad features Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford. Watch here.

FLORIDA BOARD OF EDUCATION CALLS EMERGENCY MEETING AS FCAT WRITING SCORES TANK

The Florida Board of Education has called an emergency conference call session for Tuesday morning to talk about how to handle a huge decline in the percentage of students scoring a passing mark on the FCAT writing exam.

TWEET GOODBYE: From @FLRedistricting: As the legislative components the #Florida’s #redistricting process have concluded, so has our use of this Twitter account.

Good question: CAN ANYONE WRITE ABOUT MARION HAMMER WITHOUT DESCRIBING HER AS “PISTOL-PACKING”?

NINA HAYDEN KICKING-OFF HER CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN

Democrat Nina Hayden officially kicks off her quixotic campaign for Bill Young’s congressional seat. 5:30 p.m., Hilton Carillon, 950 Lake Carillon Dr., St. Petersburg.

FLORIDA STATE SENATE RATINGS: DEMS SLIP IN DISTRICTS 7 & 34

Democratic blogger Dave Trotter updates his rankings of the forty State Senate races.  With Brian Scarborough droppping out of the race in SD 7, this seat moves from “leans Republican” to ‘likely Republican”, while SD 34 goes from “leans Democrat” to “toss up” after a poll was released this past week that indicates Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff is ahead of Democrat Maria Sachs.

Based on these projections, the Democrats would win 13 seats, the Republicans would win 25 and 2 races are a toss up.

SUSIE WILES ENDORSES MIKE WEINSTEIN IN SD 4

Rick Scott Campaign Manager and Northeast Florida Republican leader Susie Wiles endorsed Mike Weinstein for the Florida State Senate saying Weinstein is a true conservative.

CIVIL WAR IN TAMPA BAY

Jack Latvala acknowledged Monday he could switch seats and instead run in a district covering south Pinellas and part of Tampa – potentially creating a tough match-up between the veteran senator and state Rep. Jeff Brandes, state representative from St. Petersburg, who also looking at that senate seat and conspicuously declined to endorse Latvala for future senate president.

The political machinations are all about Latvala’s plans to become senate president in 2016, and the competition he faces from state Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville. If enough Thrasher allies win in 2012 – and Brandes is widely seen as one -  Latvala could be out of luck for the leadership post. Latvala, a popular and high profile leader, would appear to be a stronger contender than the low-profile Frishe against Brandes, a member of the Cox Lumber family who could easily spend at least $1-million of his money on his campaign.

FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF STATE TROOPERS ENDORSE DAVE ARONBERG FOR STATE ATTORNEY

“Dave Aronberg has the experience and the track record of standing up for Florida’s onsumers, victims of crime, and for those of us who fight crime every day of our lives. Dave has shown that he always has our back, and we are proud to publicly stand with him in his campaign for State Attorney.”

EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: J.C. Watts backs deFaria to Challenge Wasserman Schultz

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