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Sunburn for 5/22: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on May 22, 2012

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

Tried to get a Tweet out of Tampa political consultant Brock Mikosky, but he told us he was called for jury duty this week.

BEST TWEET ABOUT SUNBURN: @DJGroup: Be interested. @SaintPetersblog never sleeps, inbox this morn at 4:30.

If you’re receiving Sunburn from a friend or reading the condensed version on SaintPetersBlog.com and would like to receive Sunburn via email, send me a note at saintpeter4@gmail.

VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Engage’s Jordan Raynor, a valued colleague who I am most grateful to for always challenging me. Your next Chik-fil-A is on me, buddy.

SEVERAL FLORIDA FIRMS MAY BE LEFT HOLDING THE BAG BY THE NEWT GINGRICH CAMPAIGN

Newt Gingrich ended his campaign earlier this month with nearly $4.8 million in campaign debt, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission that reflected campaign activity through the end of April.

Several Florida firms, including a couple of mom-and-pop printing companies, are listed on Gingrich’s debt report and, with Gingrich’s campaign unlikely to raise  much money now that his campaign has ended, may be left holding the bag. A list of the firms owed money by Gingrich’s campaign is here.

GINGRICH AIN’T THE ONLY CAMPAIGN WHICH OWES MONEY TO FLORIDA FIRMS

While Gingrich’s Florida debts are the largest among the former candidates, he’s not the only one who’s yet to pony up: As of the end of April, Rick Santorum owed a Sarasota company $32,477 for “Air Charter/Truck Rental/Printing/Signs.” … Michele Bachmann owed a Tampa accounting firm $32,487 at the end of March, in addition to a $1,917 bill at Palm Harbor company Vertical Horizons One for “voter contact” and “campaign management.” (h/t to The Pulp)

DNC OUTRAISES RNC, DSCC OUTRAISES NRSC

“The DNC raised $14.3 million in April, about $3 million more than the Republican National Committee raised last month, according to the latest campaign finance reports. About half of the DNC’s cash – $7.5 million – came through the Obama Victory Fund, a joint committee of the DNC and President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign,” per Robin Bravender via The Morning Score. “The DNC spent $14.5 million in April, compared to $9.3 million shelled out by the RNC. The GOP fundraising committee ended the month with $34.8 million in cash on hand – about $10 million more than the DNC had stockpiled. Still, the RNC carried about $10 million in outstanding debt while the Democrats had just $4 million in unpaid obligations.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee brought in $4.5 million last month, compared to $4.25 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, writes James Hohmann. FEC filings show the DSCC finished the month with $25.7 million on hand, compared to $21.6 million for the NRSC. A DSCC official notes that combined Democratic candidates and the DSCC have nearly $52 million more on hand than Republican candidates and the NRSC – $142 million versus $90 million.

WORST STOCK MARKET FOR INCUMBENT SINCE ’84

“The stock market is giving President Barack Obama the worst returns since Ronald Reagan was seeking a second term,” Bloomberg notes. “The Standard & Poor’s Index is up 1.3 percent since Mitt Romney’s campaign began 12 months ago, compared with average gains of 12 percent for incumbents who won re-election starting with Harry S Truman…Stocks are also advancing less than the 7 percent minimum enjoyed by George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, who lost their bids for a second term. The only one with a worse equity performance heading into the vote was Reagan…While share returns do little to foretell presidential contests, the 8.7 percent decline in the S&P since April 2 may be a sign investors are losing confidence in an accelerating recovery even as they anticipate more central bank spending to stimulate the economy.”

Check out the Tampa Bay Times‘ Adam Smith’s cameo in the latest commercial from the Barack Obama Campaign.

WOULD RICK SCOTT BEAT BARACK OBAMA FOR GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA?

Political consultant Stuart Stevens says in an interview with Beth Reinhard of the National Journal that, in a mythical election between Barack Obama and Rick Scott for governor of Florida, Scott would win.

WHY IT’S GOOD TO BE GOVERNOR: Today, while Rick Scott is meeting His Majesty Juan Carlos, King of Spain, LG Jennifer Carroll will be touring a high school in Middleburg, Florida.

QUOTE OF THE DAY is about the Guv – “A huge portion of politics is good public relations and I think it’s pretty clear that the governor has worked very hard to aggressively project and talk about what his record is,” said political strategist Brett Doster. “Rick Scott is governing well and he has upped the tempo in his public relations effort.”

SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM: JEB BUSH THE GOP VP MOST LIKELY TO PUT MITT ROMNEY OVER THE TOP

Sen. Lindsey Graham says Jeb Bush is the GOP VP candidate who could most likely put Mitt Romney over the top in the November elections. … “He’d be an outstanding pick. It’s up to Gov. Romney but if I had to recommend a single person it would be Jeb,” Graham told The Hill.

CONNIE MACK CALLS ON JUSTICE DEPT. TO LAUNCH INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER GEORGE LEMIEUX ‘EXTORTED’ CHARLIE CRIST INTO APPOINTING HIM TO US SENATE

Craig Engle, general counsel for Connie Mack’s U.S. Senate campaign, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice calling for a criminal investigation into the questions and allegations (unearthed by the Tampa Tribune) that George LeMieux may have extorted former Governor Charlie Crist to appoint him to the U.S. Senate in 2009.

MARC CAPUTO LAMPOONS CONNIE MACK’S OVER-THE-TOP OUTRAGE 

Marc Caputo caught up with Jeff Kottkamp and Jim Greer today for response to Connie Mack IV’s call for a federal investigation into whether George LeMieux pressured then-Gov. Charlie Crist for a U.S. Senate appointment. From Caputo’s report: “This is the same campaign that went bonkers when the Tampa Bay Times Buzz posted a jokey headline on a blog titled ‘Mack Campaign: Why We Will Squash LeMieux Like a Bug.’ Then Mack’s dad, Senator-turned-lobbyist Connie Mack III got all bent out of shape when The Herald doubled up with the Times to document the concerns Republicans had with Mack’s campaign. After our report, incidentally, state CFO Jeff Atwater flirted with a run. And former Congressman Dave Weldon decided to actually run for the seat.”

MEANWHILE, REP. MACK IDENTIFIED AS HAVING ‘SIMPLEST SPEECH’ OF ANY MEMBER OF CONGRESS; HE LITERALLY SPEAKS LIKE A SIXTH-GRADER

Rep. Connie Mack is identified as the legislator with the simplest speech in a new Sunlight Foundation analysis that finds the U.S. Congress speaks at nearly a full grade level lower than it did seven years ago.

STENY HOYER HEADED TO ‘THE BURG TO CAMPAIGN FOR CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE JESSICA EHRLICH

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer is coming to the ‘burg to campaign for congressional candidate Jessica Ehrlich. … Hoyer and Ehrlich will meet with seniors from across Pinellas County at 8:45a.m. on Wednesday, May 23rd, for a roundtable discussion on Medicare and the state of the economy. Seniors will share their concerns about the importance of protecting Medicare now and in the future. Ehrlich, candidate for Florida’s new 13th Congressional district, has vowed to protect this vital program.

PATRICK MURPHY QUALIFIES FOR THE BALLOT VS. ALLEN WEST

Turning in nearly 6,000 signed petitions by the May deadline, Jupiter Democrat Patrick Murphy has officially made it on the ballot for the August 14th primary and November 6th general election.  The petition count almost triples the 2,298 required by the Florida Division of Elections, with 99% of the signatures coming from the three counties that make up the 18th congressional district.

BIG DOINGS IN FL CD 6

The conservative PAC FreedomWorks endorsed Republican congressional candidate Ron DeSantis on Monday in the sixth congressional district. “Ron DeSantis is the perfect example of a constitutionally-limited government candidate. He can speak from a position of authority on constitutional issues, and he will lead the fight to return to a government rooted in the Constitution,” said FreedomWorks Executive Director Max Pappas. Meanwhile, Bev Slough said she qualified for the ballot by petition.

MORE THAN 220 FLORIDA CANDIDATES HAVE QUALIFIED FOR THE BALLOT BY PETITION

With every legislative and congressional seat up for election this year, more than 220 candidates have already reserved spots on the ballot by collecting petition signatures.

The total likely will grow, as elections officials still have another week to check the piles of petitions submitted by campaigns. But as of Monday, they had verified that 46 congressional candidates, 30 state Senate candidates and 146 state House candidates had submitted enough valid signatures.

CHECK OUT: Google’s new map featuring the newly-redrawn congressional districts for almost every state.

BLOG POST OF THE DAY: HOW THE FLORIDA HOUSE WAS LOST – A LOOK BACK AT THE MID 1990s

Dave Trotter: On the surface a 61-59 spread in the House (this would grow to 66-54 after four party switches and a shocking special election defeat in a very Democratic urban Tampa district) would not be difficult to overturn if the FDP was organized. But a combination of self inflicted wounds such as the Willie Logan debacle, failure to stop party switching, growing party disloyalty to the Chiles/MacKay administration (Legislative Democrats had theorized that they needed to move to the middle politically to be successful, a theme that would continue into the 2000s and leave the Democrats in a super minority status) and an incredible inability to recruit candidates to take on Republicans in more marginal seats led to electoral disaster in November 1998. In some seats that were previously held by Democrats the party did not even field an opponent or threw on the ballot candidates without any funding or local political base. When the dust settled the Republicans entered the 1999 Legislative Session with 73 House members out of the 120 in the chamber. To this day the Democrats have yet to recover, despite ebbs and flows which have left the GOP between 72 and 84 members for the past fourteen years.

MIKE WEINSTEIN’S STATE SENATE CAMPAIGN ENDORSED BY YET ANOTHER JAX CITY COUNCILMAN

City Councilman Clay Yarborough from Jacksonville’s Arlington area announced his endorsement today of Mike Weinstein for State Senate stating his commitment to public safety and his conservative approach to government as the type of leadership qualities needed in Florida’s capital. … “Representative Weinstein’s longtime experience with the State Attorney’s Office and extensive knowledge of law management and fiscally responsible government provides a strong motivation for me to endorse him for State Senate,” said Yarborough. “He knows the importance of safety in our community and how that can translate into an economically viable environment for future businesses. He also knows that less is more where government is concerned and is active in restoring freedom and prosperity to our citizens.”

MARIA SACHS KICKS-OFF HER CAMPAIGN FOR FLORIDA SD 34

Senator Maria Sachs joined Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith and incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith to officially launch her campaign for Florida Senate District 34 on Monday at her campaign kickoff in Delray Beach. Sachs was also joined by local Democratic leaders, elected officials and community supporters, and spoke why she’s running for the Florida Senate and her plans to help middle class Floridians.

FLAGLER CO. COMMISH MILISSA HOLLAND TO VIE AGAINST TRAVIS HUTSON FOR PROCTOR’S HOUSE SEAT

Flagler County Commissioner Milissa Holland will run for a House seat that is being vacated by term-limited Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Holland, a Democrat, will run in the newly drawn District 24, which includes Flagler County, southern St. Johns County and northwest Volusia County. Proctor’s current District 20 includes much of the same area. Holland, 40, will face a primary contest against Palm Coast Democrat Doug Courtney, who has collected enough petition signatures to go on the ballot. Republican Travis Hutson of Elkton also is running for the seat and quickly collected more than $70,000 in contributions in March.

MISCELLANY FROM OTHER STATE LEGISLATIVE RACES

…Brandon Chamber of Commerce prez Jeff Reynolds is eyeing a run in HD 57;

…Rep. Peter Nehr has a major fundraiser tonight headlined by Speaker Designate Will Weatherford. Invite here.

…Gershom Faulkner is directing Democrat Cookie Kennedy’s campaign in HD 66;

…Former Obama for America staffer Franco Ripple has been hired on to help Democrat Dwight Dudley’s campaign in HD 68;

DOUG GUETZLOE SENTENCED TO 15 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR TAX EVASION 

Doug Guetzloe was sentenced to sentenced to 15 months in federal prison Monday after a jury found him guilty of failing to file tax returns in 2005 and 2006. Prosecutors alleged that Guetzloe failed to file returns on about $187,000 in income in 2005 and $188,000 in 2006. Guetzloe has been prominent, in part, because of his leadership of a group called “Ax the Tax” that has fought tax proposals.

Just think, last week, Guetzloe penned a column for Florida Voices about the ‘culture of corruption’ in Tallahassee.

Another take: @JKennedyReport: Doug Guetzloe, ORL pol consult gets 15 months fed prison for not paying taxes. Used to promote specialty tags. Now gets to watch tags made.

LOOK FOR SENATE PREZ DESIGNATE TO ADD CAROL GORMLEY TO HIS STAFF

Carol Gormley is a highly-regarded health care policy expert who has worked for both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Hers is not a household name outside of Tallahassee, but trust me, Gormley is one of the most influential legislative bureaucrats in the capital.

MEETING TODAY: The Florida Department of Financial Services holds the quarterly meeting of the Chief Financial Officer’s Treasury Investment Committee to provide an overview of Treasury operations and performance; the Florida Public Service Commission holds a regularly scheduled conference to consider complaints against Verizon Business Services and Tampa Electric  Co., requests to change tariffs for underground distribution customers by Tampa Electric Co. and Gulf Power Co., and other business. The governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District holds a public meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday to hear committee reports and hold public hearings. Check out the Florida Current for the logistics.

SILLY EMAIL FROM THE SHARK TANK I DID NOT OPEN: Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Temple Israel Destroy 70 Year Family Relationship. But you can read it here if you must.

STATEWIDE EMAIL I DID NOT OPEN: Florida Celebrates Water Reuse Week May 20-26

TWEET OF THE DAY is about birthdays: @Reaganista: Sucks that Scott Rothstein isn’t around to buy candles from the LeMieux campaign for George’s birthday cake today.

MAYBE THE WORST POLITICAL WEB VIDEO EVER PRODUCED IN FLORIDA, courtesy of the Florida Democratic Party. Brace yourself and watch here.

MORE BIRTHDAY WISHES to your next State Representative from Cape Coral, Dane Eagle, as well as to the classy Eileen Stuart of mom-and-pop shop Mosaic.

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