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Sunburn for 5/29: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on May 29, 2012

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

IS IT SUNBURN OR IS ‘THE ‘BURN’: “Read the BURN! I find myself reading it every morning! Love it!” — Andrea Penton

STARTING THE DAY: “You help start up my day with a great snapsot of the political scene in Florida.” — Carlos Cruz

MORNING MUST-READ: K STREET CUTTING BACK ON GOP CONVENTION IN TAMPA

“Many of the K Street outfits that are going plan to cut back from years past – hosting lunches instead of blowout parties, for instance,” reports Anna Palmer. “… [T]ight corporate budgets, ethics rules and unappealing [Tampa] weather [are blamed for cutbacks by] trade groups and lobbyists … Plus, Mitt Romney is anything but a creature of Washington, making him less of a draw for the inside the Beltway crowd. The strict Democratic convention rules, which don’t allow corporate contributions, are also dissuading companies from getting involved in Tampa because they are concerned about maintaining parity among Republican and Democratic activities.”

… “Convention spokesman James Davis said organizers have received hundreds of requests for official venues but acknowledged that things aren’t what they used to be. ‘The economy is in a bad place, while people want to have a presence, maybe they are being more strategic in some of the initiatives and events they are planning,’ Davis said. ‘It’s going to be more of a working convention,’ said Darrell Henry, a Republican convention planner affiliated with Conventions2012 [which is offering consulting services for Tampa and Charlotte]. …

“Several long-time convention goers on K Street are opting to stay away completely , going on family vacations if clients aren’t requesting their presence. … [RNC communications director] Sean Spicer said that demand for hotels, credentials and packages is extremely high. … Some of the big party throwers – including associations like the Distilled Industry Spirits Council and the Recording Industry Association of America – are still expected to underwrite major evening events. … U.S. Travel [Association senior vice president] Blain Rethmeier said the trade group will distribute items like themed hotel key cards with travel facts for delegates to ‘tell the story and shine some light on how our industry makes events like this possible – from the hotels, to the convention space, restaurants.’”

FLORIDA ONE OF SEVEN STATES VIEWED AS A TOSS-UP

An Associated Press analysis concludes that if the presidential election were today, President Obama would likely win 247 electoral votes to Romney’s 206 — both short of the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

Seven states, offering a combined 85 electoral votes, are viewed as too close to give either candidate a meaningful advantage: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.

Checking in with Dr. Jason Walton, Co-chair of Presidential debate at Lynn University: “Our little campus is running full tilt right now. Just over 150 days until October 22!!! Doing substantial site work and construction over the summer. The whole campus looks like a Roosevelt-era Works Progress Administration project.”

ACTUAL HEADLINE ON THE HUFFINGTON POST: Will conservative voters’ ‘orgasms’ make Marco Rubio’s ‘impossible dream’ a reality? Story here.

MORE DEETS ON RUBIO’S BOOK TOUR

Sen. Marco Rubio “is planning a swing-state summer bus tour that will also roll through South Carolina, the early presidential primary battleground,” the Miami Herald reports.

“It’s officially aimed at selling books, not winning votes, but the freshman senator and possible vice presidential pick is set to make multiple stops not just in his home state of Florida but also in North Carolina and Virginia, critical presidential battlegrounds this fall. On the way, he’ll make several appearances in South Carolina, where Republicans hold their first-in-the-South presidential primary.”

An American Son will be released in June.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MARCO: Senator Rubio turned 41 on Monday.

PAM BONDI TIES THE KNOT

Attorney General Pam Bondi was in the Cayman Islands on Saturday to celebrate her upcoming marriage to Tampa ophthalmologist Greg Henderson.

Rick Scott and former Tampa mayor Dick Greco and his wife, Linda, were among guests at Saturday’s gathering in the islands.

“We’re here with our closest friends and family, celebrating our upcoming nuptials,” Bondi told a Tampa Tribune reporter Saturday. “Legally, officially we will be married back in the United States.”

THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT YOU, TALLAHASSEE

What makes some state capitals so much more corrupt than others? New research provides a partial answer to that long-standing question: isolated capitals breed more corruption and lack of news coverage is a major reason why, reports David Lauter of the Los Angelas Times.

STATE REVENUE UP IN APRIL

Florida’s general-revenue collections in April topped an earlier projection by $51.4 million, according to a report posted this week by the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research. The April report marked the fourth straight month that collections have exceeded the amounts projected in January by state analysts. In all, the state is $202.4 mil above projections for the year.

PRISON HEALTH PRIVATIZATION ARGUED

Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll will hear arguments about the constitutionality of a legislative plan to privatize prison health services. Opponents, including the Florida Nurses Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, filed lawsuits challenging the plan.

‘FREE MARISSA MARCH’ TODAY

Backers of Marissa Alexander, sentenced to 20 years in Jacksonville for firing a gun during a dispute with her husband, hold a “Free Marissa March.” The judge in the case didn’t have a choice on the term of her sentence because of the state’s 10-20-Life law.

BACKING RESTORE ACT – PUT SPILL PENALTIES INTO GULF COMMUNITIES

Leaders from cities, counties, the tourism and hospitality industry and others hold a news conference to urge passage of the federal “Restore Act,” which would require that 80 percent of fines paid by BP through the Clean Water Act for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill go to restore areas impacted by the spill.

SHOULD CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE PATRICK MURPHY BE FUNDRAISING AT CAPITAL GRILLE?

“The poor Occupy folks Murphy was so proud to stand with last year can’t afford prices like that,” writes Jack Furnari of BizPac Review in the blog post of the day. “I’m sure Murphy was sincere when he said to the anarchists, communists, socialists, progressives, rapists, terrorists and homeless of the Occupy movement, “We need to get LOUDER!”

BEAN, DUGGAN, WEINSTEIN READY FOR FIGHT FOR NE FLORIDA STATE SENATE SEAT

Former Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Jacksonville, are gathering big-name support as they seek to replace term-limited Sen. Steve Wise. At the same time, Jacksonville attorney Wyman Duggan said he can offer a fresh choice for voters — describing what he sees as a “market opening” as he runs against two familiar political figures in Northeast Florida.

Duggan and Weinstein are trying to use the district’s makeup to their advantage, pointing out that roughly 85 percent of its voting-age population is in Jacksonville while Bean lives in neighboring Nassau County. The district is almost horseshoe-shaped, with the middle of Jacksonville carved into another district that appears likely to elect a black Democrat.

But Bean said he has close ties to the city, including working at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center and graduating from Jacksonville University. … “Our opponents will have you say I live in Nassau, Bahamas,” Bean quipped. “But I actually live in Nassau County.”

Full profile here.

Smart Tweet about this race: @jimvarian: Mike Weinstein’s broad political straddle in House shows in backing for Sen by John Delaney and FL T-Party leader Patricia Sullivan

JEFF CLEMENS CUTTING INTO KEVIN RADER’S CONDO SUPPORT IN SD 27

“Former state Rep. Kevin Rader’s support base for his Democratic District 27 state Senate bid is expected to be the condo belt that includes the Century Village of West Palm Beach, Cypress Lakes and Golden Lakes Democratic strongholds,” reports George Bennett.

“But Democratic club presidents Mae Duke of Century Village, Elmer Klein of Cypress Lakes and Dorothy Chafetz of Golden Lakes are on the host committee for a fundraiser this week for one of Rader’s primary rivals, state Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth.”

While the condo leaders aren’t formally endorsing Clemens, their willingness to help Clemens raise money is a sign that Rader can’t take the condo vote for granted.

‘GAME OF THRONES’ IN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

>>>Bob Henriquez, Ronda Storms enter Property Appraiser’s race: A sex-and-porn scandal in the Hillsborough County property appraiser’s office has prompted a Sen. Ronda Storms and a former lawmaker to announce challenges to incumbent Rob Turner

>>>Former Senate President Tom Lee files for Storms’s State Senate seat: Former state Senate President Tom Lee of Brandon will seek to return to the Senate, running for the seat being vacated by Ronda Storms as she jumps into the property appraiser’s race, Lee announced Friday.

>>>Rep. Rachel Burgin says she’s ‘all-in’ for Storm’s seat: “I am humbled to have represented State House District 56 for the past four years. State Senate District 24 encompasses many residents I have had the honor of representing since 2008,” said Representative Burgin.

>>>Rep. Rich Glorioso has wanted to run all along: “I’m looking at it pretty seriously. It’s last minute. But I’ve wanted to serve in the Senate,” Glorioso said. “Ronda had two more years in her term.  And I was running for Supervisor of Elections because Ronda had the seat locked down. But now that the seat’s come open. I have the experience, I’ve chaired approprations committees for the past four years.”

>>>Joe Wicker, who recently dropped out of one race, announces he’ll run for Burgin’s seat. “I am running for Rachel’s seat,” said Wicker, an Iraq war veteran and business manager for a division of International Paper Co.

MEET WILTON SIMPSON, THE SURE TO BE NEXT SENATOR FROM DISTRICT 18

“Until last week, the race was shaping up to be an intriguing contest between state Rep. John Legg of New Port Richey and Wilton Simpson, a Trilby business owner and longtime Pasco Republican Executive Committee member,” writes the Tampa Bay Times Tony Marrero. “Simpson, 45, has never held political office, but he has a deep campaign war chest and plenty of big-name support.”

…Then, on Wednesday, Legg announced that he was switching races and would challenge Republican Jim Norman in Senate District 17. … It seems unlikely, observers say, that a candidate as well funded and well connected as Simpson will jump into the race before the qualifying period ends June 8.

Read the full profile of Senator-to-be Simpson here.

EVIDENTLY, CRACKER BARREL IS THE POLITICAL HOTSPOT IN WESLEY CHAPEL 

So a week ago, (John) Legg and his wife, Suzanne, met with (Mike) Fasano at Panera Bread in Trinity to talk about his future,” reports C.T. Bowen. “By Tuesday, they were studying poll data. Legg also met with Senate leaders and Wednesday evening, he revealed his decision at a dinner meeting with Fasano, (Wilton) Simpson and (Will) Weatherford at the Cracker Barrel in Wesley Chapel. He called reporters afterward to make a public announcement.”

STAT OF THE DAY: So far, least 17 termed-out, retired or former state legislators are seeking a return to the Legislature (h/t to Steve Bousquet).

LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND

…Senator Mike Haridopolos hired Christoper Bryant as his legislative assistant.

…Senator Nan Rich saw legislative assistant Julie Fishman depart but brought in Jennifer Busby to replace her.

…Rep. John Legg tapped Rick Roy to be his new LA.

…Jorge Sanchez is joining Rep. Janet Nunez’s office, while Andrea Knowles has come abroad Rep. Gwendolyn Clark-Reed’s staff.

CHECK OUT: Florida TaxWatch’s new website here.  Communications coordinator Chris Barry says he’s excited about the new site because, “we wanted to have a way to display the breadth of Florida TaxWatch research going back the last 32 years, and to demonstrate how wide-ranging the issues that we have researched are. One of the major reasons that Florida TaxWatch is so respected is the institutional knowledge that we have, and it was important to be able to show that on the new site.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Good, good person Susan Glickman, who helped introduce me to the Bradford Blues Club.

ALOE  TO SOOTHE THE BURN: If you must read the text of any commencement address this graduation season, David Simon’s (creator of The Wireremarks at Georgetown University are worth five minutes of your day.

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