Sunburn for 6/12: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on June 12, 2012

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

***SUNBURN is brought to you by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit www.bascomllc.com to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.***

SUNBURN IS PG-13: “I love Sunburn. I read the highlights to my daughter each morning (though I am careful to leave out John Morgan’s quotes!)” – Florida Action Watch’s Susannah Randolph

IN NEW SPANISH-LANGUAGE AD CAMPAIGN (RUNNING IN FLA), SEIU & PRIORITIES USA BLAST MITT ROMNEY

“‘Mitt Romney: En Sus Propias Palabras’ (Mitt Romney: In His Own Words) … highlights working Latinos’ reactions … The $4 million campaign will run on television and on the radio in Colorado, Nevada and Florida throughout the summer [beginning this week]. … ‘If elected President, Mitt Romney’s policies would be devastating to Latino families … ,’ said Paul Begala, Senior Advisor for Priorities USA Action. … ‘This ad is part of a broader effort to ensure Latino voters know the stakes in this election and who has been on the side of Latino Families … ,’ said SEIU National Political Director Brandon Davis.”  (Via the Politico Playbook.)

See, hear ads here.

MITT ROMNEY IN ORLANDO to hold a campaign event Tuesday at Con-Air Industries. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

JEB: THIS IS NOT MY FATHER’S GOP — OR REAGAN’S

Jeb Bush said that both Ronald Reagan and his father George H. W. Bush “would have had a difficult time getting nominated by today’s ultra-conservative Republican Party,” BuzzFeed reports.

Said Bush: “Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad — they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground.”

He added that he views the hyper-partisan moment as “temporary” but called it “disturbing.” 

POLITICO “launched a ‘Veep Watch’ page to keep track of news about roughly 20 contenders, many of whom have virtually no chance of being picked (let alone vetted) but nonetheless still get buzz and thus merit attention.”

LEMIEUX SAYS MACK IS HIDING BEHIND HIS DADDY’S NAME

George LeMieux: “Connie Mack the Fourth wants nothing more than to hide behind his father’s name and allow Republicans to enter the polling booth uninformed. Mack refuses to debate because he does not want to answer questions about his requests for millions in earmarks, his support to raise the debt ceiling, his votes to raise his own pay, and if he lives in Florida. Mack the Fourth wants a coronation and not an election. However, that is not how our political system works and Floridians deserve a  primary.  If Mack the Fourth wants to be taken seriously, he must begin making public appearances, participate in debates and straw polls, and stop hiding behind his famous last name.”

Congressman Tom Rooney endorsed Mack on Monday.

WHO? Little-known but fiery U.S. Senate candidate Marielena Stuart earned a surprise victory in a straw poll of Pinellas County Republicans on Monday, wowing the crowd with tea party rhetoric and demonstrating just how volatile the race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is two months before the Aug. 14 primary, reports Katie Sanders of the Tampa Bay Times.

Stuart nabbed 110 votes, former Sen. George LeMieux took 69, and frontrunner Rep. Connie Mack — who didn’t show for the poll — took 12. Former Rep. Dave Weldon got five votes, and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister, who also didn’t attend, got four.

DAN WEBSTER CHALLENGER, VAL DEMINGS, MAKES DAILY BEAST’S ’10 WOMEN TO WATCH IN POLITICS’ LIST

The Daily Beast wants you to meet the next women to watch: the ones pegged by political insiders to become the breakout stars of 2012. Some are members of Congress on the fast track, others are on the ballot looking to make their marks. All are making a name for themselves. … Making the list is Orlando’s Val Demings … a clear favorite of Democrats, who put her at the top of the list of the hopefuls they’d like to see make it all the way to Washington.

ALLEN WEST AD: “I’M JUST GETTING STARTED”

Morning Score scores an exclusive with a first look at Allen West’s first TV spot:

“Some say I push too hard, that I ask too much,” the freshman Florida congressman says near the end of a new 60-second commercial that will begin re-introducing him to voters. “My response: I’m just getting started. That’s the American Way.” The retired colonel’s bombastic rhetoric helped make him a hero of the tea party movement and a boogeyman to the left, attitudes that guarantee his bid for a second term will be one of the highest profile and most expensive races of the cycle. His first spot softens the rougher edges of his old public persona, highlighting his military service and focus on mainstream concerns like education and spending. “I ran for the United States Congress for one reason: to continue my service to the country I love,” West narrates. “I have seen the greatness of this country through the service of my father and my brother. A country that gave a child from Atlanta’s inner-city the opportunity to live the American Dream…Washington is broken, but we will fix it.”

Watch here.

BILL YOUNG CHALLENGER FAILS TO QUALIFY FOR BALLOT DUE TO SLOPPY PAPERWORK

According to the Division of Elections, the signature of the person who notarized Democratic congressional candidate Nina Hayden’s paperwork was missing from her qualifying forms. And, like that, Hayden moved to the “Did Not Qualify” section on the candidate listing of the Division of Elections’ website.

The Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced 8 endorsements for the U.S. House of Representatives: District 11 – Rich Nugent, District 12 – Gus Bilirakis, District 13 – C. W. Bill Young, District 14 – Evelio “E.J” Otero, District 15 – Dennis Ross, District 16 – Vern Buchanan, District 17 – Tom Rooney, District 19 – Gary Aubuchon.

SHOWDOWN: “Justice Dept. sues Florida over removal of ineligible voters” by Associated Press’s Gary Fineout

The Department of Justice announced its intention to sue the state on the same day that Florida announced it was suing a different federal agency over the voter purge.

…State officials have been seeking access to a federal immigration database to verify the matches. But that request has been turned down by the Department of Homeland Security so Florida is now suing to gain access.

Federal officials, however, contend the purge violates federal voting laws.

The move comes two days after the Scott administration rejected calls by the federal government to halt the effort.

“The illegal program to purge eligible voters uses inaccurate information to remove eligible citizens from the voter rolls,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. “… We now look to the courts to stop the Scott administration from assaulting democracy by denying American citizens the right to vote.”

How the “voter purge” is playing: Palm Beach Post – Dueling lawsuits in voter purge: DOJ to sue Gov. Rick Scott adminSunshine State News Florida Sues Obama Officials for Hindering ‘Fair Elections’ Voter Review

IS ROD SMITH THAT BAD?

Did you catch La Gaceta‘s Patrick Manteiga’s harsh words for Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith? “Smith has to be the worst chair we can remember,” writes Manteiga.  “He treated the job as a part-time affair, even though it pays over $100,000. It’s almost as if he used it to keep his name out in public in case the opportunity presented itself to run for statewide office.”

“He’s proven to be an unimaginative and aloof chair,” concludes Manteiga.

FEDERAL APPROVALS BOOST LIKELIHOOD OF DUKE-PROGRESS ENERGY MERGER

Progress Energy and Duke Energy said Monday they will push to finish a merger by July 1, after getting key federal approvals last week, reports the News Service of Florida. The companies, which have long sought to move forward with the merger, said in a news release that they will file documents accepting conditions set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “Receiving FERC’s conditional orders last Friday is a major milestone for this transaction,” Bill Johnson, chairman, president and CEO of Progress Energy, said in the news release. “Both companies have accelerated the integration planning efforts necessary to complete this transaction by July 1 and begin to deliver the substantial benefits of the merger as soon as possible.” Progress Energy’s Florida subsidiary is the second-largest electricity provider in the state, behind Florida Power & Light. The merger had been snagged because of market concerns in North Carolina, where Progress and Duke are both based. The companies still need approvals from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) and Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC).

PERSONNEL NOTE: Bill Peebles’ firm has hired John Wayne Smith, formerly the legislative affairs director at the Florida Association of Counties. Replacing Smith at the FAC on an interim basis will be Eric Poole.

New copper dome on Florida’s Old Capitol. Photo here via Bloomberg’s Michael Bender.

***A special message about KEVIN CATE COMMUNICATIONS. I’ve called Cate one of the smartest guys in any room, but that was last year. His firm continues to change the way public relations works in Florida. Believe me, you want www.CateComm.com on your side.***

MORE ODDS AND ENDS FROM QUALIFYING WEEK

>>>Sen. John Thrasher has drawn opposition in November for the new State Senate District 6 as Democratic activist Kathleen Trued qualified last Friday.

>>>Orlando Democrat Geraldine Thompson will not be facing outgoing Dem. Sen. Gary Siplin in the primary for District 12, as Siplin is term-limited. Instead, Gary’s wife, Victoria Siplin, will be running against Thompson in the primary.

>>>Kissimmee Democratc State Rep. Darren Soto will be facing-off against Republican William McBride from Orlando for State Senate District 14.

21 STATE SENATE, 45 STATE HOUSE CANDIDATES WORTH AT LEAST A MILLION DOLLARS

Newly filed campaign documents show that 21 Senate candidates and 45 House candidate this year have net worths of more than $1 million —with 13 of the candidates topping $3 million, reports Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.

…Don Gaetz worth $24.9 million …Jeremy Ring worth $15 mil …John Thrasher and Jack Latvala reported net worths of $6,582,648 and $5,682,221, respectively …38 Senate candidates listed net worths of more than $500,000.

BLOG POST OF THE DAY: Democratic activist-turned-blogger Kartik Krishnaiyer takes Dems to task for sitting out Senate District 22 and several House races. Why would the party sit out so many potentially competitive races, he asks here via The News Service of Florida.

ENDORSEMENTS FROM FLORIDA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

The Biltmore in Coral Gables played host to several political movers-and-shakers over the weekend at the Florida Medical Association’s PAC Board meeting. Senate President-Designates Don Gaetz and Andy Gardiner were in attendance, as well as Sens. Flores and Garcia. On Saturday, the FMA hosted US Senate candidates Connie Mack, Dave Weldon, MD, and George LeMieux.

The FMA endorsed a number of State House and Senate candidates, as well as Adam Hasner for Congress. Endorsements in some of the battleground races include: Aaron Bean in SD 4, Dorothy Hukill in SD 8, Jim Frishe in SD 22, Tom Lee in SD 24, and Ellyn Bogdanoff in 34.

FIRST IN SUNBURN: IS JIM NORMAN DROPPING OUT?

Both the Florida Times-Union‘s Matt Dixon and myself are “hearing” that State Senator Jim Norman may be abandoning his re-election campaign.

Why Norman may be dropping out is unclear, but understandable.

According a senior legislator close to the developments, Norman reached the decision on Friday after he concluded he could not win re-election. All that’s left, says this legislator, is finding Norman a “soft landing.”

GREAT PROFILE: “From President to ‘Foot Soldier,’ Tom Lee Seeks Senate Comeback” by Kenric Ward

“With ‘a little bit of competitive anger in me,’ Tom Lee says he’s ready to return as a ‘foot soldier’ to the Florida Senate, which he once headed, reports Ward.

… ” ‘What I bring is the experience as a former presiding officer who understands free will and how to organize a session and build political capital among leadership so they don’t have those problems delivering the 21 votes that are important between the chambers.’ “

“(Rachel) Burgin and some of the state’s staunchest social conservatives raise doubts about the former [Senate] president’s commitment to the cause. Rumors are afloat that Lee will ultimately support state Sen. Jack Latvala — a bete noir on conservative circles — to be a future Senate president.” 

Lee says he’s had “long relationships” with both (Jack) Latvala and John Thrasher, who also is vying for the top job, but that he’s keeping his options open.

Best line from interview Lee on Burgin “… she sings a great national anthem.”

YOU’RE INVITED: Legislative candidate Janet Adkins is the recipient of a fundraiser tonight hosted by Speaker Designates Will Weatherford, Chris Dorworth and Richard Corcoran.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Look for Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran to endorse Rep. Jeff Brandes for State Senate District 22.

>>>Jacksonville native Rep. Charles Van Zant endorsed Mike Weinstein in uber-competitive SD 4 primary; Weinstein’s opponent countered with the endorsement of former Jacksonville Jaguar Tony Boselli.

>>>No surprise here: Sen. Mike Fasano is backing Corcoran in his re-election campaign to HD 36.

MEDIA WATCH: DIANE MCfARLIN LEAVING HERALD-TRIBUNE TO BECOME DEAN OF UF’S J-SCHOOL

Diane McFarlin, publisher of the Herald-Tribune for nearly 13 years and executive editor for nine years before that, is leaving the newspaper to become dean of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.

Allen Parsons, a former managing editor of the Herald-Tribune and more recently publisher of the Ocala Star-Banner, was named interim publisher of the Herald-Tribune.

OFF TO LAW SCHOOL: Congrats to Sean Bevil, legislative aide to Matt Gaetz, who tweeted yesterday that he will be attending law school this Fall at The College of William & Mary.

I CAN’T BELIEVE WE MISSED HIS BIRTHDAY: Happy belated birthday to Senator now, Representative soon Mike Fasano.

MORE BIRTHDAYS: Best wishes to local operative Matt Lettelier and to my great friend Darden Rice.

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: The Florida State Seminoles will begin the year with a 15-to-1 chance to win the National Championship. Quarterback EJ Manuel will start the season as a 10-to-1 dark horse to win the Heisman Trophy. For more betting odds information, check out TopBet sportsbook.

MORE ALOE (for dog lovers): Read Red Dog/Blue Dog: When Pooches Get Political by Chuck Sambuchino.

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