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Sunburn for 6/21: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on June 21, 2012

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

***Today’s Sunburn brought to you by Florida Poly Vision, Inc.  To learn the facts about Florida’s new university, Florida Polytechnic University, and the growing group of supporters that make up Poly Vision, visit www.floridapolyvision.com, like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FLPolyVision) and follow us on Twitter @FLPolyVision.***

TWEET OF THE DAY ABOUT SUNBURN: From former RPOF spox Brian Hughes, @GoMeteoric: My pale complexion makes me fear sunburns, so I’m pleased you found a way for me to look forward to one.

AMERICANS SAY THEY ARE BETTER OFF SINCE OBAMA WAS ELECTED

“Forty-five percent of those surveyed in a Bloomberg National Poll say they are better off than at the beginning of 2009 compared with 36 percent who say they are worse off,” reports Bloomberg’s David J. Lynch. “In March, poll respondents split almost evenly on that question after having been decidedly negative since the aftermath of the worst recession in seven decades. … The poll, conducted June 15-18, contains more unlikely cheer for the president, with larger numbers of respondents saying their household income is higher than a year ago. While 44 percent say they are treading water, the better off outnumbered the worse off by 28 percent to 22 percent.”

>>>It took less than five hours for President Barack Obama’s Friday visit to Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry campus to be handed out due to “overwhelming response from supporters”, according to Eric Jotkoff, a Florida spokesman for Obama.

OBAMA CAMPAIGN RELEASES TWO NEW ADS HITTING ROMNEY IN FLORIDA

Obama for America is up with two new ads in Florida and eight other swing states, hitting Mitt Romney’s failed economic policies.

“Mosaic” focuses on Romney’s efforts as Massachusetts governor to balance the budget while pledging to not increase taxes. The ad claims Romney “cut taxes for millionaires like himself” while unleashing “1,000 fee hikes” on things like health-care, milk and school bus rides.

The other spot, “Come and Go” accuses Romney of shipping  jobs overseas.  “As a corporate raider, he shipped jobs to China and Mexico,” the narrator says in the spot. “As governor, he did the same thing, outsourcing state jobs to India.”

SEIU PLEDGES “LARGEST-EVER” GRASSROOTS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN FLORIDA

SEIU, the service-employees union that was one of the most active in the losing effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is transferring its energies to the presidential campaign, promising “the largest and most-targeted political field campaign in the union’s 91-year history, to re-elect President Obama and win other key elections in eight battleground states, including Florida.”

The union, which claims 58,000 members and retirees in the Sunshine State, is pledging to knock on 225,000 doors in Florida, part of a planned outreach program to knock on 3 million doors in Florida and seven other swing states.

WHY ROMNEY STILL WON’T PICK RUBIO

First Read: “But here’s a little rule of thumb in American politics: If you have to say you’re vetting someone, is that someone really under serious consideration? Indeed, despite being the party’s rising star and a favorite of the GOP base, the signs always have pointed AGAINST Rubio being Romney’s pick. Why? For starters, he’s only been a U.S. senator for a year and a half, and he didn’t endorse Romney until late in the GOP primary season. Then there’s the opposition research out there on him — something that the Romney folks who worked for Charlie Crist’s 2010 Senate campaign know pretty well: Rubio charged more than $100,000 to state GOP credit cards, had racked up nearly $1 million in personal debt, and had nearly foreclosed on a home. No doubt that Rubio has plenty of assets (young, Latino, from Florida). But he also carries a lot of risk for the usually risk-averse Romney.”

>>>On Wednesday, Rubio endorsed Virginia’s George Allen’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.

MUST-FOLLOW ON TWITTER: Garrett Jackson, @DGJackson, “Mitt’s body guy”: The ultimate behind-the-scenes view of the Romney road show, leavened with Ole Miss news. (h/t to Mike Allen.)

INTEL, SAP TO HOST RNC CONVENTION GOLF EVENT

SAP and Intel have joined forces with D.C.-based veterans to host a charity golf event ‘Birdies for the Brave’ on Aug. 27 at TPC Tampa Bay during the Republican National Convention. Initially looking to raise a few thousand dollars, the fundraiser is now expected to raise around $1 million in support of veterans in Tampa and across the country, according to a Politico Influence. Honorary co-chairmen for the event include House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Ari Storch of Artemis Strategies is serving as the event chairman. Other sponsors include the National Association of Home Builders, Amway, the Ford Motor Co., Yamaha, eBay and Bridgestone.

PERSONNEL NOTE: Veteran Republican spokesperson and strategist Kyle Downey has been named press secretary for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Profile on Downey here.

GEORGE LEMIEUX DROPS OUT

Former Sen. George LeMieux “abruptly quit Florida’s Republican U.S. Senate race on Wednesday, all-but-assuring frontrunner Connie Mack IV the GOP nomination,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.

“LeMieux was behind in fundraising, behind in name identification and behind in big-name endorsements when compared to Mack, a sitting congressman from Fort Myers and the son and namesake of former Florida senator.”

UNSET THE ALARM: @bsfarrington: Won’t be setting my alarm for 6 a.m. to see what the Q poll says about #FLsen race.

KANSAS SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK ENDORES DAVE WELDON IN #FLSEN

Rep. Dave Weldon on Wednesday received the endorsement of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for his Senate bid.

“Dave will be a conservative hero in the US Senate. His expertise, sound principles and strong personal character will make him a uniquely effective advocate for Florida’s values and interests,” Brownback said in a statement released by Weldon’s campaign.

Like Weldon, Brownback was elected to Congress during the Republican Revolution of 1994 and is a champion of conservative social issues.

CHALLENGER TAKES ALLEN WEST TO TASK FOR NOT DEBATING HIM

Republican Congressional candidate Robert Crowder, who is challenging Rep. Allen West in this year’s Republican primary election, is taking the Florida congressman to task for refusing to debate him.

Crowder believes West’s refusal to debate is part of the broken system of radical party politics. “My sole reason for running was to give people a choice in who will represent them in congress,” Crowder said in a campaign release. “The people deserve to hear where we stand on the issues so they can make an informed decision based on a legitimate debate process.  Right now, Mr. West is only offering voters slick television advertisements that he paid a quarter of a million dollars to air.  Voters deserve more than an advertising campaign.”

VERN BUCHANAN MUST TESTIFY UNDER OATH IN LAWSUIT INVOLVING EX-PARTNER

Sarasota Congressman Vern Buchanan will have to testify under oath in a lawsuit involving his former partner, who alleged Buchanan was the architect of a plan to violate federal elections laws, reports Mike Deeson of WTSP.

Buchanan lost a bid in court to force the matter to arbitration, which would have allowed him to avoid testifying.

According to The Hill, Buchanan’s former business partner alleges that Buchanan was the architect of a plan to violate federal elections laws by soliciting illegal contributions, a potential black eye for the National Republican Congressional Committee’s fundraising head. He’s also facing an ongoing investigation from the House Ethics Committee.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG CRACKDOWN FAILS IN CONGRESS

A congressional proposal aimed at curbing abuse of painkillers appears headed to defeat after facing opposition from pharmacists and drug stores, The New York Times reported. The proposal included requiring patients to seek new prescriptions for refills of drugs such as Vicodin and stepped-up security for the storage and transportation of drugs. But the Times reported Tuesday that pharmacists and drug stores argued, in part, that that the changes would make it harder for some pain-wracked people to obtain treatment. The proposal in Washington comes more than a year after Florida lawmakers passed a wide-ranging plan to try to crack down on prescription-drug abuse. Florida had become a major market for the sale and use of dangerous painkillers.

Q POLL: FLORIDIANS APPROVE OF VOTER PURGE, ‘STAND YOUR GROUND’ BUT DON’T LIKE RICK SCOTT

With wide partisan and racial division, and a small gender gap, Florida voters support 60 – 35 percent Gov. Rick Scott’s effort to purge non-citizens from the state’s voter rolls, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

There are similar partisan and racial divisions, and a wider gender gap, as Sunshine State voters support 56 – 37 percent the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.

Gov. Scott, however, is still unpopular with the state’s electorate, who disapprove 49 – 39 percent of the job he is doing, compared to a 46 – 41 percent disapproval May 24, Scott’s best score in his 18 months in office.

5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE Q POLL: 1. There is a tremendous disconnect between Rick Scott as a person and political leader and his policies; 2. In 12 polls conducted by Quinnipiac, Scott’s approval rating has been in the 30s ten times, once in the 20s and once in the 40s; 3. Scott’s job approval among Republicans is 71 – 19 percent; 4. Scott’s disapproval among Hispanic voters is at 54%; 5. The most important number for Scott — and President Obama — is that 59 percent of Floridians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in Florida.

NEW ON THE TWITTERS: @FLAnnScott, Rick Scott’s better half.

BLOOMBERG: RICK SCOTT DAMAGING GOP BRAND, WILL HELP OBAMA

Michael Bender reportsThe governor’s gaffes, along with an approval rating that hasn’t gone above 41 percent in Quinnipiac University polls, may hurt his party’s presidential contender, Mitt Romney…Scott’s unpopularity may help President Barack Obama’s re-election effort, said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, North Carolina. ‘Obama’s more competitive in Florida right now than I would have expected,’ Jensen said in an e-mail. “The damage Scott has done to the Republican brand is part of that.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “I’d give him a B for governing. I’d give him an A for strangeness.” — Former state GOP chair Tom Slade in an article for Bloomberg on Scott’s possible impact on Mitt Romney’s efforts in Florida.

FDLE CLEARS SCOTT TEAM FOR TRANSITION RECORDS LOSS

Following months of investigation culminating in 33,000 pages of documents, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday cleared Scott and members of his transition team for emails that went missing shortly after Scott took office. State law enforcement officials found nothing criminal in the loss of at least 4.5 gigabytes of data from the email server used during Scott’s transition into office, reports the News Service of Florida.

“During this inquiry, no evidence was found which would indicate that Governor Scott or any (transition team) member instructed Harris Media, Rackspace or any other person or entity to delete or otherwise destroy transition emails,” the FDLE report concludes, referring to email vendors. “Additionally, no evidence was discovered which would indicate that Governor Scott or any member of the (transition team) was aware that email data would be permanently deleted….” The governor came under fire for the missing emails, which were created during his first few months following his November 2010 election but before he was officially sworn in as governor. “By casting the widest possible net and using cutting-edge technology, the transition team, in cooperation with FDLE investigators, ultimately produced the most comprehensive collection of gubernatorial transition documents in Florida history,” Scott’s office said in a statement issued Wednesday. The documents in question were posted to the Governor’s Sunburst website  and are available for public viewing.

READ THE FDLE REPORT HERE.

My take: Wednesday was a mixed-bag for Harris Media: On one hand, their client George LeMieux drops out of US Senate race, on the other, it’s cleared by FDLE of any wrongdoing in case of missing transition e-mails.

PERSONNEL NOTE: The latest staffing changes at the Florida Department of Health include the appointment of Michael Cantens as director of Legislative Affairs.  An aide to former Rep. Marcelo Llorente, Cantens is the oldest of three sons of former Rep. Gaston Cantens, like Llorente a Miami Republican.

***SUNBURN is brought to you by 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.***

REALLY, DON GAETZ? SEN. PREZ SAYS EXPECT ANTI-U.N. AGENDA IN 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Appearing on Fort Walton radio station WFTW 1260 AM, Gaetz said he expected Florida lawmakers to introduce and approve a bill that shelters private property in Florida from takeover by a United Nations-led world government effort. “Personally, I oppose anybody or anything that tramples on the United States sovereignty,” Gaetz said.

IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT THE BRANDES VS. FRISHE RACE WOULD BE INTENSE…

…pay attention to the first line of Jim Frishe’s new TV spot: “Seems everywhere you turn, there’s a young, wannabe politician, beating his chest…”

HOUSE COLLEAGUES ENDORSE RACHEL BURGIN’S STATE SENATE CAMPAIGN

Rachel Burgin announced a string of endorsements from House Republicans, including Reps. Eric Eisnaugle, Jason Brodeur, Ritch Workman, Mike Horner, Steve Precourt, Ben Allbritton, Matt Caldwell, Kathleen Passidomo and John Tobia. Accepting their support, Burgin said the race is “a choice between perpetuating the status quo or sending a solid conservative Republican” to the Senate.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Congressional candidate Bev Slough received the endorsement of former LG Jeff Kottkamp.

>>>Halsey Beshears, candidate for HD 7, announced the opening of campaign offices in Gulf, Liberty, Taylor and Lafayette Counties.

>>>The Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters endorsed Mike Weinstein in SD 4.

>>>Will Weatherford endorsed Kurt Browning for schools superintendent

CAN’T MAKE IT BUT SOUNDS LIKE FUN: The Sarasota GOP is sponsoring a free “Oppose Obamacare” breakfast today. Click here for more information.

INVITATION TO WHICH I DID NOT RSVP: From campaign@tedforcongress.com – “Come to the Birthday Celebration for Ted & watch the Miami Heat win the title!”

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins reports that stories on Mitt Romney are deadly to web traffic. Just wait til Pawlenty joins him on the ticket.

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