Sunburn for 6/22: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics
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WAIT CONTINUES FOR HEALTH CARE RULING
The U.S. Supreme Court did not issue a ruling Thursday in the Florida-led challenge to the 2010 federal health overhaul, reports the News Service of Florida. That means the court will wait until the final week of its annual term to deliver the landmark ruling. The earliest justices can now rule would be Monday, though they also could release the decision later in the week. Former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, joined by other states, challenged the constitutionality of the “Affordable Care Act” quickly after President Obama signed the measure into law in March 2010. Justices heard arguments earlier this year about key parts of the law, including a requirement that most Americans buy health insurance and a planned expansion of the Medicaid program.
QUINNIPIAC POLL: NELSON LEADS MACK IN SEN RACE, OBAMA AHEAD IN FLA
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson clings to a narrow 43-39 percent lead over Republican Connie Mack in a new poll on the state’s U.S. Senate race, while Mack would run away with the GOP nomination if the election were today. The new poll out Thursday from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut also shows President Barack Obama with a narrow 46-42 percent lead over Republican Mitt Romney in the presidential race.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM Q-POLL
1. Florida’s independent female voters may very well decide this election; 2. Obama is holding together the coalition that elected him four years ago; 3. In 2009, Obama’s favorable rating was at 69%; today it is at 46%; 4. Romney’s unfavorable ratings jumped up by seven points since May; 5. It’s hard not to notice that this poll represents a ten point swing, from Romney up six in May to Obama up four in June.
TOP TWEETS ABOUT THE Q-POLL
@BrettDoster: Q-poll tabs show @ConnieMackIV has more growth potential in key markets and beating Nelson among Latinos. Ugly FL Nov for Dems.
@shag305 (Kirk Wagar): For consistency’s sake, Q poll is laughable. Case in point, not only is the swing mathematically impossible in the Pres prefer
OBAMA CAMPAIGN AIRING NEW AD IN FLA TARGETING WOMEN
The 30-second spot notes that the first bill he signed into law was The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The campaign says this is the first in a series of spots that will try to show women what the president has done to help them. Watch here. (Via The Morning Score.)
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SAID TO ASK RICK SCOTT ADMINISTRATION TO DOWNPLAY JOB GAINS…
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter, reports Michael Bender of Bloomberg News.
What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.
…OR MAYBE NOT
Romney’s campaign is denying that the GOP nominee told Scott to downplay economic progress in the state, as first reported in Bloomberg on Wednesday. The Bloomberg report said Romney’s team asked Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with Romney’s message that the nation is suffering under Obama.
“Governor Romney frequently praises [governors] for their ability to overcome the job-stifling policies of the Obama administration,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “Any statement to the contrary is not in line with Governor Romney’s thoughts or his message.”
No one in the Romney inner circle nor Romney himself had any contact with Scott on his messaging on the economy, according to a senior Romney campaign source. Sources close to Scott insist that the story is “completely false.”
LIKE ALWAYS, MARC CAPUTO EXPLAINS IT ALL
“Who on earth would think that Scott would go along with this? The guy’s fighting for his public-relations life. He’s not advertising two years before an election from a position of strength. Also, what’s to tone down? Scott at times has said just what Romney’s camp is saying: That a Republican in the White House will make his job easier. If there were a message Romney’s camp would more likely send to Scott it’s this: Stop wasting your money. Obama is pitching a similar message and it’s not proving wildly successful. But then, like Scott, Obama has little choice. And he has less time.”
TWEET OF THE DAY – @adamsmithtimes: Anyone remember when solid reporting meant On The Record Sourcing?
ROMNEY TAKES SOFTER STAND ON IMMIGRATION
Romney “offered what he called a strategy for ‘bipartisan and long-term immigration reform’ in an address to a convention of Latino elected officials in Florida,” the New York Times reports.
“In the speech, which also touched on the economy, Mr. Romney dropped the confrontational tone he took on immigration during the Republican primary. Instead, he promised to work in a series of areas to help immigrants and their families while discouraging people from coming to the country illegally.”
Marco Rubio to address NALEO Conference on Friday. Rubio’s speech will be livestreamed here.
RUBIO’S VP STOCK CONTINUES TO TUMBLE
University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has Marco Rubio much lower on his list than his first list (he rated him second previously, and now he’s barely in his top tier). Beyond the issue about whether Romney wants him on the ticket — there’s a dispute about whether the Romney camp is even vetting him — are a couple of realities: The first is that Rubio is a new figure on the national stage who would invite intense scrutiny; and the second is that Romney should be able to carry Florida, a toss-up state that nonetheless has a slight Republican lean, without Rubio in a close national election.
GOOD READ — BOB GRAHAM ON WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE VETTED FOR VP
Associated Press: “They didn’t find any skeletons in his closet, Bob Graham said, but someone came across the Buffett video for the 1984 song ‘Who’s the Blonde Stranger?’ about adulterous affairs. Graham makes a cameo as a drink-holding, grinning businessman about to hook up with a waitress. Graham said he joined the filming at short notice on a request by his friend Buffett, who co-founded with Graham an effort to protect and save manatees, the endangered sea mammal.”
” ‘They kept hammering away about it,’ Graham recounted. And the accountant wanted to know why Graham hadn’t recorded his payment for the appearance — Graham explained there wasn’t one; it was a favor for a friend.”
STATE: NO DECISION YET WHETHER TO APPEAL JUDGE’S INVALIDATING OF ELECTIONS LAW
Florida election officials have yet to decide whether they will appeal a federal judge’s ruling invalidating portions of a 2011 elections laws placing restrictions on third-party voter registration efforts, a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Thursday via the News Service of Florida.
Attorneys for the state went before a three-judge panel of the federal appellate court in Washington, D.C. Thursday, the latest chapter since federal District Judge Robert Hinkle on May 31 overturned portions of Florida’s election law, most notably a 48-hour deadline to turn in voter registration forms. “We won’t enforce changes that have been enjoined, of course, unless and until the injunction is lifted,” said Division of Elections spokesman Chris Cate. “We will continue to enforce remaining (upheld) changes in the non-covered counties.” On May 31, Hinkle barred enforcement of part of the state’s controversial elections law, saying the rules made it too difficult for non-governmental organizations to register voters. The law was being challenged by a coalition of groups including the League of Women Voters of Florida and Rock the Vote. The biggest issue was a time limit for turning in voter registration forms, which had been 10 days before lawmakers shortened it to two. Hinkle said the short time frame was unworkable and would, among other things, make it impossible for groups to use the U.S. mail to transmit registration forms to election officials.
BUSINESS-BACKED STUDY GIVES FLORIDA HIGH MARKS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
A business-backed national study gives Florida’s public colleges and universities high marks for student access and success as well as efficiency. The report by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, comes in the midst of Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to overhaul the state’s higher education system and quash proposed tuition increases.
NEW LEADERS AT THE FLORIDA BAR
Tampa attorney Gwynne Alice Young will be installed as the 64th president of The Florida Bar on Friday during the Bar’s Annual Convention. Also sworn in on Friday will be Eugene Pettis, of Fort Lauderdale, who will become president-elect, to succeed Young in June 2013. Pettis will become the first African-American to head up the Florida Bar.
FILM INDUSTRY FOCUS FUZZY IN TALLAHASSEE
Extending and expanding Florida’s film incentive program is key to bringing more productions to Miami, industry experts say. The big question is: how to do it? Florida Film Production Coalition, a nonprofit industry group, hosted a well-attended workshop at the Latin Chamber of Commerce of the USA’s Miami Media and Film Market conference. The consensus: faced with stiff competition from other states, Florida must be more aggressive.
>>>The Agency for Health Care Administration’s Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee will meet to discuss the Medicaid preferred-drug list.
>>>Cortez Whatley of the University of Central Florida takes over as the student representative to the Board of Governors, the News Service of Florida reports.
>>>If Florida school districts over-test students, it’s because of the policies coming out of Tallahassee, Palm Beach Post columnist Jac Wilder VerSteeg writes.
>>> State College of Florida president Lars Hafner could lose his job after signing a document for the school’s board chairman, the Herald-Tribune reports.
***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.***
ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES BACKS MIKE WEINSTEIN IN SD 4
Associated Industries of Florida Political Action Committee (AIFPAC) – comprised of AIF member companies from across the state – announced its endorsement of Mike Weinstein in the Republican primary for State Senate District 4.
“Mike Weinstein is a proven Florida leader whose passion and commitment to serving Northeast Florida are demonstrated by his service in the Florida House of Representatives and several community leadership positions. Ideologically and philosophically, he stands with Florida’s business community and his knowledge of complex issues like tort reform and tax policy are exactly the kind of conservative champion we need in the Florida Senate,” said Tom Feeney, Associated Industries of Florida President and CEO.
Originally founded as the Duval County Employers Association in 1920, AIF has deep roots in this community and joins the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce along with a growing list of Jacksonville business leaders in endorsing Mike Weinstein for the Florida Senate.
“I am committed to continuing to advance policies that encourage business growth and job creation and reject government’s tendency to overregulate and frustrate the free market system,” said Weinstein. “I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Associated Industries of Florida PAC, and look forward to working with this esteemed organization on continuing to build the best business climate in the country.”
AIF’S ENDORSMENTS SKIP CONTESTED RACES
The influential business lobbying group Associated Industries of Florida has released its first batch of endorsements for the 2012 elections, and avoided taking a side in virtually every high-profile Orlando-area contest, reports Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel.
>>>AIF did endorse Mike Davis over his opponent, incumbent state Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart.
NICE AND NASTY DOES IT IN (PINELLAS) POLITICS by Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times
“In the newly drawn state Senate District 22 race … (Jim) Frishe insists … that he is the real Republican in the race, and just to make sure the point isn’t lost on anyone the candidate invokes Ronald Reagan’s name four times, in addition to including Reagan twice in a rolling scroll of his political accomplishments and featuring two photographs of Reagan in the background. All of this Reaganmania in just a 30-second spot.”
“Just how deft a politician is Jeff Brandes? Why he is running around in a current commercial claiming he’s not a politician, even through he ran and won a House seat in 2010? And now he’s chasing after a Senate job, which involves hiring a consultant, a treasurer, begging people for money, handing out yard signs, showing up at events to slum for votes and plotting against Frishe. … Not a politician? That would be like Gen. George Patton denying that despite the uniform, the medals, the stars and all those dead Germans that he wasn’t a soldier.”
>>>Former State Rep. and Hillsborough Co. Commissioner Sandy Murman endorsed Tom Lee in SD 24
>>>State Rep. Larry Ahern endorsed Kathleen Peters in HD 69.
BIRTHDAY WISHES: I missed good people Anthony Katchuk, Shannon Love, and Billy Young. This weekend, Mario Farias and Bryan Tupper celebrate.
REQUIRED READING FOR DEMS: The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling.
ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: Click to watch this video via BizPacReview’s Jack Furnari about designing a stop sign by committee, but it just as easily could apply to a political race.
MORE ALOE: MSNBC anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will appear Aug. 28 at a special luncheon/fundraiser for the Poynter Institute held during the Republican National Convention, reports Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times.
BEST POLITICAL MASH-UP EVER: This has to be the most tidbit gleamed from a political fundraiser I’ve heard in a while, but it turns out the Sugar Hill Gang — yes, the legendary Sugar Hill Gang of “Rapper’s Delight” fame (shown in the video above) — performed (gratis) at a fundraiser for congressional candidate Adam Hasner. The event was held at the offices of the C2 Group in Washington D.C. Hasner spokesman Brad Herold confirms that the rap group was most certainly in attendance as theyare repped by a supporter of Hasner’s.