Sunburn for 7/3: A morning read of what's hot in Florida politics

By on July 3, 2012

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

***Today’s Sunburn is 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 SUNBRN: @BrechtHeuchan: interrupting my #TDF12 feed, got Sunburn in for day though.

OBAMA CAMPAIGN FLOODING ORLANDO TV MARKET

In the month of June, Obama For America spent more than $2.1 million on more than 2,390 TV commercials in the Orlando market, according to an Orlando Sentinel review of public records. In May Obama spent just over $2 million for 985 commercials in the Orlando market.

“It’s a bigger storm than [Tropical Storm] Debby,” said Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida political scientist. “It’s just a deluge. And it’s going to be nonstop from now until the election.”

DEM ALLIES SECURE $1.8 MIL MORE IN AIRTIME

Two groups allied with Democratic congressional candidates have spent almost $1.8 million securing time for political ads in 2012, the organizations announced Monday. House Majority PAC, which backs Democratic candidates — and labor union Service Employees International Union announced the buys as part of a $20 million reservation spending spree nationwide. The biggest buy in Florida is $571,000 worth of reservations in Miami, followed by $440,000 in Orlando. In West Palm Beach, the two will spend a total of $378,000; in Tampa, $330,000; and in Tallahassee, House Majority PAC has reserved $76,200 worth of airtime. Each area has at least one congressional race that is expected to be in play as Democrats look to seize back the House majority they lost in the 2010 election.

MARCO RUBIO’S STAR-SPANGLED BOOK TOUR CONTINUES

Sen. Marco Rubio continues his book tour on Monday, promoting his memoir, An American Son12 p.m., CDT, Books-A-Million, 811 E. 23 St., Panama City; 3:30 p.m., CDT, Books-A-Million, 4250 Legendary Dr., Destin; 6:30 p.m., CDT, Barnes & Noble Cordova Crossing, 1200 Airport Blvd., Pensacola.

RUBIO OVERBOOKED?

Rubio was listed as an “honored guest” at Saturday night’s Lincoln Day fundraiser for the Miami-Dade Republican Party. Nearly 600 people attended the $150-a-person fundraiser, now in its 64th year, reports Erika Bolstad.

Problem was, Rubio wasn’t there, and had plans to be elsewhere. He was a few miles away at Books and Books in Coral Gables, signing copies of his new memoir “An American Son.”

His absence irritated one local Republican, Jack Thompson of Coral Gables.

“I don’t understand why Marco Rubio would use his name to get people to come, and then not show up,” Thompson said. “Is Marco about Marco? Or is Marco about the Republican Party. What’s going on here?”

>>>Smart Politics ranks US Senators by the number of mentions they’ve gotten on the six broadcast and cable networks since the beginning of the year.  Not surprising, Senator John McCain tops the list, followed by Florida’s own Marco Rubio.

WATCH RON PAUL ADD AN EXTRA KICK TO THE GOP CONVENTION

The Ron Paul campaign signed a contract Thursday to secure the University of South Florida’s 11,000-seat Sun Dome for Sunday, Aug. 26, the day prior to the beginning of the three-day Republican National Convention, reports Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News.

In an email to his supporters released Friday, Paul wrote, “The Republican National Convention is just around the corner, and the establishment is about to find out what you and I have known all along this election season – the future is ours! So on Aug. 26, the day before the convention convenes, I hope you’ll join me at a special rally to celebrate how far our message and movement have come this year.”

The Republican National Committee actually gave the nod to the preconvention rally in which Paul himself will be the main feature.

“We’d really like a large turnout for this,”  Paul says in a video, again addressing his supporters. “Numbers are important … We should not be disruptive but neither should we be pushed around.”

Keep an eye on this rally — an event some pundits have dubbed “Paulstock.” It could be fascinating.

HILARIOUS QUOTE: “Which idiot put the GOP convention the same time as ‘Burning Man’ in Nevada? Is there time to change this?” – Grover Norquist

FOR CONSERVATIVES, AUGUST WILL BEGIN AND END IN FLORIDA by Erick Erickson of Red State

“At the end of August, Republicans will gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney for President. But at the beginning of August, Conservatives will gather in Jacksonville, FL for the RedState Gathering,” writes Erickson, one of the leading conservative bloggers in the country.

“We’re going to have RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Senator Ron Johnson, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, along with a number of candidates including Joe the Plumber, Ted Cruz, and more.”

“There’ll also be a few big names attending who we will announce in the coming week. We’re also going to throw in, free of charge, activist training from American Majority. It is, bar none, the best training you can get as we try to take back the Senate and White House.”

Go here now to register for the 2012 RedState Gathering.

RICK SCOTT REITERATES: FLA WILL OPT OUT OF PARTS OF HEALTH CARE LAW

Florida will opt out of spending about $2 billion more to expand Medicaid, and won’t build insurance exchanges, another optional part of the federal health care law, Gov. Rick Scott’s office reiterated, reports David Royse of the News Service of Florida.

Scott also noted that the Affordable Care Act, the central piece of legislation pushed by the Obama administration, doesn’t take effect until 2014 and nothing in it is required of states before the 2012 general election, when Republicans hope to unseat President Obama. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the act.

Scott also said, however, that Florida will follow the law and for any part of it that does require the state to do something, Florida will do it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We in the House will work with the Senate and the Governor to make the many difficult decisions necessitated by this legislation.” — Speaker Designate Will Weatherford

MORE SCOTT: STATE WEIGHING MOVEs IN VOTER PURGE

The state is still weighing its next moves in an attempt to remove suspected non-citizens from the voting rolls, Gov. Rick Scott said Monday. In an interview with Fox News via the News Service of Florida, Scott said the state would probably decide this week what the “next step” in the case would be. The statement comes despite assurances last week to a federal judge that the state had halted the program, which sends names of suspected non-citizens to local elections officials. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle rejected a request from the federal government to bar the state from taking any more steps, but said his ruling was driven in part by assurances from the state that it would not forward any more names to county elections supervisors. “One message I did want to send along is, I’m still here,” Hinkle said. In the TV interview, Scott also rejected arguments that the purge amounts to voter suppression. “I want everybody to vote … but only U.S. citizens,” he said.

JUDGE BARS ENFORCEMENT OF ‘DOCS VS. GLOCKS’ LAW

A federal judge has ruled unconstitutional a new Florida law that banned doctors from asking their patients whether they have guns in their homes, saying it abridged the First Amendments rights of physicians, according to an announcement by a law firm involved in the case.

FOURTH DCA TO HEAR (“TRUMPED UP”?) CHARGE

A squabble between Donald Trump and a 72-year-old member of his swanky golf club heads to the 4th District Court of Appeal this week. The Donald is appealing a circuit court judge’s ruling that he owes Harry Theodoracopulos $200,000 after Trump kicked him out for what he said were repeated instances of belligerent behavior. A circuit judge found Trump’s behavior sub-par and ruled that Theodoracopulos was unfairly given the boot from the Trump International Gulf Club in 2009. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 4th District Court of Appeal,1525 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd, West Palm Beach.)

RECESSION HAS NOT SPARED SEN. MIKE BENNETT

Two companies owned in part by Bennett recently defaulted on loans totaling $4 million. According to reports Bennett filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics, his net worth has plummeted to $727,000 from the $15.9 million he reported four years earlier,reports the Sarasota Herald- Tribune.

The defaults on a shopping plaza in Sarasota and an 11-acre ranchette near Lakewood Ranch come at time when the 67-year-old politician is leaving the Florida Legislature after more than a decade, and running for the Manatee County supervisor of elections job.

Bennett and companies that he has a stake in own 19 properties across Florida. His 2011 ethics filings shows that he owes more on eight of those properties than they are worth.

REST IN PEACE

On Friday evening, the Florida Senate suffered the sudden loss of Renai Farmer, who had served as Staff Director in the Senate Minority Office and the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Democratic Leader Nan Rich issued a joint statement: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic loss of one of our own. Renai was a truly devoted and loyal member of the Florida Senate – an institution she not only loved but served well for many years. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of myself, Senator Rich, and the entire Senate family, our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

***Are you tired of getting your ASSETS TAXED OFF? Amendment 4 can help. Join the movement at www.TaxYourAssetsOff.com or check us out on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.*** 

STEVE OELRICH LABELS CLIFF STEARNS “GODFATHER OF INDIVIDUAL MANDATE”

Oelrich Campaign press release: The “Supreme Court decision to uphold the individual mandate of the health care bill more commonly known as ObamaCare hits home, especially to us here in North Central Florida. Current Congressman, Cliff Stearns, sponsored the “Consumer Choice Health Security Act” in the 1990’s, which was the first time in recent history that Congress had proposed the individual mandate. Decades before ObamaCare, Cliff Stearns proposed the individual mandate.”

ALLEN WEST RANKED MOST VULNERABLE GOP INCUMBENT THIS CYCLE

A prominent national pundit unveiled his look at congressional races in November and maintained that freshman U.S. Rep. Allen West, ranks as the most vulnerable member in the Florida delegation to lose his seat to the other party.

The Rothenberg Political Report – brainchild of political analyst Stuart Rothenberg — found 201 safe Republican seats and 161 secure Democratic seats across the nation. Rothenberg maintained there are less than 75 competitive House seats across the nation with 29 tossups, 25 races where the Republican starts off ahead and 19 seats where the Democrats have the advantage. Rothenberg insisted there would be no “wave” resulting in a dramatic shift in the House with various projections showing Democrats gaining, at most, six seats — far from what they need to take back the House.

According to Rothenberg, West, who is picking up a large portion of the area currently represented by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, after redistricting, is in a tossup district with a Republican tilt. West faces an August primary challenge from Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder, still unpopular with some Republicans for backing Democrat Alex Sink in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Democrats have high hopes for businessman Patrick Murphy, who is expected to emerge from their primary contest.

>>>Rothenberg considers only 6 other Florida congressional races competitive; he ranks Vern Buchanan, David Rivera, Steve Southerland as ‘Lean Republican’, Dan Webster is ‘Favored’ over Democrat Val Demmings, Alan Grayson is favored in an open seat, while the winner of Lois Frankel/Kristin Jacobs is favored over Adam Hasner in CD 22.

LOIS FRANKEL CAMPAIGN HAULS IN $400K DURING SECOND QUARTER

Lois Frankel’s campaign announced that it brought in over $400,000 for the 2nd quarter of 2012. Frankel’s campaign continues to be one of the top performing campaigns in the country with her fifth quarter in a row in which the campaign has taken in more than $ 300,000. This brings Frankel’s total take to date to close to $ 2.25 million from more than 9000 individual contributors.

Lois’s Campaign Manager Greg Richardson said “Our campaign continues to build a grassroots campaign based upon the idea of focusing on getting our economy working again. Over the next 5 months, Lois’ campaign will have the resources necessary to her message out in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.”

SUN-SENTINEL: KRISTIN JACOBS PROVING COMPETITIVE IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Despite Lois Frankel’s high name recognition and fundraising advantage, Broward commissioner Kristin Jacobs has managed to stay competitive  in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 22nd District, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

With only 39 percent of the district’s population in Jacobs’ Broward base, she’s been making strategic forays into the most hotly contested territory of the campaign: Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach in sourthern Palm Beach County. She’s received endorsements from the bipartisan Voters Coalition and the Police Benevolent Association, along with a co-endorsement from the Florida AFL-CIO.

JIM FRISHE PICKS UP KEY ENDORSEMENT IN SD 22

Jim Frishe announced the endorsement of the Tampa Bay Builders Association of his campaign for State Senate District 22. There are a couple of reasons why Frishe receiving the TBBA endorsements matters more than you might first think.

First, the TBBA is very influential in south Tampa, more so than it is in Pinellas.  And since the race for Senate District 22 may very well be decided by who wins South Tampa (because Brandes and Frishe may evenly split Pinellas), any advantage that can be found south of Kennedy Boulevard will be critical.

Second, and actually, more important, consider Jeff Brandes’s background. He’s not exactly a builder, but his family, through their lumber business, has been working hand-in-hand with builders for generations. For Brandes, a  member of TBBA, not to earn the support of the TBBA really says something. So much so that, reportedly, Brandes complained vocally to the TBBA after learning he did not receive its backing. The guy owns a woodshed after all.

JAKE RABURN ENDORSED BY PBA IN OPEN SEAT DISTRICT 57

Jake Raburn received joint endorsement of the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Tampa Police Benevolent Association.

These two organizations represent law enforcement from the following agencies: Bartow Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Wales Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, New Port Richey Police Department, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Offfice, Port Richey Police Department, Tampa Airport Authority Police Department, Tampa Police Department and Zephyrhills Police Department.

“I am excited to learn of the PBA’s endorsement and am deeply grateful for their support,” said Jake Raburn.  “My brother serves as a deputy sheriff with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and I can appreciate first-hand the commitment and sacrifice those who wear a badge make on a daily basis to keep our community safe and secure.  I am honored and humbled to have the support and endorsement of our community’s heroes.”

In recent weeks, Jake Raburn’s campaign has announced endorsements from Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, State Attorney Mark Ober, State Representatives Greg Steube and Ben Albritton and Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham.

TAMPA BAY DEMS RALLY AROUND DWIGHT DUDLEY IN HD 68

Dwight Dudley announced several key endorsements in his campaign for State House District 68.

“I’m humbled to have earned the endorsement of State Rep. Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg, State Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, former State Rep. Bill Heller of St. Petersburg and former State Rep. Bob Henriquez of Tampa,” said Dudley, a 53-year resident of St. Petersburg. “These leaders have helped move Florida forward and brought good-paying, high-quality jobs to our state. We need leadership like theirs, leadership which understands that folks who work hard and play by the rules deserve a fair shot.”

‘FLORIDA’S WRITE-IN FRAUDS’ by Pierre Tristam for Florida Voices

There’s yet another (voter-restricting) scam only now gaining attention: write-in candidates who have no intention of running a campaign, but who qualify just to close their party’s primary. Under a Florida Constitutional amendment voters approved in 1998, when a primary is contested by members of only one party, all voters, regardless of affiliation, get to vote. It makes sense because the winner will be the elected representative regardless, and elections are ultimately about representation, not party loyalty or party trickery.

Well, not in Florida. Write-in candidates don’t have to spend a dime to qualify, they don’t have to turn in a single petition, and their name won’t even appear on the ballot. But the moment they “qualify,” they close the primary, because theoretically the winner of the primary will still have an opponent in the general election.

Democrats are pulling the sham in the Miami-Dade state attorney’s race. Republicans are pulling it in two Florida House races and a school superintendent race in Pasco County. The political concubines of Flagler County Republicans pulled the same trick in four races, though they ended up closing just two—for county commission and clerk of court.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Billie Tucker, the Co-Founder of the First Coast Tea Party, endorsed Mike Weinstein for State Senate District 4.

>>>Congressman Ted Deutch endorsed Lois Frankel in Congressional District 22.

>>>Former Senate President Ken Pruitt endorsed Randy Johnson for House District 55.

ALOE TO SOOTHE BURN: BuzzFeed digs up 69 pictures of politicians from their high school years.

MORE ALOE: The Atlantic Wire digs into the latest annual report on White House salaries and finds some working for free.

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