Sunburn for 7/10: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on July 10, 2012

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

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SUNBURN ABROAD: “Peter, this might be the only time I’m awake before my morning Sunburn came thru…in London and appreciate yours being the first news of the morning. Thanks for what you’re doing.” — John Sebree, Florida Realtors.

OBAMA FUNDRAISING SERIOUSLY TRAILS ROMNEY

President Obama’s re-election campaign announced that it raised a combined $71 million in June with the DNC and various state parties. This compares to $106 million by Mitt Romney’s campaign. To recap, that’s a $35 million gap between Mitt Romney and Obama in June — and a sign that the Obama campaign may continue to be outraised all the way until November.

MICHELLE OBAMA IN MIAMI AND ORLANDO TODAY

First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Miami and Orlando today, campaigning on her husband’s behalf. Obama will speak to grassroots supporters and volunteers about what’s at stake in this election for Floridians, encourage supporters to register to vote and volunteer for the campaign.

RUBIO TO FUNDRAISE FOR ROMNEY

Marco Rubio will hold a fundraiser on behalf of Mitt Romney on Friday. The $2,500-a-plate luncheon will be held at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

According to an invitation obtained by ABC News, donors who contribute between $5,000 and $10,000 can attend a VIP reception with the Rubio.

SHELDON ADELSON WRITES $1 MILLION CHECK TO PRO-CONNIE MACK SUPER PAC

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has written another million dollar check–this time, to a Super PAC called “Freedom PAC” that first popped-up last month. The contribution was disclosed in the group’s quarterly filing, submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Monday according to the Sunlight Foundation.

According to it’s website, the Super PAC — which lists a New York address — is devoted to “supporting strong conservative candidates in Florida,” in particular US Senate candidate Connie Mack.

JEB TO HEADLINE FUNDRAISER FOR JEB, JR.’S MAVERICK PAC

Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s two sons — George P. and Jeb Jr. — have enlisted their dad as a headliner next Monday for a fundraiser for Maverick PAC, a Texas-based group founded by George that Jeb is helping expand into Florida, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Its purpose: to “give a voice to the next generation of leaders who support candidates dedicated to growing our economy, keeping our nation safe, and upholding conservative values.”

The lunch will be at Ariel’s at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort next Monday, the 16th. The minimum contribution is a mere $25. It’s $300 to be a “Sustainer” and $1,500 to become a member of the Chairman’s Circle.

STAND YOUR GROUND TASK FORCE MEETS TODAY

The Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, the panel created to take testimony and discuss the state’s “stand your ground” self defense law, meets Tuesday in Arcadia, in south-central Florida. The task force, which will take four hours of public testimony, was created in the wake of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, which resulted in a heavy criticism of the stand your ground law. The committee is chaired by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

A BATTLE FOR POWER IN THE FLORIDA HOUSE, YEARS IN ADVANCE by Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

With Republicans firmly in control, the next three speakers have been designated by GOP members … But there’s a scramble developing for six years out, with Rep. Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes leading the charge.

Oliva is building friendships with candidates the best way Tallahassee politicians know how: by raising money for them.

… He’s a “red-shirt freshman,” elected in a 2011 special election (a half-term does not count against the eight-year term limit). That gives him an edge on incoming freshmen (38 of the 120 House seats are open in this year’s elections).

Oliva recently held a fundraiser in Miami for termed-out Sen. Mike Fasano … Oliva recently circulated a fundraising appeal among lobbyists on behalf of 11 Republican hopefuls, including Jake Raburn of Lithia and Joe Wicker of Riverview.

STAT OF THE DAY: 1 IN 5 BLACK FLORIDIANS CAN’T VOTE BECAUSE OF FELON DISENFRANCHISEMENT

More than a fifth of black Floridians and a tenth of the state’s total population aren’t allowed to vote because of the state’s prohibition on voting by former felons, the highest rate of disenfranchisement in the nation, according to an advocacy group study.

The study was done by The Sentencing Project, a non-profit think tank on criminal justice issues that advocates policies allowing former convicts to regain their voting rights.

It estimated that 23 percent of the state’s adult black population, and 10.4 percent of the total voting age population, are disenfranchised by loss of civil rights as result of criminal convictions. The vast majority of those are what the report calls “ef-felons,” those convicted of a felony who have served their sentences and completed any required parole, probation or restitution.

By comparison, national rates of disenfranchisement are 7.7 percent for blacks, and 2.5 percent for the overall population.

VOTER ID LAWS WORKING AS INTENDED

The Associated Press reports that the new stricter voter ID laws being put into place by GOP legislatures in several states, including Florida, are doing exactly what they were meant to do: make it very hard for minorities and those who tend to vote for Democrats cast a ballot.

The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent. Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place.

More than two dozen states have some form of ID requirement, and 11 of those passed new rules over the past two years largely at the urging of Republicans who say they want to prevent fraud.

Democrats and voting rights groups fear that ID laws could suppress votes among people who may not typically have a driver’s license, and disproportionately affect the elderly, poor and minorities. While the number of votes is a small percentage of the overall total, they have the potential to sway a close election. Remember that the 2000 presidential race was decided by a 537-vote margin in Florida.

STATE SIGNALS INTENT TO APPEAL IN VOTER REGISTRATION CASE

The Florida Department of State and the Attorney General’s Office have taken a first step toward appealing a judge’s ruling in a closely watched case about restrictions on voter-registration groups. Attorneys for the state filed a notice of appeal last week with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, records show according to the News Service of Florida. The move came little more than a month after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction against parts of a 2011 law, such as blocking a requirement that voter-registration forms be returned to elections officials within 48 hours of being filled out. The League of Women Voters of Florida and other groups that register voters filed the lawsuit. Last week’s notice did not provide details about the potential grounds for an appeal. Also, the state and the law’s opponents said in late June they were trying to reach a settlement that would avert a continuing legal battle.

CENSUS SHOWS SMALL TOWNS AROUND JACKSONVILLE ARE SHRINKING

It’s just a snapshot of population numbers over 15 months. But recent Census Bureau figures show slow growth in Jacksonville — and dropping numbers in a few small communities within 60 miles of the city.

In Northeast Florida, Palatka, Starke and Lawtey each lost population. In Southeast Georgia, St. Marys, Kingsland and Woodbine shrank.

With numbers that look at just the period between April 2010 and July 2011, these could be just statistical blips. And keep in mind that the figures look only at incorporated cities and towns, so unincorporated areas around them are not accounted for.

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NINA HAYDEN DROPS OUT OF RACE FOR CD 13

As first reported on SaintPetersBlog and confirmed by Creative Loafing‘s Mitch Perry, Nina Hayden is out of the race for the Democratic nomination for Congress in District 13.

Initially ruled ineligible because a notary failed to his sign his name on her qualifying form, Hayden sued and was placed back on the ballot. But the Division of Elections office never attempted to cash the $10,440 needed to qualify until last week.

Unfortunately for Hayden, the check bounced. So she’s out of the race for good.

ADAM HASNER HAULS IN $558k FOR CD 22

Adam Hasner raised $558,000 in the latest fundraising quarter in his race for Congress. This brings his total cash on hand to more than $1 million, his campaign said.

“We are truly thankful for all the support we have received and look forward to meeting new people every day who recognize the importance of this election and support my candidacy,” Hasner said.

PATRICK MURPHY RAISES $508K DURING SECOND QUARTER

Democrat Patrick Murphy raised $508,000 in the second quarter of 2012, his campaign told FLDemocracy on Monday.  Murphy, who is challenging Rep. Allen West in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, ended the quarter with more than $2.3 million in the bank– making him one of the best financed non-incumbent Congressional fundraisers in the country.

Murphy’s latest numbers are a record for the young Democrat who raised $350,000 in the first quarter of 2012 and $300,000 in the last quarter of 2011.

In April, Murphy was added to the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program highlighting the party’s top challengers.

West has not yet disclosed his fundraising totals for the quarter. The Tea Party firebrand collected more than $1.8 million during the first quarter of 2012, but spent more than $1.2 million in the same period–most of it on his direct-mail money machine.

POLITICAL ANALYSTS SEE POTHOLES IN VERN BUCHANAN’S ROAD TO RE-ELECTION by Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

(B)ad publicity tied to several federal investigations, a less-than-favorable redistricting and stronger-than-expected fundraising by his Democratic opponent Keith Fitzgerald have some of the nation’s respected political handicappers calling it one of the top races in Florida now.

In the last two weeks, The Rothenberg Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball have downgraded Buchanan’s chances in November.

RANDOM ENDORSEMENT OF THE DAY: Holly Hill Vice-Mayor Donnie Moore endorses Craig Miller for Congress 

FORMER GOV. BOB MARTINEZ BACKS JIM FRISHE IN STATE SENATE DISTRICT 22

Former Governor Bob Martinez announced his endorsement of Jim Frishe to represent him in the Florida Senate.

Governor of Florida from 1987-1991, and Mayor of Tampa from 1979-1986, Martinez remains a powerful political figure in Tampa Bay.

“I live in Senate District 22 and I am supporting Jim Frishe to be our Senator because I know him, I worked with him when I was Governor, and know he is a true conservative. Jim was a Republican before Republican was “cool” in Florida, and he has worked his heart out for conservative Republican candidates and causes for 40 years. Jim Frishe has successfully served his community because he understands how much you can get done when you don’t care who gets the credit. I will be proud to have him represent me in Tallahassee,” Martinez said.

DWIGHT DUDLEY EARNS SUPPORT FROM LOCAL UNIONS, TEACHERS FOR HD 68 CAMPAIGN

Dwight Dudley announced on Monday the endorsement of several prominent organizations in his campaign for House District 68.

“I’m honored to have earned the endorsement of the Florida AFL-CIO, the Florida Education Association, the Florida Building and Construction Trades Council, the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, and the Pinellas Education Support Professionals Association,” said Dudley. “These organizations represent tens of thousands of hard-working Floridians, including many here in District 68. I’m excited to have their support and to stand with the professionals who are educating our children and building the future of Pinellas County.”

“One of Dwight’s top priorities is advocating for high-quality public education, and that’s why we’re proud to stand with him,” said Kim Black, President of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association. “Dwight knows that investing in Pinellas’ children today builds an educated workforce that will bring great jobs and businesses to Florida.”

SEN. DENNIS JONES ENDORSES KATHLEEN PETERS FOR HD 69

Kathleen Peters received the endorsement of Pinellas County Senator Dennis Jones. Best known for his leadership on Beach renourishment issues, Jones has been representing Pinellas County for over 30 years.

“After over 30 years in Tallahassee representing Pinellas County, I have a pretty good idea what it takes for a new representative to be successful there. I believe Kathleen Peters has the qualities that will make for a good representative for the people of Pinellas County. She is experienced in both business and local government, has mature judgement, and will fight for the interests of our communities. She understands the importance of beaches to our local economy and I will be glad to have her represent the district that I once served in the Florida House of Representatives,” Jones said.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Nancy Broner, former Chair of the Duval County School Board, endorsed Representative Mike Weinstein for State Senate District 4.

>>>Stuart Milk, nephew of legendary civil rights leader, to host fundraiser for Kevin Beckner at Jefferson-Jackson Dinner this weekend.

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: ESPN has come up with a way to sell a bigger portion of its ad time to political campaigns. The sports network has struck a deal with a middleman that will result in more political ads appearing on ESPN programs, including NFL and college football games, in October and November–the critical period before the general election. Said one top ESPN executive: “There is ‘great demand’ for ad time from ‘political parties and the super-PACs

MORE ALOE: Paul Begala digs through the state Republican party platforms for the craziest ideas he can find.

BIRTHDAYS: Rep. Gary Aubuchon and Beth Gosnell.

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