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Sunburn for 7/12: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on July 12, 2012

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

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REAGANISTA APPROVED: “You’re doing a good job with (Sunburn). Keep it up!” — Christian Camara aka @Reaganista.

QUINNIPIAC NATIONAL POLL: OBAMA 46%, ROMNEY 43%

A new Quinnipiac poll finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by three points nationally, 46% to 43%.

Key findings: “Married voters back Romney 51% to 38%, while unmarried voters back President Obama 54% to 34%. Among married voters, Romney leads 54% to 35% among men and 49% to 42% among women. Among single voters, Obama leads 47% to 38% among men and 60% to 31% among women.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Although much has been made about the gender gap and how President Barack Obama’s lead among women fuels his campaign, the marriage gap is actually larger and more telling.”

GINGRICH TO STUMP FOR ROMNEY IN JAX TODAY

Newt Gingrich will be in Jacksonville on Thursday for his former adversary Mitt Romney. Gingrich will attend a question-and-answer session at the Romney Victory Office located at 4963 Beach Boulevard. The event begins at noon.

IT’S LOOKING LESS AND LESS LIKELY MARCO RUBIO WILL BE ROMNEY’S VP

Rob Portman is now trading at 37.3% for VP on the Intrade betting market — an all-time high — while Marco Rubio is at an all-time low of 8.8%. In February 2011, Portman entered the Intrade market, trading around 1%, while Rubio entered in January 2011, trading over 20%.

SHOCK POLL: CONNIE MACK 46%, BILL NELSON 37%

A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely voters shows Mack earning 46% of the vote to Nelson’s 37%. Seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate, and 10% are undecided.

The numbers were flipped back in April when Nelson held a 47% to 36% lead over Mack. At that time, Mack still had heavy competition for the GOP nomination and was being heavily criticized for a lackluster campaign. The contest was closer in earlier surveys.

SUPER PAC PLANS $6.2 MIL CAMPAIGN AGAINST NELSON

American Crossroads, the heavyweight super PAC run by Karl Rove, has reserved $6.2 million in Florida air time to oppose Sen. Bill Nelson, a spokesman confirms. “He has a long record that makes him vulnerable,” said spokesman Nate Hodson.

>>>Nelson raised $1.8 million for the quarter and has nearly $11 million cash on hand.

YET NATIONAL MEDIA IS NOT KEEN ON MACK

National Journal: “Florida is another state that is looking promising for Romney but challenging for Senate Republicans. The expected nominee is Mack, whose campaign has gotten off to a shaky start.  He has struggled to win over the conservative rank-and-file, and has been openly criticized by the Florida GOP consultant class. His fundraising is are weak and not expected to improve with the release of his second-quarter numbers this month.

“Florida Republican insiders argue that the political environment is so tough for Democrats that Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson should be almost as vulnerable as Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Jon Tester in Montana. Even as polling shows Nelson running slightly ahead of Mack, the pessimism in GOP circles about the challenger’s campaign is palpable.”

FLORIDA GOP FINALIZES CONVENTION DELEGATE LIST, MAKES FINAL PLEA TO RNC

The Florida Republican Party still hasn’t named the individuals who will be representing them at the Tampa convention in August, holding out hope that last-minute negotiations with the RNC will result in more delegates being seated.

As it stands now, including the alternates, a total of 98 will be credentialed, but only 50 will be allowed on the floor to vote. In addition to the 50 delegates and 48 alternates, the state delegation may also receive a limited number of non-voting guest passes, which has yet to be determined.

While Curry has finalized the list of delegates, he is holding off on releasing it in hopes that the RNC will show some mercy. “The delegate list needs to be certified by the party a month before the convention, so it will be released this week or next,” said RPOF Press Secretary Kristen McDonald.

With the clock ticking, Florida Republicans are holding out hope that a better compromise can be negotiated at the 11th hour.  “We still have two weeks to get a better deal,” said Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein, who would normally be a delegate but because of the penalty will probably be an alternate this year.

In a final attempt to plead their case, Florida Republicans have enlisted the one person who may be able to lobby the national party: Mitt Romney.

“We’ve asked the Romney to make a last minute pitch to the Rules Committee,” said Peter Feaman, a Republican national committeeman from Boca Raton.

TIME: RICK SCOTT IS TURNING DOWN OBAMACARE; IS HE TURNING OFF FLORIDA VOTERS, TOO?

“Scott’s doctrinaire defiance is politically risky for the Republican Party. Florida is arguably the most important swing state in November’s presidential election – and GOP candidate Mitt Romney trails President Obama, who won the Sunshine State in 2008, by four points there in the most recent Quinnipiac voter poll, 41% to 45%. The Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Fla., at the end of August; but Scott, whose dismal approval ratings make him one of the nation’s least popular governors, is widely considered a potential drag on the GOP’s fortunes. The big question now is whether his Obamacare position stands to make him a heavier electoral millstone or a conservative buoy for the Romney campaign.”

>>>Scott remains upside down with Florida voters though he does better in the Rasmussen poll than he has in other recent surveys. A majority of those surveyed in the Rasmussen poll — 53 percent — disapprove of Scott while 44 percent approve of the Governor.

LOW-INCOME FLORIDIANS MAY BE EXEMPT FROM OBAMACARE

With Gov. Rick Scott vowing to reject a Medicaid expansion, many low-income Floridians could be exempt from a federal requirement that people have health insurance in 2014. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sent a letter to governors Tuesday that stemmed from last month’s Supreme Court ruling on the federal Affordable Care Act. That ruling upheld the coverage requirement — often described as the “individual mandate” — but allowed states to opt out of an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, which would be heavily funded by the federal government. “Ultimately, I am hopeful that state leaders will take advantage of the opportunity provided to insure their poorest working families with the unusually generous federal resources while dramatically reducing the burden of uncompensated care on their hospitals and other health care providers,” Sebelius wrote in the letter. “If any state were to choose not to do so, the Affordable Care Act exempts individuals who Congress determined cannot afford coverage from the individual responsibility provision.”

EX-EMPLOYEE SAYS CARROLL, AIDE CAUGHT IN ‘COMPROMISING POSITION’

As part of her defense in a criminal trial, a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll said she caught the lieutenant governor in “a compromising position” with another aide shortly before being fired last year, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.

The allegations are part of the ongoing prosecution of Carletha Cole, a former aide to Carroll who shared a recording of a conversation with Carroll’s chief of staff with a reporter for the Florida Times-Union after she was fired.

Cole has been charged with disclosing that recorded conversation.

Cole’s motion, filed in response to the state’s efforts to keep some records sealed, portrays a dysfunctional office where Carroll’s aides frequently recorded conversations and the lieutenant governor pushed for a website where fans could follow her. It also says Steve MacNamara, former chief of staff for Gov. Rick Scott, viewed Carroll as a “loose cannon,” in the words of the filing.

But its most sensational anecdote concerns Cole inadvertently walking in on what she believed to be a sexual encounter between Carroll and a female employee.

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FLORIDA CHAMBER BACKS AARON BEAN IN SD 4, JOHN LEGG IN SD 17, BUT NO ENDORSEMENT YET IN SD 22 OR SD 24

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Aaron Bean in the Senate District 4 race in northeast Florida, John Legg in the Senate District 17 race in Hillsborough and Pasco counties, but didn’t pick a candidate in the Rachel Burgin-Tom Lee primary race in East Hillsborough or the Jeff Brandes-Jim Frise race in Tampa-St. Petersburg.

FRISHE, LEE, LEGG WIN AT TAMPA CHAMBER STRAW POLL

Over 400 attendees had an opportunity to cast their ballot at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Political Hob Nob held At the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

In State Senate District 17, John Legg took 36.12%, Wes Johnson 29.07%, Rob Wallace 22.03%, John Korsak 12.78%.

In State Senate District 22, Jim Frishe took 63.21%, Jeff Brandes 27.36%, Raymond Alan Baker 9.43%.

In State Senate District 24, Tom Lee took 42.62%, Rachel Burgin 33.76%, Elizabeth Belcher 23.63%.

BRANDES LOANS $500K TO HIS CAMPAIGN FOR SENATE DISTRICT 22

Locked in a high-profile Senate race with fellow lawmaker Jim Frishe, St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes has loaned $500,000 to his campaign, according to a report on the state Division of Elections website.

Brandes made a $250,000 loan Friday, after also making a $250,000 loan on June 1. He also has raised $68,450 in contributions since entering the District 22 race at the beginning of June. Brandes, who has served in the House since 2010, is among the wealthiest lawmakers, with a net worth of $10.3 million as of Dec. 31, a disclosure form shows.

ADAM SMITH: “The vast majority of Brandes’ contributions come from outside the district, which includes southern Pinellas and part of Tampa. What’s most striking, though, is how much money Brandes has already spent: $265,000. A big chunk of that appears to going to more than three dozen! paid staffers – presumably people walking neighborhoods. That total doesn’t include the more than $40,000 he spent promoting himself for re-election as a state representative before he jumped into the senate race. … For a candidate running against creatures of Tallahassee – Frishe – Brandes’ campaign sure is relying heavily on Tallahassee interests to fund campaign operatives, many of whom are also from outside the district.”

MY TWEET: With 36 ppl. on payroll & about $40K in salaries, the @JeffreyBrandes campaign on pace to create more jobs than Obama administration.

AFL-CIO, SEIU BACK JEFF CLEMENS IN DEM. PRIMARY FOR SD 27

Two of Florida’s largest labor union coalitions, AFL-CIO and SEIU, have endorsed Rep. Jeff Clemens’ campaign for State Senate District 27.

“Since my first day on the job in the legislature, I have fought on behalf of Florida’s working families,” said Representative Clemens. “I take pride in standing between big corporations and insurance companies that are out to squeeze the middle-class in this already tough economic time. I am honored to stand with the AFL-CIO and SEIU against Rick Scott’s extremist agenda, and look forward to continuing that fight in the Florida Senate.”

Rep. Clemens, who is running for the newly created State Senate seat in central Palm Beach County, has spent his two years in the House fighting the war on public employees and organized labor.

“The Florida AFL-CIO is proud to support Representative Jeff Clemens as one of the strongest candidates on any ballot this year based on his proven support for real people, a robust economy that works for all and the courage to stand up to Rick Scott and the big business special interests,” said AFL-CIO President Mike Williams.

CHECKING IN ON STATE SENATE DISTRICT 25: A Republican political operative e-mails:  “Vote for Geoff Sommers, a bright, young lawyer who declared for the Senate early this year. He’s exactly the kind of up-and-comer the local Republican Party needs. In January, when Sommers declared for Senate, his current Republican opponent, Melanie Peterson, was running for a state House seat in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. When she couldn’t raise much money, she decided in late April to mount a primary challenge to Sommers. The winner of this primary will have to face off against Democratic powerhouse Joseph Abruzzo, a difficult task in the best of circumstances.”

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

>>>Rep. Dana Young endorses Joe Wicker for House District 59, which is next to Young’s district.

>>>Joe Saunders, Democratic candidate in House District 49, secured the endorsement of the Florida State Council of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Saunders also picked up the endorsement of the Orange County Professional Firefighters.

LOTS OF BIRTHDAYS: Former Senator and, I must say, a true gentleman, John Grant; also former Attorney General Bill McCollum, former Pinellas Democratic Party chair Ramsay McLauchlan

MEDIA NOTE: Sun-Sentinel Editorial editor Antonio Fins is leaving the news company to become the executive director of the Guy Harvey Institute.

READ: The Atlantic profiles George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was “groomed for office since his childhood, is coming of age and building a political network.”

READ THIS, TOO: Ben Smith and Rebecca Elliot have published a “user’s guide” to Twitter’s political trolls: “[B]ecause they are, at their core and like the 12-year-old boys who invented the form on 4chan, desperate for attention, any engagement is a reward. Twitter also allows users to block trolls; but blocking is a form of engagement, and serves as a kind of thrilling encouragement and subject of discussion in the fervid trollsphere. The trolls ultimately turned the comments sections of blogs into scorched earth. Jonathan and I abandoned our POLITICO comments sections during 2007, and our community managers here at BuzzFeed have been startled by the nastiness that comes with covering politics. The trolls destroyed comments sections; they could wind up rendering Twitter close to uninhabitable by the end of this intense election cycle.”

ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde launched a parody attack on his own candidacy from a group named W.A.S.T.E. (Washington Association of Spenders Terrified by Eric.)

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