- It’s official: Jay Fant beats Paul Renner in HD 15 by two votes
- John Morgan goes “unplugged” with NSFW rant at post-debate rally for medical marijuana
- With some Tampa Bay’ers breaking ranks, Eric Eisnaugle has all but locked up Speaker’s race
- George Sheldon accepts Pam Bondi debate challenge, then raises her
- Legislative committee schedule released
- St. Pete Chamber of Commerce announces “Good ‘Burgers” — and it has nothing to do with food
Sunburn for 7/23 A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics
***Campaign Contribution reports are in! Go to www.purplepagesonline.com
LATEST POLL: OBAMA LEADS ROMNEY IN FLORIDA; MACK LEADS NELSON
A new Survey USA poll in Florida finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points in the important battleground state, 48% to 43%. However, in the U.S. Senate race, Rep. Connie Mack leads Sen. Bill Nelson by six points, 48% to 42%.
Marc Caputo finds the latest poll numbers odd: “What makes the results stand out so much is that they’re counterintuitive. Sure, the leads of Obama and Mack are within the poll’s 3.9% error margin. But in almost every presidential-race year where there’s a Senate candidate, the fates of the Republican candidate is tethered to the GOP candidate and the fate of the Democrats are similarly tied.”
Adam Smith explains why Florida is tougher sell for Obama than four years ago: Practically every week, Floridians receive visits from the president, the vice president, the first lady or some other top surrogate for the administration. There’s good reason for it. “When he shows up somewhere, he always leaves more popular than he was before he showed up. It really is the power of incumbency,” said Democratic pollster Dave Beattie.
Polls break for the challenger, right? Not necessarily argues Nate Silver: “There are certainly some good reasons to think that the polls could break toward Mitt Romney. For instance, many polls out now were conducted among registered voters; when pollsters switch over to likely voter polls instead — which assess each voter’s probability of actually casting a ballot on Nov. 6 — it is likely that Mr. Romney will gain a point or two. And Barack Obama obviously has a lot of weight to bear from the lukewarm economic recovery. But one hypothesis you should find less persuasive is the notion that the polls will break toward Mr. Romney just because he is the challenger. It is often asserted that this is the case — that the polls move toward the ‘out-party’ candidate rather than the incumbent. But in my view the empirical evidence — although it is somewhat ambiguous — mostly argues against this idea.”
>>>National Journal has an excellent page that tracks ad spending by the presidential campaigns, the parties and the Super PACs across the battleground states.
VP BIDEN TO ADDRESS POLICE GATHERING
Vice President Joe Biden will address the National Association of Police Organizations as it holds its annual convention in Palm Beach.
JOHN STERMBERGER ENDORSES DAVE WELDON
John Stemberger, one of the leading pro-life, pro-family conservatives in Florida endorsed Dave Weldon in Florida’s U.S. Senate race.
“Dave Weldon is solid as a rock. A smart, reliable and proven leader, he is a true principled conservative. Weldon is a trustworthy physician and father, and as a former congressman has a proven voting record as a social and economic conservative. This is a man who will not embarrass us in his personal life and who will respect the base and principles of the Republican Party. America needs leaders like Dave Weldon; he is worthy of our support for U.S. Senate,” said Stemberger.
GEORGE W. BUSH WILL NOT ATTEND RNC IN TAMPA
Former President George W. Bush will not attend the Republican convention next month in Tampa, Politico reports.
Said a spokesman: “President Bush was grateful for the invitation to the Republican National Convention. He supports Governor Romney and wants him to succeed. President Bush is confident that Mitt Romney will be a great President. But he’s still enjoying his time off the political stage and respectfully declined the invitation to go to Tampa.”
JENNIFER CARROLL’S GOP CONVENTION CACHET PLUMMETS WITH OFFICE SCANDAL by John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post
(S)ome Republicans say they are disappointed the case will prove another setback for the Florida GOP, whose leaders are eager to showcase the state at the nominating convention.
Party leaders in the host state were already grumbling. Many anticipate that Scott will be held to a low-profile convention presence because of his low popularity ratings.
The Carroll story, though, converges sex, politics and Florida in a way that assures a long shelf live, party officials concede. “It’s an awkward, terrible situation for her,” said Sen. John Thrasher.
POLITICO WONDERS: IS CHARLIE CRIST PLOTTING A COMEBACK?
An eyebrow-raising Washington Post op-ed written by Charlie Crist is renewing speculation that the former Florida GOP governor isn’t quite done with politics. … Crist rates among the nation’s most durable and ambitious politicians, at once transparent and inscrutable, and the arc of his career has taken him from landslide defeat to the prospect of national office.
Now an independent after switching parties in 2010, Crist writes:
[I]’m concerned that zealots overreacting to contrived threats of voter fraud by significantly narrowing the voting pool are doing so with brazen disrespect and disregard for our greatest traditions.
As a result of insidious political maneuvers and a lack of respect for voters, we in Florida have been entangled in litigation.
By zealots, Crist is referring to his former colleagues in the GOP and his successor as governor, Republican Rick Scott. … The Miami Herald saw the sharply worded op-ed as “another sign [Crist] is moving to the Democratic Party.” The Tampa Bay Times viewed it as “the latest hint” that Crist may be readying for a Democratic run for governor in 2014.
TWEET OF THE DAY: @lennycurry: The 2 faces of Charlie Crist. One is what he says, one is what he does. Stay tuned. #Sayfie #RPOF
FORMER CRIST SPOX ERIN ISAAC DEPARTS FROM ANOTHER HIGH-PROFILE CAMPAIGN
Erin Isaac, one-time communications director in Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial administration, has left another high-profile campaign position, this time parting ways with Linda McMahon’s US Senate campaign in Connecticut.
While the campaign confirmed Isaac’s departure, it did not say why it has lost a member of its public affairs team so close to the Aug. 14 primary.
Isaac’s departure does follow an increasing number of press accounts that McMahon’s campaign was “off script.”
REVENUE ESTIMATE OF FLORIDA ECONOMY
Today, the state’s revenue estimators will look at Florida economic indicators in their ongoing effort to get a sense of how much revenue the state can expect to collect.
LATE FILED DEMOCRATS KEEP STATE GOP FROM BIG CASH HAUL by Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union
State Democrats paid qualifying fees for nine candidates to run — at least on paper — against Republicans that otherwise would have been unopposed.
Because an unopposed candidate can give campaign cash back to a state or local party, the Senate Democrats’ strategy ties up potentially millions the state GOP could have used during the current election cycle.
“We would have sent about $2 million back to the party, so, I guess, it was a good move by Chris Smith,” said state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine and one of those affected.
ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES WADES INTO COMPETITIVE LEGISLATIVE RACES by Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News
On Friday, the Associated Industries of Florida Political Action Committee (AIFPAC) took sides in nine state Senate races, including wading into some competitive primaries.
AIF is backing former Senate President Tom Lee over Rep. Rachel Burgin in one of the more divisive Republican legislative primaries in the state. AIF endorsed Victoria Siplin in the Democratic primary for an open seat in Central Florida over Rep. Geri Thompson.
The group is also backing Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff over Maria Sachs in a general election matchup pitting two incumbents against each other. Three other incumbents seeking re-election –Thad Altman, Jeremy Ring and David Simmons — also got AIF’s support on Friday.
Other candidates who won AIF’s backing on Friday were three members of the Florida House looking to move to the Senate — Joe Abruzzo, Denise Grimsley and Dorothy Hukill.
TAMPA BAY TIMES MAKES ITS RECOMMENDATIONS IN LEGISLATIVE PRIMARIES
In primaries for the Florida Senate (which are all Republican in the Tampa Bay area): John Legg, Jack Latvala, Jim Frishe, Tom Lee. Read the recommendations here.
In primaries for the Florida House: Democrats Mary Louise Ambrose, Lynn Thomas Dostal, Betty Reed, Mark Danish; Republicans Mike Fasano, Richard Corcoran, Jake Raburn, Betty Jo Tompkins, Peter Nehr, Ed Hooper, Frank Farkas, Kathleen Peters. Read the recommendations here.
MY TAKE ON THE TIMES ENDORSEMENTS: Sure these endorsements might make the candidates feel better about themselves, but it is doubtful the support of a newspaper viewed with skepticism by many, if not most, likely Republican voters will help. All in all, the Times‘ endorsements in these races are far less effective than its recommendations in races where candidates don’t have the resources to fully deliver their campaign message, such as down-ballot contests for judge. Still, it’s always a bonus to be able to put on the campaign literature, “Endorsed by the Tampa Bay Times.”
DOROTHY HUKILL WINS FIRST MAJOR STRAW POLL IN SENATE DISTRICT 8
In the first major straw poll to take place in Senate District 8, Dorothy Hukill beat her Democrat opponent, winning with over 65% of the vote yesterday. The Hob Nob, which featured a ‘meet the candidates’ event as well as the straw poll, was the first major Chamber Hob Nob in Volusia County so far this election year.
“I’m so happy to have this level of support from my friends on the westside,” Hukill said. “We’ve got a real energy boost from these results and we’re going to keep charging to November.”
IN SD 17, ROB WALLACE CALLS ON JOHN LEGG TO RESIGN HIS HOUSE SEAT AFTER MOVING TO RUN FOR SENATE
State Senate candidate Rob Wallace says his opponent in the Republican primary, Rep. John Legg, should resign his House seat.
The reason, Wallace says: When Legg moved into the Senate district he’s running for, he moved out of the House district he still represents. The Florida Constitution requires state legislators to live in the district they represent.
But Legg, who acknowledges he and his wife have been splitting their time between a Port Richey home in his House district and a Trinity home in the Senate district, said the general counsel of the state House told him he’s legally in the clear because if elected, he’d be changing districts.
DIRECT MAIL ROUND-UP: Outside group attacks Jeff Brandes (view mailer here). PolitiFact checks out the claims made in a couple of volleys fired in the race for State Senate District 22. It ruled “True” claims made in TV spot that Jim Frishe wanted to “tax us for doing our taxes” through an accountant.” And PolitiFact rates “Mostly True” the claim made in a mailer that Jeff Brandes voted to allow state-run Citizens Property Insurance to dump politices onto “out-of-state, unregulated private companies.”
MY TAKE ON POLITIFACT: Why fact-check these ads? And why now? Why not all of the ads coming from these committees? Why not all of the ads coming from outside groups in other battleground races? Logistically, this is all but impossible. But the seemingly arbitrary decision to check this ad, but not that ad, etc. is the danger of PolitiFact.
RACHEL BURGIN SAYS SHE’S COMFORTABLE WITH PERSONAL ATTACKS ON TOM LEE
This week, female voters in Sate Senate District 24 were sent a direct mailpiece critical of candidate Tom Lee for a 2003 divorce. The mailer also likened him to Hillsborough Property Appraiser Rob Turner, embroiled in a controversy for sending porn to an employee.
It’s been well-documented by now that the mailer is the responsibility of allies of Lee’s opponent, Rep. Rachel Burgin. One might think Burgin would disavow any connection to such a disgusting personal attack — one so vicious it brought a reprimand from the Florida GOP’s chairman, Lenny Curry.
But in an interview on Bay News 9′s Political Connections, Burgin says she’s comfortable with the mailer, even though she did not produce it, reports Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
“I believe that character does matter. And people want someone that they know is a person of character,” Burgin said. “Some of his life choices I do not agree with.”
WILL WEATHERFORD HOSTING ‘HARD-DOLLAR’ FUNDRAISER TODAY IN TALLAHASSEE
Speaker Designate Will Weatherford is hosting a fundraising reception today in Talllahassee to raise ‘hard -dollars’ for 20 incumbent members of the Florida House, including Reps. Janet Adkins, Michael Bileca, Jason Brodeur, Doug Broxson, Matt Caldwell, Marti Coley, Richard Corcoran, Chris Dorworth, Clay Ford, Erik Fresen, Eddy Gonzalez, Ed Hooper, Peter Nehr, Jeanette Nuñez, Jose Oliva, Kathleen Passidomo, Doc Renuart, John Tobia, Carlos Trujillo and John Wood.
The event begins at noon in the Plantation Room of The Governors Club.
>>>Also raising money tonight in Tallahassee is David Santiago, candidate for House District 27. The event begins at 4:00 p.m. at the Governor’s Club and is hosted by Speaker Designate Chris Dorworth.
HD 9 CANDIDATE BRADLEY MAXWELL TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY
Republican House District 9 candidate Bradley Maxwell will hold a press conference today at 10:00 a.m. at the Florida Press Center in Tallahassee to announce a proposal to protect state employees.
BROWARD SHERIFF PLANS TO GO FORWARD WITH ‘DARK KNIGHT RISES’ THEMED FUNDRAISER, DESPITE SHOOTING
Why let a national tragedy get in the way of a campaign fundraiser?
That appears to be the logic of Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, who plans to go forward with a movie night fundraiser on Monday at which donors will watch “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel reports that the event has long been in the works. So its almost understandable that the campaign is hesitant to cancel the fundraiser. But there is no planning for a madman. And, fundraiser or not, that madman has changed the mood of the country, if but for a moment. Undoubtedly, some will be comfortable attending an event so closely attached to death and tragedy. For his guests’ sake, if nothing else, Lamberti should cancel this event.
>>>Jon Cortez, Democratic candidate for House District 43, dropped out of the race. That sets up a race between Democrat Ricardo Rangel and Republican Art Otero in the general election.
>>>The Florida Nurse Practitioners backed Kim Kendall over incumbent Ronald “Doc” Renuart, who is an Osteopathic physician.
>>>The FOP endorsed Randy Johnson in State House District 55.
>>>Nassau Builders Council endorses Aaron Bean in Senate District 4.
>>>The National Federation of Independent Business announced its endorsement of Don Curtis, Republican, in House District 7.
>>>Rep. Rob Schenck enodrses Jeff Brandes in Senate District 22.
CHECK OUT: The National Journal has an excellent page that tracks ad spending by the presidential campaigns, the parties and the Super PACs across the battleground states.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to former State Senator Charlie Justice. Justice is currently running for a seat on the Pinellas County Commission. From the weekend, a belated happy birthday wish to Rep. John Patrick Julien, Tampa political consultant Vic DiMaio, former RPOF exec. director Jamie Miller, lobbyist Missy Timmins and to my friend known as @DJMia00.
ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: Businessweek looks a the 54 “mostly-trivial” bills sent to President Obama for his signature this congressional session.