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Sunburn for 8/6: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on August 6, 2012

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

***SUNBURN is brought to you by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit www.bascomllc.com to read about its growing team, success stories and case studies.***

CAN VOTERS AVOID TUNING IN BEFORE LABOR DAY?

Peggy Noonan: “The oldest cliché in presidential politics is that no normal person cares about the election until after Labor Day, when the kids are back in school. It’s a cliché because it’s always been true. I’ve seen it. But I don’t think it’s true anymore, and in fact has been changing for some time.”

“The cliché is replaced by a new one: The screens are everywhere. There’s no place to hide from presidential candidates anymore. For a solid year they follow you from the TV monitor in the airport to the one in the taxi; you check your smartphone and they’re in the inbox telling you their plans and asking for money. You get home, turn on the TV, fire up the computer, and they’re there.”

OBAMA’S PROBLEMS IN THE SOUTH — THE “LINGERING MASON-DIXON POLITICAL DIVIDE”

Jonathan Martin: Ever since his national debut at the 2004 Democratic convention, Barack Obama’s calling card has been that he practices consensus-oriented politics that transcend traditional divisions. But four years after his historic presidential election, the country he sought to bring together is even more divided than when he launched his candidacy. And no place is more polarized than the South. Any hope that the nation’s first black president would usher in a period of reconciliation in the old Confederacy has crashed on the rocks of a harsh reality: African-Americans overwhelmingly support him and whites make up much of the opposition. Far from being a transformational figure in the South, Obama has instead reinforced the region’s oldest and sturdiest divide. …

The South … is … at once the heart of the Obama resistance but also a region that is crucial to his reelection hopes. If he loses Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, it’s a virtual certainty that he’ll be a one-term president. Look for no further explanation as to why the Democratic convention is being held in Charlotte, the prototypical New South city …

So for political purposes, there are effectively two Souths now. There’s Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, which have become pivotal in presidential races, and there’s the Deep South, which is ignored by both White House candidates. … Democrats in the Deep South are in danger of now becoming the black party and Republicans effectively the white party. That has both Democrats and Republicans worried. … Hopeful Obama strategists once mused about competing in Georgia this year, but such talk has long since ended.

>>>Michael Tomasky argues that, come November, we might see an Obama landslide (note: I absolutely do not endorse this view. We have a closely divided country ceteris paribus; that, plus our epically crap economy, all but guarantees a close election. Romney is an exceptionally weak candidate but the Republicans could nominate a ham sandwich and it would not change this dynamic. But I link to Tomasky’s piece because it’s provocative and it is getting some attention across the blogosphere).

STAT OF THE DAY: National Journal finds the two presidential campaigns and their outside supporters “have purchased $457 million in television advertising. Voters in Florida have each seen more than $88 million in advertising.

BILL KRISTOL URGES ROMNEY TO PICK RUBIO FOR VP

“Go bold, Mitt … pick Marco Rubio, the GOP’s most gifted young politician, the man who embodies what is best about the Tea Party and a vision of a broad-based Republican governing majority of the future.

“[On Hispanics, t]he core of the problem is Florida-a must-win state for Romney. … In 2010, … Marco Rubio won 55 percent of Florida Hispanics. … Romney almost certainly will not win Florida if he wins just 37 percent of the Hispanic vote there. And Mitt Romney almost certainly will not be president if he doesn’t win Florida. … Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years, the final two as speaker. In his short time in the U.S. Senate, he has distinguished himself as a hard worker and a serious foreign policy thinker. … Rubio has probably been subject to more intense critical scrutiny than anyone else Romney is considering. … The moment he’s picked, Rubio will become by far the most prominent Hispanic politician in the country. And in a contest largely about competing visions of the American dream, … Rubio’s personal story, … would provide a powerful counterargument [to Obama] .

ICYMI: TIMES/HERALD‘S PROFILE OF NEW CHIEF-OF-STAFF, ADAM HOLLINGSWORTH

For the third time since taking office, Gov. Rick Scott has a new chief of staff to help shape his agenda, steer him through political minefields and bolster his shaky standing with Floridians.

Adam Hollingsworth, 43, is a battle-tested former chief of staff to a Jacksonville mayor, a communications specialist and former executive at CSX Corp. who already has faced several tough tests since taking over July 6.

Embarrassing news reports over school grades, the lieutenant governor and a botched open government website threatened to deepen the governor’s already-low approval ratings. In each instance, Hollingsworth worked behind the scenes to contain the damage by reversing course, with Scott’s consent.

“He brings a clarity of purpose,” said former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, who hired Hollingsworth and promoted him to chief of staff. “Someone has got to be the bad guy. He’s not afraid to make the hard calls.”

MY TAKE: Is there any tougher job in Florida politics than to be the “bad guy” for a governor with a 34% approval rating?

RICK SCOTT TO BLOG FOR HUFFINGTON POST

Gov. Rick Scott has agreed to contribute to a new Huffington Post blog aimed at spotlighting job creation, Scott’s spokesperson Brian Burgess confirmed via Nora McAlvanah of FLDemocracy2012.com

He will write for the pre-convention blog called “Opportunity: What Is Working,” featuring posts from governors, mayors, and other elected officials focused on “coming up with strategies to bring jobs to their constituents.”

Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor-in-chief of the news site, sent Scott an e-mail this week inviting him to contribute to the blog, which she said was “aimed at highlighting successes in turning around the country’s economic morass.”

FLA. DEM EXEC. DIRECTOR ‘WAITING FOR CRIST TO SHOW UP WITH HIS PARTY SWITCH CARD’ via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

The Florida Democratic Party used to have no problem criticizing Crist when he was a Republican, particularly for taking days away from Tallahassee. But check out Scott Arceneauxexecutive director of the party, on Political Connections on Bay News 9 to see how diplomatic he is about Crist.

“I keep waiting for him to show up at the office with his party switch card, but he just never shows up,” he quipped, dodging a question about whether Crist would be welcomed by Democrats.

>>>Smith names Crist his Political Winner of the Week and Scott his loser.

THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN

>>>Anarchists, prayer groups among those set to arrive for RNC

>>>A few examples of some of the totally predictable yet spontaneous moments we could see in Tampa: VP surprise, oppo dumps, protests outside, hecklers inside.

>>>Michael Kruse profiles Al Austin: The man behind the convention.

>>>Music scene will be lively but exclusive.

>>>Only 4,300 of needed 7,500 volunteers have been recruited.

>>>Planners are banking on years of data that a major storm won’t hit, they also have laid out worse-case scenarios that include canceling if it’s clear the 70,000 expected delegates, officials, journalists and protesters would be in harm’s way.

“FULL LID PARTY” PLANNED FOR SUNDAY NIGHT OF RNC IN ST. PETERSBURG

Myself, Sarah Bascom of Bascom Communications, Kevin Cate of Kevin Cate Communications, Brian Hughes of Meteoric Media Strategies, Michelle Todd and Rick Wilson will be hosting an invitation-only “Full Lid Party” the Sunday before the Republican convention begins. Cassis American Brasserie will be the venue. Sponsors include The Mosaic Company, All Children’s Hospital, Progress Energy and Tucker Hall. The invite list guarantees that reporters and campaign insiders will share plenty of scoops, spin and drinks. Details here.

JEB & MARCO FEATURED AT “MIDNIGHT IN YBOR” FUNDRAISER ON MONDAY OF RNC WEEK

Al Cardenas & Ed Gillespie hosting … “Nestra Noche: Midnight in Ybor” benefitting the Future Majority Project & the American Conservative Union.  Featured guests include Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Luis Fortuno, Governor of Puerto Rico, Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval, Governor of Nevada. Event is billed as a “Late Night Speakeasy” featuring entertainment by Willy Chirino & DJ Nino.  Festivities begin at 10 pm at the Cuban Club in Ybor City, Tampa.

FLORIDA FACES LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY, REPORT SAYS

The University of Central Florida’s latest economic forecast tries hard to find something nice to say about the state’s condition. Being in a recovery — even a bumpy, sluggish, unsatisfying one — it says, “sure beats an economic recession,” says the report released Friday. But Florida, it concludes, has a very long way to go before it’s once again feeling strong. Just how long, in some cases, is remarkable.

PERSONNEL NOTE: BARBARA PALMER TO REPLACE MIKE HANSEN AS APD DIRECTOR

Mike Hansen, a longtime legislative staffer who has served the past year as director of the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities, submitted his resignation Friday and will be replaced by APD Chief of Staff Barbara Palmer. Hansen said in a resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott that he has accepted a job in the Senate, though he did not detail the nature of the position. Hansen has held a series of budget-related jobs during his career, including serving a stint as director of former Gov. Jeb Bush’s Office of Policy and Budget. He said in the letter that his resignation would be effective Aug. 20. “Serving as your APD director has been a tremendously rewarding public service opportunity,” Hansen wrote. “I have been deeply moved by the courage our customers and their families demonstrate on a daily basis as they strive to overcome sometimes overwhelming challenges.” Palmer, who has been APD’s chief of staff since last year, came to the agency after working as an assistant secretary for administration at the Florida Department of Children and Families.

POLICY NOTES via The News Service of Florida

>>>The National Conference of State Legislatures holds its major annual Legislative Summit Monday through Thursday in Chicago

>>>The Race to the Top Teacher and Leader Preparation Implementation Committee of the state Department of Education holds a conference call to discuss upcoming recommendations on the uniform core curriculum for all state-approved teacher preparation programs.

>>>State revenue forecasters reduced the amount of money that will be available for education construction projects in the coming budget year by $41.6 million at a meeting Friday.

***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.***

CHECKING IN WITH BRECHT HEUCHAN OF CONTRIBUTION LINK: FASCINATING INSIGHTS INTO CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING

Through the 2012 F2 report period, no more than 15.3% of political funds were raised in Florida by leadership committees. The remainder went to candidates, the two parties and industry or organization committees with long histories of political involvement for their cause. Other data gems:

  • Two Florida Realtor committees have raised $4.9 million for the cycle.
  • Florida’s doctors put $1.5 million into their Florida Medical Association PAC.
  • Florida Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy organization, doubled their contributions in this last reporting period with a total now reaching $770,000.
  • The Florida Transportation Builders Association PAC raised $478,000.
  • Genting’s New Jobs and Revenue’s for Florida posted another $142k bringing its total this cycle to $747k.
  • Business group committees, four related to AIF, four related to the Florida Chamber and eleven affiliated with the Florida Retail Federation have raised a combined total of almost $3.3 million. While the Florida Justice Association PAC hit $1.4 million for the cycle.
  • HCA, through four of its committees, has raised almost $1.2 million.

MATT DIXON EXPLAINS THE “SUPER VOTER”

When it comes to superhero nicknames, “super-voter” might not strike fear in the hearts of evildoers. Come election season, though, the group has an attribute more sought after than laser vision: They reliably vote. … A super-voter is someone who does not take an election off. They are civic-minded, vote early, and political consultants know where to find them.

Through publicly available data, campaigns can track a person’s voting record. If you vote a lot, they target you.

“They are premium voters. To be able to effectively work them is very important, especially in low-turnout races such as primaries and special elections,” said Jason Roth, a Jacksonville-based Democratic political consultant.

A big part of that strategy is knowing who uses absentee ballots to vote by mail.

IN CD 22, UNDERDOG KRISTIN JACOBS OUTRAISES LOIS FRANKEL BUT ADAM HASNER ECLIPSES BOTH DEMS

Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, the underdog in the U.S. House District 22 Democratic primary, outraised former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel by more than $9,000 over the last four weeks, according to the latest campaign finance reports via Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post.

Jacobs – eclipsed overall in fundraising by Frankel, who has a year-long head start in the race, and with just a fraction of Frankel’s cash-on-hand – raised $59,230 in the short July 1- July 25 pre-primary period and another $8,000 since then, according to the reports. And Frankel collected $53,192 for the period and another $5,000 as of Aug. 2.

But GOP candidate Adam Hasner, who does not have a primary in the new Palm Beach-Broward congressional district, overshadowed both Democrats over the past month. Hasner raked in more than $172,847 and another $3,000, bringing his total for the short fundraising period to more than the Democrats’ combined contributions.

And, with $1 million in his campaign war chest as of July 25, Hasner had a slight edge over Frankel, who reported $950,000 cash on hand after spending more than $330,000 on TV ads and nearly $16,000 on polling. Jacobs had about $48,000 going into the Aug. 14 primary.

IN SD 4, IMMIGRATION SPAT BETWEEN GROUPS SUPPORTING BEAN VS. WEINSTEIN CONTINUES

Immigration votes taken by Aaron Bean as a member of the Florida House have been at the center of a recent line of attack from a third-party group supporting his opponent, Mike Weinstein, reports Matt Dixon of the Florida-Times Union. 

…Bean spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said he “did not support extending any benefits to illegal immigrants,” and Bean said in a radio interview “they’re making crazy claims that Aaron Bean is in favor of illegal aliens getting reduced tuition, and nothing…could be further from the truth.”

Those responses prompted a second ad from the group supporting Weinstein – Floridians for Ethics and Truth in Politics.

“Your record on illegal immigration is bad enough, Mr. Bean,” the narrator says. “Your lies just make it worse.”

>>>Watch the latest attack ad against Bean here.

IN SD 8, DOROTHY HUKILL WINS KEY STRAW POLL

For the second time in two weeks, Dorothy Hukill has won a major straw poll in the race for Senate District 8. Last night, Hukill took over 76% of the vote in the Lake County Election Hob Nob 2012, held in Leesburg.

Hukill took 310 votes to just 96 for Democrat Frank Bruno, a three-to-one advantage that represented one of the largest margins of victory at the entire event. This Hob Nob was sponsored by several prominent Lake County organizations, including Leadership Lake County and the Daily Commercial newspaper.

IN SD 22, BRANDES & FRISHE SLUG IT OUT by Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times

Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe are slugging it out for Senate District 22, one of Florida’s most competitive primary races.

The men have amassed sizable war chests, affording them the ability to flood airwaves and mailboxes. They have collected big-name endorsements, with Brandes snagging former Gov. Jeb Bush and Frishe landing former Gov. Bob Martinez.

Obscure political groups seeking to influence the leadership of the Senate in 2016 also are pouring money into the race. Frishe backs state Sen. Jack Latvala. Brandes doesn’t.

… Brandes said Frishe has been ineffective as a career politician, adding: “He’s the established candidate. If he has the answers, why hasn’t he used them in the last 40 years?”

… Frishe scoffed. “Jeff clearly doesn’t want to admit that I’ve done anything. He doesn’t have a track record to run on. I’ve been active in my community for 40 years.”

>>>Read the latest mailer attacking Jeff Brandes here.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @adamsmithtimes: Robo call of day:”Road safety alert:  Jeff Brandes passed legsltn  2 allow driverless robot cars 2 drive on TpaBay Streets at …70 mph!”

BATTLE FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 68 HEATS UP

Dwight Dudley, the Democrat in the race for House District 68, slammed former Rep. Frank Farkas, one of two Republicans in the primary, reports Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times.

… In an email blast, Dudley’s camp pointed out that Farkas voted in 2006 to allow Progress Energy to charge Floridians a fee for construction costs at new nuclear plants before the plants are even built. The email follows a Tampa Bay Times story on Friday that detailed repair costs at its Crystal River plant.

BLOG POST OF THE DAY: The Political Hurricane takes a look back at the 1988 Democratic Primary for State Senate District 3. “At the time it was the most expensive election in Florida legislative history. The first million dollar legislative race on record. It was probably also one of the most critical legislative races of the last half century. The 1988 State Senate District 3 Democratic Primary was a race that everyone across the state watched closely. When the result was final, the world had changed. As far as Florida politics was concerned it was a seismic event.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Arlene DiBenigno

SENTENCE OF THE DAY: “But grass-roots movements do not come cheap.”

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

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