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

By on August 8, 2012

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

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COULD ROMNEY PICK PETRAEUS?

President Obama “whispered to a top fundraiser this week that he believes GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to name Gen. David Petraeus to the VP slot,” according to the Drudge Report.

“A Petraeus drama has been quietly building behind the scenes. Romney is believed to have secretly met with the four-star general in New Hampshire.”

BRUTAL AD LINKS ROMNEY TO LOST HEALTH INSURANCE AND DEATH

Priorities USA Action has unveiled the harshest ad yet about Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. It features a former steel worker at a Bain-owned company talking about his wife’s death after their family lost health insurance. Watch here.

>>>Alex Burns: “It’s always a risk to air such a charged ad, but Priorities has made a habit of going several steps beyond where the Obama campaign will go in attacking Romney.”

JEB, RAND AND RICK SANTORUM ADDED TO LIST OF RNC SPEAKERS

Rick Santorum, the former presidential candidate who lobbed harsh criticism at Romney during some bitter primary contests, will join a host of other big-name Republicans as headline speakers … Jeb Bush will also speak at the convention, along with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Tea Party hero and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul spent much of the year campaigning against Romney on behalf of his father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

RNC WON’T BE COMPLETELY ABOUT POLITICAL FUNDRAISING

There are actually some charitable events on the party circuit, too, even if they’re chocked with political overtones. Exhibit A: The “Salute to the House and Senate Energy and Commerce Committees” the week of the Republican National Convention at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. … “Take the field for batting, fielding and socializing … meet baseball legends and enjoy a day at the air-conditioned ballpark,” an invitation states. The proceeds don’t benefit a political candidate or committee, but rather, the Rays Baseball Foundation, which “awards grants to various community groups, including the Boys and Girls Club of Plant City and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Sun Coast.” Packages range from $2,500 to $50,000. See the invitation here.

FLA. LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TO HOST MAJOR FUNDRAISER DURING RNC WEEK

President Designate Don Gaetz, Speaker Designate Will Weatherford, Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, and Chairman Chris Dorworth will headline a major fundraiser during the RNC to benefit Senate Majority 2012 & House Majority 2012.

The event is scheduled for August 29 at the home of treasurer to the political stars Nancy Watkins and her husband Robert. Wellcare Health Plans is a featured sponsor. Invite here.

PERSONNEL NOTE: GEORGE P. BUSH NAMED DEPUTY FINANCE CHAIR OF TEXAS GOP

George P. Bush has signed on to serve as deputy finance chairman for the Republican Party of Texas.

The nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the 36-year-old Bush — long considered by some as the future leader of the Republican Party — has been closely watched from his days at law school to his deployment to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve.

“I am excited about this opportunity to help the Republican Party here in Texas,” he told the Star-Telegram in a written statement. “We have excellent candidates running for office who, once elected, will continue the tradition of making Texas the greatest State in the Union.”

FROM THE ATLANTIC: HOW FLORIDA IS A BELLWETHER FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION

Consumer health advocates now worry that the Supreme Court’s decision may have created an opportunity for Florida to negotiate with the federal government in a way that would make the system even more complicated for many patients. They describe a scenario in which the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services grants Florida permission to further privatize Medicaid in exchange for the state’s allowing more low-income people to enroll in the program, as outlined by the ACA. Florida’s Republican legislators and governor have long endorsed expanding anunconventional pilot program that gives HMOs and other private insurers unprecedented power to decide the amount, duration, and scope of medical services Medicaid patients can receive. The federal Department of Health and Human Services, which pays more than half of Florida’s Medicaid tab, hasn’t yet approved the expansion proposal, which advocates fear the state may use as a bargaining chip.

PRO-EVERGLADES GROUP KICKS OFF PETITION EFFORT TO SECURE FUNDS

Future funding for Everglades restoration and other environmental programs would be enshrined in the state constitution under a ballot imitative proposal to guarantee the spending of $10 billion on such programs over the next 20 years, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.

Frustrated over withering funds for the state’s marquee land buying program, Florida Forever, and sporadic funding for a host of other environmental concerns from drinking water and springs to beaches and historic sites, a coalition of environmental groups on Tuesday launched a volunteer effort to begin gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot in 2014.

Dubbed the Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign, the petition drive is being pushed by a coalition of groups that include the Trust for Public Land, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, 1000 Friends of Florida, and Defenders of Wildlife.

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REP. SANDY ADAMS ENDORSED BY COLLEAGUES RICH NUGENT, DENNIS ROSS FOR CD 7

“Not only do I consider Florida freshmen Rich Nugent and Dennis Ross respected colleagues, but I consider them close friends.  Over the past year and half, we have worked together to fix what is broken in Washington, D.C.  Along with our freshmen colleagues, we have joined together with a united voice to stop the overspending in Congress, get our nation’s debt and deficit under control and to repeal ObamaCare. With a nearly $16 trillion debt, Central Floridians need strong conservatives in Congress, not entrenched politicians like my opponent.  I am proud to receive their endorsements, and I look forward to continuing our hard work to put our nation back on a path to prosperity.”

MIKE HUCKABEE TO STUMP FOR JOHN MICA

Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will campaign Wednesday in central Florida for U.S. Rep. John Mica. Huckabee will appear with Mica at a rally at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport Wednesday evening.

GRAYSON HITS QUINONES…AGAIN

Democrat Alan Grayson, who is unopposed, is spending heavily on advertisements hammering away at Republican John Quinones as a tax-raiser in the days leading up to next Tuesday’s GOP primary. A check of the region’s four largest broadcast TV stations and Bright House cable provider shows that Grayson has bought $94,090 worth of ads –  124 spots — between July 30-August 14. Add in his spending on radio and the total easily tops $100,000.

THE ALWAYS QUOTABLE ALLEN WEST by Nora McAlvanah

West’s response to former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said, ”How sweet would it be for the country?” when asked about West potentially losing his congressional race … “I look forward to buying her a five-pound bag of sugar.”

West on not debating Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder, his GOP primary competition … “Why would I debate someone who says they don’t know anything about the issues? I mean, I might as well be Jay Leno up there giving a monologue. I’m not going to waste your time. Your time is important for you to be with your families, instead of coming out to see the sideshow. But there are people who want to come out to see the sideshow. This is too serious of a time for our country for monkey business.”

West’s response to a crowd member who said, “You’ve got the Koch brothers trying to put us in a plutocracy.” … “And you’ve got George Soros trying to donate $5 million against me. So come on, man.”

West’s take on the Super PAC “Dump West” targeting him. Soros is rumored to be a major donor to the PAC. “Obviously, I must be doing something that’s good. Because when George Soros says he’s going to throw $5 million into a Super PAC against me …it’s a good life.”

West on a previous statement that he’d be selling hot dogs outside the Republican National Convention in Tampa later this month … “Some folks came up and asked me, ‘Are you going to be speaking?’ I said I probably won’t be speaking, but I’m thinking about opening up a hot dog stand. And the guy from Politico tweeted that out. It just became this big deal, and it’s just a joke. Although I mean, if I could make a few bucks, but with the regulations out there I probably wouldn’t be able to open one.”

IN SD 17, ETHICS COMMISSION DISMISSES COMPLAINT AGAINST JOHN LEGG

The state Ethics Commission has rejected a complaint filed by Rob Wallace against John Legg, charging it’s not legal for Legg to continue representing his House district now that he has moved in to a home in the Senate district.

The commission said in a letter to Wallace dated Friday that it doesn’t have jurisdiction in the case; Wallace said Monday he hadn’t yet seen the letter.

NEW AD FOR HD 57 CANDIDATE JAKE RABURN FEATURES CAMEOS FROM HILLSBOROUGH HEAVY HITTERS

Three of Hillsborough’s heaviest hitters — Commissioner Al Higgonbotham, State Attorney Mark Ober and Sheriff David Gee — cameo in an another well-produced, almost shimmering TV spot for House candidate Jake Raburn. Watch here.

FIREFIGHTERS MOVE TO DEM. COLUMN IN RACE FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 68

Democratic nominee Dwight Dudley announced endorsements from the Florida Professional Firefighters and the St. Petersburg Association of Firefighters. … The Firefighters had previously supported former lawmaker Frank Farkas during his time in office, but have chosen to back Dudley in 2012.

CAMPAIGN PROFILES

The Miami Herald on Senate District 39: The race for the Democratic nominee for Senate District 39 has come down to a contest between legacies. … Dwight Bullard, a member of the House of Representatives and son of the current state senator in the post, hopes to continue carrying the family mantle while Ron Saunders, currently the House Democratic leader, is hoping to become the first senator from the Keys in 40 years.

CAMPAIGN MISCELLANY

In CD 6, the Firefighters locals 3499,4807, 4337, Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association in Flagler County, and Flagler County Teachers Local 7419 endorsed Republican Craig Miller.

In SD 4, the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR) and its statewide association, the Florida Realtors, have endorsed Aaron Bean in the GOP primary.

In SD 15, Kelli Stargel has been endorsed by Florida Right to Life.

CONCERNED: The Votemaster runs the numbers and finds almost 100 ways the Electoral College could be deadlocked in this election.

CORRECTIONS: In yesterday’s Sunburn, I misspelled the name of the newspaper — La Gaceta — which endorsed Jim Frishe in SD 22. Additionally, I misidentified the year of the 1988 Dempsey Barron vs. Vince Bruner Democratic primary.

MUST-READ“While TV stations are required by law to offer discounted airtime to politicians, Super PACs have to pay market rates,” explains Rolling Stone “… In essence, broadcasters are now profiteering from a vicious circle of corruption: Politicians are beholden to big donors because campaigns are so expensive, and campaigns are so expensive because they’re fought through television ads. The more cash that chases limited airtime, the more the ads will cost, and the more politicians must lean on deep-pocketed patrons. In short, the dirtier the system, the better for the bottom line at TV stations and cable systems.”
WONDERFUL DELIVERY: Yesterday, at 8:05 a.m., Republican Party of Broward County Chairman Richard DeNapoli and his wonderful wife Brigita welcomed their first born child, Victor Alfed DeNapoli, to the world at Hollywood Memorial Hospital.

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