***On the eve of the Republican National Convention, several of Florida’s leading political and public affairs consultants will be hosting an invitation-only party in St. Peterburg. The “Full Lid Party” will be the go-to after party following the official welcome reception at Tropicana Field. Click here for more information and tickets.***
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MITT ROMNEY PICKED PAUL RYAN OVER TOP ADVISERS’ OBJECTIONS
Mitt Romney “appears to have picked Paul Ryan as his running mate over the objections of top political advisors, offering a glimpse into the Republican nominee in the most important decision of his campaign,” Ben Smith reports.
“Romney’s aides have stressed publicly in the 24 hours since Romney electrified conservatives with his choice that the pick was the governor’s alone. They have been less forthcoming on the flip side: That much of his staff opposed the choice for the same reason that many pundits considered it unlikely — that Ryan’s appealingly wonky public image and a personality Romney finds copasetic will matter far less than two different budget plans whose details the campaign now effectively owns.”
HOW THE RYAN PICK PLAYED IN FLORIDA
Tampa Bay Times: Romney names Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as running mate; Tampa Tribune: McCain: Ryan a bold choice, as was Palin; Bradenton Herald: Democrats, GOP agree: Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan for VP energizes race; The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Ryan choice thrills Volusia-Flagler GOP, Dems — for different reasons; The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville.com: Paul Ryan roundup: Obama camp pans, Rubio praises Mitt Romney’s pick; The Lakeland Ledger: Ryan Choice May Be Risky in Florida; The Miami Herald: Ryan could be a drag on Romney in Florida; The Orlando Sentinel: Many see Ryan as more Wisconsin than Washington
WHY PAUL RYAN COULD BE A DRAG IN FLORIDA by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
…At the heart of the controversy is Ryan’s proposal to turn Medicare in the future into a “premium support” system that would help seniors pay for private health insurance. It would essentially put more caps on future Medicare expenditures.
Democrats prefer to use the “V” word to describe it: Voucher. And they point to independent studies showing that the voucher, a predetermined amount of money that escalates at a predetermined rate over time, won’t keep pace with the inflation of medical costs.
Bottom line: Seniors would have to pay more out of pocket in the future than they’re paying now. Services could be cut. Right now, about 3.4 million are on Medicare in Florida, which receives about $25.2 billion from the program.
…In addition to talking more about Medicare and Republican plans to scale it back, Democrats won’t have to face their nemesis, Sen. Marco Rubio, on a statewide ticket for the second election in a row in Florida, a state that Rubio as a running-mate would have put more in play for Romney, polls showed.
HOW RYAN WILL PLAY A ROLE IN CONGRESSIONAL BATTLES by Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
Ryan shakes up the presidential race but also dozens of Congressional battles. Democrats were already jumping at the chance to harness Ryan’s deep cutting, Medicare changing budget plan into attacks on their opponents.
Case in point: “The selection of Paul Ryan this morning makes the choice for voters in November even more stark,” said Democratic Patrick Murphy, running for Florida’s 18th Congressional District. “Allen West has been the #1 champion for Paul Ryan’s Medicare-ending, education-slashing budget in Congress, proudly voting for it twice and saying it would be “suicide” to oppose. If the two of them take the helm in Washington, expect an end to Medicare as we know it and thousands in additional medical costs for Florida seniors.”
RYAN TO AVOID FLORIDA
Ryan will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to visit the state fair todayy, while Romney will continue his swing state bus tour with stops in Florida. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will part ways until the Republican convention at a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin just a day after the pair joined up.
TWEET OF THE DAY: @davidaxelrod: Rather than vouch for Ryan on Medicare, Team Mitt sets up no-fly zone in Florida and sends new VP pick to Iowa.
IS RYAN MEDISCARED OF THE SUNSHINE STATE?
With headlines like these, it’s no wonder Team Mitt is setting up a no-fly zone in Florida for Ryan…Ocala Star Banner: Ryan’s plan for Medicare will get Floridians’ attention; Palm Beach Post: Analysts say Ryan pick intensifies Medicare debate for Florida seniors; Tampa Tribune: Romney’s VP choice could be risky in swing state Florida; Reuters: Romney VP choice puts spotlight on Medicare reform; Wall Street Journal: Some seniors worry over Ryan selection
I agree with this prediction: The cycle of reaction will be exactly the one with Palin: Press: Wow, interesting! … Democrats: Huh? … Press: He’s so dynamic – what a boost of energy! … Republicans: What a great speech. The base loves him! … Democrats: Uh oh! … Republicans: The big mo has shifted our way! … Press: He’s breathing new life, etc. … Democrats: But wait, there’s more! .. Press: Hmmmm .. Republicans: Uh oh.”
FOOTNOTE: RUBIO CHIEF ALMOST GAVE RYAN HIS FIRST JOB by William March of the Tampa Tribune
Cesar Conda, now chief of staff in Rubio’s Senate office, hired Ryan as an intern on a House committee staff in 1991—almost but not quite Ryan’s first job in politics.
“I had worked for former Sen. Bob Kasten in the mid-80s/early-90s. In 1990, Paul started off as an intern in the Kasten personal office, where he mostly worked in the mail room.
“The next summer, he interned for me on the Senate Small Business Committee (Kasten was the Ranking Member, and I was the Minority Staff Director). In mid-1992, we had a professional staff position on the Committee open, and I hired Paul when he graduated from college.”
VEEP TRIVIA via Bill Cotterell: Who was the last member of the House elected VP? John Nance Garner of Texas, with who served under FDR in 1932 and 1936. Cotterell e-mails: “As Speaker of the House, Garner was more than your garden variety congressman. He’s best remembered for describing the vice presidency as ‘not worth a pitcher of warm spit.’ Historians generally agree he said ‘piss’ and that the reporters of that more repressed era cleaned up the quote.”
POLITICAL AD BUYING ABOUT TO BREAK THE BANK IN CENTRAL FLORIDA by Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel
Political campaigns — and Democrats particularly, at least so far — are preparing to test both the amount of airtime available for political commercials on Orlando TV stations and viewers’ abilities to stomach them all.
Since May, more than $32 million worth of TV ads have already run or are scheduled to run before the Nov. 6 general election on Central Florida’s four largest broadcast stations and largest cable provider, according to an Orlando Sentinel review of public records. More orders certainly are on the way.
“That’s a huge number,” said Republican Tre Evers, of Orlando’s Consensus Communications; he and other veteran political and advertising professionals say they have never seen such a blizzard.
FLORIDA’S DELEGATE LIST TO RNC REMAINS ELUSIVE by Lauren Mayk of the Tampa Tribune
The Republican Party of Florida has not released its list of delegates to the convention, which begins Aug. 27. While some delegates and alternates say they have received individual notifications, the full list hasn’t been made public.
The state party hasn’t offered an official reason for the delay and a spokeswoman hasn’t responded to inquiries … but some people within the party say Florida is still trying to secure floor seats for its full 99-person delegation.
“There are still efforts under way to try to get all of the delegates and all of the alternates from the Florida delegation seated,” said Hillsborough County State Committeeman A.J. Matthews, who said he got an email notification that he will be a delegate.
PALIN WON’T GET SPEAKING SPOT AT RNC
“This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I’m excited to hear them.” — Sarah Palin, issuing a statement to Greta Van Susteren announcing she will not be speaking at the Republican National Convention.
THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN
>>>High end escorts expect big business during the RNC.
>>>Military commands that customarily provide air defense for National Special Security events will not comment on a news report that missile launchers on buildings are part of the security plans for the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
>>>The Republican National Convention and sexually-transmitted diseases: What are the risks?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m redoing my breasts and I timed my surgery around it because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be recovering during that time.” — “Mary,” a high-end professional escort interviewed in Tampa, who is gearing up for the RNC. “Mary” has also revamped her web site to offer not just sex but “experiences.”
RICK SCOTT’S APPROVAL NUMBERS AT HIGHEST POINT EVER IN PPP POLL
Make no mistake –Scott is still among the least popular governors in the country, tied for sixth least liked out of 36 we have polled on since the start of 2011. 39% approve of his job performance and 51% disapprove–still not good numbers, but the best we’ve ever found for him. That is up from a 31-56 spread just a month earlier. He reached lows in the mid-20s last year.
Scott’s improvement is a combination of a rise in his support from independents and his own party. Independents now split on him, 43-43, when they were at 26-60 in June. That is over half his improvement. The rest comes from Republicans, who now sit at 64-27 on their governor, versus 53-31. He has still upset too many of his own partisans, but he is coming back to safer territory.
>>>Scott has pulled to within three points of Charlie Crist in a hypothetical match-up 44 to 41 percent.
STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS STRUGGLE FOR VOTER ATTENTION via The Orlando Sentinel
Florida’s statewide election ballot this November will ask voters to give their blessings to a collection of conservative causes — in some cases making significant changes to the state’s educational and tax policies. And that’s creating a major messaging nightmare for groups on both sides of those issues which will have to compete for airtime and voters’ attention spans in the midst of an onslaught of paid political media in a presidential election year.
FORBES COLUMNIST BLISTERS ADAM PUTNAM’S ENERGY SUMMIT
“Next week, the sellout of conservative principles by Florida’s Establishment Republicans will be on full display at Putnam’s Florida Energy Summit. Putnam is hosting a three-day energy conference with the purpose of providing political cover for government intrusions into the marketplace on behalf of politically connected renewable power companies. It is as if the Solyndra debacle never happened, or at least was never reported in Florida.”
CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER ALLEGES REP. DARRYL ROUSON THREATENED HIS LIFE OVER MLK PARADE PLANNING DISPUTE
Seville Brown, who founded St. Petersburg MLK parade more than two decades ago, has written a letter to the U.S. Justice Department alleging that Rep. Darryl Rouson has threatened his life.
Rouson led the charge earlier this year to move the parade to Saturday, replaced by a day of service.
“They have continuously stated that they have people that ‘can take me out’ as oppose to them having to do it themselves,'” Brown wrote in a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in July.
PSC TO DISCUSS PROGRESS MERGER, NUKE PLANT
The state Public Service Commission will hold a discussion about the recently completed merger of Progress Energy and Duke Energy and also will receive an update about Progress Energy Florida’s Crystal River nuclear plant, which has been shut down since 2009. The nuclear-plant update is expected to start about 30 minutes after the merger discussion. Duke Energy Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers will appear before the panel.
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ACROSS FLORIDA, DEMOCRATS HAVE RAZOR-THIN LEAD IN GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT POLL
Democrats have a razor-thin one-point edge in the generic Congressional ballot in Public Policy Polling’s first likely-voter test of that measure. 45% of voters prefer the unnamed Democrat in their district, to 44% who side with the Republican. That is similar to June’s 46-44. The two parties are polarized, but the GOP leads 45-30 with independents.
FLORIDA GOP RAISES $9.1 MILLION DURING LAST FUNDRAISING PERIOD; DEMS $2.2 MILLION
The Republican Party of Florida collected nearly $9.1 million in contributions between April 1 and Aug.9, more than four times as much as the Florida Democratic Party brought in, according to newly filed reports via the News Service of Florida. The GOP has raised a total of $12 million this year. The Democratic Party raised about $2.2 million during the recent period and has collected slightly more than $3.3 million this year. Progress Energy, which recently merged with Duke Energy, was one of the top donors to the GOP since April 1, contributing $560,000. Other big donors included Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who gave $250,000.
OH, SOUTH FLORIDA!
THE SINGLE MOST DISGUSTINGLY INSENSITIVE MAILPIECE OF 2012 can be viewied here.
NEW POLL SHOWS FRANK BRUNO VS. DOROTHY HUKILL RACE FOR SD 8 A “DEAD HEAT”
The newly redrawn district includes Volusia, Marion and Lake counties and can be categorized as a tossup seat that is winnable for a Democratic candidate. A new poll from Hamilton Campaigns shows several factors working in Bruno’s favor. Bruno has higher name identification than Hukill in the district, 36 to 25 percent. However, after voters hear biographical information followed by positive and negative messages about each candidate, Bruno opens up a +8 percentage point lead.
Florida’s earliest primary election in more than 40 years has campaigns sweating-out this final weekend as candidates compete with the Olympics, back-to-school shopping and the dog days of August in trying to push voters toward the polls.
… But the earlier date is proving a wild card for elected officials and campaign operatives. Predicting winners and losers is even tougher when such reliable measures as name identification and the size of a campaign bankroll are undermined by voter disinterest, they said.
“People have it ingrained in their mind that the primary should be sometime around Labor Day,” said Screven Watson, a Democratic consultant. “But this one is catching everyone off guard.”
FLORIDA DEMS GIVE $23K TO FORMER CLINTON ADVISER AWAITING BEAN-WEINSTEIN WINNER IN SD 4 via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union.
The Florida Democratic Party has decided to play in a district marked as one of Senate Republican’s top priorities.
The party has written a $23,000 check to Democrat Nancy Soderberg, reports filed Friday show. She is running for Senate District 4, which leans heavily Republican. It’s the biggest contribution the party has given directly to any candidate this cycle.
“Nancy is a strong candidate with an exceptional record of service to her community and her country,” said Scott Arceneaux, FDP’s executive director. “We’re confident that she’ll have the resources she needs to win, and we’re proud to support her.”
IN SD 12, VICTORIA SIPLIN EVOKES MLK TO ATTACK GERALDINE THOMPSON by Aaron DeSlatte of the Orlando Sentinel
A picture of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous words “I have a dream” grace a campaign mailer from Victoria Siplin, who is opposing fellow Democrat Geraldine Thompson for the new District 12 seat in the state Senate.
The mailer also includes uplifting quotes from John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. And it carries a warning: “Geraldine Thompson doesn’t want our children to hear these …”
“That is outrageous,” said Thompson, a state representative since 2006 who calls the mailer typical of the distortions Siplin is making about her time in the Legislature.
WITH JOHN LEGG LOOKING MORE LIKE THE INEVITABLE WINNER IN SD 17, CONTRIBUTIONS FLOW IN
egg, a House member from Pasco County, collected $73,200 during the fundraising period covering July 21 to August 9, bringing his overall total to $266,372. Wallace, a former House member from Tampa, collected $14,040 and has a total of $38,240. A third Republican in the race, John Korsak of Tampa, raised just $550 during the period and has a total of $17,050.
WILTON SIMPSON AT OVER $300,000 IN CONTRIBUTIONS FOR ALL-BUT-WON STATE SENATE DISTRICT 18 CAMPAIGN
With little more than token opposition, Republican Wilton Simpson has not turned off the fundraising spigot in his bid for Senate District 18. Simpson collected $25,400 between the latest fundraising period covering July 21 and Aug. 9. Simpson, a Trilby businessman and egg farmer, has raised a total of $301,750 as he seeks the seat in Pasco, Hernando and Sumter counties.
The only other candidate in the race, Hudson Democrat Joshua Smith, has raised $2,000 since opening a campaign account in June.
IN SD 22, JEFF BRANDES RAISES $113K DURING FINAL REPORTING PERIOD BEFORE PRIMARY
Three weeks ago, Jeff Brandes shocked, but did not surprise, political observers by investing $500,000 of his own money into his campaign for State Senate District 22. Now, in the last fundraising report before Tuesday’s primary election, it’s what Brandes raised from others which may turn heads.
The one-term State Representative raised more than $113,000 during the F3 reporting period, which covers July 21 to August 9, from contributors and interests throughout the state.
IN SD 27, ALEX SINK COMES TO MACK BERNARD’S DEFENSE…
In a Democratic state Senate primary where Gov. Rick Scott is a figure of scorn, 2010 Scott foe Alex Sink says it’s “ridiculous” to try to link state Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, to the Republican governor.
Bernard’s primary rival, state Rep. Jeff Clemens and outside PACs have painted Bernard as a Scott ally.
“I have been told that some out of town groups want you to believe that Mack Bernard is somehow joined at the hip with Rick Scott. That’s ridiculous. Nothing could be further from the truth. How do I Know? I was Rick Scott’s Democratic opponent for Governor. And it was Mack Bernard who worked tirelessly by my side in our effort to defeat Rick Scott in 2010,” Sink said in a statement released by Bernard’s campaign.
…WHILE NAN RICH OFFERS AN 11TH HOUR ENDORSEMENT OF JEFF CLEMENS
“Mack Bernard consistently voted for Rick Scott’s voucher scheme to send millions of public school money to private schools,” said Rich in a release. “But Jeff Clemens stood firm with me and other strong Democrats to protect the future of our children and public schools across Florida.”
“That’s why Jeff Clemens has earned the endorsement and strong support of Florida’s teachers. And why I believe Jeff Clemens is the best choice for the Florida Senate.”
MARIA SACHS OUTRAISES ELLYN BOGDANOFF IN SD 34
Maria Sachs outraised her opponent, Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff by 30 percent. Sachs raised nearly $31,000 to Bogdanoff’s $24,000. The vast majority of Sachs’s contributions came from Palm Beach and Broward Counties. Sachs’s campaign believes her financial advantage compliments her position of political strength: the new Senate District 34 supported Barack Obama and Alex Sink by double-digits in 2008 and 2010 and has a large Democratic registration advantage.
“I am humbled by this strong showing of support from the people of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. As a forty-year resident of South Florida I know this community and understand and share its values. It is clear that I will have the resources I need to take my message of better schools and a stronger economy to the voters,” Sachs said.
COMMITTEE ATTACKING DOC RENUART GETS MONEY FROM HIS BACKERS
The Florida Medical Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are supporting Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, in his tough primary in a St. Johns County House district.
But The Florida Times-Union reports via The News Service of Florida that Renuart also is getting attacked by an outside group called “Citizens Speaking Out Committee.” And in this election cycle riddled with a maze of money flowing through committees, here’s some irony: Citizens Speaking Out Committee has received contributions from the FMA and the Chamber.
MIKE FASANO HAS RAISED OVER $160K FOR BID TO RETURN TO FLORIDA HOUSE
Trying to make a somewhat-unusual move from the Senate to the House, New Port Richey Republican Mike Fasano has raised $160,496 in contributions since entering the District 36 race in April, according to records filed with the Florida Division of Elections.
Fasano received money from a wide range of groups and interests, including banks, hospitals and police & firefighter unions.
Fasano has dwarfed his opponents in fund-raising, as Port Richey Republican James Mathieu has raised a total of $17,790 and loaned his campaign $7,500. Hudson Republican Michael Kennedy has raised a total of $460.
FUNDRAISING EFFORTS BY DWIGHT DUDLEY AND FRANK FARKAS IN HD 68 POINT TO AN INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE PRIMARY
Democrat Dwight Dudley — who has no primary opponents — raised $8,215, bringing his overall total to $42,390. Among his contributors are Democratic stalwarts, such as labor unions and trial attorneys. Dudley has only spent $4,691, a sure sign of a disciplined campaign.
All but certain to face Dudley in November is former State Representative Frank Farkas, who really ramped up his fundraising during the last month. The St. Petersburg chiropractor added $23,850 to his treasury, bringing his overall total to $78,626. It’s likely Farkas is already near the six-figure mark in money raised.
DAVID PHILLIPS KEEPS UP FUNDRAISING LEAD OVER KATHLEEN PETERS IN GOP PRIMARY FOR HD 69
With no incumbent in the race, candidates in House District 69 divided contributions during the past three months. But as the GOP primary reaches its conclusion, the story in this race may be how David Phillips surprised the South Pinellas political establishment by outraising the better-known Kathleen Peters.
Phillips topped the fundraising with $21,800 for the period covering July 21 to August 9. Phillips overall total is now $83,732. Peters did add $19,350 to her total, but she has yet to reach sixty thousand dollars raised for her campaign.
Both candidates have been the beneficiaries of support from third-party committees. Florida First has sent several attack mailers for Phillips, while the Committee to Protect Florida has done its best to protect Peters.
WITH NEARLY $180K RAISED, DANE EAGLE DOMINATES FUNDRAISING IN HD 77 TO THE END
Cape Coral Republican Dane Eagle, who served as an aide to former Gov. Charlie Crist, raised $33,435 during the past three weeks, boosting his total to $172,892, according to the latest campaign finance reports. Eagle’s Republican primary opponent, Chris Berardi of Cape Coral, collected just $1,100 during the period from July 21 to August 9 and has an overall total of $7,115.
Among Eagle’s contributors are Aubuchon Homes, the company of Rep. Gary Aubuchon, who Eagle hopes to replace.
The Florida Current on Senate District 39: The five-candidate fight for the Democratic nomination for the Senate District 39 is easily the most crowded Senate primary contest, but most of the field is fighting for third place. Reps. Ron Saunders of Key West and Dwight Bullard of Miami — the two most well-known and well-financed candidates in the race – will likely emerge at the top of the vote totals after Tuesday’s primary. In what order remains to be seen.
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ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: ABC News reports on how Mitt Romney’s campaign and Paul Ryan “appear to have employed an elaborate cloak and dagger operation to spirit Ryan and his family, under the noses of reporters staking out the Wisconsin Congressman’s house in Janesville, undetected to Norfolk for Saturday’s announcement.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to St. Petersburg City Councilman Karl Nurse, who I genuinely hope decides to run for another term.
UPDATING MY PREDICTIONS FOR TUESDAY: Enough of you on-the-ground in Senate District 4 have convinced me that Aaron Bean is going to win tomorrow’s GOP primary. Accordingly, I am switching my prediction to Bean.