***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.***
HIGH PRAISE FOR SUNBURN: @lizbethkb (Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto): Good job with Sunburn. Reading it each morning makes for a great start to the day.
RASMUSSEN POLL OF FLORIDA: ROMNEY 45%, OBAMA 43%
This is the first survey of the race in the Sunshine State since Romney announced the Wisconsin congressman as his vice presidential choice. Last month, it was Romney 46%, Obama 45%.
Retirees are a sizable bloc of voters in Florida, and Democrats are already criticizing Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal in an effort to win those voters. But 48% of the state’s voters fear the president’s health care law more than Ryan’s proposal when it comes to the future of Medicare. Just 41% fear Ryan’s proposal more.
Among seniors, 54% are more fearful of the president’s plan. Romney now holds a 24-point lead over Obama among Florida voters 65 and older. Last month, the GOP challenger held a 17-point lead in this age group.
RYAN AT THE VILLAGES ON SATURDAY
Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan will speak at The Villages retirement community Saturday before heading to Tampa for a fundraiser, a campaign spokesman confirmed.
An official with the Romney’s campaign confirmed that Ryan will be appearing at the Town Square, 1000 Lake Sumter Landing, sometime after 9:30 a.m. The park will open to people at 7:30 a.m. and the pre-speech program begins at 9:30 a.m.
MOST SWING STATE ECONOMIES FARING BETTER THAN REST OF COUNTRY
By the numbers, no swing state is better off economically than it was four years ago but many see stronger recoveries than the U.S. In many key indicators, however, Florida trails the pack.
OBAMA HAS A CLEAR LEAD IN SOCIAL MEDIA
A new Pew Research study finds that President Obama holds a distinct advantage over Mitt Romney in the way his campaign is using digital technology to communicate directly with voters. The Obama campaign is posting almost four times as much content and is active on nearly twice as many platforms.
In addition, Obama’s digital strategy targets specific voter groups to a greater degree than Romney’s.
Said researcher Tom Rosenstiel: “While more digital activity does not necessarily translate into more votes, historically candidates who are first to exploit changing technology have an advantage. From Roosevelt to Reagan, presidential candidates have used the way they communicate to suggest that they understand how the country is changing.”
NY TIMES‘ NATE SILVER ON FLORIDA’S US SENATE RACE
“Senator Bill Nelson’s fundamentals do not look awful. His approval rating exceeds his disapproval rating in most recent polls, and he has raised considerably more money than his Republican opponent, Representative Connie Mack, who easily won the Republican primary on Tuesday. Nevertheless, the race has been polled abundantly, and those polls have gotten tighter and tighter, to the point that the polling averages now show almost an exact tie. I now consider this race a tossup, perhaps tilting ever so slightly toward Mr. Nelson.”
CONNIE MACK NAMED AS ONE OF SIX HEADLINERS WHO WILL ADDRESS RNC
Nominated by Florida Republicans on Tuesday to run for the Senate, Connie Mack was named Wednesday morning as one of the headline speakers schedule to address his party’s national convention in Tampa Aug. 27–30.
FACEBOOK GOING ALL OUT FOR GOP CONVENTION
Facebook is planning to be, well, quite social at the Republican National Convention, holding a mixture of parties and panels in Tampa while trying to give a flavor of the action to folks who want to follow it at home.
Public policy, product and developer types are getting together for invite-only ‘Apps & Drinks’ events at the convention, where there will be plenty of demos of election-related apps. The company also is co-hosting an ‘Innovation Nation’ receptions, where it will honor “pro-technology legislators” and others critical to the industry. And Facebook will join a group of tech companies that are backing the StartUp RockOn exhibition-concerts.
Facebook will participate in livestreamed programs discussing the impact of social media in the 2012 cycle; they’ll show delegates and others how to use Facebook’s tools, building off recent work in both cities helping small businesses navigate the site; and they’ll roll out an “I’m Voting” app in conjunction with CNN, through which users can broadcast their voting preferences to their friends. Facebook is announcing the full slate of offerings on its politics page, check it out here.
GAY REPUBLICANS PLAN ‘HOMOCON’ PARTY IN YBOR by William March of the Tampa Tribune
GOProud, an organization of gay Republicans, is planning a party in Ybor City during the RNC 2012 convention called Homocon 2012.
It will be Tuesday, Aug. 28, the second night of the convention, at The Honey Pot, a bar in Ybor City. It begins after the nightly RNC convention session ends. Details here.
GROVER NORQUIST TO BE CELEBRATED IN TAMPA DURING RNC
Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist will be the guest of honor at a reception Aug. 27 in Tampa’s Liberty Plaza. The event will be hosted by George Landrith, president of conservative think tank Frontiers of Freedom.
The “honorary host committee” includes Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union; David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association; Mike Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association; Cleta Mitchell, partner at law and lobbying firm Foley & Lardner; Morton Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute and Dov Zakheim, vice chairman of the Center for the National Interest.
For the “Northern Exposure” fans in the crowd, actress and radio talk show host Janine Turner is also slated to speak.
‘HER NEW VIEW’ PLANS PANEL AT RNC: “LASHING BACK AT THE BACKLASH”
Her New View, an initiative for young conservative women, will be hosting a panel “Lashing Back at the Backlash: How conservative women confront media bias.” The event will feature prominent journalists Katie Pavlich and Dana Loesch, Congresswomen Blackburn and Ellmers, and the Lt. Governor of Wisconsin Rebecca Kleefisch. Former SCGOP Chairman and current publisher of Palladian View Karen Floyd, will moderate the event held in Tampa on August 26th at 5:00pm.
MSNBC TAKING OVER CHANNELSIDE FOR CONVENTION COVERAGE by Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times
MSNBC’s plans for covering the Republican National Convention in Tampa include taking over several spots inside the Channelside entertainment complex, converting the piano bar Howl at the Moon into a home for two programs and creating an outdoor set for Chris Matthews’ show Hardball.
By camping at Channelside MSNBC, which features liberal-centered commentary, sits further away from the GOP convention than rivals CNN and Fox News, which have broadcast areas adjacent to the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But because their sets are outside the pedestrian-restricted security zones for the RNC, the general public can attend live broadcasts of some shows.
The channel’s morning programs Way Too Early with Willie Geist and Morning Joe will air from Howl at the Moon, renamed the Morning Joe Elephant Bar at Channelside, from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. each day, Aug. 27 to 31, according to the channel.
RICK SCOTT’S LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR SUBMITS RESIGNATION
Gov. Rick’s Scott’s legislative affairs director, Jon Costello, has submitted his resignation, effective Sept. 7. Costello, who helped shepherd Scott’s priorities through the Legislature during the past two years, did not indicate in his resignation letter what he will do next, reports the News Service of Florida. “To say that serving in your administration has been an honor would be a vast understatement, it has truly been the opportunity of a lifetime,” Costello wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday, to Scott. The governor has asked Costello to serve as a board member of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, according to a news release from Scott’s office.
KEEP AN EYE ON UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS TODAY
The state Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday releases data on unemployment in Florida in July. In June, the state jobless rate was 8.6 percent, unchanged from May.
TRIBAL GAMING PAYMENTS INCREASE TO NEARLY $20M A MONTH via The News Service of Florida
A scheduled increase in payments to the state from the gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida went into effect Wednesday. The tribe and the state a few years ago worked out a 20-year compact by which the Seminoles are allowed certain types of gaming in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. The tribe said in a statement that its Aug. 15 payment to the state jumped to $19.4 million, from $12.5 million, a scheduled increase that was built into the compact. The tribe this year will pay the state $233 million, up from $150 million a year the first two years. “The Seminole Tribe is pleased to increase its support for public education and other important budget needs in Florida,” said James E. Billie, Chairman of the Tribe. “We view the Gaming Compact as a win-win-win, for the State, the Tribe and all the people of Florida.”
***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.***
TECH, TELECOM INDUSTRIES AMONG THOSE MOST IMPACTED BY CLIFF STEARNS’ LOSS
A lot of factors contributed to Rep. Cliff Stearns’s unexpected primary loss, including the number of candidates running in the race and the size and shape of his new district. But one thing Stearns didn’t struggle with was a deficit in cash – in fact, he had more than $2 million in the bank when the race ended. And tech and telecom companies fronted a chunk of it.
Over the course of the 2012 campaign, Stearns picked up big checks from NCTA, Verizon, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, NAB, and AT&T. In fact, the TV/music/movie industries and telephone utilities were the first and third contributing industries to his campaign, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracked in the measurement both individual and PAC donations as of July.
STATE DEMS ATTEMPT TO TIE RON DESANTIS TO PAUL RYAN (IS THAT A BAD THING?)
Two days after the primary, the Florida Democratic Party has sent out an email hitting Ron DeSantis, the GOP nominee for the 6th Congressional District, reports Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union.
He will face Democrat Heather Beaven in November’s general election. The seat includes St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler and Volusia Counties.
Trying to capitalize on the wave of attention since Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running-mate, state Democrats are working to tether DeSantis to Ryan’s now famous budget plan.
“Ron DeSantis has already made it clear that he supports the same policies of Paul Ryan which would hurt Florida’s middle class families and end Medicare as we know it,” said David Bergstein, spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, in the blast.
DEMS SPAR WITH DAN WEBSTER OVER TOWN HALL MEETINGS
Florida Democrats are accusing Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Webster of dodging his constituents in the 10th District, saying he doesn’t want to answer questions about his support of Paul Ryan’s budget, which would fundamentally change Medicare. … Webster’s camp says the accusation is ridiculous.
“Congressman Webster has been suspiciously silent about Congressman Paul Ryan’s selection and disturbingly disengaged from his constituents,” Florida Democratic Party spokesman David Bergstein said in a news release today. “Is Webster avoiding Orlando’s middle class families, so he doesn’t have to explain his support for the Ryan-Webster plan to end Medicare as we know it?”
Webster’s campaign scoffed at the “Where’s Webster” notion, pointing to a dizzying number of appearances at retail openings (WaWa!), charity events, political hobnobs, etc. Friday night, he’s supposed to act as volunteer coach at a celebrity softball game Clermont.
NEW VIDEO INTRODUCES VAL DEMINGS TO CD 10 VOTERS — Watch here.
STAT OF THE DAY via Contribution Link: The legislative candidates who raised the most amount of money won 82% of their primary races on Tuesday.
FLORIDA CHAMBER CERTAINLY HAD A GOOD NIGHT TUESDAY; 38 OF 49 CANDIDATES IT SUPPORTED WON THEIR ELECTIONS
Preliminary results show that 38 of 49 state House and Senate candidates endorsed by the Florida Chamber won their primary races on Tuesday. Two of the Florida Chamber-backed candidates are in races that are still outstanding.
FLORIDA ACTION WATCH: SCOTT PLAKON = RICK SCOTT by Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel
Florida Watch Action, the liberal group behind the “Pink Slip Rick” protests, launched a new website, ReferendumOnRick.com, highlighting the 80 GOP lawmakers who it says voted with Scott 100 percent of the time on a series of bills ranging from state budgets that cut public education funding to legislation making it easier for charter-school operators to take over public schools.
STATE TO DECIDE TODAY WHETHER HAND RECOUNT IS NECESSARY IN HD 55
The state will announce Friday whether a hand recount is needed in the too-close-to-call Florida House District 55 Republican primary.
Each of the four counties that make up the district must submit their machine-recounted election results to the state by noon Friday, according to St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker. If a hand-recount is called, those results are due by noon Sunday and a decision will be announced Monday, Walker said.
The possibility of a recount automatically was triggered because newcomer Cary Pigman and Randy Johnson were separated by a mere 30 votes. The district has 156,000 some residents, according to a state official.
“If any candidate is eliminated by a half percent or less, by law, there is an automatic machine count,” Walker said, followed by a hand recount if the results don’t change.
DAVID RICHARDSON: “I AM THE FIRST OPENLY GAY LEGISLATOR IN THE HISTORY OF FLORIDA. AND FOREVER WILL BE” by Steve Rothaus of the Miami Herald
Until this election season, Florida was one of 17 states “with zero out state lawmakers,” said Denis Dison, spokesman for the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, one of several gay-rights organizations that supported Richardson. The other groups: Equality Florida, Florida Together and SAVE Dade, which invested about $50,000 in the Richardson campaign.
“It was a combination of hard dollars to the candidate and soft dollars for communications,” SAVE Dade Executive Director C.J. Ortuño said.
SAVE Dade, the county’s largest gay-rights group, and its political action committee also provided volunteers, phone banking, cellphones and office supplies to the campaign.
“Even though it was a grueling race and everyone worked really hard — and David was a phenomenal candidate — this is just the beginning,” Ortuño said. “This is one of those first steps.”
APPOINTMENT OF THE DAY: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam named National Chair of Farmers and Ranchers for Romney Coalition. (Is there a Farmers and Ranchers for Obama coalition?)
CAN’T WAIT TO READ: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham. “Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously.”
HALF-BILLION: Campaign spending on radio and television advertising has crossed the half-billion-dollar mark. With the $37 million being spent this week on political advertising — including the campaigns and the Super PACs that support them — the grand total for this campaign is now more than $512 million, about the amount spent on advertising in the entire 2008 general election, according to an NBC News/Smart Media Group Delta analysis.
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY: To the Sayfie Review, the granddaddy of them all.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: People are just in an anti-incumbency, anti-establishment mood,” said consultant David Johnson of Strategic Vision LLC.
RSVP for a luncheon honoring Sen. Paula Dockery; Thursday, September 6th, 12-1:30 pm; at the Lone Palm Country Club, Lakeland. RSVP to Michelle Robare at email@example.com.
TEXT CONTRIBUTIONS A STEP CLOSER TO REALITY: The public is ever closer to the day when it may text a political donation to a candidate or committee. The Federal Election Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a pair of advisory opinions that address a variety of concerns and questions from wireless carriers and system sponsors about implementation, information collection, illegal donations and pricing.