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.***
OBAMA LEADS HEADING INTO CONVENTIONS
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney nationally by four points, 48% to 44%.
“These numbers are only slightly changed from July, when Obama led Romney by six points in the survey, 49 percent to 43 percent, suggesting a minimal bounce for Romney (if at all) after this month’s Ryan pick.”
Key findings: “Looking inside the numbers, Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent). Romney is ahead with whites (53 percent to 40 percent), rural voters (47 percent to 38 percent) and seniors (49 percent to 41 percent). And the two presidential candidates are essentially even when it comes to the swing groups of suburban voters, Midwest residents and political independents.”
DON’T BE ALARMED, BUT “HURRICANE ISAAC” COULD HIT TAMPA NEXT WEEK
“For three straight simulations, NOAA’s Global Forecast System (GFS) model has tracked a tropical system right over the Florida peninsula through or close to Tampa just as the Republican National Convention is ramping up,” the Washington Post‘s weather blog reports. “Assuming this system – presently a little swirl in the open Atlantic – strengthens some, it will be named Isaac. Before anyone gets alarmed or excited, consider forecasts of the path and intensity of tropical systems this far out have essentially no skill…Since 1852, the Tampa area been hit by 27 hurricanes including 6 during the month of August…Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project has developed a tool that shows the historic probability of a named storm affecting the region around Tampa is 20 percent in any given season. The odds of a direct hit near Tampa is around 3 percent.”
>>>Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog (h/t to Michael Kruse): I blogged about the climatological chances of a hurricane causing an evacuation of Tampa during the convention in a post last week, putting the odds at 0.2%. The odds in the current situation are higher, somewhere in the 1%-3% range. It would take a “perfect storm” sort of conditions to all fall in place to bring TD 9 to the doorstep of Tampa as a hurricane during the convention, but that is one of the possibilities the models have been suggesting could happen.
DNC OUTLINES TAMPA BRACKETING PLANS
“The hub of activity will be coordinated out of a rapid response war room just a short walk from the Republican convention in downtown Tampa and will include leading campaign and party surrogates and middle class Americans from all walks of life who have been victimized by Romney Economics,” a party official emails. “Among other top campaign surrogates, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will play a central role in the pushback efforts including kicking activities off in the war room this weekend. While the RNC will focus on burnishing Romney’s biography as a so-called Mr. Fix It, the DNC/OFA response will be to highlight how his work in the private sector and as Governor was a disaster for the middle class…The activities will include daily press events in the war room and a host of products/advertising illustrating how out of step Mitt Romney and his policies are with seniors, students veterans and middle class families…The DNC/OFA effort will do so … by exposing the positions of the campaign’s chosen convention speakers, many of whom represent the most extreme and intolerant voices of their Party.”
BIDEN TO BE IN TAMPA
Vice President Joe Biden is planning to be in Tampa next week at the start of the Republican National Convention. An Obama campaign announcement says Biden will be attending events in Florida on Monday and Tuesday, including a stop in Tampa on the convention’s opening day.
EXCLUSIVE INFORMATION ON 150 EVENTS AT THE RNC
I got my hands on (and shared with POLITICO) a working list of about 150 events and gatherings being conducted during the Republican National Convention, including times, contribution requirements and contact information for many of them. A constellation of organizations, from state delegations to special interest groups and media organizations, are included.
But as of now, these many events include those sponsored by such organizations as the Republican Governors’ Association, National Rifle Association, Latino Leaders Network, National Republican Senatorial Committee, Council for Economic Education, Americans for Tax Reform, Concerned Veterans for America, Young Guns Network, American Conservative Union, MJM Strategies and the Republican Diplomatic Partnership. Media-sponsored events include those by The Atlantic, The Hill, National Journal and POLITICO. The events themselves range from concerts and beach parties to shooting competitions and worship services to breakfasts and late-night bashes. The full list is here.
RIGHT NOW! AND VIEW PAC TO HOST WOMEN WHITE HOUSE PARTY via POLITICO
Republican women are lining up to host ‘The White House Party’ at the Republican National Convention. RightNow! and Value in Electing Women PAC are listed as co-hosts along with several high-profile GOP women lawmakers and downtowners, including Susan Hirschmann of Williams & Jensen, Kathryn Lehman of Holland & Knight, Susan Nelson ofNavigators Global and Missy Edwards of Missy Edwards Strategies, among others.
Cost: ‘Ruby Level’ donors give $25K and receive 50 general reception tickets, 25 VIP tickets and reserved lounge seating in the VIP suite, among other perks; ‘Diamond Level’ donors give $10K and get 25 general reception and 10 VIP tickets, among others; and ‘Sapphire Level’ give $5K for 12 general and four VIP tickets, plus signage.
THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN!
>>>A billboard went up on Interstate 275 at Armenia Boulevard welcomes Republicans to a city “Where the mayor and all city council members are Democrats.”
>>>By popular demand, an art display of dolphins on Clearwater Beach – originally designed to hook visitors for the Republican National Convention – is expanding.
>>>Q & A with Republican National Committeewoman Sharon Day.
***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.***
RICK SCOTT APPEARS TO THREATEN MONROE CO. SUP. OF ELECTIONS OVER EARLY VOTING ISSUE
Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement Tuesday that some read as a veiled threat to the Monroe County supervisor of elections, escalating a conflict over early-voting days in the run-up to the November elections, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
Harry Sawyer, the Republican supervisor in Monroe, said Monday he didn’t support an effort by Secretary of State Ken Detzner to get federal approval for Monroe and four other counties to reduce the number of early-voting days from as many as 14 to eight. Because of a history of racial or language discrimination, those counties must get “preclearance” from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court for any changes to voting policies.
The Legislature in 2011 passed a law that included reducing the number of early-voting days statewide, but a three-judge federal court last week rejected that change in the preclearance counties. The panel, however, said it could likely approve a reduction in the number of voting days if all five counties agreed to keep offices open for 12 hours on each of the eight days, which would maintain the same number of hours for voting.
“There is an easy and clear path for the five supervisors of elections to comply with their legal duties under both state and federal law,” Scott said in the statement. “I applaud the four supervisors who have unequivocally stated that they will adopt an early voting plan that allows 96 hours of early voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. … Moving forward, I will continue to take all necessary and appropriate action to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, that supervisors are fulfilling their duties, and that the voters of this state have free and fair elections.”
REAPPOINTED: Anne “Sandy” Batchelor-Robjohns, 59, of Miami Beach, to the South Florida Water Management District.
ADAM PUTNAM IN PINELLAS TONIGHT at St. Petersburg College’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to discuss key energy policy solutions for Florida.
PIP BILL TO LOWER FUTURE LOSSES, BUT NOT CURRENT PREMIUMS
A much heralded change to Florida’s no-fault automobile insurance law likely won’t reduce policyholder premiums but may slow the increase in rates, according to a report released Tuesday by state regulators, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida
The Office of Insurance Regulation released findings from an analysis of HB 119, passed by lawmakers earlier this year. The new law attempts to reduce costs associated with personal injury protection insurance, or PIP, which provides up to $10,000 in medical coverage regardless of who caused an accident.
The report says the new law, which places restrictions on benefits and makes efforts to curb fraud, is expected to translate into a reduced losses of between 14 and 24.6 percent in the PIP portion of a typical automobile insurance policy. The PIP portion accounts for about 20 percent of policy costs.
Such reduced losses, however, may not translate into lower automobile insurance premiums because PIP rates are currently inadequate to pay losses and most of the provisions won’t go into effect for months.
SARAH PALIN ENDORSES TED YOHO
Gainesville veterinarian Ted Yoho was endorsed Tuesday in his bid for Congress by former vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, reports the News Service of Florida. Yoho was the surprise winner of the Republican primary in House District 3 last week, unseating longtime GOP Congressman Cliff Stearns. He’s running now against Democrat J.R. Gaillot and independent Phil Dodds. “Underdog candidates like Ted aren’t running because it’s easy, and they don’t plan on going to Washington to just ‘go along to get along,'” Palin said in a statement reported Tuesday by Politico. “No, these underdogs are running to fight for sudden and relentless reform and they know the hard work it will require to make it happen.” Yoho might not be the underdog now – the district is solidly Republican.
SENATE DISTRICT 8 CANDIDATE FRANK BRUNO RAISING MONEY IN TAMPA TONIGHT
Just how important to Florida Democrats is Frank Bruno’s campaign for State Senate District 8? They’re raising money for him on the other side of the state from his Volusia County-based seat. Among the hosts are Betty Castor Justin Day and former gubernatorial candidates Bill McBride and Alex Sink. Invite here.
MARIA SACHS LAUNCHES FIRST AD IN BATTLEGROUND STATE SENATE RACE
Incumbent Democratic state Senate candidate Maria Sachs, expected to have tough race against another incumbent, Republican Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, has an introductory ad out, the first of the general election cycle for Sachs, of Boca Raton. It’s not clear whether the ad is running or will run on TV or will be a web-only ad.
REP. JULIEN, LOSER IN DEM. PRIMARY FOR HD 107, ALLEGING VOTER FRAUD
A Democratic Miami state representative who narrowly lost a primary that pitted him against a fellow incumbent is claiming election fraud. Miami’s CBS-4 reported Tuesday that Rep. John Patrick Julien, the loser in the Democratic primary for House District 107, is asking the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office to investigate the primary, which was won by Rep. Barbara Watson by 13 votes following a recount. Watson and Julien were drawn into the same district in this year’s redistricting. The Miami-Dade prosecutor’s office hasn’t said whether it plans to investigate.
***I’ve called Kevin 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.***
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Dennis Baxley and future Pasco Superintendent of Schools Kurt Browning.
MEDIA NOTE: Tampa Bay Times education reporter Kim Wilmath is leaving journalism to be the spokeswoman with Florida’s Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s university system.
MY TWEET: I’m shocked to see another Tampa Bay Times reporter going into PR.
UF No. 6, FSU No. 8 ON ‘PARTY SCHOOL’ LIST: The University of Florida is a bigger party school than its rival to the northwest, according to the Princeton Review’s latest rankings. … UF placed No. 6 in this year’s rankings of top party schools, released today. Florida State University was ranked No. 8, with West Virginia University taking the top spot. … UF had been slowly dropping down the list since its No. 1 ranking in 2008, last year falling to No. 9 and below Florida State. But UF officials aren’t celebrating this year’s jump in the rankings, with one questioning the validity of the Princeton Review’s use of online surveys in determining them.