- Judge upholds blind trust used by Rick Scott
- Florida State law professor Daniel Markel was killed in his car
- Democratic House candidate Shawna Vercher’s financial disclosures raise more questions than answers
- Gay marriage case could head to Florida Supreme Court
- Wall Street spending $1.5 million a day on federal lobbying
- Florida among best states to “be female,” new study says
Sunburn for 8/24: 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.***
QUINNIPIAC POLL OF FLORIDA: OBAMA 49%, ROMNEY 46%; NELSON 50%, MACK 41%
Florida likely voters 50 to 64 years old go 50 percent for Obama and 46 percent for Romney. Voters over 65 back Romney 55 – 42 percent. The gender gap remains wide as women back Obama 53 – 41 percent while men back Romney 51 – 45 percent.
Independent voters back the Republican by a narrow 48 – 44 percent.Florida voters give Obama a 50 – 45 percent favorability rating, compared to Romney’s 45 – 42 percent score. Ryan gets a 35 – 29 percent favorability, while Biden has a negative37 – 44 percent score.
… In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson leads U.S. Rep. ConnieMack, his Republican challenger, 50 – 41 percent. Independent voters split with 45 percent for Nelson and 43 percent for Mack.
OBAMA FOR AMERICA FIRST CAMPAIGN TO ACCEPT DONATIONS VIA TEXT MESSAGING
Following FEC advisory opinions issued in June and August, supporters with mobile phones on supported carriers will now be able to text ‘GIVE’ to 62262, OFA’s text short code, to quickly make small contributions, not exceeding $50 during any billing cycle for most carriers.
‘Grassroots giving is powering this campaign,’ said OFA Campaign Manager Jim Messina. ‘Since April 2011, more than 2.7 million people have pitched in to own a piece of the President’s campaign, and last month 98 percent of donors gave less than $250.’
… The service will begin for Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular customers starting this week, and with other carriers, including AT&T, anticipated to approve in the near future. … OFA intends to promote this convenient new avenue of small-dollar donations when supporters are most likely to take out their mobile phones to contribute. For instance, a video screen at a grassroots event with President Obama could flash a message such as, ‘To contribute $10 to Obama for America, text GIVE to 62262.’ A similar message could appear in a web video or on a piece of campaign literature.’
CROSSROADS PUTS $2.4 MIL BEHIND AD TARGETING BILL NELSON
Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (GPS) announced a new TV issue ad in Florida which calls on Bill Nelson to support a repeal of the government health care takeover. The spot, backed by a $2.4 million total buy, is part of the group’s ongoing effort to encourage support of the New Majority Agenda.
The new ad started Thursday on broadcast and cable networks in Florida. Titled “Suffered,” the new issue ad can be viewed here.
AS ISAAC TRACKS WEST, FLORIDA OFFICIALS SOUND MORE RELAXED by David Royse of the News Service of Florida
Appearing at ease and exuding confidence, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn went on national TV late Thursday and essentially told Republicans to relax and come on down, reports David Royse and Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.
Buckhorn said on CNN’s Situation Room that he was “not particularly worried,” about Tropical Storm Isaac, which officials said was looking less and less likely to take direct aim at his city as it prepares to host some 50,000 visitors for the Republican National Convention starting Monday.
His optimism was similar to that expressed – though more cautiously — by other top officials, including Gov. Rick Scott, who appeared more relaxed at an afternoon media briefing Thursday than he had earlier in the day. Scott started by noting that new forecast tracks have pushed the likely storm path out farther into the Gulf of Mexico.
He also said the state and the Tampa Bay area were ready for what is expected and said three times that Florida knows how to deal with hurricanes and large influxes of people. “The state is a hospitality state,” Scott said, aware no doubt of the economic consequences that canceling the convention would entail.
>>>Dr. Jeff Masters on WunderBlog: Tropical Storm Isaac has strengthened slightly, data from the hurricane hunters show, but the storm remains disorganized and difficult to forecast. If you have to make decisions based upon what Isaac will do, I highly recommend that you wait until at least Friday morning to make a decision, if at all possible, as the forecasts then should be of significantly higher accuracy.
>>>The Federal Emergency Management Agency is positioning supplies in Jacksonville in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac.
WHAT KIND OF BOUNCE CAN ROMNEY EXPECT OUT OF TAMPA?
Larry Sabato and his team studied party convention bounces going back about a half century and found the average bounce in the polls is about five points.
Key finding: “The actual standings of the candidates after both conventions are sometimes amazingly predictive of the November results, and at other times are terribly misleading. So wouldn’t you know it? We just can’t rely on bounces to tell us much beyond whether the electorate is ‘dug in’ and resistant to switching sides. In 11 of the 24 presidential candidacies since 1964 noted in the charts above, candidates finished within three percentage points of their post-convention polling. Statistically, this makes the bounce meaningless in a predictive sense, because about the same number of candidates’ standings did change significantly from the end of their convention to November.”
RUBIO, MACK GET PRIME SPEAKING SLOTS
Marco Rubio and Connie Mack — the state’s U.S. Senator and contender to become the next U.S. Senator — have been given top, closing-night speaking slots for the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.
Mack, the Fort Myers congressman who’s taking on Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November, will have Thursday night’s opening speech, following the pledge of allegiance, national anthem and invocation.
GOP CONVENTION LINEUP SHOWCASES HIGH-LEVEL HISPANICS
The lineup will showcase the Republican Party’s success electing Hispanics like never before, with high-profile speaking slots reserved for Rubio, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Senate candidate Ted Cruz of Texas. Yet offstage, the Republican Party is losing ground in the fastest growing part of the electorate, reports National Journal‘s Beth Reinhard.
TAMPA BAY TIMES OUTLINES COVERAGE PLANS
… (L)ong before the tropics stirred, theTampa Bay Times set into motion political and local journalism worthy of the campaign trail dramas and the unprecedented preparations now at full throttle around our metropolitan area.
… The Times has deployed 150 staff reporters, editors, photographers and artists throughout Tampa Bay to capture the pageantry, the protests, the politicians and the parties. Their work will be polished by dozens more editors and designers. Tampa has been converted into part political theme park, part television studio; Times journalists will chronicle the spectacle in words, pictures, video and tweets. That same Times force is mobilizing as we speak to cover the effects of Isaac on Tampa Bay and Florida.
CNN & TIME LAUNCH CONVENTION APP
The app will feature 24/7 breaking news updates and alerts, daily analysis and commentary, exclusive early access to CNN-TIME polls, photos and video from CNN and TIME journalists on the ground at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. … Developed for Time Warner by Carnival Labs Limited and available via iPhone, iPad, Android or any web-enabled mobile device, CNN-TIME Convention Floor Pass features … TIME Cover of the Day: Each day of the conventions, TIME will release a cover of the day and corresponding cover story featuring news and analysis from the conventions. This is the first time in TIME’s history that the magazine has released a daily cover image.
CHECK OUT A PROGRESSIVE’S GUIDE TO THE RNC
Check out “A Progressive’s Guide To The RNC”, a one-stop site for progressive events including rallies, marches and forums surrounding the RNC. Even if you’re not going to be in the Tampa area next week, they’ve included the must follow media sites and tweeters you can connect with to get behind the scenes and the latest goings on without the GOP’s pre-scripted spin. This and more, including an interactive map, all in our handy guide, check it out.
>>>The Village Voice offers its own “gonzo” guide to the festivities in Tampa.
THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN!
>>>Air defense units including F-15 fighter jets will conduct an exercise over the Tampa area from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday to prepare for special missions during the 2012 Republican National Convention.
>>>Isaac may be about to make it rain – but that’s different than what the Tampa strip clubs have in mind.
>>>The Sun-Sentinel looks at past convention run-ins with hurricanes.
>>>Mitt Romney’s campaign has ensured that Texas congressman Ron Paul will neither speak nor be formally nominated.
***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.***
FLORIDIANS STILL DON’T EMBRACE RICK SCOTT
A new poll says Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s approval rating has climbed to 41 percent.
But 49 percent of the 1,241 likely voters polled during the past week still say they disapprove of Scott’s performance as governor.
STATE ASKS FOR APPROVAL OF EARLY VOTING CHANGES
Attorneys for the state have asked a federal court to approve a change in early-voting hours in Collier, Hardee, Hendry and Hillsborough counties — but appeared to stop short of asking for that same approval in Monroe County, where a controversy has flared about the issue, reports Jim Saunders and Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
The state filed documents in federal court in the District of Columbia on Wednesday seeking approval to use eight, 12-hour days of early voting in the four counties during the November elections.
State lawmakers last year approved a measure that sought to reduce the number of early voting days from a maximum of 14 to eight. But the federal court blocked the changes in Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe counties, which need approval from the court or the U.S. Justice Department to make voting changes because of a history of language and racial discrimination — a process known as “preclearance.”
In the documents filed Wednesday, the state pointed to part of the court’s ruling that indicated the number of days could be reduced to eight if the state submitted a plan to allow early voting for 12 hours each day.
“In light of this court’s opinion, Florida moves to amend its complaint to seek preclearance for the early voting changes, as implemented in Collier, Hardee, Hendry and Hillsborough counties” to provide 96 hours of voting on a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule, the state’s attorneys wrote.
VAL DEMINGS, DAN WEBSTER AGREE TO DEBATES by Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel
U.S. Rep. Dan Webster readily accepted opponent Val Demings‘ challenge to hold a series of debates in Florida’s 10th Congressional District today.
The two campaigns haven’t decided when they’ll debate, where they’ll take place and what organizations will host them. But they have agreed in principle to participate.
Around 3:45 p.m., Demings, a Democrat, publicly called on the Republican incumbent to participate in three debates — one each in Orange, Lake and Polk, the three counties in the district.
“There has not been one part of the district I’ve gone into where people have not asked me when we are going to have a debate,” Demings said. “They really want us to see us side by side, and I think it’s a good idea because I want them to see the very clear choice that they have. I’m looking forward to it.”
Within 90 minutes, Webster’s camp agreed.
KIDS SAY ALLEN WEST NEEDS A “TIME OUT” IN NEW PATRICK MURPHY AD
Beginning today, Patrick Murphy’s campaign will air its second television ad of the general election. Entitled “Time Out,” the 30-second spot is backed by a significant buy on network TV in the West Palm Beach-Treasure Coast market.
“Time Out” features grade-school children repeating some of Allen West’s most notorious insults, illustrating the divisiveness of his words and how inappropriate they are for a member of Congress. Watch here.
FBI, MIAMI POLICE INVESTIGATING CAMPAIGN TIED TO RIVERA
The FBI and Miami-Dade police have opened separate criminal investigations into the campaign of a Democratic congressional candidate who, vendors say, was aided by Miami U.S. Rep. David Rivera, The Miami Herald‘s Marc Caputo and Manny Garcia report. Federal agents gathered campaign records and invoices, and began interviewing employees at two mail and data companies used by Democrat Justin Lamar Sternad’s primary campaign. Sternad spent about $43,000 in unreported cash and checks on mail services, a witness told authorities. Federal law required Sternad to quickly report any contributions – including loans – just before the Aug. 14 primary, which he lost to Democrat Joe Garcia, a longtime Rivera rival whom Sternad bashed in one of his 11 mailers. Rivera, investigators suspect, was behind the sophisticated mail campaign run by Sternad, who was an unknown political newcomer and hotel night auditor.
FLA. LAWMAKERS SEEK TO BLOCK REDISTRICTING TESTIMONY
Republican leaders have quietly asked a Leon County judge to shield lawmakers and their aides from having to testify during a trial to determine whether the state’s congressional redistricting plan runs afoul of new standards for drawing the state’s political maps, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
The attempt to shield legislators from testifying, which would also protect early drafts of redistricting proposals, echoes an attempt during this year’s legislative session to give lawmakers immunity from testifying about their duties.
In a motion filed last month and set to be heard Sept. 5, lawyers for the House and Senate said Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis should block attempts by those challenging the congressional maps to take depositions from lawmakers and staff members and to review potential redistricting proposals that were never actually filed.
Lewis is weighing a challenge to the maps under the Fair Districts amendments, which bar the consideration of political factors in redistricting proposals. Voters approved the amendments in 2010, making this redistricting cycle the first to apply the new rules.
FLA. CHAMBER ENDORSES JOHN COURIEL IN SENATE DISTRICT 35
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce it has endorsed John Couriel for Senate District 35. This endorsement follows a comprehensive and deliberative review of candidates running for Senate District 35 which includes parts of Miami-Dade County.
“John Couriel understands that to secure Florida’s future, businesses need the ability to grow and all Floridians deserve a cost-effective, market-minded and fiscally responsible government,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “John Couriel brings a new and energetic voice to Senate District 35 and is committed to helping build a stable and predictable business climate that is needed for private-sector job creation.”
***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.***
EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: From Liberty emails – “Paul Ryan: Tea Party or Uber GOP?”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Doug Adkins, Andrea Becker, ace legislative assistant Dan Bruno, the Associated Builders and Contractors’ Steve Cona and former State Representative Leslie Waters.