Sunburn for 9/19 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on September 19, 2012

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

***Cory Booker, the nationally-recognized mayor of Newark, is the keynote speaker at the Hillsborough Democratic Party’s Kennedy King Dinner on Saturday, September 22.  Reserve your tickets here.***

OBAMA INCREASES LEAD NATIONALLY

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds President Obama leads Mitt Romney nationally among likely voters, 50% to 45%.

>>>Here is the latest from the other national polls: DailyKos/SEIU/PPP: Obama 50%, Romney 46%; Gallup: Obama 47%, Romney 46%; Rasmussen: Romney 47%, Obama 45%; Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 48%, Romney 43%; SurveyUSA/Braun: Obama 48%, Romney 45%; United Press International: Obama 49%, Romney 45%.

THE COMPLETE ROMNEY HIDDEN CAMERA VIDEO

The complete, unedited hidden camera video from a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Florida earlier this year has now been released.

IS THE RECORDING LEGAL?

“In general, Florida law prohibits surreptitiously tape-recording conversations,” said attorneyAlison Steele, who represents the Tampa Bay Times on 1st Amendment issues. “But for that to apply, the speaker must have the expectation that the communication is not being recorded.”

Should Romney have had that expectation at a private event with donors?

“The question I think the law would ask is, is it reasonable for a candidate for president to stand at a podium in front of a roomful of people and expect that no one would record anything he said?” she said. “I would think that an unreasonable expectation.”

FIVE WAYS MITT ROMNEY CAN SAVE HIS CAMPAIGN

1. Get more specific about his plans; 2. Fire up his base; 3. Team Romney needs to be more nimble; 4. Let down his hair a little; 5. He should pull a Bush: Charm the political press.

STAT OF THE DAY: 20% — Likelihood Florida will be the state which determines the next president, according to the New York Times.

AMERICAN CROSSROADS LAUNCHES NEW AD FEATURING SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS CRITICIZING OBAMA ADMIN

American Crossroads launched a new television ad in Florida that features interviews with two small business owners blasting President Obama’s “bad decisions” which they say, “have made it difficult for small businesses to create jobs.”

The new 30-second ad, which is backed by a $2.1 million buy, will run in on local broadcast and cable in Florida for one week.  Titled “Next,” the spot can be viewed here.

DEMOCRATS NOW FAVORED TO RETAIN U.S. SENATE

Nate Silver‘s latest forecast has the odds of Democrats retining control of the U.S. Senate after November’s election — either by having at least 50 seats and the presidency, or 51 without it — have increased in recent weeks to a 70% chance.

“The trend toward Democrats is a relatively recent one. Part of the shift may reflect the bounce President Obama received from the Democratic convention… But our analysis also suggests that the Democratic advantage has probably been building over the past few weeks, and may not have any one root cause. Instead, Republicans risk death by a thousand cuts, with a gradual deterioration in their standing in several important races, and their inability to field optimal candidates in others.”

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ALAN GRAYSON,  TODD LONG FACE OFF IN TESTY DEBATE

Speaking before the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida … things got testy right away, with Todd Long calling Alan Grayson a “character assassin” and Grayson branding Long as “a towering hypocrite” and “a liar, too.”

In his opening statement, Long attacked Grayson for having referred to a female Federal Reserve adviser and former Enron lobbyist as a “K Street whore.” Long called the 2009 comment sexist and demeaning.

Grayson apologized at the time, but he defended the remark Monday. Lobbyists are commonly referred to that way, he said, “because they congregate on K Street [in Washington, D.C.], and they’re whores.”

When Grayson interrupted him at one point, Long responded with: “You can shut up.”

Later, an audience member called out that he couldn’t hear Long. “You’re better off,” Grayson quipped.

JOHN MCCAIN DISAGREES WITH BILL YOUNG ABOUT WITHDRAWING FROM AFGHANISTAN by Katie Sanders of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. John McCain said he “respectfully” does not agree with Rep. C.W. Bill Young’s call for extracting troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible, saying Tuesday, “We should remember that the attacks of 9/11 began in Afghanistan. That’s why we went there in the first place.”

McCain, who called for increased U.S. engagement in Libya, Syria and Iran during a speech at the University of Tampa, was asked about Young’s remarks to the Times after his speech.

“Obviously, the signals that this president sends constantly of withdrawal have encouraged the enemy,” he said. “Also, he’s overruling his military advisers as far as the size of the surge that we had and the dates of withdrawal, which he continues to accelerate, sending all the wrong signals to our adversaries. So we certainly need to evaluate whether the president’s policies of announcing constantly withdrawals has been successful. It hasn’t, it’s been a failure.”

VERN BUCHANAN NAMED CHAIR OF FLA. DELEGATION by Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan said today that he had been elected by Republican peers as co-chair of the Florida delegation in Washington.

“Vern has earned the respect and support of his colleagues in Washington,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said. “His business background, expertise in creating jobs and influential position on the House Ways and Means Committee is tremendously important to Florida.”

After the election, Florida will have 27 seats in the House. “We represent a powerful voting bloc in Congress that can work to advance Florida’s agenda and priorities,” Buchanan said, noting that issues such as international trade through Florida’s ports, protection of the Everglades, and hurricane and flood insurance have bipartisan support within the delegation.

PATRICK MURPHY, ALLEN WEST AGREE TO JUST ONE DEBATE

Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican U.S. Representative Allen West have agreed to a debate Friday, October 19 presented by WPTV NewsChannel 5, reports Nora McAlvanah of FLDemocracy2012.com.

At this time, this is the only debate the two candidates have agreed upon.

The one-hour debate will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. and will be moderated by WPTV anchor/political reporter Michael Williams and include panelists from the Palm Beach Post and Scripps Treasure Coast newspapers.

“This is one of the most closely-watched races in Florida and we are pleased to present this to the voters,” said WPTV Vice President and General Manager Steve Wasserman. “This will give voters a chance to compare the candidates as they confront the issues. We have developed a format that is informative for viewers while giving the candidates an opportunity to explain their positions on issues.”

Under the format of this debate, the candidates will each be given one minute to answer a question. They will then have 30 seconds each to answer to answer a follow-up question.  It’s the moderator’s discretion to then add follow-up questions.

DCCC LAUNCHES FIRST AD AGAINST WEST via Josh Miller of Roll Call

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm on Wednesday is launching its first television ad of the election cycle against firebrand West.

The 30-second spot hews to the standard Democratic line of attack, knocking West for voting in favor of Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would fundamentally change the way future seniors interact with Medicare.

“I have to say it as it is,” West says in a clip at the beginning of the ad.

“But what’s behind the talk?” a female narrator asks. “Allen West voted for Paul Ryan’s plan that would essentially end Medicare,” she says. “And leave seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.”

“Behind Allen West’s talk,” the narrator intones at the end of the spot, “a plan that ends Medicare and overwhelmingly benefits the rich.”

EMAILS I DIDN’T OPEN: Any of the exchanges between Murphy and West, including “Nobody Worse” from Murphy campaign manager Anthony Kusich or “Spoiled Brat” from West campaign manager Tim Edson.

ADAM HASNER, FMR. GOP MAJORITY LEADER, RELEASES NEW AD SAYING BLAME BOTH PARTIES

“If you like name calling or slick political ads than flip the channel,” Hasner says. “But if you’re looking for someone who thinks both parties got us in this mess, hear me out.”

This from the former Majority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives.

What’s exciting about Hasner is that he is such a brave partisan warrior. But it is general election time, so I guess Hasner has to appeal to swing voters.

Do what you must, Leader Hasner. View the ad here.

>>>Less than two hours after Hasner’s ad went live, the Florida Democratic Party struck back with their own video and criticism of Hasner’s claims. Watch here.

NEW POLL SHOWS JOE GARCIA UP 7 POINTS OVER DAVID RIVERA

Democracy for America (DFA) has released poll numbers showing Democrat Joe Garcia leading Republican incumbent David Rivera by 7 points (46% – 39%).

In the poll conducted on September 12 and 13 in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, Garcia’s lead increases significantly when voters learn more about the FBI investigation against Rivera from a 7 point lead to a 13 point lead (49%-36%).  A full 66% of likely voters have “serious concerns” or “some concerns” about Rivera being investigated by the FBI and state officials for tax evasion, while 63% have those concerns regarding improper use of campaign funds.

SD 8 CANDIDATES FRANK BRUNO, DOROTHY HUKILL SPAR AT TIGER BAY DEBATE

As they battle in perhaps the state’s top legislative race this fall, Democrat Frank Bruno and Republican Dorothy Hukill disagree about plenty of issues, reports Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida.

But the Senate District 8 race also carries a pair of more-intangible questions: Would voters be better off again electing a Republican to the GOP-dominated Senate? Or is it time for Democrats to claw back a seat in the newly-drawn, swing district?

Bruno, the chairman of the Volusia County Council, repeatedly told a local Tiger Bay political club Tuesday that he would bring “balance” to Tallahassee if he gets elected.

“I believe I will be able to work across party lines,” Bruno said.

But Hukill, a House member since 2004 and a lieutenant to outgoing Speaker Dean Cannon, said it is critical that the district be represented by someone with ties to Republican leaders who will control the Senate for the next two years — and likely for the foreseeable future.

“It’s absolutely critical,” Hukill said after debating Bruno at a luncheon meeting of the club. “It’s a giveaway seat if you’re not in leadership.”

FLORIDA CHAMBER PAYING FOR ADS FOR SCOTT PLAKON IN HD 30

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has begun airing television ads to help Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon of Longwood in his tough re-election battle with Democrat Karen Castor Dentel, reports Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel. The chamber has paid more than $60,000 worth of air time so far.

>>>Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has agreed to host a fundraiser for Dentel next week.

HD 68: DEMS RUNNING AD FOR DWIGHT DUDLEY via the News Service of Florida

Florida Democrats released an ad on Tuesday for HD 68 candidate Dwight Dudley, who is taking on Republican former Rep. Frank Farkas in the bayside South Pinellas County district. The ad began airing Tuesday and in it Dudley says the area needs a lawmaker to “stand up to Rick Scott, end give-aways to big utility companies and millionaires, and finally invest in our schools and our public safety so that we can grow our economy and create good paying jobs.” Dudley also says Tallahassee suffers from a “culture of corruption.”

FUNDRAISER FOR REPS. DOUG HOLDER AND ROB SCHENCK TODAY

Speaker Designate Will Weatherford, Chairman Chris Dorworth, and Representative Richard Corcoran are hosting a fundraising reception benefiting the re-election campaigns of Reps. Doug Holder and Rob Schenck. The event is scheduled for 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. today at the Republican Party of Florida Headquarters in Tallahassee.

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SECRETARY OF LABOR TO ANNOUNCE $2 BILLION GRANT IN CLEARWATER TODAY

Solis will be in Clearwater on Wednesday to discuss a $2 billion program to expand access to higher education, St. Petersburg College said.

Solis will be at the college’s Clearwater campus to announce a second round of Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants, which are meant to foster partnerships between community colleges and local employers to promote skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math occupations.

RICK SCOTT WORKING ON RE-ELECTION by Jerome Stockfish of the Tampa Tribune

Scott and his team “are definitely in active campaign mode, and they’re actively engaged in an image makeover for this governor,” said Aubrey Jewett, a political scientist at the University of Central Florida.

Jewett recalled a line from Scott’s first State of the State speech in which the governor said making tough budget choices and promoting job growth would not make him “most popular,” but would make Florida “most likely to succeed.”

“Maybe you don’t have to be ‘most popular,’ but if you’re running for governor, you’d at least like to be liked by 50 percent of the voters,” Jewett said.

“He and his team began to shift a little bit and realize they needed to have an image makeover,” Jewett said. “You did begin to see that here in year two (of Scott’s term), and certainly, we’ve seen it more in the last several months, where he’s trying to listen more, and not be so dogmatic.”

SCOTT: “7-7-7″ PLAN ALIVE AND WELL

Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday his “7-7-7″ plan is alive and well as he pointed to private job gains while vowing to continue separate quests to bolster education funding and cut corporate taxes, reports Michael Peltier of the News Service of Florida.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting with the Cabinet, Scott dismissed reports that unemployed Floridians are exhausting benefits without finding work and that much of the drop in unemployment is due to a shrinking workforce.

The governor instead said he’s focused on the creation of 130,000 private sector jobs since he took office, a figure that puts him on the mark to reach his goal of 700,000 jobs in seven years, the litmus test for his campaign mantra.

“Absolutely, no question,” Scott said when asked if he would reach that goal.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Sure, I’ve thought about it, but right now I’m just focused on the presidential race, Congress, and even important races like school board and water conservation. Anybody who decides to run will have to make personal and family considerations, and fundraising. But one thing we do know is we have a failed governorship.” — Alex Sink, in a profile by the Tampa Tribune‘s Joe Henderson.

GALLUP: FLORIDA AMONG WORST STATES TO LIVE IN

A new Gallup poll shows Alabama, Florida and Mississippi will be among the top 10 worst states to live in over the next five years. The survey was based on 13 factors including clean water, work environment, economy, obesity, job prospects, number of smokers and safe places to exercise.

FLORIDA CHAMBER NAMES DAVID CHRISTIAN VP OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

The Florida Chamber of Commerce today named veteran government affairs professional David M. Christian as Vice President of Government Affairs.

Christian is a veteran public policy professional. His 20-year career has included serving as Vice President of Public Affairs, Policy and Communications with Verizon Communications, Communications Manager for the United States Telecommunications Association during the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and serving as Deputy Press Secretary for Congressman Nicholas Mavroules.

“We’re pleased to add David Christian to our seasoned governmental affairs team and our effective political operations program spearheaded by Marian Johnson,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Political Operations.

JACKSONVILLE TO HIRE MILITARY LOBBYIST PAID FOR WITH STATE GRANT via Timothy Gibbons of the Florida Times-Union

Jacksonville will be hiring a Washington,D.C.-based lobbyist to advocate for the city getting more ships, personnel and other assets, the city said in a release.

The position will be paid for by a $95,000 Defense Reinvestment Grant from the state economic development organization, Enterprise Florida.

Jacksonville is one of 11 recipients splitting the $850,000 grant. Okaloosa County, home to Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, will get $125,000 the biggest piece of the grant.

PERSONNEL NOTE: BREWSER BROWN TO HEAD CAPITOL RESOURCES’S NEW FLORIDA OFFICE

Former Jeb Bush adviser Brewser Brown will head up Capitol Resources LLC’s new Florida office, reports the News Service of Florida.

In addition to advising Bush on education, Brown was chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan, a policy advisor in the education commissioner’s office, and has also worked for the Republican Party. Early in his career, Brown worked in the first George Bush administration and on the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1988. Capitol Resources is based in Jackson, Mississippi, and is headed up by Clare Hester and Haley Barbour’s nephew Henry Barbour.

AMERICAN AIRLINES LAYING OFF 1,414 FLORIDA-BASED WORKERS

Fort Worth-based American Airlines on Tuesday announced it may lay off 1,414 employees in Florida beginning Nov. 16. The layoff notice comes eight days after American Eagle, a regional carrier and an American Airlines subsidiary, gave notice to 146 employees that they may be out of work. The potential layoffs are the latest sign of belt tightening for the air carrier that filed for bankruptcy reorganization in November 2011. The Miami Herald reported that the bulk of layoffs will occur at the airline’s Miami hub. The layoff notice, filed with the Department of Economic Opportunity on Tuesday, includes 668 fleet service clerks and crew chiefs, 323 mechanics, 174 plant maintenance workers and 102 airport agents.

PROGRESS ENERGY TAKES ON DUKE ENERGY’S NAME

Say goodbye to Progress Energy Florida. Come April 2013, the name of the state’s second largest utility officially changes to Duke Energy. In an announcement promoting the company’s new logo design, Duke Energy said it would roll out its new look and combined name in all of its units across its six-state service territory in the first and second quarters of 2013.

***Are you tired of getting your ASSETS TAXED OFF? Amendment 4 can help. Join the movement at TaxYourAssetsOff.com or check us out on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.***

GATOR-CENTRIC TWEET OF THE DAY: @ChrisDorworth: @TimTebow hasn’t ruled out a run for office.  Come to a FL team and we’ll find a seat for you #gogators

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the godfather of Florida’s netroots, Kenneth Quinnell.

WORTH READING43*: When Gore Beat Bush – A Political Fable by Jeff Greenfield.

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