Sunburn for 9/28 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

By on September 28, 2012

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

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BIG BIRTHDAY WEEKEND for several of Florida’s political pros, including David Bishop, Brian Graham and Steve Schale.

OBAMA LANDSLIDE? ROMNEY COMEBACK?

Nate Silver says there “looks to be about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Romney will win, but also about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Obama will actually beat his 2008 margin in the popular vote. The smart money is on an outcome somewhere in the middle – as it has been all year. But if you can conceive of a Romney comeback – and you should account for that possibility – you should also allow for the chance that things could get really out of hand, and that Mr. Obama could win in a borderline landslide.”

OBAMA CAMPAIGN RELEASES TWO MINUTE AD via Nora McAlvanah of FLDemocracy2012.com

The Obama campaign is launching a two-minute television ad in Florida and six other swing states, highlighting the president’s plan to restore “economic patriotism.”

The president speaks directly to camera and promotes an economic plan he says will create one million manufacturing jobs, cut oil imports and hire thousands of new teachers.

“If I could sit down with you, in your living room or around the kitchen table, here’s what I’d say,” Obama says at the start of the spot.

OBAMA CAMPAIGN HAS TWICE THE STAFF AT SAME COST AS ROMNEY’S via The Los Angeles Times

The Romney campaign spent $4.04 million on payroll in August — nearly twice as much as it spent in July — while the Obama campaign spent $4.37 million … the Obama campaign had 901 people on its payroll last month, and paid them a median salary of $3,074 a month, or $36,886 a year. … The Romney campaign, in contrast, had 403 people on its payroll, and paid them a median salary of $6,437 in August, which would mean $77,250 a year.

WHY I REFUSE TO VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA by Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic

Tell certain liberals and progressives that you can’t bring yourself to vote for a candidate who opposes gay rights, or who doesn’t believe in Darwinian evolution, and they’ll nod along. Say that you’d never vote for a politician caught using the n-word, even if you agreed with him on more policy issues than his opponent, and the vast majority of left-leaning Americans would understand. But these same people cannot conceive of how anyone can discern Mitt Romney’s flaws, which I’ve chronicled in the course of the campaign, and still not vote for Obama.

Don’t they see that Obama’s transgressions are worse than any I’ve mentioned?

I don’t see how anyone who confronts Obama’s record with clear eyes can enthusiastically support him. I do understand how they might concluded that he is the lesser of two evils, and back him reluctantly, but I’d have thought more people on the left would regard a sustained assault on civil liberties and the ongoing, needless killing of innocent kids as deal-breakers.

PROVISIONAL BALLOTS COULD BE HANGING CHADS OF 2012 via the Associated Press

New voting laws in key states could force a lot more voters to cast provisional ballots this election, delaying results in close races for days while election officials scrutinize ballots and campaigns wage legal battles over which ones should get counted.

New laws in competitive states like Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could leave the outcome of the presidential election in doubt — if the vote is close — while new laws in Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee could delay results in state or local elections.

Some new laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls are still being challenged in court, adding to the uncertainty as the Nov. 6 election nears.

“It’s a possibility of a complete meltdown for the election,” said Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida.

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FLA. ASSOC. OF COUNTIES, LEAGUE OF CITIES ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN AGAINST AMENDMENT 4

Officials at the Florida League of Cities (FLC) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) today announced the formation of a grassroots campaign aimed at alerting voters to the hidden costs of Amendment 4 — a proposed change to Florida’s constitution, which will appear on ballots this November.

“Amendment 4 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Bryan Desloge, President of the Florida Association of Counties and a Leon County Commissioner. “If passed, Amendment 4 will mean that property taxes for Florida homeowners who have lived in their homes for several years may go up in order to subsidize tax breaks for non-residents and real estate investors.”

>>>FAC, FLC using smart domain name for their campaign: TaxBreaks4Snowbirds.com.

OPPONENTS TO ANTI-ABORTION AMENDMENT RELEASE ADS LINKING CAMPAIGN TO RICK SCOTT by Tia Mitchell of the Tampa Bay Times

Progress Florida has released its first round of ads linked to the “Vote No on 6” campaign that urges voters to reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate privacy rights that protect a woman’s right to chose to abort a fetus.

Two of the four ads that surfaced today either mention or depict Gov. Rick Scott and characterize him as trying to interfere in a woman’s health. … One of the ads shows a picture of a woman’s legs with the text: “Does Rick Scott belong here?” Another shows three pictures: one of a female doctor, one of Scott, one of a kitten. “Who do you trust with your most personal health care decisions?”

FLA. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS: ‘NO’ ON ALL 11 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS via Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post

 The League of Women Voters of Florida is advising voters to shoot down all 11 proposed constitutional amendments placed on the November ballot by the legislature.

“From beginning to end, these amendments are bad ideas,” Florida league president Deirdre Macnab told reporters in a telephone conference today. “We are strongly opposing all of the 11 amendments on the ballots and we are encouraging voters to give them a thumbs down.”

DAN WEBSTER TO STUMP FROM THE TRUCK via the Orlando Sentinel

U.S. Rep. Dan Webster has run a low-key re-election campaign so far, but a rally on Friday signals a change in intensity for the mild-mannered Republican from Winter Garden.

Webster will kick off his “F-150 Tour” at 5:30 p.m. in Leesburg, where he’ll speak to supporters at the corner of North 14th Avenue and Main Street from the bed of his 14-year-old pickup. Webster will distribute campaign signs and other materials, and enlist volunteers.

DCCC PULLS TV MONEY OUT OF BUCHANAN VS. FITZGERALD via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats in Washington have scrapped a planned $230,000 ad buy on behalf of Keith Fitzgerald, the Democrat challenging Rep. Vern Buchanan, a sign the incumbent Republican is in stronger position after being cleared in some ethics cases.

Roll Call reported that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had reserved $229,800 of air time in the Tampa market but yanked it Wednesday along with other moves.

Buchanan’s campaign e-mail on Thursday: “BREAKING: National Democrats Cancel TV Ads in FL-16.”

DID FITZGERALD OVERSTATE INVESTIGATIONS IN NEW AD? by Jeremy Wallace of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Republicans are jumping on Sarasota Democrat Keith Fitzgerald for his new television commercial that they say misleads voters into believing U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is still under investigation by federal agencies when he is not.

“Buchanan is NOT under federal investigation,” Buchanan spokesman Max Goodman stated in an email sent to reporters yesterday. “Buchanan has been cleared of all charges by the Department of Justice.”

PROTESTERS DISRUPT ALLEN WEST EVENT

Protesters rented a hotel room to crash an outdoor Allen Westevent at Pirates Cove Resort & Marina from their balcony above, prompting beer, ice cube and even salt shaker tossing before sheriff’s deputies escorted the protesters off the property Wednesday night.

The congressman was six minutes into his campaign speech on Pirates Cove’s outside pool deck when four protesters emerged from a hotel room onto their balcony overlooking the event. Stand Up Florida protesters shouted out garbled messages and unfurled a banner that read “Allen West is out of touch, Allen West is out of office.”

… Before the crowd started booing loudly, Andrew Mina, Martin County field director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, tugged the banner down.

That started about a four-minute exchange with more protesters shouting over a microphone. West supporters kept booing and tossed water, ice cubes, beer and a couple of middle fingers at the balcony inhabitants.

Water and beer also showered down from the balcony. The protesters said it was splash-back from projectiles thrown from the crowd on the ground. However; a few West supporters said they saw protesters toss them down. At one point, an elderly West supporter cocked back his arm to hurl a glass salt shaker upward, but could only throw it a few feet before it shattered on the ground.

NEW AD FROM FLA. DEMS KNOCKS BOGDANOFF ON VOUCHERS

The Florida Democratic Party has released a new ad, “Control,” highlighting what it describes as “how Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff cut funding for education and supports a extreme voucher scheme that will drain millions from our local public schools and give our tax dollars to out of state corporations who are trying to profit off our children’s education.”

The ad is airing on major TV stations.

“When Republicans like Ellyn Bogdanoff weren’t cutting billions of dollars from our education system, they were supporting a voucher scheme that drains millions of our tax dollars from our local public schools and gives our money to out of state corporations who want to profit off our children’s education,” said Scott Arceneaux, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director. “Strong public schools are the pathway to growing our economy and helping middle class families succeed — but our schools are suffering because the GOP and Bogdanoff put corporations and out of state companies ahead of parents, teachers, and our students. That’s a bad plan for Florida’s middle class families, a bad plan for our schools, and a reckless and fiscally irresponsible way to waste our tax dollars.”

IN HD 34, NANCY ARGENZIANO GETS CAMPAIGN CHECKS FROM ALEX SINK, PAULA DOCKERY

Former lawmaker Nancy Argenziano is getting swamped financially in her independent bid to return to the House. But new campaign-finance reports via the News Service of Florida show she has received $500 from former state Chief Financial Officer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink and a total of $1,000 from Sen. Paula Dockery, and Dockery’s husband, C.C. “Doc” Dockery.

Also, the reports show Argenziano has received contributions from labor groups, such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

Nevertheless, Argenziano’s Republican opponent in House District 34, Rep. Jimmie Smith of Inverness, holds a dominating lead in raising money. Smith collected $79,665 between Aug. 10 and Sept. 14, giving him an overall total of $180,387. Argenziano raised $10,208 during the period and reported a total of $15,603.

IN HD 47, BOB BROOKS DWARFING LINDA STEWART IN RAISING MONEY

Former Rep. Bob Brooks raised $69,942 between Aug. 10 and Sept. 14, widening his financial edge over former Orange County Commissioner Linda Stewart in House District 47, newly filed reports show. Brooks, an Orlando Republican, has collected a total of $207,811. Stewart raised $13,660 during the period, bringing her overall amount to $50,916.

REPUBLICANS BEGIN ADVERTISING FOR MARCO PENA IN HD 49 by Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel

The Republican Party of Florida has launched a television ad promoting Marco Pena, who is running against Democrat Joe Saunders in House District 49, an open seat in Orange County.

Pena sounds almost as if he is running against Tallahassee — in an ad paid for by the party that controls Tallahassee. … Among other promises, Pena vows in the spot to “put the brakes on education cuts,” such as the $1.4 billion cut the Legislature and Rick Scott imposed in 2011. Watch here.

ELECTIONS COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST REP. SHAWN HARRISON…

Hillsborough County resident Sam Perrone has filed a series of election complaints against incumbent Republican State Representative Shawn Harrison for allegedly misrepresenting the endorsement of a local firefighters union.

”In the September 2012 edition of Palms Magazine, an advertisement by Shawn Harrison claims that he was Endorsed by the International Association of Firefighters,” reads the complaint. “However, his opponent, Mark Danish, was endorsed by the IAFF in August. This ad is a blatant misrepresentation of the IAFF. He is claiming to have an endorsement that he was not given. This is a clear violation of chapter 106.143(4).”

HARRISON SAYS HE WAS GIVEN PERMISSION TO USE FIREFIGHTERS’ LOGO

Harrison says he was given permission to use the logo of the Tampa Firefighters, but stopped using it after he learned of the union’s endorsement of his opponent.

“You have our permission to use our union logo prior to our official endorsement as we are ins support of Amendment 9,” reads a July 1 email from Jace Kohan of the Tampa Firefighters Local 754.

That official endorsement of Harrison’s opponent, Democrat Mark Danish, was made public when Danish posted it on his campaign website.

“I have been in five elections and always had the firefighters’ endorsement,” said Rep. Harrison. “Needless to say I was stunned when I was not even interviewed by them and found out about their “official” endorsement on my opponent’s website on September 5.”

HD 68 CANDIDATE DWIGHT DUDLEY TO HOST PRESSER TODAY TO DISCUSS “FARKAS FEE”

Dwight Dudley, Democratic candidate for in House District 68, will host a press conference on Friday to discuss the negative impact of the advance nuclear fee on small businesses. 11:30 a.m. at Williams Park in St. Pete.

WALKING THIS WEEKEND

Senate District 21 candidate Denise Grimsley — Meeting at 9:00 a.m. at the Bob Evans on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland.

House District 30 candidate Scott Plakon — Meeting at 9:45 a.m. at 220 State Road 436 in Casselberry.

House District 71 candidate Jim Boyd – Meeting at 9:45 a.m. at Beachway Plaza in Bradenton.

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ORLANDO-BASED DARDEN RESTAURANTS INCREASES PAC DONATIONS TO 684K

Darden Restaurants is seeking to widen its influence in Washington, funneling four times as much money to congressional candidates and political parties as it did four years ago. Its political-action committee has contributed $684,000 so far in this two-year election cycle. In 2008, the PAC disbursed $159,700. Two years ago, that grew to just more than $400,000. The Orlando-based company’s contributions reflect a growing desire to become more influential in national politics, Darden leaders say.

DISNEY WORLD ‘FLEXING ITS BICEPS’ IN FLA. ELECTIONS by Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel

Walt Disney World has spent nearly $2.5 million on political candidates and causes in Florida so far this election cycle, according to an Orlando Sentinel review of state records, as the giant resort attempts to influence elections from the Keys to the Panhandle.

Disney’s political spending in Florida has ballooned to unprecedented levels: It has spent nearly twice as much money as it had at this same point during the 2010 elections, and it has spent about six times as much as it did during the entire 2008 cycle.

Nearly 90 cents of every dollar that Disney has spent on Florida campaigns in this election has gone to Republican candidates or Republican-leaning interest groups, according to the Sentinel’s analysis. Republicans control the Governor’s Office and Florida Legislature.

JOBS AGENCY SPENDS $750K ON NEW WEBSITES via Gray Rohrer of the Florida Current

Since 2010, the state agency that is the main portal for unemployment benefits claims has worked on overhauling the former Agency for Workforce Innovation’s website, on creating a content management system to manage jobless claims, and to incorporate the newly formed Department of Economic Opportunity with two former agencies. The cost is close to $750,000 so far.

DEO and its legacy department, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, entered into five contracts with Infinity Software Developmentbetween June 2010 and December 2011 for work on the project. The contracts did not go through a competitive bid process but are instead classified as “staff augmentation,” a category that allows an agency to bolster its existing personnel with employees from a private company.

LEGISLATIVE LEADERS COULD CALL TIME-OUT ON GAMBLING ISSUES via the News Service of Florida

Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz and incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford want to develop a comprehensive policy that would include issues such as the state’s gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Internet cafes, slot machines at pari-mutuel facilities and the possibility of allowing resort casinos. The Sun-Sentinel quoted Weatherford as saying the state needs to look at the issues “more holistically.” Proposals to allow resort casinos in South Florida helped fuel a major debate about gambling issues during this year’s legislative session. But the casino proposals failed to pass, as did other issues such as trying to ban or regulate Internet cafes.

>>>I wrote last month that the Speaker Designate needed to find his “Weatherford-goes-to-China” moments, such as with gambling issues. Read my post here.

***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.***

DRUDGE REPORT HITS 1 BILLION MONTHLY VIEWS MARK: Intermarkets, Inc., a [Reston-based] full-service digital advertising firm, announced … that the Drudge Report set an all-time record of 1 billion page views. Intermarkets is the exclusive ad sales representative for the Drudge Report. … ‘Political campaigns, issue advocacies, and advertising agencies are particularly interested in reaching Drudge Report readers,’ said Intermarkets Chief Operating Officer Will Trommelen. ‘Election Day 2008 proved to be one of the biggest one-day draws for visitors to the Drudge Report.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: USF St. Petersburg political science professor Dr. Seth McKee will speak on voter suppression Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. at the USFSP Nelson Poynter Memorial Library. The lecture, titled “Democracy Under Siege? An Assessment of Contemporary Voter Suppression,’’ will be held in honor of Banned Books Week. It is free and open to the public.

MEDIA NOTE: Each of Tampa Bay’s broadcast TV stations were running approximately 200 political ads a day in August. That’s one hour and forty minutes of just political advertising every twenty four hours of programming.

WTFU!: As only he can do, Samuel L. Jackson urges voters to support President Obama. Watch here.

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