Sunburn for 6/28 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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


The not-too-political happy hour will be at the usual location: Cassis American Brasserie on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg. The special guest is Representative Kathleen Peters.

The event is sponsored by the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. For more information, click here.

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The Senate has voted 68-to-32 to pass an immigration reform bill drawn up by a bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that included Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who in an emotional closing argument told the tale of his Cuban-born parents and their assimilation into America.

Rubio spoke of his mother’s sorrow at John F. Kennedy‘s assassination in 1963 and her pride at the moon landing in 1969 — events that took place before she and Rubio’s late father were naturalized as U.S. citizens.

“Well before they ever became citizens, in their hearts, they had already become Americans,” said Rubio, his voice cracking. “It reminds us sometimes that we focus so much on how immigrants could change America that we forget that America has always changed immigrants even more.”

The bill has drawn fierce opposition from many conservatives and tea party activists who helped Rubio get elected in 2010 and will be crucial if he pursues the presidency in 2016. Rubio echoed the American exceptionalism theme of his 2010 stump speech as well as the Sermon On The Mount/John Winthrop/Ronald Reagan city-on-a-hill metaphor that resonates on the right.

“From a collection of people from everywhere, we became one people — the most exceptional nation in all of human history. And even with all our challenges, we remain that shining city on a hill. We are still the hope of the world,” Rubio said.

>>>Rep. Paul Ryan told Fox News that the House will not take up the Senate’s immigration bill and will instead work on its own legislation to create a “workable legal immigration system.”  

BILL NELSON STATEMENT: “Our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. So today the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that’s focused on bolstering border security while giving undocumented workers a shot at citizenship – provided they learn English, pay taxes, have no criminal record and go to the end of the line to apply.  I believe this is a balanced, bipartisan and common-sense step in the right direction.”

FLA. DEMS STATEMENT: “Today, the United States Senate took a major step forward for comprehensive, commonsense immigration reform. This bipartisan bill will make great strides in fixing our broken immigration system. Its passage in the Senate by an overwhelming majority is a victory for the American Dream, and I thank President Obama for his strong leadership in building bipartisan support for this vital issue. Our country will continue to be the destination for those seeking to make a better life for themselves. Immigrants, Dreamers, and all Americans across this country should celebrate this historic achievement. I encourage every single one of Florida’s Congressmen and Congresswomen to support the Senate’s bill and fix our immigration system.”

PATRICK MURPHY: “On the heels of the bill’s passage by the Senate, the House must swiftly take up this important comprehensive immigration reform bill that will not only strengthen our economy, but our nation as a whole.”

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Democrats were ebullient Wednesday with the Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage. So it seemed odd that Sen. Bill Nelson, who only recently said he supported gay marriage, did not put out a statement. We had to ask and got back something remarkably terse:

“The Supreme Court said the Constitution prohibits discrimination of lawfully wedded same-sex couples. I support this decision.”

Compare it to Sen. Marco Rubio’s really long, really nuanced statement that criticizes the decision but tries not to go too far.


While no one with a big name is stepping forward yet, three candidates have recently filed and a fourth is talking about it, to take on U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in Congressional District 9.

The district, which brought the firebrand-liberal Grayson back to Congress in 2012 after he won in another district in 2008, then lost re-election there in 2010, is solidly Democratic but has a strong Hispanic base.

None of the filed candidates, Democrat Michael Patrick McKenna, and Republicans Jorge L. Bonilla Jr. and Carol Platt, has a record in Central Florida politics.

The latest to step forward for the 2014 election, Peter Vivalde, announced today he has formed an exploratory committee and will be declaring his intentions at a rally next week. Vivalde, 52, a consultant, has some local track record, having served on the Orange County Charter Review Commission and been active in other local organizations such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.


Graham, candidate in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, carried on her father’s workday legacy with her second workday on the Alford Family Farm in Jackson County.  

Eugene and Liz Alford own the Alford Family Farm, and run it with help from their son Tim. This season they’re growing peanuts and cotton. Gwen’s job for the day was helping to pull weeds from the peanut plants – a critical task when the crop is young. 

It wasn’t your typical day on the campaign trail. After Graham’s full shift of work, she left the farm with her clothes covered in dirt, her face sunburnt and her hands blistered.

“I learned firsthand just how hard North Florida farmers work,” Graham said. “They sweat in the fields to put food on our tables.

EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: “I’m not going to mince words” from James Carville … when does he mince words?

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will attend the Miami-Dade Reagan Day Patriot Dinner on Friday to deliver remarks. The event is open to the press. 8:00 p.m.

ASSIGNING CON’T: Scott will sign SB 1108 which allows parents of students with disabilities to have an active role in their child’s education. 9:00 a.m. Orange County Regional History Center


Scott said he will uphold the voter-approved amendment to the state Constitution in 2008 that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

“It impacted federal law, not state law,” Scott said of the high court’s 5-4 ruling. “In 2008, Florida voters amended our constitution and said that we are a traditional marriage state, that marriage is between a man and a woman. As the governor of this state, I’ll uphold the law of the land, and that’s the law of our state.”

Scott was asked whether he supports the state same-sex marriage amendment. “Look, it’s the law of the land. Voters in 2008 decided we’re going to be a traditional marriage state,” he said.

Asked whether he has reconsidered his position on the issue, Scott replied: “Look, I’ve been married since I was 19. I believe in traditional marriage.”


Scott and Education Commissioner Tony Bennett led a discussion Thursday with ‘teachers of the year’ from around the state, with the Republican governor giving them a lesson in the math of state government. 

… But as the economy has begun picking up, the past two years he has recommended an increase of more than $2 billion for schools. 

… “If we can get more employment, we get more people to move here, we’ll have more dollars,” Scott told more than three-dozen teachers gathered at the Capitol. “We do that, we’re going to have more money. And my focus will be on education.”


Gov. Scott on Thursday signed a virtual education bill meant to spur some kinds of online courses. The measure (HB 7029) aims to encourage the use of massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, in Florida schools. Out-of-state companies would be able to provide the courses under the change, and “blended” courses that include some online instruction and some classroom time would be exempt from class-size requirements. Supporters of the bill said it will help Florida adapt its education system to take advantage of new technology. But opponents criticized the measure for allowing out-of-state providers to qualify for the programs.

The bill was one of four signed Thursday by Scott. Others included a transportation measure (HB 85) that allows the use of public-private partnerships for county road projects and extends the terms for leases that the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority may enter into from 40 years to 99 years. Another bill (SB 1784) allows the Military Base Protection Program to secure non-conservation lands to serve as added buffers to protect military installations.

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First of all, Charlie doesn’t do summers. Meaning he’s knows better than to make “The Announcement” in July or August when Floridians are at the beach or summering in North Carolina.

Scratch a Labor Day event, as Crist will gladly give room to Alex Sink, who recently promised to make up her mind about running in 2014 by then.

Charlie also won’t file to run in September because that gives him only a few weeks to raise money before the third-quarter fundraising deadline. Crist knows the importance that will be placed on the fundraising report from the first period he’s a candidate and he’ll want as much time as possible to raise money.

So October 1, right? The first day of a new reporting period typically makes sense as a day for candidates to make it official. But not this year. The new campaign finance regulations enacted by the Legislature take effect on November 1 and these changes could impact Crist’s timing.

Why would he file on October 1 and spend a month asking potential donors for $500 when he can wait a month and ask them for $3,000? He shouldn’t. In fact, this change in the campaign finance laws could be the most important factor in Crist’s thinking. He has to post at least a million dollars raised in his first report (I’d say he really needs to raise $3 million in his first 90 days on the trail, but that’s for another blog post) and it’s a lot easier to ask 334 people for $3,000 checks than it is to do it as $500 a clip.

So look for Crist to file in November … wait, no, that’s too close to the holidays — a horrible time to launch a political campaign and to ask for political donations. It’s difficult to schedule events near Thanksgiving, when folks rightly have better things on their mind other than an election in 2014. It’s downright inappropriate to schedule fundraising events during the holidays when people would rather be making the Christmas party rounds than listening to political speeches. 

This pushes “The Announcement” into 2014, perhaps during the second week of January.

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Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam sits down with Sachs Media Group’s Ron Sachs to discuss the top issues facing Florida’s agriculture industry.


With the recent defeat of the Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, Putnam says Florida has a lot to lose if lawmakers don’t come to an agreement. “There is a lot of money in there, a lot of programs to support the Florida Everglades, the northern Everglades, the spring sheds, Lake Okeechobee as well as research and marketing,” Putnam tells Sachs. “They are going to have to regroup and figure out how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”

Putnam also talks about why he quietly launched his re-election campaign without making a formal announcement. “Well I’m not being so quiet about it now,” Commissioner Putnam said. “We filed paperwork toward the end of the legislative session when we were focused on the business at hand.”


The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is working to mitigate the impacts of misinformation regarding the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would level the playing field for Florida retailers who collect sales tax.  Among Act opponents is Rep. Ron DeSantis, who has frequently stated his concern to the legislation in the media.

DeSantis and others have suggested that small businesses with an online presence will have to devote substantial or even prohibitive resources to comply with new, burdensome requirements; yet in truth, the Act exempts small businesses as well as sellers with less than $1,000,000 in remote sales annually.  Further, DeSantis has claimed that the legislation will burden online businesses with having to comply with about 9,600 different taxing jurisdictions in the US and open businesses up to audits from other states.

In actuality, the Act is designed to make multistate collection easy, with states providing free software for managing complains and holding retailers harmless for errors that result from these systems. Further, there is no business exposure to state audits while using these systems.  The e-fairness legislation is pending in the US House.


It isn’t surprising that the US Department of Labor, in their article accompanying the May unemployment data release, chose to highlight the fact that unemployment fell in half of US states that month. “Not until paragraph 11 did the article mention that the national unemployment rate rose during May, and that was buried as a single sentence within a paragraph touting more jobs added to the economy,” writes James Taylor of Media Trackers.

But whatever, that’s just a national agency with self-interest talking, not the impartial press… right? Nope. Apparently the media took a similar tack when covering the news that national unemployment rose from 7.5 to 7.6 percent in May, while Florida’s rate dropped from 7.2 to 7.1 percent.  According to Taylor, media outlets painted the two stats in a peculiar way: congratulating the national shifts while poopooing Florida’s progress. The uptick in national unemployment was described as positive and “for a good reason” by the Associated Press, who suggested that it implied more Americans feeling confident that they could find work and beginning to seek jobs.  Yet in asimultaneous article, the AP described Florida’s improvement negatively, describing how it could be a reflection of fewer actual jobs in the state, or people leaving the labor force.

“The Tampa Bay Times and many other state media outlets joined the Associated Press criticizing the decline in Florida unemployment,” writes Taylor. “Since Scott took office, the unemployment rate in Florida has … fallen faster than in any other state in the nation. Nevertheless, the Times article described Florida’s unemployment rate and economic situation as ‘Jekyll-and-Hyde’ and ‘murky’ while masking a ‘darker side to the recovery’.”

Florida’s jobs rating may in fact be impacted by the size of the labor force, etc., but then the same for national jobs.  If an uptick in unemployment nationally means people are feeling confident and excited to reenter the job market, certainly this would also be true in Florida.  Seems like the vocabulary of unemployment reporting is more “murky” than the numbers themselves.

SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST INSURER IN PIP DISPUTE via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida

In a blow to the insurance industry, a divided Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Geico could not require a woman to give a statement under oath as a condition of receiving injury benefits after an auto accident. The 5-2 ruling found that Florida’s personal-injury protection laws in the past did not allow the insurer to place such a requirement on plaintiff Merly Nunez and other people like her, calling it “unreasonable and unnecessary.” The majority pointed out that a goal of the PIP, or no-fault, system is to resolve injury claims quickly. The ruling, written by Justice James E.C. Perry, said the Nunez case and other examples show that enforcing such conditions “clearly can and do cause delay and denial of benefits in contravention of the purpose of the PIP statute.” Joining Perry in the opinion were justices Jorge Labarga, R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince. 

Nunez, who had a policy with Geico, was injured in a September 2008 car accident and alleged she was denied coverage because she failed to attend the examination under oath, according to court records. She filed a class-action lawsuit in 2009. A federal district judge granted Geico’s request to dismiss the case, prompting an appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. But the appeals court last year said Florida law was unclear and asked the state Supreme Court to clarify the issue.

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The Florida Medical Association has named Sen. Tom Lee and Rep. Matt Gaetz as their 2013 Legislators of the Year for their exceptional contributions to medicine in the legislative arena. Lee and Gaetz were each instrumental in the passage of the FMA’s priority medical liability reform bill, which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on June 5, making it possible to correct gross imbalances in Florida’s tort system by ensuring fairness in the use of medical expert witnesses. Lee and Gaetz will be honored on Saturday, July 27 at the FMA PAC Good Government Luncheon during the 2013 Annual Meeting in Orlando.


State Sen. Rob Bradley and his wife Jennifer left Tallahassee the morning after Sine Die, eager to return home.  The freshman from Clay County had a busy, and strong first session, where he chaired the Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, and co-chaired the corresponding budget conference.  He sponsored and passed through the Senate a measure to add dangerous compounds to the list of Schedule I controlled substances, working through the moment the bill was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

But to Bradley, the accomplishment he was most proud of, was producing “a civil and criminal justice budget that directed necessary additional resources to several proven programs for abused and at-risk children, including Guardian ad Litem and PACE Center for Girls” and doing so thanks to the “diligence and skill” of his fellow Senators and their first class committee staff.

Bradley’s collegiality was a big part of his success.

“If you told me at the beginning of session that a north Florida Republican and a south Florida Democrat were going to join forces to produce a pension reform bill, I would have been surprised,” Bradley wrote regarding the bill that he and Sen. Jeremy Ring passed out of the Senate, “After working with Senator Ring, I’m not surprised at all.  He’s an excellent public servant and a neat guy in general.”

Bradley prides himself on being in direct contact with constituents through social media, managing his own Twitter and Facebook accounts and avoiding what Sen. President Don Gaetz describes as the “echo chamber” of Tallahassee. 

“To be an effective Senator, you have to know what is on the minds of your constituents, and the only way to do that is to have an ongoing conversation with them,” Bradley writes.

This summer, Bradley will be back to being a full time dad and attorney, and bringing his son Connor — a senior in high school — on a tour of colleges. Bradley just started reading “The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court” by Jeffrey Toobin, and is “waiting patiently” for Anchorman 2.

Otherwise, he will be actively campaigning on behalf of his Senate colleagues who are on the 2014 ballot, and is eager to get back to work in September on his municipal pension reform bill that didn’t get out of the House.


The Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce has named Jason Brodeur its new president and Debbie Cotton its new Chief Operating Officer. Brodeur, the state representative for District 28, will be responsible for leading the overall growth of the chamber, including developing new regional partnerships and expanding the participation of major businesses in the chamber. Brodeur will remain in his role of state legislator while serving the Seminole County community through his new role of chamber president. Brodeur will be joining the chamber effective July 1, 2013.


The Republican Party of Florida sent an email blast Thursday going after 10 Democrats who voted against this year’s budget.

The state GOP wants to “remind” people that the $74.5 billion budget included $480 million for teacher pay raises, which the featured Democrats voted against. It comes as Gov. Rick Scott is hosting a “Teacher of the Year Summit.”

“This week, a reminder of the House Dems who put themselves in the minority of their own party by voting against governor’s budget,” the release reads.


What’s with numerous members of the South Florida Democratic delegation living outside the districts they were elected to represent, in flagrant disregard for the constitutional requirements of holding such office?  Over the past many weeks, Local 10 reporter Bob Norman has been checking in on where legislators and county commissioners say they live — and where they are actually spending their days and nights.  To Republican State Sen. Jack Latvala, Ethics Committee Chairman, this isn’t small potatoes.

“I’m inquiring on a constitutional issue, a requirement that legislators live in the district that they serve,” said Latvala. 

State Sen. Maria Sachs claims to live in a 740-square-foot apartment but really resides out of her district in a $1.5 million estate. House Minority Leader Perry Thurston claims to live with a convicted felon in a small, rundown Lauderhill home, rather than with his wife and family in their longtime two-story home in an upscale Plantation neighborhood.  Rep. Joe Gibbons, who represents Hallandale Beach, appears to live in Jacksonville with his wife and family while renting out a small condo in his House district.  Then there’s State Rep. Jared Moskowitz who won a seat in a Coral Springs district and did so by renting an apartment a few miles away from his Parkland Golf and Country Club estate, where his wife continues to live. And as it turns out — so does he.   Rep. Hazelle Rogers  the same. She rents a condo in her district, a few miles from where she actually lives.  Democratic Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness claims to live in a run-down housing unit in Lauderhill with furniture and boxes stacked to the ceiling, a realtor’s locked box on the door knob, and a refrigerator that isn’t plugged in.  And earlier this week, longtime Democratic Dania Beach Commissioner Patricia Flurry resigned when evidence surfaced that she was living in Fort Lauderdale.  Some of these lawmakers further flout the law but attempting to maintain their homestead tax exemptions while “living” elsewhere. 

***Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 Central Florida Political Leadership Institute. National political and public policy experts will lead the two and a half day program being held at the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, October 24-26, 2013. If you live within the 7-county central Florida region and interested in learning more about what it takes to run an issues-based campaign for local, state or federal office, please apply for the 25-member class by August 9. Contact PLI Director Christina Johnson for more information.***


A major Democratic primary is forming in Broward County for an open Florida House seat. With Rep. Jim Waldman facing term limits next year, former Rep. Steve Perman filed to run as a Democrat for the seat at the end of February. For four months Perman was the only candidate in the race — but a new Democratic contender has jumped in the race. Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs, who has served on the Broward County Commission since being elected in 1998, filed her paperwok to run for the House seat on Thursday.

Both Perman and Jacobs are coming off losses in the last election cycle. As he looked to win his second term in Tallahassee last year, Perman lost a Democratic primary to the man he replaced in the 2010 elections: Kevin Rader. In a rematch of their primary from 2008, Rader won again in 2012, taking 57 percent of the vote. When they battled in 2012, Perman and Rader faced a changed district. In 2012 Jacobs challenged Frankel for the Democratic nomination for an open congressional seat. Frankel easily won the primary, taking 61 percent of the vote. But Jacobs has had more than her share of triumphs, repeatedly keeping her seat on the Broward County Commission. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be a heavy favorite to win the general election. Waldman did not face any opposition in the general election in 2012.

THREE POISED TO RUN FOR HOUSE SEATS via The News Service of Florida

Three newcomers have filed paperwork during the past week to run for state House seats in 2014, including two who are looking to challenge incumbents.

Valrico Democrat Ty Hinnant on Monday took the first formal step toward running against Rep. Ross Spano in House District 59, according to the state Division of Elections website. That came after Jacksonville Republican Jon Mazzaferro last week filed paperwork to challenge Rep. Mia Jones in District 14.

Also last week, Panama City Beach Democrat Jamie Carroll Shepard joined three Republicans who earlier filed paperwork to run in House District 6. That will be an open seat, because Rep. Jimmy Patronis will face term limits in 2014. 


Governor – Democrat Nan Rich: Thanks to the GOP’s Lenny Curry, who made a great deal of hay out of the Florida Democratic Party’s snubbing of Rich at its Jefferson-Jackson gala, the South Florida Democrat has received more media attention than she could have ever garnered by herself. The question now is whether she has been able to do anything with it all or is her fifteen minutes in the sun up? No one is expecting a big haul from Rich, but if she raised enough money to keep the lights on, she can remain a factor in what will certainly be an interesting Democratic primary once Charlie Crist and/or Alex Sink declare their 2014 intentions.

Congressional District 2 – Democrat Gwen Graham: There may not be a treasurer’s report more interesting to read than Graham’s, who is challenging Steve Southerland in one of the most high-profile congressional races in the country. Like others, I am interested to see whether she has been able to tap into not only her father’s network, but that of the major, national donors. In other words, has Graham become a cause du jour for the national Democratic party? I’m also interested to see how she’s spending her money, i.e., how much does it cost to retain a consultant like Joe Trippi.

Congressional District 13 – Republican Bill Young: When Democrat Jessica Ehrlich filed for a re-match against the U.S. House’s longest-serving member, she may have done so thinking Young would not seek re-election. But what she did was awake a sleeping giant.  In May, Young told an aide (in earshot of reporter Alex Leary), “Get me geared up a year earlier.” Young raised $58,000 in the first quarter, while sources close to the campaign say that this next report will show an impressive haul.

Congressional District 26 – Democrat Joe Garcia: With all of the scandal swirling around the embattled first-term congressman, he’ll need every dollar he can muster to ward off whoever emerges as the Republican challenger. Trouble is, Garcia is almost radioactive, politically speaking, so his fundraising may died off once his chief-of-staff was implicated in voter fraud.

Senate District 1 – Republicans Matt Gaetz and Jimmy Patronis – This race isn’t even on the ballot until 2016, but it’s worth checking to see how this expected-to-be-brutal GOP primary is shaping up. Both men are already in high-gear, whether it be at fundraising (Gaetz has at least four fundraising events scheduled these last two weeks of the quarter) or social media, where the two legislative colleagues have been engaged in a running frenemy duel.

House District 6 – Three Republicans — Mark Anderson, Melissa Hagan, and Brian Rust, Jr., — have already crowded into the seat being vacated by Patronis due to term limits. Let’s see if any of them made headway with the Tallahassee lobby corps, and if so, which industries.

House District 29 – Democrat Mike Clelland and Republican Scott Plakon: Perhaps the most battleground-y of Central Florida battleground seats with Clelland coming off his upset of former Speaker Designate Chris Dorworth and Plakon still smarting from his loss to Karen Castor-Dentel. Are the fightfighters and police unions rallying around Clelland? Has Plakon been able to raise the kind of money he’s had in previous campaigns? 

House District 31 – Expect this to be one of the most competitive GOP primaries on the House side. Rep. Byron Nelson faces term limits in 2014 and three Republicans — chiropractor Randy Glisson, Terri Seefeldt, and Joseph Stephens — have already filed to run for this seat representing parts of Lake and Orange counties. The chiropractic lobby is desperate to have one of its members back in the Legislature, while Seefeldt has uber fundraiser Beth Babbington shaking the trees for her.

House District 61 – Democrats Ed Narain and Sean Shaw: Don’t look for either of these candidates’ campaign wallets to bulge with fat checks, but the race for HD 61 will be one of the more interesting primaries on the Democratic side of the aisle. Was Narain able to tap into his AT&T connections to raise some telecom cash? Was he able to snag a few checks from the insurance industry, which can’t be excited at the prospect of consumer advocate Shaw in Tallahassee? Remember, Shaw was the top fundraising non-incumbent Democrat last quarter.

House District 65 – Republican Chris Sprowls: The charismatic state prosecutor is challenging incumbent Democrat Carl Zimmermann for a seat that was held by the GOP’s Peter Nehr for three terms and trends Republican. Sprowls is closely connected to all of the right people in north Pinellas and Pasco, from Rep. Mike Fasano to the Latvala clan. He should have been able to raise a sizable warchest by now. 

House District 68 – Democrat Dwight Dudley: The first-termer is staring at the prospect of Billy Young, son of the longtime congressman, entering the race later this year. This seat — the most competitive House seat in the state over the last two decades — is currently trending slightly Democrat. But Young should be able to raise, what, a half-million dollars? Maybe more, just from the utility industry, which is already furious with Dudley. For his part, Dudley needs to bank as much money as soon as possible in preparation for what is sure to be a sizzling race.

Also keep an eye on: Senate District 22’s Jeff Brandes, SD 34’s Maria Sachs, House District 30’s Bob Cortes, and HD 120 incumbent Holly Raschein. 

ten fundraising reports I’ll be keeping an eye on as indicators of how certain candidates may fare in 2014 and beyond.

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APPOINTED:  Judge Mark W. Klingensmith to the Fourth District Court of Appeal.


More than half of Florida legislative aides say that citizens are “very important” to the lawmaking process (54.7%) according to “Communicating with the Florida Legislature,” the annual poll of legislative aides conducted by Kevin Cate Communications. 

“Don’t walk into legislative session without real people, a compelling narrative, and some data to show broad public support, especially if you’re up against big money,” said Cate. “And don’t discount the importance of newspapers and local TV – the vast majority of lawmakers consume the news there everyday.”

>>>Only 32% of lawmakers operate their own social media all of the time.

>>>78% of lawmakers read the Sayfie Review daily.

>>>Lawmakers hate robots (only 8.9% acknowledge robocalls).

>>>Public Polling is by far the most influential use of paid communications (84%).

>>>A visit from a lobbyist ranked below a visit, email, or call from a real constituent.


“CCEs seeking to accept large contributions before November 1 should consider establishing an Issue PC rather than a Candidate PC,” states Reilly, an attorney with Smith, Bryan & Myers. “Candidate PCs can make contributions to candidates but may not accept more than $500 from any contributor.  Issue PCs are prohibited from making candidate contributions but may accept unlimited contributions immediately.”

Although this distinction will be irrelevant after November 1, it would replace the 3-month fundraising blackout period to a one month period in October, during which candidate contributions are prohibited but unlimited fundraising is possible.

To make this work, Reilly continues: “Entities seeking to make candidate contributions during this time should consider postponing the termination of the CCE and maintaining sufficient funds in the CCE account to continue making candidate contributions until September 30th, when CCEs must disgorge all funds and terminate.”

Reilly acknowledges that the transition from a CCE to a PC is complex and involves a number of issues, nor does she suggest this solution as a formal legal opinion.




The Public Affairs Council ‘s new Corporate PAC Benchmarking Report confirms another recent study: that corporations are very wary of super PACs. The survey of more than 200 corporate PACs finds that 94 percent of companies do not use super PACS or have policies against them. Other key findings in the report: CEO involvement plays a big role in PAC success, online solicitations are the most effective fundraising technique, 79 percent of company CEOs contribute to their company PACs, and that company lobbyists are seen as the most influential in directing campaign contributions. Takeaways will be posted on the Council website here.

***Moffitt Cancer Center is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida. Learn more about our personalized approach to cancer treatment at either of our two locations at***

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the one and only Brendan Farrington, ace reporter for the Associated Press.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.