Sunburn â€“ The morning read of whatâ€™s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray, and Jim Rosica.
I GET OFF A CRUISE AND THE 2018 ELECTIONS GET UNDERWAYâ€¦
â€¦ at least thatâ€™s what it felt like to me as I disembarked from the Disney Magic after four wonderful days away from Sunburn (well, truth be told, thereâ€™s a patchÂ of sunburnÂ on top of my head). Two stories dominated Thursdayâ€™s Florida politics news, and while they certainly say a lot about what may happen in the year ahead, they are just as much about the 2018 elections.
Marco RubioÂ returned to Washington, D.C. and promptly put an end to speculation that he would run for re-election to the U.S. Senate or for Governor in 2018.
â€œIâ€™m not going to be anybodyâ€™s vice president. Iâ€™m just not gonna â€” Iâ€™m not interested in being vice president. I donâ€™t mean that in a disrespectful way. Iâ€™m not going to be vice president. Iâ€™m not running for governor of Florida,â€ Rubio said.
â€œIâ€™m going to finish out my term in the Senate over the next 10 months. Weâ€™re going to work really hard here and we have some things we want to achieve,â€ the one-term senator said. â€œAnd then Iâ€™ll be a private citizen in January.â€
While Rubio was taking himself out of the 2018 mix,Â Rick Scottâ€˜s office confirmed the worst kept secret in Tallahassee: chief of staffÂ Melissa SellersÂ is leaving the administrationÂ April 1.Â Sellers plans to launch a political consulting business that will work closely with Scottâ€™s political committee, Letâ€™s Get To Work.
With those twin moves â€” Rubio hanging it up and Sellers hanging out her own shingle â€” the 2018 election cycle in Florida is officially underway.
Beyond its impact for 2016, Rubioâ€™s retreatÂ means the GOP nomination for governor isÂ Adam Putnamâ€˜s to lose.Â With more than $3.3 million in his â€œFlorida Grownâ€ political committee and three decades worth of wining political campaigns, Putnam is now the de facto frontrunner for the Republicans.
But askÂ Jeb BushÂ what its liked to be tagged with the frontrunner label early on.
Florida Politics was recently told by one A-list Republican that former SpeakerÂ Will WeatherfordÂ asked they not make any firm commitments right now about the 2018 race. Does that mean Weatherford will run? Not at all, but itâ€™s no secret heâ€™s thinking about it.
Weatherfordâ€™s supporters contend he would be able to raise $10 million in his first month on the campaign trail. More important, they say, he has a message that would contrast with that of Putnam, who they point out has been in political office since he was 21.
If not Weatherford, Putnam will face a challenge from some quarter, most likely from a self-financed outsider alaÂ Rick Scott.
As for Scott, itâ€™s clear by Sellersâ€™Â decision to set up shop in Tallahassee that heâ€™s running in 2018. That may seem obvious now, but if you would have said anytime before 2015 that Scott, with his cellar-dwelling approval numbers, would be a contender in a 2018 race, youâ€™d have been laughed out of the Governors Club.
One potential candidate who says we wonâ€™t see them running in 2018 to replace Scott isÂ Pam Bondi.
Right afterÂ afterÂ Fox Newsâ€™ Neil CavutoÂ introduced her as a â€œfrontrunner, maybeâ€ for Governor, the Republican Attorney General squashed the idea.
â€œI will say on the record, I am not running for governor,â€ Bondi said. â€œIâ€™m supporting Adam Putnam who I feel, he is our Agricultural Commissioner,Â and I think heâ€™ll be a great governor for our state.â€
Put Bondi down for making the first endorsement in an election cycle more than three years away.
â€¦ BUT ENOUGH ABOUT 2018, LETâ€™S STAY FOCUSED ON 2016
MARCO RUBIO: I WONâ€™T BE ANYONEâ€™S VPÂ viaÂ Burgess Everett of POLITICOÂ â€“Â RubioÂ ruled out becoming a vice presidential candidate â€¦Â â€œClearly,Â TedÂ [Cruz]â€™s positions are conservative, but I donâ€™t have anything further to elaborate on. I donâ€™t have anything to announce,â€ Rubio said â€¦ â€œHopefully thereâ€™s still time to prevent a Trump nomination, which I think would fracture the party and be damaging to the conservative movement.â€ But Rubio ruled out a â€œunity ticketâ€ as vice president to Cruz â€” or to anyone else, for that matter: â€œIâ€™m not going to be anybodyâ€™s vice president.â€ Rubio said he will throw himself headlong back into a job that he all but abandoned months ago.
RUBIO NEARS TED CRUZ ENDORSEMENTÂ viaÂ Marc Caputo of POLITICOÂ â€”Â Rubio is close to endorsing Ted Cruz, but the two proud senatorsÂ â€¦Â have some details to work out first.Â Cruz has to ask for the Rubioâ€™s endorsement, and both sides need to decide that it will make a difference, according to sources familiar with the thinking of both senators.
CLUES IN DONALD TRUMPâ€™S FLORIDA DOMINATION ABOUT THE GENERAL ELECTIONÂ viaÂ Matt Dixon and Marc Caputo of POLITICO FloridaÂ â€“ The turnout numbers fromÂ Trumpâ€™s 19-point victory indicate the New York billionaireâ€™s pugilistic, anti-establishment rhetoric helped expand the Republican electorate, but the ramifications of that as the campaign transitions from primary to general election remain the subject of dissection by political pros of all partisan persuasions. â€œI donâ€™t deny heâ€™s bringing in new people, but itâ€™s being offset by the people who are coming in to vote against him and the people who are already here who donâ€™t support him,â€ saidÂ Tim Miller, who served as communication director for Jeb Bushâ€™s presidential campaign and is now spokesman for Our Principles, the anti-Trump super PAC. Exit pollsÂ TuesdayÂ night showed an average of 38 percent of the Republican voters in the five states where primaries were held, including Florida, said they would consider voting for a third party candidate if Trump won the GOP nomination.
DISHEARTENED POLITICIANS BACKING RUBIO NOT READY TO MOVE ON TO DONALD TRUMPÂ viaÂ Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay TimesÂ â€“ â€œIt is very difficult for me to seeÂ RubioÂ move on,â€ state Rep.Â Julio GonzalezÂ â€¦ a member of Rubioâ€™s Florida leadership team, said. â€œI feel Marco had the best qualities of any of the other 17 candidates that had put themselves out there. All of the rest of the candidates are seriously flawed.â€ Heâ€™s hardly alone. More than a half-dozen members of Rubioâ€™s leadership team in Florida said over the last 48 hours that they are not ready to unite behindÂ Trump, with many leaving open the possibility of never getting behind him and holding out a glimmer of hope that a contested Republican National Convention could revive Rubioâ€™s chances. For those running for re-election and facing Republican primaries in the fall, supporting Trump or not has consequences that could affect their own races. Rather than committing, many are just staying out of the discussion all together.
DAVID JOLLY, TODD WILCOX TRADE JABS OVER â€œINSIDERâ€ POLITICIAN CLAIMSÂ viaÂ Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay TimesÂ â€“ With Floridaâ€™s presidential primary all of 38 hours in the rearview mirror, Florida U.S. Senate candidates are now ready to take center stage. That was clearÂ â€¦Â whenÂ JollyÂ tried to ignite a mini-Twitter feud with fellow RepublicanÂ WilcoxÂ over who is the insider candidate in an election year that has so far been defined by who is the outsider candidate. Just beforeÂ 9 a.m.Â Jolly started the skirmish accusing Wilcox of lifting parts of GOP presidential candidateÂ John Kasichâ€˜s budget plan and adopting it as his own. In a series of tweets, Jolly says Wilcox cannot take and â€œinsidersâ€ budget plan and call it an outsider plan. Wilcox, a businessman, fired back, making sure to note that Jolly is a congressman and a â€œWashington Politicianâ€ and even includes a little dig on being a K-Street insider.
TWEET, TWEET: @GoMeteoric:Â Leave it to a Lobbyist/Congressman to mock balancing the budget and giving tax relief.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: The Tiger Bay Club of Tampa will host a town hall debate betweenÂ JollyÂ andÂ WilcoxÂ beginningÂ noonÂ at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center, 1610 North Tampa St. next to Stetson Law School. More information and RSVP atÂ www.tigerbay.com.
CARLOS BERUFF SAYS HIS BUSINESS HISTORY IS WHY HE WOULD BE GOOD FOR SENATEÂ viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“ At a meeting of the NW Orange Republican Women Federated â€¦ Senate hopefulÂ BeruffÂ outlined why he would be right for the job. [He spoke] about his upbringing and business acumen. His family immigrated from Cuba to the U.S. in 1957, after a failed attack on the presidential palace in Havana. â€œMy mother was the only woman conspirator in that pack,â€ he said. â€œShe ran an exile to Miami, where I was born in 1958. I got the lottery ticket to be an American citizen that day. My brother and sister were both born in Havana. Two years we went back to Cuba, thinking Fidel Castro was gonna be a great guy. That didnâ€™t work out too well.â€ Beruff said his record of creating businesses and jobs as a homebuilder in Manatee County convinced him he could do the same on a larger scale in the Senate. â€œIâ€™ve created jobs, Iâ€™ve stimulated the economy, and Iâ€™ve built a business,â€ he said. â€œI can do that for the nation.â€
CARLOS LOPEZ-CANTERA PLANS â€˜FLORIDA FIRSTâ€™ CAMPAIGN SWINGÂ viaÂ Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida PoliticsÂ â€“ The Republican Senate hopeful will kick off his â€œFlorida First Tourâ€Â April 4Â â€¦ the tour will giveÂ Lopez-CanteraÂ a chance to meet with Floridians to talk about job creation, economic opportunity, education and veteransâ€™ services.
â€”Â â€œPatrick Murphy announces endorsement of 45 congressional Democratsâ€ via POLITICO
WHO WILL REPLACE JEFF MILLER?Â viaÂ WillÂ Isern of the Pensacola News-JournalÂ â€“Â As the political dominoes begin to fall followingÂ Millerâ€˜s announcement that he will not seek re-election, several names are being floated as potential candidates to replace the outgoing congressman â€¦ The nameÂ mentioned more than others is that of state Sen.Â Greg EversÂ â€¦ If Evers does announce a run for Millerâ€™s seat, it would open up a three-way race among the local state representatives to fill his Senate seat. State Reps.Â Clay Ingram,Â Mike HillÂ andÂ Doug BroxsonÂ â€¦ Would announce for Eversâ€™ seat should he run for Congress. One name that can be ruled out of contention for Millerâ€™s seat is state Sen.Â Don Gaetz, who announced on that he would not run. â€¦Â Matt Gaetz, however, is expected to announce for Millerâ€™s seat â€¦ Other names being floated are Escambia County Supervisor of ElectionsÂ David Stafford, and Pensacola MayorÂ Ashton Hayward. If Evers does announce and the three representatives all vie for his seat, Pensacola Republican power brokerÂ Jim ReevesÂ says a slew of new faces are likely to emerge to run for the state House â€¦ electrical engineerÂ Scott AdamsÂ and Escambia Republican Executive Committee memberÂ Jeremy EvansÂ to contend for Ingramâ€™s District 1 seat â€¦Â Frank White, son-in-law ofÂ Sandy Sansing, would run for Hillâ€™s District 2 seat; and Santa Rosa County CommissionerÂ Jayer WilliamsonÂ would purseÂ Doug Broxsonâ€˜s District 3 seat.
CORRINE BROWN FUNDRAISES FOR IMPENDING â€œCOURT BATTLEâ€Â viaÂ AG Gancarski of Florida PoliticsÂ â€“ This canâ€™t be a good sign â€¦ â€œFriends of CongresswomanÂ Corrine BrownÂ 2016â€ is raising money for an impending legal battle. Itâ€™s not anything to do with One Door for Education. Rather, itâ€™s a more familiar fight. Brown writes, â€œas you probably know, Iâ€™m in the fight of my political life. Bullies have played a dirty trick to force me out of office by redrawing my Congressional district to cover a largely rural area of north Florida and include 22 prisons, and convicted felons canâ€™t vote â€¦ This dirty trick would prevent me from representing so many of the Florida communities I love. Before I took office no African-American in Florida had never been elected to Congress.â€
FOUR ST. PETERSBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ENDORSE CHARLIE CRISTÂ viaÂ Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay TimesÂ â€“Â Darden Rice,Â Jim Kennedy,Â Karl NurseÂ andÂ Lisa Wheeler-BrownÂ threw their support behindÂ Crist, who is currently battling former Obama administration officialÂ Eric LynnÂ for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District. Crist, said Rice, was the right candidate to cut through the â€œobstructionâ€ and â€œpartisan battlesâ€ in Washington, D.C. The former governor is non-partisan, cooperative and listens to people, said Kennedy. He supports education and environmental progress, said Nurse. And, perhaps, most interestingly, Crist, a veteran politician whose public career stretches back nearly 25 years, represents a fresh face for the nationâ€™s capital, said Wheeler-Brown.
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â€” MORE FROM THE 2016 CAMPAIGN TRAIL â€”
SAVE THE DATE: Friends of Florida AgricultureÂ isÂ hosting a barbecue eventÂ Saturday, April 2, honoringÂ PutnamÂ and featuring Republican U.S. Senate candidatesÂ Ron DeSantis,Â Lopez-CanteraÂ andÂ Wilcox. Event beginsÂ 12 p.m.Â at the Ben Hill Griffinâ€™s Peace River Ranch, 1445 Ben Hill Griffin Road in Zolfo Springs. Tickets are $25 per person, $50 per family (kids come free), and are available atÂ www.Floridagrown.eventbright.com. RSVP withÂ Julie FazekasÂ at RSVP@AdamPutnam.com orÂ (863) 537-7001.
RITCH WORKMAN NOT LEAVING STATE SENATE RACE â€” NO MATTER WHAT MIKE HARIDOPOLOS IS SAYINGÂ viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“Â Workman, term-limited from running again for the Florida House, says the former Senate President is contacting political allies in Tallahassee and in the newly-renumbered SD 17 floating his possible candidacy in the race and, to Workmanâ€™s chagrin, saying Workman intends to drop out of the race. Workman [said]Â HaridopolosÂ is free to jump into the campaign, but heâ€™s dismayed Haridopolos would use what he characterized as underhanded tactics in order to strong-arm his way into the seat. â€œHe is welcome to get in the race,â€ said Workman, â€œbut to start his campaign on a straight faced lie is disappointing.â€
LINDA CHAPIN ENDORSES MIKE CLELLAND FOR SENATEÂ viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“ Former Orange County MayorÂ ChapinÂ came out with an endorsement of former House Rep.Â ClellandÂ in his run for the open SD 13 seatÂ Thursday. Chapin, the first Orange mayor elected countywide, trumpeted Clellandâ€™s past experience in the Legislature and as a community leader in her endorsement of Clelland, a fellow Democrat. â€œI am endorsing Mike Clelland for Florida Senate because he has demonstrated the courage to take on entrenched political interests on behalf of our citizens,â€ said Chapin in a glowing review. â€œHe is a lifelong public servant who will fight for working families in Central Florida.â€
ED NARAIN PROUD OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN THE HOUSE, READY TO ADVANCE IN THE SENATEÂ viaÂ Mitch Perry of Florida PoliticsÂ â€“ The 39-year-old second-term representative from Tampa had a very good session, as good as any member in the House Democratic caucus â€¦ sponsoring a bill to remove and replace the statue of General Edmund Kirby Smith from the National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. â€¦ also sponsored the legislation in the House that finally addresses the legacy of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna â€¦ If things go as he intends,Â Narainwill be serving in the state Senate in 2017. Last week he made the somewhat surprising announcement that he will take on fellow DemocratsÂ Betty ReedÂ andÂ Darryl RousonÂ for the state Senate District 19 â€¦ Narain said from the time he started working in the House last year heâ€™s been fending off requests that he run for the Senate.
RAY PILON JUMPS INTO SENATE RACE; EDWARD JAMES NOW UNOPPOSED IN HD 72Â viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“Â PilonÂ decided to forgo a 2016 re-election bid for a fourth term in the House in favor of a Senate District 28 campaign, leaving his Democratic opponentÂ Edward JamesÂ running unopposed in a coastal swing seat. Pilon said his decision came from the resolution of Senate maps and local considerations. Sarasota Republican Party ChairmanÂ Joe GrutersÂ declared publicly last year Pilon would not seek the seat when rumors first emerged, but Pilon said that contradicted his campâ€™s internal thinking. â€œWe were honestly contemplating it (then),â€ Pilon said. â€œWe saw what the maps were, took time to explore it and network it and made our decision.â€
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Democratic Senate District 34 hopefulÂ Gary FarmerÂ is hosting a grand opening celebration for his Fort Lauderdale office. Event isÂ Saturday,Â beginningÂ 9 a.m.Â at the Rose Valley Arts Building, 2300 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Suite 300 in Fort Lauderdale. Parking is free and light refreshments and breakfast will be provided. More information with field director Jacob Flaherty atÂ (845) 264-2783.
SAVE THE DATE: DemocratÂ Jim WaldmanÂ is holding a volunteer organizing brunchÂ SaturdayÂ forÂ his campaign for Senate District 34. Event will be held fromÂ 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.Â RSVPÂ onlineÂ for location details.
â€”Â â€œWayne Harris adds $15K to pass 6-figure mark in HD 4 raceâ€Â via Florida Politics
HD 11 CONTEST GETS CROWDED, AS SEVENTH REPUBLICAN ENTERS RACEÂ viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“Â David BunkÂ of Fernandina Beach put in his paperwork â€¦ now faces fellow RepublicansÂ Cord Byrd,Â Jack Daniels,Â Barry Holloway,Â Donnie Horner,Â Tom TaylorÂ andÂ Sheri TreadwellÂ in the race for [Janet]Â Adkinsâ€™ seat, which covers northern Duval County and all of Nassau County. Horner currently leads the pack in fundraising, with more than $100,000 in contributions, though Treadwell has a slight advantage in cash on hand. Heading into March, Treadwell had about $88,000 on hand while Horner had just under $82,000.
DEMOCRAT PRESTON OUGHTON FILES IN HD 16Â viaÂ AG Gancarski of Florida PoliticsÂ â€“Â OughtonÂ is an attorney and a graduate of the local Florida Coastal School of Law. Oughton will face the winner of the primary between School Board memberÂ Jason FischerÂ andÂ Dick Kravitz, a former State Legislator who now works in a greeter/customer service role at the Duval County Supervisor of Elections even while he runs an active campaign, a position Kravitz secured after endorsing the Supervisor of Elections in last yearâ€™s election. No matter whether Kravitz or Fischer emerges, Oughton faces an uphill battle in terms of fundraising.
AFTER OPPONENTS DROP OUT, SCOTT PLAKON DRAWS ONE DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGE IN HD 29Â viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“Â Fred MarraÂ filed for the Seminole County seat earlier this month and, with LibertarianÂ David LeavittÂ and fellow DemocratÂ Chuck Oâ€™NealÂ both ending their HD 29 campaigns, he is currently the only candidate challenging Plakon.
BRUCE ANTONE DRAWS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY CHALLENGER IN HD 46Â viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“ DemocratÂ Sheena MeadeÂ filed to run for the House District 46 seat â€¦ she plans to pegÂ AntoneÂ as one of the â€œsame old elected officialsâ€ practicing the â€œsame old politicsâ€ voters are frustrated with. Meade, 20, said her campaignâ€™s message will include a â€œrenewed focus on early childhood education, a common-sense approach to increasing homeownership within the district, a more hands-on role in supporting classroom teachers and ensuring that we prioritize school spending directly on students and classrooms.â€ Currently, Antone and Meade are the only two candidates filed to run for the Orange County seat, where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 5-to-1.
RENE PLASENCIAâ€™S INTERN FILES IN HD 49 RACEÂ viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“Â Amber MarianoÂ filed paperwork to run for the seat as a Republican â€¦ joining DemocratÂ Carlos Guillermo Smith, who worked as former chief of staff for Rep.Â Joe SaundersÂ when he held the seat from 2012 through 2014. HD 49 has a sizable Democratic majority and was a big pickup for Republicans in 2014, when Plasencia squeaked by Saunders with 51 percent of the vote. The district, which includes the University of Central Florida and its trove of young voters, has about 11,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. When he won his only term in the House, Saunders defeated RepublicanÂ Marco PenaÂ with 56 percent of the vote.
â€”Â â€œBrian Hodgers widens fundraising lead in HD 52 raceâ€ via Florida Politics
SEAN SHAW THANKS SUPPORTERS FOR EARLY FUNDRAISING PUSHÂ viaÂ Florida PoliticsÂ â€“ â€œIn just 72 hours, youâ€™ve given more than $5,000,â€ saidÂ Shaw. â€œBecause of your response, weâ€™re already putting together our team and building the GOTV operation that will win here.â€ The Princeton graduate and former Insurance Consumer Advocate â€¦ is hoping his third crack at the House will be a winner. Shaw ran in Rep.Â Alan Williamsâ€˜ Tallahassee-based HD 8 back in 2008 and in HD 61 in 2014. So far no other candidate has filed in the east Tampa seat, left vacant when Rep.Â Ed NarainÂ announced a run for state Senate. â€œWith the election more than five months away, thereâ€™s lots of work to do,â€ said Shaw.
SAVE THE DATE: RepublicanÂ Kathleen PetersÂ is holding a fundraiserÂ Wednesday, March 30, for her House District 69 re-election effort. Event beginsÂ 5:30 p.m.Â at the Edwards group 150 Second Ave. N., Suite 1600 in St. Petersburg.
â€”Â â€œByron Donalds adds nearly $7K for HD 80 run, hitting $90Kâ€ via Florida Politics
SCANDAL-PLAGUED DAVID RIVERA MOUNTING LEGISLATIVE COMEBACKÂ viaÂ Marc Caputo of POLITICO FloridaÂ â€“ â€œToday I launched my candidacy for the Florida House of Representatives in District 118!â€Â RiveraÂ wrote in an email to potential supporters â€¦ â€œAnd the best part is, I have already gathered nearly 2,000 petition signatures from voters within the district who want me to serve as their representative in Tallahassee.â€ Riveraâ€™s announcement comes a day after his former friend,Â Marco Rubio, withdrew from the presidential race after he was shellacked byÂ Donald TrumpÂ in [the] Florida primary. Top Rubio supporters dislike Rivera and many tried to keep him away from the presidential campaign, with mixed success. Rivera remains under federal investigation for his alleged participation in a scheme to fund a ringer candidate with at least $81,000 in secret money to undermine a rival in a 2012 congressional race.
IN DEBUT RE-ELECTIONÂ VIDEO, MIAMI-DADE MAYOR EMBRACES COUNTYâ€™S RECOVERY FROM RECESSIONÂ viaÂ Doug Hanks of the Miami HeraldÂ â€“ Miami-Dade MayorÂ Carlos GimenezÂ is linking his tenure with the local economyâ€™s recovery from a housing crash and brutal recession. â€œHow things have changed since Mayor Carlos Gimenez took office four years ago,â€ the narrator states, citing increased housing sales, employment and the largest property-tax cut in the history of the county. â€œMayor Gimenez kept his promises.â€ Gimenez took office in 2011 on the promise of reversing the increase in property-tax rates that his predecessor implemented. Gimenez delivered on the 12-percent cut, undoing the increase championed by then-MayorÂ Carlos Alvarez, who was recalled weeks before Gimenez took office in a special election. The Gimenez video was produced by Miami-Dade Residents First, one of his political committees backing Gimenezâ€™s re-election. It was the first video from Gimenez, and follows a string of videos challengerÂ Raquel RegaladoÂ has been producing since before she joined the mayoral race in early 2015.
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RICKÂ SIGNS BUDGET, VETOES $256 MILLION AS PROMISEDÂ viaÂ the Associated PressÂ â€”Â Scott signed the $82 billion budget on Thursday, following through with planned budget vetoes he announced earlier this week.Â The Republican governor vetoed dozens of spending items, including money for roads, cultural projects, health care and law-enforcement programs.This yearâ€™s total amount of budget vetoes is less than half of what the governor eliminated last year. Last year, his nearly $500 million worth of budget vetoes sparked the ire of top legislators since they came with little notice.
TOP AIDES TO SCOTT â€” MELISSA SELLERS, TIM CERIO â€” STEPPING DOWNÂ viaÂ Gary Fineout of The Associated PressÂ â€“Â ScottÂ announced that his Chief of Staff and general counsel are stepping down from their posts. Their last day isÂ April 1.Â SellersÂ has been Scottâ€™s chief of staff since November 2014.Â CerioÂ has been Scottâ€™s general counsel since January 2015. Cerio previously worked at the Gray Robinson law firm and is returning to private practice.
FLASHBACKÂ to 2/22 on Florida Politics: â€œMaybe SellersÂ really will leave the administrationÂ â€¦ right before Sellers ties the knot April 16.â€
BOOK IT: Deputy Chief of StaffÂ Kim McDougalÂ will replace Sellers as CoS.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD DELIVERS 12,000 PETITIONS OPPOSING ABORTION BILLÂ viaÂ Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay TimesÂ â€“ The group, led by National Organization for Womenâ€™s lobbyistÂ Barbara DeVaneÂ andÂ Regina Sheridan, a Tallahassee-based activist, asked to meet with the governor about the petitions, but an aide told them he was not in the office. The petitions in part read, â€œInstead of attacking womenâ€™s rights and endangering their health, the legislature should focus on improving womenâ€™s health.â€ HB 1411 would create tough new rules for clinics, requiring doctors to have admitting privileges or transfer agreements with nearby hospitals and treating them more similarly to surgical centers under the law. It defines in statute the length of each trimester of a pregnancy, aligning with arguments used by the state in a battle with Planned Parenthood. The bill would also cut all Medicaid funding for non-abortion services â€” like cancer screenings or STD tests â€” at any clinic that performs elective abortions. Abortion rights activists argue that the combined effect of all these provisions is fewer clinics.
WHATâ€™S NEXT FOR GAMBLING IN FLORIDA: COURTS CALL THE SHOTSÂ viaÂ Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay TimesÂ â€“ When legislators finished their annual session without a gaming bill or a compact with the Seminole Tribe, they raised the stakes on the future of casinos in Florida â€¦ precisely where gaming opponents want it. Instead of lawmakers deciding the future of expanded gambling, that decision will now be made by the courts in pending lawsuits before the Florida Supreme Court and a federal judge. The court could conclude that lawmakers have no authority to authorize slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties without statewide voter approval, thereby neutering the Legislatureâ€™s influence. It could say that only the Legislature can decide where to put new games. Or a third option â€” the most explosive of all and the one the plaintiffs are hoping for â€” could open the door to unprecedented expansion of slot machines if the court rules that Palm Beach and Gadsden counties could seek permits to install slots machines because local voters have approved it. â€œIt could become a free-for-all for slot machines across the state,â€ said Rep.Â Jose Felix DiazÂ â€¦ who spent the last six months trying to work out a compact with the governor and the tribe, as well as a gaming bill that suited the Senate and the diverse interests of the pari-mutuel industry.
FPL SUBMITS $1.3 BILLION PROPOSAL TO PSCÂ viaÂ Jim Ash of WFSUÂ â€“ Millions of Florida Power and Light customers would see higher monthly bills if regulators approve the investor-owned utilityâ€™s $1.3 billion proposal â€¦ to help pay for infrastructure improvements. The company says the increases would cover the costs of strengthening power lines, three large solar energy centers and to complete a natural gas plant in Okeechobee County, among other things. The proposal asks for annual increases, beginning with 866 million in 2017 â€¦ the typical customer bill will grow at roughly the rate of inflation from now through 2020.
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Jennifer Helen Ashton: First Protective Insurance Company
Joseph Farrell: Hernando County Association of Realtors; Pinellas Realtor Organization
EdgarÂ Fernandez, Anfield: City of Flagler Beach; IBS Construction Group
Cynthia Henderson, Cynergy Consulting: CIOX Health; Shiver Properties
Berdell Knowles,Â John Allen WorleyÂ Jr.: JEA
Jerry Presley, Presley Consulting Group: Central Florida Small Business Council
Scott Ross,Â Kenneth Granger,Â Capital City Consulting: GDKN Corporation
Wansley Walters,Â Stephanie Grutman Zauder, Ballard Partners: Global Tel*Link Corporation; Florida Juvenile Justice Association; Uber Technologies
Derek Whitis, Whitis Consulting: Florida Psychological and Associated Healthcare; Florida Psychological Associates; Lake Wales Charter Schools; Queralyze; The Latt Maxcy Corporation
Larry Williams, Gunster Yoakley Stewart: Frontier Communications Corporation
BlackÂ Almanac with Dr. Ed JamesÂ Â on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: A discussion with political analyst Dr.Â Lawrence MillerÂ onÂ â€œWho owns to GOP? The RNC orÂ Donald Trump?â€
Facing Florida with Mike Vasilinda: Republican Senate candidate U.S. Rep.Â David Jolly.
Florida This WeekÂ on Tampa Bayâ€™s WEDU: WTSP 10 News Investigative reporterÂ Noah Pransky; Hillsborough Young Republicans SecretaryÂ Holly Holobyn; Democratic political consultantÂ Franco Ripple; andÂ Steve BousquetÂ of the Tampa Bay Times.
On Point with Shannon OgdenÂ on WFCN in Jacksonville: Rep.Â Janet AdkinsÂ on the recent move to test backlogged rape kits, Democratic CD-5 candidateÂ J.L. Holloway, and Prof.Â Michael BinderÂ of University of North Florida on Tuesdayâ€™s presidential primaries.
Political ConnectionsÂ onÂ CF 13 in Orlando:Â Presidential Primary recap show, with speeches from Tuesday night and analysis fromÂ Michelle ErtelÂ andÂ Jeremiah Jaspon. PolitiFactâ€™s Truth-O-Meter rates a claim regarding the 9/11 attacks and the families of the terrorists. Plus a new installment of â€œCommon Groundâ€ with DemocratÂ Alex SinkÂ and RepublicanÂ Chris Ingram.
The Usual SuspectsÂ on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC):Â HostsÂ Gary Yordon,Â Steve Vancore, andÂ Sean Pittman.
This Week in Jacksonville withÂ KentÂ JusticeÂ on Channel 4 WJXT:Â Angela Corey, State Attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit and Asst. State AttorneyÂ Rich Mantei, plusÂ Josh NewmanÂ of Newman Strategies and Solutions andÂ Chris Hand, co-author of â€œAmerica: The Ownerâ€™s Manual.â€
***Tally Food Insider 101Â is a Signature Culinary Entertainment Dinner Series designed to bring handcrafted experiences with a bold signature to Tallahassee. Each dinner concept is uniquely designed to tell a story that expands from the design and decor to the menu which features unique courses created with local fresh ingredients farmed within 100 miles of Tallahassee for the most part and prepared to deliciousness by Executive Chef Jason Bruner. Each dinner design incorporates the work of a local Tallahassee artist and features a local musician to complete a one-of-a-kind Thursday night experience to delight all the senses.Â Reserve your spot today!***
HULK HOGAN TRIAL MAY BE NEAR END, WITH CLOSING ARGUMENTSÂ FRIDAYÂ via Tamara Lush of The Associated PressÂ â€“ Jurors will hear closing arguments in ex-pro wrestlerÂ Hulk Hoganâ€˜s lawsuit against Gawker Media over a sex video â€¦ Also, a Florida court ruled in favor of a group of media companies that wanted documents unsealed in the case. The 2nd District Court of Appeals in Lakeland ruled that sealed documents in the case are public records and should be available to the public and the press. Earlier, lawyers for Gawker showed Hogan a promo video of him wearing T-back underwear and parodying theÂ Miley CyrusÂ â€œWrecking Ballâ€ video. They also played a video of a Hulk Hogan deposition in which Hogan discussed his wrestling persona, his true identity, branding and celebrity. They also asked him if he tried to â€œshapeâ€ any of the media interviews he did in the days after the sex video was posted, by asking media outlets to not discuss the video. â€œI donâ€™t recall,â€ Hogan said.
SEAWORLD TO STOP BREEDING ORCAS, MAKING THEM PERFORM TRICKSÂ viaÂ Jennifer Kay and Mike Schneider of The Associated PressÂ â€“ Finally bowing to years of public pressure, SeaWorld â€¦ will immediately stop breeding killer whales, and soon stop making them perform theatrical tricks. SeaWorldâ€™s 29 orcas will remain on display at the companyâ€™s theme parks, but in â€œnew, inspiring natural orca encounters,â€ the company said. Attendance at SeaWorldâ€™s parks dropped after the 2013 release of â€œBlackfish,â€ a highly critical documentary. SeaWorld reported a fourth-quarter loss of $11 million in February. SeaWorld CEOÂ Joel ManbyÂ said he approached the companyâ€™s killer whale quandary with a â€œfresh perspectiveâ€ since taking the helm less than a year ago, and he realized, â€œsociety is shifting here.â€
TAMPA ENTERS RUNNING TO HOST ADDITIONAL SUPER BOWLÂ viaÂ Frances McMorris of the Tampa Bay Business JournalÂ â€“ Tampa will be competing to host the Super Bowl in 2021 as well as 2019 and 2020. â€œItâ€™s my understanding the dates have also been expanded to include a third Super Bowl; weâ€™re talking 2019, 2020 and 2021,â€Â Dennis Rogero, chief of staff for MayorÂ Bob Buckhorn, told the Tampa City Council â€¦ Tampa is competing with Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami and Los Angeles. â€œThere is a host committee being formed,â€ Rogero said. Outside the council chamber he said that Tampa is â€œvery, very well positioned to not only be awarded it but to handle it very well.â€ The final bid is due in April followed by a presentation and vote to take place in May.
NEW X-MEN: APOCALYPSE TRAILER FROLICS THROUGH THE END OF DAYSÂ viaÂ Brian Raferty of WiredÂ â€“ The sequel to 2014â€™s time-traveling X-Men: Days of Future Past is set in 1983, and focuses on an ancient mutant named Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), who forcefully reawakens after thousands of years, hoping to once again lead his super-powered people. The only thing that can stop Apocalypse is, of course, Xavierâ€™s team of outcast mutants, whoâ€™ll need to fight to secure their future (and, it should be noted, the future of mankind). Theyâ€™re led here by both the good professor and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), and staffed by such fresh-faced members as Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters). â€œYouâ€™re not students anymore,â€ Mystique tells the younginâ€™s in her why-we-fight speech. â€œYouâ€™re X-Men.â€ But will even they be able to stop an apoplectic Apocalypse from sending Earth back to the bad old days? Weâ€™ll find out when X-Men: Apocalypse opensÂ May 27.
HAPPY BIRTHDAYÂ belatedly toÂ Kelsey Frouge, St. Petersburg City CouncilmanÂ Steve Kornell, Florida TaxWatchâ€™sÂ Rob Weissert,Â Sean Shaw. Celebrating today is the FEAâ€™sÂ Andy FordÂ andÂ Ron Matus.