Good Friday morning from Kentucky Horse Park.
Michelle and I are celebrating our 11th engagement anniversary today by mucking horse stables and cleaning out the RV pooper. But considering where she was a year ago, we couldn’t be happier to be where we are today.
Republicans have been gaining ground among Hispanic voters, and they’re looking to continue making inroads with the launch of a new ad.
The Republican State Leadership Committee Republican Party has produced its first-ever Spanish-language ad and is backing it with a five-figure digital buy in five states.
The 30-second spot, narrated from the perspective of a Hispanic American, says Democrats are taking Hispanic voters for granted and ignoring their top concerns, while Republicans are offering an “alternative, freedom-focused agenda” that addresses the concerns of Hispanic Americans.
RSLC said Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Texas are the targets the committee hopes to “make meaningful gains” or “flip chambers” by bringing more Hispanic voters into their camp.
Of course, there is no flipportunity in Florida, with massive GOP majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature. However, Republicans are just a few seats away from a two-thirds majority in each chamber, which, if achieved, would undoubtedly be a “meaningful gain.”
“While Democrats think they deserve automatic loyalty from Hispanic voters at the ballot box regardless of the harm their destructive agenda is doing to the country, state Republicans know that growing their support with Hispanic communities can only come from continuing to fight for a freedom-focused agenda that lifts up all Americans,” RSLC President Dee Duncan said.
“Hispanic voters want good paying jobs, affordable goods, safe communities, and a quality education for their children, and the RSLC will keep deploying innovative voter contact tactics like this to remind them that those are all products of Republican leadership in the states.”
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
A new online business intelligence platform that makes a mountain of state government records and data accessible to search, view, read and understand launched this week.
MyGovGuide, co-founded by David Clark, searches state agency websites and databases for budget documents, contact information, personnel movement, contract data and more. And within a few clicks, users can find every detail they’re looking for using predictive search capabilities and displayed in a visual format.
MyGovGuide aims to equip businesses — and the lobbyists who represent them — with valuable information that can help them make their pitch at the right time and to the right people in state government.
Yes, it makes your bookmarks folder to hard-to-find state agency records pages obsolete. But it also visualizes the data in those records by producing charts and graphs on the fly. It shows the real-time, top-line budget allocations for each agency, but it also goes a couple of steps further by leveraging budget and expenditure databases to show users how much money an agency has left to spend this fiscal year, as well as what they must spend it on and the details on how they have already spent some of it.
The solution is a software-as-a-service model with monthly and annual single-user subscriptions with a price break available if users buy the 12-month plan. There is also an enterprise package with multiple licenses for a company with multiple users.
Customers can test drive it with a 14-day free trial by visiting MyGovGuide.com.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@MarcoRubio: We already knew the modern democrat party is out of touch with everyday people But, it takes a special kind of “out of touch” to believe that the most important problem facing working Americans is the price of solar panels and electric cars
—@ChristinaPushaw: Hi @JackShafer! FYI, you are wrong about the reason @GovRonDeSantis doesn’t talk to liberal media, including Politico. He isn’t worried about “negative press;” you’re always negative. It’s just that he doesn’t care. And he doesn’t want to give you clicks or ratings.
—@DennisPhillipsWx: There’s not a thing unusual about “Saharan Dust” coming across the Atlantic in July. Odds are, it sticks around into early August as well. It usually squashes tropical development. I always enjoy using the word “squash.”
— DAYS UNTIL —
MLB trade deadline — 3; The 10-day Florida Python Challenge kicks off — 7; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 11; Early voting begins for Primaries — 15; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 19; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 20; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 23; 2022 Florida Primary — 24; launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 31; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 33; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 33; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 35; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 41; 2022 Emmys — 45; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 48; Vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 69; Deadline to register for General Election — 73; 22-23 NHL season begins — 74; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 88; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 88; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 89; Early voting begins for General Election — 92; 2022 General Election — 102; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 105; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 107; FITCon 2022 begins — 111; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 111; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 115; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 115; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 116; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 124; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 124; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 140; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 203; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 221; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 238; 2023 Session Sine Die — 280; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 280; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 308; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 357; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 462; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 476; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 609; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 728; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 728; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 833; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 1,008.
— TOP STORY —
“Ron DeSantis touted action against undocumented migrants. Most arrests were legal residents” via Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — Inside a packed room at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in June, DeSantis talked about the many ways his administration is trying to “keep illegals out of the state of Florida” in response to President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. He highlighted a state-led law enforcement operation, which took place June 7-9 in four counties in Northwest Florida. When talking about outcomes, the Governor’s message was unmistakable: The state was doing its part to combat undocumented immigration because it had arrested several “illegal aliens.” “They were able to recover these illegal aliens and enough fentanyl to kill off 2,000 people in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
— 2022 —
“National Review is basically a fanzine for DeSantis” via Caleb Ecarma of Vanity Fair — In March, National Review columnist Rich Lowry praised DeSantis for not giving an inch after Disney criticized Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, writing that the Governor is giving conservatives a “glimpse at what Trumpism without (Donald) Trump can look like.” Additionally, National Review’s Kyle Smith wrote last month that DeSantis is “smart, serious, hardworking, focused, honest and apparently incorruptible.” “A lot of conservatives want DeSantis to challenge Trump because they say he has the same policies but is a smarter politician. I’m not so sure he has the wherewithal for it,” said Jim Swift, an editor at The Bulwark.
“Is Florida still a political battleground? Val Demings thinks so.” via Amanda Becker of The 19th — A Democrat will need to be a fighter to win a statewide race in Florida this year. Midterm elections are historically challenging for the party in the White House, and Biden’s approval rating is below 40%. DeSantis is a popular governor with high name recognition, seen as an early front-runner for the Presidential nomination, and his presence at the top of the ballot will likely motivate the party’s base voters to turn out. If any Democrat has a chance in Florida, it is Demings. Though she still polls behind Rubio, the gap between them has narrowed.
“Marco Rubio rejects bipartisan compromises (over and over again)” via Steve Benen of NBC News — It wasn’t easy, and it took months of negotiations, but Democrats and Republicans eventually reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to address microchip manufacturing. 17 Republicans voted with the Democratic majority. Sen. Rubio wasn’t one of them. Whenever Democrats and Republicans have gotten together of late to work out agreements, Rubio has opposed them anyway, apparently confident that he’ll win re-election without taking part in bipartisan success stories.
“Rubio says Joe Biden’s recession has arrived” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Rubio released a video warning that Biden has brought the United States into recession after the gross domestic product declined 0.9% in Q2 2022, a second straight quarterly drop. “What’s happened is what we knew would happen. We are now in a Biden recession,” warned the Senator in a 66-second monologue released on his Twitter account. Rubio offered some historical overview, saying that in 2021 he would not cast a vote for Biden’s “$1.9 trillion spending plan they called COVID relief.” “It was the wrong time to do it,” Rubio maintained. “We had just spent a lot of money at the end of (2020) to help with COVID relief, but on top of that, we had supply chain shortages.”
To watch the video, click on the image below:
Retailers endorse Ashley Moody for Attorney General — The Florida Retail Federation is endorsing Attorney General Moody’s re-election bid. “Thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Moody, Florida leads the nation in taking a proactive and aggressive approach to preventing and combating organized retail crime,” FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley said. “Florida’s retailers could not ask for a more committed partner as we work collaboratively to protect Florida’s retailers and those they serve.” Moody is unopposed in the Republican Primary. Former State Attorney Aramis Ayala, Daniel Uhlfelder and Jim Lewis are competing for the Democratic nomination.
— 2022: CONG —
“House rating changes: More movement toward Republicans” via Kyle Kondik of Cook Political Report — We’re moving several Trump-won seats that Democrats do not appear to have the bandwidth to compete for this cycle from Likely Republican to Safe Republican: the open seats FL-4 and FL-7, as well as the seat held by Rep. Carlos Giménez (FL-28). FL-4 and FL-7 are reconfigured districts targeted by Florida Republicans in their gerrymander of Florida; we’re counting them as flips because Democrats currently hold versions of each seat. We mention this as a way of pointing out a change to our competitive House rating tables. This change comes as the result of popular demand (and by popular demand, we mean that a few astute readers asked us if we could do this for their own record-keeping purposes and we’re happy to oblige).
Brady Duke launches cable ads in CD 7 — Republican candidate Duke has booked a $13,400 cable flight in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. According to AdImpact, the ads will run Monday through Sunday on cable channels including CNBC, Fox Business and Fox News within the Orlando media market. Duke is one of several Republicans running for CD 7. His ad buy comes shortly after GOP Primary rival and state Rep. Anthony Sabatini spent $49,975 on a cable flight that runs through Aug. 23. CD 7 covers Seminole County and southern Volusia County and is expected to perform Republican in the fall. The seat is open due to incumbent Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy deciding not to run for re-election.
“Maxwell Frost turns DeSantis rebuke into CD 10 TV ad” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic congressional candidate Frost has turned a rebuke from DeSantis into a TV commercial. The Generation Z candidate in Florida’s 10th Congressional District has taken DeSantis’ “Nobody wants to hear from you!” dismissal of Frost to support the theme that Frost wants to represent a younger generation demanding to be heard. The 30-second commercial, “Hear From You,” turns next to footage of Frost walking on a street in Orlando and meeting with people. He replies: “I’m Maxwell Alejandro Frost, and I’ve been making sure they hear from us for 10 years. Protecting the right to choose. Passing laws to end gun violence. If we want bold change on guns, reproductive health and affordable housing, we can’t keep electing the same politicians.
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
“Polk Sheriff Grady Judd endorses Kelli Stargel in crowded CD 15 GOP Primary” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — State Sen. Stargel, a Lakeland Republican running in a crowded GOP Primary for the seat in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, has snagged the endorsement of Sheriff Judd. “I am proud to stand with Kelli Stargel because she is the proven conservative who is the best qualified and most experienced legislatively to represent us in Congress,” Judd said in a statement released by Stargel’s campaign. “When our men and women in uniform needed her most, Kelli stood up to the “defund the police” movement and had our backs to ensure Florida’s communities remained safe. Kelli has consistently delivered for law enforcement, for hardworking families and for our values.”
Greg Steube makes first broadcast buy — U.S. Rep. Steube has anted up $40,000 for broadcast ads in the Tampa media market. According to AdImpact, the flight is Steube’s first of the campaign cycle and will start Monday and run through Sept. 5. Steube is running for re-election in Florida’s 17th Congressional District. He is unopposed in the Primary and will face Democrat Andrea Kale in the General Election. CD 17 is expected to perform Republican in the fall.
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick makes $8K broadcast buy in CD 20 — U.S. Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick’s campaign made an $8,474 TV buy in Florida’s 20th Congressional District. According to AdImpact, the flight covers broadcast ads airing today through Friday on stations in the Miami media market. It follows a $14,649 broadcast buy made by the campaign last week. Cherfilus-McCormick will face state Rep. Anika Omphroy and former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness in the Democratic Primary. Holness lost the 2021 Special Election for CD 20 by just five votes. The winner of the Primary will move on to face Drew Clark in the General Election.
“Republicans hoping to flip South Florida congressional district look to the right, and the far right, for support” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Republicans competing for their party’s nomination to flip a South Florida congressional seat held for decades by Democrats are making the usual, expected pitches to Primary voters. As they compete for attention in a crowded field with seven candidates, most are also embracing a wide range of ideas that resonate with the “America First” wing of the party, voters who Trump and his MAGA movement energized. They’re candidates seeking the Republican nomination to run for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch. Beyond candidates’ calls to reduce government spending, increase production of fossil fuels, and stop illegal immigration, many topics came up Tuesday night at a debate in Pompano Beach that illustrate a much different set of issues.
—“Kevin Hayslett snags Tampa Bay Times endorsement among CD 13 GOP field” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics
— MORE 2022 —
Democrats dismayed by Lauren Book-Barbary Sharief Primary — Senate Democrats are increasingly concerned about the competitive Primary between Senate Democratic Leader Book and former Broward County Mayor Sharief. Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida reported that the contest forced Book to focus on her re-election rather than raising money to protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents elsewhere. Some Democrats are openly questioning Sharief’s motives. “For Lauren’s opponent to decide to run to unseat our unanimously selected incumbent Democratic Leader shows either a critical lack of understanding or a disturbing lack of care about the caucus and for Democrats’ ability to be effective in Tallahassee,” Tampa Democratic Sen. Janet Cruz said.
—“Direct mail roundup: Tracie Davis spotlights Reggie Gaffney GOP ties” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
—”House District 1 race is rematch of 2020 race between Michelle Salzman, Mike Hill” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal
“DeSantis’s political committee makes $50K contribution to HD 16 candidate Kiyan Michael” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis this week endorsed Michael in the House District 16 race. Now, his political committee is backing the endorsement with a big check. On July 26, the Friends of Ron DeSantis political committee contributed $50,000 to the Friends of Kiyan Michael political committee. That contribution is by far the most significant donation Michael has received in this campaign and goes a long way toward closing the cash gap between her and opponents Lake Ray and Chet Stokes. Stokes has been the cash leader throughout this race and is well-positioned for the stretch. He had nearly $260,000 on hand through July 22 between his campaign account and his political committee, Strengthening Florida’s Future.
“Republicans come to Democrat Wengay Newton’s rescue” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — State Rep. Newton hopes to beat state Rep. Michele Rayner in a Democratic Primary for his old seat. Now, he’s getting help from some former Republican colleagues. Mailers arrived at households in House District 62 funded by the Florida Leadership Committee. But that’s a committee Chaired by former state Sen. Jack Latvala. “Wengay Newton is the ONLY candidate who was born and raised in this district,” the flyer reads, alongside a picture of Newton on the House floor.
Pro-DeSantis group drops $92K on broadcast ads for HD 77 — A political committee called Floridians for Positive Change has placed a $91,725 media buy in the Ft. Myers media market. The flight covers broadcast ads that begin airing today and will run through to the end of the Primary Election. According to AdImpact, the ads are related to the Governor election, but it does not show which candidate the committee is supporting. However, in December, Floridians for Positive Change made a $75,000 contribution to DeSantis’ political committee. It has also contributed to many other political committees supporting Republican campaigns, including a $25,000 contribution to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee that came five days before the DeSantis contribution.
“Hillary Cassel drops $155K in 3-way HD 101 Democratic Primary” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — House District 101 candidates have courted nearly a quarter million over the last six weeks, and that money is firing at residents as the finale in a three-way Democratic Primary ticks closer. Cassel, the front-runner in the money race to represent southeastern Broward County, has spent double the combined amount that her fellow Democrats spent between June 1 and July 15. And the same goes for fundraising in that period also. Counting her campaign account and her political committee, Friends of Hillary Cassel, the candidate spent $155,368 and raised $29,445 between June 1 and July 15.
“Republicans target GOP candidate Rhonda Rebman Lopez in attack ads as Lopez fires back” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Republicans are releasing ads linking local business owner Lopez to disgraced former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, as Lopez attempts to Primary incumbent GOP Rep. Jim Mooney. Now, Lopez is pushing back, asserting her conservative bona fides exceed those of her incumbent opponent in House District 120. The new TV ad ties Lopez to Gillum and labels her a “RINO” who has been “paid for by Democrats.”
—“Mooney spends cycle-high $35K, mostly on campaign ads, to defend HD 120 seat” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics
— STATEWIDE —
“State debuts new database on cops with bad records. It has holes, reform advocates say” via Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald — One of the biggest cries during the police reform marches of the summer of 2020 was about the inability of the public, even some police departments, to track cops with bad records accurately. In Florida, for instance, without a court conviction, it’s extremely difficult to know if an officer has been repeatedly accused of brutality or falsifying records. Internal reviews can offer a glimpse into past misconduct allegations but obtaining public records can be expensive and difficult to navigate. The state of Florida finally addressed the question by unveiling the Florida Officer’s Discipline Database. The basic website can be accessed by simply typing an officer’s name and guesstimating a start date.
Florida Charter School Alliance ditches lobbyist who ran afoul of DeSantis — The Florida Charter School Alliance has cut ties with lobbyist Christian Cámara after the DeSantis campaign sent him a cease-and-desist letter over an allegedly “misleading” direct mail ad in a Miami-Dade School Board race. Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida reported that the mailer featured a picture of DeSantis hugging a candidate, Marta Pérez, who had not received his endorsement. DeSantis had previously endorsed a different candidate in the race. A letter sent by Shutts & Bowen, a law firm representing DeSantis’ campaign, demanded that DeSantis’ likeness not be used in Pérez’s ads. “Using the Governor’s image without his permission, and those kinds of insincere or deceptive tactics, is something we will not stand for,” said Chris Moya of Dean Mead, a firm representing charter school clients.
“After DeSantis slams Miami drag show, other performers, businesses worry they’re next” via Bianca Padró Ocasio and Alex Harris of the Miami Herald — After DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education” law, dubbed the “don’t say gay” law by its critics, the co-owner of R House, which hosts a popular drag brunch in Miami’s Wynwood district, had no qualms speaking out against it. “Whatever is going on in Tallahassee, every weekend, we will be representing our community in a positive way,” Owen Bale said. The target the Governor has put on one venue also seems, at least for the moment, to have silenced South Florida’s famously flamboyant and long-running drag industry. Operators and performers are cautious about pushing back publicly, fearful that it could trigger a flood of social media threats.
“SFWMD Vice Chair makes unfounded claims neo-Nazis were ‘paid actors’” via Max Chesnes of TCPalm — South Florida Water Management District Vice Chair Scott Wagner tweeted the claim Sunday in response to a video posted on Twitter showing masked men marching and making antisemitic statements. Several news outlets reported the presence of several neo-Nazi demonstrators parading outside the Tampa Convention Center, where about 5,000 people were attending the Turning Point USA Summit. When TCPalm requested an interview and proof of his claims, Wagner only emailed a statement that called the demonstration “fake” and “pure political theater.” “There’s no doubt this ragtag group of losers promote disgusting hate,” wrote Wagner, who is Jewish. “The fake and orchestrated element of all this is that woke activists are trying to tie these ‘protesters’ to the Governor.”
“Florida Christian school sues Biden, Nikki Fried over gender-identity mandate for student lunches” via Valerie Richardson of The Washington Times — A Florida Christian academy filed a lawsuit Wednesday over the threat of losing school-lunch funding for low-income students unless it complies with the Biden administration’s gender-identity policy on pronouns, sports and restrooms. Grant Park Christian Academy in Tampa sued President Biden, the Agriculture Department, and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Fried over the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s May 5 guidance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in education. The school reached out to Fried’s office, which administers the federal school-meals program, but was told participating schools must comply with “all federal program regulations,” according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Congress passes computer chips bill, giving lawmakers and Biden a bipartisan win” via Francesca Chambers and Joey Garrison of USA Today — The House approved a sweeping bipartisan bill to boost the domestic manufacturing of computer chips, giving Biden a badly needed legislative win before lawmakers leave Washington for summer recess. House members approved the legislation, which includes roughly $52 billion in incentives for the semiconductor industry, by a 243-187 vote. Twenty-four Republicans bucked GOP leaders and joined Democrats to approve the bill, while every no vote came from a Republican. The Senate approved the legislation Wednesday. Reducing the United States’ reliance on chips produced in China has been a priority for Biden. He urged Congress to take swift action to improve the U.S. output of semiconductors, framing the issue as an economic and national security imperative.
“Biden administration announces $400 million for rural internet access” via Reuters — Biden’s administration announced Thursday that it will provide $401 million to provide access to high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses in 11 states, as part of Biden’s drive to expand access to the web. “With this money, we are one step closer to President Biden’s ambitious goal of affordable and reliable internet for all,” Biden’s infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu told reporters. The $401 million in loans and grants comes from the ReConnect Program, a fund dispersed by the U.S. Agriculture Department.
“Man who threatened Matt Gaetz sentenced to six months home detention” via Josh Gerstein of POLITICO — A California man has been sentenced to six months of home confinement for making a death threat to Rep. Gaetz just days after the storming of the Capitol last year. Eugene Huelsman, 59, pleaded guilty in October to a felony interstate threats charge for leaving a threatening voicemail message at Gaetz’s district office in Pensacola, Fla., and was sentenced by a federal judge there Thursday to a half-year of house arrest. “Tell [Gaetz] to watch his back, tell him to watch his children,” Huelsman said in the Jan. 9, 2021, message, which a defense attorney said was played in court Thursday.
“Orlando’s green guru Chris Castro joins Biden administration” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Castro, formerly Buddy Dyer’s sustainability director in Orlando, was appointed this month to the Biden Administration, heading up a new office to carry out the President’s environmental agenda. Last week, Castro was named the chief of staff for the Department of Energy’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs. He said he will help oversee roughly 100 employees and an annual $5 billion budget.
“Chuck Schumer rallies Democrats after surprise deal with Joe Manchin” via The Associated Press — Schumer told fellow Senate Democrats on Thursday they now have an opportunity to achieve two “hugely important” priorities on health care and climate change if they stick together and approve a deal he brokered with Manchin. Schumer spoke at a private caucus meeting after the startling turnaround over an expansive agreement he and Manchin struck that had eluded them for months. Schumer warned his colleagues in the 50-50 Senate that final passage would be hard. The Democrats face staunch opposition from Republicans and have no votes to spare, relying on their razor-thin majority. Schumer said they would need to be disciplined in messaging and focus, but he believes they can get it done, the person said.
— JAN. 6 —
“Jan. 6 committee has a formal path to share investigative material with DOJ, its chair says” via Kyle Cheney of POLITICO — The Jan. 6 select committee has formalized a path to share witness transcripts and evidence with the Justice Department, Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said. “We’ve put a template together for sharing information, sharing it with Justice. My understanding is, there’s general agreement on it,” Thompson said. Agreement on evidence-sharing would mark a significant milestone as the DOJ inquiry into efforts by Trump and others to overturn the 2020 election enters a more public-facing phase. Federal investigators have sought to access the congressional committee’s 1,000-plus witness interview transcripts since April, but the select panel has resisted as its probe continued to generate extraordinary new evidence and witness testimony.
“Jan. 6 committee interviews Steven Mnuchin as probe expands into Donald Trump Cabinet” via Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, and Luke Barrof ABC News — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is working to secure testimony from a growing number of officials in Trump’s Cabinet. Mnuchin, who reportedly discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment as a vehicle to remove Trump from office with then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, recently sat with committee investigators for a transcribed interview, the sources said. Pompeo is expected to speak with the committee in the coming days, though his interview is not officially scheduled.
“‘No closure yet’: Officer Daniel Hodges wants Trump to be held accountable” via J.C. Whittington of POLITICO — One year ago this week, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Hodges took the stand in front of the Jan. 6 select panel to testify at its first public hearing. Rep. Murphy thanked Hodges at that hearing, saying she was “personally grateful” for his efforts to prevent rioters from entering the West Terrace doors of the Capitol. “I really do feel like I’m here, sitting here today, because of the bravery of the law enforcement officers and specifically Officer Hodges,” said Murphy. Murphy’s role on the Jan. 6 committee has kept her near Hodges, who has sat in the front row at all but one of its hearings as they’ve continued throughout this summer.
“Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ allies are back on the ballot in Pennsylvania and could win more power over the next election” via Jonathan Tamari of The Philadelphia Enquirer — The summer hearings on the Jan. 6 riot have reinforced the direct line between Pennsylvania and the attack that tried to subvert American democracy. This fall’s election will test whether there are political consequences for the Pennsylvania Republicans who played significant roles on Jan. 6, or if they’ll grow more empowered ahead of the next Presidential race, when Trump could again be on the ballot and Pennsylvania will again be a pivotal battleground in deciding who wins the presidency.
— MORE LOCAL: S. FL —
“Miami sets a historically low property tax rate” via Alexander Lugo and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Miami Commissioners voted to reduce the property tax rate to the lowest level since the 1960s. Mayor Francis Suarez touted the rate, the lowest since 1964, when the city began tracking such things, in a news conference after the vote. Despite indications that a recession could soon hobble an economy already pressured by increased inflation, the Mayor said it was the perfect moment to give taxpayers a break. “If you can’t do it in a year like this year, you can’t do it in any year,” Suarez said. “We are fully funded in the government and what we’re doing is using some of the excess revenue to give back to our residents.” Under the rate, the owner of a median home valued at $192,916 would pay about $1,171 in property taxes.
“DEP cleanup lifts 56 tons of hurricane debris from Biscayne Bay spoil islands” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Fifty-six tons. That’s roughly the weight of 40 cars, 13 fully grown hippopotamuses, and one-third the mass of the Statue of Liberty (not counting its base). It’s also the total weight of hurricane debris the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently removed from spoil islands in Biscayne Bay. Over 46 days, the DEP cooperated with personnel from Miami-Dade County, the cities of Miami and North Miami Beach, and Deerfield Beach-based disaster relief contractor AshBritt Environmental to clear 45 island acres on 13 of the small, artificial islands.
“‘Painful’ division of $1 billion Surfside settlement starts: Some to get more than others” via Jay Weaver and Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald — Relatives of the 98 people who died in the Surfside condominium building’s collapse have begun private hearings this week with a Miami-Dade judge who will calculate each victim’s monetary value. While relatives and their lawyers can make the case to Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman that the victims all met the same tragic fate, not unlike the passengers in a plane crash, Florida law dictates that they won’t receive equal shares of the landmark settlement. Inevitably, some will get far more than others. And under state law, some grieving relatives like siblings might receive some damages while others could be entitled to little or nothing because of who is considered first in line to qualify for the payouts.
“Union files complaint against lawyer Ben Crump over his race-related remarks in teen’s rough arrest” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A union representing Broward sheriff’s deputies filed a bar complaint Thursday against Crump, the nationally known civil-rights lawyer, accusing him of bringing up a racial issue where they say none existed in a case involving the rough arrest of a Black teen. It comes a day after IUPA Local 6020 filed a similar complaint against Crump’s legal partner, Sue-Ann Robinson, involving their representation of Delucca Rolle, who was 15 when sheriff’s deputies forcefully detained him in 2019.
“Dania Beach employee fired after video shows her punching woman, using racial slur” via Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A woman who worked at a Dania Beach parking lot when she was captured on video seeming to punch a woman and using a racial slur has been fired and charged with two counts of battery, a city official said. Laura Carlin, a 30-year-old part-time employee who had only been on the job for four months and was still on probationary status, was fired by Dania Beach on Monday
— MORE LOCAL: C. FL —
“Orlando’s new fire chief aims to stabilize agency roiled by past chiefs’ misconduct” via Amanda Rabines of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando’s new fire chief, Charlie Salazar, is stepping into the role with pressure to instate change after his two predecessors resigned amid scandals, a task Orlando’s Mayor and Salazar’s family and colleagues in Dallas believe Salazar is capable of meeting and exceeding. “Charlie, he’s the hardest worker I know,” said Dallas Fire-Rescue’s Assistant Chief Justin Ball, who was Salazar’s direct supervisor. “He’s about as prepared as anybody could be for the position.”
“Teacher files state complaint against Pasco School Board candidate” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — A Pasco County government and politics teacher is taking her lessons to the next level in a local School Board race. Jessica Jecusco, a Florida Virtual School teacher who lives in Land O’Lakes, has filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission alleging that District 1 candidate Al Hernandez should be disqualified from the Aug. 23 ballot. She claims that he did not live in the east Pasco region by the June 17 qualifying deadline, as required by law. Jecusco said she read about the possible eligibility problem in a Tampa Bay Times article and then began researching the situation and potential solutions. “There’s nothing about it that seems like he’s going to live there,” she said.
— MORE LOCAL: SW. FL —
“TV ad says ‘liberal’ Carol Whitmore has nothing in common with DeSantis” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A TV ad slams Manatee County Commissioner Whitmore as a pro-choice liberal with no place in Gov. DeSantis’ party. “DeSantis cut taxes. Carol Whitmore raised taxes,” a narrator says. “DeSantis is pro-life. Whitmore is pro-choice.” The ad intercuts images of the Republican Governor against the Republican County Commissioner and cites parts of their record that play well or poorly respectively among the GOP base. Republican Jason Bearden, who is challenging Whitmore for her at large District 6 seat, bought time to air ads on television in the Bradenton area. The messaging comes as the campaign grows increasingly negative.
To watch the ad, click on the image below:
“Whitmore ties Jason Bearden’s bitcoin love to Biden inflation” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A new television ad broadcasting in Manatee County slams Bearden for comments supporting government investment in Bitcoin. The 30-second spot from Manatee County Commissioner Whitmore’s campaign trashed her Republican Primary opponent as a “puppet” of Biden. “Joe Biden’s inflation is crushing our economy. Now his puppet, Jason Bearden wants to drive up prices even more with radical policies that could bankrupt our county,” a narrator states. “Vote ‘no’ to more inflation. Vote ‘no’ to Biden’s Bearden.”
— MORE LOCAL: N. FLORIDA —
“Duval School Board approves tentative $2.6 billion budget and decreased millage rate” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — The Duval County Public Schools district is planning for a $500 million or roughly 26% increase in funds this academic year compared to last year, the 2022-23 tentative budget shows. That additional funding will account for rising fuel costs for school buses, inflation rates impacting big contracts, student scholarships and curriculum enrichment, among other things. The board unanimously approved its tentative budget for the school year this week. The total proposed budget this year is $2.6 billion, up from $2.1 billion in 2021-22, and reflects an increase in funds allocated by the Florida Department of Education, signed by DeSantis in June.
“Gaming Commission warns allowing ‘adult arcades’ in Jacksonville could be illegal” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — The Florida Gaming Control Commission is warning that a proposal to legalize “adult arcades” in Jacksonville with casino-style electronic games could run afoul of the state’s prohibition on slot machines in Duval County. In a letter to city officials, the Gaming Commission says if Jacksonville allows the return of the electronic games after shutting them down in 2019, it could conflict with state law that bans slot machines in most of the state.
“Bean family jumps into Fernandina Port Authority race, no spending in another” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — Things are rarely usual or traditional as it applies to the Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA) for the Port of Fernandina, and that extends to the three seats on the panel up for election this year. One candidate is unopposed, raising and spending zero dollars, while current Commissioners endorsed in another race, and the Bean family jumped in with June contributions in a third. Nassau Education Foundation Executive Director Abby Bean gave $100 to Justin Taylor, who’s challenging incumbent OHPA Commissioner Scott Hanna in District 3. Fernandina Beach City Commissioner Bradley Bean, the son of her and Sen. Aaron Bean, gave Taylor $50.
— TOP OPINION —
“The right to vote: Use it or lose it” via John Grant in the Tampa Bay Times — America is the land of the free and the home of the brave because centuries ago, young men fought to make it so. To keep that vision alive today, we must do our part to protect those freedoms. The easiest and most effective way to do this — is to vote. Florida has a Primary in every county that includes offices from county to statewide. We all know elections can be decided by the people who vote. But sadly, many elections are decided by those who fail to vote. That is why I am asking you today to learn about elections in your community. Find the candidates who best align with your views and beliefs. Then, go to the polls and vote!
— OPINIONS —
“It’s not a bad joke; it’s a bad idea. Miami may dump homeless on an island” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Miami is considering moving its homeless people to an island. Putting them in a camp, next to a sewer plant, on Virginia Key out in Biscayne Bay. The comparisons were instantaneous, vicious — and hard to disregard. Invisibility is already a problem for the poor; this would have the potential to make it many magnitudes worse.
— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —
— WEEKEND TV —
ABC Action News Full Circle with Paul LaGrone on Channel 10 WFTS: Rubio and Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis.
Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at South Florida’s politics and other issues affecting the region.
In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A discussion about raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and what resources are available for patients and caregivers. Joining Walker are Sen. Linda Stewart; Alex Lewy, Senior Director of Community Engagement, Alzheimer’s Association; and Kathleen Scovel, Alzheimer’s Advocate/Managing Partner, The KAS Group, Inc.
Political Connections on Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: Sen. Jeff Brandes will discuss Florida’s latest issue with property insurance; and a look at potential 2024 presidential matchups.
Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Kelly Semrad will discuss her campaign for Orange County Mayor; and a look at election preparations and election security.
The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Gary Yordon talks with Sky Beard of No Kids Hungry.
This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Florida’s 4th Congressional District candidate LaShonda “L.J.” Holloway, Jacksonville Sheriff candidate Dr. Tony Cummings and government law attorney and author Chris Hand.
— ALOE —
“Disney Cruise Line lays out fall 2023 plans including shift to Port Everglades” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney Cruise Line announced plans for its shiny new fleet deployment for the winter sailing season next year, including its first time calling Port Everglades home. Now with the latest ship Disney Wish, which joined the fleet this summer, the line must shuffle five vessels. Both Wish and Disney Fantasy will remain parked at the line’s main home at Port Canaveral, but Disney Dream, which left the Orlando-area port for Miami for its first-ever new home port this summer, will be changing its return address several times.
“When will Disney World sell annual passes again? Depends on when the economy tanks, experts predict” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Even as much of Walt Disney World has returned to normal during the pandemic, one missing piece continues to gnaw at some of its most loyal fans. When will Disney World sell new annual passes again? Those who let their original passes expire or want to buy one for the first time have been out of luck for months. Last month, social media pounced on Disney’s website that was seemingly selling passes again. The joy didn’t last long. It was an apparent company error.
“Hershey warns ‘trick-or-treat’ supply chain may cause candy shortage” via Hamza Shaban of The Washington Post — Hershey warned Thursday that it might not be able to meet the demand for its signature candies at Halloween and over the holiday season because of a scarcity of raw ingredients and capacity challenges. It’s the latest kink in the global supply chains that got mangled during the coronavirus pandemic and now must absorb the logistical fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The war has made some ingredients scarce, and the efforts of European nations to isolate Moscow by restricting its oil and gas imports will affect Germany’s energy market, where the Pennsylvania-based company said it sources equipment and supplies.
Congrats — “Aegis Business Technologies named among best companies to work for in Florida” via Florida Trend — Since the pandemic, Tallahassee-based Aegis adopted a casual dress code, which, CEO Blake Dowling says, helps with retention when competitors are running around in July wearing coats and ties. The company also provides snacks — including beer and soft drinks — and added a standup video game unit and AV equipment to its conference room. Regular staff meetings are critical to keeping all employees engaged, Dowling says. “We still have staff meetings every Friday regardless of who’s home, who’s working on an out-of-town project, who’s in the office. We’re going to have our staff meeting, and if you’re not present, you Zoom in, even if you’re in the car or the airport,” he says. “As long as you’re not on vacation, you’re expected to join in. Having that time, I think, is crucial.”
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Best wishes to former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, INFLUENCE 100’er Tre Evers, Rich Reidy, former Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, and Sarah Busk Suskey.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.