Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.24.22

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Good Wednesday morning.

Scoreboard.

Charlie Crist defeats Nikki Fried, will face Ron DeSantis in General Election” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — In early returns, Crist posted large leads in Democratic stronghold counties such as Duval, Orange and Broward counties.

Crist will now face Gov. Ron DeSantis in the General Election.

Over the final weeks of the campaign, Fried hit Crist hard, emptying her quiver with attacks on Crist’s past anti-abortion stances when he was a Republican, his hard-line record on criminal justice issues and claiming he’s sure to lose to DeSantis.

On to November. Image via AP.

While some polls showed the race tightening in the final stretch, Crist led in most polls throughout the race and a St. Pete Polls survey on the eve of the Primary showed him leading 59% to 30% over Fried.

Before the Primary, Fried refused to say whether she’d endorse Crist if she lost.

The win is the latest victory for Crist, 66, who has been running for political office in Florida for 30 years. For Fried, 44, it’s a setback in her early political career, which began with a narrow victory in the Agriculture Commissioner race in 2018.

But the real test will now come Nov. 8.

—“Crist wallops Fried in Democratic Primary for Governor” via Steven Lemongello and Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel

—”DeSantis has his November opponent: Ex-Gov. Crist” via Matt Dixon and Gary Fineout of POLITICO

Assignment editors — Crist will be making his first public appearance after being officially elected the Democratic nominee for Governor: 8:15 a.m., Kissin’ Cuzzins, 951 34th St. N, St. Petersburg. RSVP at [email protected]

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Florida Chamber-endorsed candidates cleaned up in Primaries — The Florida Chamber endorsed 39 candidates running in contested Primaries and 36 of them came out on top Tuesday. Most of the endorsements were for state legislative races, though the Chamber also backed Simpson in the Republican Primary for Agriculture Commissioner. “Congratulations to the 92% of Florida Chamber pro-jobs candidates who won their Primary races,” said Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson. “Keeping Florida competitive is essential to growing Florida to a top 10 global economy by 2030. As we unite business for good, we trust those elected will champion free enterprise, job creation and keep us moving in the right direction.”

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AFP-FL congratulates endorsed candidates for election wins — Conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity Action-Florida congratulated several candidates it endorsed who proved victorious in the Primary Election. The set included Republican U.S. Reps. Kat Cammack and Maria Salazar as well as Laurel Lee, who won the GOP nomination in Florida’s 15th Congressional District. “Our Florida activists have been knocking on doors and making phone calls on behalf of candidates who are committed to policies that advance freedom and breakdown barriers that prevent Floridians from reaching their full potential,” said AFP Action-FL senior adviser Skylar Zander. “We will now turn our attention to the General Election to educate voters in support of candidates who will work to improve our state’s economy and improve opportunities for everyone.”

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Republican Main Street Partnership gets ‘clean sweep’ in Primary Election — The Republican Main Street Partnership PAC waded into five Republican Primaries for Florida congressional seats this cycle and all of its preferred candidates prevailed. The list: U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Giménez, John Rutherford, Maria Salazar and Michael Waltz. “Republican Main Street members are focused on delivering real results for American families and look no further for proof of that than the results in Florida’s Republican Primary Elections. Republican Main Street Partnership PAC members are working on the issues that matter most to their constituents, and we could not be more proud of their victories tonight. We look forward to the general elections and taking back the House Republican Majority,” said RMSP PAC President Sarah Chamberlain.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@JacobOgles: Remember when I said the School Board races were maybe Ron DeSantis’ biggest gamble in the Primary cycle? It seems to be paying off.

@NikkiFried: We have to make Ron DeSantis a one-term Governor and now that means rallying behind @CharlieCrist.

Tweet, tweet:

@JonMcGowanFL: That UNF poll was garbage

@SteveLemongello: Nikki Fried pledges to ensure DeSantis is a one-term Governor and will campaign “up and down” the state for Democratic nominees … but so far have not heard her mention Crist’s name

Tweet, tweet:

@FawFulFan: Prior to 2020, this divide didn’t exist. Florida Republicans loved early voting and tended to enjoy a narrow lead in the mail + EIP vote. It was Trump who convinced the entire party that early voting is illegitimate, and changed the entire landscape of the ballot return process.

@CarolynPFox: I forgot the part of election night in the newsroom when you’ve eaten all your pizza and you’re just waiting.

@RafaelYaniz: Does anyone here have the Vegas odds on how long it will take for @GlennaWPLG to air an investigation about shady $ propping up candidates who won tonight?

@CMitchellPolDem: While I’m sure there was disappointments for some of us tonight, we can all (Democrats and Republicans) raise our glasses and cheer that @AnthonySabatini got his a$$ kicked tonight. Now he will just be another marginalized internet troll.

@TimCast: YouTube updated its policies to no longer ban claims that masks do not play a role in preventing spread of COVID Essentially, you are now allowed to claim masks don’t work

Tweet, tweet:

— DAYS UNTIL —

Launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 4; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 7; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 7; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 9; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 15; 2022 Emmys — 18; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 22; final season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 22; vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 43; deadline to register for General Election — 47; 22-23 NHL season begins — 48; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 55; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Governor) — 57; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 62; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 62; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 63; Early voting begins for General Election — 67; 2022 General Election — 76; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 79; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 79; FITCon 2022 begins — 85; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 85; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 89; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 89; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 90; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 98; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 98; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 114; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 177; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 195; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 212; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies’ 23 conference begins — 237; 2023 Session Sine Die — 254; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 254; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 282; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 331; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 436; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 450; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 583; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 702; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 702; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 807; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 982.

— OTHER TOP STORIES —

What awaits Crist in battle against DeSantis” via Emily L. Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida Democrats are fighting a perception that the Sunshine State, already a large and expensive state to wage campaigns, has shifted rightward enough to make it a money pit for big national donors. Some Democrats have remained optimistic that, with the Primary over, national Democrats will send in the cavalry. Better fight DeSantis here, this thinking goes, than in a more expensive and expansive run for President in two years. Crist acknowledged that DeSantis has “a gazillion dollars in the bank,” but added: “I do not care, and I am not afraid.”

What can Charlie Crist expect in the battle ahead?

RGA takes shot at Crist after he secures Democratic nomination — The Republican Governors Association issued a statement after the Primary slamming Crist and praising DeSantis. “Ron DeSantis has been a champion for freedom and has fought to grow Florida’s economy, give parents a say in their child’s education, and protect the rights of workers and small businesses,” said RGA Executive Director Dave Rexrode. “Charlie Crist has stood in lockstep with Joe Biden as he played nice with dictators in Cuba and Venezuela and his failed economic policies raised taxes and increased the cost of living across every sector of the economy. We’re confident he’ll be rejected for a third time this November, and we look forward to Gov. DeSantis’ decisive re-election.”

Val Demings makes it official in easy Primary victory. U.S. Senate race with Marco Rubio is on” via Kirby Wilson and Divya Kumar of the Miami Herald — Millions of Democrats in Florida gave U.S. Rep. Demings an early vote of confidence Tuesday as the party’s national leaders push for her to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Rubio this fall. Demings, the former Orlando Police Chief who’s served three terms in Congress, dominated the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, besting her closest opponent with about 85% of the vote by 8 p.m. She’s running to become the first Black U.S. Senator from Florida. “We did it, Florida! We won the Primary; now it’s time for us to #RetireRubio,” Demings tweeted Tuesday evening.

—“Demings wins Democrat nomination as attention turns toward unseating Rubio” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

‘We are fighting back’: DeSantis, Rubio and Jeanette Nuñez celebrate GOP election victories” via Omar Rodríguez Ortiz of the Miami Herald — The leadership of the Republican Party of Florida energized its base in Hialeah as primary Election results trickled in revealing which Democrat will run against DeSantis in November. DeSantis, Rubio and Lt. Gov. Nuñez had one message for GOP voters attending the first stop of their “Keep Florida Free Tour” at the Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment: Republicans in Florida will work harder than ever to help the party take over Congress in November. “We are going to generate the biggest Republican turnout this state has ever seen,” DeSantis told a cheering crowd

Liberal group says Senate race is ‘anti-corruption champion’ vs. ‘special interests politician’ — After Demings cruised in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, the organization End Citizens United // Let America Vote issued a statement calling Demings an “Anti-Corruption Champion” and Rubio a “Special Interest Politician.” The group’s President Tiffany Muller said: “Floridians have a clear choice for the Senate this November. Chief Val Demings has a strong track record of fighting for Florida families. She has proven that she cares about protecting the voice of Floridians in our elections and keeping Florida families safe. We know that she will continue that fight in the Senate. Marco Rubio has shown that he cares more about protecting his corporate special interest backers than fighting for working Floridians. … We need to elect Val Demings this November.”

The race begins.

Aramis Ayala wins Democratic Attorney General Primary, will face Ashley Moody in General” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Democrats picked Orlando’s Ayala in a Primary for Attorney General that was below the radar until the near end. Early results show Ayala with 45% of the vote, well ahead of her two opponents. Santa Rosa Beach’s Daniel Uhlfelder has 29%, while Fort Lauderdale’s Jim Lewis is at 27%. Now the battle turns immediately toward incumbent Republican Moody and the General Election. Uhlfelder, a lawyer from Santa Rosa Beach who came to prominence as the “Grim Reaper” during the pandemic, was the best fundraiser in the field. But the money didn’t make a difference in the end.

— THE PIVOT —

Florida Democrats release first digital ad in U.S. Senate General Election — The Florida Democratic Party released its first digital ad after the title card was set between Rubio and Demings. The ad targets Rubio’s absences from the chamber during his time in Washington. “Marco Rubio has spent his time in the Senate skipping out on his job while voting the way his party bosses and donors want whenever he bothers to show up. As Rubio continues to oppose plans to protect Social Security and Medicare and lower the cost of living, voters are fed up with a career politician who cares more about staying in power than improving the lives of everyday Floridians,” said FDP spokesperson Grant Fox.

To watch the video, please click on the image below:

Rubio says his campaign is ‘a disaster.’ Is he crying wolf or truly scared of Demings?” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — The dust from Florida’s Primary Elections hasn’t yet settled. But to hear Rubio tell it, his November campaign is already in trouble. On Monday, the eve of the Primary Elections, Rubio sent supporters an email saying his current campaign situation was “a disaster.” Rubio said his opponent, Demings, had raised more money last month than he’d raised in the past three months combined and cited a recent poll that showed Demings beating him.

Assignment editors — The Florida Democratic Party, joined by Sen. Shevrin Jones, Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons and other leaders will kick off the “Radical Ron is Wrong for Florida” tour with an in-person news conference: 11 a.m., Broward County. Location upon RSVP at [email protected].

— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis drops $300K on Fox News ads — DeSantis’ re-election campaign has spent $300,000 on a nationwide cable run. According to AdImpact, the flight began on Monday and ended Tuesday and all of it was directed toward Fox News. The buy was reported on the same day that the Governor debuted a Top Gun-themed ad that featured him defining the “rules of engagement” for fighting back against the media.

DeSantis fighter jet ad conjures 1988 Michael Dukakis tank debacle” via Gillian Brockell of The Washington Post — Clearly, what DeSantis was going for was a comparison to Tom Cruise. What are DeSantis and his team getting instead? Comparisons to Dukakis, the Massachusetts Governor who made one of the most-mocked campaign photo ops in modern political history while running for President in 1988. George H.W. Bush, a decorated pilot in World War II, joked at a campaign stop that Dukakis “thinks a naval exercise is something you find in Jane Fonda’s workout book.”

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

Wilton Simpson coronated as GOP Ag Commissioner candidate” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Despite an early threat from his Right, which may have been a warning from DeSantis, Senate President Simpson has strolled his way to the Republican nomination for Agriculture Commissioner. The Trilby lawmaker and influential legislative leader handily defeated James Shaw Tuesday evening in a race that was decided nearly as soon as polls closed. While the General Election won’t come till Nov. 8, Simpson’s greatest test is arguably already behind him. DeSantis endorsed Simpson soon after the Legislature passed his preferred congressional district maps, ending speculation that DeSantis might instead endorse Army aviation veteran Chuck Nadd. Redistricting was one of several flashpoints between DeSantis and the Legislature, specifically Simpson, during the 2022 Session.

— 2022: CONG. —

—”Incumbent Kat Cammack will face Danielle Hawk in race for U.S. House seat” via The Gainesville Sun

Aaron Bean easily cruises over Erick Aguilar, Jon Chuba for CD 4 GOP nod” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — The only drama in the Republican Primary in Florida’s 4th Congressional District was how one of the defeated candidates would react, because the victor wasn’t in doubt. Fernandina Beach Sen. Bean cleared the nomination hurdle without a problem, netting 68.1% to 25.8% over Navy veteran and businessman Aguilar, and 6% for health insurance contract analyst Jon Chuba. Aguilar managed to get more than 40% of the vote in two Nassau County precincts, but otherwise couldn’t keep it within 20 points. Bean, usually exuberant, channeled his inner Bill Belichick for an “on to Cincinnati” moment following his win.

In the end, it wasn’t close.

Cory Mills wins CD 7 Republican Primary” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — In a Republican Primary Election likely to pick the next Representative of Florida’s 7th Congressional District, Mills has won the nomination, ending what had been a heated, eight-candidate battle. With partial returns, Mills had solid leads over the other candidates, swamping the field in Volusia County and leading second-place Rep. Sabatini in Seminole County. With the win Tuesday, Mills has secured a relatively easy path to Capitol Hill in a fairly moderate, suburban-Orlando district that had elected Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy the past three terms. The Democratic nominee is likely to be Karen Green, who was leading a four-way contest in the Democratic Primary Election. But the Democrats are not investing heavily in CD 7.

—“Scotty Moore wins CD 9 Republican Primary as Central Florida congressional races form” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Maxwell Frost wins Florida U.S. House Democratic primary in District 10” via WESH — Frost declared victory in Florida U.S. House District 10 shortly before 8:30 p.m. The Associated Press followed suit around 9 p.m. “Today’s election is proof that Central Florida’s working families want representation that has the courage to ask for more. I share this victory with the nurses, forklift drivers, teachers, caregivers, social workers, farmers, union organizers, cashiers, and other members of this vibrant community who supported this campaign. I love this community and my decade-long fight for everything and everyone in it is just getting started,” he said.

Far-Right activist Laura Loomer refuses to concede, sobs about voter fraud” via Aila Slisco — Loomer broke into tears as she claimed without evidence that she was illegally robbed of a Republican primary victory. Incumbent Rep. Daniel Webster won Tuesday’s GOP primary for Florida’s 11th Congressional District, according to the Associated Press. Although Webster won the race with 51% of the vote to Loomer’s 44% with over 95 percent of ballots counted, Loomer refused to concede and instead suggested that the result was fraudulent. Loomer previously won a Florida Republican primary race for Congress in 2020 but lost to her Democratic opponent, Rep. Lois Frankel, by more than 16 points in the general election.

Gus Bilirakis dominates crowded CD 12 Republican Primary in landslide victory” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Bilirakis collected 80% of the vote, an impressive lead considering new district boundaries that shifted CD 12 north to include all of Citrus and Hernando counties and the vast majority of Pasco County. The incumbent’s four competitors each pulled less than 10% of the total vote. Those candidates included Chris Leiser, Jack Martin, Brian Perras and Sid Preskitt. “I’m humbled by the confidence constituents have placed in me and I thank my Primary opponents for a lively debate about how to improve the lives of our neighbors while strengthening our community and country,” Bilirakis said in a statement.

Anna Paulina Luna defeats Kevin Hayslett for CD 13 GOP nomination” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Luna has defeated Hayslett in the Republican Primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Luna took 42% of the vote, while Hayslett collected 35%, with 67% reporting. Republican strategist Amanda Makki came in third, garnering 17% of the vote. Now, Luna will face Democratic nominee Eric Lynn in the November General Election. The Republican Primary for CD 13 gradually turned into a contest of who could out-Trump their opponents. Air Force veteran Luna boasts the coveted endorsement from the former President, but Hayslett and Makki worked tirelessly to also prove their alliance to Trump — even after he called them “RINOs.” But, despite Hayslett and Makki’s attempts to out-Trump Luna, she still bested them.

House Republicans attack Alan Cohn, Eric Lynn over student loans” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Primary season isn’t over and national Republicans are already researching Democratic congressional candidates’ personal finances. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) blasted Lynn and Cohn for carrying hefty student loans. House Republicans point toward reports Biden’s administration plans to pursue forgiving up to $10,000 in student loans for borrowers. Cohn holds between $15,000 and $50,000 in student loans. Lynn bears between $10,000 and $15,000 in debt.

James Judge wins GOP fight over who should challenge Kathy Castor” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The litigious fight to see which Republican faces U.S. Rep. Castor this fall has been settled. Judge won the Republican nomination in Florida’s 14th Congressional District, defeating Jerry Torres and Sam Nashagh. Meanwhile, Castor formally advanced to the General Election after defeating Christopher Bradley in the Democratic Primary for CD 14. Castor moves forward favored to win re-election. A new congressional map signed by DeSantis, while criticized for shifting multiple Democratic-leaning districts into Republican-favored jurisdictions, resulted in CD 14 becoming somewhat of a Democratic sink. Under the new CD 14 lines, which span downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, about 58.8% of voters favored Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election compared to 39.72% who voted for Trump.

Laurel Lee beats Kelli Stargel, 3 others to become Republican nominee for Florida’s new CD 15” via Sara-Megan Walsh of The Lakeland Ledger — Lee will become the first Republican Party nominee for Florida’s new 15th Congressional District. Lee, who resigned from her position as DeSantis’ Secretary of State to run, beat out a highly competitive field for the open seat, winning nearly 42% of votes in Tuesday’s Primary, according to Florida’s Department of Election’s unofficial results. As of 8:15 p.m., state Sen. Kelli Stargel had nearly 27%, state Rep. Jackie Toledo took 12%, Demetries Grimes with 10% and Kevin “Mac” McGovern with 8.8%. Voters approve new tax for Broward school referendum.

Laurel Lee breaks through the Primary on her way to Congress.

Alan Cohn wins on Democratic side in CD 15” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Cohn will once again lead Democratic efforts to take a Central Florida congressional seat. The veteran news anchor won the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, besting political consultant Gavin Brown and video producer Eddie Geller. Cohn led in all three counties in the district. Cohn, who has run twice prior in different configurations of an east Hillsborough seat, jumped back into the running this year. The Democrat advances to the General Election in Florida’s newest congressional district and will go into a competitive race. The terrain appears to favor Republicans, but just barely. About 50.86% of voters under the new CD 15 lines voted for Trump in the 2020 election, compared to 47.74% who went for Biden.

Vern Buchanan reminds Martin Hyde who he is in CD 16 Primary” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Buchanan crushed intraparty opponent Hyde in a Republican Primary. He now appears on his way to winning a ninth term representing Florida’s 16th Congressional District — and perhaps controlling the most powerful committee in Congress. Results in Manatee County showed Buchanan winning nearly 86% of the vote to Hyde’s 14%. He won 86% of early and vote-by-mail in Hillsborough County. Buchanan will now face Democrat Jan Schneider, an opponent he has defeated before with relative ease, in November. If he secures re-election, Buchanan will be the senior-most Republican on Ways and Means and appears the odds-on favorite to Chair Congress’ most powerful committee. That, of course, depends on the GOP reclaiming a majority in the House, something most prognosticators expect to happen.

— 2022: CONG. — PART 2 —

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick bests her rival Dale Holness in rematch to represent CD 20” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — In the Democratic Primary likely to determine who goes to Congress, U.S. Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick survived the rematch of a contest she won by just five votes in a Special Democratic Primary Election last November. Counting mail-in votes and early votes, Cherfilus-McCormick secured 65% of the vote compared to 28% for former Broward County Commissioner Holness. A third candidate, state Rep. Anika Omphroy trailed with 4.6% of the vote. Cherfilus-McCormick must still get past Republican Drew-Montez Clark in November’s General Election for the right to represent Florida’s 20th Congressional District. But the district, which spans from Belle Glade to Pembroke Pines, is the bluest district in the state, according to election data analyst Matt Isbell of MCI Maps.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

Jared Moskowitz earns convincing win in CD 23 Democratic Primary” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The air of inevitability that wafted around Moskowitz soon after he announced his bid to succeed U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch in Congress has cemented into convincing vote totals. With mail-in and early votes counted, Moskowitz secured 62% of the vote, convincingly besting his five Democratic competitors who split the rest of the vote between them. To win the right to represent Florida’s 23rd Congressional District which spans from Boca Raton to coastal Fort Lauderdale, Moskowitz will have to get by the winner of the Republican Primary and two candidates with no party affiliation, but in a district that elected Biden by 13 points, it’s all over but the formalities.

—”Florida 26th’s congressional district: Mario Diaz-Balart wins Republican Primary” via Dan Glaun of the Naples Daily News

Annette Taddeo wins Democratic Primary, will challenge María Elvira Salazar for Congressional seat” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — State Sen. Taddeo will challenge incumbent Republican Salazar this November in what may be the only competitive congressional race in Miami, after both won their respective Primary races on Tuesday for Florida’s 27th Congressional District. With early votes counted and partial results from Election Day and mail ballots, Taddeo held a decisive lead over Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell and Angel Montalvo. Taddeo led Russell by about 43 points, or more than 12,000 votes. Russell called Taddeo just before 8 p.m. to concede, and told a crowd gathered at his watch party that he’s endorsed her for the General Election.

— 2022: LEG/SENATE —

Kathleen Passidomo lays out General Election strategy — Senate President-designate Passidomo issued a statement after the Primary Election saying the Senate Republican’s campaign arm “will lay out the clear choice between Republican-led freedom and Democrats’ demands for restricting access to opportunity” between now and the General Election. “As other states’ economies continue to struggle, Florida remains a beacon of hope and strength for the nation. Our low taxes, consistent debt reduction and AAA credit rating are the direct result of the unstoppable team of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Senate Republicans working to protect our economy,” she said.

Kathleen Passidomo tips her hand for the General Election.

Doug Broxson, Jay Trumbull see off GOP Primary challenges for Panhandle Senate seats” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Trumbull is one step closer to making the jump from the House to the Senate after defeating Regina Piazza in the Senate District 2 Republican Primary Tuesday night. In early returns, he held 76% of the vote to Piazza’s 24%. Trumbull, a term-limited House member from Panama City, will now face Democrat Carolynn Zonia in the Nov. 8 General Election. In District 1, incumbent Sen. Broxson of Gulf Breeze brushed aside the challenge from John Mills in the Republican Primary, winning 75% to 25% in early returns. Democrat Charlie Nichols now awaits Broxson in the General Election.

Travis Hutson overcomes Primary challenger, to face write-ins in General” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Hutson will move on to a November General Election after dispatching a Primary challenger Tuesday. Hutson, who represents Senate District 7, defeated political newcomer Gerry James by 56% to 43%, but not without having to work for it. In the last weeks, he poured $90,000 of his personal fortune into his campaign account to facilitate an ad buy just in time for early voting. James, a financial adviser who entered the race in June, is a former pro wrestler and bodybuilder whose fundraising was modest throughout the campaign. He raised and self-funded a little more than $60,000. Yet he was taken seriously by some national Republicans, with an endorsement from Sarah Palin.

Tracie Davis wins tough SD 5 Primary handily, advances to cakewalk General Election” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The bitter and brutal slugfest in Duval County’s Senate District 5 is over, and Rep. Davis will likely prevail in the Democratic Primary to replace term-limited state Sen. Audrey Gibson. With all early votes, some mail, and 42 of 109 precincts counted, Davis has over 69% of the vote, with Jacksonville City Council member Reggie Gaffney down by nearly 40 points. Though a Republican is filed as well as a no-party candidate, the district is heavily Democratic, meaning any General Election contest will be nominal. Davis has spent three terms in Tallahassee. But with her ally, Gibson, term-limited, Davis passed up a chance to run for a fourth term in the House to pursue the open Senate District 5 seat.

Geraldine Thompson returns to Senate in SD 15” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Thompson is returning to the Senate after being elected in the new Senate District 15 Tuesday. Thompson defeated Democratic Rep. Kamia Brown in an open Primary Election for a northwest Orange County Senate District with a strong Democratic lean. No Republicans or other candidates filed to run there, so Tuesday’s election became the finale, open to all voters. Thompson will succeed Democratic Rep. Randolph Bracy, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress rather than seek another term in the state Senate. Since 2018, Thompson has served in HD 44, which overlaps SD 15. She also previously served in a Senate District that once covered much of the same area, and in another House District, with a legislative career dating to 2006.

Lauren Book wins Senate re-election in ‘ugly’ Primary fight” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Senate Democratic Leader Book of won re-election to the Senate Tuesday, defeating former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief in a closely watched race that put a legislative leader in a rare Primary challenge. With 96 of 97 precincts reporting at 8:15 p.m., Book secured 60% of the vote compared to 40% for the former Broward County Commissioner. With no Republican filed to run in the race, Book has secured her place in the Senate with no General Election.

After an ‘ugly’ Primary battle, Lauren Book comes out on top. Image via AP.

Shevrin Jones overwhelmingly wins re-election to second Senate term” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Miami Gardens Democratic Sen. Jones won re-election to a second Florida Senate term Tuesday, defeating two fellow former educators from within his party’s ranks, including one who drew rebukes for comments critics labeled homophobic. Since Jones faces no challengers in the General Election, he won re-election outright. Described by Crist as “one of the brightest political young stars in Florida politics today,” Jones leveraged eight years in the Statehouse into a landslide Senate victory in 2020. He repeated the feat Tuesday, securing Senate District 34, which covers a large portion of northeast Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Bay Harbor Islands, Miami Beach, North Miami, North Miami Beach and Opa-locka and Miami Gardens, the most populous Black city in Florida.

— 2022: LEG/HOUSE — PART 1 —

Alex Andrade survives Republican challenges in HD 2” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Andrade, the Pensacola Republican seeking his third term in the House, defeated Air Force veteran Jordan Karr and retired Major League Baseball second baseman Greg Litton during Tuesday’s Primary Election. Andrade is on pace to receive 66% of the GOP vote, setting him up to face Democrat Carollyn Rabeca Taylor in November. “I’m excited to finally focus on what’s actually important, keeping Florida on the track that’s made it so successful these past several years,” Andrade said in a statement to Florida Politics. “I’m grateful for the overwhelming support of my district, for the third time in a Republican Primary in five years.”

Alex Andrade proves he is a fighter.

Joel Rudman wins HD 3 GOP Primary over Mariya Calkins” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Rudman defeated Calkins in the House District 3 Republican Primary on Tuesday. He led the race handily 66%-34% in early returns. He is now likely to replace Rep. Jayer Williamson, who opted not to face re-election. Rudman faces only write-in candidate Sandra Maddox, who hasn’t raised any money for her campaign, in the Nov. 8 General Election. The race was a clash between the GOP’s business-friendly wing and its vocal, Donald Trump-supporting wing. Rudman is a Navarre family doctor who was backed by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Williamson himself.

Shane Abbott wins HD 5 race to succeed Brad Drake” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — The heart of the Panhandle has settled on establishment-backed Abbott as their next Representative in House District 5. Abbott, a pharmacist from DeFuniak Springs, defeated Vance Coley and Clint Pate in Tuesday’s Republican Primary for the North Florida district. With no Democratic nominee in HD 5, Abbott will be sworn into office in November. “I’m grateful to God for this opportunity He has given me to represent this community in the Florida House,” Abbott said in a statement. “I want to thank my family for all the hard work, love, and support they have given me throughout this campaign process — this accomplishment would be impossible without them.” The Representative-elect will succeed Eucheeanna Republican Rep. Brad Drake, who is term-limited this year.

Griff Griffitts beats Brian Clowdus to take HD 6 seat” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Bay County Commissioner Griffitts won the House District 6 seat Tuesday evening, easily overcoming the challenge of Clowdus, a production company founder from Atlanta who moved to Panama City two years ago. In early returns Tuesday evening, Griffitts held 68% of the vote to Clowdus’ 31%. He will officially take office shortly after the Nov. 8 General Election, replacing Rep. Trumbull, who was term-limited and ran for the state Senate. Griffitts, 50, is a native of Bay County. His father, Phillip Griffitts, Sr., was Mayor of Panama City Beach from 1982 to 2000. He’s served on numerous local boards and has the backing of nearly every major Republican official in the county, including Trumbull and the Sheriff.

Gallop Franklin wins Democratic nomination for HD 8” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Franklin edged out his opponents Hubert Brown, Gregory James and Marie Rattigan capturing 30.32% of the vote in the Democratic Primary. He faces Republican Curt Bender in the General Election. HD 8 covers Gadsden County and part of Leon County. The seat opened up when Democratic Rep. Ramon Alexander stepped down in light of sexual harassment allegations. The field did shrink in size, however, after Democrat Sharon Lettman-Hicks, a long campaign associate of Andrew Gillum, was indicted. Lettman-Hicks pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but did opt to withdraw her HD 8 candidacy.

Kim Daniels wins HD 14 Democratic Primary, poised to return to Florida House” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Redistricting opened up House District 14, and the ultimate beneficiary of that is former Rep. Daniels, who emerged Tuesday night from a competitive four-way Primary to face a write-in candidate in November. Daniels had 48% of the vote with 37 of 41 precincts in. Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis was in second with 33% of the vote. Daniels had previously represented the district, losing the 2020 Primary to current Rep. Angie Nixon, who was moved to HD 13 during redistricting after Daniels aligned with Republicans on reproductive freedom bills. Nixon drew statewide support in the Democratic Party, while Daniels drew on financial support from Republicans and conservatives while losing by 20 points. This time around, she had the benefit of a four-way field, and her usual recourse to self-funding.

Dean Black notches expected victory in House District 15” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — When a candidate like Black gets in an open-seat Primary, two possible ways to overtake him are to go toe-to-toe racking up supporters within the Republican Party establishment or make up for it with dramatic fundraising. Military veteran and retirement planning counselor Emily Nunez of Yulee was unable to do either during the House District 15 campaign, netting 36.4% compared to Black’s 63.5% as of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday. Black, Chair of the Duval County Republican Party, had to overcome Nunez’s “favorite daughter” role of being the only Nassau County resident in the race for a district that includes the whole county, along with northern and western portions of Duval.

DeSantis-backed Kiyan Michael emerges from three-way GOP brawl in HD 16” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The newly created House District 16 seat in eastern Duval County started out as an “east versus west” battle between Chet Stokes and Lake Ray. But when it came down to it, DeSantis’ 11th-hour endorsement for political outsider Michael changed the game. Michael emerged Tuesday night with 47% of the vote with all but two precincts reporting and will move on to what at least theoretically is a General Election against multiple write-in candidates. Stokes had just 28%, Ray only 25%, in an election decided by the DeSantis nod. Throughout the campaign, she raised just over a quarter-million dollars between her political committee and her campaign account, which is less than Stokes’ self-fund.

A Ron DeSantis endorsement works wonders.

Jessica Baker wins HD 17 GOP Primary, will face Democrat Michael Anderson in November” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The Republican Primary in House District 17 was blood sport between two first-time candidates, who served as vehicles for a proxy war between some of the most powerful people in Northeast Florida. In the end, though, the leading fundraiser in the race won handily. 7th Circuit State Attorney Baker is on track to defeat political newcomer Christina Meredith in a race that was characterized by personal attacks through third parties from start to finish. With all early votes in, some mail, and 12 of 31 precincts, Baker is above 65% of the vote, ending a challenge that was deeply personal for her opponent’s backers.

Ralph Massullo cruises to HD 23 re-election” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — Massullo will get a fourth term in the House after easily winning the District 23 Primary, besting Tod Cloud and Paul Reinhardt to win the all-Republican contest outright. Massullo took 58% in the district, composed of Citrus County and the Dunnellon area of Marion County. Cloud and Reinhardt, who finished second and third, respectively, fared a little better in southern Marion County but still finished well behind Massullo. The win sends Massullo back to the House — though not on the path he envisioned. In late 2021, the three-term Lecanto Republican talked openly about a run for Senate, regardless of how the redistricting process played out.

Webster Barnaby holds tiny lead over Elizabeth Fetterhoff as HD 29 heads to recount” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — With all precincts reported, it appears the election in House District 29 will head to a machine recount. State Rep. Barnaby led the Republican Primary by 31 votes over state Rep. Fetterhoff. That means a dramatic end to the only state legislative election in Florida pitting House colleagues against one another following redistricting. According to unofficial final results, Barnaby received 7,446, or 50.1% of the vote, according to unofficial election results. Fetterhoff had 7,415 votes, or 49.9% of the vote. State law requires elections that come down to a 0.5% margin to go to an automatic machine recount. If results land within a 0.25% margin, there must be a hand recount of votes.

Chase Tramont wins HD 30 Republican Primary, assuring election” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — For all practical purposes, Port Orange City Commissioner Tramont was elected to represent the new House District 30 along the Space Coast by winning the Republican Primary Election. Tramont defeated Robyn Hattaway in a landslide. With that, he moves on to a General Election clear of all candidates save a write-in candidate who joined the contest only to assure that the Republican Primary Election would be closed to Democrats and independents. HD 30 straddles the Volusia-Brevard County line. With nearly complete returns, Hattaway actually won in her home county, but not by nearly enough, outpolling Tramont 55% to 45%. In Volusia, Tramont swamped her, taking more than 75%, with counts of mail ballots still not complete. Overall, that gave Tramont a 69% to 31% victory.

Doug Bankson wins Republican nomination in HD 39” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Apopka City Commissioner Bankson has won the Republican Primary Election for the open seat in the new Apopka-based House District 39. With all precincts returned in Orange County and nearly all in Seminole County, Bankson drew 53% of the vote in the Primary, defeating Charles Hart, who managed 30% and Randy Ross, who took 17%. Bankson, pastor of a big church in Apopka, has won a November General Election showdown with Democratic nominee Tiffany Hughes. Bankson, Orange County Republican Party Chair Hart and Republican activist Ross had turned the campaign into a rumble, with Bankson and Hart offering their own definitions of “true conservative,” and Ross choosing to focus on his crusade to improve senior care.

Bruce Antone knocks out Travaris McCurdy in Democratic Primary in House District 41” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Antone is on his way back. Again. The six-term Democratic former state Representative won the Democratic Primary Election in House District 41 by slightly more than 1% over incumbent Democratic Rep. McCurdy Tuesday, making Antone the prohibitive favorite to return to Tallahassee representing a third district covering parts of western Orange County. In unofficial returns, Antone won the Primary with almost 30% of the vote, while McCurdy managed 28%. Shan Rose and Pam Powell finished third and fourth, each with about 21%. Antone now faces Green Party nominee Robin Denise Harris in the General Election.

Travaris McCurdy takes an “L.”

Rita Harris wins HD 44 seat from fellow Democrat Daisy Morales” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Harris ousted a fellow Democrat, Rep. Morales, in the open Primary Election battle that split the party. With 33 of 35 precincts reporting, Harris won with 53% of the vote, compared with 47% for Morales, providing an insurmountable 1,100 vote cushion. With no Republicans or other candidates, the Democratic Primary was open to all voters and its results were final. In a highly unusual situation, much of the Democratic establishment lined up behind Harris and against one of their own. They pushed a candidate with a more traditional platform of progressive positions on issues from abortion access to gun violence, against a freshman lawmaker who frequently annoyed party leadership with her votes and unreliability on front-line Democratic issues.

Carolina Amesty wins Republican Primary in HD 45” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Amesty has emerged from a fierce, highflying Republican battle to easily win the Primary in House District 45, covering the region of Orange and Osceola counties that includes Walt Disney World. With all precincts reporting in Orange and 70% of precincts reporting in Osceola, Amesty more than doubled the vote totals of any other candidate in a five-way Republican battle that featured more than a half-million dollars in late advertising on TV, mailers and other media, much of it hostile. Amesty now goes on to a General Election contest against Democratic nominee Allie Braswell of Winter Garden. He won the Democratic nomination because he did not get a Primary Election opponent.

— 2022: LEG/HOUSE — PART 2 —

Jennifer Canady tops Lakeland Commissioner Phillip Walker in House District 50 race” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger — Canady, the wife of Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady, is joining the state Legislature. Canady, a longtime science teacher at Lakeland Christian School, turned back Lakeland City Commissioner Phillip Walker in the Republican Primary for Florida House District 50. Canady, a Lakeland resident, captured nearly 64% of the vote. Walker received just over 36%. With no Democrat running in the district, Canady does not face an opponent in November’s General Election.

Kim Berfield bests Jason Holloway for GOP nomination in HD 58” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Former Rep. Berfield is one step closer to returning to the House after winning the GOP nomination for House District 58. Now, Berfield will go on to face Democratic nominee Bernie Fensterwald in the November General Election. Although the former legislator was victorious against GOP newcomer Holloway, the race was competitive. The pair went head-to-head throughout the race, both earning support from key Republican figures. And, while Berfield trailed Holloway’s substantial fundraising throughout the race, her name recognition ultimately proved more valuable. Berfield has strong Republican roots in the county, representing the area in the state House from 2000-2006.

Kim Berfield takes out a better-financed newcomer.

Berny Jacques takes Republican nomination for HD 59” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Former prosecutor Jacques will become the Republican nominee for House District 59 after besting his opponents — lawyer Jennifer Wilson and Navy physician Dipak Dinanath Nadkarni. Jacques won the nomination with 49% of the vote, followed by Wilson, who collected 36%. Nadkarni came in third with 15% of the vote. Now, the nominee will face Dawn Douglas in the November General Election. But the Republican will likely win the seat, as the district leans red. In 2020, 55% of voters within HD 59 voted for Trump, while only 44% went with Biden. The three candidates were running to replace state Rep. Nick DiCeglie as he vacates his seat to run for Senate.

—”Josie Tomkow re-elected, Jennifer Canady and Brad Yeager win first term after Central Florida GOP Primaries” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Michele Rayner beats Wengay Newton for HD 62 seat” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Rayner is set to serve a second term in the Legislature after winning the Democratic Primary for House District 62. Rayner beat former Rep. Newton for the nomination, collecting 53% of the vote to Newton’s 41% in Pinellas County with 92% reporting. In Hillsborough County, the incumbent took 54% of the vote to Newton’s 29%, with about half of the precincts reporting. A third candidate, Jesse Philippe, earned 6% of the vote in Pinellas County and 17% in Hillsborough County. Rayner, a civil rights lawyer, succeeded Newton for the South St. Petersburg district in 2020. Upon her initial election, she became the first openly gay woman of color to serve in the Legislature.

Karen Gonzalez Pittman narrowly takes HD 65 Republican nomination” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Former education administrator Gonzalez Pittman has been elected as the Republican nominee for House District 65, beating business owner Jake Hoffman and lawyer Michael Minardi in the GOP Primary. Pittman narrowly won with 44% of the vote, while Hoffman collected 43% and Minardi took 14%. The candidates were racing to take the competitive Hillsborough County seat, which closely resembles the current House District 60 represented by Tampa Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo, who is running for Congress. Toledo endorsed Pittman as her preferred successor. Pittman will go on to face Democrat Jen McDonald — and may face a challenge in trying to keep the seat red.

Chamber leader Tiffany Esposito wins GOP Primary in HD 77” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — SWFL Inc. President Esposito secured the Republican nomination in state House District 77. She defeated Fox Business pundit Ford O’Connell. With 23 of 26 precincts fully reported, Esposito dominated with 70.8% of the vote to O’Connell’s 29.2. The newly minted GOP nominee heads to the General Election with a distinct advantage over Democrat Eric Engelhart. About 56% of voters in HD 77 supported Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election, compared to 43% who backed Biden. While a low-key race, the contest in HD 77 offers an opportunity to expand the Lee County legislative delegation. This year’s decennial redistricting process drew a Lehigh Acres-centered district and created an opening in the House in an area where incumbents hold most seats.

— 2022: LEG/HOUSE — PART 3 —

—”South Florida state lawmakers emerge from Primaries unscathed” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Mike Caruso rolls to General Election in new territory after challenge from his right” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Two-term Republican Rep. Caruso crushed a Primary challenge from his right in coastal north Palm Beach County’s House District 87. With 55 of 155 of the precincts reporting at 7:55 p.m., Caruso secured nearly 70% of the vote compared to 30% that went for real estate agent Jane Justice who ran against him because she believed him a “RINO” — Republican in Name Only. Caruso will be meeting Democratic candidate Siena Osta in November.

Mike Caruso survives an attack from his right.

Peggy Gossett-Seidman gets by political novice in Palm Beach County’s HD 91” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Highland Beach Commissioner Gossett-Seidman got by a political novice in a rare Republican Primary happening in a Democratic-leaning Palm Beach County House District. With 71 of 72 of the precincts reporting at 9:20 p.m., Gossett-Seidman drew 52% of the vote to secure the Republican nomination to represent House District 91. That compares to the 48% the political novice Christina DuCasse garnered. Now Gossett-Seidman will go on to meet the Democrat in the race, Boca Raton City Councilman Andy Thomas in November. They will be competing to represent the district that covers Boca Raton, along with parts of Highland Beach and West Boca. Election data analysis shows House District 91 became more conservative in redistricting. Now, Republicans’ state organization is investing in flipping this district that had no incumbent.

Katherine Waldron leads four-way Democratic Primary contest for HD 93” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Waldron appears to have advanced by her closest competitor by 132 votes, or 0.94% of the 14,076 votes cast in a four-way Democratic Primary contest for an open seat representing inland Palm Beach County’s House District 93. But the results were not official as of Tuesday evening, and Waldron’s closest competitor had not conceded late Tuesday. A recount is triggered when the margin between the top vote totals is less than or equal to 0.5% of the total votes. “I am getting many calls of congratulations,” Waldron said.

Lisa Dunkley wins House District 97 in three-way Primary to secure her first elected office” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Veteran and entrepreneur Dunkley rose to the top in a three-way Democratic Primary contest Tuesday, becoming the Representative for Broward County’s House District 97 in her first election. With 28 of 30 of the precincts reporting at 8:45 p.m., Dunkley secured 62% of the vote. No Republican candidate filed for the seat, so Dunkley will be going to represent the district in Tallahassee. The inland district encompasses all or parts of Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise and Tamarac.

Patricia Hawkins-Williams sails to a fourth term representing House District 98” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Three-term incumbent Rep. Hawkins-Williams sailed to a fourth term Tuesday, besting Democrat Carmen Jones to represent Broward County’s House District 98. With all of 88 of the precincts reporting at 8:30 p.m., Hawkins-Williams secured 74% of the vote compared to 26% for Jones. As no Republican candidate filed to run, Hawkins-Williams will be going to Tallahassee for a fourth term to represent the north-central Broward County district. It covers the area roughly bounded by Interstate 95 and Florida’s Turnpike, from Oakland Park to the Broward-Palm Beach line. The race had very little spending or fundraising.

Daryl Campbell bests Elijah Manley again in rematch redux to represent HD 99” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — State Rep. Campbell bested Manley again Tuesday in a rematch of their three-way Special Democratic Primary contest earlier this year to determine who will represent Broward County’s House District 99. With 37 of 38 of the precincts reporting at 8:22 p.m., Campbell secured 71% of the vote compared to 29% that voted for Manley. Since no Republican filed for the seat, Campbell will be going to Tallahassee to represent this inland district that covers Fort Lauderdale, west of Andrews Avenue, Wilton Manors, Lauderdale Lakes and Plantation.

Hillary Cassel wins three-way Democratic Primary to win nomination for HD 101” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Fundraising ruled Tuesday as a three-way contest among Democrats went to Cassel, a lawyer who raised the most money among a trio competing to get the Democratic nomination to represent House District 101. Her closest opponent, Todd Delmay, one of the plaintiffs pressing the state to allow same-sex marriages, won 34% of the vote to her 40% with 35 of the district’s 37 of the precincts reporting by 9 p.m., Tuesday. A third Democratic candidate, Clay Miller, trailed third with 25% of the vote. Cassel will meet the Republican who has filed for the seat, Guy Silla for November’s election. But the Democratic Primary winner is heavily favored to win the seat.

Dotie Joseph trounces opponents, wins re-election to HD 108” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Joseph of North Miami has won re-election in House District 108, defeating one old foe and a new challenger to secure her seat for a third term. With 99 of 104 of the precincts reporting as of 9:12 p.m. Tuesday, Joseph had 53% of the vote compared to 26% for former North Miami City Clerk Michael Etienne and 20% for former state Rep. Roy Hardemon, whom Joseph supplanted in 2018. Since only Democrats ran for HD 108 this year, Joseph won re-election outright. For Hardemon, Tuesday marked the culmination of a second consecutive campaign against Joseph to win back the HD 108 seat. Etienne, who dropped more than $60,000 in radio ad purchases on his first day running in June, was similarly attempting to recapture public office.

A.J. D’Amico wins Democratic Primary for HD 113” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Lawyer D’Amico has won the Democratic Primary for House District 113, which covers central Miami-Dade County, including portions of Coral Gables, Key Biscayne and Miami. D’Amico will now face public affairs consultant and GOP political insider Vicki Lopez in the Nov. 8 General Election. Lopez defeated entrepreneur and Venezuelan American Republican Alliance member Alberto Perosch in the Republican Primary with 67% of the vote. A member of the Cuban American Bar Association, D’Amico is a first-time political candidate. He works for Coconut Grove-based law firm Mase Mebane Seitz. Before joining the Democratic Party in 2017, he was registered to vote with no party affiliation and as a Republican.

Juan Fernandez-Barquin wins Republican Primary for HD 118, will face lone Democrat in General Election” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Fernandez-Barquin dispatched small-business owner Daniel Sotelo and public-school systems analyst Francisco Rodriguez in the Republican Primary in his bid to hold on to the seat representing House District 118 for a third consecutive term. He will face former South Bay Community Council member Johnny Farias, the lone Democratic candidate running in HD 118, in the Nov. 8 General Election. A lawyer by training who sits on the Public Health Trust — the body that oversees Miami-Dade’s hospital network, Jackson Health System — Fernandez-Barquin has established himself as one of DeSantis’ most loyal legislative allies during his time in the House.

Juan Fernandez-Barquin is a staunch ally of Ron DeSantis.

Juan Carlos Porras wins Republican Primary for HD 119, faces Gabriel Gonzalez in the General Election” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Former GOP operative turned business owner Porras has won a five-way Republican Primary for House District 119, which covers a strip of unincorporated Miami-Dade County encompassing parts of West Kendall, Country Walk and The Crossings. Porras will now face activist Gonzalez in the Nov. 8 General Election. Gonzalez defeated lawyer James Cueva with 56% of the vote in the Democratic Primary. No Primary candidate running in HD 119 to succeed outgoing state Rep. Anthony Rodriguez held 100% of the cards in the race, though some had significant advantages.

— 2022: DOWN BALLOT — C. FLA —

Most DeSantis-endorsed school board candidates win their primaries” via Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO — The majority of local school board candidates backed by DeSantis, at least 21 out of 30, won their elections Tuesday, results that underscore how DeSantis’ stance on education has gained support throughout Florida. In particular, conservative candidates who DeSantis endorsed won at least four of the seven head-to-head elections against opponents supported by Democrats, decisions that could spur new school board dynamics in several counties. On top of the victories by DeSantis, four other races featuring candidates with his support are slated to square off in runoff elections.

Jerry Demings secures re-election as Orange County Mayor” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Demings has been re-elected, the first step in a two-election process that could redefine his legacy and the county’s growth for decades. In a four-way contest, Demings won with more than 59% of the vote in Tuesday’s Primary Election, assuring that he wins outright on the first ballot, rather than having to go into a runoff. He defeated three challengers who put up modest campaigns against the high-profile Demings, conservatives Chris Messina and Tony Sabb, and progressive Kelly Semrad. In unofficial returns, Messina finished second with 22% and the other two each got 9%. There was little doubt Demings would win regardless, if not Tuesday, then in November. He is a popular Democrat, married to another one, U.S. Rep. Demings, in a county that has 150,000 more Democratic registered voters than Republicans.

Jerry Demings gets a shot at a legacy.

Pasco OKs school tax, picks School Board members and County Commissioners” via Barbara Behrendt and Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — In a vote that will have a long-lasting impact on Pasco County public schools, voters approved increasing their property taxes to boost salaries for district employees. With most ballots tallied, the referendum received about 59% of the vote. Supporters argued the tax of up to $1 per $1,000 of taxable value is necessary to make Pasco more competitive with neighboring districts that pay better. Referendum opponents mounted a social media campaign against the request, arguing the district would have plenty of cash for raises if it cut spending in other areas.

Initial vote totals show Hillsborough Schools lose referendum vote, recount possible” via Rebekah Nelson of the WFTS — Hillsborough County voters have initially rejected the Hillsborough School Board referendum in Tuesday’s Primary Election by less than 1,000 votes, which could trigger a machine recount. The final vote totals were 109,444 votes to reject the referendum and 108,492 votes to pass the referendum, a difference of 952 votes. However, the county elections department said late Tuesday: “These are unofficial results and there are still more ballots to count. We are counting approximately 3,500 vote-by-mail ballots now. And the unofficial results won’t be certified until Thursday night or Friday morning.”

Pinellas voted on School Board, County Commission. Here’s where things stand.” via Tracey McManus, Marlene Sokol, and Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — Escot Bus Lines owner Brian Scott won the Pinellas County Commission District 2 GOP Primary to face incumbent Pat Gerard, who is seeking a third term, to try to flip the board’s slim Democratic majority. Incumbent Republican Commissioner Dave Eggers will return for another term. Incumbents Lisa Cane and Caprice Edmond easily won re-election to the School Board; two other open seats on the nonpartisan board are headed to a runoff. Scott won about 66% of the vote against Debbie Buschman, a Palm Harbor Special Fire Control & Rescue Commissioner. Gerard did not face a Democratic challenger.

Rick Nolte ousts Sarah Fortney in Polk School Board race. Kay Fields retains seat” via Gary White of The Lakeland Ledger — A challenger ousted Polk County School Board member Fortney on Tuesday, while another board member retained her seat and a third is headed for a runoff. Nolte, a conservative candidate running on an endorsement from DeSantis, captured nearly 51% of the vote in unofficial results from the Polk County Supervisor of Elections. Fortney, who was seeking a second term, received just over 49%. Nolte ran on a ticket of candidates endorsed and heavily promoted by the Polk County Republican Party, though the races are nonpartisan. One of the other candidates, Justin Sharpless, defeated Sara Jones for the open seat in District 6.

Citrus County voters return Rebecca Bays to Commission in District 4” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — Bays is heading back to the Citrus County Commission. The former Commissioner, who served one term a decade ago, bested a three-candidate District 4 field that included John Murphy Jr. and former Commissioner Winn Webb. Bays won with 38%, followed by Murphy at 32% and Webb at 29%. Bays thanked supporters at a Primary night celebration at Cove Pub and Grub in Inverness. “Citrus County has been discovered,” she said. “It’s precious to us. We need to make sure it remains precious to us.” Unlike the contentious District 2 race, the three Republican candidates in District 4 exhibited respect for one another publicly throughout the campaign.

—”County Commission District 4 GOP Primary: Carl Zalak wins; will face two write-ins in November” via Jim Ross of the Ocala Star-Banner

— 2022: DOWN BALLOT — SW. FLA —

Jason Bearden, Mike Rahn win GOP Primaries in Manatee Co. Commission contests” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Tuesday turned out to be RINO hunting season in Manatee County. Republican challengers Bearden and Rahn defeated incumbent Manatee County Commissioners Carol Whitmore and Misty Servia respectively after bitter contests. Bearden defeated Whitmore in a countywide race for the seat she has held since the mid-2000s. With most of the precincts reporting, Bearden was taking 61.5% of the vote to Whitmore’s 25.35%. In the District 4 race, Rahn dominated with 62.45% of the vote. Write-in candidates in both races closed Republican Primaries to only voters registered with the party. The winners of the Aug. 23 campaign technically won’t secure four-year terms on the Commission until the General Election, where they will run against a blank line on the ballot.

After a bitter Primary, Jason Bearden takes out the incumbent. Image via Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Mike Greenwell hits it out of the park in Lee Co. Commission Primary” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — It looks like Greenwell will be headed to the majors. The former Red Sox left fielder won the Republican nomination for a Lee County Commission seat. He was appointed by DeSantis in July to fill the seat, left open following the death of longtime Commissioner Frank Mann, and now becomes a favorite to serve another two years. With 93 of 99 precincts reported in Lee County, Greenwell led with nearly 69% of the vote to John Albion’s just under 21% and nearly 11% for Joseph Gambino. The newly minted GOP nominee will now face Democrat Matt Wood in a November General election.

Kevin Karnes, Governor appointee, retains Lee Clerk of Courts position with more than 55% of the vote” via Chad Gillis of the Fort Myers News-Press — Karnes retained his seat as Lee County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller during Tuesday night’s Primary as there is no Democrat opposing him this fall. “I’m doing very well,” Karnes said shortly after results were released just before 8:30 p.m. “We’ve got work to do for the citizens of Lee County. I’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this campaign and this job, and nothing is going to change.” Karnes was appointed by DeSantis in March 2022, replacing Linda Doggett, who retired.

— 2022: DOWN BALLOT — S. FLA —

Daniella Levine Cava congratulates Crist, Book for Primary wins — Miami-Dade Mayor Levine Cava issued a statement Tuesday congratulating Crist for his win in the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary and Senate Democratic Leader Book, who won re-election. She said Crist’s “campaign is stronger for the General Election because Commissioner Nikki Fried ran a hard-fought campaign and reminded voters what’s at stake this November. … We know much can be done for our residents when we work together, unite behind common good and focus on results.” She likewise praised Book for “her hard-fought victory as she earns a final two-year term to the state Senate. Lauren has been a champion for Florida families, and I look forward to continue working with her as we partner with the state on solutions to the many challenges South Florida families face.”

Daniella Levine Cava says Charlie Crist’s win reminds voters what is at stake.

Kevin Marino Cabrera, Jorge Fors Jr. head to runoff for District 6 seat on Miami-Dade Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Government relations specialist Cabrera and Coral Gables Commissioner Fors will compete in a runoff election to determine which of them will represent District 2 residents on the Miami-Dade County Commission. Neither received enough votes to win office outright. With 79 of 82 of the precincts reporting at 9:04 p.m. Tuesday, Cabrera had 43% of the vote while Fors had 26%. Miami-Dade law requires a County Commission candidate to receive more than half the votes cast during the technically nonpartisan Primary contest to win office. The winner on Nov. 8 will succeed term-limited Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who has served District 6 uninterrupted since 2001.

Danielle Cohen Higgins defeats two challengers to keep District 8 seat on Miami-Dade Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Cohen Higgins has successfully fended off two challengers to hold on to her seat representing District 8 on the Miami-Dade County Commission. With 56 of 87 of the precincts reporting at 8:42 p.m. Tuesday, Cohen Higgins had 58% of the vote to secure her seat outright and avoid a Nov. 8 runoff. Miami-Dade law requires a County Commission candidate to receive more than half the votes cast during the technically nonpartisan Primary contest to win office. Her challengers split the remainder. Realtor and community activist Alicia Arellano took 20% of the vote, while former nursing director Karen Baez-Wallis got 22%.

Juan Carlos Bermudez wins District 12 seat on Miami-Dade Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Doral Mayor Bermudez has won the District 12 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission, defeating an opponent who poured more than $1 million of her own money into the race. With early voting, vote-by-mail totals and four of 49 of the precincts reporting at 7:37 p.m. Tuesday, Bermudez had 66.4% of the vote compared to 33.6% for former Sweetwater Commissioner Sophia Lacayo. They were the only two candidates in the race. Bermudez is now set to take the District 12 seat following the General Election. He will succeed longtime Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who in November must leave office due to term limits voters approved in 2012.

Two DeSantis-backed Miami school board candidates win, one edging out a longtime incumbent” via Sommer Brugal of the Miami Herald — Roberto Alonso won by a wide margin in the seat to succeed the board’s outgoing chairwoman and Monica Colucci moved forward to unseat longtime incumbent Marta Pérez in a very tight race. Alonso, 41, a businessman and Miami Dade College Board of Trustees member whom DeSantis appointed to the board in 2020, won against two challengers in the open seat vacated by former School Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman, who had been the District 4 representative since 1996 and the board chair for 14 terms (nonconsecutive).

Beam Furr coasts to a third term representing Broward County Commission District 6” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Furr will serve a third term representing District 6 after winning his re-election to the Broward County Commission against a newcomer to the Broward political scene, Jeffrey Jones. With all 40 of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Furr scored 70% of the vote compared to 30% for Jones, the founder and owner of Seaport Transportation Services. Furr decisively outraised and outspent his opponent. Donors propelled the fundraising for his campaign to nearly $190,000 for his campaign. Furr, as of Aug. 5, had spent $81,945 as Jones raised $10,500 and spent the same.

Voters approve new tax for Broward school referendum” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Broward voters on Tuesday agreed to double a special school tax that would go toward increasing teacher salaries, school security officers and mental health resources. The victory came despite doubts over whether it had enough support, given the steep rise in rent and inflation costs, combined with how some are leery of trusting the district with another round of extra money. The referendum needed more than 50% to pass.

Key Biscayne mayoral candidates advance” via Tess Riski of the Miami Herald — Two Key Biscayne mayoral candidates are heading for a runoff on the November ballot. Former Mayor Joe Rasco pulled ahead of his two opponents Tuesday night. Rasco chairs the Virginia Key Advisory Board and is the former director of Miami-Dade County’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Former lobbyist Fausto Gomez was in second place as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Gomez appeared poised to join Rasco on the November ballot, although less than 100 votes separated him from third-place candidate Katie Petros, former Key Biscayne Village Councilor.

Michelle Oyola McGovern wins PBC Commission battle that hit $1M spending” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Oyola McGovern defeated Rep. Matt Willhite in a Palm Beach County Commission Democratic Primary, denying Willhite a return to local politics. The race spurred a battle royal believed to be one of the most expensive county-level races in Palm Beach history. If she gets past the Republican in the General Election — a likelihood — McGovern will be representing an agricultural swath on the Commission, geographically the largest of the county’s seven districts. It covers the area from the western suburbs of West Palm Beach to the sugar cane fields of Glades. The seat came open because Commissioner Melissa McKinlay is term-limited.

— 2022: DOWN BALLOT — N. FLA —

Partisan runoff set for Jacksonville Sheriff’s race” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — As expected, Republican T.K. Waters finished first in the Jacksonville Sheriff election Tuesday night, with Democrat Lakesha Burton’s second-place finish — ensuring her a spot in the runoff. But Waters came remarkably close to winning it outright without a runoff, by garnering 47% of the vote, well ahead of Burton’s 33%, with 183 of 186 precincts in. Three other Democrats took a share of the vote, meanwhile, also helping to ensure a November runoff. 2015 Democratic nominee Ken Jefferson got 13% of the vote, Wayne Clark got 4% support, and 2019 Democratic nominee Tony Cummings got 3% support. Waters, a now-retired chief of investigations, initially had another Republican in the contest, but Mat Nemeth found the exit after DeSantis endorsed Waters, essentially closing the field for Republicans.

After a squeaker Primary, a runoff in November.

Tyrona Clark-Murray wins Jacksonville City Council seat while another goes to a runoff” via Hanna Holthaus of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville District 9 residents have a new City Council representative. However, the District 7 seat remains open a while longer. District 9 candidate Clark-Murray clinched a victory with 53% of the vote in Tuesday’s special election. No candidate won a majority in District 7, sending the two top vote-getters, Democrat Reggie Gaffney Jr. and Republican Charles Barr, to the November runoff.

Duval County voters approve property tax increase for teachers, school improvements” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — Voters approved a Duval School District property tax increase Tuesday night, meaning teachers can expect a raise next year. But it was close. The tax increase received 53% approval, with only three precincts out of 186 not reporting yet. Duval Schools stakeholders, including Superintendent Diana Greene, school board members and local education advocates gathered for a watch party at Mudville Grille as results poured in for a 1 mill property tax increase. Revenue from the tax will go toward boosting teacher pay, as well as arts and athletics programs across Jacksonville schools.

—“Voters give Judge Jason Jones a commanding lead in race to retain county bench” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat

April Carney, Charlotte Joyce win Duval County School Board seats with DeSantis endorsements” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — Voters chose candidates endorsed by DeSantis for seats on the nonpartisan Duval County School Board after a campaign steeped in partisan culture wars. The victory of newcomer Carney in School Board District 2 and re-election of Joyce in District 6 was celebrated as evidence that “parents from across Duval County made their voices heard” by the Duval County Republican Party. “These victories officially FLIP the School Board to majority registered Republicans 4-3. More importantly, it rejects the WOKE indoctrination, sexualization, and Marxist policies that have been allowed to occur and puts the power back into the hands of PARENTS!” the party exulted in an emailed statement.

John Dailey, Kristin Dozier head to runoff in Tallahassee Mayor race” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Tallahassee voters will have a few more months to decide whether to keep Mayor Dailey in office or replace him with Dozier. The race will go to a runoff on the Nov. 8 General Election as neither candidate topped 50% of the vote. With 76 of 80 precincts reporting, Dozier received 46.02% of the vote compared to Dailey’s 45.85%. Michael Ibrahim received 2.94% of the vote while Whitfield Leland III garnered 5.19%. In the weeks leading up to the Primary, the Dailey and Dozier campaigns were embroiled in a bitter war of words. In July Dailey filed an election violation complaint against Dozier. Dozier, who had served on the Leon County Commission since 2010, entered the race in March and criticized Dailey’s support of the $27 million Doak Campbell Stadium Blueprint funding.

‘Time to get back to work’: Jeremy Matlow wins re-election against David Bellamy” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — City Commissioner Matlow claimed victory at about 8:30 p.m. and said it signals continued appetite among the electorate for his defiant approach to city business as usual and large-scale Blueprint projects.  He is often reluctant to automatically go along with staff recommendations and has been critical of projects and policies developed without board intervention. Matlow came to the board in 2018 in the hopes of affecting change and bolstering confidence in a City Hall that was caught under the microscope of the FBI.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor re-elected to District 1 seat” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Longtime Leon County Commissioner Proctor has once again been re-elected to another term, beating out Donna Pearl Cotterell and Terrance Barber to keep his District 1 seat. With 25 of 27 precincts reporting, Proctor received 59% of the vote compared to Barber’s 24% and Cotterell’s 17%. Proctor has served on the Commission since 1996, representing District 1 since 2006. He currently serves as Chair.

Hupp Huppmann emerges victorious in tough Nassau Co. Commission battle” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — It was a thorough drubbing for incumbent Nassau County Commissioner Aaron Bell, who lost District 2 to Navy veteran and locally well-known entertainer Huppmann. Huppmann took 62.6% of the vote while Bell claimed close to 37.4% in the open Republican Primary. Huppmann won across the board, taking majorities in mail-in, early votes and Election Day totals. He also won every precinct in the district, with the closest tally being a 47-vote victory at the Bryceville Community Center precinct. The Riverstone debate helped drive the conversation on the race until Bell’s arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in June. He waived arraignment and pleaded not guilty in an Aug. 18 court hearing.

Aaron Bell gets trounced.

Alyson McCullough takes hard-fought western seat on Nassau Co. Commission” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — One of the nastier and more competitive North Florida races not involving a mid-campaign DUI charge — unlike the District 2 race — the campaign for District 4 on the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners has been a rough and personal one, fought across not just western Nassau County, but online on multiple Facebook pages. On Election Night, it was newcomer Alyson McCullough with 47.2% of the vote, defeating former Commissioner George Spicer and incumbent District 4 Commissioner Thomas Ford, who garnered 28.4% and 24.4% respectively, in the open Republican Primary. She won every precinct in the district, though Spicer made it close with a three-point difference at the Callahan Fairgrounds location.

Nassau voters pick Justin Taylor, Ray Nelson for Fernandina Port Authority” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — There’s going to be two fresh faces overseeing port traffic in Fernandina Beach, and one of those people unseated an incumbent to get there. Taylor defeated Commissioner Scott Hanna, whose re-election bid in District 3 ended in a significant defeat. That sets up the Port of Fernandina’s Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA) Board for if not for a new direction, then some new ideas. For District 4, it was Nate Bell, Kyle Caswell and Ray Nelson, with Nelson taking the election at close to 52%, as Bell followed with 25% and Caswell with 22%. As with the District 2 race, those numbers are with eight of 18 precincts reporting.

D.C. Reeves is elected next mayor of Pensacola, wins with enough votes to avoid runoff” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — In a first under the city’s 2010 charter, Reeves has won with enough vote share to make a runoff unnecessary with a total of 7,529 votes, or 51.44%, with all 20 precincts reporting. Celebrating with supporters at his brewery Perfect Plain, Reeves thanked them and said he was overwhelmed by voters’ support. “When you run as a 38-year-old mayor, you’re expected to have some passionate energy,” Reeves said.

South Walton ‘has a voice now’: Donna Johns elected District 4 County Commissioner” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News — Johns has been elected to the District 4 seat on the Walton County Commission. A Miramar Beach resident who spent 20 years in the military, Johns has been active in the community, serving on several county committees and most recently as a board member for South Walton Mosquito Control. “I want to do so much good for this county, and I can’t wait to get started,” Johns said Tuesday evening.

— POWER TO THE PEOPLE —

Rep. Anna Eskamani is using her political committee to power a new voter registration effort targeting Floridians who are outraged about the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The Orlando Democrat is one of the leading proponents of abortion rights in the Legislature; Eskamani spent several years working for Planned Parenthood before running for elected office.

Her “People Power for Florida” committee will reach out to voters through online ads that highlight the threat to abortion rights — and potentially other rights — in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

One ad features a headline from News 6 Orlando: “With Roe over, some fear a rollback of LGBTQ and other rights.” It then says, “Vote to protect your rights in Florida,” urging Floridians to register to vote by Oct. 8, which is the cutoff to cast a ballot in the General Election on Nov. 8.

“The majority of Americans and Floridians agree that abortion must remain safe and legal, but that’s not the case anymore. States are banning abortion and criminalizing providers; they’re putting patients in harm’s way and invading the privacy of families,” she said in a news release.

“And they’re not stopping there either. Gov. Ron DeSantis has every intention to completely ban abortion in our state if he wins re-election, and we want to make sure Floridians understand that as we approach the voter registration deadline on October 11th.”

The campaign was launched with the help of Riveter Digital, and with the support of two donors who contributed $30,000 toward the campaign’s first investments in Central Florida. The goal is to raise additional funds from across the state to expand the campaign’s reach statewide and debut on streaming services next month.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

— STATEWIDE —

DeSantis won’t say if he and Trump have talked since Mar-a-Lago search” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis, appearing on Fox and Friends, was coy when asked by Brian Kilmeade if he had talked to Trump lately about the raid or anything. “Well, Brian, to the extent I do have conversations with him, I’m sure the Department of Justice and the FBI would leak that to The New York Times, so stay tuned on that,” DeSantis said. DeSantis said the FBI’s actions toward the former President were the latest example of “federal agencies in the past five, 10 years” that “have been weaponized against people the government doesn’t like.”

On speaking terms?

DeSantis is glad Anthony Fauci’s leaving, but says the ‘damage’ is already done” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis has made trolling and baiting Fauci central to his strategy counter-messaging the federal government’s COVID-19 guidance for years. He offered familiar criticisms of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during a Fox and Friends hit. “I think he’s done a lot of damage. I think he should have been gone long ago. And if you think about what he’s done with his arrogance, it’s part of the reason he’s advocated policies that have been so destructive,” DeSantis said. “He thinks that people who disagree with him are somehow beneath him … (Fauci) was never willing to admit he was wrong when it’s clear those policies don’t work.”

DeSantis’ plan to bus migrants to Delaware on standby as Texas takes ‘pressure off’” via Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — DeSantis has talked about busing undocumented immigrants out of the state for the better part of the year, and his administration has $12 million to roll out a program that could do just that. But the Republican governor on Tuesday said that a similar program in Texas has “taken a lot of pressure off” his administration, suggesting that DeSantis is not in any rush to start relocating migrants out of Florida. “I think because of what Texas has done, I actually think that’s taken a lot of pressure off us,” DeSantis told reporters in Tallahassee on Tuesday morning.

Cabinet approves anti-‘woke investments’ rule for state pension plan” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — The Florida Cabinet is moving forward with restrictions against “woke investments.” DeSantis has made environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG) the latest front in his battle against socially conscious culture, which DeSantis says is weakening American society. ESG has become associated with using issues like climate change and racial awareness to influence investments by rating companies’ values. Cabinet members approved rules for the State Board of Administration (SBA). The rules require the SBA to make investment decisions solely on economic factors and prohibit the agency from sacrificing investment returns or taking additional risks.

Mark Glass named permanent FDLE Commissioner” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — The Florida Cabinet has approved Glass as Commissioner of the Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), formalizing a role he’s held on an acting basis since May. Glass replaced former Commissioner Rick Swearingen, who departed FDLE after 38 years at the agency. “We’ve appreciated his service,” DeSantis said at the Cabinet meeting. “He’s done a lot to help with a lot of different issues that the state is facing.” Attorney General Moody also gave Glass her vote of confidence.

Mark Glass gets a permanent gig.

Personnel note: Brian Mimbs named Deputy Secretary at DBPR” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Enterprise Florida Chief of Staff Mimbs is stepping in as Deputy Secretary of Business Regulation at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). At DBPR, the agency tasked with licensing and regulating business in Florida, Mimbs will oversee the divisions of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco; Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes; and Hotels and Restaurants. At his last post, Mimbs oversaw personnel at Enterprise Florida, which vets incentive projects to lure companies to expand or move to Florida. He has previously served on the staff of U.S. Sen. Rubio and on the policy team for DeSantis’ 2018 campaign.

— MORE STATEWIDE —

Stephen Alford sentenced to five years in prison for scheme to extort $25M from Gaetz family” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News — Niceville resident Alford will serve 63 months, or just over five years, in federal prison for attempting to extort $25 million from Don Gaetz, a former state Senate President and father of Florida’s 1st District Congressman Matt Gaetz. The sentencing followed an afternoon hearing and came after District Judge Casey Rodgers ruled last week that the government had incorrectly attempted to set guidelines for sentencing for stealing $25 million, rather than attempting to steal $25 million.

Joel Greenberg named as witness in case against ‘ghost’ candidate, Seminole GOP chair” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — Former Seminole County Tax Collector Greenberg has been named as a witness in the state’s case against an independent “ghost” candidate who ran for a competitive state Senate seat in 2020 and the Seminole County GOP chair who aided her candidacy. Greenberg, who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to sex trafficking and other federal crimes over a year ago, has been listed as a witness against GOP Chair Ben Paris and former candidate Jestine Iannotti.

Joel Greenburg is under the microscope — again.

Suntan wars: Ron Rice’s former employee sues, saying he got cut out of business” via Gabrielle Russon of the Miami Herald — Rice, the famous “Suntan King” who founded Hawaiian Tropic lotion, died in May at age 81. Emerging in the months after his death is a lawsuit filed by Rice’s former employee, Matt DiFebo, who accused Rice and two business associates of conspiring to cut him out of business for another line of sun care products. “This dispute was brewing long before Mr. Rice passed away. Mr. DiFebo has not sued to smear the personal legacy of Ron Rice,” said DiFebo’s attorney, Tucker Byrd, in a statement. “But fair is fair.” DiFebo said Rice, “his mentor and friend,” recruited him to be CEO of a new enterprise called Havana Sun. Rice named DiFebo as the CEO in 2016 and eventually gave him 9% of the company stock.

Few Polk parents opt-out” via Axios — Only a small number of Polk County Public Schools parents have elected to bar their kids from reading books that a conservative group has labeled pornographic and inappropriate. Parents had a window of opportunity in August to alert the district that they didn’t want their students to have access to 16 library books that a group called County Citizens Defending Freedom demanded be removed from schools. Those books — which include titles such as “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison, and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” by Jonathan Safran Foer — were pulled from shelves in January and reviewed by two committees in the spring. Both committees recommended that all titles stay on shelves, with some age restrictions.

UF provost said he removed Honors Program director: Decision ‘was mine, and I stand by it’” via Gershon Harrell of The Gainesville Sun — The University of Florida provost issued a statement Friday afternoon saying it was his decision to remove the UF Honors Program director. In the statement, Provost Joe Glover said the board of trustees felt that Law was not “making significant progress and had not for some time toward being a program that belongs at a top-five public university” after Law gave a presentation to the board in June. Law subsequently found out that he was being removed from the Honors director position. His last day in the position was Aug. 15, but he is still employed as an engineering professor at the university.

UF raises $100M for new West Palm Beach campus, nears land deal” via Brian Bandell of the South Florida Business Journal — The University of Florida has met its $100 million fundraising goal to build a campus in downtown West Palm Beach as it nears a deal to secure property there. The Palm Beach County Commission will consider a deal to grant 5 acres to UF at its Aug. 23 meeting. The property is on Datura Street, in an area known as Government Hill.

Personnel note: Battleground Florida host Evan Donovan to leave WFLA” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Tampa Bay political reporter Donovan will be leaving his role at WFLA to “take the next step in his journalism career,” the channel’s assistant news director Chris Ford announced in an email Tuesday. Donovan anchors News Channel 8 Today on weekend mornings, hosting the Sunday morning political show Battleground Florida. He also reports on political issues during the week for the station. Ford disclosed the departure in an email sent to the WFLA newsroom Tuesday. Donovan’s last day at the station will be Sept. 1.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Biden nears decision on canceling $10,000 in student loans as allies feud” via Jeff Stein and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel of The Washington Post — The White House’s close allies are feuding over whether the administration should cancel up to $10,000 in student debt for millions of American borrowers, as Biden nears a decision that is expected to come on Wednesday. Internal White House discussions have centered on temporarily extending that pause and simultaneously canceling $10,000 per borrower for those below an income threshold, but the President has not yet communicated a decision.

Is Joe Biden ready to give college students a break?

Biden liaison to Black voters leaves White House for law firm” via Mario Parker of Bloomberg — Trey Baker, who helped lead efforts to draw Black voters to Biden in the 2020 election and worked as a conduit between the White House and the President’s African American base, is leaving the administration. Baker, a senior White House adviser for public engagement, departs Monday to work as a partner in the law firm Barnes & Thornburg’s Washington office. He was one of Biden’s longest-serving aides, working on his presidential campaign as national director of African American engagement from September 2019 before subsequently joining the administration.

Rick Scott’s ill-timed Italian vacation” via Jonathan Swan, Josh Kraushaar, and Alayna Treene of Axios — Sen. Scott is spending part of his congressional recess on a luxury yacht in Italy with his family after criticizing Biden for vacationing in Delaware. Scott is the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose job is to win back a GOP majority in the upper chamber. Republicans’ prospects for winning back the Senate have been worsening over the course of the summer. Scott is already under fire for his management of the committee. Vacationing in Europe while Republicans face cash problems and rough headlines about their midterm chances could further hurt his standing with his GOP colleagues.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg: Port Tampa Bay’s new berth ‘part of a broader vision’” via Henry Queen of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — Buttigieg greenlit a $12.6 million federal grant to Port Tampa Bay earlier this month, and he made sure to stop by to promote it on Tuesday as his first stop on a four-day tour. He stood in the Tampa summer sun for over 20 minutes, listening to local leaders thank him, and the federal government for enabling the Port to handle more cargo as people move here and consumer demand increases. “Thank you for the warm welcome,” Buttigieg said, “and I do mean warm.” The grant will help the Port build an approximately $17 million berth at Port Redwing in South Hillsborough County.

Pete Buttigieg gets a warm welcome in Tampa. Image via Bay News 9.

— EPILOGUE TRUMP —

Trump tells his lawyers: Get ‘my’ top-secret documents back” via Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley of Rolling Stone — In the weeks after the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid, Trump repeatedly made a simple-sounding but extraordinary ask: he wanted his lawyers to get “my documents” back from federal law enforcement. Trump wasn’t merely referring to the alleged trove of attorney-client material that he insists was scooped up by the feds during the raid, two people familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. The ex-President has been demanding that his team find a way to recover “all” of the official documents that Trump has long referred to as “mine” including the highly sensitive and top-secret ones.

Donald Trump wants to get his secret papers back, but they aren’t his. Image via People magazine.

Justice Department issues new subpoena to National Archives for more Jan. 6 documents” via Jamie Gangel and Evan Perez of CNN — The Justice Department has issued a new grand jury subpoena to the National Archives for more documents as part of its investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. This latest subpoena, issued on Aug. 17, is in addition to a subpoena the Department of Justice sent to the Archives earlier this year, requesting the same documents and information that the Archives had previously handed over to the House select committee investigating January 6. This new subpoena, which has not been previously reported, is understood to request additional documents and data from the Archives, pertaining to a period both before and after January 6.

Trump PAC’s $650,000 ‘charitable contribution’ to the Smithsonian will pay for portraits of Donald and Melania Trump” via Dave Levinthal of Business Insider — A $650,000 “charitable contribution” Trump’s political action committee made to the Smithsonian Institution will help fund portraits of Donald and Melania Trump for the National Portrait Gallery. The contribution, which Trump’s Save America PAC disclosed without explanation in a Federal Election Commission filing Saturday, will “support the artists’ fees, shipping, framing, installation, and events,” Linda St. Thomas, a Smithsonian spokesperson, said.

— TOP OPINION —

Florida’s Cuban American Lieutenant Governor sells out her heritage for anti-immigrant votes” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — Dear Lt. Gov. Núñez, backpedal all you want now that your election-time stunt in Miami has failed, but I heard your anti-immigrant commentary on Cuban radio, and I speak flawless Spanish. You do know that anti-immigrant Americans like you — and like the governor you serve, didn’t want your Cuban parents or mine settling in droves in 1960s Miami either, right? “Lt. Gov. Núñez has forgotten the meaning of the accent and tilde in her name,” I wrote in 2019 after you cheerfully headlined an event staged by notorious immigrant haters and nationalists. Faced with backlash, you then feigned ignorance about the organization being labeled a hate group with ties to White supremacists and eugenicists.

— OPINIONS —

A ‘woke’ calculation: Hurt millions, so Ron DeSantis can win” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — It’s a rare talent, for a politician’s actions to appear both chilling and silly at the same time. DeSantis — who built his personal political brand by resurrecting and weaponizing bigotry most people believed had been laid to rest — pulls it off regularly. But he hit a new benchmark with a recent speech, which he wrapped up with a polemic featuring his favorite word, one he apparently assumes Floridians don’t know the meaning of. The word, of course, is “woke.” “The state of Florida is the state, is the place, where woke goes to die,” DeSantis said.

Chris Hand: With his LG pick, Crist should choose a running mate, governing partner” via Florida Politics — Now that he has clinched the Democratic nomination and is required by law to name a running mate no later than Thursday, Sept. 1, Crist has an opportunity to choose a partner who can both expand his campaign’s presence and, if elected, share the substantial task of governing the nation’s third-largest state. A common claim in Florida politics is that Democrats do not have an adequate bench. But that statement is not accurate with regard to Crist’s LG options. Crist has a wealth of possibilities — especially if he chooses a running mate from the 51% of Floridians who are female. Crist should make his running mate a full partner both on the campaign trail and, if elected, in state government.

Ronda Dry: Teachers, education choice will set you free” via Florida Politics — Tens of thousands of Florida educators are now teaching in private, charter and virtual schools that didn’t exist a generation ago. Even more compelling: The growing number of former public-school teachers who left their classrooms to start innovative private schools and, more recently, their own micro-schools, hybrid home-schools, and home-school co-ops. It’s now totally doable for teachers to create their own models in line with their ideals for teaching and learning — and to cater to the growing masses of Florida families who now have the power to choose them. Teachers, if you love teaching but feel stifled by the system, you now have options. The door to controlling your own destiny has never been more open.

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

— ALOE —

‘The Batman 2’: Mattson Tomlin to co-write script with Matt Reeves” via Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter — Screenwriter Tomlin is once again heeding the call of the Bat-signal. Tomlin is re-teaming with Matt Reeves to co-write The Batman 2, the follow-up to Reeves’ well-received Robert Pattinson-starring take on the Caped Crusader that proved to be a hit with audiences. Plot details are being kept in the cave. It is not even clear whether it would feature the Joker, Batman’s classic villain teased in the closing moments of Reeves’ movie and portrayed by Barry Keoghan. The news comes as Reeves signs a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Discovery.

The Batman is returning. Will the Joker be around? Image via Warner Brothers.

What Michael K. Williams would want readers to know about his posthumous memoir” via Seija Rankin of The Hollywood Reporter — Threaded throughout the book is Williams’ wake-up call, of sorts, to a life of political activism, specifically centered around the subject of reimagining the youth justice system. The actor’s nephew, Dominic Dupont, was sentenced to a prison term of 25 years to life when he was only 19, and through Williams’ visits to him in prison and his work on the documentary series Raised in the System, he became a staunch advocate for reform. “He wanted people to care about the kids in the system, to know about the work they were doing with his organization We Build the Block, and he wanted his story to be part of that mission,” said writer Jon Sternfeld.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Happy birthday to former state Sen. Rob Bradley, former state Reps. Dave Kerner and Leslie Waters, as well as the brilliant Andrea Becker, Steve Cona of Associated Builders and Contractors, Fred Grimm, Troy Kinsey, and Kim McDougal of GrayRobinson.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.

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