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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.6.22

Ron DeSantis is a staunch enemy of ‘fake news’ — until he needs them to raise cash.

By Peter Schorsch

Good Wednesday morning.

Val Demings’ campaign posts $13.1M on hand, a historic high for Senate challenger — Demings is announcing her U.S. Senate campaign raised over $10 million in the first quarter of 2022, ending with $13.1 million cash-on-hand. Demings’ campaign representatives say the robust fundraising has been through donors who contributed an average of $23.50 online in Q1.

Q1 2022 gives Val Demings 13.1 million reasons to smile.

Since entering the race, they raised over $30 million.

“Chief Demings is inspiring a historic people-powered movement never seen before in Florida,” said campaign manager Zack Carroll in a statement. “We’re building the most robust campaign (MarcoRubio has ever faced, one that will let Floridians know that they have a choice between a 27-year law enforcement officer and a career politician who doesn’t show up for work.”


There are more statehouse reporters than a decade ago, but they aren’t working for legacy outlets — and they aren’t working full time, either.

According to a Pew Research Center study published Tuesday, the number of reporters assigned to the 50 state capitols has increased by 11% since Pew conducted a similar survey in 2014.

In all, there are 1,761 statehouse reporters nationwide, up from 1,592 eight years ago. However, only 48% of those identified by Pew said they reported on state government issues full time, either year-round or during their state’s Legislative Session. In 2014, about 57% of statehouse reporters were full-time.

The increase in the raw number of reporters hasn’t been even across the states, either, with Florida included among the 16 states that saw a decrease in its statehouse press corps over that span.

The 2022 study also found a double-digit drop in the number of statehouse reporters who work for newspapers. In 2014, 604 reporters (38%) received their paycheck from a newspaper. Today, that number stands at 448 reporters (25%)

Meanwhile, feeling the increase in the overall press corps has been the rise of nonprofit news services. Those outlets employed fewer than 100 statehouse reporters when Pew Research published the 2014 study. In 2022, they will account for 20% of the overall total.

The 2022 study notes that most of the nonprofit outlets that employ statehouse reporters didn’t exist eight years ago — for example, States Newsroom, the nonprofit behind the Florida Phoenix, wasn’t founded until 2017.

Pew Research said some shifts are attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to reporters who typically cover other beats to turn their attention to their state government as it debated pandemic policies.

The pandemic also led many states to shut down their Capitol buildings and supercharge their livestreaming efforts, putting a strain on the relationships between statehouse reporters and the lawmakers and officials they report on.


@GovRonDeSantis: By supporting and funding infrastructure projects, we are setting Hamilton County up for growth that will benefit the community for years to come. Happy to be able to deliver the check!

Tweet, tweet:


@DonaldJTrumpJr: This summer, get your kids outdoors and enjoy all that America has to offer … don’t waste your money on overpriced bullshit and junk food at Disney World.

@BenjySarlin: The “groomer” talk is just warmed-over 1970s homophobia returned; there’s not much more to it. Nothing about it is particularly new.

@Scott_Maxwell: Fascinating to watch the Florida GOP’s newfound opposition to special favors for Disney. They’re opposing favors THEY approved — back when Disney was still cutting them checks. And they’re still doing favors for other donors who just shut up and give.

@Mdixon55: (RonDeSantis was specifically asked about backing Senate President @WiltonSimpson in what’s now a competitive GOP primary for Agriculture Commission against @ChuckNadd. DeSantis has feuded with Simpson. He said Simpson was “helpful,” but has not endorsed him

@SamanthaJoRoth: Well, this is a first. @CapitolPolice just sent an email warning reports of individuals being attacked or bitten by a fox

@ShevrinJones: My thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted by the building condemnation in @CityNMB. Thank you, City Manager @ArthurSoreyIII, as well as our local law enforcement for a quick response. My office stands ready to help all of those impacted in any way possible.

@bruceritchie: Somehow amid the Legislative Session, FL House Speaker Chris Sprowls interviewed @jackedavisfl about his great book on the Gulf of Mexico. And a great topic!

@Daniel_Sweeney: The successful killing of what would have otherwise been a routine naming bill was instigated by Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, recently noteworthy for being one of 3 GOP Reps to vote against the anti-lynching bill.

@Jack: I’m really happy Elon (Musk) is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it. Parag (Agrawal) and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team.



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FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comApril 6, 2022

Republished with permission