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Sunburn — The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics — 5.17.22

Time to see just how helpful a Donald Trump endorsement is. Image via AP.

By Peter Schorsch

Good Tuesday morning.

A new projection from AdImpact predicts Florida will have the most political ad spending at $593 million for the 2022 election cycle, barely edging out California’s projected $592 million spend.

The report projects total ad spending across the U.S. to near $9 billion between gubernatorial, congressional, and down-ballot contents.

Get your remotes ready for a record-breaking campaign ad season.

Overall, AdImpact forecasts $6.1 billion in TV and radio ads, $1.3 billion in Facebook and Google ads, and $1.5 billion in Connected TV (CTV) ad spending, which is played by devices that connect to — or are embedded in — a television, such as an Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV.

That projection matches the overall spending for 2020, a presidential election year, and more than doubles the 2018 Midterms, when spending fell just shy of $4 billion.

Why the boost? The report points to platforms like Facebook that campaigns can use as fundraising tools, since the media can market candidates to a “highly polarized electorate.” Sites such as ActBlue and WinRed also make donating to candidates more accessible.

At $214 million, Florida ranks fourth in the country for predicted Senate race spending.

Florida ranks third for gubernatorial ad spending, expected to reach $166 million by November — Gov. Ron DeSantis has already raised more than half of that and has more than $105 million in the bank.

Finally, the Sunshine State came in fourth for U.S. House ad spending, which AdImpact predicts will reach $75 million.

Look for a full report today on FloridaPolitics.com.

As if Democrats did not have enough problems in Miami-Dade — “Reversing Donald Trump measures, U.S. will expand flights to Cuba and resume family reunifications” via Michael Wilner and Nora Gamez Torres of the Miami Herald — The Joe Biden administration is restoring flights to Cuban cities other than Havana and reestablishing a family reunification program suspended for years, following recommendations of a long-anticipated review of U.S. policy toward Cuba. The administration will also allow group travel for educational or professional exchanges and lift caps on money sent to families on the island. The policy changes come after a months-long review that began in earnest after a series of protests roiled the island nation on July 11, prompting a new round of U.S. sanctions on Cuban officials.


Happening today — Look for former Secretary of State Laurel Lee to officially join the crowded Republican Primary for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.


If today were Election Day, Jane Castor would earn a second term as Tampa Mayor.

According to an internal poll obtained by Florida Politics, 58% of Tampa voters said they would back the incumbent Democrat when she’s on the ballot during next year’s municipal elections.

Jane Castor remains popular and could easily win re-election if the ballot were held today.

In addition to being above the 50% mark 10 months out from the 2023 election, Castor sports a strong favorability rating, with two-thirds of those polled saying they find her favorable personally.

That puts her ahead of most other politicians, including Biden and DeSantis, and far ahead of the City Council and Trump.

Her popularity figures come alongside Tampanians’ generally positive outlook on the future of their city.

According to the poll, 45% of voters say the city is headed in the “right direction,” while just 15% say it’s headed in the “wrong direction.” Additionally, more than half of those polled (52%) say the quality of life in the city is improving compared to about a quarter who said it’s getting worse.

Currently, Castor is not facing a significant challenger in her re-election bid. A handful of area politicians have been floated as potential challengers, such as Hillsborough Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez and City Councilmember Bill Carlson, have quelled speculation they would mount a bid.

The incumbent also has a head start in fundraising, with about $125,000 on hand in her affiliated political committee, Tampa Strong.

However, there are several months before the qualifying period for the Municipal Election ends on Jan. 20.

The poll had a sample side of 609 likely Municipal Election voters. Of the total, 483 gave their responses online via a text message invitation and 123 responses were collected through phone interviews.

The Tampa mayoral election will be on March 7. If no candidate secures a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters for the nonpartisan seat will face off in an April 25 runoff.


There was not a ton of activity today for those glued to a livestream on Day One of the Dan Markel murder trial.

For hours straight, prosecutors and defense attorneys interviewed prospective jurors one by one, off-screen and privately. But for those watching a little more closely, the payoff was a few items of interest and curiosity.

Katherine Magbanua’s retrial starts with a civics lesson. Image via WFSU.

Judge Robert Wheeler instructed the first set of prospective jurors on sequester rules and provided a game plan for how the process of selection would go. In this, Wheeler told jurors they’d be asked about their prior exposure to the case, but more importantly, they’d be asked if they can “eliminate or disregard anything” they’ve heard previously to “render an impartial verdict” based only on the evidence presented in the courtroom.

“In other words,” Wheeler asked, “can you presume Ms. (Katherine) Magbanua is innocent as the law requires?”

Our justice system’s presumption of innocence may be in part what Wheeler alluded to in his next set of comments, underscoring the value and meaning of civic duty.

“Just as we enjoy the privileges and protections of this country, we also have duties,” he said. “One of those includes jury service.”

“You’ll probably never be called on again to do something like this,” Wheeler told the jury pool.

Read the Florida Politics rundown of Day One — and continuing coverage — here.


Congratulations — Erin Daly Ballas of Public Affairs Consultants and her husband James Ballas celebrate their 8th anniversary!


@APStyleBook: We don’t use the term manifesto in reference to a racist diatribe. It glorifies racist hatred. Other terms such as diatribe, screed or writings can work instead.

@ChipRoyTX: Hey, race-baiting leftists, I am much more opposed to liberal white “replacements” coming to Texas & perfectly happy to have “brown” people you all like to endanger for your political games legally come! Tell you what, how about you leave & we swap in 10 “brown” people!

@LizCheney: The House GOP leadership has enabled White nationalism, White supremacy, and antisemitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.

@RandolphBracy: According to @AP, 1 in 3 American adults now believe an effort is underway “to replace native-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains” I’m tired of seeing people lose loved ones because of hateful rhetoric spread by people who know better.

@BenjySarlin: I’ve said this since almost the week after the election, but we’re in a bizarre moment where two of the biggest political trends on the right are A) Great Replacement talk going mainstream, B) Republicans legit psyched about their growing ability to win nonwhite voters.

Tweet, tweet:


Tweet, tweet:


@KevinCate: It’s officially a million degrees in Florida until at least November.

@TamaraLush: I’m allergic to literally anything that grows out of the ground in Florida. Yay.

FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comMay 17, 2022

Republished with permission