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Sunburn – The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics – 6.4.21

Jason Brodeur, Randolph Bracy and Geraldine Thompson will be in the Central Florida Tiger’s Den. Image via Colin Hackley.

By Peter Schorsch    

The Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida is known for hosting some of the best and most interesting debates, forums and speakers in Central Florida.

Today, they will continue the tradition by bringing together four Central Florida legislative delegation members for a lunchtime rundown on what happened during the 2021 Legislative Session, both regular and special.

The panel includes Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur of Sanford, Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy of Ocoee, Republican Rep. Keith Truenow of Tavares, and Democratic Rep. Geraldine Thompson of Windermere.

Faith Based Events

The moderator? Peter Schorsch.

The lawmakers will cover the issues such as the early-Session push for COVID-19 liability protections, the massive school choice expansion package, the historic new Seminole Compact, and, of course, the state’s first 12-figure budget.

The luncheon will be held at the Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, 10100 International Drive. It begins at 11:30 a.m. Attendance is free for Club members; tickets for nonmembers are available for $40 each. Registration is online.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is pumping more than $1 million into grassroots organizing efforts across the country, and a chunk of that cash will land in the Sunshine State.

DCCC representatives confirmed to Florida Politics on Thursday that Miami-Dade County is on the list, which includes several battlegrounds across the country.

In a release last week, the organization said it would use the investment to hire dozens of organizing directors and constituency organizing directors in districts across the country.

Miami-Dade’s staffer “will be tasked with organizing, registering voters, and conducting outreach to the region’s diverse Hispanic electorate,” according to the DCCC.

“With this early investment, Democrats are looking forward to engaging and organizing within Hispanic communities in Miami through the 2022 election,” DCCC spokesperson Abel Iraola said. “We know that no one’s vote can be taken for granted and are excited to hit the ground running across Dade County.”

After Democrats took a shellacking in Miami-Dade last year, the investment dropped — the party lost two key congressional districts, a crucial state Senate seat, and more than one state House seat. While President Joe Biden did end up carrying the county at the top of the ticket, he did so by only about 85,000 votes — that’s a fraction of the 290,000-vote margin Hillary Clinton sported in 2016.

The funding almost certainly will be used to recapture Florida’s 26th and 27th congressional districts. They had been held by Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, respectively, before flipping to Republicans Carlos Giménez and Maria Elvira Salazar.

The seats are seen as necessary to maintain the Democratic majority in the House, which was shaved down significantly in the last election.

Both seats are already on the DCCC’s “Districts In-Play” list, and the committee has already launched digital ads targeting Salazar. Anti-Giménez spots are likely to follow.

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Rep. Nick Duran doesn’t term out until 2024, but sources say he’s considering ditching his House District 112 seat to run for local office.

Ken Russell surprises Democrats with a bid for U.S. Senate

The change in plans comes after Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell’s surprise announcement he would run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

The open Commission seat has piqued Duran’s interest, though it’s not the only option he’s exploring — those close to the Miami Democrat say he’s also entertaining a bid for Florida’s 27th Congressional District.

CD 27 is one of the swingiest districts in the state. The Miami-Dade district is now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, who knocked off former U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, a Democrat, last year. Shalala is considering a comeback bid, which could factor into Duran’s future plans.

Whether he shoots for City Hall or Congress, his campaign will likely be a formidable one. Duran has one of the strongest fundraising operations among House Democrats, which could give him an edge against the competition.

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