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Sunburn — The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics — 7.13.22

Good Wednesday morning.

It’s campaign season AND political conference season, so what better guest to have on “Hunkering Down with Peter Schorsch” than Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida?

Listen here.


A new poll shows Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is up five points in his re-election, but Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings is gaining ground.

The Center Street PAC poll found Florida voters prefer Rubio 45%-40%, and his lead improved to 50%-42% among likely voters.

However, Demings is starting to build a substantial lead among independent voters. Though she currently trails Rubio 33%-29%, her stock has risen 13 points among that bloc of voters since Center Street’s March poll.

Marco Rubio maintains the lead, but Val Demings is not far behind.

“Marco’s still the favorite, but what’s interesting is that he’s sort of stalled out. He has a motivated base of voters locked in, but he’s not making any new pitch to draw in new voters,” Center Street co-founder Jacob Perry said.

“The other issue is that there’s no constituency that’s particularly excited about Rubio. Democrats obviously don’t like him, but neither do (DonaldTrump Republicans. Val outraised him two to one, but also outspent him, and that spending really paid off in building her awareness numbers.”

According to the pollster, Demings’ media buys are working. Combined with her favorability ratings — 42% of voters find her “somewhat” or “very” favorable, compared to 26% who find her “somewhat” or “very” unfavorable — the committee predicts that more ad spending will pay dividends in the fall.

“Demings demonstrates real strength in candidate favorability, as she is plus-16 among those aware of her. But she still has gaps in Name Awareness, even with the 12-point improvement,” said Kurt Jetta, the committee’s chief analytics officer.

“She’ll need to build her 77% to 95% to be at parity with Rubio. With an opponent who has decent favorability in his own right, Demings will need to outraise and outspend to have a chance to win in November.”


Floridians say that jobs and the economy are the state’s most important issues, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has done a reasonably good job addressing them.

According to a new poll by researchers from the University of South Florida and Florida International University, 35% of Floridians rate jobs and the economy as their top priority, followed by government corruption at 13%, health care at 9%, and immigration at 9%.

Floridians say the economy trumps culture war battles when it comes to voting. Nearly three-quarters of those polled said their decisions on Election Day would be based on pocketbook issues, while just 26% said they would put more weight into social issues such as LGBTQ rights, abortion and equity.

Voters give kudos to Ron DeSantis for his handling of Florida’s economy.

That’s good news for DeSantis, especially since half of Floridians — 50% — approve of the state’s economy under his watch compared to 41% of respondents who said they disapprove.

DeSantis’ numbers stand in stark contrast to President Joe Biden’s, whose approval rating continues to nose-dive both in Florida and nationwide.

The poll found that 62% of Floridians disapprove of his performance regarding jobs and the economy — slightly less than the 63% who find him lacking on border issues.

Floridians aren’t giving DeSantis high marks across the board, with less than half of those polled approving of his efforts on conservation (44%) and addressing climate change (42%).

The USF/FIU survey was conducted July 2-10. It has a sample size of 600 and a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.


Aaron Bean’s congressional campaign is releasing its second ad in the race for Florida’s 4th Congressional District.

Titled “20 Seconds,” the ad kicks off with a narrator asking if it’s possible “to list all of Joe Biden’s failures in just 20 seconds.”

The Fernandina Beach Republican displays his auctioneering skills, listing several of the President’s perceived failures. However, the narrator cuts him off by saying, “Sorry, Bean, it’s just too long.”

Campaign spokesperson Sarah Bascom said, “As Florida’s domestic vote by mail primary ballots are readied to drop, the Aaron Bean for Congress campaign is airing a new 30-second television ad starting this morning. ‘Twenty Seconds’ will run concurrently with the ‘Best Days’ spot that has been airing on broadcast television, cable and CTV in the Jacksonville market.”

Bean, currently a state Senator, is the leading Republican running for CD 4 and has garnered endorsements from most top GOP officials in the state, including U.S. Marco Rubio, Attorney General Ashley Moody and CFO Jimmy Patronis.

He faces Erick Aguilar and health insurance contract analyst Jon Chuba in the Aug. 23 Republican Primary. Two Democrats are also running for the seat though CD 4 is expected to perform Republican in November.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:


Larry J. Overton and Associates announced it has merged with The Legis Group.

“The Legis Group has established a strong presence in Tallahassee in the last five years, and our merger will continue to allow us to service our clients and fulfill their government relations needs,” said Joel Overton, managing partner of LJO & Associates.

The Legis Group was founded in 2017 by Doug Holder and Rob Schenck. With the addition of Joel Overton and LJO founder Larry Overton, it now consists of eight members. Other lobbyists at the firm are Patrick BellMike FischerSusan Goldstein and Carol Duncanson.

“I am excited for Joel and this new opportunity to lead our clients. I am also excited to work with Rob and Doug and the rest of the team at The Legis Group,” Larry Overton said.

Larry J Overton & Associates was founded in 1984, and over the past four decades, it has built a reputation as one of Florida’s leading health care advocates.

“We are excited to welcome both Larry and Joel into The Legis Group. I have had the privilege of working with Larry and Joel in the past and know that the Legis Group will greatly benefit from the knowledge and experience of LJO & Associates,” Schenck said.

“The Overtons will be an important resource and addition to our team, and I look forward to working with them as colleagues.”

Holder added, “We are truly honored that Larry and Joel trust us with their long and prestigious history.”


LSN Law announced that Tracy Slavens will lead its Land Use & Zoning Practice. Slavens will also become a partner at LSN Law in addition to consulting firm LSN Partners.

Highly regarded for her proficiency, Slavens will use her expertise to assist and advise LSN clients in many ways, such as obtaining development approvals for residential, commercial, office, hospitality, and industrial projects.

She will also assist clients with permitting, platting, water and sewer, and concurrency issues with a primary focus on the South Florida region and a particular emphasis on Miami-Dade County and its numerous municipalities.

Before joining LSN, Slavens was an equity partner at the law firm Holland & Knight, focusing on land use and zoning and served on the firm’s Board of Directors.

“We are proud to have Tracy join the LSN team. She is one of the finest land use attorneys in South Florida. Our clients will benefit tremendously from her knowledge and experience,” said Alex Heckler, the managing partner of LSN.


@mattyglesias: One thing I know for sure about Donald Trump is that if DeSantis beats him fair and square in a primary, he’ll accept the results and put the interests of his working-class grassroots conservative supporters first by working like hell to help the GOP ticket beat the Democrats.

@zacjanderson: Lots of Florida men highlighted in today’s Jan. 6 committee hearing, including Michael FlynnBrad ParscaleRoger StonePatrick Byrne, Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs & Proud Boy Enrique Tarrio. FL Proud Boys and Oath Keepers allegedly coordinated Jan. 6 plans. It’s

@SamanthaJoRoth: WOW to this text exchange between Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager and Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman on Trump’s 2020 campaign. Parscale: “If I was Trump and knew my rhetoric killed someone.” Pierson: “It wasn’t the rhetoric” Parscale: “Katrina. Yes, it was”



@CHeathWFTV: Florida sports betting (remember the Hard Rock app?) is on hold for at least the rest of the year.

@SteveLemongello: Disney World’s Reedy Creek firefighters endorse DeSantis, despite district’s abolishment “We’re pretty confident that no matter how this thing shakes out with Reedy Creek that we’re going to be fine.”





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

FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comJuly 13,  2022

Republished with permission