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Sunburn – The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics – 8.8.22

Good Monday morning.

A top-of-Sunburn birthday shoutout to one of my favorite people to swap book recommendations over dirty martinis (although I believe he prefers a cold beer while watching his Cubs play): Slater Bayliss of The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners.


Welcome to the world — Sahara Grace Blair, daughter of top GOP operatives Samantha and James Blair. She was born Friday afternoon, weighing 7 lbs. — 5 oz.

Happy birthday, Sahara Grace Blair!


Welcome to the world, Part 2 — Esther Grace “Gracie” Plakon, the daughter of Rachel and Scott Plakon. She was born Friday morning. She came in at 7 lbs. — 3 oz. Baby and mom are doing great.


President Joe Biden’s approval rating is in the tank, inflation is at a 40-year high, and gas prices, though coming down, are through the roof. For months, the narrative has been that Democrats will take a beating in November. That’s still probable. In fact, it’s likely.

But the momentum is starting to shift. In the past week, voters in Kansas — a GOP stronghold for 60 years — killed an abortion ban proposal, and in Arizona voters rejected candidates who embrace the false claims that Donald Trump won the 2020 Presidential Election.

As many predicted, the average voter isn’t celebrating the GOP’s massive win on abortion, and they also want tighter gun control. They know Democrats are more likely to deliver on both fronts.

Simply put, Republicans’ culture war wins may be their undoing.

Will the GOP culture wars be a boon for Democrats?

Meanwhile, Democrats — and “Dark Brandon” — scored some of their biggest victories since they seized control of all three levers of Government. Unemployment is at a half-century, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is on board with the Democrats’ climate change package, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is dead, and the so-called “chips plus” bill cleared Congress.

Now, Democratic U.S. Senate candidates have the edge in most competitive races. To be fair, the 2022 Senate slate was always favorable for Democrats, but it’s more so now than it was last week.

Republicans aren’t winless, however. New congressional maps have virtually guaranteed they will control the U.S. House next year and they’ve continued making inroads with Hispanic voters, a bloc that had been solidly blue — nationally, at least — for decades.

All that to say, the Midterm Elections may not be as dull as everyone thought a few weeks ago.


Polling from progressive groups suggests races for Governor and Senate could be closer than expected.

Numbers from Progress Florida and Florida Watch show Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic challenger Val Demings tied, each with 45% support from those polled. Demings holds even with Rubio in the polling despite remaining an unknown quantity to more than a third of Florida voters. Gauging the favorability of both candidates, pollsters from The Hub found 36% of voters have a favorable view of the Orlando Congresswoman, 30% hold an unfavorable view and 34% said they could not rate her.

Meanwhile, voters know Rubio, but dislike him more than like him. Pollsters found that 52% of voters hold an unfavorable view of the two-term Senator, while just 43% hold a favorable view. That leaves just 5% neutral on the Senator as he sits nine percentage points underwater.

The race is tightening.

The Hub Pollsters Geoff Puryear and Annika Ramnath say that’s with a Republican electorate.

Additionally, the poll shows that 48% of registered voters intend to vote for Gov. Ron DeSantis for re-election, but about 43% of voters intend to vote for the Democratic challenger, whether that is U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist or Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

DeSantis holds near-universal name recognition, but voters have strong feelings as a result. About 50% of viewers hold a favorable view, with 39% saying they view him “very favorably.” But 48% have an unfavorable view, and 40% see him “very unfavorably.”

Undoubtedly, Republican turnout will be high, pollsters predict, but it issues like the reversal of Roe v. Wade may mean there’s not going to be a huge red wave. “We are seeing across the country Democratic candidates are overperforming the president’s ratings and that is very much the case in Florida, still the nation’s largest swing state,” he said.


Volunteer Florida has hired veteran governmental affairs pro Brittany Dover as its External Affairs Director.

Dover most recently worked at the Florida Department of State, where she served as Director of Legislative Affairs. She previously worked as the Deputy Legislative Affairs Director at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and in the governmental affairs office of the Florida Department of Corrections.

Brittany Dover
Congrats to Brittany Dover, for taking a new role at Volunteer Florida.

Her political work includes two years as a special events coordinator for the Republican Party of Florida as a Deputy Finance Director for Republican Matt Caldwell’s campaign for Agriculture Commissioner.

She has managed the Presidency 5 build-out, which saw a record attendance of more than 5,000 attendees; assisted in organizing CNN’s 2012 Republican Presidential Debate in Jacksonville, the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and various major donor events and fundraisers.

In the private sector, she has worked at the law and lobbying firm Hopping Green & Sams. She got her first taste of The Process working at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association — her mother, Carol Dover, heads up the massive and influential trade association.

In 2015, Dover was included in Florida Politics’ Class of 2015 “30 Under 30 Rising Stars.” In that profile, she said if she hadn’t fallen into politics, she may well have been a journalist, saying she became “addicted to Fox News at a very young age.”


@MiaFarrow: President Biden may not be a mesmerizing orator, but he sure is doing great things for ALL of us.

@IsaacDovere: Few things in politics are certain these days — other than that Democrats are going to run a lot of ads on Senate Republicans stripping the insulin price cap out of the reconciliation bill just now.

@NikkiFriedIf there is anyone who knows what it’s like to be lied about, it’s @HillaryClinton. I never called for her to be arrested, of course, & saying I did is a sad sign of a losing campaign. HRC is a leader, a trailblazer, an icon, & a stellar example to women everywhere, including me.

@KEBrightbill: The one thing that’s been true about Charlie Crist’s statewide political career is that he has a very long track record of siding with consumers and against big corporations. The reason he got elected Governor to begin with was because he aggressively went after price gouging.

@ChristinaPushaw: DC is a sanctuary city, so you all should be thrilled about having thousands of new “undocumented” neighbors in your backyard But for some reason, it sounds like you only want illegal migrants to stay in red states.

@JoLampert: There is no ‘teacher shortage.’ There are thousands of qualified experiences teachers who are no longer teaching. There’s a shortage of respect and proper compensation for teachers allowing them to actually teach.



@KevinCate: Text me when the feels like temperature drops under 100, Florida.

@JoshCeb: Absolutely can’t believe that the best Indigenous representation in a film I’ve seen was the 2022 Predator movie. AND it was the best Predator movie ever.

FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comAug. 8, 2022

Republished with permission 


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