Winner and Loser of the Week in Politics in Florida – Week of 5.8.22

Secretary of State Laura Lee sure knows how to make an entry.

Her announcement late last week that she is stepping down as Florida’s secretary of state came amid speculation that she will run for Congress in Florida’s 15th congressional district. This district covers parts of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk counties, including Lee’s home in Thonotosassa.

A neighborhood that already promises a Republican primary whopper just got more interesting. Former US Representative. Dennis Ross and state representative. Jackie Toledo are already on the ground. There is speculation about Sen’s condition. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland could also intervene.

If that happens, stock up on popcorn, because this race will be unrestricted. Republican Scott Franklin technically stands for CD 15, but the dividing lines changed after the 2020 US Census. Franklin decided to run in Florida’s 18th congressional district and, well, we’ll get to that later.

The immediate impact, however, is on the desk Lee leaves.

Election security is part of Lee’s Secretary of State responsibility, and it hasn’t been easy in this hyperpartisan climate.

Florida has won plenty of accolades for hosting the 2020 election, but gubernatorial. Ron DeSantis was not satisfied. He pushed through several initiatives that he said would protect against fraud. Critics grumbled that it was about suppressing minority voters.

Lee also found herself battling far-right cries for an audit of this election, even as Republicans increased the score statewide. It was all for show, of course. The Florida government can’t seem to function these days without equal measures of fear and loathing.

DeSantis also created the Bureau of Election Crimes and Security and instructed Lee’s office to set it up.

She remained a loyal soldier to the Governor’s policy. However, it’s not a stretch she might see running for Congress as a more attractive alternative.

It’s also safe to assume that she’s not doing this on a whim. Her husband, a former state legislator Tom Lee, is a savvy reader of tea leaves. She wouldn’t do this this late in the game without a sense that she might win.

OK, let’s go for our weekly game of winners and losers.


Honorable Mention: Disney+. You may have heard that the relationship between Mouse and Tallahassee is complicated.

But lest anyone believe that the feud sheets woke Disney up, the answer is no.

The Hollywood Reporter had a history that the company exceeded Wall Street expectations for its hugely successful streaming business. Disney+ added 7.9 million subscribers last quarter. This exploded the expected 4.5 to 5 million investors.

Disney reported revenue of $19.2 billion and revenue of $3.7 billion. It will pay for a few fire stations – if you understand my drift.

Two other Disney companies posted big gains.

The Hulu streaming service added 300,000 subscribers to reach 45.6 million. ESPN+ added 1 million subscribers to reach 22.3 million.

In addition, Axios reported that Disney is moving ESPN inexorably towards direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming. The plan is to eventually bypass cable and traditional streaming platforms.

“What we’re doing is kind of putting a foot on the dock, if you will, and a foot on the boat right now,” the Disney CEO said. Bob Chapeck mentioned. “But we know that at some point, when it’s good for our shareholders, we can fully participate in an ESPN DTC offering.”

Almost (but not quite) the biggest winner: Journalism. Good journalism still matters and deserves respect. That’s why it’s worth noting that the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times received the Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news and investigative reporting, respectively.

The Herald’s Newsroom received the honor for its detailed and vital coverage of the Condo disaster by the surf.

Pulitzer’s board praised the Herald “for its urgent but sweeping coverage of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex, merging clear, compassionate writing with comprehensive information and accountability reporting”.

Times Reporters Corey G. Johnson, Rebecca Woolington and Eli Murray won for the series “Poisoned.”

Pulitzer’s board of directors recognized “the compelling exposition of highly toxic hazards inside Florida’s only battery recycling plant that forced the implementation of safety measures to adequately protect workers and nearby residents.

And let’s not forget the journalist Lulu Ramadhan of palm beach post, who joined three ProPublica reporters for a finalist package in local reporting. They revealed dangerous air quality during Florida’s sugarcane harvest season. The report prompted significant reforms.

Biggest Winner: Eric Lynn. The Pinellas County Democrat saw his path to victory in his party’s primary election in Florida’s 13th congressional district become much easier.

A tough three-way battle loomed between Lynn and state officials. Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner, but that has changed. Diamond suspended his campaign (not the same as quitting, but close). There is also speculation that Rayner could follow.

blamed diamond the map of Congress drawn by DeSantis. CD 13 was a relatively safe Democratic district, but DeSantis redesigned it to give the Republicans the edge.

“Unfortunately, the governor and the legislature have not created fair boroughs for Florida and followed our constitution,” Diamond told Florida Politics.

Diamond has opened up the possibility of backtracking in the race if the courts overturn the district’s card. It seems unlikely.

This allows Lynn, who served as the President’s senior adviser barack obama, to avoid spending a lot on Primary. This could leave more money for the general election.

He will need it.


Dishonorable Mention: DeSantis Congress Card. The Governor drew a scathing rebuke when Leon Circuit Judge Layne Smith ruled that the map he submitted was unconstitutional, particularly with respect to North Florida and Florida’s 5th congressional district.

Before DeSantis supporters scream about ACTIVIST JUSTICE, remember that the Governor appointed Smith to this position.


For now, however, he retains the district represented by the Democratic US representative. Al Lawson.

The district stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee and was drawn under the Fair Districts Amendment to give black voters a better chance at representation in Congress. DeSantis maintains that he is an illegal gerrymander (see Diamond, Ben, above).

The decision is subject to appeal and the Florida Supreme Court could overturn it.

Almost (but not quite) the biggest loser: Rick Scott. His diatribe that the president Joe Biden should resign because of inflation that smacks of hyperpartisanship, even by today’s exaggerated standards.

“We are in a terrible state. He doesn’t even know what state I’m from. And you said he was supposed to give his thoughts on inflation yesterday, ” Scott said on Fox & Friends.

“What were his ideas? Oh, it’s everyone’s fault but hers. So we know he can’t do it. Let’s be honest. We know Joe Biden cannot fix this economy. All right, step aside, let somebody else do it. That’s what you do in business life.

Well, we know that one of Senator Scott’s ideas is to raise taxes on the poorest Americans to, in his words, give them “the skin of the game”.

We also know that he is proposing that all federal programs end after five years. That could include Social Security and Medicare, though Scott said that wasn’t his intention.

Instead, he wants to “review” these programs – probably in the same way he “saw again“Medicaid then governor of Florida and said expanding the program would cost too much.

It’s political theater because none of this will ever happen, but it gives us a sense of the inner workings of Scott’s mind.

It’s not pretty.

Biggest Loser: Ramon Alexander. He was set to become the leader of the House Democratic Caucus next term, but announced he would not run again.

His political career imploded after accusations of sexting and groping with a Florida A&M University athletics employee.

In January, this employee, Michael Johnson Jr., a former assistant athletic director, dropped out of school. the The Tallahassee Democrat reported the departure occurred after “a nasty staff reshuffle”.

Johnson filed a complaint in February with the Florida Human Relations Commission, alleging harassment and retaliation by high-ranking FAMU employees.

Alexander, a married father of two, told the Democrat he had a “consensual adult” relationship with Johnson.

In a reportAlexander said, “After careful consideration and personal consideration, I will not be seeking re-election to my final term in the Florida House of Representatives.”

Good move.

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