Good Friday morning. The Florida Democratic Party has its first speakers for Leadership Blue. Let’s start there.
FIRST FIVE: As we reported last week, there are no 2020 presidential candidates (thanks, Iowa), but there are still some big names lining up for next week’s shindig. The list includes Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Mayor Pete, and Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Sen. Kamala Harris.
WALKER TIME — “Democrats roll out $90 million super PAC aimed at swing states,” by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo: The nation’s largest super PAC devoted to grassroots Democratic turnout is launching its organizing efforts earlier than ever in seven swing states with a new campaign director and its largest budget to date: $80-$90 million. For Our Future announced Friday that it’s hiring President Obama’s former Florida campaign chair, Ashley Walker, to coordinate all of its swing-state operations with the goal of identifying and turning out Democratic-leaning 2020 voters, namely people of color and so-called “sporadic voters” who don’t frequently cast ballots. Read more
NOT OVER — “Federal subpoena demands records on Andrew Gillum and his campaign for governor,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Contorno: "Andrew Gillum is a focal point of a recently issued federal grand jury subpoena that demands information on the former Democratic candidate for governor, his campaign, his political committee, a wealthy donor, a charity he worked for and a former employer. The subpoena, obtained by theTampa Bay Times and previously unreported, could reflect a new level of federal inquiry into Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee who narrowly lost to Republican Ron DeSantis last year." Read more
I’M NOT DEAD YET — “FEC to Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and 48 more zombie campaigns: Why are you still here?” by Tampa Bay Times’ Christopher O’Donnell, Eli Murray, Connie Humburg: “The federal agency that oversees elections demanded explanations on Wednesday from about 50 politicians who are operating zombie campaigns — political committees that keep spending contributions long after the campaign has ended.” Read more
LAWSON ON BOARD — “‘They don’t make ‘em like Joe anymore’: Biden expands grip on congressional endorsements,” by POLITICO’s Nolan D. McCaskill: “Former Vice President Joe Biden expanded his lead in congressional endorsements Thursday, landing the backing of second-term Rep. Al Lawson of Florida.” Read more
CONGRATS — Ali Schmitz, who you’ve known as the political reporter with the TCPalm, has taken a gig in Washington as a researcher with Meet the Press. It’s nice to say we knew her when.
LOOKING FORWARD — With much of Andrew Gillum’s orbit now officially on a federal subpoena, watch to see how it impacts the former Tallahassee mayor’s current project: registering voters. He is heading up Florida Forward Action (name sound familiar?), which is raising money, then doling it out to progressive groups with existing registration infrastructure in South Florida. This could hurt that money effort for a few reasons. 1) The perception of an investigation (perceived or otherwise) can freeze donors. 2) Another name on the subpoena is Sharon Lettman-Hicks, a longtime adviser to Gillum who is helping to run the effort, and figure out who gets its money. 3) Donald Sussman, who founded a Connecticut hedge fund and is a big Democratic rainmaker, is also listed on the subpoena. That’s never good news for the ol’ cash on hand.
THE END — “DeSantis’ Israel trip concludes after blitz of partnerships and politics,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeffrey Schweers: “At the end of the day for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, it was about building relationships, making new connections and checking in with familiar political allies. DeSantis spent the last day of his marathon mission to Israel meeting with embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with the Cabinet and several lawmakers before placing a prayer in the Western Wall for Florida’s safety this hurricane season and a prayer from a Panhandle girl who lost her house in Hurricane Michael.” Read more
FIGHTING WORDS — “Rep. Anna Eskamani calls for probe of NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Steven Lemongello: “State Rep. Anna Eskamani filed a complaint on Thursday seeking an investigation into NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, who Eskamani claims ‘routinely violated state law’ by failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for her services.” Read more
DIFFERENT STORY — “Retribution? Nope, lawyer says: Kim Grippa didn’t want to work for Ronald Rubbin,” by Florida Politics’ Jim Rosica: The state’s top financial regulator is saying he’s being pushed out of his job as retribution for refusing to hire a “politically connected” job applicant, but that same woman’s attorney now says she never would have worked for him. Tallahassee lawyer Ryan Andrews, who represents Kim Grippa, sent letters to the Office of Financial Regulation’s inspector general and chief investigator on Thursday. Read more
— WHERE’S RON? — Nothing official announced for Gov. DeSantis.
USE YOUR BACK — “Florida senators back push for federal help with red tide,” by The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch: “Florida’s senators are pushing the Commerce Department to issue a disaster declaration over Florida’s wildlife-killing red tide. Florida’s latest bout with red tide brought images from up and down the state’s Gulf Coast of dead fish washing ashore after being choked by a surge of oxygen-hogging algae.” Read more
NO. 3 — “Third House Republican blocks massive disaster aid package,” by POLITICO’s Jennifer Scholtes: “Conservative House Republicans succeeded again Thursday in their campaign to derail passage of a $19.1 billion disaster aid package.” Read more
UH OH — “As hurricane season starts, shelter staffing and nursing home power remain issues in Broward,” by Sun Sentinel’s Anthony Man: “Elected officials, county and state emergency managers, and the director of the National Hurricane Center tried Thursday to jolt South Floridians out of complacency as the six-month Atlantic storm season is about to begin.” Read more
— “Tax-free week for hurricane season starts Friday, ends June 6. Here’s what you can buy,” by Miami Herald’s Elizabeth Koh: “Hurricane season in Florida, generally defined as the six months from June 1 through Nov. 30, might easily be considered the most turbulent time of the year. When lawmakers approved a $121 million tax break package at the end of the legislative season, they also approved a tax ‘holiday’ that overlaps with the start of the stormy season, in which several hurricane preparedness supplies won’t be subject to a sales tax.” Read more
NOT PERFECT — “Audit finds a few flaws in nonprofit distributing oil spill money,” by Daily News’ Tony Judnich: “The Florida Auditor General Office’s annual operational audit of Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. recently found several areas in which the nonprofit corporation needs improvement. In response, Triumph’s attorney stated that the group agrees with each of the auditor’s recommendations.” Read more
WHAT? — “First measles, now mumps — Alachua County high on list,” by Gainesville Sun’s Dylan Rudolph: “Mumps has begun to make a comeback in Florida and around the globe, and Alachua County is among the places it’s gotten a foothold. An increased number of reports of the contagious virus — which brings fever, muscle aches and headaches and its trademark puffy jowls look, among other symptoms — has local health officials worried.” Read more
— “Anomaly after Northrop Grumman successfully test fires Omega rocket in Utah,” by Florida Today’s Emre Kelly: Read more
BIG BUCKS — “How much are people willing to spend at theme parks? More every year,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Sharon Kennedy Wynne: “Every single theme park in Florida this year has a major new attraction heading into the summer vacation season, and that also means consumers are spending more to go there.” Read more
LIFE COMES AT YOU FAST — “FBI informant Alan Koslow doesn’t want to remember the day his ‘world came crashing down,’” by Sun Sentinel’s Susannah Bryan: “He knew them as Joey and Jack, just a couple of developers looking for a good deal. Alan Koslow, once a big-time attorney and lobbyist with a long list of well-heeled clients, found out too late that the guys he thought of as friends were actually undercover FBI agents on a mission to sniff out public corruption in Broward County.” Read more
SEEMS IMPORTANT — “Employees at Homestead Shelter for Migrant Children Say They Weren’t Properly Trained,” by New Times’ Brittany Shammas: “Since it reopened last year under the Trump administration, the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children has quickly expanded. The facility grew in size not once but twice last year, and now has capacity for 3,200 migrant children. The for-profit company that runs the shelter, Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., has dozens of job openings listed on hiring sites such as Indeed.com.” Read more
— “Tampa City Council aide submits her resignation a day after her ‘cough’ video went viral,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Charlie Frago: “A day after a video circled the globe showing her either coughing or cough-cursing, Carrie Henriquez has resigned her position as a legislative aide to Tampa City Council member Guido Maniscalco.” Read more
— “Hot in Gainesville: Record-setting heat sparks wildfire worries,” by Gainesville Sun’s Joe Callahan: Read more
— “Lake Eola’s two new swans are in the water. Will either attract Queenie?” by Orlando Sentinel’s Ryan Gillespie: Read more
— “Miami’s only locally based medical marijuana company has a new name, new product,” by Miami Herald’s Martin Vassolo: Read more
— “Dania Beach home that went up in flames was marijuana grow house, officials say,” by Sun Sentinel’s Wayne K. Roustan: Read more
BIRTHDAYS: Blake Williams, Florida comms director at For Our Future (and go-to FL progressive comms guru, hat tip: Jeremy Funk) … Julie Moos, executive director of the National Press Club Journalism Institute and a McClatchy alum
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