Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.31.22

Good Monday morning and welcome to a special Halloween-themed edition of Sunburn.

Here is our Halloween decorations and lights display for 2022. That’s how much we love Halloween!

Ella Joyce’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Lights Display for 2022.

Here are some Halloween reads to get in the spirit:

White House to host trick-or-treaters on Halloween — President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host local children of firefighters, nurses, police officers, and members of the National Guard at the White House for a trick-or-treating at the White House this evening. Children will walk through the “President and First Lady’s Neighborhood” up to the South Portico of the White House where they will receive treats from the Bidens and other White House “neighbors,” including representatives from the Department of Education, Department of Transportation, NASA, U.S. Secret Service, Peace Corps, White House Fire Brigade, White House staff, and White House Military Office.

🎃 — Halloween is brought to you by …: The annual Florida Politics rundown of how the men and women working in The Process are helping folks enjoy Halloween this year includes the Florida Dental Association and its in-house lobbyists, Alexandra Abboud, Andrew Eason, and Joe Anne Hart; the Florida Dental Hygienists’ Association and its team; and a host of people representing the sugar industry. Read the full list here.

🧛🏻‍♀️ — Creep out in Florida: The Sunshine State is home to some dark places. This Halloween, you can get your spook on in several creepy theaters, spooky lighthouses, and haunted restaurants. The USA Today Network compiled a list of Florida’s most haunted places that includes a ghostly theater in Jacksonville, the haunted lighthouse in St. Augustine, a haunted bar in Sarasota, and ghost tours at the historic Tampa Theater, among others. Find a spooky attraction near you here.

🧙‍♀️ — Floridians are bewitched: A recent report from Lombardo Living found that Floridians are under the spell of witches, the state’s most popular Halloween decoration. Florida joins less than 10 other states charmed by the witch, which ranked as the fifth most popular decoration across the U.S. The most popular? Pumpkins and skeletons. Cape Coral refuses to be charmed though, landing in the top 10 cities for actual witches, according to a list from Lawn Love.

👻Real (maybe) ghost stories for Tampa natives: Like the Cuban Club, Ybor City as a whole is a Mecca for ghost stories, including tales of phantom soldiers roaming the city after perishing in the great fire of 1908. And don’t forget the drunken Cuban ghost at the Florida Brewing Company, now a law office on E. 5th Ave. But Ybor City isn’t the only site for spooky tales. The Old Tampa Book Company on North Tampa Street, a former tailor’s storefront, where chairs from the old shop move on their own. Staff at Tampa Theater downtown report slamming doors and unexplained power outages. Students at the nearby University of Tampa have reported an apparition from the windows outside Plant Hall. Read all about these and other local ghost stories on WFLA’s list.

👻Best Halloween TV episodes this century: Every series has ‘em — the episodes that will air as viewers prepare to celebrate one of the nation’s most beloved, and scariest, holidays. From animated spooks with a laugh on “BoJack Horseman” to superhero drama on “WandaVision,” AV Club rounds up the best binge-worthy Halloween episodes to catch after the porch lights go off. Pro-tip: Don’t miss Community’s take on the classic zombie apocalypse thriller, repurposed for the community college crowd.

🎸 — Rock out in Halloween style: Whether you’re blaring AC/DC’sHighway to Hell” or Warren Zevon’sWerewolves of London,” there are plenty of catchy tunes to get you in the mood for trick-or-treaters this Halloween. Some obvious jams come to mind, such as Blue Oyster Cult’s “The Reaper,” but AV Club has created a playlist that includes some lesser-known grooves to turn up the spooky, including the theme song from “The Blob,” Aphex Twin’s super creepy “Come to Daddy” and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “A Nightmare on My Street.” Find some inspiration for your playlist here.

👾 — 20 tech-themed Halloween costumes: Tired of the same old vampire get-ups and blowup dinosaur costumes? Check out this list of creative tech-inspired Halloween costumes, from Elon Musk and CryptoDickButts to out-of-work Shipt delivery drivers, this list has you covered.

🎃Get your pumpkin spice on: Nothing screams Halloween like pumpkins, and they’re not just for carving. The Washington Post compiled a list of scrumptious pumpkin-themed dishes for every course. From sides to main entrees, the list has it all. Start with a hot cup of creamy tomato pumpkin soup or some roasted pumpkin hummus. Or jump straight to the main dish with a pumpkin, walnut and sage crostata or biryani stuffed pumpkins. Grab menu ideas here.

🍫 — Yep, it’s smaller: It’s not a trick: Your Halloween treats are getting smaller. That’s per Laura Reiley of The Washington Post, who writes that a bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses is now a couple of ounces smaller than before. A two-pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is a 10th of an ounce lighter. And Cadbury milk chocolate bars are about 10% skimpier. Over the past two years, companies have downsized paper products, salty snacks, and many other consumer packaged goods as their ingredient, labor and transportation costs have skyrocketed. It’s also part of a yearslong plan to make Americans’ treats less caloric. So, have an extra piece, I guess.

🍸 — Shake it up with a spooky cocktail: While your kids gorge on fun-size Snickers and candy corn, grab yourself one of these six spooky cocktails and prepare for the coming sugar crash. The Miami New Times recommends one of Airmail’s colorful fall cocktails, a Cheshire Colada from Le Chick, a Muerte Negra margarita from Roxy South Beach, a Cognac O’Lantern from Playa, a Zombie cocktail from Salvaje, or a Halloween Green Goblin from Shoma Bazaar.

And here are some non-spooky items that caught my attention:

🐘 — Pollster predicts a GOP Senate majority: For the first time since they launched their model this cycle, Decision Desk HQ now predicts Republicans will flip the Senate, with a 51.7% likelihood, controlling an average of 51 seats. Sen. Marco Rubio remains in the “likely” category to retain his Florida seat. Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is listed as a tossup, with a slight advantage to GOP challenger Mehmet Oz over incumbent John Fetterman who is facing difficulties this election largely related to a health crisis that has affected his ability to campaign and, more recently, debate.

😑 — Biased polls: After polls got a lot wrong in 2016 and 2020, voters are increasingly skeptical of polling results nationwide with less than two weeks until Midterm Election Day. FiveThirtyEight is spotlighting some polls that may warrant a closer look, specifically as it relates to over-performance. For example, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma are expected to fare much better for Republicans than currently predicted. Likewise, Democrats are expected to outperform polls in blue states such as Washington, Connecticut, Illinois and New York.

💸 — Which will win, the economy or lingering Trumpism? The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein is calling this year’s Midterm a “double-negative election.” That is, most Americans believe Biden and congressional Democrats have mismanaged crime, the border, the economy and inflation, but about as many say they view the modern Republican Party as a threat to their rights, values and democracy in general. Yet still, Brownstein notes, “it remains likely that two negatives will still yield a positive result for Republicans. Read more here.


@BrianKlaas: This week, 3 men were convicted of trying to kidnap Gov. (Gretchen) Whitmer, a man pleaded guilty to threatening Rep. Eric Swalwell, a right-wing conspiracy theorist tried to murder Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, shortly after (Steve) Bannon, who called to behead (Anthony) Fauci, was sentenced to prison. This isn’t random.

@Logically_JC: So, let me get this straight. You can’t hand out water and snacks to people waiting in line to vote, but you can station yourself armed, in full tactical gear, and intimidate people trying to drop off a ballot?

@AndrewLearned: The same day her husband was attacked, the Republican Party of Florida sent a mailer with my face next to Pelosi. I wonder where the violent ideas come from???

@RonDeSantisFL: Franklin County’s voter registration flipped from blue to red this cycle because they know what’s at stake in this election. Every vote counts in the fight to Keep Florida Free. Don’t sit on the sidelines — get out and vote for freedom between now and November 8th!

Tweet, tweet:

@CryptidPolitics: The liberal media would call Burmese pythons good for the Everglades ecosystem if the pythons found a way to register as Democrats.

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@DuvalGOP: The Republican Party of Duval County condemns the recent displays of antisemitism in our city. Bigotry has no home here. We call on our community to stand against those who peddle hatred in order to divide us.

@HillaryClinton: The Republican Party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories. It is shocking, but not surprising, that violence is the result. As citizens, we must hold them accountable for their words and the actions that follow.

@Mariana057: I’ve just turned off the news and put on a serial killer documentary to relax.

Tweet, tweet:

@GunnelsWarren: Halloween Candy Prices — Twix: Up 53% Skittles: Up 41% Starburst: 30% Snickers: 12% M&M’s: 12%; Wealth During Pandemic — Mars Candy Family: Up 44% to $106.8 billion — GOP Plan to Repeal Estate Tax Would Give: Mars Family: $42.7 billion Tax Break. Yes. Corporate greed is frightening.


2022 General Election — 8; ‘The Crown’ Season 5 returns — 9; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 11; FITCon 2022 begins — 17; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 17; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 21; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 24; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 33; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 33; 2022 Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit — 35; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 36; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 46; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 62; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 93; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 109; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 110; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 127; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 145; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 169; 2023 Session Sine Die — 186; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 186; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 214; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 263; ‘‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 270; Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 368; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 515; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 571; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 634; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 634; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 676; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 739; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 837; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 914. ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,103.


Antisemitic hate message displayed at end of Florida-Georgia game, throughout Jacksonville” via Teresa Stepzinski of The Florida Times-Union — An electronic antisemitic message appeared at TIAA Bank Field at the end of the Georgia-Florida game Saturday night, according to a video shared by a television reporter.

The hate message came as similar messages appeared on signs elsewhere in Jacksonville Friday and Saturday.

The message “Kanye was right about the Jews” was projected onto TIAA Bank Field’s video board. It referred to Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, who posted hate speech attacking Jews on social media earlier in the week.

Other hate messages reported in Jacksonville included banners hoisted on an Interstate 10 overpass on Jacksonville’s Westside and on the Arlington Expressway and a message projected on the outside of a downtown building.

The Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida condemned the “antisemitic rhetoric and messages of Jewish hatred here in our city.”

The organization, they said, is “harnessing our outrage to bring action to our community” and was initiating the “Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) to build alliances and relationships with our elected officials, faith leaders, and public school superintendents to educate, inform, and ensure that our Jewish community has a strong voice in combating intentional (and unintentional) antisemitism.”

To watch the video, please click on the image below:

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— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis stumps for New York Gov. candidate Lee Zeldin” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis continues to boost out-of-state candidates down the stretch, offering 25 minutes of Long Island sound Saturday for Republican Zeldin. “If you are tired of the same old same old story, you have the power to turn the page,” DeSantis said. “This will be the 21st-century version of the shot heard around the world. Let’s get it done.” DeSantis related what Zeldin could do to what he’s done as Governor, including his decision to crumple and trash a letter from Democrats urging more COVID-19 mitigation. “I can tell you, Lee Zeldin, he would be making the same types of decisions,” DeSantis said.

Ron DeSantis continues stumping for out-of-town candidates. Image via @RonDeSantisFL/Twitter.

Rick Scott says it’s DeSantis’ ‘choice’ not to rally with Trump” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — U.S. Sen. Scott did not take the bait when asked about the chilly dynamic between DeSantis and Trump. Asked if DeSantis should appear at a rally Trump is holding next weekend in South Florida to support Rubio, Scott offered a cool response. “That’s a choice everybody makes,” Scott said. “I know (former) President Trump is trying to make sure we get a majority back in the Senate.” Scott continued to veer away from the premise of the question until CNN host Dana Bash offered a follow-up, asking if Scott was “OK” with DeSantis’ absence. “Oh yeah. It’s a choice he makes. Absolutely,” Scott said.

Polls show DeSantis’ style of leadership makes his re-election all but certain” via Edward J. Pozzuoli for the Miami Herald — DeSantis is primed to win reelection, and in a big way. The poll has DeSantis with a double-digit lead over Charlie Crist with 54% support of likely voters. More telling is what the poll found digging deeper: 61% of all voters approve of how DeSantis is doing his job, nearly matching his ratings during the “honeymoon” period of his early months in office. Like many assertive public servants, DeSantis earns the grudging admiration even of those who oppose him politically.

‘Failure of leadership’: Charlie Crist says DeSantis won’t condemn antisemitism” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis continues to reserve comment on antisemitism in Jacksonville, where he was Saturday at the Georgia-Florida Game, in the wake of messages on overpasses and downtown buildings before and after the game. Crist is having no part of it, blaming the Governor’s “absolute failure of leadership” for facilitating the displays before and after the event. “I am disgusted and horrified at the hateful, antisemitic rhetoric that was displayed in Jacksonville this weekend. Hate should have no home in Florida, period,” Crist asserted.

DeSantis lauds his record as Crist blasts it in Governor’s race” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — The race for Governor in Florida is all about Republican incumbent DeSantis’ record. While Democratic challenger Crist has used DeSantis’ record critically, slamming his policy and promising to roll back his work, DeSantis continues to tour the state touting his agenda and controversial laws. DeSantis has become a celebrated figure among conservatives for his self-described “freedom” from COVID-19 mitigation efforts and his culture war battles. At the same time, progressives have derided him for what they consider his authoritarianism and targeting the rights of minorities and the LGBTQ community. Most polls have DeSantis comfortably ahead, aided by independent voters

New DeSantis ad features MMA fighter Jorge Masvidal: ‘Fighting to keep Florida free’” via Amber Jo Cooper of Florida Voice — DeSantis has released a new ad for his re-election campaign that features American professional mixed martial artist Masvidal. In the ad, Masvidal praises the Republican incumbent, saying that DeSantis is “fighting to keep Florida free.” He goes on, “He fights for you. He fights for our kids. He fights for our freedom. That’s Gov. DeSantis — and he doesn’t tap out.” The ad comes one week out from the November General Election.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

RPOF backs DeSantis, Cabinet with Spanish-language ad — The Republican Party of Florida is running a new Spanish-language ad supporting DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and CFO Jimmy Patronis. A spot includes lines that (translated) highlight the Governor’s efforts to make Florida a “stronger state” where “students are receiving a first-class education and the rights of parents are protected.” According to AdImpact, the 30-second ad is titled “Mas Seguridad” (or “More Security”) and first hit the airwaves on Friday in the Tampa media market.

To watch the ad, please click the image below:

Crist launches ‘Votercade for Democracy’ Caravana Tour — Crist’s campaign is launching a statewide “Votercade for Democracy” tour focused on boosting Hispanic voter turnout. The tour launched in Kissimmee and was attended by Lt. Gov. nominee Karla Hernández, Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto. The launch came alongside the unveiling of the campaign’s “Unidos Con Crist” platform to deliver for Florida’s Hispanic and Caribbean communities. The platform focuses on “kitchen table issues,” including Crist’s plans addressing affordability, education and health care. Further tour stops were held in Tampa and Broward County.

Crist campaign begins statewide ‘Choose Freedom’ bus tour — Crist kicked off an expansive nine-day statewide tour to reach critical communities across Florida to get out the vote. The “Choose Freedom” bus tour will see Crist and Hernández campaign in key counties including Broward, Duval, Palm Beach, Volusia, and Hillsborough to spread their campaign’s message and highlight the clear contrast and choice voters are facing on the ballot this November. Along the way, Crist will join supporters for early vote rallies, meet and greets, and Souls to the Polls events. The tour begins its trek across the state in St. Petersburg with an afternoon event in Sarasota.

Luke Bryan defends decision to bring out ‘polarizing’ DeSantis at Florida show after backlash” via Pamela Avila of USA Today — Then Sunday, [Luke] Bryan shared a statement on Twitter defending his decision to give DeSantis a platform at his show. ‘I typically don’t respond to stuff when I’m getting run down on a social platform but here’s the deal,’ Bryan wrote. ‘I understand Governor DeSantis is a very polarizing figure. But I grew up in a country where if a governor (asks) you if they can come and raise awareness to help victims of a natural disaster you help.’”

These Democrats could thwart DeSantis, but they have little support” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — When Democrat Naomi Blemur announced earlier this month that Hurricane Ian was forcing her to suspend her campaign for Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner, the response from some in her own party was harsh. “I was unaware she had a campaign,” tweeted Democratic strategist Steve Schale. “Same,” responded Democratic state Rep. Allison Tant. Aside from the unlikely scenario of Crist beating him in the Governor’s race, Democrats’ best chance to thwart DeSantis’ agenda lies with its candidates running for the state Cabinet seats: Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Agriculture Commissioner.


Aaron Bean takes double-digit lead in CD 4 poll” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — It’s not entirely a surprise in a district drawn for a Republican advantage, but Sen. Bean is looking at a healthy lead in Florida’s 4th Congressional District going into Election Day against LaShonda “L.J.” Holloway, according to recent polling by the Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida (UNF). Bean came in with 50% among respondents, while 38% chose Holloway and 12% said they didn’t know, or refused to answer. “This race has been on a lot of folks’ radar since CD 4 was redrawn earlier this year, especially given legal challenges and criticism of the new districts as watering down the Black vote in North Florida,” Mike Binder, PORL faculty director, said.

Aaron Bean pulls ahead in the home stretch.

James Clyburn to stump in Orlando with Maxwell Alejandro Frost” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Clyburn will stump in Orlando with Front and civil rights leaders. The No. 3 Democrat in the House, Clyburn comes to Central Florida as his caucus looks to protect its majority in Congress. Clyburn attended a fundraiser in Orlando on Sunday evening. He will notably hold an event at 9 a.m. Monday outside a west Orlando early voting site, the Washington Park Branch Library on Raleigh Street. Frost, a 25-year-old Orlando Democrat, surprised many established leaders and defeated two former members of Congress and a local state Senator in August to win the Democratic nomination. On Nov. 8, the gun safety activist faces Calvin Wimbish in the General Election.

ICYMI — Poll: Eric Lynn, Anna Paulina Luna locked in tie for CD 13” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Candidates for Florida’s 13th Congressional District are locked in a dead heat. The two are separated by less than 1 percentage point, with Luna posting 45.9% support to Lynn’s 45.3% support. Nearly 9% of those polled are still undecided. The candidates are running to replace Crist, who left office amid a bid for Governor. Strategically, there is good news for Lynn in the poll. Of those surveyed, more than 56% of Lynn’s supporters said they had already voted while only 39% of Luna’s supporters had already cast a ballot.

Annette Taddeo, Black community leaders rebuke María Elvira Salazar for socialist attack ad” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Sen. Taddeo, Black faith leaders and members of the South Dade NAACP are rebuking Republican U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar over a “horrendous” attack ad accusing Taddeo of rubbing elbows with Democratic socialists at a community forum more than four years ago. Salazar would know the accusation was untrue, they said Friday if she ever bothered to visit the predominantly Black community of Richmond Heights and the house of worship, Second Baptist Church, where the forum took place. The video ad in question began airing in mid-October. It paints Taddeo as a socialist, overlaying pictures of her with communist iconography and images of Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and the late Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro.

To watch the ad, please click on the image below:

Barack Obama offers closing message as political tensions rise in U.S.” via Annie Linskey of The Washington Post — Obama kicked off his return to the campaign trail by taking on Herschel Walker. “Herschel Walker was a heck of a football player,” Obama told the crowd at the Gateway Center Arena, next to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. But that would make him no more qualified to be a U.S. Senator than to fly an airplane or perform surgery, the former President cracked, drawing laughter and cheers from the more than 7,000 people who waited hours to see him. “Georgia deserves better,” Obama said.


Sheriffs split between Loranne Ausley, Corey Simon in SD 3” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — North Florida Sheriffs are picking sides in the narrow race for Senate District 3. Democratic Sen. Ausley has received endorsements from two local Sheriffs in recent weeks as she hopes to retain her pivotal seat. But Republican challenger and former Florida State University football star Simon recently announced endorsements from eight Sheriffs, leaving only three of the district’s Sheriffs on the fence in what could be the closest race in the Florida Senate.

Sheriff endorsements are split between Cory Simon and Loranne Ausley.

—“HOA group endorses dozens in 2022 legislative races” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

Keith Perry and Rodney Long compete to represent Senate District 9” via Emma Behrmann of WUFT — Residents of SD 9 will choose between Republican Sen. Perry and Democrat Long to represent them in the state Legislature in the upcoming election. Perry, 63, moved to Gainesville at age 4, and his father was a University of Florida professor. He graduated from F.W. Buchholz High School in 1976 and started his own roofing company, Perry Roofing, at 18. He said his goal is to increase the opportunities for the next generation, including his two daughters, through tax and regulation reductions. Long, 65, was born and raised in Gainesville, and his public service includes two terms as a City Commissioner from 1988 to 1994 and three terms as a County Commissioner from 2000 to 2011.

Republicans hit Janet Cruz with sketchy Hurricane Ian charity claim” via William March of The Tampa Bay Times — The Florida GOP is slamming Democratic incumbent Sen. Cruz with negative TV ads and mailers that imply she’s a fraud on behalf of her opponent, Republican state Senate nominee Jay Collins. But the connections to Cruz’s record are stretched. The accused “cronies” are the liberal advocacy group “Florida Rising,” which has promoted donations to the Florida Ian Response Fund, a project of another liberal advocacy group, Organize Florida. The group has endorsed Cruz along with other Democrats, but her campaign said she didn’t seek or publicize the endorsement.


DeSantis revels in Elon Musk Twitter takeover” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — DeSantis delighted in the Musk acquisition during a campaign “pit stop” in Franklin County, saying that the left knows Musk is “going to open it up” in the wake of his $44 billion purchase of the platform. “It’s not like he’s a super-conservative, but he understands the woke elites in this country are trying to shove an agenda down everybody’s throats,” DeSantis contended. “They want to silence you and stifle you,” DeSantis asserted. “He takes umbrage at that.” “Obviously, he realizes these woke elites are bankrupt and they don’t have anything to offer our country,” DeSantis said of the South African billionaire. “By opening up platforms, it will allow the truth to disseminate more freely.”

Ron DeSantis praises Elon Musk’s big purchase.

DeSantis turns Florida into GOP education laboratory with focus on race, LGBTQ issues” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — DeSantis has leaned into education issues with vigor, making them central to his first term, a defining aspect of his reelection bid and an area where he stands apart from Donald Trump by moving from talking to actual policy changes with widespread impacts. DeSantis’s deep dive into education politics contributed to big conservative wins in school board races across Florida. It also has activated the far right, drawing in virulently anti-LGBTQ individuals, Proud Boys, and other extremists who have been emboldened by inflammatory rhetoric from the governor and other leading figures on the right.

Florida takes next step to ban gender-affirming treatments for kids” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO — A joint committee of members from the Florida Board of Medicine and the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine has taken another step toward banning gender-affirming care for transgender kids in Florida. The committee approved rule-making language that would ban children from taking hormones or undergoing surgery to treat gender dysphoria. Both boards are scheduled to meet on Nov. 4 to vote to finalize the rule. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association support gender-affirming care for adults and adolescents. Medical experts also have said gender-affirming care for children rarely, if ever, includes surgery.

Judge rules DeSantis, top aide can be deposed in redistricting case” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A Leon Circuit Judge Lee Marsh has issued an order quashing efforts to protect DeSantis and Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Kelly from being forced to testify. The decision makes way for both to answer questions in videotaped depositions. Kelly drew Florida’s new congressional map, one approved by the Legislature on April 21, after DeSantis vetoed a map produced by the Legislature during the Regular Session. The Governor’s involvement, unprecedented in modern Florida history, drew immediate criticism for producing a map with 20 districts won by Trump in 2020 and just eight won by Biden. Trump won Florida that year by just 3 percentage points.

Pot dispensaries at Florida Circle K stores? Can legal recreational weed be far behind?” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Will Florida follow in the footsteps of 19 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational marijuana use? It’s complicated. Consumers both for and against legalizing recreational marijuana might have been surprised by news stories suggesting that pot shops would soon be coming to their neighborhood Circle K store. While the number of dispensaries in Florida has increased to nearly 500 since voters approved a ballot measure in 2016 legalizing marijuana for medical use, none have so far been co-branded with a major retail chain. Such a high-profile pairing can trigger confusion about what uses are and are not allowed, says Sarah Reiner, an attorney.


They were lured by the Florida dream. After Ian they wonder: What now?” via Brittany Shammas of The Washington Post — For the last century, millions have migrated to Florida in hopes of spending their golden years on the beach. The state is seemingly always under construction to make room as one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. But Ian, one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the country, upended the idyllic lives so many had planned for themselves and often poured their life savings into. Now, they’re grappling with painful questions: Should they stay and rebuild? Could they?

What has Ian done to the ‘Florida Dream?’

Hurricane Ian cost Collier Schools at least $590,000 in losses, more costs expected” via Nikki Ross of the Naples Daily News — After Hurricane Ian, the Collier County School District was able to get staff and students back in the classroom in just two weeks. None of the schools had significant damage that prevented them from reopening. But there was still enough to cost the district. So far, $590K in emergency purchase orders have been issued for repairs and cleanup. Invoices for these services are still being collected so the district won’t know the exact cost of the storm for a few more weeks. Overall, things are going well. The district had to modify some bus routes to accommodate displaced students, and a few bus stop locations had to be adjusted due to debris.

A butterfly-shaped urn and a battered Bible: The sad scavenger hunt after Hurricane Ian” via Britt Kennedy of — They’ve scoured neighborhoods and social media hoping to find beloved belongings scattered by the surging water and heavy winds — or to unearth and return someone else’s sentimental treasures, so many of which were left buried beneath debris or floating in receding floodwater. Lost: A memorial bench, dedicated to “The Fort Myers Beach Director of Sunsets.” A butterfly-shaped urn containing the ashes of a beloved wife, whose husband of 50-plus years saw his home destroyed. A stained-glass owl made by a now-deceased man for his mother, and much missed by the man’s daughter. A 6′ blue wooden sea horse. Found: Kayaks, boats and Jet Skis. An uprooted but undamaged mailbox. An inscribed gold wedding ring. Lockets holding tiny faces and priceless memories.

Will Margaritaville, Lani Kai on Fort Myers Beach push on in Hurricane Ian aftermath?” via Phil Fernandez of the Fort Myers News-Press — Margaritaville, the 254-room Jimmy Buffett-themed gulf front venture that TPI Hospitality was planning to open just under a year from now. A few say they saw evidence of something crumbling there. “Some rubble of blown-out concrete walls — those are designed,” co-CEO Tom Torgerson said. Confidence is being displayed on the 125-room Lani Kai complex, where the destination’s Melissa Schneider has been doing regular Facebook reports. “Squash the rumor,” Schneider said Thursday. “We are not taking down the building. We are sticking around. We are going to be rebuilding off this beautiful, structurally sound ‘Old Florida’ structure.”

Who said God never gives you more than you can handle? Love, loss, miracles” on Fort Myers Beach via Janine Zeitlin of the Fort Myers News-Press — Hibiscus Drive is a street where neighbors not only know each other’s name but also their dog’s name. They were #swflstrong but also Hibiscus Drive strong: swapping numbers for engineers and insight on FEMA rebuilding rules, tracking down the owners of family photos and boats spewed across the neighborhood. The storm stripped them of their belongings and bearings, but it also bound them together. They found a different kind of shelter, with each other. In the absence of official help, several neighbors on Hibiscus who were not there told him to scavenge what food he could from their homes, to borrow their shoes.

If an Ian slammed South Florida: Nine-foot coastal surge, flooding inland to Hialeah” via Andres Viglucci and Nicolas Rivero of the Miami Herald — In 2017, mighty Hurricane Irma delivered a stinging sideswipe to Miami-Dade and other parts of South Florida. The wind and rain damaged roofs and felled trees and power lines, knocking out power for days, most notoriously claiming the lives of 12 seniors in Broward County marooned at a nursing home without electricity. Along the Biscayne Bay shoreline, though, Irma’s wind strength was that of a Cat 1 hurricane, strong enough to drive a surge of saltwater of 3 feet to over 6 feet several blocks into Miami’s Brickell and Coconut Grove neighborhoods. A large, slow-moving Category 4 storm like Hurricane Ian would push a catastrophic surge across much of coastal Miami-Dade many times worse.

Turning the lights back on: Power restoration after Hurricane Ian” via Bryan Koon for — Decades-long investment in Florida’s infrastructure has allowed power companies to restore power faster than they were able to in response to Hurricane Charley, for example, which affected similar areas 18 years ago. Moving forward, the utilities will use this as an opportunity to continue to reinforce their structures as they rebuild. Long-term disaster management depends on constant evolution and adjustment. Florida’s commitment to stronger building codes and investment in mitigation projects meant that towns like Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte suffered far less than they did during Charley. What can we do to be better prepared? Use Ian as an opportunity to further strengthen our building codes, invest more in mitigation projects, and further harden our electrical infrastructure.


Joe Biden is making the most of good economic news” via Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post — The Biden administration got a rare chance last week to brag about economic growth after two-quarters of decline. The economy grew 2.6% in the third quarter compared with the year before, a relief from two consecutive quarters of contraction. While inflation fears persist and many economists predict a recession, the administration seized upon the slightly better-than-expected growth figures. Biden crowed, “For months, doomsayers have been arguing that the U.S. economy is in a recession and congressional Republicans have been rooting for a downturn.”

Joe Biden will not let good news go to waste. Image via Reuters.

Nancy Pelosi attacker carried zip ties, in Jan. 6 echo” via The Associated Press — The man accused of attacking House Speaker Pelosi’s husband carried zip ties with him when he broke into the couple’s San Francisco home, according to a person briefed on the investigation, in what is the latest parallel to the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021. The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the Pelosi case and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday. The attack on the Democratic leader’s 82-year-old husband, Paul Pelosi, less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 election that will determine control of Congress was a jarring reminder of the nation’s toxic political climate.

Members of Congress fear insufficient security after Paul Pelosi attack” via Richard Rubin of The Wall Street Journal — The attack that left Pelosi injured at the couple’s home in San Francisco renewed worries from some members of Congress about whether the existing security arrangements outside the Capitol are sufficient to meet the threats. The number of threats and “concerning statements” investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police increased to 9,625 last year from 3,939 in 2017. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, the agency added staff to its Dignitary Protection Division and began opening regional field offices in California and Florida. Lawmakers facing threats sometimes get added protection. In 2017, the Federal Election Commission issued guidance allowing lawmakers to use campaign money for home-security measures. Last year, the FEC permitted the use of campaign money to hire bodyguards.

Coalition gears up for lame-duck push to shield online sellers” via Laura Weiss of Roll Call — Lobbyists for online merchants and payment platforms and their congressional allies are pressing to raise the threshold that triggers tax reporting for certain sales and services before IRS forms go out to more gig workers and freelancers working online early next year. They’re aiming to attach the change to a potential year-end tax package, arguing it’s lawmakers’ last shot to avoid tax woes for casual online sellers in the 2023 filing season ending next April. “I think this is something that’s critically important to settle before the end of the year,” Rep. Chris Pappas said in an interview, “especially to prevent individuals from overpaying their taxes or just experiencing confusion around receiving these forms for sales where really there was no taxable income.”


Top national security prosecutor joins Donald Trump Mar-a-Lago investigation” via Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — One of the Justice Department’s most experienced national security prosecutors, David Raskin, has joined the team overseeing the investigation of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club. National security law experts say prosecutors appear to have amassed evidence in the case that would meet some of the criteria for bringing charges against the former president — an unprecedented action that they said probably would only happen if the Justice Department believes it has an extremely strong case.

Trio of Trump-related trials to be heard in New York on Monday” via Graham Kates of CBS News — Trump is at the center of trials holding proceedings in three different New York City courtrooms Monday. In Manhattan, the Trump Organization, through two corporate entities has entered not-guilty pleas on 14 counts related to untaxed “indirect employee compensation” to executives. Politics are front and center in the ongoing criminal trial of billionaire businessman Thomas Barrack, a longtime Trump friend and adviser who served as chair of the 2016 Inauguration committee. Trump’s political and corporate interests are fused in a lawsuit that goes to civil trial Monday in the Bronx, where five plaintiffs say they were assaulted and had property destroyed, by Trump’s security team outside Trump Tower in September 2015.

Donald Trump’s pal Tom Barrack is in the hot seat.

Why Trump is ramming piles of cash through a campaign loophole” via Roger Sollenberger of The Daily Beast — For all of his golden toilets, Trump is notoriously stingy. And that’s why government watchdogs are raising the alarm about a new campaign finance filing that shows, one month ahead of the midterm elections, an eye-popping $20 million political donation from Trump. The contribution went from his Save America leadership PAC on Oct. 3 to a new Trump-aligned super PAC. Super PACs can spend unlimited amounts of money to support candidates, so the donation could be said to be a generous contribution from Trump to the MAGA cause during a critical election. But as several campaign finance experts explained, the specifics suggest Trump is trying to get around laws that would otherwise prevent him from spending his personal stash on a 2024 presidential run.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Republicans have focused on education. Why is Miami-Dade GOP voting ‘No’ to hike teacher pay?” via Sommer Brugal of the Miami Herald — The Miami-Dade Republican Party is recommending residents vote “NO” on the Miami-Dade County School Board property tax referendum that will be on the General Election ballot. Although the stance is consistent with the party’s position against raising taxes, it is at odds with recent Republican messaging on education, which, in the last year, has become a central issue for DeSantis’ platform. Notably, increasing teacher pay and continued support for school security are among the Governor’s 10 priorities.

GOP canvasser beaten in Hialeah speaks out for first time: ‘I’m going to clear my name’” via Pedro Portal, Nicholas Nehamas, and Sarah Blaskey of the Miami Herald — Christopher Monzon, the Republican Party canvasser brutally beaten in Hialeah, spoke publicly about the attack for the first time Saturday, saying he was targeted for his political beliefs. “All I want is for the truth about what happened to get out. And the truth is it was politically motivated,” Monzon said during a brief appearance at a Proud Boys rally in the Hialeah neighborhood where he was attacked last Sunday. “The truth is this could happen to anyone. And I don’t want it to happen to anyone, whether they’re Democrat or Republican. All I want is for justice to be done.”

Christopher Monzon seeks redemption. Image via

‘They want to destroy us all’: GOP canvasser beaten in Hialeah makes fiery speech” via Nicholas Nehamas and Sarah Bluskey of the Miami Herald — Monzon had a message for his fellow Republicans. “They want to destroy us all,” Monzon said in a defiant speech Sunday about those he sees as violently opposed to Republicans, including the political left, members of the media and his assailants. “They’re not hiding it anymore.” Speaking at a small Miami Springs rally in his lengthiest comments since the assault, Monzon told the story of how he was injured in an East Hialeah neighborhood last Sunday while passing out GOP flyer.

Broward Sheriff’s Office spent $2.6 million housing, supervising Parkland gunman since 2018, record says” via Angie DiMichele of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The gunman who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, has been behind bars for over 1,700 days. Since the day of his arrest, confessed killer Nikolas Cruz has been housed inside the Broward Main Jail, and that has cost the Broward Sheriff’s Office nearly $2.6 million. The motion says the Sheriff’s Office is seeking to recover the maximum amount they’re entitled to under Florida law: $250,000.

Edgewater mayoral candidate, former police chief charged in theft of opponent’s signs” via Frank Fernandez of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — Former police chief and ex-Edgewater Mayor Mike Ignasiak, who is again running for the Mayor’s seat, was charged on Friday with theft after he was accused of stealing his opponent’s campaign signs. Ignasiak, was charged with one count of petit theft, a second-degree misdemeanor. According to the affidavit, he took signs belonging to his opponent, Diezel D. Depew, on Oct. 24. Ignasiak is also accused of stealing a sign from FrederickTedNoftall, who is running in the Volusia County Council District 3 race against incumbent Danny Robins.

It’s a bad sign for Michael Ignasiak.

North Bay Village Commissioner convicted after lying to see lover in detention center” via NBC 6 — A North Bay Village Commissioner who lied to get her way into a federal detention center so she could see her lover has been convicted, prosecutors said Thursday. Julianna Clare Strout pleaded guilty to attempting to enter, and entering, a federal facility using fraud and false pretenses. Following the guilty plea, Strout was sentenced to one year probation and 50 hours of community service. Prosecutors said the incident involving Strout happened in October 2021 at Krome Detention Center. At the time, the detention center had temporarily suspended social visits because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but legal visits were still permitted. Strout misrepresented herself, only accessing the facility to see a detainee who she was romantically involved with.

Campaign treasurer who drew Inspector General’s scrutiny also received COVID-19 relief loan” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A woman who recently drew scrutiny over her campaign finance work in North Lauderdale’s 2020 Election received COVID-19 relief money for questionable work. GuylaineGigiSimilien, who worked as City Commissioner Regina Martin’s campaign treasurer, also has worked for Martin as a part-time legislative commission aide at City Hall since June and submitted her resume to get the job. In 2020 and 2021, Similien reported that she worked in the insurance industry to collect $40,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program. Similien received the loans, reporting that she was a sole employee in the industry of “insurance agencies and brokerages.” But, Similien isn’t listed as a licensed insurance agent, and there has been “no record at any time” for Similien, including the years she received the federal loans.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Joe Gruters intervenes in Hillsborough Republican Party leadership dispute” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida GOP Chair Gruters says he will appoint scores of new members to the Hillsborough County Republican Party’s governing executive committee after a leadership dispute. The move could potentially reverse a vote by the party’s executive committee two weeks ago to reject some 160 proposed new members. Many of those proposed members were former party activists who left the organization unhappy with the leadership of the controversial party chair, Jim Waurishuk, a hard-line Trump supporter known for inflammatory rhetoric in social media posts and for excoriating moderates as “RINOs.”

Joe Gruters takes an interest in Hillsborough Party politics.

Rent control ordinance shouldn’t be on Orange County ballots, appeal court rules” via Stephen Hudak and Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel — An Orange County circuit judge has rejected a proposal allowing voters to weigh in on a proposed rent control ordinance. The appeal court’s ruling sided with realtors and landlords over renter advocacy groups who argued soaring housing prices constituted an emergency. Realtors have poured about $700,000 into a mail campaign against the measure, equating it to socialism. Landlord groups welcomed the appellate decision, which is not yet final and may get a rehearing in appeals court next week. But in downtown Orlando, supporters of the measure reacted to the decision with chants of “Count the votes! We vote yes!”

Disney won’t back down from ‘rich, diverse’ offerings, CEO says” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — Defending Disney from critics calling the company “too woke,” The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek said Disney will continue to create inclusive content that caters to a “rich, diverse” world. “When someone walks down Main Street, and you look at the castle, you’re not thinking, ‘I’m on one side of the political spectrum or the other.’ You have a shared belief in all the wonderful aspects of what Disney is,” Chapek said this week. “And we want to use Disney to bring people together, and I think we’ll do that by diverse stories and diverse characters.”

Rainbow fentanyl: Are Tampa Bay trick-or-treaters at risk?” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — Recommendations that parents carefully check the candy in their children’s treat bags surface every Halloween. But some warnings this year have been starker than ever. The Drug Enforcement Agency on Sept. 1 announced that drug dealers are packaging and distributing the potentially lethal opioid, fentanyl, as multicolored candy-sized pills. Officials described the move as “a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction among kids and young adults.”


Lee schools: Lexington and Diplomat middle schools to reopen for students Tuesday” via Nikki Ross of the Fort Myers News-Press — Lexington Middle and Diplomat Middle will reopen for students on Tuesday, more than a month after Hurricane Ian caused extensive damage to both campuses, according to the Lee County School District. “Their buildings have been remediated enough to pass the same nine safety criteria as all our other schools and will reopen next week,” the district said in an email Friday afternoon. Staff will return to campus on Monday and will have the day to prepare their classrooms, have any necessary meetings and plan for the student’s return.

Naples City Council to discuss controversial code changes for residential construction” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — Residents and builders are sounding alarms about potential changes to construction rules for homes in Naples. The City Council will discuss adjustments to the land development code Monday aimed at protecting the charm and character of Naples. They’ll talk about whether to put more limits on lot coverage and building areas and to require more landscaping. The potential changes are directed at single- and two-family residential lots. While city leaders insist the modifications they’re considering are well-intentioned, residents and the building industry fear they could do more harm than good, hurting property values and hampering recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian. The land use changes have been a priority for the City Council for two years.

Hurricane Ian may lead to significant building code changes in Naples.

Hertz sees strong 3Q performance as travel continues to rebound from pandemic” via Laura Layden of the Fort Myers News-Press — Hertz had a strong third quarter, with strong demand and pricing for its rental cars through the summer. In announcing the results, Stephen Scherr, Hertz’s CEO, said the company saw a “quarter of solid performance,” reflecting the overall strength of its business, as well as the continued demand for its services “across all customer segments.” The quarter ended in September, a few days after Hurricane Ian made landfall north of its headquarters in Estero. “I am enormously proud of the performance of our team, particularly our colleagues in Southwest Florida, who faced challenges from Hurricane Ian,” Scherr said in a statement.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Poll: ‘Modest lead’ for T.K. Waters in Jacksonville Sheriff’s race” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Fresh polling of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s race shows Waters just ahead of Lakesha Burton. A survey released Monday by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Laboratory shows Waters with 48% support, five points ahead of Burton. If the polling is accurate, Waters is still under 50%, despite getting 47% in the August First Election. Burton finished with 33% support, so she appears to be gaining. “This race has gotten a lot tighter since the first election back in August when Waters came in with a 14-point lead,” commented Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and UNF professor of political science.


In race to replace Leon Commissioner who died from long COVID, Hannah Crow renounces misinformation” by Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — As Leon County looks for a new Commissioner after the late Jimbo Jackson died from “long COVID,” one candidate is shaking off the specter of pandemic misinformation she once shared on social media. Crow, a candidate for County Commission District 2, has been dogged over her social media history in recent months. Among the conservative positions endorsed in her Twitter likes, Crow has previously liked tweets from November 2020 that encouraged people to flout COVID-19 lockdowns or called the pandemic a scam. Now, Crow is defending her fitness to replace the Commissioner in the Special Election for Jackson’s seat.

‘Amazing amount of gunfire’: Shooting in crowd kills 1, injures 8 in Tallahassee” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — At least one person is dead and eight are injured after a mass shooting late Saturday. Police shot and apprehended a man who they suspect is involved in the West Pensacola Street shooting that occurred just before midnight. No arrests have been made. “There were dozens and dozens of shots that rang out from this, and we’ll continue to gather the information that’s necessary to put all the pieces together, so there could be others,” said Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell at a news conference Sunday morning. “These officers ran toward this amazing amount of gunfire as it was occurring,” Revell said.

‘A seminal moment’: FAMU’s annual homecoming convocation embodies the Rattler spirit” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat — The dynamic energy at Florida A&M University’s homecoming convocation was through the roof. The excitement throughout the crowd was electric from the powerful opening prayer made by Family Worship and Praise Center’s Rev. Quincy Griffin to the iconic and familiar tunes played by FAMU’s Marching 100 band, including “Do What Cha Wanna” and “SOS.” With ESPN Commentator and FAMU alumna Tiffany Greene being this year’s keynote speaker, she managed to bring the high energy of the crowd up a notch while she shared her experience of who she was as a student compared to who she is now as the first Black woman to be a play-by-play announcer for college football on a major network.

Charlie Crist shows Rattler pride at the FAMU Homecoming.

Okaloosa County schools recognized as high-performing by Florida State Board of Education” via the Northwest Florida Daily News — The Okaloosa County School District was named to the Florida State Board of Education’s recently released list of Academically High-Performing School Districts for the 2021-2022 school year. The OCSD is one of 14 districts deemed academically high performing out of 67 districts statewide. To be considered academically high performing, a school district must demonstrate its ability to maintain or improve upon its previous accomplishments. The district must adhere to class size expectations and must pass an audit that determines the financial health of the district.


A full-throated endorsement of political candidate endorsements” via Greg Lovett for The Palm Beach Post — Back when I was the editorial page editor of The Palm Beach Post, one of our most rewarding and vexing responsibilities was endorsing candidates for political office.

It’s an annual rite that we looked forward to with equal parts enthusiasm, and dread. And the bigger the race, the bigger the dread and enthusiasm. It is a heavy responsibility that can evoke some of the most negative reactions from readers.

Still, we never even entertain the thought of backing away from the responsibility. No matter where the pressure comes from. Because we know that Palm Beach County voters — our readers — are depending on us. They tell us so in emails, phone calls, text messages, even in person.

A newspaper, contrary to some opinions, tends to be reflective of its overall community. If that community is primarily conservative, then the newspaper’s candidate endorsements are more likely to reflect that because most candidates will be conservative, and so on.

The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board tries to be reflective of the overall community. It also chooses candidates based on their policies, merits, and qualifications. You’re either the best candidate to represent this community or you’re not. That’s why the editorial board has endorsed both Democrats and Republicans.

Of course, some candidates and their handlers don’t like it. But they’re not who we do this for. We do this for our subscribers, our community. We know that you value this service, whether you agree with our choice or not. So, we’ll keep at it as long as you keep demanding it.


Dan Backer: Which costs more, scares less: Halloween or the 2022 Election?” via Florida Politics — Spending money to promote your ideas is far scarier than Halloween to those whose ideas your particular spending may oppose. Campaign finance “reform” is now a top priority of the Democratic Party. The Left’s insistence on shutting down free speech and free association is strangely obsessive when it comes to politics. It seems like only speech and association that has to do with the electoral system and the democratic process are worth condemning, despite the fact that they form the very foundations of our democracy. What is democracy but your freedom to organize and communicate on behalf of your ideas? And yes, meaningful communication requires spending money — something Democrats have no problem with, so long as their ideas are being communicated.

Democrats are paying for their 2021 mistakes” via Josh Barro of Very Serious — The extreme difficulty of Democrats’ political position right now: They are being punished less for extreme positions they’re taking now than for policy mistakes they made in the first half of 2021 — really, in the first few months of the Biden administration. Those policy mistakes have caused inflation to be more elevated than it otherwise would be, and gasoline prices specifically to be more elevated than they otherwise would be. Better messaging, or even better current policy positioning, wouldn’t do a lot to reduce the political penalty associated with those high prices. The key is to make prices lower, but it’s not possible to go back and un-make the mistakes that fueled the price hikes in the first place.

DeSantis’ silence about 2024 was not news” via Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat — Is there something perplexing or terribly difficult about just telling the truth in government and politics? The latest silly example in Florida politics popped up in last week’s debate, when Crist asked DeSantis to promise he will, if re-elected, serve four years. If that was meant to put him on the spot, it backfired. DeSantis paused a bit, then got off the most memorable line of the evening, “The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”


— ALOE —

UCF ranked 25th after beating Cincinnati” via Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel — The Knights made their debut at No. 25 in The Associated Press Top 25 Poll Sunday after beating previously ranked Cincinnati 25-21 at FBC Mortgage Stadium on Saturday night. The Knights also moved into the No. 25 slot in the coach’s poll. The Bearcats, who were No. 20 entering the matchup, were still receiving votes Sunday but fell out of the top 25 rankings.

UCF is ranked for the first time this season.

Haunted houses and scary movies may actually help reduce stress, lower anxiety” via Renée Onque of CNBC — The fear you overcome from walking through haunted houses and watching classic Michael Myers movies this Halloween could help to lower your stress levels overall. When done right, a horror movie marathon can even alleviate some of the anxiety you experience on a daily basis, according to Michelle Cutler, an associate professor of clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. “There’s actually a neurobiological response that comes when we do something that’s scary, especially if it’s done in a community with other people and if we’re able to get through it,” Cutler says. “We get a rush of adrenaline, endorphins and dopamine, and that actually translates into feelings of euphoria and satisfaction or even empowerment once that fear subsides.”

—“All the new horror movies you can watch at home this Halloween” via Austen Goslin of Polygon

I made ‘Halloween brains’ to freak out my neighbor kids” via Joe Winner of ESPN Southwest Florida — I was at Universal Studios in Orlando for their Halloween Horror Nights. Everything there has a theme. Essentially that’s when I decided that I needed a theme for trick-or-treat night with the neighbors. So, what’s in Halloween Brains? To break it down, basically, it’s a flavored Rice Krispy treat with some creative packaging. Rice Krispy treats are kinda hard to mess up, so feel free to do some experimenting. I’m going to tell you exactly what I did. Here’s what you’ll need to make 25 of these: Styrofoam meat trays, stickers for the label, plastic wrap, red food coloring and two 12-ounce boxes of Rice Krispies or similar off-brand whatever.


Happy birthday to the incredibly talented, always-awesome-to-work-with Allison Aubuchon, Kate DeLoach of The Southern Group, Step Up for Students’ Jon East, Public Service Commissioner Andrew Fay, former U.S. Rep. David Jolly, our favorite writer at POLITICO, Michael Kruse, and our old friend Harold Hedrick, ace poker player David Tuthill, and Ivey Rooney Yarger.


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

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