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Here’s Brunch, a pop-up, weekend email about final weeks of the 2020 campaign — 11.1.20


Good Sunday morning

This is the final edition of “Brunch,” our pop-up email about the closing weeks of the 2020 campaign. We hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Thank you to our title sponsors, Jeff Johnston and Amanda Stewart of Johnston & Stewart Government Strategies.

🏆 — Click here to read who are the Winners and Losers of the Week in Florida politics.

🎉 — Calling all partygoers: Running for office and planning a rockin’ Election Night shindig? Send us the deets so we can get the word out. Email your invites to Peter@FloridaPolitics.com.

🗳️ — Heck yeah, let’s vote! According to the latest poll results from Gallup, Americans are more enthusiastic about voting this year than they were in 2016. While only about half of voters were more excited to vote in 2016 than in previous elections, 69% this year are more enthused than four years ago. Democrats have an even stronger drive to the polls, with a 27 point increase in enthusiasm over 2016. Republicans are also more excited, but only by a 15 point margin.

‍👨‍💻Trump’s YouTube: The Donald Trump campaign landed arguably the most coveted advertising placement, YouTube’s homepage. After Joe Biden landed the internet giant’s main page following the presidential debates and the Republican National Convention, viewers will see Trump messaging. At $2 million a day, Trump will dominate the platform Sunday through Election Day. Democrats are peeved. Space was secured a year ago before Democrats had spent enough money to be part of a Google advertising incentive for its biggest advertisers that gives first dibs to prime space. 

YouTube users will be treated to an all-Trump homepage through Election Day.

🧨 — The day after tomorrow: It might not be the apocalyptic scene from the 2004 doomsday film featuring America frozen over, but the day after the election could be scary in a totally different way. With pundits anticipating the possibility of an Election Day with no clear presidential winner, high-level Trump officials, most speaking to The New York Times on condition of anonymity, worry the President could use his power to stay in office or negotiate positive terms of his exit. Either way, the horror might not end Tuesday. 

📰Seriously, read this: This New York Times column by Farhad Manjoo may be the single best column I’ve read all week. This excerpt needs no further context: “What did we talk about before Donald Trump? What will we talk about after Donald Trump? Will there even be an after?”

🐾 — Extra! Extra!: Check out author Ashley Stimpson’s “Shades of Grey,” a must-read about Florida’s 2018 vote to end greyhound racing in the Sunshine State. This Longreads piece explores the vote and begs the question: “What if they were wrong?”

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🥶 — Take a chill pill: Here’s the sitch. The election is in two days. You’re tired of fighting with your racist uncle. You’re fed up with fake news. Screaming into a pillow no longer works. Your liver is in full revolt. Never fear, The New York Times is here with the ultimate election distractor. Take a few moments to revel in distracting videos ranging from soothing naturescapes to viral videos asking you to guess the paint color. You’re welcome.

— Clockwatchers —

Did you remember to turn your clocks back? If last night’s time change displeased you, you’re not alone. Florida’s U.S. Senators teamed up on a bill that, if passed, would end Daylight Saving Time until next November. 

Old school. Sen. Marco Rubio says that the process is dated. In a media release, he blasted the “antiquated practice of clock changing.”

Oh, the benefits. Rubio says: “More daylight in the after school hours is critical to helping families and children endure this challenging school year. Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, and 7 in 10 Americans don’t want to change their clocks. I urge my colleagues to work with me to make this Sunday the last time our country ‘falls back.’” 

Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are finished with ‘falling back.’

Viral content. Sen. Rick Scott, also on the bill, said, “after months of uncertainty and staying indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic, all of us could use a little more consistency and sunshine.”

Trump bump TBD. President Trump is a fan of permanent Daylight Saving Time. “No one likes changing the clock,” the President tweeted last year. Will he make a second term push? Stranger things have happened with this White House.

— Florida split —

It’s not a statewide race in Florida without a razor-thin margin. St. Pete Polls has released its final 2020 numbers of the presidential race in Florida, and you guessed it, it’s close. But like any great dessert, this serving has many layers.

Icing on top: Biden holds the lead, but it’s a small one. The Democrat is the favorite flavor for 49% of Democrats, but 48% want another helping of Trump. The margin of error measures at 3%, so make sure to get some salt.

Extra sample of GOP: Just to make sure no “shy” Trump voters were overlooked, pollsters used a heavy +2 GOP sample that favored Trump more than the 2016 Florida electorate as a whole.

Florida is evenly split on Donald Trump and Joe Biden. No surprise there. 

Baked in: More than 75% of respondents already voted, 55% of whom bubbled for Biden.

Hispanic voters: Dig past the other racial demo, and you get what most Sunshine Staters need to know. More than 48% of Hispanics favor Biden while under 43% plan to vote for Trump. Trump won Florida’s Latin vote in 2016.

Miami Market: As for the broader Miami market, Biden leads there with almost 64% of the vote, again overperforming Clinton.

— Jill Biden’s Sunday stops — 

The Vice President’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will appear in-person in the Sunshine State for a last-minute push in addition to campaign efforts across the state.

Tallahassee: The former Second Lady’s push will begin at a Souls to the Polls event in Tallahassee at 12:30 p.m. The campaign has not yet released full details about the event’s locations.

Jill Biden makes one last campaign swing through Florida. Image via AP.

Kissimmee: Dr. Biden will then move down to Kissimmee for a 3 p.m. drive-in rally at Osceola County Stadium in Osceola Heritage Park. That event will also be aimed at boosting voter turnout.

Tampa: The Sunday slate of events will close with another GOTV drive-in rally in Tampa. That will begin at 5 p.m.

Biden camp Sunday schedule —

It’s a busy day for Biden’s Florida campaign as Election Day nears. His team is focusing on voter turnout operations across the state as Sunday marks the deadline for casting an early vote.

— It starts at noon: The Biden campaign will host two “Souls to the Polls” events in Orlando and Bradenton at 12 p.m. Sunday. Precise details on locations for those and other Sunday events have not yet been released.

Joe Biden’s Florida campaign will have a busy Sunday. Image via AP.

— 1 p.m.: The Biden team will also host voter engagement gatherings in Ocoee and Homestead at 1 p.m. Homestead is located in southern Miami-Dade County, where Democrats have seen some problem areas in terms of turnout so far.

— The rest: At 3 p.m., Biden’s camp will set up a drive-in tally and caravan in Wynwood, also located in Miami-Dade County. Two more Souls in the Polls events will take place in Lauderhill and Riviera Beach. The Lauderhill event begins at 3:15 p.m., while the Riviera Beach rendezvous starts at 4 p.m.

— Souls to the Polls — 

Several groups are looking to drive Black turnout in South Florida with traditional Souls to the Polls events being held on the final Sunday before Election Day.

— Sanford: The campaign for Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy will host a Souls to the Polls event Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Sanford Civic Center. “We are inviting members of Central Florida’s faith community to vote in person on Sunday, then come by our ‘Souls to the Polls’ event in downtown Sanford to pick up some food and join us in celebrating our great democracy,” Murphy said.

Stephanie Murphy gets the ‘Souls to the Polls.’

— AFT: A bus tour led by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) will make its final stop in Miami-Dade County Sunday at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. Participants will march to the Joseph Caleb Center, an early voting site in the county.

— The goal: “We’ll be talking to our colleagues, our friends and families, and others in our communities about the stakes in this election and about the choices,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten of the push. “And we will be urging people to use their voice and make a difference by voting.”

— Boost for Dems? Data has shown Black turnout slightly lagging in certain parts of the state. Black and Hispanic voters tend to vote closer to Election Day, meaning these events could help make up the margins for typically Democratic-leaning demographics.

The weekend was full of similar events. On Saturday, the NAACP and several other pro-Black groups hosted five separate voting turnout events across Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Those events stretched from Tamarac to Miramar and down to North Miami.

— Donald Trump after dark —

President Trump is squeezing in another Florida stop to his campaign calendar. He’ll visit Miami-Dade County Monday night, less than 48 hours before polls close.

When: The event has an unusually late 11:30 p.m. expected start time. That would presumably force the county to revise its midnight curfew to accommodate the President.

Donald Trump is squeezing out one more rally in the Miami area.

Where: The outdoor rally will take place at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport to culminate a marathon five-rally day across key battleground states.

Florida-focused: This month alone, the President has already hosted rallies in Sanford, Ocala, The Villages, Pensacola and Tampa, making Opa-Locka his sixth stop.

The President will begin his Sunday in Michigan before making stops in Iowa, North Carolina and Georgia. Several of those states are must-win battlegrounds for Trump.

— Trump group seeks turnout boost —

A nonprofit aligned with the Trump campaign called America First Policies is spending millions for a last-minute surge to urge voters to cast their ballots by Election Day.

National ad push: The group is spending $2.4 million on a nationwide ad blitz reminding Americans to make their voices heard. Though the ad carries with it some typically-Republican buzzwords and insignia, it’s bereft of any explicit political message and doesn’t mention Trump once.

The message: “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” the ad’s narrator said. “Our values, our security and our future are on the ballot. So visit YourVote2020.org to find your polling location because your vote has never been more important.”

One catch: The site does require visitors to submit their name, email and address to access their polling location information. That data would then be in the hands of America First Policies. Liberal groups have also pushed voters to similar sites, though it’s important to note your local Supervisor of Elections office will provide polling information as well.

The ad campaign is a shot at a saving grace for the Trump campaign, as poll numbers show Trump behind Biden in many battleground states. A surge in turnout could make a difference, though, if enough Trump supporters get the message.

To watch “Your Vote,” click on the image below:

— Bring it home —

The Lincoln Project brought its latest troll job of the Trumps to Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower this weekend. Billboards blasting Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have been floating off the South Florida resort and rolling around the signature Trump building. We caught up with the LP’s Ron Steslow, who explained strategy, here and elsewhere.

Psy-ops. Though attacks on the First Daughter and her husband aren’t going to move the needle with voters, part of the game is to knock Kushner and Trump off theirs, Steslow said. Every moment they spend distracted is a moment they spend off their message.

First, it was billboards on Times Square; now, The Lincoln Project is trolling the Trump family near Donald’s home in West Palm Beach. Image via Twitter.

More to it than head games, though. Though attacks on the First Daughter and her husband aren’t going to move the needle with voters, part of the Lincoln Project’s mission is to move persuadable Republican voters.

2%? 4%? That’s the range, Steslow said, noting that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon said that attrition that small for the President could make a difference in the final result. Suppression tactics, of course, are part of the Republican operative toolkit … and in this case, they are being used ironically enough by the standard-bearer of the party himself. 

— Must-see TV —

The cash is still flowing to TV stations. Here’s a preview of what you can expect to see while channel surfing.

SD 9: The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee put $179K into a broadcast flight backing Republican Jason Brodeur in the Orlando market. The ads will run through Election Day.

CD 4: Republican U.S. Rep. John Rutherford made a $21K broadcast buy through Election Day in the Jacksonville market. Rutherford has now spent $876K on ads this cycle. Democrat Donna Deegan has spent $417K.

John Rutherford is throwing some last-minute TV cash in his battle against Donna Deegan in Florida’s 4th Congressional District.

CD 14: Republican Christine Quinn made a $4K cable buy for ads running through Election Day in the Tampa market. She has now spent $58K on ads. Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor has spent $9K.

CD 15: Democrat Alan Cohn added $18K to his broadcast flight running through Election Day in the Tampa market. The buy now totals $159K. Cohn and committees backing him have spent $1.30M. Republican Scott Franklin and backing committees spent $1.04M.

CD 18: Democrat Pam Keith spent $45K on a broadcast flight and $5K on cable for ads running through Election Day in the West Palm Beach market. This brings her total for the election to $926K. Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast has spent $1.52M.

CD 27: Republican Maria Salazar made a $26K buy for broadcast ads running through Election Day in the Miami market. She and committees backing her have now spent $1.82M. Democratic U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala has spent $1.99M.

— At a minimum —

Expecting a hike in the minimum wage? Not so fast. A St. Pete Polls survey shows Amendment 2, raising Florida’s minimum pay rate, could fall short of the required 60% threshold for passage. If passed, the ballot referendum would hike the wage to $10 an hour now and gradually climb to $15 over five years.

Winning for now: Of the 75% of voters who already voted, the amendment indeed proved popular enough to pass. About 62% say they have voted yes, but 31% voted against it, and 7% won’t say.

Trouble ahead: But among those still planning to vote, vote will vote no. About 45% have every intention of shooting the amendment down, while 44% want it approved. Another 11% is anyone’s guess.

Bottom line: The poll finds less than 58% support for the poll, a problem for the Fight for $15. Almost 35% will vote no. That means a bulk of undecideds must be convinced, or the measure is toast.

— Cold leftovers —

One dish no one wants to taste? According to the survey results, the All Voters Vote Open Primaries proposal, Amendment 3, looks doomed.

No thanks: More than 48% of those polled want to shoot the proposal down, and just 40% want to pass it. That makes the 12% undecided inconsequential as they can’t take this thing to 60%.

Bringing parties together: Want something Democrats and Republicans agree upon this year? 45% and 55% of Democrats and Republicans respectively plan to vote no, the plurality with both parties.

NPA sway? Independents, the votes who theoretically benefit the most from a jungle primary system where all voters cast ballots in August. Also, show little enthusiasm. While 48% do favor passage, 42% remain set against the proposal.

— No love lost in HD 29 —

It was obvious from the first week of their contest that GOP Rep. Scott Plakon and Democratic challenger Tracey Kagan weren’t going to be congenial opponents in their House District 29 rematch.

— The contention started with Plakon in the campaign’s first week last year, with him calling Kagan a radical. She countered by calling him an anti-Semite.

— In a virtual debate for the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida Friday, they tried to behave, tried to hold to Tiger Bay’s usual cordial demeanor. Yet some moments illustrated just how contentious 2020 elections could get, especially theirs.

— Plakon accused Kagan of wanting to raise taxes, wanting to shut down the economy over COVID-19, of using code words to appeal to radicals rather than saying things explicitly, of not knowing how to read a bill, and of accepting the backing of groups wanting to defund police. She denied each allegation.

Tracy Kagan and Scott Plakon are through playing nice in HD 29.

— Kagan accused Plakon of being “uncomfortable” about advocating masks, of wanting to dictate women’s health decisions, of being against environmental protections in Seminole County, of stripping away health care assurances for people with preexisting conditions, and of fearmongering. He denied those allegations.

— In the end, Plakon fell back on his experience and his position in good standing with the Republican leadership in Tallahassee, saying, “With all due respect to my opponent, she would be a freshman member of the minority party she would not be able to do what I can do.”

— Her closing argument was that he is a “fossil” in a regime that does not care about people. “I want to bring change to the government and actually represent the constituents.”

— Special Day — 

The story of their first ballot ever cast is a special one for most Americans. Carlos Andrade, husband to South Florida political consultant Christian Ulvert, has now made that step for the first time since leaving Venezuela for the U.S.

— The details: Ulvert and Andrade voted together at the North Miami Library Friday afternoon. Ulvert is a prominent Democratic political adviser who heads Edge Communications in Miami-Dade County.

Christian Ulvert (l) and his husband Carlos Andrade, who voted for the first time this week. Two guesses who they voted for. Image via Facebook.

— In Ulvert’s own words: “It was truly an inspiring and emotional day for Carlos and me as we walked into the early vote site together to both vote for the first time,” Ulvert told Florida Politics.

— Team Joe: “We both proudly voted for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Daniella Levine Cava and many more local leaders because the future of our country and county are at stake,” Ulvert said. That’s no surprise, as Ulvert has done work for both the Biden and Levine Cava campaigns this cycle.

Ulvert closed by speaking to the impact of the moment for him, his husband and immigrants in general. “It was a reminder of democracy at its best and the freedoms we enjoy in our country, and why the work we do is so important.”

Moving up

Former Rep. Edwin Narain has been at AT&T for nearly 20 years, and he continues moving up the ladder.

Effective today, Narain moves up from Director of Legislative & External Affairs to Assistant Vice President of External Affairs.

AT&T Florida President Joe York said: “Edwin’s experience, leadership, and skills have long been assets to our team. Combined with his knowledge of our sales organization, his understanding of our products and services, and his proven ability to find solutions, he is uniquely prepared to take on increased responsibility.”

Congratulations to Ed Narain, moving up the ladder at AT&T.

Narain’s quote: “For more than 18 years, I’ve been proud to call AT&T home, and I am very excited about this new chapter in my career. Our company has a long history of supporting social justice and public safety initiatives, and I look forward to guiding our efforts in these critically important areas.”

He’s not going anywhere. The VP role will see him continue handling AT&T’s legislative priorities in Florida; he will also serve as the Southern Region liaison for FirstNet activities and strategic legislative priorities related to social justice and community engagement. 

— Brunching Out —

Getting through Election Night is one thing. Then there’s Wednesday morning. Waking up after a possibly insane, long night to face a day of work and kids is another challenge.

The remedy. A java jolt from your local coffee shop or restaurant can put you back on course postelection, or any day for that matter. You can certainly chug a few espressos, but here is a sampling of what else is brewing in Tallahassee.

Bonfire toasted marshmallow latte with vanilla, dark chocolate and gingerbread flavors at the year-old Square Mug Cafe at the Railroad Square Art District, 567 Industrial Dr.

Cafe Con Leche, the classic Cuban coffee drink, is a remedy for what ails you. It’s made with strong espresso and warm milk. At Habana’s Boardwalk Cafe, 2819 Mahan Dr.

Fennec Mocha Latte with white chocolate, raspberry mocha and a brew from Fennec Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee roasting company, is one of the signature coffee choices at Paper Fox Coffee, which features brewed coffees from different parts of the world. 2020 W. Pensacola St.

Lavender latte sounds so civilized and gentle that you just might put this turbulent election season out of your head — for a few minutes. You can get a cold brew or an espresso with a shot of flavor. Beans at Betton, the coffee shop at Food Glorious Food, makes its own vanilla and hazelnut syrup in-house and uses Lucky Goat coffee. 1950 Thomasville Rd.

Savor a postelection latte at Beans at Betton, the coffee shop at Food Glorious Food. Image via Tallahassee Table.

Pumpkin spice latte is the seasonal brew, available through Thanksgiving, at RedEye Coffee. Aside from its long list of coffee specialties, the shop runs a breakfast club with the Street Chefs food truck, delivering coffee and frittatas to different neighborhoods each week. 1122 Thomasville Rd., 1196 Capital Circle NE or Capital Regional Medical Center, 2626 Capital Medical Blvd.

Tallyccino, the signature drink at Lucky Goat Coffee, is a cold coffee brew with sweet vanilla cream. A seasonal pumpkin drink is another favorite. Lucky Goat has several locations, including 668 Capital Circle NE, 1400 Village Square Blvd., 1307 N. Monroe St. and 3431 Bannerman Rd.





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