A Mason-Dixon poll (Jan. 29-Feb. 1; 500 RVs; +/- 5%) showed voters largely undecided for both party primaries, but certain candidates lead the group. Among likely Democratic voters, Rep. Gwen Graham (D) took 20 percent and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D) 17 percent, while 49 percent were undecided. On the Republican side, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) led with 27 percent to 23 percent over Rep. Ron DeSantis (R), while 43 percent were undecided. (release)
NEW ADS. The Florida Education Association has released a new ad called “Drain The Swamp” that is aimed at state Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) due to his support of HB 7055. The ad calls the bill “an attack on Florida families” and calls Corcoran a “political insider”. The ad ends with the line, “It’s time to drain the swamp and we know just where to begin.” (Florida Politics)
GUN LAW. Putnam is proposing a rewrite to Florida’s concealed weapons law that would allow the state issue a license even without a full background check. If passed, the Department of Agriculture would have to provide a license 90 days after the application has been received even “if the department has not acquired final disposition or proof of restoration of civil and firearm rights, or confirmation that clarifying records are not available.”
If new information emerged about the license holder that should prevent them from having it, the license would then be suspended. (Tampa Bay Times)
YOU’RE HIRED. Housing investor Chris King (D) hired Avery Jaffe as his press secretary. “Jaffe served as the traveling press secretary for former Gov. Ted Strickland’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign in Ohio and most recently worked as a strategic communications consultant for progressive candidates running for office. He joins a robust communications team highlighted by Larry Grisolano of AKPD Message and Media, Omar Khan of Mercury Public Affairs and Hari Sevugan of 270 Strategies.” (release)
UNDER SCRUTINY. “The FBI is investigating longtime City Commissioner and former Mayor Scott Maddox in an alleged pay-for-play scheme involving his close friend Paige-Carter Smith, their lobbying firm and companies doing business with the city.” (Tallahassee Democrat) Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) “is not under bureau investigation, at least not as far as this affidavit indicates — exactly as Gillum repeatedly insisted.” (Sunshine State News)
DEBATE. Corcoran and Gillum have finally decided on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. as the date and time for their one-on-one debate. Corcoran challenged Gillum to a debate after Gillum criticized Corcoran’s recent ad that invoked the death of Kate Steinle to hit against the idea of sanctuary cities and states. (Tampa Bay Times)
TOUGH WORDS. While hosting a fundraiser, Graham made it clear which Republican candidate she wishes to face in November: “I hope, please give me Ron DeSantis. I would love to stand on a debate stage with Ron DeSantis and talk about our very different approaches to what we should be doing in the state of Florida.”
On the Democratic side, she had tough words for her competitor Levine, saying “He has the ability to put a lot of his own money into this race. But you know what I feel? I don’t think the Democratic primary voters can be bought.” (Tampa Bay Times)
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"Former veteran Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of making false statements to federal agents." Wolfe was indicted "earlier this year on three counts of making false statements to the FBI, which questioned him about his contacts with reporters ... According to the indictment, in October 2017 Wolfe gave a reporter ... information about an unidentified man who had been served with a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The reporter published stories about the subpoena and the man's upcoming testimony in a closed committee hearing."
"The federal deficit widened last year amid higher government spending—including rising interest costs on the debt and increased funding for the military—and flat revenues following last year’s tax cut. The government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said Monday. That is the largest annual deficit in six years and 17% higher than the $666 billion deficit in fiscal 2017. As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.9%, up from 3.5% a year earlier and the third consecutive increase."
"The BBC has determined there is enough evidence to be confident that at least 106 chemical attacks have taken place in Syria since September 2013, when the president signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and agreed to destroy the country's chemical weapons stockpile."