Former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist (D) said that he has discussed getting into the GOV race with several of President Obama’s advisers, including David Axelrod, Jim Messina and Valerie Jarrett. (Palm Beach Post)
SCOTT ‘NO LONGER A LONG SHOT’. The political winds “have shifted in ways that make” Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) reelection “much less of a longshot than Tallahassee prognosticators once expected.” With no Democrats yet in the race, the party is having trouble raising money to take him on, while Scott has raised $8.7 million this year and has a vast personal wealth to draw on. 2010 nominee/former CFO Alex Sink (D) said she would decide “soon,” noting that she had already raised $2-3 million at this point in her last campaign. And Democrats are worried that Crist won’t be as successful at fundraising “in a party that relies heavily on smaller donations and unions.”
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is down and Scott’s campaign is already forming a narrative around the economy’s improvement. Sink: “The problem is, that’s a response that takes more than a 30-second sound bite. … Somebody has got to come up with some clever graphics and clever sound bites to push back on one individual taking credit for an improving economy when the rest of the country is improving, too.”
The RNC is already pouring resources into the state and the state GOP plans to put tens of millions into a voter-targeting and mobilization strategy mirrored after Obama’s 2012 ‘quality over quantity’ approach, using smarter data analytics to identify persuadable voters.” (Orlando Sentinel)
SCOTT TOURING STATE. Scott is kicking off a statewide tour tomorrow touting his new call to cut taxes by $500 million. “The ‘It’s Your Money’ tour will last from Tuesday through Friday” with stops in “Orlando, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa”. (Palm Beach Post)
CRIST PRESSING FLESH IN KEY DEM COUNTIES. Crist is making a big push in South Florida as he prepares for a likely GOV bid, “renewing ties and meeting with old pals” in Broward and Palm Beach counties, which will be key to a Democratic victory next year. (SunshineStateNews.com) “Crist on Sunday appeared to be like a man on the campaign trail, making a stop at the Ocala Hilton to speak to the Marion County Democratic Party,” where he worked the room and proudly proclaimed himself a Democrat. (Ocala Star Banner) Crist will be in Broward County again this week, where he’s hosting a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. “Ostensibly non-political because of the nature of the charitable cause, it still gives the former governor a chance to do what he does best: schmooze with people who could end up as potential campaign backers.” (Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel)
GREER SPEAKS. In an interview from prison, former state GOP chairman Jim Greer said that he fully expects to be featured in attack ads on Crist next year. Greer: “Charlie’s a cut-and-run kind of guy. Don’t go up the hill in a battle with him, because you may turn around, and he’s not there with you. Charlie’s a loyal person when it benefits his self-interest.” (Tampa Bay Times)
MEMOIR COMING IN FEBRUARY. Crist said Friday that he has finished his “no-holds-barred” memoir, which will be out in February. (Palm Beach Post)
— Sarah Mimms
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The Signal app is fast becoming the new favorite among those who are obsessed with the security and untraceabilty of their messaging. Just ask the Democratic National Committee. Or Edward Snowden. As Vanity Fair reports, before news ever broke that the DNC's servers had been hacked, word went out among the organization that the word "Trump" should never be used in their emails, lest it attract hackers' attention. Not long after, all Trump-related messages, especially disparaging ones, would need to be encrypted via the Snowden-approved Signal.
The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.
According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.
"GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution" on the budget this fall "that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays." As usual, however, the House Freedom Caucus may throw a wrench in Speaker Paul Ryan's gears. The conservative bloc doesn't appear willing to accept any CR that doesn't fund the government into 2017.