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Superintendent Jackie Pons launched a TV attack ad against campaign rival Rocky Hanna that sparked immediate backlash on Facebook and Twitter and prompted some of the incumbent's closest allies to walk away from his re-election campaign. The ad focuses on a 2013 paternity lawsuit brought but later dropped by the mother of Hanna's teenage daughter. Both Hanna and the girl’s mother — not to mention numerous observers — blasted the commercial as unfit for a political campaign. Gary Yordon, a Pons media consultant since his first run in 2006, left his campaign over the ad. Ron Sachs, CEO of Sachs Media Group and longtime Pons backer, announced he was withdrawing his support and would vote for Hanna instead. "This spot reflects such horrific judgment on his part," Sachs said. "It smacks of desperation. I'm embarrassed for him and embarrassed for the community that we've been exposed to such a terrible piece of political propaganda. He most certainly and deservedly will lose the election over this one thing." Read more on Tallahassee.com
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An administrative law judge says the Florida Department of Health has made a mess of medical marijuana regulations. Judge John Van Laningham’s expected ruling in a southwest Florida case sometime next month could throw the state’s budding cannabis industry into total disarray. Two years ago, the Florida Legislature made five licenses available to grow marijuana and process oil as a form of medicine. Since then, just one grower has opened a dispensary providing cannabis products for epileptic and other patients suffering debilitating illnesses. Laningham’s findings could reopen the licensing process because he’s signaling he thinks the department has failed to apply the law and rules equitably to all applicants. Read more here on Tallahassee.com 
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Former Secret Service agent and congressional candidate Dan Bongino went on a screaming, profanity-laced tirade Sunday during a telephone call with a POLITICO Florida reporter who asked him to clarify his criticism of a story published by the Naples Daily News. The dispute began on Twitter early in the day when Bongino bashed the Naples Daily News for writing “propaganda.” Asked by POLITICO reporter Marc Caputo about any inaccuracies or errors in the Naples Daily News story concerning Florida’s 19th Congressional District, Bongino didn’t directly answer the question. Read more in POLITICO  
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Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday defended cutting some state funding in Florida to pay for mosquito control amid increasing cases of the Zika virus in his state. Under Scott, state aid to mosquito control programs was reduced 40 percent in 2011, from $2.16 million to $1.29 million. Scott also ignored pleas from fellow Republicans that year when he cut a special $500,000 appropriation for the Public Health Entomology Research and Education Lab in Panama City Beach, which was founded in 1964. Read more in POLITICO 
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(CNN)Jeb Bush's top adviser, Sally Bradshaw, has left the Republican Party to become an independent, and says if the presidential race in Florida is close, she'll vote for Hillary Clinton.  Bradshaw, who's been close to the former Florida governor for decades and was senior adviser to his 2016 campaign, officially switched her registration to unaffiliated. She told CNN's Jamie Gangel in an email interview that the GOP is "at a crossroads and have nominated a total narcissist -- a misogynist -- a bigot."  "This is a time when country has to take priority over political parties. Donald Trump cannot be elected president," Bradshaw said. Read more and watch video on CNN
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MIAMI — State Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, one of 99 Florida delegates to this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, says GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump was not her first, second or third choice, but the Miami lawmaker will be backing the billionaire businessman. “I have a job as a delegate that I need to separate from my personal views,” Nuñez said Sunday in an interview with CBS-4 Miami’s Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede. “The voters have spoken, resoundingly, throughout the country,” she said, adding that voting against Trump would be “a disservice to voters” in Florida. Read more in POLITICO 
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Ten people were arrested for trespassing Monday night after staging a sit-in inside the lobby of a building housing Sen. Marco Rubio's Orlando office, according to the Orlando Police Department. "OPD making 10 arrests for trespass after warning, a misdemeanor,” Orlando police tweeted after removing the protesters. “Grateful to peaceful protesters who understand we have a job to do.” About 60 demonstrators first arrived around 10 a.m. and had planned to stay for 49 hours to remember the 49 people killed last month by a lone gunman in the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. They promoted the hashtag #SitInForThe49 during the demonstration. Read more in POLITICO   
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TALLAHASSEE — In a statement posted on her campaign website, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown suggested her indictment last week on fraud-related charges is part of a larger problem with a legal system that targets black people. "I’m not the first black elected official to be persecuted and, sad to say, I won’t be the last,” she wrote. Brown, a Democrat, and her chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, were hit with a 24-count federal indictment Friday related to their involvement with an education group that federal officials say is a scam. Prosecutors say that Brown used her official post as a member of Congress to solicit $800,000 in donations. That money, according to the indictment, was used on personal items. Read more in POLITICO   
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(CNN)Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is seeking re-election to the Senate, publicly admitting he changed his mind and giving a boost for Republicans facing a tough fight to maintain their Senate majority in November. Rubio emailed supporters Wednesday announcing his decision, acknowledging the sharp departure from his previous stance. "In politics, admitting you've changed your mind is not something most people like to do. But here it goes," he wrote. "I have decided to seek reelection to the United States Senate." Rubio's announcement marks a 180-degree turn from where he was even just a month ago, when he insisted he would give up his Senate seat at the end of this term. Read more on CNN 
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State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto announced Sunday that she will not run for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Curt Clawson. Benacquisto, who came in second to Clawson in the 2014 special election for the seat — after U.S. Rep Trey Radel resigned amid a cocaine-possession scandal — was widely seen as a top contender in the Republican-heavy district. “While I am overwhelmed by the support I have received to run in the last few days, after reflecting on the decision with my family, I have decided the best way for me to continue to serve Southwest Florida is to remain in the Florida Senate,” she said in a written statement.  Read more in POLITICO 
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A weekly podcast focusing on the people and stories shaping Florida politics produced by Trimmel Gomes an award-winning journalist and former statewide news director of Florida Public Radio. Gomes hosted its flagship program "Capital Report" and created the public affairs program "It's About Florida." Gomes is political commentator and regular political contributor to WTXL ABC 27 in Tallahassee.

 

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