By Marc Caputo (; @MarcACaputo) with Emily Goldberg (; @ejgold94), Sergio Bustos (; @sbustosFL) and the staff of POLITICO Florida

Is it Monday again? Happy Columbus Day. The Miami Hurricanes finally beat Florida State (sorry, I had to). Hurricane Nate brushed past the state as it made landfalls in Louisiana and Mississippi. And now it’s committee week, again, in Tallahassee as lawmakers gear up for another regular legislative session that starts in January. In Hurricane Irma’s wake, and as we brace for an influx of Puerto Rican evacuees after Hurricane Maria, storm response and preparation are sure to dominate the session. Meanwhile, the parlor game of how all these evacuees, expected to flood Central Florida, will change the state is underway (we went first 12 days ago). In short, this should help Democrats, but it will likely be at the margins.

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BORICUA BAROMETER — “Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico And Florida Politics,” by Steve Schale: “For my Democratic friends, a word of warning … particularly regarding 2018, recent turnout in off-year cycles in Orange and Osceola County has been quite low. Comparing the 2012 and 2014 elections, Osceola saw turnout drop from 67{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} to 41.3{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3}, the third largest drop-off in Florida, and Orange fell from 68.1{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} to 43.3{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3}, the sixth highest drop-off. So if you want to take advantage of anything I will write about from this point onward, don’t stop organizing …

“In 2000, the Orlando urban counties had 1,434,033 total residents. Of this population, 18.1{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} was Hispanic, and another 14.7{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} was Black. The area’s non-Hispanic White population was just over 62{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} … [by 2015] Population in the tri-county area had grown to 1,967,255, with Hispanics now making up 29.6{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} of the population, with Black residents also increasing, to 16.3{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3}. Non-Hispanic Whites had dropped to 47{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} of the area’s population … Over the last ten years, 67{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} of the Hispanic voter registration growth accrued to the Democrats, while only 6{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} went to the GOP, so any growth from Maria, which is over and above the growth which is already happening in Orlando, will only exacerbate the local political trends. … You win Florida by managing the margins. So while these trends help the Democratic balance sheet, a win in 2018 and 2020 also means reducing the Trump and Scott margins in other counties.” Read more

POOR PUERTO RICAN TURNOUT — “Will Influx of Puerto Ricans flocking to Florida hurt Trump or Republicans?” by Election Smith’s Dan Smith: “In these majority-Hispanic voter precincts, in which … 30{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} of Hispanics who voted were Puerto Rican-born (and that have at least 100 PR-born voters), Trump won only 30{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} of the vote, on average … Does this mean that Republicans are in trouble in FL if the exodus from PR to the mainland happens? Puerto Ricans, certainly compared with other Hispanic groups in Florida, have weak voter turnout. Of the more than 180k PR-born voters in my database, only 112k of them voted in 2016 (62{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3}). That’s much lower turnout rate than, say, Cuban-born voters in FL. In 2016, 242k of the 325k Cuban-born naturalized citizens in my database turned out; that’s roughly 75{fa2dae56337f9c7ea77ecfab0e634f8b7142fdca97930ed94284a7f1faff31b3} turnout.” Read more

— “Puerto Rico exodus to Central Florida could bring unprecedented change,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Lauren Ritchie: Read more

NOT SO BAD — “Hurricane Nate impact pales in comparison to past,” by Pensacola News Journal’s Kevin Robinson and Joseph Baucum: “Hurricane Nate barreled over Pensacola quickly, but left relatively little damage in its wake. Nate rolled into the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday night as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported. By Sunday afternoon, the storm was well northeast of the area and weakened to a tropical depression. Escambia County and city of Pensacola crews got out on the roads at first light to begin assessing damage, and both entities reported there were no major incidents related to the storm. The federal government issued an emergency declaration for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties on Sunday morning, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance for emergency measures in response to Hurricane Nate.” Read more

— “Hurricane Nate: Santa Rosa Sound under health advisory after 400K-gallon sewage spill,” by Pensacola News Journal: Read more


— “Legislators take ‘sobering’ flight over Puerto Rico, vow more troops, relief,” by Miami Herald’s Tim Johnson: Read more

— “Elon Musk, Puerto Rico governor speak on Tesla rebuilding power grid,” by The Hill’s Brandon Carter: Read more

— “In Puerto Rico, realities clash as locals piece new lives together,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Bianca Padró Ocasio: Read more

“FEMA director: ‘We filtered out’ San Juan mayor ‘a long time ago,’” by POLITICO’s Connor O’Brien: Read more

— “In Puerto Rico, everything is broken — except our spirit,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda: Read more

“Weeks after Irma, Florida is still counting the dead,” by The Florida Times-Union’s Dan Scanlan: Read more

— “What’s that smell in Naples? Stench coming from Collier landfill,” by Naples Daily News’ Thaddeus Mast: Read more

— “He died with his throat slashed after a fight. It’s listed as hurricane-related,” by Miami Herald’s Gwen Filosa: Read more

— “Flood-damaged cars are coming to market. Here’s how to avoid them,” by Sun Sentinel’s Ron Hurtibise: Read more

— “Citrus industry feels squeeze from Irma, waits for help,” by Naples Daily News’ Laura Lyden: Read more


DRAG QUEEN WARS — “Controversial conservative drag diva Elaine Lancaster gone from brunch gig,” by’s Steve Rothaus: “After conservative drag diva Elaine Lancaster posted on social media new comments that further inflamed South Florida’s LGBTQ community, Drag Bunch at Señor Frogs erased her from its Sunday line-up, replacing Lancaster’s image with another star female impersonator, Tiffany Fantasia … Everything fell apart … when Lancaster took to social media and suddenly became better known for her support of Trump than for South Florida’s myriad LGBTQ events. LGBTQ activists, many former friends, derided Lancaster on social media for her conservative positions. The hysterics reached a crescendo in July when Davis (dressed as himself) joined a CNN panel and told viewers that his decades-long career had been ‘blackballed’ for openly supporting the nation’s 45th president … [also] Lancaster published her tweet with the hashtags ‘JewishCollusion’ and ‘FacebookFraudsters.’” Read more

EXPENSIVE CADDIES — “Secret Service spent $137K on golf carts to protect Trump at New Jersey, Florida clubs,” by USA TODAY’s Julia Fair: “[T]he agency paid $61,960 in a Sept. 29 contract to rent golf carts at the Trump International Golf Club in Florida. That’s the biggest purchase order for golf carts so far. It comes in a contract that will extend through May 28, 2018. The agency signed contracts for golf carts at Trump’s clubs as early as February, but they never exceeded about $18,000 – and only lasted for one month at a time. In August, USA TODAY first reported that the Secret Service can no longer pay the overtime for hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of Trump’s family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast.” Read more

THE FINAL FRONTIER — “Scientists call on Florida’s senators to oppose Trump nominee for NASA,” by the Tampa Bay Times Craig Pittman: “More than 40 Florida scientists have signed a letter calling on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee to head up the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Last month Trump nominated an Oklahoma congressman, U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, to run NASA, marking the first time in history that any president picked a politician to run the scientific agency. Prior NASA administrators have almost all been scientists, engineers or former astronauts. The sole exception: James Webb, a former Treasury Department and State Department official who had served as vice president of the company that manufactured radar and navigation systems during World War II. Both Nelson and Rubio have blasted Trump’s choice, but neither has said whether they will vote against Bridenstine.” Read more

GIORNO IN — “Trump’s former Florida campaign chair is running for RNC committeewoman post,” by Miami Herald’s Alex T. Daugherty: “Donald Trump’s former Florida campaign director Karen Giorno is running to be the National Republican Committeewoman for Florida, as former committeewoman Sharon Day will step down to become the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica.” Read more

HOW TO GO TO CUBA — “What you need to know about travel to Cuba in the new Trump era,” by Miami Herald’s Mimi Whitefield: “An ominous U.S. State Department warning against visiting Cuba and a U.S.-mandated cutback in the consular officers who issue visas at the Cuban Embassy in Washington could put the chill on some U.S. travel to the island but not as much as might be expected. One reason is that tour operators, airlines and cruise lines make bulk purchases of the tourist visas that many Americans need to travel to the island and have enough in hand to allow eligible U.S. travelers to visit Cuba for the foreseeable future. Cuban Americans who have up-to-date Cuban passports also can still travel.” Read more

— “U.S. Halt in Visa Services Leaves Cuban Families in Limbo,” by The New York Times’ Ernesto Londoño: Read more


TWO FLORIDAS “IN DEPTH: In upscale Wellington, being poor is expensive price to pay,” by Palm Beach Post’s Matt Morgan: “Tucked amid Wellington’s well-groomed equestrian venues, mansions so luxe they sport private airstrips in the back yard and tidy middle class neighborhoods, there is another nearly invisible contingent in this community — those who live paycheck to paycheck. Despite the village’s swanky reputation, the families of nearly one third of Wellington’s elementary-age children can’t afford school lunch, and theNeil S. Hirsch Family Boys and Girls Club hosts more kids after school than any other chapter in the county — and most of those children are poor. As the economy continues a decade-long rebound from a recession, these families that are barely scraping together their monthly rent to put their kids in top-rated schools and safer neighborhoods could soon be forced out of the village entirely.” Read more

NARCAN V. HEROIN — “In the middle of an opioid crisis, cops are arming themselves with a life-saving drug,” by Miami Herald’s David Ovalle: “A Miami-Dade police officer was guarding a crime scene in Liberty City when a woman staggered up, pleading for help and collapsed. Her breath was short, her pupils contracted. She was overdosing — most likely on heroin or fentanyl. But even before paramedics arrived, another Miami-Dade patrol officer rushed to the scene, armed with a life-saving nasal spray that revived the woman on the spot. The rescue a few months ago was made thanks to a Miami-Dade police pilot project, part of a larger push to get law-enforcement officers to carry the overdose-reversing drug Narcan — a critical field tool for reducing the casualties of Florida’s crushing opioid crisis. More than 20 investigators with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, including those who work as part of an anti-gang task force in Liberty City, have also begun carrying Narcan in recent months.” Read more

BIG VOTE AGAINST BIG BUCKS — “St. Petersburg council acts to limit big money in city elections,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Charlie Frago: “Seeking to stem the influence of big-money interests in local elections, St. Petersburg became the first city in the nation Thursday to limit contributions to political action committees. It also may have opened residents to millions in legal costs, city attorneys warned. The 6-2 vote by the City Council serves as a rebuke to Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission, the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that removed restrictions on how much outside groups can spend to influence elections. The council’s vote instead seeks to limit how much money individuals can give to PACs that seek to influence city elections. The ordinance caps at $5,000 a year the amount of money an individual can give to PACs involved in city elections. It also requires more extensive disclosure by donors.” Read more

$143K FINE? — “Popular pirate radio station for Haitian music in Miami hit by hefty FCC fine,” by Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles: “It’s the pulse of the Haitian music industry in Miami, organizing some of the most popular big-ticket parties while promoting bands and guiding konpa music fans to the next hit. But Radio Touche Douce is a pirate radio station, an underground operation that the federal government is accusing of illegally broadcasting from a shed in a North Miami backyard. Fed up with the station’s ‘egregious, intentional and repeated violations,’ the Federal Communications Commission has hit Touche Douce — and owner Fabrice Polynice, aka DJ Paz — with a proposed $144,344 fine, the largest amount allowed under FCC regulations. Two commission officials told the Miami Herald they can’t recall the last time a station was hit so hard.” Read more

BIG HAUL In the crowded Democratic primary to replace outgoing Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, Democrat Matt Haggman looks as if he’s winning the money race. His campaign reported he hauled in $512,000 in two months after declaring his candidacy. (Third-quarter reports are due to the FEC on October 15.)


PLEASE PICK UP YOUR GUN … — “Airport shooter picked up gun after Delta paged him — then killed 5 people,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Megan O’Matz and Stephen Hobbs:“After waiting for several minutes at a baggage carousel, Esteban Santiago heard his name called over a public address system. Delta Airlines was paging him to come to a service desk to pick up his gun. Minutes later he went on to kill five people and wound six at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Jan. 6. The page by Delta is a new, jarring detail not previously known in the sad saga of the deadliest shooting at a U.S. airport. It is part of a 30-page report released Friday by the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The airline declined comment.” Read more

— “A Miami Gardens father, husband, soldier was part of the group killed in Niger ambush,” by Miami Herald’s David J. Neal: Read more

— “Climate change could make gentrification worse,” by Climate Connection’s Eileen Mignoni: Read more

— “Bright Futures is Sen. Joe Negron’s top priority for 2018 legislative session,” by TC Palm’s Ali Schmitz: Read more

— “Arrested for a crime anywhere in the Keys? You get a free trip to Key West,” by the Bradenton Herald’s David Goodhue: Read more

— “Official’s firing angers Riviera crowd, who vow ‘not to take it any more,’” by Palm Beach Post’s Tony Doris: Read more

— “Dolphins ‘aware’ of troubling video that appears to feature OL coach Chris Foerster,” by Sporting News’ Alex Marvez: Read more

MONKEYS! — “Who Knew Monkeys Could Swim?” by The Bitter Southerner’s Jordan Blumetti: “The exact number of monkeys in Silver Springs State Park is unknown. If you were to pick up any reference material published before 1980, it would tell you the macaques escaped from a production of “Tarzan Finds a Son!,” starring Johnny Weissmuller, which was filmed there in the late 1930s. However, a park ranger (as well as several others who knew the history) told me this was fallacious. The monkeys in the Tarzan films weren’t rhesus macaques. Opinion still seems to be divided on the origin story — a fitting point of contention for a community animated by its folklore and fabulists. ‘They like the boardwalk because they can corner people and try to steal their food,’ the ranger said. ‘They’ll eat Cheetos, watermelon, bananas … just about anything.’ She pointed to an air horn at her waist. ‘This is our only line of defense.’” Read more

FOR MORE political and policy news, check out Politico Florida’s home page: And please follow our staff @mdixon55, @sbustosFL, @christinesexton, @dducassi, and @bruceritchie on Twitter.

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