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

MONEY MAN — “Hiring fundraiser, Levine takes next big step in deciding gubernatorial bid,” by POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo: “In a major sign he plans to run for Florida governor, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has hired a veteran fundraiser for his political committee, which he already stuffed with nearly $5 million since establishing it six months ago. Levine brought on veteran Democratic fundraiser Courtney Whitney ahead of what he intends to be an intensive month of fundraising for his All About Florida political committee. Levine, in a previous interview, told POLITICO that he intends to make an official decision in November on whether to join the crowded Democratic primary for governor in 2018. For months, Levine has steadily raised his statewide profile in anticipation of a potential bid. The $4.77 million Levine has raised since February — including $2.6 million in contributions Levine made from his own pocket — puts him well ahead of the other major Democratic candidates. Read more

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NOT SO MONEY MAN — “Gillum’s fundraising woes continued in September,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s slow fundraising pace continued in September. His campaign said on Tuesday that it had collected $78,000, most of which — $72,000 — was raised directly through his campaign committee, which has not yet been posted publicly. Read more

Good Tuesday morning. Sen. Marco Rubio is fundraising in Arizona for fellow GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. There are two special state House elections today. And committee week in Tallahassee is in full swing …

IN THE STATE HOUSE — The state House Select Subcommittee on Member Conduct examines whether state Rep. Daisy Baez unlawfully lived outside her district. The House Appropriations Committee takes up a bill to ban red light cameras.

IN THE STATE SENATE — The state Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities hears from utility companies, which came under fire after Hurricane Irma. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee hears a bill to green-light direct-primary care contracts, a health care reform proposal long pushed in the House; the Senate Health Policy Committee holds an opioid workshop; and the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will consider a bill that would require “resign to run” for state candidates running for federal office.

ON THE BALLOT — On the campaign trail, there are special elections in state House Districts 44 (in Central Florida) and 58 (in Tampa Bay). The seats were left vacant by Republicans Eric Eisnaugle, who was appointed a judge, and Dan Raulerson, who retired. The Eisnaugle seat, 44, is a general election. HD-58 is the Republican primary to replace Raulerson.


OF COURSE, FLORIDA — “Trump zeroes in on 2020 battlegrounds,” by POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti: President Donald Trump’s campaign operatives and other allies have begun surveying the political landscape for his 2020 reelection bid, viewing a handful of upcoming midterm races as especially insightful to his strategic path three years from now. There’s been a flurry of activity in those states in recent weeks. Aides from Trump’s 2016 effort have signed on to work campaigns in Ohio and Florida, giving them footholds in two essential battleground locations. Trump himself has repeatedly returned to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, the quartet of Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states that helped propel him to victory. Read more

— “Democrats accuse Trump of ‘sabotage’ on Obamacare sign-ups,” by POLITICO’s Paul Demko and Adam Cancryn. Read more

— “Republicans privately admit defeat on Obamacare repeal,” by POLITICO’s Jen Haberkorn. Read more.

— “Trump rolls back Obamacare birth control mandate,” by POLITICO’s Brianna Ehley. Read more.

NOT A TWEET — “Trump jokes: Sometimes Hispanics ‘are too tough’ but ‘I have to deal with it’,” by POLITICO’s Louis Nelson: President Donald Trump joked Friday afternoon at a Hispanic Heritage Month event that Latino leaders in the U.S. are sometimes “too tough,” honoring the Hispanic community for its contributions to the nation. “You teach our children. You lead our churches. You protect our communities and you defend our nation. Among you are leaders in government, faith and business. Fantastic people in this audience,” Trump said at the White House Friday. “I know some of them, and believe me, they’re very tough and they’re very smart. Sometimes they’re too tough. But that’s okay. I have to deal with it. I have to deal with it. Fantastic people.” Read more

MARCO AND MINDY Remember some of the unfounded, vicious gossip spread by some Jeb Bush associates against Sen. Marco Rubio during the 2016 GOP presidential primary? If so or not, it seems the writers of Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” on HULU want you to know. That was the takeaway from an operative who alerted Florida Playbook to this recent exchange on the show in which the character Tamra tells Mindy, a fertility doc, that she wants to hide her pregnancy (edited for space):

Tamra: “I need you to act as if you’re going along with the insemination …”

Mindy: “What? Why? You’re already pregnant …”

Tamra: “I need plausible deniability. I don’t want the dad to know he’s not father material. … It’s best for me and my baby if the dad doesn’t know …”

Mindy: “Is it Marco Rubio? Terrence Howard? Ron Howard …”

Strange, there are no Harvey Weinstein jokes.

RUBIO IN AZ — “Rubio in Arizona raising money for Jeff Flake; as Flake draws opposition from Trump, Bannon,” by Tampa Bay Times Alex Leary: Read more

CALIFORNIA LOVE Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is heading to Florida to fundraise for Sen. Bill Nelson and — maybe, just maybe — lay the groundwork for a 2020 presidential bid. The Sacramento Bee first reported her fundraising swing and said she would host a fundraiser Nov. 3 for Nelson in Jacksonville. Harris also has plans to make stops in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. POLITICO Florida obtained another fundraising invitation, at the Tallahassee home of Martha and Robert Barnett. That invitation is here

PRESSING FOR STORM CASH — “Nelson, Rubio lead Florida delegation push for more Irma funding,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Read more


THE SWAMP, TALLAHASSEE EDITION — “Ethics staff takes narrow view of lobbying ban,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Staff for the state’s top ethics commission says Florida’s two-year lobbying ban has a narrow scope that does not inherently apply to a staffer and his entire former agency, according to a draft opinion to be voted on later this month. The state’s 2006 lobbying ban is designed to ban state staffers who become lobbyists from representing clients in front of their former employer within two years. The goal was to make sure that state workers could not leave their jobs and immediately start lobbying officials they had just worked with. Read more

PERSONAL ATM — “Rivera uses personal cash to boost House race as congressional debt remains,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Former congressman David Rivera’s congressional account remains littered with more than $130,000 in debts to ad houses and political fundraising firms three years after his last attempt at returning to Washington. Rivera’s debts remain on his congressional account as he spends large sums of personal money on attempts to become a member of the Florida House. The Miami Republican’s current race for House District 105 has been boosted by $150,000 in personal loans he gave to his campaign, and another $100,000 contribution he wrote the campaign. He is running in the GOP primary against Ana Maria Rodriguez for the seat being vacated by term-limited Republican Carlos Trujuillo. Read more

EASY STREET — “Senate higher education package sails through first committee,” by POLITICO Florida’s Daniel Ducassi: Read more

FOR THE KIDS — “Panel approves Senate bill to make KidCare more efficient,” by POLITICO Florida’s Alexandra Glorioso: A bill that seeks to make Florida’s health insurance program for low-income kids more efficient passed its first committee on Monday, while one of its key funding components remains in the hands of Congress. The bill, FL SB108 (18R), filed by state Sen. Daphne Campbell (D-Miami), calls for a working committee to streamline the four different entities under the state-federal health care measure called KidCare. Read more

OUCH! — “Latvala tees off on business and tourism groups during Hurricane Irma hearing,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Senate budget chief Jack Latvala’s sometimes gruff personality was on display Monday as he teed off on business and tourism officials who were giving an update on the state’s efforts following Hurricane Irma … Among the officials he targeted was Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. During his presentation, Wilson said one of the biggest reasons power was knocked out by the storm was that trees tumbled into power lines. “One thing we need to look at is local policies on tree removal,” Wilson told the committee. “I don’t know whose responsibility it is, but it’s something we need to look into.” Afterward, Latvala asked him about those comments. Wilson again continued to stress he was not sure who was responsible for tree removal.” Let me help you with that,” Latvala said pointedly. “The responsibility is with the utility companies.” Read more.


BITTER HARVEST “Southwest Florida’s beehive crops stung by Hurricane Irma’s wrath,” by Naples Daily News’ Michael Braun: “North Fort Myers beekeeper Allen Walker moved some of his bees from Pine Island to Fort Myers in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, but when the storm shifted inland he ended up losing 85 of the relocated hives to flood waters. Irma’s floodwaters also destroyed more than 600 Southwest Florida hives belonging to Cape Coral beekeeper Keith Councell’s operations, a loss he pegged at about $300,000. Walker’s and Councell’s losses and that of other Florida beekeepers contributed to what agricultural officials said amounted to 7,500 hives lost from the flooding brought by Irma in September. Honey bees are used to pollinate a lot of the state’s crops and to produce honey.The loss of the hives and bees, combined with damage to crops themselves, will likely mean shortages of fruits and vegetables in the coming months, officials said.” Read more

”Palm Beach County sugar cane, vegetable fields flooded,” by Palm Beach Post’s Susan Salisbury: Read more

“Death toll reaches 14 in nursing home hurricane tragedy,” by Miami Herald’s David J. Neal: Read more

“Food assistance continues for families hit by Hurricane Irma,” by FOX13’s Kellie Cowan: Read more

DISASTER AFTER THE DISASTER “Nearly 3 weeks after Hurricane Maria, distributing aid across Puerto Rico is a mess,” by USA TODAY’s Oren Dorell: “The Auxilio Mutuo Hospital here can’t figure out how to get specialized medical supplies from the nearby airport. A Puerto Rican in Tampa found the quickest way to deliver help to her hometown was to do it in person. And shipping containers filled with emergency goods are piling up at the Port of San Juan. Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated this U.S. territory in the Caribbean, individuals and charities on the U.S. mainland trying to send supplies to the island are facing a series of bottlenecks that are keeping help from reaching those most in need. The barriers range from a lack of communication to blocked roads to a shortage of vehicles and drivers to make deliveries. As a result, one Port of San Juan terminal is storing 3,400 containers — more than double the usual number, said Jose ‘Pache’ Ayala, vice president and general manager for Puerto Rico at Crowley Maritime Corp.” Read more

“Alphabet’s X Approved to Deploy Project Loon LTE Balloons to Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands,” by Gizmodo’s Tom McKay: Read more

“Minus Electrical Grid, Puerto Rico Becomes Generator Island,” by The New York Times’ Richard Fausset, Frances Robles and Deborah Acosta: Read more

“The Strange Case of Puerto Rico,” by Slate’s Doug Mack: Read more


BLACK GOLD “Firm Seeks Renewed Permit To Explore For Oil In Big Cypress,” by AP: “A Texas company has asked state environmental regulators to allow crews to resume their hunt for oil beneath Big Cypress National Preserve in southwest Florida. Burnett Oil Co. was unable to finish the survey in the spring before the start of the rainy season, and the company’s permit expired July 15.” Read more

WARNING “Gov. Scott says Lake Okeechobee dike must be fixed or algae blooms will continue,” by TC Palm’s Chad Gillis: Read more

GOING CLEAR “Downtown Clearwater board election could bring majority Scientology representation,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Tracey McManus: “For what appears to be the first time ever, an elected city board could be made up by a majority of people associated with the Church of Scientology, downtown’s largest and most influential property owner. The Downtown Development Board, which oversees a special taxing district tasked with marketing downtown and promoting events, has three of its seven seats up for grabs in an election that will be counted Tuesday. Four of the nine candidates, who are required to live, work or own a business downtown, are Scientology parishioners.” Read more

NOT A SHOCK “Altamonte Springs forms its own utility as it moves toward renewable energy,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Martin E. Comas: “Hoping to slash the city’s annual $2 million power bill, Altamonte Springs soon will launch its own municipal utility with the goal of providing electricity from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources to government facilities, including City Hall and police and fire stations.” Read more

MONUMENTAL WAR “Tributes to Confederate and Union troops in the same Florida park reflect an ongoing war over the monuments,” by The Washington Post’s Kimberly Kindy and Julie Tate: “Unlike the century-old Confederate monuments that dot the country, the granite obelisk in this Orlando suburb is modern and glistening. Just 13 years ago, the great-great-grandsons of Confederate soldiers gathered around a banquet table at Fat Boy’s Bar-B-Q and voted unanimously to build a modern-day monument down the street in the city-owned Veteran’s Park. The memorial they had in mind would bear Confederate symbols and names of Confederate soldiers buried in or near the city limits. It would also be a near-mirror image of one dedicated in 2000 in that same park by a group of great-great-grandsons of Union Army soldiers. ‘When we saw the Union monument go up, it seemed only fitting that we also have one’ said Al Massey, commander of the local group of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. ‘If the city’s residents vote to take it out, so be it. What irritates me is when outsiders come in and force the issue.’” Read more


JAGUAR ROAR — “New UNF Poll Reveals Dividing Nature of NFL Protests Among Duval County Voters,” via University of North Florida press release: “Of the registered Republicans in Duval County who watch the NFL on TV, almost 63 percent indicated they were less likely to watch NFL games because of the national anthem protest. Similarly, 57 percent of registered Republicans said they were less likely to attend games. For Democrats, less than 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively, indicated they were less likely to watch or go to games due to the protests. In fact, 18 percent of Democrats are more likely to watch and attend games … When asked about Shad Khan’s approval rate, 65 percent strongly or somewhat approve of the way he’s handling his job as owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Doug Marrone, Jaguars head coach, received 58 percent of Duval County registered voters’ approval.” The poll is here.

WHITE, POWDERY PRIVILIGE — “Kijuana Nige’s Statement Saying She Released Dolphins Chris Foerster Snorting Coke Because of Racial Injustice (Video),” by BSO’s Robert Littal: “We have a statement from stripper Kijuana Nige explaining why she released a video of Dolphins Offensive Line Coach Chris Foerster snorting lines of coke. Essentially she said she did it for the culture. Here is what she had to say.” Read more

— “UNF professor investigates spice found in curry as a way to combat cancer,” by The Florida Times-Union’s Matt Soergel: Read more

— “City needs more time to produce records for FBI,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeff Burlew: Read more

— “The Wave streetcar system gets crucial boost in federal funding,” by Sun Sentinel’s Brittany Wallman: Read more

“Orange Park becomes first Clay community allowing medical marijuana dispensaries,” by The Florida Times-Union’s Teresa Stepzinski: Read more

“New’ Port Canaveral: $2.6B plan has 3 more cruise terminals by 2030,” by Florida Today’s Dave Berman: Read more

— “Graham Pledges Florida Clean Power Plan”: Read more

“Santa Rosa sheriff wants more than $1 million for 60 more inmate beds,” by Pensacola News Journal’s Anne Delaney: Read more

THAI HOT “He asked for ‘extra spicy’ Pad Thai. The kitchen said, ‘Make him regret being born,’” by Matthew Martinez in The Miami Herald: “We all know someone like Logan Doan of Jacksonville, Fla. Every group of friends has that one who likes his or her food spicier than everyone else. Doan’s preferred spice level isn’t listed on most restaurant menus, so during his first trip to a local Asian food spot, he made sure, as he often does, to relay to the server just how spicy he wanted his Pad Thai.’” 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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