Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?

Nikki Fried wants to lead Florida Democrats out of the political wilderness, but first she’d have to beat primary rival Charlie Crist and then defeat Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising GOP star not just in his home state but nationwide. But given her ambitions, why is the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful reportedly on good terms with far-right Republican Rep. Matthew Gaetz? While she denies they’re friends, it’s interesting that he’s bashing her while she bashes the media instead. That one’s hard to sort out, so here are some more straightforward Winners & Losers.

WINNERS:

Casey DeSantis -

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis this week announced the launch of the state’s new cancer resource site, Florida Cancer Connect, which allows cancer patients to hear from survivors and access information to help navigate a cancer diagnosis and finding treatment. Having become cancer-free herself in March, DeSantis has been teasing the launch of this resource for months. The announcement earned positive press from several outlets, even the left-leaning Florida Phoenix.

René Flowers -

The Pinellas County Commission passed a tenants bill of rights this week that prohibits landlords from discriminating against people with housing vouchers and requiring advance notice of rent increases. Commissioner Flowers was a driving force behind the ordinance, which seeks to address the rising cost of housing in the county. Landlords say it’ll limit their ability to deal with tenants who can’t pay the rent, while others argue that the action won’t be enough to stem the skyrocketing rents that are not unique to just Pinellas. For Flowers and her allies, though, the move at least provides better protection for tenants in dire circumstances.

Laurel Lee -

Recent polling shows that former Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee holds a commanding lead in Congressional District 15’s GOP primary. She is outpacing state Sen. Kelli Stargel and state Rep. Jackie Toledo, garnering almost 44% support while the two sitting lawmakers haven’t even exceeded 20%. The eventual Republican victor is likely to win it all during the general election, meaning the odds are in Lee’s favor to be one of Florida’s rookie representatives on Capitol Hill next year.

LOSERS:

Dale Carter -

“The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy,” former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards once said. It’s not to that extreme, but allegations of recurring sexual abuse of a teenage girl by Clay County Board of County Commissioners candidate Dale Carter certainly isn’t helping his chances of winning a seat. Carter insisted the girl was not underage and that it was consensual – and he can’t be charged now due to the statute of limitations – but he has other skeletons in his closet, including charges of writing false checks, dozens of traffic tickets and failure to appear in court.

Eric Silagy -

Bad headlines just keep jolting Florida Power & Light, earning the company’s CEO a spot on our list for a second consecutive week. The latest news is that FPL operates a secret event space at its downtown Tallahassee offices where lawmakers and lobbyists can discreetly mingle and drink, according to Politico Florida. Due to prohibitions on lobbyists buying lawmakers drinks, those elected officials claim they pay by leaving money in a jar on the honor system … but even if that’s true, the venue might actually need a liquor license. It’s yet another episode in a riveting reality series that has Florida political observers tuning in every week for the latest plot twist.

Andrew Warren -

One takeaway from Kansas’ rejection of an amendment that would’ve paved the way for an abortion ban? Gov. Ron DeSantis knew what he was doing when he avoided such talk in more middle-of-the-road Florida. But while DeSantis might not push for stricter abortion limits in Florida due to these political realities, at least for the time being, he played to his base this week with his bombshell dismissal of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren on the grounds that he had pledged not to prosecute violations of state abortion law, among other offenses.

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