We don’t like to repeat names from one Winners & Losers list to the next, but good gravy did Gov. Ron DeSantis have a good week. First there was that viral video of the Arcadia man pointing at a fuel tanker and saying, “You can say (stuff) about DeSantis but that gas is here in Arcadia … I’m voting for DeSantis and I’m a Democrat.” Then the warm words from President Joe Biden during a visit to southwest Florida: “I think he’s done a good job,” despite “very different political philosophies.” Florida Politics’ Peter Schorsch even opined that moment was the death knell for Democrat Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial challenge. Now here’s this week’s Winners & Losers.
Bryan Meyer -
The Lee County man was highlighted this week by the News-Press as among those helping fellow residents without pay or recognition in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Bryan Meyer said he’s been dropping off provisions – including “a 12-pack of Bud Lite” – in his 22-foot bay boat to those still cut off from the mainland. “Fuel's expensive, but, you know, I'm going to keep doing this as long as I can," said Meyer, who grew up on hurricane-ravaged Pine Island. We should all tip our cap to this best kind of Florida Man.
Elon Musk -
The SpaceX founder has committed to delivering 120 Starlink units to Southwest Florida to help get internet back up for those who were hard hit by Hurricane Ian. Gov. Ron DeSantis applauded the action, continuing a trend of the governor supporting Musk since the world’s wealthiest personfirst made a move to buy Twitter. Speaking of that, the deal seems to be back on, marking a strong week for Florida Republicans’ favorite billionaire (besides maybe Donald Trump).
Annette Taddeo -
It used to be that a former state Republican Party chair endorsing a Democrat for office suggested that one was living in Bizarro World. Now, in this post-Trump, Lincoln Project-era, all bets are off. So it was after Al Cárdenas endorsed Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo of Miami for Congress over incumbent GOP Rep. María Elvira Salazar. Taddeo called the endorsement "important ... to restore the dignity and honor” of the office. And it may help her tie up some undecided no-party-affiliated voters in the general election.
Loranne Ausley -
Talk about unforced errors: An ad that attempted to undermine Loranne Ausley’s opponent Corey Simon – and paid for by Senate Victory – backfired in a big way. It depicted Simon, a Black man, on a shooting target with bullets underneath it. Observers from across the political spectrum took offense, saying it represented the worst imagery of Black Americans during the Jim Crow era. While the contest still leans in Ausley’s favor, this wasn’t a blunder her campaign needed, especially with state Republicans heavily invested in flipping this seat.
Craig Damon -
The Palm Beach Post reported that the Florida High School Athletic Association requires “all female athletes in the state … to report their history of menstrual periods” and that and other information is stored online. That is raising concerns over privacy and whether the info could be used to prosecute athletes in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturning “if they terminate a pregnancy.” Craig Damon, the association’s executive director, defended the practice, but it was cold comfort for irate parents.
Kristen Rosen Gonzalez -
The Miami Beach commissioner is a staunch opponent of two controversial ballot referendums involving the development of city property, but self-admittedly took her opposition too far when she compared Mayor Dan Gelber to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an email blast. A willingness to compare a political opponent to Putin, whom many consider a war crime-committing authoritarian, shows just how contentious the political environment is in the 305.