Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

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

We’re stealing this Facebook post from Tallahassee Democrat columnist Bill Cotterell to kick things off: “You know who obviously won the Rubio-Demings U.S. Senate debate? You know who just totally humiliated the opponent? You know who just knocked every question out of the park? Whichever one you were rooting for before it happened. That's who.” It’s a great way to remember, sort of like Schrödinger's cat, one can be a winner and loser at the same time. (To paraphrase Tony Soprano, quantum mechanics and politics brought us to this.) Now here are this week’s Winners & Losers.


Eric Lynn -

A series of Republican or former Republican elected officials endorsed this Pinellas Democrat in his race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Those that supported him over Republican Anna Paulina Luna cited his experience in Washington as a national security adviser. The district still leans red, but Lynn’s play for the middle by opposing the IRS’s expansion and supporting securing the border may have been strengthened by the support, especially in a race against a candidate playing more to the Republican base.

Craig Mateer -

You get an appointment! And you get an appointment! OK, it’s not quite like Oprah giving away cars, but – as the Miami Herald reported – Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “war chest is … padded with donations from officials he appointed to positions throughout the state.” Take big-money donor Craig Mateer, who previously was an FSU trustee. He was tapped for the Board of Governors of the State University System after six-figure contributions. What’s in your wallet?

Barbara Petersen -

She heads the Florida Center for Government Accountability, whose lawsuit against the DeSantis administration has got officials to commit to getting text messages and communications involving the Martha’s Vineyard immigrant flights released to the public by Dec. 1. DeSantis’ office claimed in court that 90 public records requests have been filed for information regarding the flight and that there’s a 245-request backlog, but the internal communication has yet to be made available despite requirements under the Florida Constitution. Hat’s off to the FCGA for giving the governor’s office a kick in the butt to speed up.


Denis Bass -

This 67-year-old retired Broward County firefighter isn’t a big political player, but he’s making headlines for his political shenanigans. He now faces a possible five years in prison after admitting to mailing threatening letters to Jan. 6 defendants in three states. The letters promised to “track down and eliminate each and every one that participated in the January 6 insurrection/riot” and claimed they were “professional hunters.” This might be the most larpy thing since the insurrection itself.

Dave Berkman -

Is that a rake or are you just mad to see me? Dave Berkman, the mayor of Indialantic, is facing calls to be suspended by the governor. Why? He allegedly struck a political rival in the face with a rake, according to Florida Today. His defenders say the purported victim, Mel Chang, made antisemitic remarks on social media. “Chang accused Berkman of weaponizing religion,” the newspaper said. New town motto: “Let ’em eat rake”?

James Uthmeier -

As one former gubernatorial chief of staff privately said, “Part of your job is to stay out of the news. The best come and go without anybody knowing who they are.” We’re sure Ron DeSantis’ chief of staff James Uthmeier didn’t mean to, but he broke that rule this week when his name kept cropping up in news about the governor’s migrant flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. Lay low, Jimbo!