Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

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

City & State

In one night, the Independent’s Eric Garcia went from being one of the week’s biggest winners to taking one of the week’s most embarrassing L’s. He claimed last Thursday that Gov. Ron DeSantis had met with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas the day before Roe v. Wade was overturned. However, he failed to carefully read the email's date. The two met in 2021, not 2022. DeSantis’ Deputy Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern publicly pointed that out to him. To his credit, Garcia quickly issued a retraction and the story has been pulled, but it begs the question how that got past his editor. For other losers – and winners – read on.

WINNERS:

Jane Castor -

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who has been in office since 2019, this week faced proposed changes to the city charter put forth by some city council members that would have put more checks on her authority. It was a tight vote, but – with former Mayor Bob Buckhorn inveighing against the proposed changes on social media – the plan was shut down. Castor, the city’s former police chief, showed it’s best to speak softly and carry a (virtual) big night stick.

Casey DeSantis -

First Lady Casey DeSantis is showing that she’s able to amass victories as well as her husband. She recently spearheaded a donation drive for the Florida Disaster Fund after Hurricane Ian, and it ended up raising over $45 million. (For now, we won’t get into how that money is being handed out.) Then she announced well over 1 million mothers had signed on to the “Mamas for DeSantis” effort to reelect the governor. Up and at ‘em, Momma “D”.

Mary Ellen Klas -

The Capitol press corps’ grande dame of kicking ass and taking names strikes again. Her latest story highlights the hidden intrigue behind “Air DeSantis.” Using records, she shows how the state’s “public safety czar,” a former U.S. attorney, and the head of a Florida aviation company “were intimately involved in the plan to justify using Florida funds for the covert op” to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. Don’t mess with the queen. 

LOSERS:

Rebekah Jones -

This congressional candidate is running a race she is doomed to lose against incumbent Rep. Matt Gaetz. On top of that, she’s not letting her failed whistleblower complaint go even though the state’s Commission on Human Relations didn’t find reasonable cause retaliation took place. Instead, she posted an edited image of the commission’s report misrepresenting its findings, something that Politifact dinged her for. Can she just drop it already?

Lauren Lemasters -

The University of Florida’s student body president was blasted by members of her own party for voting for U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse’s appointment as president of the public university. The UF Senate president and her vice president both said Lemasters’ vote went against the will of UF students and publicly denounced it. Now, her party’s opposition is calling for her impeachment.

Susan Lopez -

Hillsborough State Attorney Susan Lopez can’t even get a conference room at the local courthouse named after someone. The county commission “unanimously delayed a request from (Andrew) Warren’s successor to honor” one of her former colleagues, the Times reported. As one commissioner, a Democrat like Warren, put it: Lopez is an “unelected person sitting temporarily.” Ouch. Maybe she should try for a park bench instead?

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