Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?
Rebekah Jones is back in the news, though we can’t tell if she’s a winner or loser yet. After losing a race for Congress to incumbent U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, she’s now suing to get her old job back at the Department of Health. Jones was fired and drew national attention after as-yet unfounded claims that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration manipulated or suppressed COVID-19 data. (One administration official told City & State on background, “LOLOLOLOL.”) One thing’s for sure: Discovery in this case will be interesting. Her complaint says one superior told her to “ ‘just change’ the numbers … to meet the criteria for (certain) counties” to reopen.
Ben Sasse -
The University of Florida’s new president has a big check coming in for the university’s expansion into Jacksonville. The city’s commission voted to pledge $20 million to UF for a downtown graduate campus that is estimated to have an economic impact the size of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL franchise. The university is also pursuing state funding for the project that could exceed $50 million.
Rob Long and Angela Burns -
The war between two factions in Delray Beach’s local government is over. The two candidates that were backed by local developers won both city commission seats, ousting incumbent Juli Casale and defeating her ally Angie Grey. Expect there to be less bad blood in this South Florida city going forward.
Jeffrey Wasserman -
This Cypress Bay High School Assistant Principal unseated an incumbent that held her elected office for decades. Becky Tooley was a Coconut Creek City Council member since 2001. Wasserman successfully unseated her after receiving about 50 more votes. Talk about a close race.
Andrew Gillum -
How bad is it for Andrew Gillum – former Tallahassee mayor, one-time Democratic nominee for governor of Florida and once heralded as the future of the Democratic Party – if his old friend and nationally famous civil-rights lawyer Ben Crump has to pass the tin cup for him to pay his legal bills? We’d venture to say not well at all. And the public corruption case against him isn’t exactly going smoothly either.
Art Thomm -
With the GOP having supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature this year, you’d think gun-related bills would be flying through. But nah. First, the so-called ‘constitutional carry’ legislation ran into choppy waters. Now, “a top-priority bill” of the National Rifle Association, represented by Art Thomm, “faces long odds this year.” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said there is little support to lower the minimum age to buy rifles and other long guns from 21 to 18.
Mark Hoplamazian -
The anti-“kids at drag shows” brigade now is targeting the Hyatt Regency Miami. The state’s alcoholic beverage regulators are going after the property “over accusations that the hotel allowed minors to attend a holiday drag show at the James L. Knight Center, which is affiliated with Hyatt,” according to Eater Miami. Hyatt Hotels Corp. CEO Mark Hoplamazian probably isn’t happy. Welcome to the culture wars!