Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?
Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting wins big and small this year, including keeping his travel under wraps. A bill (SB 1616) popped up in this year’s legislative session that would exempt travel records pertaining to the governor, his family and visiting dignitaries from the state’s public records law. It’s fast-tracked for approval in the Senate, where it was assigned only two committees and cleared its first panel unanimously. (To be sure, its House companion is similarly whizzing through.) The reason? Disclosure of such records “could endanger the protected person and his or her family members,” the bill says.
Jamael Tito Brown & Dwan B. Walker -
An excerpt from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new book has become its own meme, namely how he was “geographically raised in Tampa Bay but culturally (his) upbringing reflected the working-class communities in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio.” That kind of props can’t hurt Jamael Tito Brown, the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio (where DeSantis’ mom grew up), and Dwan B. Walker, the mayor of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania (where the governor’s dad was raised). NBC News even reported on “the blossoming romance of his parents on the campus of Youngstown State University.” Awww.
Daniel Davis & Donna Deegan -
The two top vote-getters in the seven-person Jacksonville mayoral race surprised no one who was following the contest closely. Democrat Donna Deegan and Republican Daniel Davis are now set to face off in a May 16 runoff election to control the largest city by total area in the mainland United States. Given the party line margin during Tuesday’s election and the money both candidates still sit on, it should be a close contest to succeed the term-limited Lenny Curry.
Iván Prieto González -
Iván Prieto González’s team lost badly to Team USA at the World Baseball Classic in Little Havana in a game before a crowd filled with Cuban exiles, but the former catcher on Cuba’s national baseball team hit a figurative home run by defecting to the United States afterward. His flight to freedom caps off successful messaging against the Cuban government from demonstrators that included three protestors taking the field during the game and loud anti-regime chants in the stadium. Welcome to America, Iván.
Joseph Harding -
The former state representative pleaded guilty to committing $150,000 in COVID-19 relief fraud, money laundering and making false statements. He faces up to 35 years in prison. The Republican became nationally known for sponsoring the controversial bill last year that was dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics. Lying to steal taxpayer dollars is never age appropriate.
Sam Joeckel -
Let’s be real. Nobody wants to be written about with the qualifier of “unceremoniously dumped.” But so it goes with Joeckel, the “veteran English professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University (who) lost his job after a parent complained … about a racial justice segment” he taught in one course, the Sun Sentinel reported. He’s been portrayed as a victim in Florida’s ongoing culture wars, particularly the “war on woke.” “Times have changed so drastically,” he said.
Suzanne Sherman -
One of the last holdouts remaining in top leadership at the New College of Florida is now gone. The New College provost, Suzanne Sherman, stepped down after clashing with new DeSantis-appointed trustees Christopher Rufo and Eddie Speir over how to respond to a death threat. Rufo said what was demonstrated by her position was “cowardice, not leadership.” Will “stand in the face of death threats” be included in the next provost’s employment contract?