Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

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

This year’s crop of Florida politicians seeking the presidency may not end up doing much better than the last bunch. But outside of politics, there’s reason for newfound joy and euphoria in the state, at least for sports fans in South Florida. That’s because the arrival of Lionel Messi has been a smashing success so far, as the soccer god has been even better than advertised playing for Inter Miami. Back in the political arena, here are the latest Winners & Losers.


Byron Donalds -

The attention-grabbing lawmaker from Naples is back in the news, this time for bucking Florida’s GOP political establishment. U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds criticized the DeSantis administration over a controversial line in its new Black history standards, saying, “the attempt to feature the personal benefits of slavery is wrong & needs to be adjusted.” Team DeSantis went on the attack, but Donalds, who is Black, can say his stance is a matter of principle – though it’s also an opportunity to ding the governor, who’s falling further behind Donalds’ pick for president, Donald Trump.

Richard D. LePere Jr. -

The longtime fire chief for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District may be retiring next month, but on his way out his department netted a nice going-away gift. After spending years at odds over the matter, the firefighters finally scored a new contract that increased wages by 5% and gave thousands to each employee in signing bonuses. The DeSantis-appointed board ended the standoff, which began when Disney still controlled the district.

Wayne Jones -

Miami Beach’s trailblazing new police chief said he couldn’t go to the city as a young man because of the racism there. Now, he is the city’s first Black police chief in its 108-year history. It’s a significant development for a city with the history of being a sundown town in the first half of the 20th century. Jones is getting the job after almost three decades with the department.


Ron DeSantis -

It’s a high bar to land on the Winners & Losers list two weeks in a row, but you could say that the governor earned it. To start with, there’s (takes deep breath) … the Black history standards controversy, the campaign video with a Nazi symbol, the campaign staff cuts, the skittish big-dollar donors, the doubts about a supposed reset, the comparisons to Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, the suggestions that he run for VP or drop out, and the in-depth examinations of COVID-19 deaths on his watch. Maybe 2028 would’ve made more sense after all. 

Sophia Lacayo -

You know what’s more embarrassing than losing a local political race in which you pump a million dollars of your own money into the campaign? Breaking the law (allegedly) on the way to the same loss. This failed Miami-Dade County Commission candidate has just been charged with campaign finance violations, including filing false campaign reports and circumventing donor caps. Why didn’t she just give herself another million bucks?

Allen Zeman -

The Broward County School Board can’t take a step without getting egg on its face. This week, a proposal backed by Board Member Allen Zeman to increase teacher pay to $80,000 lost narrowly in a 4-5 vote due to the controversial cuts he added to the measure. While the proposal is expected to come back for a vote in January, don’t be surprised if the board members keep arguing over dollars while others try to make sense of what they’re fighting over.