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DeSantis has a New Hampshire problem

Presented by Alibaba: Kimberly Leonard's must-read briefing on what's hot, crazy or shady about politics in the Sunshine State
Oct 24, 2023 View in browser

By Kimberly Leonard

Presented by

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) | AP

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday. 

Gov. Ron Desantis is in New Hampshire campaigning with Chris Sununu — but that doesn't mean the Granite State's popular Republican governor is endorsing him.

Sununu, who holds critical sway in New Hampshire, has campaigned with numerous 2024 Republican presidential candidates and said he’s deeply invested in finding an alternative to former President Donald Trump. He and DeSantis will have several stops together, including a joint in-studio interview with radio host Jack Heath at 10 a.m. and a town hall with Never Back Down, the PAC backing DeSantis’ candidacy.

DeSantis has struggled in the first-in-the-nation primary state. After beating Trump in an early poll, he’s now sunk to as low as fifth in at least one survey in New Hampshire and some operatives — and even supporters — have complained he hasn’t spent enough time there. Trump was campaigning there just yesterday, where he was defiant in the face of multiple indictments, our POLITICO colleagues report. 

Sununu, a centrist, has publicly disagreed with DeSantis’ positions on different issues. He critiqued how DeSantis used the arm of state government to punish private businesses — including Walt Disney World — and imposed conservative viewpoints on how they operate. "I’m No. 1 in personal freedoms. Sorry, Ron, you’re No. 2," Sununu said at a POLITICO event in February. He also criticized DeSantis for his isolationist posture on the war in Ukraine.

DeSantis’ conservative policies in Florida are a more natural fit for Iowa rather than for New Hampshire, where voters have an independent streak.

Yet Sununu will eventual endorse someone and hasn’t ruled out supporting DeSantis, he told “Good Morning New Hampshire” in June. He also called DeSantis “a really nice guy” and argued his campaign “overthinks” his likeability factor. Sununu isn’t expected to make a decision until at least November or December. He advised candidates to be “omnipresent” if they want to win New Hampshire, and to drop out of the race soon if they don’t take off.

That could bode poorly for DeSantis, who has focused most of his campaign efforts on Iowa.

— WHERE'S RON? Gov. DeSantis has several events with New Hampshire GOP Gov. Chris Sununu.

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A message from Alibaba:

U.S. companies sold $66 billion worth of goods last year through Alibaba’s global online marketplace, including Florida-based companies DS Laboratories and Timberwolf Pet Foods. These sales are helping local businesses grow and having a major economic impact – adding $1.7 billion to Florida’s economy, supporting 15,000 local jobs and $936 million in wages. Learn more about how Alibaba is positively impacting Florida’s economy.


TOMORROW — Florida’s State Board of Administration — DeSantis, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Attorney General Ashley Moody — is meeting by phone.

ELECTIONS VIOLATIONS — Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrests three paid petition circulators for fraud, reported Charles Frazier of WFTV. According to the agency, they were: LaShaya Denice Pierce, arrested on five felony counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information, five felony counts of false swearing and two misdemeanor counts of signing a petition more than once. Nelson Judah Stone, arrested on five felony counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information of a deceased individual. Arterria Bernay McCutcheon, arrested on nine felony counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information of a deceased individual.

State Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, speaks during a Senate Rules Committee hearing regarding SB 404, known as the "parental consent" bill, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. The bill requires girls under the age of 18 get a parent's consent before having an abortion was approved Wednesday in its final committee stop. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) | Aileen Perilla/AP Photo

LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE — Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book is introducing bills today to expand abortion rights. The first bill, SB 256, would regulate crisis pregnancy centers that critics often deride as “fake clinics” because they try to steer families toward adoption or parenthood and away from abortion. Another bill, SB 254, would make it illegal to protest within 150 feet of an abortion provider. Book also filed a bill last month ensuring that patients who seek abortions wouldn't be criminally prosecuted. "Women deserve access to legitimate and trusted reproductive health care services, and the freedom to safely receive care without fear of misinformation, harassment, or harm," Book said.

AHEAD OF ARGUMENTS NEXT WEEK — “Voting-rights groups support ruling that DeSantis-backed redistricting is unconstitutional,” reports News Service of Florida’s Jim Saunders. “Attorneys for the groups and other plaintiffs filed an 86-page brief at the 1st District Court of Appeal in the case, which centers on an overhaul of a North Florida district that in the past elected Black Democrat Al Lawson.”

AHEAD OF SPECIAL SESSION — Florida Rep. Randy Fine says the forthcomings sanctions on Iran would be largely symbolic, reports CBS12’s Victoria De Cardenas. “I think the governor wants to make a statement nationally given the other things he’s doing about how he feels, and I understand that. I don’t think it accomplishes much but I don’t think it hurts anything either,” Fine told the station. “Israel is under its greatest attack since 1948 when the country was created all those years ago. So, I think what this is doing is saying to Israel that we stand with you and we will do what we can.”


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SETTLEMENT — “FIU will pay $575,000 after gender paycheck discrimination against 163 women, feds say,” by the Miami Herald’s David J. Neal: “That works out to $3,527.61 for each woman that the U.S. Department of Labor said was shorted on pay. Each woman worked in what the federal department called “mid-level executive” positions at FIU. The review found they were paid less than men in similar jobs at the university.”

DISTRICT 1 SEAT — “Miami City Commission candidate facing gun charge after argument over campaign signs,” by the Miami Herald’s Charles Rabin. “Frank Pichel, a longtime Miami political figure and former cop running for a Miami City Commission seat in November, was taken into custody this weekend and charged Monday with aggravated assault with a firearm for allegedly pulling a gun against the campaign worker of an opponent.”

INFLATION — “Rising commissary prices in Florida prisons lead to boycotts, outcry,by the Orlando Sentinel’s Amanda Rabines: “People who are incarcerated in the state of Florida have to contend with prices set by canteen operators under contract with FDC, and because a majority of them do not earn salaries, people advocating for prison reform say higher rates tend to disproportionately hurt low-income households.

VENEZUELA PRIMARY — “The Venezuelan opposition coalition's National Primary Commission announced that conservative former congresswoman María Corina Machado had an ‘irreversible’ lead — some 90 percent of the vote — and the victory she'd already declared earlier in the day appeared to be confirmed,” reported WLRN’s Tim Padgett. “Even so, it's uncertain if Machado will be able to run in the general presidential election, since Venezuela's authoritarian regime earlier this year declared her ineligible.”


LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a campaign event at the Los Angeles Harbor Grain Terminal on September 29, 2023 in Long Beach, California. DeSantis is scheduled to speak at the California Republican Party Fall Convention in Anaheim, California later today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) | Mario Tama/Getty Images

REVOLVING DOOR — Numerous DeSantis staffers who worked for his administration have headed to the campaign, reports Tampa Bay Times’ Romy Ellenbogen. “The staffers who left to join DeSantis’ political campaign were some of the most outspoken or the most instrumental in DeSantis’ agenda as governor.”


A message from Alibaba:


ANOTHER ROUND — U.S. House Republicans are set to hold several rounds of voting to try to narrow their favorite candidates for speaker this morning. The number of members vying for the job dropped from nine to eight after a candidate forum last night. It's not clear any of them will be able to get the 217 votes that'll be required to become the next speaker. Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds is running.

CHIPS ACT — The Biden administration just named Florida among 32 tech hubs, reports The Associated Press’ Darline Superville. The Commerce Department will be distributing $500 million in grants to cities. “We’re going to invest in critical technologies like biotechnology, critical materials, quantum computing, advanced manufacturing — so the U.S. will lead the world again in innovation across the board,” President Joe Biden said.

FOX INTERVIEW — “U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio contended that TikTok was to blame for the ‘pro-Hamas’ position taken by young people on college campuses and beyond in the wake of terror attacks on Israel and the country’s subsequent retaliation,” reports Florida Politics’ A.G. Gancarski, per an interview Rubio did with Sean Hannity. “Rubio contended ‘places like TikTok have become cesspools of this kind of misinformation and indoctrination.’”


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HOME SWEET HOME — “Florida man finds iguana in his toilet: 'It's huge, and I don't know how it got there,’” by Palm Beach Post’s Jennifer Sangalang. "There's nothing like getting up in the morning and finding an iguana in your toilet," the man said. "It is alive."

BIRTHDAYS: Former State Rep. Kamia Brown ... Katie Sanders, managing editor at Politifact … Marianne Gengenbach with Florida House Democrats.

A message from Alibaba:

Florida businesses, like DS Laboratories, are taking their businesses global by selling to consumers on Alibaba’s online marketplace.

Dr. Fernando Tamez, CEO of DS Laboratories, who partnered with Alibaba to expand its international business, said, “Today, China is on track to become the brand’s second-largest market. At first, Alibaba seemed too good to be true. Now we’re jumping into every program they offer.”

American companies sold $66 billion worth of products globally last year by partnering with Alibaba. The impact of these sales reaches far beyond Main Street.

In Florida, sales of American products on Alibaba added $1.7 billion to the state economy in a single year, supporting 15,000 local jobs and $936 million in wages for local workers. Learn more about Alibaba’s positive impact on Florida’s economy.


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Kimberly Leonard @leonardkl


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DeSantis has a New Hampshire problem


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