POLITICO Florida Playbook: Baez out of special election to replace Artiles? -- Florida reacts to special counsel – Bondi talks Comey firing –– Florida Supreme Court blocks slot expansion

05/19/2017 07:12 AM EDT

By Matt Dixon (mdixon@politico.com; @MDixon55) with Bianca Padró Ocasio (bpadro@politico.com; @BiancaJoanie), Sergio Bustos (sbustos@politico.com; @sbustosFL) and the staff of POLITICO Florida

Normally, when filling in for a colleague, I would not get into the reason they are taking the day off, but with Marc Caputo nothing is normal. As a busy news cycle unfolded Thursday morning, the king of TMI outed himself. Marc loudly and proudly tweeted that he picked "the best day for a colonoscopy," an admission that will always make Playbook if I've got the keys.

For that reason, the guy who is normally a pain in the ass for Florida politicos had his own pain in the...well, you get the idea. So, as Marc shakes off his Propofol-induced haze, you're stuck with me (Florida bureau chief Matt Dixon).

Let's get started....

In a development that could rock the special election to replace former state Sen. Frank Artiles, state Rep. Daisy Baez, the candidate favored by many in the Democratic establishment, is on the ropes just weeks after getting in the race.

A blistering residency story from the Miami Herald has prompted behind-the-scenes jockeying for Florida Democrats who see the race as a must win contest in increasingly Democratic Miami-Dade County. It's the first test for incoming Senate Minority Leader Jeff Clemens, who is now is in control of Senate Democratic campaigns.

The Baez fiasco could be the latest bullet point on a long list whose title is familiar to any state political observer: "Florida Democrat's self-inflicted wounds."

FLORIDA DEMS GONNA FLORIDA DEM -- "A tale of two homes: Does Miami lawmaker live in district she represents?," by Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei: State Rep. Daisy Baez doesn't appear to live in the House district she represents, a possible violation of the Florida Constitution that could haunt her Florida Senate candidacy. Her residence continues to be a prim Coral Gables house with a stack of her old campaign yard signs leaning against one of the porch walls. On Monday evening, Baez wasn't inside - but her two rescue dogs, Oso and Coco, were. So was her campaign team, working around the kitchen table. Baez was expected back a couple of hours later. Read more

Kill shot? -- "Baez considering dropping out of 'do or die' Senate special election," by POLITICO Florida's Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon : In a "do or die" special election for Florida Democrats, party financiers and advisers say state Rep. Daisy Baez has begun confiding in them that she's strongly considering dropping out of her nascent state Senate campaign Friday after a devastating Miami Herald report showed she might be violating a legislative residency law. The pressure for Baez to quit mounted once focus groups and a Democratic poll showed she was unknown and would come in third against former state Rep. Ana Rivas Logan and well-known perennial candidate Annette Taddeo, who sources said is the clear frontrunner in the July 25 primary for F 40th Senate District. Read more

THE FLORIDA TAKE -- "The Trump-Russia special counsel: Florida pols weigh in," by Palm Beach Post's George Bennett: "Wednesday's appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate potential collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign drew a muted response from the White House and cautious approval from some Florida members of Congress.

Here's a rundown: ... Republican Sen. Marco Rubio: 'Mr. Mueller is widely respected for his independence and professionalism. I have confidence that he will conduct a fair and thorough investigation....' Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson: 'Bob Mueller has the experience to conduct a thorough investigation. Now, the administration must provide him the resources and independent authority he needs to follow the facts wherever they lead.'" Read more

DEATH BY 140 CHARACTERS -- "'Witch hunt' - Trump offers his historical take via Twitter, Coast Guard speech," by Palm Beach Post's George Bennet: "It's tough to view a presidency in historical perspective while it's still in its fourth month, but President Donald Trump is trying. In a speech to U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates on Wednesday and in an early morning tweet today, Trump cast himself as a victim of epic proportions. 'No politician in history - and I say this with great surety - has been treated worse or more unfairly,' Trump said in the Coast Guard speech. That was before the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to investigate potential collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. 'This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!' Trump tweeted at 7:52 a.m." Read more

TRUMP'S PITBULL -- "Firing Comey was 'justified,' Bondi says," by Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei: "Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, the earliest high profile endorser of Donald Trump, said the president did the right thing firing FBI Director James Comey, regardless of whether he was in the midst of overseeing an investigation into the Trump administration's dealings with Russia. 'I think it was justified. He has every legal right to do so. Democrats were complaining about him, Republicans were complaining about him. That job should not be a political job. We should not be hearing very publicly from the leader of the FBI,' said Bondi, who also called former FBI Director Robert Mueller a good choice for special counsel looking at the Russia matter." Read more

BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE $10 (OR MORE!)? - "Patrick Murphy again raising money, says political future uncertain," by POLITICO Florida's Matt Dixon: Former U.S. Rep Patrick Murphy has continued to raise campaign cash amid speculation about his political future, but so far says he has made no concrete decisions. "I want to stay involved to do what I can to stay involved and help like-minded Democrats," Murphy told POLITICO Florida Thursday. "I miss public service, but I don't miss the House much, especially with Trump and all." Murphy, a Jupiter Democrat, left the House in 2016 to run for U.S. Senate when it appeared it was an open seat due to Marco Rubio running for president. Rubio got back in the race just before the general election began, and easily defeated Murphy. http://politi.co/2qCevgm

Nugget: The most persistent political rumor about Murphy has been that he would run for CFO. He says he is "leaning against" that move. Former Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring, who will be able to at least partially self-fund his race, is almost certainly running for the seat.

Session is gone, but the sin lobby still hangs over Tallahassee....

CANCEL YOUR GADSDEN TRIP - "Florida Supreme Court blocks slot expansion," by POLITICO Florida's Matt Dixon: "The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday sided with the Scott administration and dealt a huge blow to a handful of counties pushing for an expansion of slot machines. The much-watched legal saga spun off a decision by Gov. Rick Scott's top gaming regulators denying a slot permit to Gretna Racing, a rural north Florida track in Gadsden County. Track owners sought the permit after county voters passed a referendum approving the use of slots. By unanimous decision, the high court agreed with state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates state gaming, that the law does not allow legally-binding slot referendums without approval from lawmakers or a constitutional amendment. http://politico.pro/2q1YfTU

(INSERT POT CLICHÉ HERE) -- Lawmakers, activists want state to move quickly on medical marijuana," by POLITICO Florida's Christine Sexton: State Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Amy Mercado, both Democrats from Orlando, joined with activists outside the Florida Department of Health offices in Orange County on Wednesday to demand a medical marijuana implementation plan that, they say, aligns with the will of Florida voters.

Among their demands, they want to see the 90-day waiting period for patients to access medical cannabis to be eliminated. They also want lawmakers to allow patients to be able to smoke medical marijuana. http://bit.ly/2rk8s2Q

THE BEAT GOES ON -- "Corcoran's brother is lobbyist for marijuana grower opposing dispensary caps," by Miami Herald's Michael Auslen & David Smiley: "State lawmakers' effort to put voter-passed medical marijuana into effect in Florida fell apart over a disagreement on whether to cap the number of dispensaries each cannabis grower could open. It's an issue that could be a boon for one of the state's largest licensed growers. Surterra, one of Florida's largest medical marijuana growers, is banking on opening 55 dispensaries in the next five years as part of a plan to bring in more than $138 million in sales by 2021, according to a confidential pitch deck put together by a potential investor and obtained by the Times/Herald. But state senators in the final weeks of session were pushing to limit the number of storefronts each grower could open, finally settling at 15 apiece on the last day of session." Read more

More Tallahassee...

--DECISION TIME -- "Wave of new bills sent to Scott's desk," by POLITICO Florida's Matt Dixon: Read more

--CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT -- "Election experts begged lawmakers for new tool to fight voter fraud, but got nothing," by Tampa Bay Times' Steve Bousquet: Read more

COLUMNIST'S CHIME IN -- "Opinions across Florida: Few raves for Legislature," by Tampa Bay Times' Michael Van Sickler: Read more

UNLIKELY ALLIES -- "Corcoran scores surprising ally in schools bill," by Tampa Bay Times' Kristen M. Clark: "Miami Democratic Rep. Roy Hardemon had an unlikely and influential ally showering him with praise in his legislative district Wednesday: House Speaker Richard Corcoran. '[Hardemon] doesn't care who's got power. He doesn't care what the status quo is.

He doesn't care whether he gets elected,' Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, said in brief remarks on stage for the groundbreaking of the Liberty Square redevelopment project, with Hardemon at his side. Hardemon, a freshman lawmaker, secured himself in Corcoran's good graces last week, when he broke from the House Democratic caucus to support a controversial $419 million K-12 public schools bill that Corcoran and House Republicans unveiled and successfully pushed through in the final days of session." Read more

NATIONAL ATTENTION -- "Educational Choice, Not School Choice, Making Moves In Florida," by Forbes' Michael Horn: "While Florida garners national attention as the site of tax credit scholarships captivating Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, a lesser-known example of choice in education in the state could be turning into a movement. Florida is one of the homes of 'course access' or 'course choice' legislation that allows public dollars to follow students to pay for an individual course of their choice. In the case of Florida, that movement started with the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) in 2003, which only receives money when students successfully complete a course. Course access has traditionally been mostly for high school students." Read more

--ALL GOOD -- "Florida's Hurricane Fund Remains Strong Heading Into Season," by AP's staff: Read more

--CHANGING FOCUS --"Rubio, DeSantis Focus on Jerusalem as Trump Gets Ready to Visit Israel," by Sunshine State News' Kevin Derby: Read more

--FIGHTING THE BAN -- "ACLU files federal lawsuit challenging Pensacola's panhandling ban," by Pensacola News Journal's Jim Little: Read more

--MORE EDUCATION WORRY--"Orange school leaders worry about education bill, funding," by Orlando Sentinel's Annie Martin: Read more

--DEVELOPMENT FIGHT--"Development Proposal Near Zoo Raises Concern For Miami-Dade's Rare Pine Rockland Forest," by WLRN's Kate Stein: Read more

--THE WALL --"Brightline Train Builds Wall Through Overtown, Miami's Historically Black Community," by Miami New Times' Jerry Iannelli: Read more

BIPARTISAN LOVE -- "Rubio, Nelson, House members pitch Everglades to Trump administration," by Palm Beach Post's George Bennett: "Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and most of the state's U.S. House delegation sent a letter inviting U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to come to Florida and tour the Everglades. All four of Palm Beach County's U.S. House members - Reps. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach; Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach; and Brian Mast, R-Palm City - signed the letter to Zinke. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL commander and U.S. House member from Montana, was appointed by President Donald Trump, who during the 2016 --campaign pledged his support for the Everglades. 'A Trump administration will also work alongside you to restore and protect the beautiful Everglades,' Trump said at an event in Naples last year." Read more

THE LOW HANGING MONEY FRUIT -- "Here are the biggest financial backers of candidates running for governor in 2018," by Miami Herald's Jeremy Wallace : "It's early in the 2018 gubernatorial election cycle, but the checks are already flying in the race. Millions of dollars are amassing for a race that is already showing it will be one of the most expensive in the nation even before other big names announce whether they are running or not. Here are the top four donors to each of the candidates that have so far announced they are running. Since 2014, Florida Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican, has been piling up money in a political committee he calls Florida Grown, which can accept donations of more than $3,000, the limit for a traditional campaign account." Read more

NO HURRY -- "Trump not rushing to change Cuba policy," by Tampa Bay Times' Alex Leary: "After much anticipation that an announcement on Cuba policy changes would be made no later than Saturday, President Donald Trump - in the midst of various political crises - has not decided what to do, officials said. The White House had considered holding an event May 20 to commemorate the 115th anniversary of the birth of the Cuban Republic, but Trump will begin an international trip on Friday and the review of the policy toward the island has not concluded, a spokeswoman told el Nuevo Herald. 'The issue of Cuba is extremely complex, and the president does not want to rush it,' said the spokeswoman. 'Besides, he won't be here on May 20.'" Read more

PLEASE CLAP -- "Jeb Bush's return," by The Boston Globe's Jim O'Sullivan:"Jeb! is back. Sort of. Former Florida governor and 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush will speak at Boston College on June 8 to an annual finance conference. After keeping a relatively low profile following his fourth-place finish in the South Carolina primary, Bush has since re-emerged. Along with former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, he has led a group angling to buy the Florida Marlins. He has weighed in on an immigrant driver's licenses debate, spoken to hedge funders in Vegas, and chided his old rival Donald Trump to 'stop saying things that aren't true.'" Read more

--IDIOTS -- "Alligator found tortured at Florida business; deputies investigate," by Palm Beach Post's Chelsea Todaro: Read more

--IDIOT--"Florida man bitten on the tongue by rattlesnake," by CBS 47's staff:Read more

--SEE LAST KICKER -- "Florida receiver Callaway cited for marijuana possession," by AP's staff: Read more

MARC WOULD KILL ME IF I DIDN'T INCLUDE - "A brief conversation with the Cash Me Ousside girl about James Comey's firing," by Daily Dot's Andrew Couts and David Covvucci: President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey Tuesday evening is perhaps the biggest story in American politics since Watergate, and what happens in the coming months will reverberate throughout our nation for at least the next few years, if not the next several decades. Just about everyone is weighing in on the momentous inflection point in Western democracy, and we at the Daily Dot figured we should speak with the people who lived through America's last constitutional crisis. Read more

COACH TROLL -- "Jack Del Rio tweets support to Marco Rubio, starts controversy," by 247 Sports' Kevin Boilard: "Jack Del Rio is not afraid to speak his mind on topics about which he is passionate. The Oakland Raiders head coach got into some hot water with his Twitter followers on Thursday, when he tweeted his support for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio after he was slammed for sharing bible verses on social media." Read more

'MOBS LOOTED' -- "Mayhem rages in west Venezuela; Capriles blocked from U.N. trip," by Reuters' Anggy Polanco and Andreina Aponte: "Mobs looted shops and fought security forces overnight in Venezuela's restive western region, where three soldiers were being charged on Thursday with the fatal shooting of a man who was buying diapers for his baby, witnesses said. Six weeks of anti-government unrest have resulted in at least 44 deaths, as well as hundreds of injuries and arrests in the worst turmoil of President Nicolas Maduro's four-year rule of the South American OPEC-member country. Protesters are demanding elections to kick out the socialist government that they accuse of wrecking the economy and turning Venezuela into a dictatorship. Maduro, 54, the successor to late leader Hugo Chavez, says his foes are seeking a violent coup." Read more

NEW PLAN -- "David Beckham group unveils new Miami stadium plan," by Miami Herald's Douglas Hanks and Martin Vassolo: "David Beckham's Miami negotiators unveiled an airy, open-roof stadium for Overtown Wednesday night, a retooled design that still sticks with the central premise that the 25,000-seat soccer venue doesn't need parking facilities. 'We're going to be encouraging the use of Metromover, Metrorail, water taxis, ride-sharing,' said Spencer Crowley, a lawyer and lobbyist representing Miami Beckham United in its talks with Miami-Dade to buy a parcel needed for its nine-acre stadium site near the Miami River. 'We view this as a paradigm shift for the county as to how people get to large events.'" Read more

OOPS -- "Two days after gig in Miami police lobby, DJ arrested on cocaine selling charge," by Miami Herald's David Ovalle: "Two days ago, DJ Fredy Benz played the hits at an employee 'health and wellness fair' inside Miami police headquarters lobby, taking selfies with city officials, including the department's chief spokesman. On Wednesday, the DJ again met cops. This time, it was county detectives who arrested him on allegations that he was selling cocaine from his house. Benz, whose real name is Alfredo Benitez, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell. He was arrested by Miami-Dade's narcotics unit. Investigators believe the 39-year-old, whose wife works as an administrator for the city, was selling from his home, which is across from Shenandoah Elementary. He was also found with over 10 bags of cocaine on him, police said." Read more

FOR MORE political and policy news, check out Politico Florida's home page: http://politi.co/1jkJUyL. And please follow our staff @mdixon55, @sbustosFL, @christinesexton, @dducassi, @jessicabakeman and @bruceritchie on Twitter.

SUBSCRIBE to the Playbook family: POLITICO Playbook http://politi.co/1M75UbX ... New York Playbook http://politi.co/1ON8bqW ... Florida Playbook http://politi.co/1OypFe9 ... New Jersey Playbook http://politi.co/1HLKltF ... Massachusetts Playbook http://politi.co/1Nhtq5v ... Illinois Playbook http://politi.co/1N7u5sb ... California Playbook http://politi.co/2bLvcPl ... Brussels Playbook http://politi.co/1FZeLcw ... All our political and policy tipsheets http://politi.co/1M75UbX

To view online:
http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/florida-playbook/2017/05/19/baez-out-of-special-election-to-replace-artiles-florida-reacts-to-special-counsel-bondi-talks-comey-firing-florida-supreme-court-blocks-slot-expansion-220398

To change your alert settings, please go to https://secure.politico.com/settings/settings

This email was sent to contact@emailingnewsletter.com by: POLITICO, LLC 1000 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA, 22209, USA

Please click here and follow the steps to unsubscribe.