About 2.6 million Floridians have been absolutely vaccinated for COVID-19, and one other almost 2.1 residents bought their first dose.
Each numbers ought to quickly improve following the choice by Gov. Ron DeSantis to decrease the eligibility age to these at the least 50 years outdated.
Early on, there have been issues in some locations, lengthy waits, and exasperation for many individuals attempting to make appointments. It appears to go a lot better now, although.
DeSantis reminds individuals at each alternative that he did it proper. Republicans are blissful to spin that narrative, and even lawyer John Morgan, who has criticized DeSantis, appears to agree — nevertheless cautiously.
Politico reported that Morgan stated, “As of this writing, he received.”
That’s the issue. If the final yr taught us nothing else, it’s that this virus is one powerful opponent. There appears to be a brand new variant on daily basis, and up to date photos of children on Spring Break are unsettling. Most don’t have masks, and as for social distancing, effectively, you have been 19 years outdated as soon as, proper?
It’s good to be DeSantis as of late, although — as of this writing, anyway.
He’s having fun with nice reputation amongst Republicans, and if you-know-who doesn’t run for President in 2024, DeSantis shall be well-positioned because the inheritor obvious.
As of this writing, anyway.
The sport isn’t over, although. If you happen to watch March Insanity, you already know there are buzzer-beaters and surprising finishes on a regular basis. The Governor’s fortunes might plummet if the virus develops an angle and goes on one other rampage.
Dr. Anthony Fauci urges warning. He pointed to a surge of circumstances in Europe and warned People to not “spike the ball on the 5-yard line.”
We all know DeSantis received’t again off, although. He’s in marketing campaign mode and needs everybody to grasp that he did the perfect rattling job towards COVID-19 of any Governor within the nation.
That’s in all probability true.
As of this writing, anyway.
Now, let’s get to our weekly sport of winners and losers.
Honorable point out: Invoice Nelson. The previous Congressman and three-term Florida U.S. Senator landed a high-profile job when President Joe Biden selected him as NASA’s new administrator.
With house exploration a scorching merchandise as soon as once more, Nelson brings political savvy to the company. He’ll want each little bit of that as NASA ramps up an bold agenda within the coming years.
NASA has an energetic partnership with the industrial house trade (see Elon Musk). It plans to return astronauts to the Moon. There could possibly be people on Mars ultimately.
NASA additionally will play a key position in local weather analysis.
Nelson is a long-time ally of Biden and flew within the House Shuttle Columbia in 1986. He additionally oversaw NASA’s house packages whereas in Congress.
Nearly (however not fairly) largest winner: Marco Rubio. The non-partisan Center for Effective Lawmaking named Rubio the best Republican Senator within the 116th Congress (2019-21).
He was the one Florida lawmaker to crack the highest 10 amongst each senators and representatives.
In making the choice, the Heart famous that Rubio put ahead 107 payments. Ten of them handed the Senate, and 6 grew to become legislation.
“Sponsoring solely 17 payments within the 112th Congress, Sen. Rubio was close to the underside of his celebration in his first time period within the Senate,” the Heart stated.
“By the 114th Congress, he had damaged into the highest twenty, attaining a top-ten place within the 115th, after which the highest Republican place in essentially the most not too long ago accomplished Congress.”
The most important winner: Dan Bongino. The race is on to interchange the late Rush Limbaugh because the afternoon conservative flame-thrower on radio retailers across the nation. Florida Man Bongino is within the combine, and he simply bought a giant break.
On Might 24, Bongino shall be on the mic from midday till 3 p.m. on Westwood One. His present will air in high-profile markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
It’s not clear if he may have the attain that Limbaugh did when his present aired in additional than 600 markets, however this isn’t a nasty begin.
Bongino, a former Secret Service agent, misplaced three makes an attempt to win a seat in Congress. Two of the defeats got here in Maryland, and in 2016 he misplaced to Francis Rooney within the GOP main to symbolize Florida’s nineteenth Congressional District.
He has had a lot better luck within the media biz.
Bongino has a preferred podcast on Westwood One and routinely seems on Sean Hannity’s present on Fox. And after Democrats did not derail Brett Kavanaugh‘s Supreme Court docket nomination, Bongino famously stated, “my life is about owning the libs now.”
Whereas Limbaugh shall be troublesome to interchange, if not unattainable, Bongino shall be a powerful candidate to fill that void. Dana Loesch and Erick Erickson are different names within the combine.
Dishonorable point out: Wilton Simpson. It’s been run these days for the Florida Senate President, however nobody wins all of them.
Democrats need blood after the arrest of former Senator Frank Artiles. He faces prices that he illegally funded a third-party candidate to assist Republicans win SD 37 in November.
What’s this need to do with Simpson?
It complicates his life.
Democrats scream that Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia, who received that election, ought to resign. They need a Particular Election.
They need prosecutors to dive into how a lot the GOP’s fundraising arm was concerned with Artiles’ actions. That’s Simpson’s territory.
Comply with the cash.
Florida Democratic Occasion head Manny Diaz wouldn’t say if he had proof that GOP management was concerned. It’s underneath investigation, you already know. However he additionally slipped on this jab, saying it’s “very odd” to consider Artiles acted alone.
“It might simply appear to me to be very odd that this would continue to occur statewide for so long as it has with out … the tacit approval of the management,” Diaz informed reporters on a Friday Zoom name relating to the latest arrests.
Simpson additionally figured prominently in a Miami Herald story concerning the effort by South Florida billionaire actual property mogul Jeffrey Soffer to get a allow to determine a on line casino on the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Seashore, which his household has owned since 2005.
The Herald reported that Simpson and Home Speaker Chris Sprowls have been Soffer’s visitors on his 311-foot yacht “Madsummer” for 2 nights final September. The newspaper described it as “intimate fundraising dinners and a sundown cruise.”
Soffer needs laws that may enable him to switch the gaming license he has for his Huge Simple On line casino in Hallandale Seashore to the Fountainebleau. The transfer has sturdy native opposition and the Seminole Tribe of Florida additionally opposes it.
Florida legislation doesn’t at the moment enable such transfers.
Soffer is a serious GOP donor. The Herald stated that since 2019, firms related to Soffer gave $300,000 to Simpson’s Florida Republican Senatorial Marketing campaign. He gave one other $407,500 to the Florida Republican Occasion.
This evokes the picture of backroom offers — whether or not they really occurred or not.
“Gaming negotiations are extraordinarily sophisticated,’’ Simpson spokesperson Katie Betta informed the Herald. “And whereas President Simpson believes the efforts are worthy, additionally it is vital to be life like about the place we’re.
“The President has been concerned in these negotiations for years, and in the event that they get to a spot the place he believes an settlement would profit the state of Florida and have the assist of his colleagues within the Legislature in addition to the Governor, he can be blissful to debate additional particulars.”
Nearly (however not fairly) largest loser: Matt Gaetz and Greg Steube. Final week, the U.S. Home of Representatives accredited awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Police for its response to the Jan. 6 revolt.
That’s the highest congressional honor.
It handed 433-12 and heads to the Senate for closing approval.
However, wait … what? Twelve lawmakers voted AGAINST this?
Who would do such a factor?
Oh yeah … Gaetz and Steube.
Their objection: Language within the proposal that referenced “a mob of insurrectionists.”
Um, that’s what they have been.
Politico reported Gaetz objected to “these editorial feedback concerning the Jan. 6 sequence of occasions.”
Editorial? A mob of crazed loons, motivated by the false perception their Expensive Chief misplaced the election, attacked the Capitol. 5 individuals died.
That’s just about the sequence, you already know.
The most important loser: Artiles. The previous Republican state Senator is in a world of bother following his arrest. He’s charged with third-degree felony election legislation violations final November.
It’s associated to a scheme to assist GOP candidate Ileana Gonzalez win the SD 37 race towards incumbent Jose Javier Rodriguez. Artiles stands accused of paying Alex Rodriguez $50,000 to enter that race as an unbiased candidate.
Um, Rodriguez lived two counties away from the district.
The concept was to siphon votes from the incumbent, and it appeared to work.
Gonzalez received by 32 votes out of greater than 200,000 solid. Alex Rodriguez did no campaigning however obtained greater than 6,000 votes. The implication, after all, is having two individuals named Rodriguez on the poll confused voters.
Artiles was launched on a $5,000 bond.
Alex Rodriguez is claimed to be cooperating with prosecutors.