Florida Five: Politicians scramble for Rubio’s Senate seat, New laws take effect this week

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Politicians lining up for Rubio’s seat — Marco Rubio’s presidential aspirations are energizing the Florida political scene, sparking a scramble for his U.S. Senate seat that, in one analyst’s words, will produce a “ferocious and expensive” Republican primary. Rubio formally announced in April that he would seek the GOP nomination for president and forsake one of the most coveted prizes in American politics — a safe Senate seat. Republicans hold a 54-44 majority in the Senate, with two more independents caucusing with the Democrats, so national attention is focusing on Florida. Read more

Lieutenant governor may fill calendar with Senate run — Aside from trying to save the stogies, Carlos Lopez-Cantera has a lot of down time as the state’s second-in-command. According to state records, the Republican lieutenant governor — who’s paid $125,000 a year and is considering a U.S. Senate run — more often than not has nothing to do. Over the last 60 daily schedules released by the Governor’s Office and dating back to mid-April, two-thirds showed Lopez-Cantera had “no scheduled events.” Read more

Is longtime Congressman Jeff Miller ready for a Senate run? – Jeff Miller could be taking an unlikely turn as the lead actor on Florida’s political stage this week. After last week’s Supreme Court decisions and this month’s special session, Floridians can be excused for wanting a slow in-between week as they ready for the Independence Day weekend.  As June draws to a close, the presidential election continues to eclipse the rest of the 2016 campaign cycle, but interest is rising in the race to replace Marco Rubio in the Senate. Read more

Yes to growlers, no to ticket quotas as new laws begin – The state’s record-setting budget goes into effect on Wednesday, along with 130 other new laws that were produced by the Legislature this year in the regular and special sessions and signed by Gov. Rick Scott. Starting Wednesday, the state will no long collect sales tax on gun club memberships, people with 64-ounce beer containers known as “growlers” can get them filled at breweries, and governments in Florida will have to start looking to buy American-made U.S. flags. Read more

$9,000,000 and counting: Cost of Jacksonville mayor’s election hit all-time high – After Lenny Curry became chairman of the Republican Party of Duval County, he organized the annual Lincoln Day Dinner in 2009 as a tribute to Tom Petway, the long-time GOP donor who has been a force in party politics at the local, state and national levels. Flash forward six years. On Wednesday, Curry will take the oath of office as Jacksonville’s new mayor after defeating incumbent Alvin Brown in a race that totaled more than $9 million between the two of them — the most costly in city history. Read more

ICYMI: VIDEO: SpaceX rocket explodes over Florida on space station supply mission

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