Some snack-sized news nuggets to start your morning:
DeSantis OK’s port projects (via News Service of Florida)
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said the state will provide $3.9 million for work at the Port of Pensacola to help it become a training base for American Magic, a yacht-racing team that is an America’s Cup challenger. The money, which will come from the state’s Job Growth Grant Fund, will be used to design and renovate a warehouse that was damaged by Hurricane Sally in 2020. “Once complete, the warehouse will house advanced manufacturing and boat building, ocean sciences and maritime technology research and development, as well as marine industry testing,” a news release from DeSantis’ office said. DeSantis has discretion to use money from the Job Growth Grant Fund for regional infrastructure and job-training programs. The proposed state budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year includes $75 million for the fund, up from $50 million in the current fiscal year. The New York Yacht Club American Magic team made its first trip to the Panhandle port in July 2018 in advance of the 2021 America’s Cup. The team is planning to challenge for the 37th America’s Cup, which will be held in Barcelona, Spain, in September and October 2024.
GOP builds voter registration edge (via News Service of Florida)
The Republican Party of Florida held a nearly 473,000-voter edge over the Florida Democratic Party as of April 30, continuing to widen a gap that began in 2021, according to data posted Monday on the state Division of Elections website. The GOP had 5,307,574 registered voters at the end of last month, while the Democratic Party had 4,834,794. Another 4,031,983 voters were registered without party affiliation, while 274,894 were registered with third parties. Democrats historically held a registration edge, but Republicans overtook them in 2021. Leading up to the November 2022 election, Republicans held about a 306,000-voter advantage. Republicans hold all statewide offices, a majority in Florida’s congressional delegation and supermajorities in the Florida House and Senate.
With token opposition, Ryan Chamberlin set to win HD24 (by Brian Burgess)
With only a write in candidate as opposition on Tuesday, Belleview Republican Ryan Chamberlin will likely secure his election in House District 24 (Marion County) after the seat remained vacant throughout this year’s regular legislative session. Having emerged victorious in a five-candidate Republican primary held in March, Chamberlin now faces write-in candidate Robert “Foxy” Fox in the special general election. Notably, no Democratic contenders stepped forward for the seat. The vacancy arose in December when Ocala Republican Joe Harding resigned after being indicted on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements. In March, Harding pleaded guilty to a handful of the charges. The polls close Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Gas prices in Florida continue to drop in May (by Brian Burgess)
According to a study released by AAA this week, gas prices in Florida continue to decline. The average price per gallon of gas in the state is now $3.48, which is eight cents lower than last week and has dropped by 24 cents over the past month. The national average on Sunday was $3.54 per gallon. The decrease in gas prices is attributed to weaknesses in the oil market, driven by domestic economic concerns and underwhelming Chinese economic indicators affecting global fuel demand. However, it remains uncertain if this downward trend will continue leading up to the Memorial Day travel weekend. The West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market has the highest gas prices in the state, with an average of $3.72 per gallon, followed by Naples at $3.61 and Miami at $3.58. On the other hand, Pensacola has the least expensive gas in the state at an average of $3.14 per gallon, followed by Panama City at $3.15 and the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach area at $3.17 per gallon. AAA also noted a 15 percent decline in the U.S. price of crude oil over the past month, with Friday’s closing price reaching the lowest settlement in seven weeks at $70.04 per barrel.