Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry follows.

Only one incumbent state senator has drawn a major challenger

Jeff Henderson: "Less than a year until the general elections, it appears the Florida Senate will feature more of the same after November 2014. Not a single senator faces term limits in 2014 and only one of the current incumbents has drawn a major challenger."

With Republicans controlling the Senate, it appears Democrats will be hard-pressed to flip the chamber next year. So far, most Republican incumbents in the Senate are cruising to victory in 2014 with next to no Democratic opposition.
"Jeff Brandes is the only Republican incumbent who has drawn a major Democratic challenger so far in Judithanne McLauchlan, a professor at the University of South Florida. McLauchlan has an impressive background working with the New Hampshire Democrats and being one of John Kerry’s chief organizers in Florida back in 2004. But Brandes has been successful in getting his message out and raising funds. With Republicans outnumbering Democrats in this Tampa Bay district, Brandes starts off with the edge, though McLauchlan is a live underdog and Democrats are building momentum in the area."
But if Brandes can expect a fight, the same can’t be said of any of his fellow Senate Republicans in 2014. Democrat Scott Landry has been in the race for a few months now but he hasn’t given Tom Lee a reason to sweat yet. Joe Negron can expect a spirited primary challenge from underdog Brandon Michael Cannon over poker rooms and gambling but there’s no Democrat in the race yet. Jack Latvala should have no problem dispatching Zahid Roy in the primary yet again.

But most Senate Republicans have nothing to fear so far in 2014. The likes of Republicans Greg Evers, Aaron Bean, John Thrasher, Dorothy Hukill, David Simmons, Thad Altman, Wilton Simpson, Bill Galvano, Nancy Detert, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Rene Garcia and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla have not even drawn opponents yet. Granted, that could change but, with less than a year to go, most Republican incumbents have little to worry about in 2014.

"Florida Senators Cruising to Re-election in 2014".

Hedging his bets

"Morgan & Morgan invests heavily in politics, not just to Democrats but also Republicans who in recent years have much more say in how far state leaders go in curbing lawsuits. "

Since 2010, the firm has given about $175,000 to the Florida Democratic Party and nearly $200,000 to the Florida GOP. Morgan, a registered Democrat, calls himself a big supporter of state Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, in line to be Florida House speaker, and calls Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi "one of my closest friends."
"John Morgan: the bombastic, omnipresent lawyer fueling Florida's 2014 election".

"The old party never forgives"

Nancy Smith: "Candidates can be moderate and still win elections, but the ones who do it by switching parties and feigning middle-of-the-road principles plain turn voters off."

The old party never forgives, the new party never trusts. That's just how it is.

And, by the way, I'm not talking specifically about Charlie Crist. There are more shameless ship-jumpers out there than just Charlie filing papers to run and making holier-than-thou speeches about what they believe.

"Party-Switching Candidates Don't Win Hearts".

Campaigns work 'round the holidays

"The special election to fill the late C.W. 'Bill' Young’s seat in Congress is riddled with numerous challenges for the candidates, not the least of which is having to campaign during the holidays." "District 13 campaigns must work around the holidays".