Miami's city elections are [this] week - moved back after Hurricane Wilma. And they must be the most boring elections in generations. Incumbent Many Diaz will coast to victory over a pack of unknowns and neve-will-bes. With the population base and glowing press in Miami, Diaz could have named his statewide office if he hadn't jumped the Democratic ship a few years ago.
Wins in Virginia (and to a lesser extent New Jersey) will impact what happens in Florida. Bush won Virginia with a wider margin than he won Florida last year giving hope to donors and candidates alike that 2006 may bring electoral blessings to the Sunshine State.
It wasn't statewide news, but former Hillsborough Commissioner Phyllis Busansky's entrance into the race for Congress in District 9 is important. Early polling there suggests the seat is in play and Busansky has the experience and rolodex to be a real problem for the GOP. And take this to the bank: she wouldn't have gotten in it if she didn't think she could win it.
Rod Smith's new website (www.RodSmith2006.com) is a nice improvement over his older one. It's clean, modern and accessible. But Rod's camp deserves special recognition for linking his campaign site's front page directly to Florida political blogs. Tha's courageous, forward thinking and bold.
[ed. note: we appreciate the Smith site's crediting our new site FLA Politics for the use of our links.]
It was big news today that the U.S. House dumped plans to drill for oil for Florida's coast. But the press coverage seems to be dominated by Rep. Clay Shaw at least claiming credit for the GOP retreat. That's good politics for Shaw. It helps him prove he's a pro-environment moderate. But it makes me ask, since he campaigns on the issue, where's Jim Davis?
[Update: Cong. Jim Davis made it in several news accounts of the battle to nix oil drilling in Florida. A day late. But a nice recovery and a good day of earned media. Nicely done.]
Republican Rick Baker was re-elected as Mayor of St. Petersburg on Tuesday in what can only be called a landslide. Most agree Baker has been a decent Mayor but efforts to use this win to build him into a candidate with statewide chops are overstated. If municipal elections in Florida were partisan, and he had to run as Baker (R), his margin would have been single-digits.
Alex Sink is a good candidate and I have high hopes for her success. But whoever is advising her might consider it a good idea for her to actually meet some people in South Florida. Saying she's been invisible in the state's population base misses the point. To be invisible, people first have to know you exist.
News that former Senator Max Cleland will campaign for Jim Davis is a Davis win. Not that Cleland is going to change the dynamic of the election, he won't. But Cleland is a heavyweight in Democratic circles and campaigning with Jim Davis on Veteran's Day was a nice touch.
Rumors that Congressman Mark Foley may enter the race for U.S. Senate are actually good for Democrats. First, Foley is a moderate. But second, it will be worth the price of admission to see the right-wing base of the GOP squirm to support a ticket with Charlie Crist and Mark Foley. And if Foley runs, someone at the DCCC had better have Tom Rossin's number on speed-dial.
[ed. note: Bense is also considering the jump]
On balance, Karen Thurman has done a good job as Chair of the state party. But I'd like to start a conversation about her returning home to challenge Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite. With the President's popularity sinking daily, every Republican is vulnerable. Especially considering that Brown-Waite won the seat by less than 2% even while Jeb Bush was beating Bill McBride by 13 points. And I'd trade a capable Party Chair for a seat in Congress everyday.
That's what I think. Differing opinions and conversations are welcome.