Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Florida Senate Seat-- Democratic Race Now Wide Open


Old foes Rubio and Gelber could face off for the governor's chair

A couple weeks ago Republican incumbent Mel Martinez, seeing clearly which way the wind is blowing-- Obama beat McCain by over 200,000 votes and two Republican congressional incumbents got kicked out on their asses-- announced he wouldn't run for re-election in 2010. Obama beat McCain among men and women and in every age groups except people over 65, the age group that is dying off the most rapidly. To hold the seat, the GOP turned to the one Republican they felt would have a real chance: Jeb Bush. He turned them down flat, admitting that right now there's something about his last name that makes voters... emotional. So now the state GOP is floundering around with a pack of far right fanatics like Rep./used car salesman Vern Buchanan, ex-Speaker/pretty face Marco Rubio, Congressman Connie Mack, and Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Until yesterday it looked like it would be a cake walk for the Democrats with the state's CFO, Alex Sink. But in the morning she announced that she's not running either. "'Over the past several weeks, I have given serious and careful thought to my own future and, more importantly, to the future of our state. And I am extremely grateful for the support and advice so many friends and fellow Floridians have shared. I believe my skills and abilities are of greatest use here in Florida, where I am honored to serve as chief financial officer. And I will run for reelection as chief financial officer to continue being a fiscal watchdog on behalf of the people of Florida.'' That means she's running for governor in 2014 when Crist steps down (unless he steps down sooner so he can run for the Senate seat, a very distinct possibility-- and probably as good a shot for the GOP as Jeb would have been.

Miami Democrat Congressman Kendrick Meek has already announced his candidacy. Meek is a moderate Democrat with a great reputation in his own district and in South Florida in general, but isn't a force statewide. Way over on the right end of the spectrum is Blue Dog sleaze bag Allen Boyd, one of the most reactionary members of Congress and a guarantee that whoever the Republicans run will have a cakewalk to election. Another moderate congressman, Ron Klein, also from South Florida, is thinking of running.

But the best prospect for progressives is State Senator Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, who was the House minority leader until this year and is well known and well respected statewide. He hasn't officially entered the race yet, but mutual friends of mine and his tell me he has already made up his mind to run now that Sink has bowed out.

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At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone but DWS or Allen Boyd.

And for the Republicans....alls I can say is.


At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really, really excited about Meek . Every blog post and article I read talks about him not being well known statewide. He's known NATIONALLY -- the time he spent on cspan with debbie wasserman shulz and the congressman from ohio (i should remember his name) put him on MANY MANY people's radar. He can fundraise with the big boys (Bill Clinton, etc) but when he wins the primary he can tap the grassroots 10-25 dollar donors in a BIG way. I'm going to be doing all I can to help him win both the primary and general.


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