Back in 1992, I was the Vice President of the Central Florida Young Democrats. At the time, I was quite ambitious. I was only 18-years old and surrounded by people who were in their mid-20s and early-30s. The idea that some young kid would go into their organization (even though I had already been in there for about six months, and very active as well) and become VP, honestly, shocked me. And, on top of that, I was unopposed. Being part of the Central Florida Young Democrats in the early-90s is a very special, and important, part of my political life.
In mid-1992, like every Democratic organization, we had people visiting our group, especially candidates. Of course, they wanted the usual support and whatnot. I even went there and begged that people donate to Buddy Dyer’s State Senate campaign. I was quite surprised how well begging worked.
One of the candidates that came to visit us was a young Mike Horner, who was running in a seat located in Seminole County. The day that he attended our meeting, he was surrounded by a group of about 20 young kids from Lake Mary High School. He said he was the candidate of the future. He told us how he was a true liberal and how he supported many liberal causes. He told us how his mother was a teacher and that he supported the teacher’s union and opposed any privatization of public school. He made himself come across as a good liberal.
On the other hand, he was running against Frank Stone. I don’t remember if Frank visited the CFYDs at all (and if he did, he didn’t nearly make as much of an impression as Horner), but he did attend other Democratic events. Stone, a sitting member of the House of Representatives, was a Republican, but switched parties to the Democratic side because of the GOP’s lack of vision on education issues. And while not exactly the most liberal, he was the candidate that many Democrats thought would defeat the Republican candidate, Marvin Couch, in November.
During the campaign, I had made it public that I was supporting Frank Stone. And with that support came a number of accusations. Horner’s campaign, as well as Horner himself, constantly told people in the Democratic Party that they weren’t true Democrats if they supported Stone, going as far as to say they were Republicans. He constantly reminded us that he was the liberal candidate and that Stone was the turncoat conservative. This alienated Horner with the those in the Democratic Party, and most in the local DEC and other organizations backed Stone. Stone eventually won the primary, and lost to Couch. Couch, who the Orlando Sentinel said “would be a terrible representative” eventually became a leader in the Republican Party, but had to quit his post after being caught with a prostitute in a Sanford mall parking lot, and later was found to have a questionable past, dealing with drugs and physical abuse.
So, fast forward to 2007. I was searching the Secretary of State’s website to see what candidates had announced that they were running in 2008. The name “Mike Horner” comes up. I was actually happy to see Horner back in politics. I know a number of Democrats back in 1992 that had second guessed their decision to support Stone, as did I. Stone only beat Horner by the slightest of margins.
I look next to Horner’s name and see (REP). Since he was this liberal in 1992, I had to click on the link and see more information. The first thing that I noticed is that he was now living in Osceola County, not Seminole County. Then I found his website and saw him touting his conservative, Christian values, and over-the-top as well. Really? This is the staunch liberal that I had met 14 years earlier?
One thing that I always thought about Horner in 1992 is that, well, he just wanted to be in politics and get elected. That is one of the reasons that I supported Frank Stone. He was taking a gamble by switching parties and running as a Democrat in a solid Republican district. But something about Horner wasn’t right. And after seeing his website in 2007, I knew exactly what it was. I even emailed the campaign website and ask the campaign how come he had gone from a liberal Democrat living in Seminole to a right-wing Republican living in Osceola. And, as you guess, I never got an answer back.
When looking at Mike Horner, I am reminded of another politician, Mitt Romney. Romney has been known to say whatever he wants to get elected, and Horner is walking down the same path. First, he totally changes on any principles he has. Though, by the looks of it, his only principle is to get elected, much like Romney.
Second, he filed for this seat in August 2004, for an election that was to happen in November of 2008. This wasn’t a senate seat or anything like that, but it was for state House. That meant that from the time he filed until his actual election, there were two other general elections taking place. Nothing says “I want to be a career politician and do whatever it takes to win” more than running for a seat four years ahead of time and waiting for the current Representative, Frank Attkisson, to retire so you can be his successor.
Third, and this might be minor, is that Horner was now in Osceola County, and not Seminole. Now people do move form time to time, so I could possibly give him the benefit of the doubt. But did he move to Osceola purely to run for political office? I think our friend Mitt did the same thing in Massachusetts. And with Horner filing four years before his race, there is no reason to think he didn’t move here purely to run for political office, and nothing more.
So, Florida does have its own version of Mitt Romney, in the form of Mike Horner. But guess what…Romney is actually better. Why?
From day one until today, Romney has always been a Republican. With his former employment at Bain Capital, we knew he “liked to fire people”, and that “corporations are people.” So while his answers in the 1994 Senatorial debate might be different than what he says today, he has always been a big-business Republican and never shied away from that fact.
What makes Horner worse is that he ran, in a totally different geographical location, abandoned he so-called “party” and his so-called “liberal issues”, and decided to become a hard core righty! Nothing smells more like “I will do anything to get elected” than what Mike Horner has done from 1992 until today. Honestly, Horner makes Mitt’s constant kerfuffles look like child’s play.
So there is the question that I have…was Horner always a conservative, thus lying to the liberals in 1992? Or is he currently a liberal and lying to the conservatives? Hell, what if he won back in 1992, would he have switched parties? Of course, we can’t trust his answer, just like we can’t trust anything that he really says or does.
Mike Horner is only there to help Mike Horner, and that is it.