As Primary Day approaches more and more Republican aligned conservative interest groups are playing in Democratic Primaries looking to get the most business-friendly potential legislators elected in seats without serious Republican opposition. In other seats where the Republicans have an incumbent or serious chance of victory these organizations are attempting to nominate the perceived weaker Democrat in order to ensure GOP victory in November.
The above mail piece sent on behalf of Katie Edwards in the House District 98 Primary was sent by an ECO, whose money was initially raised from the US Chamber of Commerce, Florida Chamber, US Sugar, Charter Schools USA and Florida Justice PAC. Edwards, who is the only Democrat running for the State House in an August Primary to be endorsed by the NRA, will surely benefit from this piece that looks innocent enough. The Political Hurricane has strongly endorsed Edwards’ opponent Louis Reinstein who will provide a strong progressive voice in Tallahassee.
This goes along with a theme we’ve seen in other House primaries throughout the state. Shadowy ECO groups whose source of funds is another ECO (you have to follow the money closely through many different groups to find the original sources) have also weighed on behalf of Mac Bernard in the Senate District 27 primary, Kevin Rader in House District 81 and Ron Saunders in Senate District 39.
In an unrelated but equally cynical development, Scott Israel a Democratic candidate for Broward County Sheriff has benefited from a phony tea party group that has accused his primary opponent Louis Granteed of being supported by the Tea Party, when no proof actually exists of such an endorsement. The Broward Tea Party has not endorsed Granteed and presumably has no interest in the Democratic Primary for Sheriff.
Dirty tricks seem to be abound in Democratic Primaries this August. Most of these tricks are being pushed by Republican aligned groups to ensure continued Republican hegemony over Florida politics. It is important that progressive voters throughout the state understand the origin of these tricks and reject the candidates who are directly benefiting from them.