4th – Florida State Senate 39 (D Primary) – As we have mentioned time after time, Ron Saunders might sometimes talk like a Democrat, but most of his contribution list looks like a who’s who list of Republican lobbyists and donors. Dwight Bullard, on the other hand, will still stand up for progressive values. Dwight will have to do as much work as possible to carry over the magic from Larcenia Bullard over to his campaign. This is especially the case when James Bush III is in the race. The numbers in this district should give the edge to the minority candidate. Of the population, 35% are African-American, 40% are Hispanic while only 25% are white. Luckily for Bullard, most of the Hispanics and whites are registered Republicans. Therefore, the numbers should favor Bullard, but again, how much will Bush and others take away from Bullard? While Saunders has the money to compete in this race, will he have the votes to carry it through? This will be a pure battle of money vs. grassroots and voter turnout, with Bullard having the edge in numbers.
3rd – US Congress 3rd CD (R Primary) – For years, Cliff Stearns has been one of the most ineffective Congressmen. In fact, he rarely says anything whatsoever and continues to carry his seat term after term. But now with Stearns’ old congressional district being chopped in half, Stearns had to pick his poison. Instead of taking on incumbent Rich Nugent in the 11th, he wisely picked the 3rd CD, where he can technically be considered the incumbent. In this race, a number of people will be dividing the Republican vote. Current State Senator and former Alachua County Sheriff Steve Oelrich is probably the most recognizable name of his opponents. Along with Oelrich, Gainesville veterinarian Ted Yoho is showing strong. In fact, Oelrich has started to move his attacks from Stearns to Yoho, possibly seeing a Yoho surge in the polls. The other name that is floating around in the primary is the James Jett, who is now mostly known for one of the scandals involving Stearns in which Stearns tried to “buy him out” of the congressional race.
Like with so many other races, this race might come down to how the votes fracture. With less of Marion County in the district, Stearns will have to perform better in other parts in order to pull off the victory. The only problem with that is he is up against people who have been elected in the other counties. Alachua County will more than likely be the battleground between Oelrich and Yoho. This leaves Clay County as the pure battleground for all the candidates. Neither Stearns or Oelrich have represented Clay County. And with Jett being the only one from Clay County, this vote could be a mess. At the end of the night, whoever has the best targeting plan will win the race. But as of now, it is wide open.
Another interesting aspect of this is since Stearns has shown us that he actually does have a voice, he has decided to take on the Obama birther issue and become hardcore right-wing. Will this help him?
2nd – US Congress CD 7 (R Primary) – As with the 3rd Congressional District, the 7th was created by the Legislature to knock out one of the old timers of and replace them with a Florida Legislature favorite. This district was purely drawn to give Sandy Adams the edge and to knock John Mica out of Congress. But as we have seen in the last few weeks, that old dog Mica still has some fight left in him after all.
This is easily the most important fight in any congressional primary. Why? Because it pits establishment Republicanism against the Tea Party favorite. While Mica is gaining the endorsements of the GOP establishment regulars, as well as the money that backs up that support, Tea Party after Tea Party member is lining up behind Adams to throw their support toward her. A line has been drawn in the sand in this election.
Of course, if Adams wins, it is a Tea Party victory, going with the flow of other Tea Party victories in recent primaries around the United States. But if Adams loses, this will be a large blow to the movement, but even a larger blow to the Florida Tea Party movement. If Adams cannot win in a seat that was specifically drawn for her, as well as having the endorsements of high profile Tea Party supporters like Sarah Palin, this might prove that the Tea Party is dying in the Republican Party in Florida. This will result in the establishment in both Washington and Tallahassee breathing a collective sigh of relief on Primary Election Night.
What is even more important is that the result of this primary could be a win for the Democrats if Mica wins as well. If Mica is victorious, Democrats will see that the Republicans are more moderate in this district than expected. If that is the case, the Democrats in Seminole County should work on a strong recruiting effort to try to regain the seat over Mica in the next two to four years.
1st – Florida State Senate 12 (D Primary) – Initially, this race was in the top five. But with the recent developments, this race has shot up to number one on “The Billboard”, as Casey Kasem would say.
In one last move to show voters that current State Senator Gary Siplin is as bad as most of us think he is, Siplin used taxpayer funds to send out a mailer that promotes himself as well as his wife, Victoria Siplin. The interesting fact about this is that Siplin’s mailer was sent to people outside of his current State Senate district, but inside the current 12th Senate District. While this doesn’t seem to be a legal violation, it is sure ethically questionable. Therefore, Senator Gary Siplin’s image leaving office is just as bad as when he assumed his Florida Senate seat.
Another interesting aspect of this campaign has been the lack of Victoria Siplin doing anything publicly. She refused to do the Orlando Sentinel editorial interview and rarely goes to any events. When asked about the current mailer scandal, Gary Siplin quickly comments on it, but Victoria Siplin has “no comment”. To find anything this woman says is nearly impossible. She has a few YouTube videos that were professional done to tell us “her story”, but we really haven’t seen this phantom candidate at all. She is purely trying to ride in on her husband’s name recognition.
Geraldine Thompson is the exact opposite of Siplin. Not only is she highly qualified, she is also well respected in Tallahassee. Thompson supports traditional liberal Democratic values while the Siplins continue to support conservative causes. When looking at the money that has currently been filtered into this district, most of Siplin’s money and support is coming from fiscally conservative organizations as well as many that are pro-school voucher. In addition, Thompson actually goes to events and tells the people her thoughts and views on the issues. She doesn’t use her husband as her mouthpiece.
This primary is a contrast of two different campaigns. One is more conservative with questionable ethics. The other is well respected and supports liberal ideals. The reason that this primary is #1 on the list is because is includes everything a hotly contested primary needs. And with a scandal breaking in the last week of the campaign, it makes it even better.