Primary elections are more fascinating in redistricting years. This was the case in 1982, and again in 1992 and 2002. This year proved once again to adhere to this rule. Here are some quick thoughts from Democratic Primaries around the state.
Al Lawson never should have been challenged by Leonard Bembry. However significant elements of the FDP hierarchy choose to support him, and Lawson decisive win should set up an opportunity for the Democrats to recapture this seat where Alan Boyd was routed in 2010. Ultimately, Bembry’s conservatism was too much for many Democratic Primary voters.
Kristin Jacobs run for Congress was always going to be ill fated. It seems her greatest impact was forcing Lois Frankel to spend money and give Adam Hasner a leg up in the November’s General Election. This is a seat the Democrats MUST win if the Congress is to have any chance of flipping back to the Ds next January.
The most important Democratic Senate Primary in the state ended in defeat for Ron Saunders, the House Democratic “leader”. It is the third time Saunders has sought this seat and come away defeated. Saunders received a great deal of help from his conservative lobbyist allies in this race and substantially out-raised eventual winner Rep. Dwight Bullard. Bullard’s fundraising was largely drawn from unions and progressive activists.
Saunders strong support from the NRA (who rated him an A+, the only Democrat running in a primary for any non-local office in Florida to receive that grade), big business, insurance companies, and school “choice” advocates did him little good in this largely urban district. This should be a lesson to future Democratic candidates that what you may do to be liked in Tallahassee by the lobbyist will bite you when you return home.
Andrew Morey was on our radar weeks ago when I was tipped off by multiple contacts in Gainesville that this young candidate had something special. One friend even described him as the “real deal.” Morey emphasized environmental and education issues against House Victory backed Aaron Boshardt and despite being heavily outspent, won a fairly low turnout primary. Morey now faces Rep. Keith Perry in the general.
Joe Saunders decisive win is a victory for House Victory and a defeat for certain activist elements in the Orange County DEC. Considering their were more votes in the Republican Primary in this seat, Saunders isn’t home free yet but still will be favored in the General Election.
Mark Danish was the first House candidate TPH endorsed in the state because he has the perfect background and profile to beat Shawn Harrison in November. His decisive win sets up a titanic battle in this Carrolwood based seat that has trended towards the Democrats.
I had feared former Rep. Adam Fetterman had bitten off more than he could chew with this one and sadly was right. Fetterman would have been a stronger progressive voice than Larry Lee, but Lee’s local contacts, fundraising prowess and strong campaign was too much here. In retrospect, Fetterman should have challenged Gayle Harrell in the neighboring 83rd, where Harrell defeated Fetterman in 2010 after vacating the seat in 2008 to run for Congress. Fetterman won that seat when it was open in 2008.
HD 98 and 104
Katie Edwards and Rick Stark’s victories mean one of two things for Broward Democrats.
A) The base of the Broward party is shifting right with two conservatives winning primaries against clearly defined liberals (two in the case of Stark’s win.)
B) The turnout in Broward was so low that it is difficult to interpret these results.
The answer is one of the above but at this point in time we don’t know what it is.