No legislative race victory in the past decade has meant more for the attempts to rebuild the Florida Democratic Party than the possible defeat of Chris Dorworth by Mike Clelland. With all the precincts reported and a recount pending, Clelland leads by 37 votes. My colleague, Dave Trotter and I have talked up Clelland’s chances since April, and Dorworth as we have repeatedly editorialized had become a poster child for an arrogant, reckless, and entitled GOP Legislative majority.
This race from our vantage point was more important than every other legislative race in the state combined. The Democrats have repeatedly not targeted Republican legislative leaders even when vulnerable and despite Dorworth’s laundry list of ethical lapses, he was being backed heavily and unfailingly by GOP as well as just about special interest group in the state. But when you spend millions in money on someone who is consistently in the headlines for the wrong reasons you hit a point of diminishing returns which happened with Dorworth. The FDP finally came in the last few weeks to this district and did an excellent job of framing the message, putting Clelland over the top (recount pending.)
On this website we repeatedly called out those backing Dorworth even if they were Democrats and today anyone who feels strongly about ethics, accountability and morality in Government is in a better place. Chris Dorworth’s defeat will scare the fear of god into the arrogant GOP majority who has felt untouchable for 14 years in a way that has allowed them to developed a sense of entitlement. For years the Republicans have berated political opponents, citizens that dare to speak up, media members who question them and just about anyone else in the way. This morning, we believe this attitude while not gone will be much milder.
We have several critiques of the Florida Democrats House Victory targeting and strategy that I will write about later in greater depth. For starters, Mark Danish the first Legislative candidate we endorsed this cycle was always going to have a good chance to defeat Rep. Shawn Harrison in a redrawn Democratic oriented district. Yet the party did not get directly involved and as a matter of principle because they did not get involved and I felt it was an important cause I personally volunteered my time to help Danish in any way I could. He won, upsetting Harrison, while the FDP money was spent on other campaigns in the area with little or no chance to win.
But this is not an article to attack Florida Democrats but to praise them. By coming in hard the last two weeks and ignoring the good ole boys deal not to target the other party’s leaders, they have sent the loudest and most important potential message. Congratulations to all parties involved and we are confident Mike Clelland will be a superstar, the true people’s representative in Seminole County that Chris Dorworth was not.