I think Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) who is a candidate for Minority Leader against the favored Darryl Rouson (D-St Petersburg) and the irrelevant Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) is a solid choice, and I would like to see her win the post. However, I am very troubled to learn that in the dying days of the 2012 campaign as Democrats were struggling to raise last minute cash in extremely close races that the Florida Democratic Party cut two large checks to Jones campaign in a safe African-American dominated Jacksonville district.
For some strange reason Tallahassee establishment Democrats were patting themselves on the back for winning 44 of 120 House seats in this election while the party carried the state at the Presidential and US Senate level. That’s less than 36% of the seats that was won by the Democrats on a completely new legislative map, where almost as many seats should go Democratic as Republican. The FDP choose to not contest seriously many pick-up opportunities, for some inexplicable reason. Incumbency has advantages no doubt, but those advantages are negated to a certain extent when sitting members must run in new terrain. One such example was HD-63 where 2/3 of the district was new to Rep. Shawn Harrison and Mark Danish won despite the indifference of the Tallahassee based FDP leadership.
Another example was Rep. John Wood whose district shifted north and eastward and could have been upset by Karen Welzel had any effort been placed in the race from Florida’s Democratic leadership. Wood’s defeat combined with that of Chris Dorworth would have crippled the GOP Leadership, but instead Wood hung on thanks to the indifference of the FDP towards the race and the district. Others like Ross Hancock, Karen Welzel, Milissa Holland and Gail Gottlieb also lost close races largely because of the state party’s lack of interest in their candidacies.
Throughout the state Democrats lost 13 House races by less than 5,000 votes and five House races by less than 2,000 votes. The $20,000 that ended up in Mia Jones campaign account certainly could have been better spent. Why exactly this money was given to Jones campaign is a mystery, but could very well make those candidates who fought so hard in an uphill fight without FDP financial or strategic help even more bitter.
Below are the two questionable contributions to Rep. Jones campaign:
2012 G4 10/31/2012 10,000.00 FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY NON F 2012 G4 11/01/2012 10,000.00 FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY NON F