Every month, or after every filing deadline, I will be looking at the candidates running for state offices, seeing who has the edge. This purely looks at both parties and see if they are living up to expectations or not. So, this is the first “Election Progress Report”.
Governor’s Race – As of right now, we have Rick Scott and Nan Rich in the running. Eventually, we are expecting Charlie Crist to enter the race. But when will that be? As of right now the Republicans have the advantage purely because of the amount of money raised. But this might tighten up as time passes. Nobody really has an advantage in this race as of right now.
Attorney General – Pam Bondi is off and running while the Democrats have no candidates to run against her. Strong advantage to the Republicans.
CFO – Like Bondi, Jeff Atwater is the only candidate running. Republicans are strong here as well.
Agriculture Commissioner – Like the other races, the Democrats haven’t thrown in anyone of quality to run against Adam Putnam. Strong advantage for the Republicans.
Florida Senate – Jeff Brandies, who is the most venerable of the current incumbent senators, still has no Democratic opposition. As of right now, the Democrats haven’t recruited a single quality candidate for the Florida Senate. Advantage big time to the Republicans.
Florida House – In the Florida House things get a little better for the Democrats, but not much. Looking at the candidates who have announced to date, there are three who are challenging incumbent Republicans who look like possible contenders: Pamela Gray in District 120, Daisy Baez in District 114 and Ty Hinnant in District 59. As far as the Republicans, most of their major targets already have quality candidates. Among those are Robert Cortes and Jonathan Scott Sturgill, both running for District 30, Scott Plakon running in District 29, Shawn Harrison who is running for his old District 63 seat and Chris Sprowls running for District 65.
Of the seats where Democrats are challenging Republicans, Democrats don’t have an advantage in any of them. For the Republicans, they are currently in a position of advantage in two of the seats (Danish-63 and Zimmerman-65). Demographics still give Karen Castor Dentel the edge in her seat. As far as the Plakon vs. Clelland situation, it might be hard to tell. Clelland is doing a good job with connecting with local voters, and has been able to raise a decent amount of money as well. Plakon’s campaign isn’t starting off that great, with lackluster fundraising. If the Republicans were to get another candidate to run against Clelland, they might have a chance. To assume that this is a “Republican by default” seat is just silly.
Overall, the Republicans are running circles around the Democrats. Most of the Republican candidates are outraising the Democrats. As for the political parties themselves, Democrats are also performing quite poorly, with the Florida GOP outraising the FDP 3-1. If this is any indication of how the upcoming election will pan out, Election Night will be a long one for Democrats.