Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Contact: Mitch Kates
Thursday, April 06, 2006


ST. PETERSBURG – State Representative Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg) continues to lead both Republican candidates in the race for Florida Senate District 16, according to a recent poll. Among likely voters, Charlie Justice holds a commanding 17-point lead over the expected Republican nominee, State Representative Frank Farkas (R-St. Petersburg), and Justice soundly defeats State Representative Kim Berfield (R-Clearwater), who is also running for the seat, by 12-points. In the Republican primary, the poll shows Representative Farkas with a 10-point lead over Representative Berfield.

"I am encouraged by these numbers,” stated Representative Justice. “Our volunteers are working hard, and we are talking directly with a lot of voters. This poll shows that they are responding to our conversations. We believe this election offers a clear choice on critical issues, and the voters of District 16 are agreeing with us," declared Representative Justice.

With the race for Senate District 16 being a top priority for the Democratic Party, the polling results were well received by the Party. “We know that Senate District 16 is a swing seat where Democrats can win. Combined with the fact that Charlie Justice is a great candidate in touch the values of his community, we feel very positive going into this election,” proclaimed John Reid, Senate Political Director for the Florida Democratic Party. “This polling data proves that our optimism is justified.”

The race for Senate District 16 presents a unique opportunity for the voters of the district. For the first time in recent history, voters will be able to compare the voting records of three House members and base their choice for the Senate on how each Representative voted on key issues.

With the current political climate reeling from a variety of corruption scandals, local attitudes appear to be reflecting national trends that indicate voters are looking for independent thinkers.

Voters are concerned about their privacy and government intervention. In the highly charged Terry Schiavo case, Representative Justice took a well documented independent position opposing government involvement in personal family decisions. Both Representatives Farkas and Berfield voted with the majority in supporting government intervention.

Concerns over Special Interests are also on the minds of voters. During three separate votes pertaining to telephone rate increases, Representative Justice voted independently against rate hikes pushed by the telecommunications industry. And in the current Legislative Session, Representative Justice is among those leading an effort to repeal the existing telephone rate hikes by cosponsoring legislation to lower phone rates. Both Representatives Farkas and Berfield voted with the telecommunication’s lobby in support of higher phone bills for Florida’s families.

“Charlie is not your typical politician; he is a true Citizen Legislator,” declared Mitch Kates, Campaign Manager for the Justice campaign. “On issues that effect everyday people- everyday- voters have a strong memory of who voted for them. Our poll results show that the voters remember who took a position for the people and who took a position for Special Interests groups,” stated Mr. Kates.

The poll also showed that voters seek a leader willing to fight for public education. This further explains Representative Justice’s impressive results. With Representative Justice’s mantra “Fix Education First” playing an integral theme in his campaign for Senate and due to the fact that he recently received the “Champion of Public Education” award from Florida’s teachers, polling trends toward Justice are expected to continue.

Four hundred likely voters in Senate District 16 were interviewed in a random sample taken March 8-11, 2006. The margin of error for this survey is ± 4.9%, with a 95% confidence level.

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