What To Do, What To Do?
Today's musings are in response to Peter Schorsch's recent "To Do List" for Florida Democrats.
I will say that Peter is mostly spot on in his observations, so let me offer some ideas for the Pinellas and Hillsborough DECs as they move forward.
The most important thing to remember is to not just focus on the big, "sexy" races. A state house race, for example, may not be as exciting to some folks as a congressional race, but they are often more winnable.
Pinellas was ground zero for Democrats in 2006, flipping a number of legislative seats from R to D. In 2010, those opportunities are strongest in Hillsborough with HD 60, where Russ Patterson, by all reports is running an aggressive field effort, and HD 57, where Faye Culp is termed out. It's also not too early for Hillsborough Dems to ask themselves who will be their strongest standard bearer next year, when the Tampa mayor's race opens up. Republicans are likely to rally behind Rose Ferlita, but it's not clear to me that Dems have a clear frontrunner.
In Pinellas, Bob Hackworth does a path to victory for the County Commission against (maybe) Susan Latvala. I say maybe because we all saw the numbers, wherein Latvala looked less than impressive against Beverly Biliris. In a Republican primary likely to be dominated by Rubio supporters and Tea Partiers, Latvala's road to the GOP nomination looks a little rocky. Hackworth has name recognition from his congressional race two years ago and though his self-imposed campaign finance limits of $100 per donor and no corporate monies will almost certainly mean that he will be outspent, he is a tireless door knocker and whoever comes out of the August 24th GOP primary will likely be a little bruised (and also probably be starting from zero in the money race - both Latvala and Biliris will almost certainly have to spend most or all of their warchest just to make sure of getting out of the primary).
In respect to Peter's exact points, he is absolute right about the primacy of the governor's race and the attorney general's race. I have already said that I think that either Aronbeg or Gelber will be strong in a general election matchup. Sink's campaign sometimes seems to be having some difficulty really taking off, so to speak, but she remains in the lead in the money race. In addition, is Paula Dockery puts some of her own money into her campaign, the GOP primary has the potential to become a little tricky (I must admit, Dockery is a little bit of mystery to me, but it is clear that she has some very devoted fans, whereas McCollum is at best liked, rather than loved, and has the ability to self-finance; she could become the next Rubio or just the next Joe Negron [the 2006 GOP primary for AG - look it up]).
I will say that Meek apparently portrayed himself as pretty confident of getting enough petitions to qualify when he spoke at the Pinellas Kennedy-King Dinner. He could have been bluffing, he could have been fooling himself, or he could know something we don't know. Or my spy could have totally misread the mood of the speech. Nonetheless, I will remain cautiously more sanguine than Peter about the Congressman's chances of qualifying by petition.
Finally, I have long believed that Fair District will go a long way towards the goal of good government for Florida (something we have not had for some time), whatever your political affiliation.