Politics

Dem Boss Karen Thurman Hints at Lines of Attack on Jeff Atwater, Adam Putnam

Praises Loranne Ausley, Scott Maddox; draws battle lines on corruption and offshore drilling
By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 25, 2010 11:05 AM

Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Thurman offered strong words of praise Friday for her party’s two candidates who have already been chosen -- former Rep. Loranne Ausley for state CFO and former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. Thurman also revealed lines of attack against the Republican candidates for those offices.

“We have our nominees for Florida's next CFO, Loranne Ausley, and Florida's next commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, Scott Maddox,” wrote Thurman in an e-mail to supporters. “They are both exactly the kind of leaders Tallahassee needs to clean up after the mess the Republicans have left.”

Thurman offered biographical details on her candidates and jabs at the two Republicans in the races -- Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, for CFO and U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam for agriculture commissioner. Thurman labeled Atwater as “the ultimate political insider” who “has spent his career watching out for the banking and insurance industries, and has been a key player in the Republican Party's culture of corruption. He was also the architect of the Tallahassee power grab on education and is even interested in turning back the clock and forcing himself between women and their doctors.”

Thurman’s message confirmed that the Maddox campaign will play up their candidate’s opposition to offshore drilling and attack Putnam on the issue.

“Adam Putnam is hoping to escape his miserable record in Washington, D.C. by running for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services,” wrote Thurman. “After leading Republican efforts in gutting consumer protections, supporting drilling off Florida, and currying favor with special interests, there is no reason for him to ask for a promotion.”

Thurman played up Maddox’s rural roots as well as his opposition to drilling. “Whether it is fighting against more drilling off our beaches or standing up against the special interests, Maddox has a proven record of fighting for us,” wrote Thurman. “Raised on farmlands in Homestead and in rural Leon County, he will work every day to preserve Florida's unique quality of life and keep it a special place for all of us.”

Ausley and Maddox have their work cut out for them. They are both trailing the Republicans in terms of fund-raising. Polling has shown Atwater ahead of Ausley, while Maddox and Putnam are in tight races -- though many Floridians remain undecided.

With close and dramatic battles in the gubernatorial campaign as well as the battle for the U.S. Senate, candidates down-ballot in the state Cabinet races -- be they Atwater and Ausley or Maddox and Putnam, or the five candidates battling it out for the Democratic and the Republican attorney general nominations -- and will have a hard time getting noticed.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com, or at (850) 727-0859.


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