Politics

Florida Democrats Have a Thin Bench Despite Charlie Crist's Fool's Gold

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: April 7, 2014 3:55 PM
Allison Tant and Charlie Crist

Allison Tant and Charlie Crist

Allison Tant promised her fellow Florida Democrats she would recruit candidates to run against Republicans holding Cabinet office, but with two and a half months to go until qualifying ends, no major opponent has yet taken on Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam.

Florida Democrats appeared to have the wind at their backs as Amanda Murphy picked up a Florida House seat from Republicans and Rick Kriseman won the St. Petersburg mayor’s race. But David Jolly’s upset win over Alex Sink in a special congressional election short-circuited that surge.

Tant has to feel good about Charlie Crist’s chances over Rick Scott in November’s main event. There are two credible candidates challenging Pam Bondi in George Sheldon and Perry Thurston, but they’re both underdogs to the Republican attorney general. Atwater and Putnam still don’t have major challengers even as Tant used her weight as chairwoman of the party to throw her support to Allie Braswell to challenge Atwater. Braswell didn’t even last in the race a week after reports came out that he filed for personal bankruptcies on numerous occasions leading to questions about how well Tant and her team vetted him.

Nor do things look much better at the legislative level. There are 20 Florida Senate seats up for grabs this year and the GOP is defending 16 of them. Only one Republican senator -- Jeff Brandes -- has a serious Democratic foe. Even there, Judith Ann McLauchlin starts off as the underdog against Brandes. It’s tough to see Republicans picking up any Florida Senate seats this year and, besides McLauchlin, Democrats simply aren’t showing much effort to flip the chamber.

Nor do things look much better across the Capitol lobby in the Florida House. To be sure, Democrats have their chances to pick up seats -- like the one being vacated by Ed Hooper -- against Republican incumbents, but none of those are anything close to easy tasks. Meanwhile, several Democrats in the House -- Karen Castor-Dentel, Mike Clelland, Mark Danish, Dwight Dudley, Jose Javier Rodriguez, Linda Stewart and Carl Zimmerman -- can expect tough fights from Republicans in November. Democrats could see their gains in the Florida House from 2012 vanish.

If Crist wins, Democrats will take heart for winning their first gubernatorial contest in 20 years. But it’s telling that they would have to rely on a longtime successful Republican politician to win the governor’s mansion. As their frustrations with recruiting Cabinet and legislative candidates show, Florida Democrats continue to have a thin bench and Democrats continue to wait for Tant to keep her promise.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (4)

Richard Paul Dembinsky
7:36PM APR 10TH 2014
Unfortunately for Republicans Charlie Crist was forced to become a qualified Democrat; The next Governor will have 4 years to finally SAVE Florida from the unfair and unconstitutional election laws....and GET REAL JOBS in Florida not like those solar jobs Dorothy Hukill seems to believe will be possible if YOU throw State MONEY at it.

Oh, Industries should not have been given a Sales Tax break as Dorothy Hukill pushed to the Governor's Desk.

Enough is Enough

Charlie Crist...........Time to select YOUR running mate so the Republicans have new material...because we are tired of the Obamacare clips ...Time to Start the Charlie Crist Campaign in State Senate District 8....

386 788 3885
Richard Paul Dembinsky
7:29PM APR 10TH 2014
Charlie Crist call me 386 788 3885 before June 1, 2014; Mr. Morgan stop wasting your money on a social problem and work to Make Florida's Highways Safer.

onballot dot com

whocareshalloffame dot com

Anyone that wants to give Tallahassee an earthquake should back Charlie Crist....so the actions of a New State Senate District 8 incumbent will help Charlie Crist....get Florida back to WORK NOW.
Lgbpop
8:13PM APR 7TH 2014
Gov. Scott has spent four years working his butt off to bring jobs back to Florida, after we lost so many under Chain-Gang Charlie. Crist may as well be a weathervane as a human being; his positions change with the wind and the time of day - and he has the gall to deny to one's face that he said whatever he said, despite voluminous video documentation to the contrary. I cannot stand a liar, and no one I know aside from a Democrat would vote for one.
Frank
10:04AM APR 8TH 2014
Then I guess you won't be voting . . . . especially as Rick Scott has been independently demonstrated to be telling more (and bigger) lies than even your arch foe that you're attempting to demonize . . . . . rightwing truthiness politics of the "Big Lie" . . . . funny, if it weren't so . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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