Sheldon and Thurston Bogged Down in Last Days of Dem AG Primary

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: August 22, 2014 3:55 AM
George Sheldon and Perry Thurston

George Sheldon and Perry Thurston

While there are some interesting legislative contests, this is an underwhelming primary season in Florida and it starts at the top.

Rick Scott will have no problem running over his no-name challengers on the Republican side. The only question left with the Democrats is how wide will Charlie Crist's margin be over Nan Rich? Things aren’t much better on the congressional front where some of the most competitive primaries are in seats safe for the other party.

The only competitive primary at the state level is the George Sheldon-Perry Thurston match-up to see who takes on Pam Bondi. Neither has impressed in terms of fundraising or in making much of an impression in the primary. What little polling there has been in the race shows most Florida Democrats are undecided and have little familiarity with either of the candidates.

Sheldon and Thurston have been forced to deal with other matters besides hitting the campaign trail in the last weeks of the primary, which has only added to their problems. In recent weeks, Sheldon faced questions about his eligibility to be attorney general stemming from his time in Washington as part of the Obama administration. It was only at the end of last week that the matter was settled with a Leon County judge ruling that Sheldon was eligible to be on the ballot.

But Thurston had matters of his own to deal with, stemming from redistricting. Thurston was back in Tallahassee leading Democrats in the Florida House as the Legislature wrestled with redistricting during a special session. Barred from fundraising when the Legislature is in session, he lost precious time in the final days of the campaign to raise some much-needed campaign cash. Even once the session ended, Thurston was forced to Tallahassee to testify Wednesday in the latest round of redistricting hearings before Judge Terry Lewis.  

In the final days of the campaign, both candidates are picking up the pace. Thurston has a bus he’s using, new literature and has been phone-banking heavily. Sheldon has also been increasingly busy with campaign appearances and fundraisers across the state.

But both men are behind the eight ball. Bondi has raised 10 times as much as the two Democrats combined and she has a strong head start even with pugnacious Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer in the race. Add into the mix outside groups ready to help her and Bondi has a solid lead. Neither Sheldon nor Thurston has shown anything close to gaining momentum in this contest, though both men seem to have honed their lines of attack to use against Bondi.

Bondi has her weak spots, of course, and whoever wins the Democratic primary will hit her from the left on gay marriage, medical marijuana and Obamacare. They’ll also point to the gaffes and missteps she’s made in Tallahassee. But, to catch her, they're going to have to take their game to a higher ground than they're playing on now and where they've been in their political careers. So far, neither has shown much in the way of signs that they are ready to step up to the next level.

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

Comments (3)

8:58PM AUG 25TH 2014
The idea that fundraising and personal campaign cash flow means you are a better political choice, better political leader or the better person PERIOD - is ignorant, gullible and plain idiotic!!
4:26PM AUG 23RD 2014
"Pugnacious"? Way to show your inherent bias in your writing, Mr. Henderson. I would think that most candidates running for political office would be combative. After all, in today's world, no one usually gets elected sitting on their hands. Heck, Ms. Bondi hasn't been rosy in her activities either.

I would expect a third-party candidate to be more assertive, since it takes so much for them to get noticed by the media and other channels that continue to propagate the concept of there "only" being two parties. Here is a candidate that is focused and assertive on the issues, and you belittle him. Just sad.

In any case, that won't deter me and others. We are looking for that candidate that wants to get government out of the business of micro-managing people's lives and actually means it. Bill Wohlisfer, from what has been shown, is that candidate. Consider me a Republican that is upset with the status quo propagated by our AG and is looking for a change. November can't come soon enough!
1:36PM AUG 22ND 2014
Vote for Bill Wohlsifer. As for Governor: I am very pleased that Adrian Wyllie will be a part of the debate. Floridians deserve to hear from all the candidates to be well informed. Adrian Wyllie deserves my vote and yours too. He is a honest average Floridian just as you and I , that is willing to stand up and do something for the interest of all of us here in Florida. The other candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned and controlled by special interest, like puppets and will lie to your face to gain your vote, then continue the same old agenda that we complain about year after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round, election after election, thinking it will be any different. Take a stand, vote for the candidate that loves this state and is willing to take time out of his life, effort and money to SERVE the people of Florida and stop voting for these 'paid for' career politicians that are only out for money and fame and have zero interest in us Floridians. Even if it's just for honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of the other two (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours and yours alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the face, go ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do what is right for our (yours and your children's) future and vote for Adrian Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the word and contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very powerful. Visit his website today.

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