George Sheldon No Threat to Pam Bondi Despite his Credentials
Around the State
The media reported this week that George Sheldon is considering running against Pam Bondi next year -- and Republicans should be delighted.
Sheldon’s credentials are impressive. Starting off as an aide to Reubin Askew, Sheldon was elected to the Legislature and was deputy attorney general under Bob Butterworth. When Charlie Crist named Butterworth to head up the Department of Children and Families, Sheldon was once again his deputy but eventually moved to the top spot there. In recent years, Sheldon has been in Washington as a member of the Obama administration, currently serving as acting assistant secretary for children and families in the federal department of Health and Human Services.
Sheldon has shown little capacity to fundraise in his past campaigns. That would be a major problem in 2014 with Bondi and the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) expected to be flush with cash. Sheldon also is handicapped by his lack of a geographic base which hurt him against Dyer and Maddox in the primary in 2002.
Bondi offers a sharp contrast to Sheldon. A favorite of conservatives, Bondi will play up her opposition to Obamacare while Sheldon will defend it. Bondi is 47 and dynamic, leading to her being a constant guest on Fox News and recognition as a rising Republican star. Sheldon is 66 and is well-versed on policy and public affairs but nobody would ever consider him dynamic. With Crist -- who left the GOP in 2010 to run for the Senate with no party affiliation and is now a Democrat -- expected to run for governor in 2014, Sheldon could face questions about his former rival now at the top of the ticket and his flirting with leaving the Democrats to run for governor.
Based on all of this, Sheldon appears made to order for Bondi. Nor would he help the rest of the Democratic ticket by increasing turnout in a certain geographic area or with a demographic group. The names of other Democrats are being kicked around, including Dan Gelber and Perry Thurston, who would, at first glance, help the ticket more than Sheldon even if they would be hard-pressed to beat Bondi. Despite his experience and credentials, Sheldon’s political future might be more of his past: namely in holding appointive office and failing on the campaign trail.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.