Supermajority Out as Florida Senate Grows More Business-Friendly
Around the State
Democrats picked up two seats, including knocking Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, from office, as they cut into the Republican supermajority in the Florida Senate on Tuesday.
The overall membership, however, that Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, inherits should be more business friendly than the past couple of sessions which have proven to be more than kind to Florida’s commerce interests.
“The reason Republicans are winning more Senate seats than pure partisan registration numbers would indicate is because our candidates have made the best case for job creation, limited government and tying education closer to the realities and opportunities of the economy,” Gaetz stated in a release.
“Tonight’s results prove these issues matter as much to independents and many Democrats as they do to Republicans. These are the better ideas on which we’ll build the new Florida.”
Marian Johnson, Chamber senior vice president of political strategy, said the 15 first-time senators joining the upper chamber of the Legislature have shown to be more supportive of business interests than some of those that departed due to term limits or quests for other offices.
“These 27 are much more reliable than the 28 in the past,” Johnson said of expected pro-business support from the GOP majority in the Senate.
Chamber-backed candidates took three of the four most contested Senate races: Districts 4, 8 and 14.
Former Rep. Aaron Bean of Fernandina Beach had no problems topping Democrat Nancy Soderberg for the District 4 seat, Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, easily defeated Frank Bruno in the District 8 contest, and Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, who was backed by the chamber, defeated trial lawyer William McBride.
“During this campaign, citizens told me that the most important issues to them were creating jobs and getting our economy back on track, making Tallahassee fiscally responsible, and investing in education,” Hukill stated in a release.
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith called Soto's victory a historic milestone for becoming the first Puerto Rican state senator in Florida's history.
"Darren ran a strong campaign centered on the principals of public service which have guided his career, and tonight the people of Central Florida made history and delivered him a victory," Smith stated in a release. "He is, and will continue to be, a rising star in our party."
Democrats captured the hard-fought and expensive District 34 contest that pitted two sitting senators: Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, and Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale.
Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, who had predicted Bogdanoff would prevail in the Democratic-leaning district, said she ran a "hard-fought campaign."
"The hard work and vigor she displayed on the campaign trail comes second only to the dedication with which she has approached her role in the Senate," Gaetz stated in a release.
"I am proud that our Republican Caucus strongly supported Senator Bogdanoff and that many members of our caucus raised resources to help her and came to South Florida to walk door-to-door for her. She will be truly missed in the Senate. I fully expect Ellyn Bogdanoff to resume her service to the people of Southeast Florida in future years. I congratulate Senator Maria Sachs on her victory and look forward to working across the aisle with her in the days ahead.”
Smith said Sachs' victory should be a message to Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP in Tallahassee.
"Tonight, the people of South Florida sent a strong message to Governor Rick Scott and the Republicans in Tallahassee," Smith stated. "Floridians are ready to put an end to the GOP’s failed policies that have moved our state in the wrong direction in favor of a fresh approach aimed at strengthening middle class families and ending the corruption and waste in government."
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.