John Morgan's Son Mike No Match for Bondi, Sheldon or Thurston
Around the State
By throwing out his son’s name as a possible candidate, John Morgan shuffled the deck on the Democratic primary to challenge Pam Bondi next year and Democrats should be steamed. Morgan revealed his son Mike was “thinking of running for FL Attorney General" on Twitter Tuesday.
At first glance, Bondi isn’t exactly vulnerable. Despite some missteps, she starts off as a favorite over whichever Democrat takes her on in 2014. Bondi beat out Democrat Dan Gelber, not exactly a political lightweight, by 13 percent in 2010 and she has proven to be a successful fundraiser.
Despite failing to win the education commissioner race in 2000 and the Democratic attorney general nomination in 2002, George Sheldon also has the record for the job. 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, giving up his post as acting assistant secretary for children and families in the federal department of Health and Human Services to enter the race.
Mike Morgan, the crown prince of the slip-and-fall lawyer dynasty, simply doesn’t have either Thurston’s or Sheldon’s bona fides. Graduating from law school only five years ago, the 30-year-old possible candidate works for his father’s firm handling trial law. Whatever his potential, the younger Morgan simply doesn’t have the experience to be Florida attorney general. Sheldon and Thurston, regardless of their flaws, can certainly talk policy and should be able to hold their own against Bondi.
If his son gets in the race, John Morgan’s fingerprints will be all over Florida Democrats. Morgan is the chief supporter of former Republican Charlie Crist as he looks to win back his old job as governor in 2014. Crist’s beaming face can be seen on Morgan’s billboards all across Florida. Morgan is also the chief backer of efforts to put a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the ballot.
Democrats can be pardoned if they feel dismayed by the growing Morgan influence on their party, especially as he tries to ensure Crist, who was pro-life and anti-gun control for most of his time in the political limelight, is their gubernatorial nominee. Despite running against Crist for education commissioner, Sheldon has lots of reasons to feel betrayed. Sheldon ended up working for Crist, eventually heading up DCF. If Democrats are wary about Crist leading the party, having Mike Morgan on the ticket isn’t exactly going to soothe their concerns.
Recent Florida attorney generals -- Bondi, Bill McCollum, Crist, Butterworth -- have generally been well-regarded attorneys and political leaders. Sheldon and Thurston might be to the left of most Florida voters but both men have the background to do the job. The same can’t be said of political rookie Mike Morgan who has done nothing to show he’s a top attorney. The best that can be said of Mike Morgan’s credentials is he has a famous father as his boss.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.