John Morgan's Son Mike No Match for Bondi, Sheldon or Thurston

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: December 11, 2013 3:55 AM
Mike Morgan, Pam Bondi, George Sheldon, Perry Thurston

Mike Morgan, Pam Bondi, George Sheldon, Perry Thurston

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.

Two major Democratic candidates are already gunning for Bondi. Besides being an attorney, Perry Thurston seems to have the political credentials at least to become attorney general which is, arguably, the second most powerful position in Tallahassee. Whatever one thinks of his politics, Thurston is one of the top Democrats in Tallahassee, leading his party in the House. It’s expected, if he loses the attorney general contest in 2014, Thurston should bounce back in 2016 and win a Florida Senate seat which he’s already gunning for.

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.

Comments (3)

9:14AM DEC 16TH 2013
anything would be better than what we have now. the present ag has ignored the consumer in favor of special interests which fund the republican party coffers.
Paul Revere
6:52PM DEC 11TH 2013
Sheldon is far and away the best candidate and the one most prepared to win this post. Morgan is a joke, just like his father and Bondi is hot looking but it ends there.
Dean Franklin
9:28AM DEC 11TH 2013
By the tone I know Jeff does not like Crist or Morgan, and does like Pam. A couple of mistakes by Pam. How about delaying an execution for a fund raiser? That despite high support Pam not only chose to oppose medical marijuana, but has lied and distorted the truth in doing so. How about spending millions fighting obamacare, while expecting to lose.

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