Winners and Losers of the Week in Florida Politics – Week of 7/17/22
Voting is an integral part of politics; as experts, we can sometimes focus on them.
But we do so at our own risk.
I don’t blame the pollsters because their findings are just a snapshot in time. Things can and do change. If it wasn’t true, we would have had the president hillary clinton and govt. Andrew Gillum – or maybe the governor. Gwen Graham.
However, I nearly coughed up my Grape-Nuts the other day when news of an internal poll in Florida’s 14 racee Congressional District. He showed a hypothetical game where the Republican Jerry Torres led the incumbent Democrat eight times Catherine Beaver 66% to 14%.
My first was that the poll was actually an onion story, or maybe they polled attendees at a Torres family picnic. I mean, Castor is a well-known local political juggernaut.
Castor won with over 60% of the vote in 2020 and now has an even more Democratic district thanks to new boundary lines drawn by the governor. Ron DeSantis.
Unsurprisingly, Torres’ camp didn’t provide much information about the poll, except to say pollsters reached respondents via text. Read whatever you want.
Oh, and before Torres can even think about facing Castor, he has to win the Republican primary.
Oh, and he also has to withstand a legal challenge to kick him out of the poll for issues with his papers.
He will find Castor waiting at the pass if he crosses these two obstacles.
And while political predictions are dicey, I feel good to say he won’t get 66% of the vote against her. More likely it will be the other way around.
Now it’s time for our weekly game of winners and losers.
Honorable Mention: Maria Elvira Salazar. She’s gaining momentum in a bid to defend her seat in Florida’s 27e Congressional District.
Salazar raised $835,000, the best of the campaign in the second quarter, which is significant because Democrats have prioritized capturing his district.
In July, Salazar had $1.4 million in cash. Florida Politics’ Jesse Scheckner reported that she received more than a thousand donations during the quarter. While Salazar received multiple maximum donations, she also received many smaller checks from individual donors.
Almost (but not quite) the biggest winner: Charlie Crist. Former University of Florida football coach Doug Dickey used to say that to win, his team first had to avoid losing. This is what Crist did in his debate with Fried Nikkimeaning he won by not losing.
Crist hasn’t made any headline-grabbing blunders, despite Fried’s efforts to hammer him about his move to the Republican Party.
She attacked his stance on abortion rights, particularly his appointment of three conservative Florida Supreme Court justices when he was governor.
Crist, she said, has “been pro-life his whole life, including today.”
He brushed it off, replying, “You are losing this campaign. It’s time for despair.
In effect, polls consistently show Crist with a comfortable lead over Fried with the primary election less than a month away.
Biggest Winner: DeSantis. The governor cashed in on the love (and money) in Tampa from the conservative party Moms for Freedom Mountain peak. He was a rock star at a private fundraiser in Utah, where attendees paid more than $50,000 per person for a luncheon and reception with DeSantis and $25,000 per couple for lunch.
There’s also organized breakfast there for the great rate of $500 per person or $2,500 for breakfast and a photo.
But his biggest win may have come from something DeSantis wasn’t involved in.
The bipartisan January 6 committee in Washington did everything but outfit former President Donald Trump in an orange jumpsuit for his role in the insurgency. In great detail, Trump’s staff and family members pleaded with him to stop the rioters.
In place, Trump watched TV and seemed satisfied with the attack.
That’s good news for DeSantis, even though Trump regularly hints that he’ll run for president in 2024. While Trump unquestionably has plenty of support, big players know having him at the top of the ticket puts the party in extreme danger.
On the other hand, Republicans who want to win back the White House increasingly see DeSantis as the best choice.
Dishonorable Mention: Alisabeth Janai Lancaster. She is running for a seat on the Santa Rosa County School Board. She touts her Christian values and wants to see prayer return to public school classrooms.
But that’s not why she’s on this list.
At a recent policy forum, Lancaster told an enthusiastic audience that doctors who help transition transgender children “should be suspended from the nearest tree.
We repeat: The audience applauded.
Which is worse: the remark itself or the reaction to it?
According to the Pensacola News Journal, Lancaster is the Republican Party’s preferred candidate for Santa Rosa County.
When asked if the party would still support Lancaster, the president Rita Gunter replied: “No comment.”
Almost (but not quite) the biggest loser: Marco Rubio. The senior US senator from Florida has shown complete disregard for the respect for marriage law. It would codify same-sex and interracial marriage at the federal level.
The House passed the bill with 47 Republicans, including representatives from Florida. Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez, Brian Mast, Maria Elvira Salazar, and Michael Waltz join all democrats.
Now he’s going to the Senate, and we already know how Rubio will vote.
He told CNN Manu Raju that the bill is a “stupid waste of time.”
Rubio also told Punchbowl News, “I don’t know why we’re doing this bill; there is no threat to his status in America. But I know a lot of gay people in Florida who are pissed off about gas prices.
Rubio is unaware that many conservatives, including three recent additions to the United States Supreme Court, said basically the same thing about Roe v. Wade. They called it an established law, which was never to be overturned.
And then it was.
During his failure 2016 presidential campaign, Rubio said the ruling was not settled law. He said that if elected, “I will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will interpret the Constitution as it was originally constructed.”
So, Rubio should understand that LGBTQ+ people don’t have much faith in anything coming out of Washington right now.
This is all the more true since Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that the SCOTUS reconsider the federal law that legalized same-sex marriage.
Val Demingsthe Democrat trying to unseat Rubio, quickly pounced with a statement lambasting his remarks.
“It’s embarrassing that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida calls a bipartisan effort to protect the freedom to marry whoever you love a ‘dumb waste of time.’ I thought marrying the person you love was always a good thing,” she said.
“Marco Rubio has proven he has no interest in representing and fighting for all Floridians.”
Florida representatives voting against the bill include Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Byron Donald, Neal Dun, Scott Franklin, Matt Gaetz, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Greg Steube, and Daniel Webster.
But to be fair, gas is too expensive these days.
The Biggest Loser: Florida Homeowners. Hurricane season is about to get real, and Florida’s beleaguered property insurance industry may have gotten worse just in time.
Demotech, the rating agency for insurance companies, is about to downgrade 17 property insurers in Florida. This could force landlords to pay much higher rates.
The downgrade could mean that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which require mortgages to have minimum property insurance coverage, would not back those mortgages.
Is this a good time to remind everyone that incumbent Republican State Sen. Jeff Brandes sounded the alarm several months ago about this impending crisis?
DeSantis, instead, prioritized a cultural fight against Disney over LGBTQ issues. As time passed, the governor focused on banning critical race theory from schools, which was easy since schools don’t teach it.
Lawmakers finally passed what DeSantis called “the most significant reforms to Florida’s home insurance market in a generation.” Brandes, however, was skeptical.
He told the St. Pete Catalyst the new bill was “too little, too late”.
Tick, tick, tick.