JaxPoliticsOnline.com

Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Profiling A Future Gubernatorial Contender

The St. Pete Times profiles a future gubernatorial candidate, US Rep (and Agricultural Commissioner Candidate) Adam Putnam.

For those looking for the future of the Republican Party, he might just be the guy running for agriculture commissioner of Florida.

“We’re in tough times, and people are anxious, they’re scared, they’re frustrated, they’re angry,” Putnam said in an interview in his spacious fourth-floor office, across from the Capitol. “And they don’t see a lot of relevant solutions coming from the Republican Party right now.”

Read the full profile here.

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Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics,

Florida’s Political Dominos

With Charlie Crist’s Tuesday announcement that he was jumping into the race to succeed retiring US Senator Mel Martinez, the political dominos are beginning to fall in Florida.

Within a week, Florida CFO Alex Sink (D) is expected to announce her intentions to run for Governor.  So is Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R).  So is Agriculture Secretary Charles Bronson (R).  That would mean all of Florida’s Cabinet positions will now be open.  So, who is running?  

State Senator Dave Aronberg (D-Ft. Myers) will soon announce his candidacy for Attorney General.  (His website currently shows “Under Construction.”)  Rumors abound that State Senator Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach), currently a Democratic candidate for the US Senate seat, might also be interested.  Another potential candidate on the Democratic side is former State Senator (and Gubernatorial candidate) Rod Smith (R-Alachua).  The Republican candidates are less clear, perhaps State Rep. Adam Hasner (R-Palm Beach) or State Rep. Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park).  

The race for Chief Financial Officer is wide open on both sides.  Alex Sink was expected to be a shoo-in and no major candidates had expressed interest because of that.  Perhaps former State Senator Tom Lee (R) will give it another shot.  Current Senate President Jeff Atwater (R) appears to be the only one in the race at this point.

The race for Agriculture Secretary is already underway.  US Rep. Adam Putnam (R) already has his campaign website up and running.  At this point, it appears that there are no significant challengers to him.

The most interesting race in the state to watch; however, will be the US Senate race.  The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already weighed in on the Florida race, despite their promises to stay out of it last week.  They have endorsed Crist, something that will only encourage Marco Rubio in his outside bid to “claim” the nomination for “conservatives.”  Jim Greer, the Chairman of the Florida Republican Party, is a close ally of Gov. Crist and will most likely make overt moves to back him in the primary as well.  According to sources, a key figure in the Florida GOP leadership also told a Republican crowd this weekend that he is working to “clear the field” in the Gubernatorial race, meaning that the GOP is moving avoid a nasty primary.  (Of course, nothing speaks to democracy like an attempt by party power brokers to “clear the field.”)

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the flurry of activity around the new candidates for statewide office is that there is nary a mention of a North Floridian among them.  That’s right, Jacksonville—long one of the dominant cities in fielding Florida Governors over the years—has no one ready to step up to higher office.  What does that say about the people we’ve been sending to Tallahassee for the last two decades?

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,

1st Quarter Fundraising At A Glance

On 3 Public Relations is out with a synopsis of the funds raised to date for Florida races.  A few quick highlights:

  • CFO Alex Sink (D) has raised over $1.1 million for her re-election race, which could be quickly switched to the Gubernatorial race if she should so desire.
  • Charlie Crist (R) has raised not a single dollar for his re-election bid.  (Don’t let that fool you, Charlie is a rather prolific fundraiser once he kicks it into gear—and makes up his mind in regards to which race he’s in.)
  • Rep. Adam Putnam (R) leads in the fundraising for Secretary of Agriculture by a significant margin.
  • There has been a stunning $388,520 raised already for the Senate seat that Jim King (R) will vacate.  Aaron Bean still leads the pack with $220,441 raised, but Art Graham ($91,050) and Dan Quiggle ($77,029) aren’t far behind.  Of course, John Thrasher has yet to raise any funds, leaving an observer to wonder just how expensive this North Florida Senate seat can get.  (Funny that the economy doesn’t seem to be affecting political fundraising—at least in North Florida.)

View the full report here.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , , , , ,

Jeb Bush vs. Alex Sink

Is it a race to replace Mel Martinez?  

Jeb Bush:

A July 2008 St. Pete Times article wondered if Jeb would seek political office again.    Looks like the St. Pete Times was right on the money as Jeb has now announced he’s seriously considering a run for Martinez’ US Senate seat.  With all the talks he had been giving about the education system, the numerous non-profits he started that many felt were to keep his political base and staffers in place, and the secrecy surrounding his low-profile but extremely public entrepreneurial makeover, rumors had flown that he could be in line to be in the Presidential circle as Education Secretary if John McCain won the Presidential race.  With McCain losing, Jeb has had to set his sights just a little lower.  Now Jeb has been named to sit on the Board of Jacksonville’s Rayonier Inc. for $40,000 a year.  Quite a plum, as Rayonier is a Republican-leaning international timber, real estate, and performance fiber company.  That will certainly re-establish his NE Florida connections (recall that his son went to Bolles while Jeb was Governor) and gain him the favor of Jacksonville’s Republicans.  Connections he’ll desperately need to run for the US Senate now that Florida went blue in the last Presidential election. 

Alex Sink:

Will she or won’t she?  Seems Alex has had mixed feelings about whether or not she wanted to give up her position as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.  Quite frankly, who wouldn’t want to give up that position right now with Florida staring down the sights of a $2+ billion deficit that’s projected to balloon to somewhere around $4 billion next year?  Democrats have been pushing her to run for Governor in 2010, but again who in their right mind would want to have to stare down that huge deficit facing Florida.  Now that Martinez has seen the writing on the wall and announced he doesn’t intend to seek the seat, Alex has again been publicly expressing her interest in running for his seat.  Alex is a wildly popular Democrat – even among Republicans.  Could Alex take a race with Jeb?  She’d certainly be the Democrat candidate that could give him a run for his money.

Other candidates who have expressed an interest:

Republicans:  Bill McCollum, Allen Bense, Marco Rubio, Vern Buchanan, Connie Mack IV, and Adam Putnam.

Democrats:  Allen Boyd, Kendrick Meek, Dan Gelber, and Ron Klein.

Not a NE Floridian among them. 

Stay tuned.

Filed under: Florida Politics, Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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