Friday, June 17, 2016

On the Florida Front, Shifting Candidates (w/ Update)

(Update below)
Just to keep you all informed of the current situation on the ground here.

The US Senate race in Florida is changing as one Republican candidate drops out to re-apply for the Congressional district he was leaving... in order to make room for Rubio to re-apply for the Senate seat he was vacating in order to run for President (state laws prohibit a candidate from running for two separate seats on one ballot).

To the Tampa Bay Times article!

The move sets up what could be an epic contest between Republican-turned-Democrat and former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is seeking the seat. After court-ordered redistricting, Jolly's seat now technically leans further toward the Democrats, though Jolly said Friday that a focus on local issues and solutions instead of partisan posturing would help him win over skeptics.
The switch also gets Jolly out of the way of incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, who is poised to run for re-election after long saying he would not. Jolly had declared weeks ago that he expected Rubio to reverse course and run for the Senate, and he made clear he would not run against Rubio under any circumstance.
Four other Republicans are also running in the race to replace Rubio, but none has surged to the forefront, causing national Republicans to become increasingly worried that none can win in November. That has prompted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others to publicly call on Rubio to run again for the Senate...

Rubio has kind of burned a few bridges during his Presidential campaign: Back in October he complained about the work - which was laughable because he was one of the most tardy Senators in office - and had blown off his responsibilities to the job in his constant setting up for this year's Presidential run. It would be interesting to see if he get back in (likely), which still depends on him filing by June 24. It shouldn't be too hard for him to get the signatures and funding in.

If Rubio returns, he's likely to win the Republican primary: With Jolly out, it's down to four lesser-known figures (two of whom might drop to avoid confronting Rubio) and it's with a state-wide party struggling to find any kind of salvation in the wake of Trump's bulldozing through here last March.

The thing will be the general election against the Democratic candidate, which is shaping up to be either Pat Murphy or Alan Grayson... likely to be Murphy, because Grayson's grand-standing and potential scandal is wearing out its welcome among Democratic ranks.

Just saying: both elections are key. Voters need to turn out for the Democrats both for the Senate race - make Rubio regret his absences and failures as a Senator, and turn the Senate back over to Dem control - and the House race - this is a good opportunity for Florida Dems to secure more Representatives, and get Crist to serve as a solid advocate for South Pinellas County - as part of an overall campaign to make Florida Blue.

Get the vote out, Florida Democrats. The congressional/state primary is in August, just around the corner... Every election matters, people!

Update 6/18: Just as I wrote this, it seemed the Atlantic did a report on Jolly's situation going back to run for the Congressional seat instead of the Senate. Jolly might not have anyone backing him up:

Jolly is an incumbent and by all accounts has the best shot against Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor (and ex-Republican) who won the Democratic nomination in his latest bid for a political comeback. A statement that does not even cheer his decision, much less commit support, is remarkable...
The committee helped Jolly win a tough special-election race in early 2014, a victory that presaged the GOP’s national gains in November of that year. But a rift emerged in April after 60 Minutes featured Jolly in a profile about his effort to pass legislation that would bar members of Congress from directly soliciting campaign donations. In an interview on the program, Jolly said that right after he was elected, a member of the party leadership sat him down and told him that his “first responsibility” as a new congressman was to raise $18,000 a day to get reelected.
The NRCC denied the meeting took place, and it was particularly angry that CBS was able to get a hidden camera into its “call center” near the Capitol where members dial for dollars. The 60 Minutes piece portrayed Jolly in a glowing light as a political reformer fighting against the odds. But fellow Republicans viewed his participation as a self-serving betrayal of the party and a barely disguised bid to boost his standing in a Senate race in which he was struggling to gain traction—no doubt in part due to poor fund-raising. Even more galling to Republicans was the insinuation that Jolly, a former congressional staffer and lobbyist, didn’t know what he was getting into when he arrived in Congress...

You see, the fund-raisers don't mind if you campaign every day to raise money for them. 'Cause it's all about the money. They'll get mighty pissed if you raise a stink about it instead.

I doubt Jolly's not a real reformer, though. I'm guessing he just didn't want to spend time dialing for donations, time better spent playing Call of Duty: Fake Soldier Sim on his Playstation.


dinthebeast said...

Yeah, sometimes Grayson's OK, but sometimes he gets on my nerves. Do people actually LIKE Rubio down there?

Pinku-Sensei said...

Now all Rubio has to do is win this election and the next one to have enough seasoning to run against someone like Corey Booker, Kamela Harris, Gavin Newsom, or even Elizabeth Warren in 2024. Of course, he also has to hope there is still a Republican Party or its equivalent around then, too.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Rubio has his followers but I'm not sure what the statewide mood is after the debacle that was his Presidential campaign.

Rubio has burned a few bridges with his rampant absenteeism and inability to defend immigration reform. Not to mention ongoing scandals involving other people's credit cards. But the core GOP voters will show up for him because they may be thinking of 2020 as another chance for Rubio to run for the White House. None of the other candidates for the Senate for the GOP were awe-inspiring (Jolly was the one with the most electoral experience but he's in hot water with the party leadership on a separate matter).

Biggest disadvantage for Rubio is that unlike 2010 he's facing an organized Democratic candidate this year in Murphy - he's leading the polls over Grayson - and not a three-way race (where Crist and Greene split the center-left votes), and that this is a major turnout election cycle thanks to the Presidency race.