Shame on me, I ignored something about this year's Florida statewide primaries for this month that I need to address here.
That while there IS a state amendment to vote for - and I mean that in the positive sense, because it IS a pro-solar-power referendum - there's also key seats up for grabs.
Like, oh, the GODDAMN U.S. SENATE SEAT.
And this time, people have a reason to show up. Both major parties have candidates to choose: This isn't a rubber-stamp, here's-your-incumbent-choke-on-it situation. Republicans and Democrats gotta show up for this one. Even Libertarians have a choice.
So on the Republicans side, you get these candidates (I am defaulting to the Polk County ballot):
Marco Rubio - Incumbent
Ernie Rivera - Businessman
Carlos Beruff - Businessman
Dwight Mark Anthony Young - Sheriff's Deputy
Rubio put himself back on the ballot when it turned out he couldn't even beat Ben Carson in a fair fight for the White House. He originally had to drop because state law said he couldn't be on the same ballot for different seats. But he's back... and oh boy does he deserve to get kicked right back out again.
Granted, I'm not a huge fan of his to begin with. But let me make this one huge mark against Rubio: He has the worst attendance record of any sitting Senator we currently have. His failure to show up for votes is one of the many reasons he failed his Presidency bid. Voting him back into that Senate seat is essentially sending him back to a no-show job. He has not earned the right to keep that seat, period.
So that leaves Rivera, Beruff, and Young. If you were Republican, which of those three should you vote for?
Beruff has been an aggressive campaigner against Rubio, but he's got shady business practices as a land developer and a Trump-ish attitude about him. He's also getting hit with accusations he remained a Crist ally in 2010 when Crist and the party separated. Rivera, listed as a businessman and pastor, has been marketing his campaign but getting little actual press coverage. Young is a county sheriff's deputy, and there's almost nothing - except this - about him out there. Beruff's been making himself the big opponent against Rubio, so if you had to make a choice Florida Republicans I'd suggest him (with a head shake of serious doubt. Honestly, you've got bad choices this year, folks).
On the Democratic ticket, it's just as messy (link again to Polk County ballot):
Patrick Murphy - Congressman
Alan Grayson - Congressman
Pam Keith - Lawyer
Roque De La Fuente - Businessman
Reginald Luster - Lawyer
The race here has pretty much been Murphy vs. Grayson, both of them well-known and both of them carrying serious baggage. Grayson has been a loose cannon figure as a Congressman, grabbing the spotlight but also getting caught in a lot of unethical behavior. And he's coming off a nasty divorce with serious abuse allegations. Murphy has been the more consistent Democratic official but has troubling business ties, a spotty resume, and a problem of being more Center-Right than Center-Left.
Of the other candidates, Luster is an African-American South Florida lawyer, Keith is the sole female (as well as African-American) who's also a lawyer with a military background. De La Fuente is a businessman who put in for a Presidential run (didn't go very far), and he's the type of businessman who will not impress the Progressive base one whit (they barely tolerated Sink and Crist: De La Fuente will not get many votes).
If I were a registered Dem, I'd be leaning between either Keith or Murphy. Grayson is too much of a wild card, and there's a legitimate concern that he's going to get hit hard with ethics charges. Keith would stand out as a Woman and Black Senator from a southern state, but while I concur with some of her positions I've looked at her unemployment and income equality stances and I can't comprehend how she's backing privatizing unemployment training and pushing for more corporate tax cuts (trying to incentivize companies to share the wealth seems like more trickle-down trickery). This leaves Murphy, who does have experience and even as a moderate Democrat would be a vast improvement over No-Show Rubio. But I worry that Florida Democrats, notoriously finicky, won't show up for a candidate they perceive as a Blue Dog Dem even if he'll be liberal enough to defend their views.
And if you're Libertarian, you've got a choice for once, which is a state first: Paul Stanton or Augustus Sol Invictus. Invictus has the cool name but has a habit of drinking goat's blood: we've already got enough blood-drinkers up in DC. /rimshot. Stanton has a military background and bad haircuts. Ah, I shouldn't rag on him for that: I show up at salons with my double-crown and the barbers all kill themselves. Stanton's more Senatorial of the two, so go with him.
So for the Senate primaries, for Republicans, that's Beruff; for Democrats that's Murphy; for Libertarians that's Stanton. If we get any goats' blood drinkers on the general ballot, I swear I will cut this state off the map like Bugs Bunny and move to Detroit.
For the Congressional primaries, just vote Democrat and be done with it. I know we've made progress getting rid of most of the gerrymandering, but I still wanna see the Republicans thrown out for their constant obstruction and government shutdowns. At the State Lege level, yeah throw the GOP out too. We're choking on toxic algae waters and our schools are underfunded and our state wages are weak, and it's all on them for the last 20 years or so.
And for the Pasco Mosquito Control Board, we'll have to wait for the General Election in November.
For the rest of us, we still need to show up and vote for the judicial seats, local boards, and the state amendment. LET'S GET THE VOTE OUT, FLORIDA!