If someone has done this, I haven't seen it, but it's a cool idea: poll the level of interest in the Florida elections by race for office. I'd be reluctant to put numbers on it, but I'd bet the Senate race would top the list. From the all-out war between Kendrick Meek and recession pimp reef killer Jeff Greene, to Charlie Crist going independent and securing big-name Democratic support, to Marco Rubio continuing to peddle economic nonsense (nobody's chronicled it better than Pushing Rope) in a tea party-pander extraordinaire, it has been the premiere race to watch in Florida, and maybe even the country, for sure.
Of course, if we did our hypothetical poll on interest, I think the race for Florida Governor would pull some surprising support. Captain Vanilla Bill McCollum and hospital grifter Rick Scott tearing each other apart has to be a special joy for any Democrat to watch, especially in a year when we know it's going to be tough. I've particularly enjoyed watching Alex Sink gain traction from behind both of those idiots. But she's not out of the woods, either. Bud Chiles -- who really, really, really needs to drop out -- is running as an independent, and it's awful. He's clearly made a lot of poor business choices in his life, and he seems not to be in a good place to run for this level of office.
You know, I bet if we looked at that hypothetical poll of interest in races, it'd drop off after that -- and that's too bad. Because you've got a race for Florida Attorney General that is really pretty good. On the GOP side, you've got Tampa Bay area prosecutor Pam Bondi, former AHCA Secretary Holly Benson, and the current Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, who has an ad I said nasty things about the other day. I don't know which of those guys is going to win. The St. Petersburg Times made their case for Bondi, and it made sense to me. Then again, I'm not a Republican, so there's that to consider.
Bondi you may recall is the person who adopted dog lost in Hurricane Katrina. Well, when the rightful owners tried to get their dog back, she didn't make it easy. Holly Benson is the person who, as Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration said during a radio interview:
Just because you're poor doesn't mean you're unhealthy; it just means you have a lot more time to go running.
Kottkamp, one of the "weakest" Lt. Governors in Florida history as the Times pointed out, has spent his time using a state plane, tax dollars, and GOP money for dubious purposes, most notably ferrying his family all over the place. But hey, he's got Phyllis Schlafly's endorsement. So... there's that.
Before we talk about Dan Gelber (who I support) and Dave Aronberg, let me talk a little bit about the AG job. You know, the description of the job of the office of Florida Attorney General on their website seems so quaint:
You're already familiar with my oversized ego, so take this with that grain of salt: I wouldn't take the AG job for anything. Not that anyone would ever offer it to me, mostly because I am not a lawyer, a critical job function.
The Attorney General is the statewide elected official directed by the Florida Constitution to serve as the chief legal officer for the State of Florida. The Attorney General is responsible for protecting Florida consumers from various types of fraud and enforcing the state’s antitrust laws. Additionally, the Attorney General protects his constituents in cases of Medicaid fraud, defends the state in civil litigation cases and represents the people of Florida when criminals appeal their convictions in state and federal courts.
Yeah, AG is the "chief legal officer" for the state, but look at it from a broader perspective. Take Bill McCollum, for example, our current AG. He is doing his best to block the implementation of health care reform. He is also proposing immigration laws that actually manage to out-crazy Arizona.
Yes, you say, but that's just political posturing. He's doing it to get votes. That's true.
But he's doing it on your behalf. And political posturing it may be -- but it's worked.
Let's go back to Aronberg and Gelber for a moment. I endorsed Dan Gelber for U.S. Senate back in May of last year, and I stand behind him for the same reasons today. And when he suspended his campaign, I stood behind him -- a couple of times. In short, I think Dan is the guy with the experience and temperament to take on what I only half-jokingly refer to as the worst job in Florida.
To be frank, I wasn't terribly fond of his first ad. It said all the right things, but something about the visuals bothered me. I think his latest ad is really something special, though. It features a man named Travis Thomas. That's Dan's "little brother" from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program -- they've been "brothers" for many, many years, now, and this is a moving testament not just to a top-shelf attorney, but to a really good guy:If every political ad were like this, people wouldn't hate political ads. Travis is a real guy -- some guy who has a "big brother" running for a big deal office. So he sat in front of a camera and told Florida how cool this guy is. I mean, honestly, what's not to like?
Let me be real clear: as it happens, I like Dave Aronberg. I figure at some point we'll all be talking about Senate Leader Aronberg, even Governor Aronberg. Dave Aronberg is a first-rate talent, and I look forward to supporting him when the time is right.
In the meantime, I expect he's going to keep giving Dan a run for his money. And this race in particular has divided some camps. I got more in the comments (mostly from the Campaign Manager) in my post about Jeff Kottkamp's crap's ass ad than I've gotten... maybe ever.
Everyone says this, but I really do hope the best man wins (come on, Dan!). We need an Attorney General who can advocate for us -- all of us -- and use that powerful platform for good.