by Benjamin J. Kirby
I'll be the fist to admit it: I was hoping for the three-way cage match.
Or at least Florida Senate Leader-designate/hopeful Jack Latvala against moneyboy upstart Jeff Brandes.
In the end, there was no way Representative Frishe -- seeking the new Senate District 22 seat in South Pinellas -- and Senator Latvala -- currently of current Senate District 16 and soon-to-be Senate District 23 -- were going to let that happen. They'd have traded places first.
Which brings me to my first point, here, which is this: don't you think our politics are broken when a sitting elected official can openly contemplate picking up and moving to a new area to run for office, and nobody thinks twice about it? Nobody -- not even me -- seriously suggested that it was far out for Frishe and Latvala to trade districts, literally move their families from one part of Pinellas County to the other. Turns out Representative Frishe's wife me be the only one of us with any sense: the reason they didn't move, evidently, is largely over her objection to moving.
Kudos to you, Mrs. Frishe. I mean it.
So the way things stand now, Senator Latvala will stay -- in his house -- in the new District 20. Brandes and Frishe will face off in a primary in the new District 22.
By the way, if all of this is vaguely confusing, PolitiFact made itself useful and drew up a nice map, complete with the approximate location of Senator Latvala's house.
I still don't know what call to make in the Brandes/Frishe race. I wouldn't count Representative Frishe out for anything. That said, Representative Brandes has plenty of money, and given the kind of race he ran against Bill Heller a couple of years ago, it's pretty evident he's not afraid to run hard.
And yes, I'm aware that the folks having the last laugh here will be the Republicans.
For now, though, those who want to see how the Leadership fights in the State Senate are shaping up are watching Pinellas County.