Some interesting news is beginning to peculate related to the Broward County based State Senate seat where Senator Jeremy Ring will be termed out in 2016. Sources indicate that Former Sen. Skip Campbell has been making the rounds in preparation for a potential run for his previous State Senate seat where several current elected officials as well as well-known local trial lawyer Gary Farmer have expressed interest in running.
Campbell’s time in the Senate made him a prolific legislator. He was named as a Florida consumers champion on the Senate floor. He sponsored and passed numerous laws every session on issue after issue including healthcare reform, criminal justice, economic development, and more. He championed the Democratic cause on issues before they become in political vogue including LGBT rights, opposing school prayer, school vouchers and the FCAT, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and more. However he was also targeted by environmental’s, women’s rights advocates and adoption activists for some ill-advised pieces of legislation he sponsored during his 10 years in the State Senate.
Despite these bills, Campbell’s overall record on environmental issues and women’s issues were left of the mean even among Democrats in the State Senate. Campbell was just one of two State Senators in 2003 who voted against a major giveaway to Big Sugar (current DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was the other) and was the most vocal opponent of the school grading system in the Senate during the 1999 session when the A+ plan championed by Jeb Bush was passed.
Campbell first entered the Senate in 1996 when he defeated Rep. Steve Feren a well established local politician who was favored to win by party insiders. He self financed his campaign and worked tirelessly on the ground, meeting over twenty thousand voters by walking door to door and attending daily meetings, not just political and partisan meetings but community meetings as well. In the process Campbell, one of the most successful trial lawyers in Broward County used his grassroots appeal and oratorical skills to win over members of the Democratic clubs and key local organizations.
It is certainly possible that Campbell could bring enthusiasm, experience and grassroots energy to a 2016 run. One thing that critics of the former Senator could use against him was his 2008 campaign against then Senator Jeff Atwater in an adjoining district where Campbell according to then Democratic Senate leader Al Lawson ducked phone calls and eventually left the race leaving the party without a seasoned candidate in a district the party had determined its number one target in the chamber. Atwater was reelected easily and was set up for perfectly statewide office in 2010 thanks to his strong showing in the State Senate race.
The aborted 2008 race left a bad taste in the mouth of many who felt Campbell had abandoned the party in a critical race but it is also fair to say that the inability of the Democrats to train, develop and recruit new blood made it necessary for Campbell to run in a different seat after termed in the seat where he lives. By 2016, the 2008 debacle will be ancient history for many. It may not have mattered at all for other important opinion leaders.
We will continue to monitor developments in this potential race as events transpire.
Who is Skip Campbell?
Well this is interesting news if true…
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