Editors’ Note: This week we begin a new column, Monday Musings where our writers sound off on various topics related to the state of Florida.
It is difficult in words to fully describe the mess the DCCC has made in Congressional District 13. Beginning with a campaign that flushed a double-digit lead down the drain in March’s Special Election to this past week’s candidate recruitment debacle, the party has turned a seat that was considered by many experts one of the ten best pickup opportunities nationally into a running a joke. One caveat: The DCCC’s decision to push Rev. Manuel Sykes out of the race I am told by multiple sources was based on a local assessment by Pinellas County party leaders. That leaves the Democrats in the position of not having a name on the ballot but pushing instead with national party money and support for an NPA in Ed Jany. On paper Jany appears a decent candidate who will undoubtedly caucus with the Democrats if he wins, but in this growing age of partisan voting, educating in mass that a vote for an NPA is a vote for a Democrat will take an incredible amount of money. Considering Charlie Crist is the likely Democratic nominee for Governor and this is his home area, the debacle of last week can be chalked up as yet another humiliating episode for a party which never ceases to amaze with disconcerting blunders and gaffes. – KK @kkfla737
Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) recently said, apropos of SB 1714 (the microbrewery-hampering bill on which she carried water for cartel-esque beer distributors who also happened to be major contributors), that she felt like a parent when managing the bill’s progress. Florida’s vibrant small craft beer industry includes Cigar City Brewery, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, St. Somewhere, and dozens of other fledgling small businesses who add an interesting wrinkle to Florida culture. Essentially the bill would force these breweries to pay a distribution middle man 30-40% to sell their own beer back to themselves in order to sell their beers retail for any sales above her mandated 2,000 keg quota.
In the face of eminently reasonable opposition coming from these quarters, Sen. Stargel advises us “I’m sorry, I know my kids don’t believe it when I tell them they can’t do something, but sometimes I know it is what’s best.” Her line of argument, such as it is, brings us in mind of George Lakoff’s argument in his 1996 masterpiece Moral Politics: a great deal of the conservative-liberal divide can be thought of as a battle between disciplinarian versus nourishing parental styles. Thanks, Sen. Stargel, for reminding us that momma knows best. – RR @ryanrayryanray
Whiffing on what could’ve been a win-win for Floridian’s precious water sources and Florida’s pernicious executive drip, the Florida House failed to take up the laudable restoration-mandate SB 1576 this session. It’s not a surprise to see the brash youngsters of the Florida House sneer at legislation that passed 38-0, was backed by five Republican committee chairmen, a legislative priority for incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner (and by extension the current Senate President), and is uniformly supported and demanded by Floridians who routinely interact with and are supported by 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways.
RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry’s decision to run for Mayor of Jacksonville will provide a test for local Republicans. Mayor Alvin Brown’s 2011 victory was surprising and while Brown doesn’t elicit much emotional support from the growing group of activist progressives particularly around the Riverside area of town he will have a strong base with which to run for reelection from. I have seen Jacksonville change rapidly from conservative business oriented Democratic in the 1980s to racially partisan polarization in the 1990s to more mainstream Republican dominance in the 2000s. In the 2010s though it seems the city is changing once again, moving ever so slightly to the left and perhaps Curry, a devoutly partisan figure isn’t the right person to run in this climate. – KK @kkfla737
The subject of Step up for Students and associated organizations and money spent on political campaigns in Florida was once again a huge topic of conversation late last week as the expansion of school voucher program overcame seemingly long odds and passed the legislature. We’ve written close to a dozen articles on this website in the last 14 months covering this specific topic but the allegations and arm twisting continues to grow. We will be following this story closely all summer as election season approaches. – KK @kkfla737