Senator Jeremy Ring who is term-limited will be replaced by the victor of the 2016 Democratic Primary in Senate District 29. The district which is one of the most Democratic in state already has two potential high-profile candidates in State Rep. Jim Waldman who is termed this year and well-known Trial Lawyer Gary Farmer, who has a statewide network of potential donors and political allies. Per our sources in the near future, former State Senator Skip Campbell who was the 2006 Democratic nominee for Attorney General could be joining the fray as well in this district.
Campbell’s time in the State Senate allowed him to amass a lengthy record that was generally moderately liberal. He was named as a Florida consumers champion in the Senate and worked on healthcare reform, criminal justice, economic development, among other issues. He also helped lead the progressive cause on the Senate floor on issues such as LGBT rights (before it was vogue among Democrats), opposing school prayer, school vouchers and the FCAT. He remains well-liked in the district though he has not had a truly competitive Senate race since 1996, twenty years prior to when this election will occur. It should also be noted that at various times in his legislative career, women’s rights activists and environmentalists found fault with aspects of Campbell’s record.
In 2008, Campbell sought a return to the State Senate just two years after losing to Bill McCollum for Attorney General. Campbell initially agreed to challenge incoming Senate President Jeff Atwater in a Senate district along the coast which included very few areas that he had previously represented from 1996 to 2002 (prior to the 2002 redistricting). After candidate qualifying had ended, Campbell dropped out of the race. The official reason stated for Campbell’s withdrawal was a hip surgery that had taken place around the time of qualifying. However, some Tallahassee insiders felt Campbell simply did not want to continue running in what was an uphill fight and used his surgery as an excuse to drop out. Whatever the case, Campbell has remained active in local political and legal circles since dropping out of the 2008 race.