Sources: Skip Campbell strongly considering launching campaign to reclaim his old Senate seat

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.

On the surface, Waldman would appear to be the strongest opposition for Campbell. Having just completed his eight and final session as a House member after a career in municipal government, Waldman not only has a strong local fundraising apparatus, but also lots of grassroots support in the eastern portion of the district. Waldman’s voting record has zig-zagged all over the place in his legislative career, much like Campbell’s but especially in the last two years he has emerged as a leading voice within the House Democratic Caucus.
Farmer, despite his large network of statewide contacts and alliances with many Democratic Party insiders will have an uphill fight if Campbell does in fact enter the race.
Campbell would likely enter the race as a slight favorite but Waldman’s network and recent service in Tallahassee will make him a formidable challenger. We will continue to monitor developments in this Broward district going forward.

One comment

  1. Francis · ·

    I like Skip as a senator but he is a shitty campaigner and I don’t think that he will pour in as much of his personal money as people assume. It would be nice however, to see some of that talent from years back within the Senate Dems again. They are a pathetic bunch now bc of term limits.


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