Many around Central Florida expected Val Demings to be named Charlie Crist’s LG pick. But now that the pick has come and gone, and it is instead Annete Taddeo-Goldstein, what does this mean for Demings and for the Central Florida Congressional shuffle that is sure to occur once CD-10 is redrawn?
Val Demings disastrous campaign for Orange County Mayor led to questions about her viability. She left local Democrats high and dry for one of then most important offices in the state of Florida. Her withdrawal occurred around the deadline for candidate petition cards making it impossible for another viable Democrat to jump in the race against Mayor Jacobs, who is a Republican.
When Demings dropped out of the race it was thought by many activists she had essentially screwed over Central Florida Democrats. Some believe that she put the nail in her coffin to be considered for higher office with this decision, although many local Democrats continue to see Demings as a viable long-term prospect. However, the damage of her abrupt withdraw from the Mayor’s race has not been healed.
Despite her superstar status in 2012 when she ran a decent (but not great) campaign against Webster, her candidacy for Mayor ultimately polarized local Democrats and burned the Florida Democratic Party. Other Democrats are possibilities for this seat as Orange County has developed a strong bench of progressive office holders and activists. Given the haste with which Demings left the Mayor’s race and the strained relationship with some local leaders that came from that campaign, chances are that another Democratic candidate will emerge in CD-10. Demings will have to then weigh her options in the seat.
Upon her withdrawal from the Mayor’s race Demings said the following:
“I am humbled by and grateful for the support I have received from every corner of our county. After careful analysis I have determined that this is just not the right race at this time,”
With Charlie Crist passing over Demings today, many are speculating that the hasty withdrawal from the Mayor’s Race soured Crist. At the same time, Demings might be free and clear to pursue a Congressional race against Dan Webster in a redrawn district now. Instead of being tied up as LG or losing yet another race she can sit and wait for the chips to fall in the area.
However, many Democrats locally would like another candidate given Demings burning of them in this cycle. Few offices in the state carry more power than the Mayor of Orange County and since Linda Chapin left the office in 1998 it has been controlled by Republicans in an increasingly Democratic county.
With the Congressional situation in flux and Demings now apparent liabilities expect one or more high-profile Democrats to think about CD-10.