As we have lamented a few times, there are very few actual competitive races in the legislature and the same is true for the primary season. Competitive primaries can help season candidates, can get the electorate fired up, and generally can cause a more substantive debate on issues that impact the state of Florida. This all being said, here are the handful of races that we endorse for Aug 26 in the Florida Legislature. It is a possible we will endorse more candidates between now and August 26th.
District 8 – Alan Williams (Democratic Primary)
Rep. Williams has his detractors but he is the better choice here.
District 9 – Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (Democratic Primary OPEN to all voters)
Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda has been a strong advocate for progressive and environmental causes in her six years as a House member.
District 31 – B Grassell (Republican Primary OPEN to all voters)
As we talked about a few weeks ago, this is a Republican primary with no Democrat in the race, so the new Representative will be chosen on Aug 26th. Grassell is a teacher and a union organizer and about the best you could ask for in a Republican. With the other choices being a mix of Tea Party and hard-right conservatives, she is the best choice.
District 43 – Ricardo Rangel (Democratic Primary)
Rep. Rangel has earned a second term. Significant efforts were made to move John Cortes to another race but he choose to remain in this primary. Cortes would be worth supporting in another race, but not here against a strong and effective progressive voice in Rangel.
District 61- Sean Shaw (Democratic Primary)
Shaw will be a strong voice on numerous issues in the Legislature and will be a strong Democrat who can raise real money without taking the easy Tallahassee establishment checks. His strongest opposition, Ed Narian, has aligned with business and insurance interests.
District 67 – Stephen Sarnoff (Democratic Primary)
Sarnoff has articulated a clear vision for the state while Shawna Vercher has a lot of questions and baggage to bring to the race. The winner of this Democratic Primary will be prohibitive underdog against likely Republican nominee Chris Latvala in November. However, local boy Charlie Crist being at the top of the Democratic ticket should help Sarnoff or Vercher here.
District 81 – Kevin Rader (Democratic Primary OPEN to all voters)
Rep. Rader has earned another term though his primary opposition, youngster Joshua Izzak is a promising candidate for the future.
District 96 – Kristin Jacobs (Democratic Primary)
Broward Commissioner Jacobs might be the most experienced lawmaker to run for State House in southeast Florida in two decades. Her opponent former Rep. Steve Perman would do a credible job as well. But Jacobs is the better choice.
District 100 – Joe Geller (Democratic Primary)
A good field of candidates but Geller stands out as the most prepared to hit the ground running in Tallahassee. This is the rare race in the state where any of the candidates would do a good job.
District 107 – Barbara Watson (Democratic Primary OPEN to all voters)
Rep. Barbara Watson has been a solid legislator. Former Rep. Phillip Brutus had a troubling voting record in his House career. Watson has two other opponents as well but has earned reelection.