Monday Musings: Jeb Bush and historical luck, Adam Putnam and springs protection, Marco Rubio’s game, Kathy Castor for Senate?

Any politician must get unusually lucky to become President of the United States. Jeb Bush has been nothing but lucky in his political career. Last week’s announcement by Governor Mitt Romney that he will not seek the Republican nomination for President is seen by most pundits to directly favor Governor Bush. This is the same sort of luck Bush has benefited from in each of his three races for Governor. In 1994, Bush faced off with two sitting cabinet members (Jim Smith and Tom Gallagher) and the previous Senate President Ander Crenshaw in the GOP Primary. Bush got 46% of the primary vote and was forced into a runoff by Smith. But Smith withdrew when he was given the opportunity to run for Agriculture Commissioner, thus sparing Bush the runoff. The legislature closed the loophole that had allowed him to run for another office after losing a primary. After losing a closer election in 1994, Bush faced Buddy MacKay in the 1998 General. MacKay who was one of the most qualified candidates ever to run for Governor in this state suffered from a divided Democratic Party which was full of political opportunists who backed Bush. In 2002, Bush looked poised to face someone with a national profile – Janet Reno or Pete Peterson. Peterson, considered the favorite (I was served as the Political Director on the campaign for what it turned out was the duration of a coffee break ) lasted a little over two months on the campaign.  Jim Davis also strongly explored the race, filing at one point and withdrawing weeks later. Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox also appeared to be an energetic young candidate who at the time had minimal baggage. But Maddox switched to the Attorney General’s race and Reno collapsed in the primary. Bush faced Bill McBride who was a poor candidate and finished with the lowest percentage of the vote a Democrat has ever gotten in Florida Governor’s race. -KK @kkfla737 

Adam Putnam has publicly told activists that he is personally making it a priority to pass springs legislation this session.  This will be a test of how well he can work with the legislature to pass new policy and also will give him an excellent chance to bring allies closer as he prepares to run for Governor.  As we’ve talked about here, he already is raising millions of dollars in his leadership PAC and there is no Democratic candidate in any position to give him much of a challenge.  If he is able to show that he can effectively work with the legislature and befriend the Amendment 1 coalition, I doubt Will Weatherford or Jeff Atwater could offer him serious challenge in 2018.  With the fact that he has also taken great care to distance himself from the Bailey scandal that has engulfed the cabinet in the last couple weeks, it seems like his intentions are fairly cemented. While Putnam will be a drastic improvement electorally over Rick Scott, it will mean that Democrats will have to wait until 2024 for another chance, cementing 30 years of Republican Governors.  –   KB@BurnettKaty 

Marco Rubio’s attention play continues to mesmerize national press. But does anyone who has watched the calculated political rise of Rubio since 2000 really believe even he thinks it’s his time to become President? Rubio’s claim that he would not run for reelection to the Senate is a rouse. Rubio will be running fo Senater reelection 2016 regardless of whether he launches a quixotic Presidential bid in 2015 that lasts a few months. -KK @kkfla737 

Florida Democrats are desperately searching for a viable Senate candidate and the most common names (as we have mentioned several times here at the Squeeze) are Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy.  While both of those are fairly newbies in Congress, looking around the state there are just not a lot of options.  With Rubio up this year and the impending retirement of Bill Nelson, Florida has to find a state-wide worthy candidate.   With other names constantly being mentioned and discussed, it seems like someone should at least mention Congresswoman Kathy Castor as a possibility.  She has been in Congress considerably longer than Graham or Murphy and has shown to be steadily moderate despite her safe Democratic district.  Being the only member to vote against Bush’s bailout bill and being in strong position on the Budget Committee, it seems like she could make some headway on economic issues.  With the family name recognition, she could run a great race.  She seems in a much better position to make a run for the Senate than either Graham or Murphy in either 2016 or 2018. –   KB@BurnettKaty 

One note on the three-part Sleepwalking Through Winter series we ran last week on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The articles got a record number of hits for this site exceeding attendances for every Strikers game the last four seasons. This is a clear indication that despite the Strikers malaise interest remains in the team. It’s a pity the management cannot translate that interest into season ticket sales. I was on the local Tailgate Show to discuss the series on Thursday and found my conclusions which I thought were unpopular among the fans were actually resonating quite well. -KK @kkfla737 


  1. Barbara DeVane · ·

    Kathy Castor would be a much better pick for Senate than Gwen Graham. Gwen needs to mature in Congress before trying to run statewide. And, she needs to be much more moderate than she has so far.


  2. Few over the Many · ·

    Interesting RE: Bush, and right. He’s been nothing but lucky.


  3. Broward Operative · ·

    Another Tampa candidate. Kartik, Katy and the FDP LOVE those. Hate South Florida though.




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