At the time when Bullard said no to jumping districts he said:
“While there has been much speculation about my future Senate seat plans, I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to the South Dade community (in the newly drawn District 40). I have had the pleasure of serving as both Representative and Senator in this District for many years and could not think of a more rewarding area to have the privilege of continuing to serve. While I greatly appreciate those who have reached out to encourage me to move to a different District, the people here know that I have always been and will continue to be a fighter who has always stood up and stood for them.” “Unlike other candidates and/or potential candidates, my level of commitment to District 40 spans more than 30 years. I’ve gone to elementary school in this District, graduated high school in this District, and I continue to work in this District. The people of District 40 have a clear choice in August and November as to who they choose to represent District 40. It is my hope they would choose someone who has always been here and not someone who merely shows up tomorrow. Home is where my heart is and home is where my heart has always been.”
He also said to the Tampa Bay Times in June:
“You try to convince these soon-to-be 18-year-olds that democracy is a real thing, that it’s not a theory to have a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” Bullard said. “So when someone comes along and tries to undermine a guiding principle of mine, it’s disgusting.”
Bullard was right at the time. His family is an institution in South Dade and it would have been a mistake for him to move north just do a political favor for the Democratic Party or some political insiders. Similarly, this go-round Bullard has run and lost twice in his own home county. The idea of going Gadsden might keep the most progressive candidate alive in the race for Chair but smacks of the kind of political gamesmanship progressives have come to loathe. The left rightly called out Bullard’s opposition including Senate candidate Andrew Korge and the party leaders that tried to shove him aside.
This time however, Bullard risks damaging his brand and the aura of authenticity he has long provided. While many in the progressive community would love to see Bullard lead the FDP, the cost this time might simply be a bridge too far. Bullard can continue to forcefully advocate liberal positions and leadership without appearing to be like every other political opportunist. The genuine article is about to be compromised by playing the same game those he has fought hard for years against regularly engage in.