Express Lane: The coming Democrats Florida Senate debacle, Crist’s new ad buy, Orange County rent stabilization update, and our coming series on The Florida Turnpike

Florida Democrats are facing a potential wipe-out electorally on Tuesday – the worst cycle in recent history in terms of the State Senate (yes, Dems fell to 12 seats between 2010 and 2012 but that was after a sustained period sitting on 14 seats). The party which appeared poised to get to 18 or 19 seats in 2020 is looking increasingly likely to fall to just 13 seats in the 40 seat body on Tuesday, a historically-bad reversal.

Democratic turnout in Seminole and Orange County is so low, that Joy Goff-Marcil is looking increasingly likely to lose to Jason Brodeur in a seat which not only leans Democratic but has an incumbent in Broduer whose very election was cloaked in fraud, scandal and indictments.

Lorrane Ausley is struggling in her race with the dangerously placid Corey Simon (who is almost sure to be both intolerable and unbeatable once he’s in office), despite Senate Democrats embarking on a four day, 35 -stop bus tour through rural counties to rally support for Ausley. Southwest Miami-Dade County is trending right, and Janelle Perez seems destined to lose a Dem +5 seat that looked fairly safe when the districts were drawn earlier this year. Janet Cruz might hang on, but turnout thus far in Hillsborough County favors the GOP. At this point, Tina Polsky’s race in a new district, that is partly unfamiliar to her, might be closer than anyone expects- but she will win.

How does this bode for Minority Leader Lauren Book, who is thought to be one of the party’s heir apparent’s for statewide office?

Given Florida Democrats tendency to reward failure, Book shouldn’t feel threatened, and she does remain a viable potential statewide candidate – but this potential Senate wipe-out will diminish her star short-term.

Charlie Crist released a new ad featuring Florida women from across the aisle who are backing Charlie in the race for governor over Ron DeSantis.

Crist’s ad, titled “Across the Aisle,” will run in media markets across the state today as part of a seven-figure buy. 

Orange County’s Rent Stabilization ordinance cannot be taken off the ballot at this late stage, but Circuit Judge Jeff Ashton, the former State Attorney in the jurisdiction that includes Orange County has ordered Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles to not certify the results of the ordinance due to an appeals court ruling, which overturned Ashton’s initial ruling on the matter- this is not related to the ordinance’s policy itself but, to the ballot language which has been deemed “confusing” (MEMO TO THE COURTS – ALL ELECTIONS ARE CONFUSING FOR VOTERS).

The Florida Realtors Association and the Florida Apartment Association brought suit while simultaneously hitting county voters with as many as SEVEN mailers opposing the matter, spending millions in the process. It’s incredible what entrenched money interests will do to prevent working class folks from getting a break, eh?

The Florida Supreme Court remains a potential option for Orange County to try and overturn the appellate court ruling. Similarly, their could be action by the Board of County Commissioner or County Mayor Jerry Demings that clears up this matter.

So this saga is a long way from over.

We’re going to start as series after the election, called Rethinking the Turnpike, which will embrace Florida’s history using the the state’s “main street,” as a vehicle. Stay tuned for more details.

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