The following is cross-posted from Dave Trotter of the Political Hurricane. It is a fascinating read, as it provides some insight into how State House candidates are recruited — or in this case, not recruited — and how the Florida Democratic Party is attempting to take credit for developments it really had no hand in bringing about.
As a person that absolutely despised Mike Horner, which led to me recruiting a candidate against him (which was Eileen Game), I feel that I must make my point about the recent developments known to the public.)
We all know the story by now. Mike Horner, right-wing Republican representative from Kissimmee/St. Cloud/Sanford, has dropped out of the race for Florida House of Representatives, District 42 after being named in a prostitution and racketeering case. As far as information regarding the ongoing news story, there is more than enough news on the Orlando Sentinel and other sites. Therefore, I will not get into the nuts and bolts of the actual case. Instead, I will let you know about the other aspects surrounding this event.
As many of you know, I have disliked Horner since he switched from being a liberal Democrat running in Sanford in 1992 to a conservative Republican running in 2006. In my article titled “Mike Horner: Florida’s Mitt Romney, Only Worse”, I explained how Horner only sought to hold political office for his own good instead of doing it for the citizens of his district. When running, he did what he saw as his best opportunity, which in the late 1990s was switching parties. In my article I said “Mike Horner is only there to help Mike Horner, and that is it.”
Therefore, when the news about Horner came out today, many people said that “they were surprised” because he was a candidate that supported so-called “family values” but was caught in a prostitution ring. I must have been the only ones that wasn’t surprised.
This distrust in Horner made me seek out a candidate to run against him this election cycle. Up until the filing deadline, Mr. Horner had no Democratic opposition. In addition, the Democrats didn’t even try to find a candidate to run against him. But I was approached by a lady that was interested in running for a school board race. Her name was Eileen Game. Eileen said that she wanted to run for office and make a difference. She had already started telling people that she was possibly running for school board, but I thought that she should run in a different race. I stressed that winning the school board seat was nearly impossible and that she should consider running for State House. I told her about the Horner seat, but she wasn’t totally convinced. After telling her that she can make more of an impact in helping the citizens of her district by being a member of the Florida House, as well as running in House District 42 because it was a winnable seat for a Democratic candidate, Eileen decided to throw her hat into the ring and announced that she was a candidate against Mike Horner.
If the (Florida) Democratic Party had their way, this seat would have been unopposed by the Democrats, and a Republican successor to Mike Horner would have been named and automatically seated in the Florida House of Representatives. Instead, I worked hard to make sure that Mr. Horner did have an opponent and that he would have to earn his way back to the Florida House. This shows the importance of making sure every competitive seat is contested!
When we started the campaign, nobody was taking us seriously. Everyone thought that we had an insurmountable uphill battle against Horner, which we did. Organizations like the AFL-CIO gave the campaign the cold shoulder and wouldn’t return our phone calls. Political writers, most notably from the Tampa Bay Times, said they had no interest in touching this race. Political organizations throughout said that there was no chance a Democrat could hold this seat and continually gave the campaign the brush off. I have a feeling that those writers that brushed off the campaign will now start writing about it on nearly a daily basis.
Now, with Horner’s name being on the ballot, there is a chance that Mrs. Game could win this election. The momentum is in her favor. The Republicans have five days to find a replacement candidate, but will they be able to get enough traction to win? The Orlando Sentinel has already contacted House Victory and asked about the race. Christian Ulvert told the Sentinel that “the dynamics of the race have changed” and that they are “looking at it very closely”. Therefore, the race that might have been considered a lost cause might now be a pick up for the Democrats. If so… I say “you’re welcome Mr. Ulvert.”
The interesting thing about the Horner incident is that it isn’t entirely a shocking event. When I was involved with the Eileen Game and Stacy McCland campaigns, I talked to a number of people that said that they felt a scandal about Mike Horner was going to break and that it would even be a possible sex scandal. We still don’t know whether the prostitutes in this case were male or female, but many in the Osceola County Democratic Party did state that they felt Mr. Horner was gay. I guess we will find out in the coming days. If so, his hypocrisy regarding “family values” continues.
But the fact that this was something that was almost known by local Democrats makes me wonder if it had been going on for a while. I talked to other candidates about running for this seat when Horner was term-limited. A few candidates said that they wanted to actually run against Horner because they “felt a scandal was going to happen.” I wonder if this was one of the worst kept secrets in Osceola County politics.
On our website, we started getting search engine results that stated “mike horner prostitution” on Thursday. Then the number increased on Friday. I searched the Orlando Sentinel as well as Google News and the web in general and saw nothing regarding Mike Horner and prostitution. I even asked on Saturday on my personal Facebook if anyone knew anything about Mike Horner and prostitution, and I received no answers. But the search numbers kept increasing. Obviously the cat was already out of the bag.
Therefore, when I read the news this morning, I wasn’t shocked whatsoever. I knew from our search engine that something was going down. It was just too coincidental that this exact wording was being used.
On August 6th, I resigned from the Eileen Game campaign because of issues that I had with the campaign that I do not wish to discuss on this forum.
As far as Mike Horner, seeing this news brings a huge smile to my face. For years, Mike Horner has been playing the system and trying to use everything to his advantage. The battle to make the Osceola County Commission elections non-partisan was just another tool Mike Horner used to exploit the system. Hopefully the State of Florida is done with this evil, despicable excuse of a human being and he will be locked up for a very long time.
With that being said, God Bless his wife Abby and their son Lawson. We at the Political Hurricane hope they will make it through this tough time in their lives.