Fla. House Democrats clear choice for Adam Smith’s ‘Losers of the Week’

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The Tampa Bay Times‘ Adam Smith tweeted this morning asking for nominations for the Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida politics.

I’m not sure who the winner is — perhaps the professional Republican fundraisers in Tallahassee who likely raised well into seven figures during a slew of events and receptions scheduled around the Legislature’s first committee week — but it’s a clear who the ‘Losers of the Week’ are: Florida’s House Democrats.

It was already a bad week for House Democrats before they decided to oust Rep. Darryl Rouson as their incoming leader. Yet the week got worse for them when they decided to go forward with a fundraiser for Rouson the day after they deposed him.

Those poor optics were topped off when party spokesman Joshua Karp essentially called Rouson a liar after a dispute arose over a $75,000 contribution to the party from the Seminole Tribe.

Over the summer, a handful of large donors, including the Seminoles, have complained to state Democratic officials about money they gave to Rouson. They were concerned because the money was never deposited into party accounts.

Despite the check’s June date, Rouson said he was not given the Seminole check until months later.

“That check was not handed to me until August 18 or August 20,” Rouson said in his Capitol office before asking a reporter to leave.

If that series of events, played out very much in the public domain, weren’t enough to warrant Florida House Democrats the distinction of ‘Losers of the Week’, party leader Rep. Perry Thurston embarrassed himself when he prematurely eulogized former Rep. John Patrick Julien. According to his caretakers, Julien was still alive at the time Thurston said he was dead. (There is some question as to whether it was House Democrats or other Florida House staff which jumped the gun first.)

The rare bright spot for House Democrats this week was the yeoman’s work of communications director Mark Hollis, who handled the proceedings surrounding the election of a new leader with aplomb, providing as much information as possible considering that the caucus meeting was closed to the press.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.