Florida Democrats, this is why you fought so hard for Fair Districts?

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Is there any conceivable way to measure just how many tens of thousands of hours went in to gathering the signatures to have the Fair Districts Now amendments placed on the 2010 ballot?

Probably not. But that really doesn’t matter. Those tens of thousands of hours of effort are for naught, if you ask me.

With candidate qualifying officially concluded, “the Republican grip on the State Senate has gotten stronger than it appeared it would be following the Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision in favor of this redistricting plan.”

The Tampa Bay Times characterized the plan as having 22 strong Republican districts. 15 strong Democratic ones and 3 districts the Democrats could win.

But if you take an honest look, the Democrats will be lucky to win 13-15 seats in the Florida Senate and that’s only if you spot Maria Sach’s a victory of Ellyn Bogdanoff.

13-15 seats, at best, after so much hard work.  The Democrats and their allies would have been much better off sticking with the same districts drawn in 2002 and putting the money and volunteer effort dumped into the Fair Districts Now campaign into the 2012 elections.

While it’s a damn shame that Brian Scarborough dropped out of the race for District 7, it should cost someone their job at the Florida Democratic Party for the D’s to not be able to recruit a candidate in District 22, which was won by both Barack Obama and Alex Sink.

Despite the Democrats piss-poor recruitment efforts, the FDP is whistlin’ sunshine about its chances this November.

“Democrats will gain seats this year,” said Scott Arceneaux, state Democratic Party executive director, in a story by William March of the Tampa Tribune. “I don’t think you’ll see a wholesale change that a lot of people thought might happen, but you will see some change.”

March drags out former Speaker Peter Rudy Wallace, the man who helped hand the majority to the Republicans to say, “Regardless how the districts are drawn, the opportunity comes with an open seat.”

Wallace, then goes on to say the impact of the amendments “will be staggered over a series of elections, as seats open up and we really learn which districts really are competitive.”

Well, Mr. Arceneaux and Speaker Wallace, in case you hadn’t noticed, both Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe will have the opportunity to serve in the Florida Senate’s District 22 for ten years, so the possibility of an ‘open seat’ in South Pinellas ain’t very likely.

Of course, the inestimable Steve Schale is optimistic, saying the Democrats’ best hope probably is to gain about three seats.

If you squint hard enough at this board, that is certainly a possibility.

Maybe, maybe Frank Bruno wins in SD 8, but nothing I’ve heard or read about the on-the-ground situation indicates that. Sure, Sachs can beat Bogdanoff. And Darren Soto will probably beat Will McBride, but that is not a lock.

So, yes, maybe the Democrats can go from 12 to 15 seats in the Florida Senate.  That’s actually a 25% improvement for the Democrats.

But is that really worth all of the effort put into the Fair Districts Now campaign?

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.