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Former aide to Bill Young, Iraq war veteran Alan Suskey passes on run in House District 51

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When news first broke that Connie Deneault was dropping out of the race for House District 52 and that political newcomer Jeff Brandes would take up the GOP standard, a corollary story developed about the Republican Party recruiting a “serious” candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Janet Long in House District 51.  Evidently, the RPOF was not especially enthusiastic about either of the current of the candidates Larry Ahern or Dawn Thompson.  So who was this “serious” candidate?  And would they, in fact, challenge popular incumbent Janet Long?

Well, I put two and two together and got five.  The possible candidate was young gun Alan Suskey, a former aide to Congressman Bill Young and current Director of Governmental Relations to SRI.  I say ‘was’ because I’ve confirmed today that Suskey has decided not to run this year, writing on his Facebook page:

Thanks for all of the thoughts and advice in the past week. Aelon and I have decided that now is not the time to make any drastic changes in our life. Opportunities will come back around…now just wasn’t the time.

As much as I love Representative Long, Alan would have been a helluva candidate. In fact, Suskey’s decision not to run is a huge win for Rep. Long, who, despite her personal popularity, is in a tough legislative district that often goes with the prevailing political winds.

Could Suskey have won?  I don’t know.  That would have depended on how much money the RPOF would have invested in the race.  The better question is, will Suskey win?  The answer, unequivocally, is yes.  The real question is when?

In case you didn’t attend today’s Tiger Bay luncheon, you missed seeing how it was Suskey that Rick Baker pulled out of the meeting to talk to.  That tells me something. Anyone close to both Rick Baker and Bill Young is a force to be reckoned with.

When that reckoning occurs is up to Alan.

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.

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