That’s the lesson I’ve learned this last week as the national media debates the veracity of uber-blogger Nate Silver’s prediction that Barack Obama will win re-election. Critics, most notably Mornin’ Joe Scarborough, have tried to cast doubt on Silver’s model. Silver fired back, offering on Twitter a bet to Scarborough, that whoever turns out to be right, the loser must donate $1,000 to the American Red Cross.
That’s called putting your money where mouth is.
Honestly, I am not a very good handicapper. Still, I’ll put my money where my mouth is and offer these public predictions about several local races.
In House District 65, Rep. Peter Nehr hangs on to win despite a last-minute, nasty challenge from Democrat Carl Zimmermann.
In House District 68, Democrat Dwight Dudley has run a near-perfect race and will send Frank Farkas to a second consecutive loss in his political career (’06 and now).
In House District 69, an open seat, the better-financed, better-organized Republican Kathleen Peters will hold off Democrat Josh Shulman, who has run a particularly negative campaign.
Elsewhere in Pinellas, Republican incumbents Larry Ahern and Ed Hooper win in walks. Well, maybe not a walk in Ahern’s race, but I don’t think Ahern has anything to worry about.
Pinellas Republicans sure to win include Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Congressman Bill Young. The question is, will either man cover the spread of about two touchdowns. I’d wager Gualtieri finishes right under 60%, while Young will go over that mark.
Here’s a prediction sure to get me in trouble: Republicans Neil Brickfield and Nancy Bostock are probably on their way out. The Tampa Bay Times has made these two its special project this cycle, while Democrats Janet Long and Charlie Justice are credible alternatives in a county which prides itself on moderation. Sorry Neil and Nancy.
The referendum put before Pinellas voters to extend the special property tax which supplements teacher salaries and funds classroom programs will pass, but not by much. Not only is this question at the very end of the ballot, the proponents of the tax elected to stay below the radar this cycle, rather than draw fire during this anti-tax era.
Across the bay, in Hillsborough, I predict that Democrat Bob Henriquez will pull an upset over Republican Ronda Storms in that county’s race for Property Appraiser.
In Hillsborough’s House races, Republicans Shawn Harrison, Jake Raburn, Ross Spano, and Dan Raulerson are all on their way (back) to Tallahassee.
A note about Harrison’s race from my colleagues at the Political Hurricane, Democrats have cast over 4% more ballots than Republicans in early/absentee voting. … What’s shocking is that the FDP hasn’t targeted this race yet Danish is almost certain to finish with a good percentage of the vote and maybe even steal a victory.
Oh, and finally, let me make this bold prediction, Republican Jack Latvala will defeat Democrat Ashley Rhodes-Courter. Like I said, bold.