With the current focus on the special election in Congressional District 13, it’s understandable if you’ve missed some of the developments occurring in the other local races. Because there is a lot going on in these legislative and county races, so here’s where sh*t stands.
As much as the headline says I’m not talking about the CD 13 race in this column, that race is influencing what will happen in House District 69. Now that the CD 13 race is over, what will HD 69 incumbent Kathleen Peters do? Of course she will run for re-election, but will she face a primary challenge from LJ Govoni? Since filing to run, the Redington Beach Republican has raised $50,815 through December 31. With that kind of fundraising and with Peters’ less-than-spectacular showing in the CD 13 race, what incentive is there for Govoni to drop out?
One rumor being floated is that Peters may endorse Democrat Alex Sink over Republican David Jolly unless Govoni, a business associate of Jolly, drops his challenge to Peters. For Peters’ sake, I hope that’s not the case.
North of Peters’ district is House District 65 where Republican Chris Sprowls continues to build momentum for his challenge to Democrat Carl Zimmermann. Last month, Sprowls crossed the $100,000 raised mark for his campaign. He now holds a two-to-one fundraising advantage over Zimmermann in a district that skews Republican.
For a moment, there was concern Sprowls would have to spend some of his resources to win a primary against Debbie Ann Faulkner, who recently filed to run in the race. However, Faulkner filed in December a waiver of report, meaning she did not raise any money for her campaign. It remains to be seen whether Faulkner is a credible candidate.
Returning to south Pinellas, in House District 68, the question is not if, but when, Republican Bill Young, Jr., will file to challenge Democrat Dwight Dudley. Young showed a lot of class — and political smarts — hustling from Kathleen Peters’ election results viewing to David Jolly’s victory party. The son of the late congressman will need a unified local party behind him if he’s to unseat an incumbent Democrat in Charlie Crist’s neighborhood.
A legitimate question for Young is what place/role his mother, Beverly, will play in the campaign. Just last night, Beverly posted to Facebook an, um, interesting, rambling letter-to-the-editor she wrote to the Tampa Bay Times about the newspaper’s coverage of her husband’s first marriage. It’s not pretty. Will Billy’s running give Beverly a platform to continue her public grieving?
Across the Bay, what to make of the fundraising in House District 63. Incumbent Democrat Mark Danish’s efforts are all but non-existent. However, as Patrick Manteiga of La Gaceta reminded his readers, Danish was outspent nine-to-one by Republican Shawn Harrison in 2012, so why should Danish be worried now? I would argue that Harrison seems hungrier, if not more focused, now than he was in 2012 and Danish has not been overwhelmingly impressive in his first term. Harrison, of course, has to first get past Bret Wedding in a GOP primary.
It’s early, but a lot of Hillsborough incumbents have yet to draw challengers. Republicans Dana Young, Jamie Grant, Dan Raulerson, Ross Spano and Democrat Janet Cruz are counting down the days until candidate qualifying ends.
State Rep. Betty Reed is term-limited from running again, but I hear more and more that she plans to run for Arthenia Joyner’s Senate seat in 2016. Rep. Darryl Rouson was suppose to be the frontrunner for this seat, but that was before all of that unpleasantness in the House Democratic Caucus.
As for the state Senate races, no news is good news, at least for incumbents like Jack Latvala. Some think that Judithanne McLauchlan is not incumbent SD 22 Jeff Brandes’ true opponent, but I don’t understand this. McLauchlan appears committed to running her David-versus-Goliath race.
Other than that race, there’s not much going on at the Senate level. That’s because in 2014, as far as legislative campaigns are concerned, the action will be in the House.