Here’s where sh*t stands — the ‘what are the interesting State House races – Part 1’ edition

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Darn you, Will Weatherford.

You and your colleagues did such a fair and decent job with redistricting that there are, at this late day in the election cycle, still at least a dozen interesting races for seats in the State House.

My blogging colleagues over at the Political Hurricane took a look at some of these seats and have offered their opinion (which, for the most part, stems from the Democratic/progressive viewpoint) on the state of these races. While I agree with some of their assessments, I don’t agree with all of them.

Here’s where sh*t stands.

In House District 7, both myself and the Political Hurricane rate this seat as just a “Lean Republican” seat which implies there is a chance the Democrat might win there.

So far, Monticello Republican Halsey Beshears has far-outdistanced Bristol Democrat Robert Hill in raising cash, although the candidates were almost even during the latest reporting period, with Beshears collecting $18,900 and Hill bringing in $17,655.

But overall, Beshears has raised $300,164 to help fuel his primary and general-election races, while Hill, who also emerged from a primary fight, has raised an overall total of $80,240 as he tries to win in the district that stretches from Port St. Joe to Madison.

What’s keeping this seat from being put in the “Safe Republican” category is that there’s just something going on in north Florida. Democrat Al Lawson is now locked in a very competitive race with Tea Partier Steve Southerland. Barack Obama is not polling as horribly as he once was in those parts.

While the Political Hurricane and I agree that District 7 is still not out of play, I disagree with its assessment that District 21 is a “Toss Up” favoring the Democrats. The PH writes that “Andrew Morey is benefiting from a huge Democratic advantage in returned absentee ballots in this district against incumbent Rep. Keith Perry.” But Perry is well-liked, with a huge cash advantage over Morey. I’d rate this seat as Lean, if not Likely Republican, although I will readily admit there is something happening under the radar in this seat that might benefit Morey.

District 47 is another seat I believe is more likely to go Republican than the Political Hurricane predicts, but it’s only a matter of degrees.  They read the seat as “Lean Republican” but I assess this seat as “Safe Republican” for Bob Brooks, because Democrat Linda Stewart has been a poor fundraiser and despite a strong activist background, hasn’t excited as many people as originally thought.

A seat the Democrats should be walking away with is District 49, but (and here’s another spot where I agree with my friends at PH), Democrat Joe Saunders is slipping as Republican Marco Pena continues to impress. Pena is likely to run several points ahead of Mitt Romney here.

Democrats are too optimistic about their chances in House District 59, where Gail Gottlieb has run a smart campaign and raised a decent amount of money. But this is a Republican seat through and through and only in a wave election will this seat go to Democratic.

There are several other spots where I think the bloggers at the Political Hurricane are too generous to Democratic candidates. For example, no matter how many headlines the Orlando Sentinel writes wishing it so, Speaker Designate Chris Dorworth is not at all in jeopardy of losing District 29. For PH to assess this rate as a “Toss Up” has me questioning their horse sense.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.