JB Bensmihen drops out of SD 34 race, clearing way for Bogdanoff vs. Sachs battle royale

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Republican JB Bensmihen has dropped out of the race for Senate District 34, perhaps as early as today. A source close to his campaign confirmed that Bensmihen is indeed withdrawing from the race, but would not go on the record because Bensmihen wants to make the announcement himself.

***Update – 1:04 p.m.*** Bensmihen emailed me the following statement: “When I announced my intentions I was not aware my friend Ellyn was also preparing to run. After speaking with her on my concerns about Tallahassee matters, I have decided to withdraw from this race and instead make innovative healthcare solutions and economic recovery at the Federal level my primary focus.”

With Bensmihen out of the race, the epic rematch between Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff vs. Democrat Maria Sachs will take place with Bogdanoff having to wage and expensive and resource-consuming primary. All that is at stake in this race is whether the GOP gets a 27th vote in the Florida Senate, thereby giving it a veto-proof majority — something Republicans may need if Democrat Charlie Crist takes the Governor’s Mansion.

Also at stake is the fate of the Senate Presidency, as Bogdanoff is expected to support Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latavala’s presidential ambitions. Currently, the race for Senate President for 2016-18, is all but deadlocked between Latvala and Joe Negron.

In 2012, Sachs defeated Bogdanoff by five percentage points in one of the most bitterly fought and expensive legislative campaigns of the 2012 election.

Senate District 34 is a slightly Democrat-leaning district that straddles Broward and Palm Beach counties. However, the seat can be more favorable to Republicans in non-presidential election cycles.
“I won’t have Obama on the top of the ticket,” Bogdanoff explained when first announcing her candidacy. “You can’t compare a presidential election race to an off-year race in terms of trying to overcome a national election and all the noise that is being made. . . It was a banner year — a Democratic sweep. Everybody saw that.”

Developing…

Material from the Miami Herald was used in this post.

 

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.