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Charlie Justice’s bold move

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
Well, Charlie Justice set off quite a roogoodoo yesterday when he announced he is running against Bill Young in 2010. I give Charlie all the credit in the world for stepping up to challenge Young. I was just so sick and tired of the annual Will-Bill-Young-retire parlor game. Charlie’s announcement doesn’t end that, but the writing is on the wall for Young, who, despite being chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee, is still a Republican vote in the House.

Can Charlie win? Of course he can. He’s a Democrat in a favorable political environment. He’s clean-cut and earnest enough that the old birds in St. Pete Beach and Pasadena can vote for him. Will he win? Maybe not in 2010, but a strong showing sets him up as the prohibitive favorite in 2012.

As for the open seat in the Florida Senate that Charlie has gifted to political junkies, I’d say Rep. Bill Heller is the early chalk for the Dems. Not enough of Kriseman’s or Long’s districts overlaps Justice’s lines. But Long has Dennis Jones’ seat to look forward to, whereas Kriseman may just have to pull the trigger and run against Heller.

What is so intriguing to me is if Heller runs and opens H-52…my district. Long shot scenario: in a five- or six-way primary, I take the nomination by being the most organized and hardest working candidate. I hit the trail every day to talk about the real issues, relying on a strong background in policy development. I deliver speeches that set the neighborhoods on fire and outstump all the Ross Johnsons of the world. Political friends from all over the country parachute in to help. My opposition — and there would be so many people who would move into Snell Isle just to campaign against me — would be in a lather. The Times would have a frekin’ field day with me, running a daily feature on my mugshots. The GOP would probably give me money just so I’ll be the Dem nominee, all the while I walk door-to-door every waking moment. I’m already at 12K in commitments.

Crazier shit has happened.

Disclosure: I worked on the re-election campaign of Congressman Young in 2000 and 2002.

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.

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