Morning essay: The vastly improved Florida Senate

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My number one takeaway from Tuesday’s legislative primaries is just how vastly improved the Florida Senate will be after November.

Of course, it will be decidedly pro-business, but since when has it not been?

But it will also be without some of the drama that has tied the chamber in knots.

Don Gaetz, always one of the smartest guys in the room, is replacing Mike Haridopolos as Senate President.   That’s difference number one.

Gone are JD Alexander and Mike Bennett. That is what you call addition by subtraction.

Also gone are some of the sensible moderates, such as Paula Dockery and Dennis Jones. But, honestly, those two were like Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino: their best days were long behind them.

There will no longer be a Siplin in the Florida Senate, now that shakedown artist Gary Siplin is on his way out and his wife lost to Geraldine Thompson. This is another case of addition by subtraction.

Sure, Mike Fasano will no longer be in the Senate, but I am already hearing good, if not great, things about his successor Wilton Simpson from Pasco County.

The Senate will be better off with John Legg representing Hillsborough and Pasco instead of scandal-plagued Jim Norman.  Former Senate President Tom Lee’s return is a marked improvement over Ronda Storms.

The fresh faces show a great deal of promise, also. Aaron Bean and Jeff Brandes are smart, future-oriented leaders who bear watching. Denise Grimsley will be a masterful Senator, if her career in the Florida House is any indication.

Even some of the best veterans are returning, too. Welcome back, Senators Charlie Dean, Greg Evers, Jack Latvala and John Thrasher.

As for the scrum for the Senate Presidency, we’ll discuss that a later date. For right now, let’s just enjoy the prospect of a strong Florida Senate in 2013-14.

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.