On Jack Latvala’s committee’s fundraising

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One of the political committee associated with state Senator Jack Latvala took in more than $142,000 during December. The Florida Leadership Committee has now raised more than $411,000 according to newly financed reports posted on the committee’s website

What Senator Latvala raises for his committee is supposedly newsworthy because he is locked into an interparty scrum with Senator Joe Negron for the presidency of the Florida Senate beginning in 2016.

There’s no disputing that Negron’s committee has raised considerably more money than Latvala’s committee. What’s not clear is what are they raising money for?

Barring any unforeseen changes, there are only two elections in 2014 which could have an impact on the Negron vs. Latvala rivalry. But neither of these races are Republican primaries, the outcome of which could add or subtract a pledge from either’s commitments.

In Senate District 22, incumbent Jeff Brandes faces a challenge from Democrat Judithanne McLauchlan. Unofficially, Brandes is a vote for Joe Negron for Senate President, but Latvala is not going to spend money on behalf of McLauchlan to take out Brandes. Say what you will about ol’ grizzly bear Latvala, but a traitor to his party is not one of them. 

The other race which could impact who is the Senate President after Andy Gardiner is if Ellyn Bogdanoff decides to challenge Democrat incumbent Maria Sachs in District 34. Were Bogdanoff to run and unseat Sachs she would be a vote for Latvala, but, like Latvala, Negron is a devout Republican and is not going to have his committee spend any of that 961K on Sachs. In fact, you can expect Negron’s committee to expend tens of thousands of dollars on Bogdanoff’s behalf — even if Bogdanoff winning helps Latvala in the long run. 

It is well-known that I am an acolyte of Jack Latvala (I even contributed $300 to his December haul), so this post may be perceived as some sort of gamesmanship on his behalf. It genuinely is not. I just don’t understand how Latvala’s or Negron’s fundraising plays a role in deciding who will be Senate President in 2014-16, other than it’s something the traditional media — which has a spotty record of analyzing leadership races — something to write about.

Please, someone, fill me in. 

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.