For regular readers of this blog, you are already familiar with Senator 41, the legendary figure who helped us navigate the Byzantine politics surrounding the race for the Presidency of the Florida Senate.
During the 2012 legislative session, Senator 41 was the first to know about John Thrasher’s attempted coup. He was also the first to know about the deal struck between Andy Gardiner and Jack Latvala. All in all, Senator 41 seems to always be in the right place at the right time.
Who is “Senator 41,” you ask. Well, if you don’t know Senator 41, you don’t know one of the most powerful people walking the halls of the Capitol.
Senator 41 represents the 41st District, which you may be difficult to find on a map. District 41 is comprised of about two city blocks, running the length of Adams Street in Tallahassee.
Senator 41 is, by far, the longest-serving member of the Legislature. He served with Mallory Horne. He served with Dempsey Barron. He has seen everything. Look up the definition of “institutional knowledge” and you’ll see a picture of Senator 41.
The ongoing rivalry between Latvala and Thrasher is not Senator 41′s first leadership fight. He was around the first time Latvala wanted to be Senate President, just as he was around when Ander Crenshaw and Pat Thomas agreed to split the job.
So why is Senator 41 contacting us now?
Like a cardinal inside the papal conclave, Senator 41 knows when white smoke is about to billow into the sky because a new Pope has been selected.
SaintPetersBlog: Good morning, sir. You look much more rested since the last time we spoke during session. I’d even say the color has returned to your cheeks…
Senator 41: Knock it off, Peter. There’s no sense kissing my ass. I tolerate you because I enjoy reading your blog. I don’t need you to tell me I looked white as a ghost during session.
SaintPetersBlog: But you are so tan?
Senator 41: Been down in the Islands since Sine Die. Tried to get away from it all, but then I ran into Pam Bondi. She’s there to get married, she tells me. At which point I tell her if she ever wants to run for governor, she would be better tying the knot in Florida. Well, I guess my little piece of advice caused quite a brouhaha.
SaintPetersBlog: Wait, that was you who caused all of that drama?
Senator 41: Well, I didn’t mean to cause any drama. And if you ask me, it was Paula Dockery and her posting a picture of Pam on her Facebook account that really caused the drama. Paula and her damn cell phone…
SaintPetersBlog: Sir, you never cease to amaze. So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence?
Senator 41: You haven’t heard? Your patron, Jack Latvala, has not told you? I figured you’d know by now. All I planned to do was fill in the gaps.
SaintPetersBlog: No, what is it? What are you talking about?
Senator 41: I don’t know if it’s my place to tell you.
SaintPetersBlog: That’s never stopped you from talking to me before.
Senator 41: True, it’s just…I don’t want you to seem like that Shark Tank jackass when he blabbed about my good friend Dave Bitner stepping down as RPOF Chair.
SaintPetersBlog: No, you’re right, the last thing I want to happen is to be compared to Javier. Did you know before he was a blogger that he was a lawn guy?
Senator 41: Did I know? Who do you think would pay him an extra twenty bucks to blow off my driveway? No one edges a sidewalk like Javier!
SaintPetersBlog: So…what’s the big news?
Senator 41: John. Thrasher. Is. Dropping. Out. (of the race for Senate President, that is.)
SaintPetersBlog: I knew it! I’ve been saying all along that he didn’t want to do this…
Senator 41: Shut up, Peter. No one likes a know-it-all. You only know who your daddy is because your momma told you.
SaintPetersBlog: I’m sorry, sir. It’s just…
Senator 41: Yes, I know what it is means. Your guy should now win the Senate Presidency. But there’s nothing attractive about gloating. Keep in mind, John Thrasher has a lot of friends in this state. The man is a statesman. I remember when he was a lobbyist and he came to my office and…
SaintPetersBlog: Sir, can we avoid the trip down memory lane? You said Latvala SHOULD now win the Senate Presidency, not WILL win the Senate Presidency. If Thrasher is dropping out, how is Latvala not Senate President Designate?
Senator 41: Do I have to explain everything? Boy, you’ve forgotten about Joe Negron, although the business community will not be anywhere near as supportive for Joe as it has been for John.
SaintPetersBlog: I wouldn’t be the first to forget about Negron.
Senator 41: There you go, with that smart mouth. It’s gonna be your undoing, if you’re not careful. I thought that pretty wife of yours was keeping you in line?
SaintPetersBlog: She is! She is!
Senator 41: Well, don’t go smartin’ off so often. Latvala is not out of the woods yet. Thrasher may be dropping out, but he’s also committing to Negron. And let’s be cl
SaintPetersBlog: So when did all of this happen?
Senator 41: John told me on Wednesday. I mentioned I would be talking to you, but he didn’t know who you were.
SaintPetersBlog: That’s real nice.
Senator 41: Alright, he may have known who you were, or at least he said something about someone once telling him about your blog.
SaintPetersBlog: You’re awfully mean today, sir.
Senator 41: That’s because I had to come back from the Islands to help Jim Norman get through his issues?
SaintPetersBlog: You’re everywhere!
Senator 41: Yes, I am, in fact, it’s about time this interview comes to an end.
SaintPetersBlog: Well, thank you, sir. It’s always a pleasure to see you. Will we talk again before the Election?
Senator 41: Peter, this is Florida, something crazy is bound to happen between now and the Election and I’m sure you’ll need me to explain it to you, so, yes, I am sure we will talk again soon.