Tuesday’s slate of elections in Tampa Bay certainly provided a list of winners and losers and I’m not just talking about the candidates. Here is my list of the real winners and losers coming out of Tuesday’s elections. Let me know if I missed anyone.
Bob Buckhorn – Just as his city is poised for big things in the next few years, so is Hizzoner, who is already being mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2018. One could make the argument that, besides U.S. Reps Gwen Graham and Patrick Murphy, Buckhorn is the future of the Florida Democratic Party.
Capitol Consulting – The campaign consulting firm linked with lobbying shop Corcoran & Johnston – a firm who never plays both sides and has been all in with Governor Rick Scott since the beginning – had wins last night with Al Higginbotham for Hillsborough County Commission, Mike Moore for Pasco County Commission, Jeff Holcomb for Hernando County Commission, Blaise Ingoglia and Danny Burgess for State Representative. This on top of its clients who won earlier this year, Laura Ward and Michael Scionti for Circuit Court Judge and those re-elected without opposition, such as Reps. Jake Raburn and Dan Raulerson.
Dana Young – The incoming Majority Leader of the Florida House worked her tail off helping other Republicans get elected to the Legislature. One of her colleagues called her the hardest working woman in politics.
David McKalip – The good doctor may not be able to get himself elected but he, along with the No Tax for Tracks organization and local gadfly Tom Rask, sure is good at jamming things up. Well played, Dr. McKalip.
Dwight Dudley – He’s the last legislative Democrat standing in Pinellas and he should be in good shape in 2016 when it will be a better playing field for Democrats. With that, Dudley has a good shot at being the first state representative from HD 52/68 to hold the seat for four terms since 2006.
Nick Hansen – He’s one of the man people behind two franchises, U.S. Rep. David Jolly and state Senator Jeff Brandes. Previously, he’s hitched his star to two presidential campaigns which fell short in Florida; perhaps the third time will be a charm for Hansen.
Arthenia Joyner – With Crist losing and House Democrats getting decimated, the incoming Minority Leader in the Florida Senate may have a big role to play in 2015-16.
Jack Latvala – The senior state senator could have easily found himself in the L-column because of the losses endured by his allies Ellyn Bogdanoff in Senate District 34 and Ed Hooper for County Commission, but his son was elected to the Florida Legislature. No matter what else, imagine how proud he must be today. By the way, Sen. Latvala was re-elected by a wide margin.
Johnny Torres – Don’t know who he was working for this cycle, but dude seemed to be everywhere … next to Rick Scott, next to Pam Bondi, tweeting for this Republican, video-taping that candidate.
Local TV stations – The corporate owners of Bay News 9, WFLA, etc. feasted on the seemingly unending a buys made by Rick Scottworld and the Charlie Crist campaign. Plus their coverage of Tampa Bay politics is increasingly nuances and occasionally better than the Times or Tribune.
The Jeff Brandes machine – Jim Rimes, Hansen, Chris Spencer, and Co. have battled through four tough elections in four years and have never looked the worse for wear. Now Brandes doesn’t have to run again until 2018, giving him plenty of time to do what he likes best: tinker on innovative legislation (Google Car, Uber) designed to drag Florida into the 21st century.
Brock Mikosky – Nice re-election campaigns for Reps. Dan Raulerson and Ross Spano.
Pinellas County Young Republicans – Two of its alumni — Chris Latvala and Chris Sprowls — are now members of the Florida Legislature.
St. Pete Polls – Once again, the local polling outfit nailed the direction of the election, coming within a point of nailing the governor’s race, while also being first to forecast the Florida GOP winning a super-majority in the Florida House and that Greenlight Pinellas would lose.
Strategic Image Management – Anthony Pedicini’s consulting firm took out two Democratic incumbents.
The Victory Group – Adam Goodman’s studio did work for AG Pam Bondi, 6 U.S. Reps, and 9 state lawmakers.
Tom Alte — Relatively new to the scene locally, Pat Gerard’s campaign manager ran a masterful effort, pulling off an open seat pickup for Democrats in a tough environment, nearly matching Ed Hooper dollar-for-dollar and successfully defining him early to the countywide voters who didn’t previously know him.
Will Weatherford – Forget what the Tampa Bay Times has written about you, after two years of you leading the Florida House, voters decided to re-elect all of your members and replace six Democrats with Republicans. What a political legacy!
Bill Young II – Some candidates win, some candidates lose … that’s politics. But Young set himself for a karma fail when he decided to back Rep. Eric Eisnaugle for House Speaker in 2021-22 over his friend Representative-elect Chris Sprowls. It would have been a smart political move had Young won, but he didn’t so now he’s on the outside. But something tells me Young will be back.
Jeff Danner – He’s worked for years to bring the Greenlight Pinellas plan to a vote and all he has today are his trademark black T-shirts. Ken Welch probably belong on this list too, although it was not his paying job to get Greenlight passed, just his political passion.
Justin Day – The Tampa-based lobbyist would have banked like few others had Crist been elected.
Mike Fasano – There were few more vocal proponents of Charlie Crist than the former lawmaker turned Pasco County Tax Collector.
Joe Farrell – The campaign manager for Greenlight Pinellas just didn’t seem to understand the byzantine nature of Pinellas politics.
Ceasar Fernandez – A year ago, he was the Golden Boy for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. Today, there are a lot of complaints about the political operation of the Charlie Crist campaign, including its failure to connect with other Democratic elected officials. That was part of Fernandez’ portfolio. It was his first time on a statewide, so it will be interesting to see where he lands during the 2016 cycle.
Jamie Grant – Due to legal wrangling more complex than a class action lawsuit against a tobacco company, the voters of Grant’s House District 64 today find themselves technically without a state representative. The 1st District Court of Appeal issued a two-line decision Tuesday denying Grant’s request for the votes not to be counted in yesterday’s election. The appellate judges sent the case back to circuit Judge Angela Dempsey to address a special election. Meanwhile, Grant could miss out on key leadership and committee assignments.
Nick Janovsky – who staffed so many losing candidates this year, George Sheldon, Kent Curtis, Lorena Grizzle, Greenlight Pinellas, among others.
Peter Schorsch – I could put myself in the Winners column based on my clients’ wins and/or the wall-to-wall coverage provided by our websites this cycle, but at the end of the day, I am, as Adam Smith once described me, a Charlie Crist acolyte. I would have been trump, trump, trumpeting today had he won. But he didn’t and that loss doesn’t feel very good.
St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce – Call it the Reverse Midas Touch because everything political the Chamber touches — The Lens, Greenlight Pinellas — has turned to garbage.