Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

The Sudoku Senate race

in Statewide by

Not only is it light years away from November 2010, but the prospect of another grueling campaign in Florida, this time to replace Mel Martinez in the U.S. Senate, has yet to excite me. I’m obviously not alone in this feeling either as the leading candidates for both parties, Jeb Bush and Alex Sink, have decided not to run for the seat.

That leaves both sides of the aisle with candidates for whom the word senatorial does not immediately come to mind. Allen Boyd? Really? He just doesn’t scream Daniel Patrick Moynihan to me. Florida’s congressional delegation is already weak enough relative to the other large states, such as California, and none of the expected contenders are likely to change that. Bill McCollum? Really? He tried to impeach Bill Clinton! We’re gonna reward him for that with a membership in the most exclusive political body in the history of the Western world?

I have a feeling I’m gonna end up backing Dan Gelber, just on his smarts alone. I think he has the most upside, but does he have a high enough statewide profile to win his party’s nomination or beat a well-known dork like McCollum?

The worst aspect of this race for us in the bay area is pretty much the lack of impact it will have on the down-ballot races in Tampa Bay. The best thing about a wide-open field is that usually everyone rushes to fill in that vacuum, with one resignation-to-run creating a domino effect throughout the political game. A couple of U.S. Reps resign to run for the U.S. Senate, then a half-dozen state reps and senators give up their seats in the hope of making it to Congress, and in turn a slew of city commissioners start jockeying for a seat in Tallahassee.

Unfortunately, there is no one in our region strong enough politically (yet) to consider running for the U.S. Senate. So no open congressional seats, no special elections for the state House, no scrambling to fill empty seats on various city councils, no appointments…nothing.

It’s like getting a clue in Sudoku that can’t possibly help you fill up the rest of the square. Frustrating and boring.

What political aficionados around here need is for Bill Young to resign and soon. Who cares if he’s still bringing in millions of dollars in special projects to the region. Under President Obama’s stimulus plan every congressman is going to be bringing in millions of dollars in special projects to the region. If Rep. Young would just step aside, he would set off a chain events that would keep political consultants in this area busy until Chelsea Clinton runs for office.

Consider Young’s resignation a stimulus package for Florida’s political consultants.

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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.

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