The week that was in Florida politics: Countdown

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This week, the countdown began.

The countdown to what, exactly? So many things, really.

This week was the emotional funeral for Congressman C.W. Bill Young. Leaders and dignitaries from across the nation descended to pay respects to the man who had served in Congress for more than 40 years. The sight of Marines carrying the coffin of the late Congressman epitomized American honor and respect. Too bad it was marred by politics. But given that Congressman Young spent his entire life serving in the political realm, perhaps it was inevitable.

On the day before Congressman Young’s funeral, the National Republican Congressional Committee came under heavy fire for conducing a poll on the now-vacant seat. This was poor taste at best, and the Young family would be right to be offended.

The Young family had a rough week, of course. Beverly Young, the widow of the Congressman, caused a stir when she sent a letter to Charlie Crist urging him to stay away from the Congressman’s funeral. She lost her husband and her family had to welcome those leaders and dignitaries this week — it has undoubtedly been a trying time for Mrs. Young. But there can be no denying the way in which she politicized her husband’s funeral.

The funeral, of course, marked the time when we could begin, in an appropriately public way, counting down a few deadlines with respect to the now-vacant Congressional seat. First, the countdown to when Governor Scott will announce the dates of the special election. Countdowns in and around that deadline will revolve around who is in and who is out.

Drilling down a little further, all eyes are on the mayor’s race in St. Petersburg, analyzing the recent polling and fundraising numbers. Fundraising numbers in a few of the city council races have been something to see, too. 

This is a big countdown. It is the last full week before Election Day. This past week we saw both candidates work to make their closing arguments. GOTV efforts will be dialed up to eleven. In the coming week, watch for some final polling and predictions.

Finally, there was the countdown to November 4.

I am pretty sure I wrote it somewhere, but now can no longer find it, but there is almost no one better at stretching out the story across media cycles than Charlie Crist.

I do not know why the nascent Crist campaign has decided to announce his candidacy for Governor on November 4, the day before the municipal elections in St. Petersburg. After this week, his is, for intents and purposes, announced. He was welcomed as a rock star at the Democratic convention in Orlando this weekend. I would guess the conversation about the Crist candidacy will dominate throughout much of the upcoming week.

Just wondering: why not that Thursday? Friday? Stretch the story through the weekend?

Why not Friday, November 1? Come back from the Democratic conference and say you heard from all these great Democrats — now is the time.

I don’t know. Now, at least here in Pinellas, the message is muddled with the election results in St. Petersburg. And if Kriseman wins and you have a new mayor — and you will have a new City Council make-up, no matter what — that’s a pretty big damn story. And it ought to be.

In any event, the countdown towards inevitable, big political shifts has begun. There’s no turning back now.