I had lunch today with two of Florida’s top Republican operators, both of whom have worked on presidential and gubernatorial campaigns in the state. We got to talking about not what the 2014 or 2016 election cycles look/will look like, but what Florida politics will look like in 2018.
Consider this …
Regardless of who wins this year’s governor’s race, there will an open primary on the Republican side for the party’s nomination. That fight could include Adam Putnam, Jeff Atwater, and Will Weatherford. If Rick Scott defeats Charlie Crist this year, there will be an open primary on the Democratic side, too.
All three Cabinet seats will also be up for grabs because Atwater, Putnam, and Pam Bondi will be termed out of office.
There will undoubtedly be a competitive race for one of Florida’s U.S. Senate seats. At the very least, there will be an open primary on the Republican side and, if Bill Nelson cannot or decides not to run again, an open primary on the Democratic side.
These two smart Republicans, neither of whom is known for unnecessary speculation, also mentioned Rubio as a possible gubernatorial candidate. If that happened, that would open a SECOND U.S. Senate seat in 2018.
So, to recap, there will be at least five statewide races on the ballot in 2018 — Nelson’s U.S. Senate seat, Governor, and all three Cabinet posts — with a possible sixth race up for grabs if Rubio decides to run for governor. This would make 2018 the busiest election cycle in Florida since there was a six-member state Cabinet.
Jeez, if only there was a website dedicated to Florida politics…