To understand the race to be the next Senate President, you have to understand the movie ‘Top Gun’

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“All hell is about to break loose,” promises one consultant decidedly close to John Thrasher, after the news of the Jacksonville’s state senator coup d’etat was finally underway.

As Marc Caputo reported earlier today:

The rumor is back: Sen. Andy Gardiner is droppinng out of the race for Florida Senate President in 2014-15 so that his friend, John Thrasher, can take on Jack Latvala. This talk has been around for a while, but something has the Republican Florida Senate world buzzing a new.

Another possibility: Gardiner could be replaced by Sen. Joe Negron and Thrasher would then succeed him after 2015. Or it could be the other way around.

Of course, Gardiner has responded:

“I’m not going anywhere,” Gardiner told the Herald/Times later in the day. “I look forward to the discussion.”

See, that’s the whole problem, Gardiner isn’t going anywhere.  He hasn’t gained ground in the race against Latvala.  In fact, as I reported earlier this month, Latvala has edged Gardiner in fundraising.

Add that to the embarrassing loss the Senate leadership suffered in the debate over prison privatization and it’s no wonder Thrasher is stepping over Gardiner to take on Latvala.

Actually, there’s a better way to understand the race for Senate President. Just watch ‘Top Gun’.

There is the scene when Maverick and Iceman are both chasing Jester, the latter attempting to gain a missile lock on the target. Then under intense pressure from Maverick, Iceman breaks off.

Maverick’s F-14 flies through the jet wash of Iceman’s aircraft and suffers a flameout of both engines, entering a flat spin from which he cannot recover.

That’s the race for Senate President.  John Thrasher is Maverick and Andy Gardiner is Iceman.  Jack Latvala is, of course, the grizzled veteran Jester.

Thrasher has been telling Gardiner for months to take the shot, but he hasn’t. So now Gardiner has to break off to take on Latvala himself.

The only question is whether Thrasher-Maverick will get caught in Gardiner-Iceman’s jet wash?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.