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Why did Democrat Janet Long go to Jack Latvala’s campaign kick-off?

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
Evidently, more than 250 people stopped by Jack Latvala’s campaign kick-off at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Certainly, many of those who attended did so out of fear, rather than enthusiasm for Jack’s campaign. Maybe that explains why Democrat Janet Long was one of those who went to wish Jack well in his effort to put a Democratic seat back in the GOP’s column.

Janet has been as effective a state representative can be considering her party’s in the minority and her seat is competitively drawn, but this move really calls into question her party loyalty. The District 16 Senate seat is the front-line of the Democratic Party’s battle to regain some credibility in Tallahassee. I know how much this seat means because I helped the GOP take it from the Dems in 1998, a sin for which I’ll never forgive myself.

And now that Jack Latvala’s running for the seat, with his long-list of political IOUs, with his own direct mail shop to pump out campaign literature and with a moderate legislative record, it’s likely the GOP could win back this seat. Especially when the Democrat’s best candidate, Bill Heller, has passed on running for the seat. Especially when another strong candidate, Rick Kriseman, lives too far out of the district to make a serious run.

Especially when s Democratic elected official like Janet Long goes to kiss the ring of former Senator Jack Latvala (and don’t think we didn’t notice Carl Zimmermann there, either. Hope he’s not thinking about switching parties again.)

Janet Long has her own aspirations for the Florida Senate, when Dennis Jones is term-limited from running again. She’s going to need every bit of Democratic support to beat what is expected to be a strong Republican field in a GOP seat. Jack Latvala ain’t gonna be there to help Janet in 2012, so why is Long betraying her party now?

Update: Florida Progressive Coalition Blog weighs-in: “Can someone remind me why I spend 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as half of our family income trying to get Democrats elected when they act like this???”

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.

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