Will Dwight Dudley pull a Brandes against Jeff Brandes?

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If you are a true political junkie, you’d consider yourself blessed to reside in the most battleground-y of battleground State House and Senate seats in Florida, as I do.

House District 68 has seen more turnover — six individuals have held the seat during the last eighteen years — than a carwash, while control of Senate District 22 has seesawed back-and-forth between the Democrats and Republicans for more than two decades.

After the 2012 elections, when then-Representative Jeff Brandes ran unopposed in the general for the Senate seat and Democrat Dwight Dudley defeated former Republican Representative Frank Farkas to take the seat Brandes had vacated, it was assumed that there might be some stability in the two seats for at least the next two or three election cycles.

Well, so much for that.

One of the loudest rumors swirling in Tampa Bay’s political circles is that Dudley might pull a Brandes against Brandes and challenge him for his Senate seat, thereby creating an open seat in HD 68.

Pulling a Brandes refers to the first-term reps decision in 2012 to run for the Senate instead of seeking re-election to the House because the numbers in the Senate seat in a presidential election cycle were more attractive than facing-off, even as an incumbent, against a well-funded Democrat in a House race.

In a midterm election, when Republicans historically run stronger than Democrats, it might be easier for Dudley to challenge Brandes in Senate District 22 than play defense against expected challenger Billy Young, who has signaled his intent to run in 2014.


I’m not saying I agree with the Democrat’s logic. In fact, I believe Dudley is rapidly realizing that he is going to find himself between a rock and a hard place in 2014 — between two-time winner Brandes, who can easily raise three million dollars for his campaign and the affable, well-intentioned son of a enormously popular congressman, who can also raise millions of dollars for his campaign.

In other words, don’t be surprised if House District 68 has its seventh occupant in twenty years.

Disclosure: Senator Jeff Brandes is a client of Extensive Enterprises, LLC, the holding company of Extensive Enterprises Media, LLC, which owns SaintPetersBlog.com. 

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.