I, for one, don’t know him.
For that matter, no one I’ve talked to who works in Pinellas politics says they know him.
But Raymond Alan Baker, by qualifying to run for State Senate District 22, just disenfranchised every Democrat and Independent in the district who hoped to help decide who would be their next State Senator.
Earlier this week, Baker qualified with the Florida Division of Elections, thereby closing the Republican primary between Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe. If Baker or another Democrat or write-in candidate had not emerged, the election between Brandes and Frishe would have been open to not only Republicans, but also to Democrats and all other independent voters.
I’m not exactly sure which candidate benefits from a closed primary; Brandes with his appeal to the Tea Party element? Or Frishe with his long standing ties to the Republican establishment?
But I do know who DOES NOT benefit from a closed primary: the tens of thousands of voters who had hoped to have a say in who represents them in Tallahassee.