The June meeting at Bear Lakes featured Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff.
Ellyn currently represents the Palm Beach and Broward coastal district 25, that has been busted up in the new redistricting scheme. The new district 34 contains a shorter piece of coastline and some heavily Democrat inland areas (including King’s Point), and the Republican nominee will face another sitting Senator, Maria Sachs. Senate redistricting went through several iterations, and ultimately the Florida Supreme Court forced the change that turned a reasonably safe Republican district to a D+9 uphill challenge.
One of the Supreme Court Justices that is on the ballot for retention this year, Barbara Pariente, a proponent of the changes, ended up at a table with Ellyn at an event earlier in the year and the Senator had some amusing remarks about how that went.
Ellyn talked about the race and the advantages she brings over Maria Sachs, in spite of the deficit in party registration. If you remember the effective 2010 campaign she ran against Carl Domino in the primary and Kelly Skidmore in the general – both with a margin of 16% or more, she will be a formidable competitor.
The Senator then gave a short legislative update, and took a few questions. One controversial bill with which she was closely associated involved the expansion of casino gambling in the state. The bill, called it the “largest expansion of gambling in Florida History” by much of the media, was ultimately withdrawn. Ellyn cast it in a different light, expaining that it was about tourism and an expansion of the convention business in the state, by building a set of resorts in which gambling was only one factor. The Orlando area (the guy with the glove and three fingers), was not too keen on the idea of building a convention magnet in the Miami area that would compete with them, and that was the backdrop against which it was decided. Given the new Senate President is not a supporter, she did not think the bill would come up again in the next session.
Also at the meeting were candidates Tami Donnally (H86), Fran Hancock (State Committeewoman) and Cindy Tindell (State Committeewoman), and a surrogate for Pat Rooney (H85).
There is something for everyone on the ballot in August, regardless of your party affiliation. Look over the list below, then go to our Voter’s Guide to learn about the candidates and view the district maps.
Keep in mind that August elections are low turnout affairs, so your vote will count for more than in the November election. In 2010 for example, 377K people in the county voted in November, but only 127K in August.
ALL VOTERS can vote in the non-partisan and/or “universal primary” races which include:
(* indicates incumbent, write-ins not listed)
- Sheriff (Ric Bradshaw*, Joe Talley, Cleamond Walker)
- Property Appraiser (Gary Nikolits*, Robert Weinroth)
- Clerk and Comptroller (Sharon Bock*, Lisa Epstein) (universal primary)
- Supervisor of Elections (Susan Bucher*, Woodie McDuffie, Coneste Succe)
- 15th Circuit Judge Group 2 (Timothy McCarthy*, Jody Lane)
- 15th Circuit Judge Group 9 (Ron Alvarez*, Jaimie Goodman)
- 15th Circuit Judge Group 26 (James L. Martz*, Margherita Downey)
- County Court Judge Group 4 (Peter M. Evans, Kenneth Lemoine)
- County Court Judge Group 6 (Edward A. Garrison, Jane F. Sullivan)
plus the following if you live in these districts:
- State House District 87 (Dave Kerner, Mike Rios) (universal primary)
- State House District 88 (Charles Bantel, Evelyn Garcia, Bobby Powell, Nikasha Wells) (universal primary)
- School Board District 1 (Robert Bittenbinder, Michael Howard, Christine Jax, Lowell Levine, Michael Murgio)
If you are a REPUBLICAN, you can also vote for:
- US Senate (Connie Mack, Ron McNeil, Mike McCalister, Marielena Stuart, Dave Weldon)
- GOP State Committeewoman (Fran Hancock*, Cindy Tindell)
- GOP State Committeeman (Peter Feaman*, Corey Brisson)
plus the following if you live in these districts:
- Congressional District 18 (Allen West, Robert Crowder)
- State Senate District 25 (Melanie Peterson, Geoff Sommers)
- State Senate District 34 (Ellyn Bogdanoff, Mike Lameyer)
- State House District 82 (Carl Domino, Mary Lynn Magar, John Milton, John Pasqualone, Calvin Turnquest)
- County Commission District 1 (Dan Amero, Harry Gaboian, Hal Valeche)
With George LeMieux quitting the Senate race and endorsing Connie Mack IV, is the race over?
Senator LeMieux listed two reasons for his exit: 1) RPOF and the “powers that be”, presumably including FreedomWorks, have thrown their support to Connie Mack, making it hard for LeMieux and others to find sufficient funds to run a state-wide media campaign against the deep pockets of Connie Mack and his supporters and 2) Congressman Mack refuses to come out and debate his Republican rivals, precluding any “free” publicity for the challengers and closing the door on any discussion of issues.
With money and media a major requirement, Mike McCalister, MarieLena Stuart, Ron MacNeil and the others would seem to be at a major disadvantage. Dave Weldon would be also, given his late entry.
The Weldon campaign plans to fight though. From what I heard today from a campaign staffer, many grassroots coordinators from the LeMieux campaign are coming over to Weldon.
In a conference call immediately following his announcement, Congressman Weldon did not particularly impress. His website was content-free, he seemed unprepared, and lacked detailed knowledge of many of the issues important to the grassroots. That has changed. He now has a well developed set of policy positions (see: daveweldonforsenate.com/issues/ ) which are clearly conservative and counter to the Obama/Nelson agenda, he is gathering endorsements (Sam Brownback, Citizens United Political Victory Fund), and stepping up fundraising.
The near term plan is to bulk up the number of small contributors to show grassroots strength and his phonebank is asking for $5-10 donations in the next couple of days to make the case.
Will he be a credible challenge to Mack? I don’t know, but it is a shame to see the primary end today with a whimper. I gave him a small contribution and plan to watch what happens. If you are not comfortable with Connie Mack as the presumptive nominee, you could do the same.
The Republican Club of the Palm Beaches was a co-sponsor of this event.