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September 22nd, 2022       Political Note #506 Florida’s Elections

2022                                         General Election

Florida has two interesting and important statewide elections in 2022 – the Governor’s race and the US Senate race.  These races are a big deal for Florida and for the country.


Charlie Crist

On November 8, there will be no more important election than Florida’s gubernatorial race.  Should Donald Trump’s hold on the Republican Party grow shaky, the likeliest replacement as the Republican nominee for President is Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis.  Affable Charlie Crist is attempting to stand in his way. If Ron DeSantis is not reelected governor, the Republicans will not nominate him for President even if Donald Trump is in jail.

Charlie Crist (Political Note #463) is a former Republican, a former Republican Governor of Florida, and a former Democratic Member of Congress from Florida’s 13th District.  He resigned from Congress to focus on his run for Governor.  Grandson of an immigrant from Cyprus, son of a doctor, high school quarterback, as a Republican or a Democrat, he has been a voice for moderation and for government that is responsive to the people.  That is what Florida needs in place of Ron DeSantis’s government of oppression.  If there is a semi-fascist in a state house in the United States, Ron DeSantis qualifies.  Help Charlie Crist. 

  • On September 17th], 538 projected that Charlie Crist would win 8 times in 100. His probable loss would be 44.3 to 53.6
  • Recent polls are helpful
    • An independently funded B+ rated poll reported on September 3rd that Crist was trailing 43-47
    • An independently funded unrated poll reported on August 31st that Crist was trailing 50-47
    • A Democratic funded B/C rated poll reported on August 30th that Crist was trailing 48-45
    • A Democratic Governors’ Assn funded B/C rated poll reported on August 18th that Crist was trailing 48 – 51
    • A Chamber of Commerce funded B/C rated poll reported on August 15th that Crust was trailing 43-51
  • As of August 19, Ron DeSantis had raised $172 million. He has spent some, of course, but he has plenty to get to November.  On roughly the same date, Charlie Crist reported he had raised $14.9 million.  He spent $4.8 million on his primary.  Making a dent in that financial discrepancy is daunting. Even if we all give Crist as much money as we can afford, we cannot make up the dollar amount.  Can Crist, even at a large financial disadvantage, make up the few points the recent polls suggest he is behind?

This will be a tough, but make your donation to Charlie Crist.  He does not have to match DeSantis.  He does need more money than he has.

US Senate

Val Demings, (Political Note #400) the Congresswoman from Florida’s 10th Congressional District, is the Democratic candidate to defeat Florida’s incumbent Marco Rubio.  Rubio is surprising — flexible and resilient.  He has shifted from a moderate challenger to Donald Trump to a Trump follower.  Rubio was born in Miami to pre-Castro Cuban immigrants.  His dad was a bartender; his mom was a maid. His history is: BA Florida (1993), JD Miami (1996), City Commissioner (1998), Florida House of Representatives (2000), Speaker of the House (2006), Professor (2008), US Senator 2010). When his presidential campaign in 2016 left him embarrassed after tangling with Donald Trump, he succeeded in being reelected to the US Senate.  Marco Rubio should not be underestimated.  He is flexible when he needs to be, resilient if he needs that.  He has been allied to the most conservative wings of the Republican Party except when that alliance was inconvenient.

Val Demings is tough to outflank.  Growing up in a mostly segregated Florida, she went to an integrated junior high school and was a star.  She worked her way through Florida State (1979) and later, while in Orlando, got her MA from Webster University (1996).  She worked briefly as a kind of social worker after college, but had a degree in law enforcement and wanted to be a cop.  She got a job with the Orlando police (1983) and Orlando became her life. Her husband (They were married in 1988) was a fellow cop.  He became Orlando’s Chief of Police (1999), County Sheriff (2008), and County Mayor (2018).  She became Orlando’s Chief of Police (2007) and its Congresswoman (2016).  She is not going to be seen as soft on crime, though the Republicans try.  A fan of motorcycles, she is not going to be seen as soft on anything, though she is certainly a mainstream progressive among Democrats.

  • On September 17th 538 projected that 14 times in 100, Val Demings wins the Senate race in Florida.  She is projected to lose 45.2 – 52.7
  • Recent polls are helpful
    • An independently funded B+ rated poll reported on September 3rd that Demings was trailing 44-47
    • An independently funded unrated poll reported on August 31st that Demings was trailing 47-49
    • A Democratically funded B/C rated poll reported on August 30th that Demings was trailing 45-46
    • A Democratically funded B/C rated poll reported on August 16th that Demings was trailing 46-49
    • A independently funded unrated poll reported on August 14 that Demings was trailing 39-46
  • At the beginning of August, Open Secrets reported that Val Demings had $8.8 million to spend; Rubio had $15 million.

No candidate ever feels he or she has enough.  If Demings can continue to receive support, she has enough to work at making up those two or three points in an atmosphere where 538 now gives Democrats a 70% probability of having control of the Senate. Donate to Val Demings

US House

Governor Ron DeSantis told the Republican Florida legislature that he would veto any proposed redistricting unless they accepted his redistricting plan.  His plan eliminated two majority Black districts (the contest noted below for FL 02 is a product of one of those eliminations).  He made certain that redistricting was as favorable as possible for gaining as many Republican seats as possible.  Florida congressional districts are so gerrymandered that I counted plus or minus 16 as competitive instead of plus or minus 10.  Look for yourself.  Consider donations.  Are these seats competitive enough so that Democrats could make in dent in DeSantis’s plan?

FL 23 D+09

Jared Moskowitz

This is a contest between Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat who has worked for Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, and Ron DeSantis against Financial Advisor Joe Budd, a Trump acolyte who has sought to make a life lesson of his refusal to file bankruptcy after his business failed.  As a state Rep for a district that included Lakeland, he worked with families from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and achieved a gun safety, school safety, and mental health bill more comprehensive than anything previously passed in the state. His first priority running for congress is to take steps to protect democracy ranging from reforms to end political gerrymandering to making election day a national holiday and making the opportunity to vote by mail universal.  Joe Budd’s first priority appears to be to announce that “America is the greatest nation to ever exist” and to wave the flag.

  • On September 17th , 538 reported that Jared Moskowitz had a 93 in 100 chance of winning. He is projected to defeat Joe Budd 54.6 – 42.0
  • No Polls available
  • At the beginning of August, Moskowitz had $350,000, Joe Budd had nothing

FL 27 D+01

Annette Taddeo

This is a contest between Annette Taddeo, a Colombian born Democratic Party activist against the Incumbent Republican who was formerly an Emmy-award winning television news anchor.  Consider which trauma was the most serious for Annette Taddeo – 19 operations to remedy a cleft lip or her Colombian father’s kidnapping be a terrorist group.  She was spirited out to the US, developed a Spanish language translation business, and moved to Miami.  Her first campaign priority is improved funding for education and child care, crucial for families trying to make their way in the world.  She is running against an incumbent born in Miami’s Little Havana and whose first issue is to oppose socialism. Her implication is clear enough – that the Democrats somehow want to emulate Fidel Castro.

  • On September 17, 538 reported that Annette Taddeo had a 7 in 100 chance of winning. She is projected to lose to Incumbent Maria Elvira Salazar 43.9 — 56.1
  • Polls can be helpful
    • An independently funded unrated poll reported on July 27th that Taddeo was trailing 34-39
  • At the beginning of August, Taddeo had $400,000, Salazar had $1.5 million

FL 15 R+07

Alan Cohn

This is a contest between Alan Cohn (Political Note #327) who was a television news anchor and a Peabody award winning journalist against Laurel Lee, an appointed Florida Secretary of State whose most notable action in that role was her response to the voted adopted constitutional amendment allowing felons to vote. Laurel Lee set about purging felons with court debts from the voter rolls.  Alan Cohn’s specialty was investigative journalism, exposing corruption.  His first campaign issue is to ensure that women be able to make their own health care decisions.  His opponent has military and political connections.  Her father was a two star general.  Her husband served in the state Senate for 18 years, some of that time as the Senate President.

  • On September 9, 538 reported that Alan Cohn (Political Note #327) had a 7 in 100 chance of winning. He is projected to lose to Laurel Lee 44.9 — 55.1
  • Polls are helpful
    • A Democratic funded B rated poll reported on August 29th that Cohn was trailing 44-47
  • At the beginning of August, Cohn had $130,000, Lee had $210,000.

FL 13 R+12

Eric Lynn

This is a contest between Eric Lynn, a national security expert from Obama’s Defense Department, and Republican Ann Paulina Luna, Air Force veteran and activist against child trafficking and for border security.   Eric Lynn grew up in St. Petersburg.  His BA is from Northwestern, his JD from Georgetown.  While in Washington he became one of Barack Obama’s earliest presidential supporters. For six years, he served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense. Among his accomplishments (political accomplishment, he was not a scientist or engineer) was the development of the Iron Dome defense system, used so effectively in Israel.) His first priority running for Congress is economic security for families – reduced taxes for middle classes families and ensuring that corporations pay their fair share.  His opponent describes her rise from a troubled family – a drug addict father who had urged his wife to have an abortion, a grandmother who died from HIV/AIDS, and her own experience of a home invasion and an armed robbery. Her first campaign priority is to stop illegal immigration, which, she argues is the source of human and drug trafficking.

  • On September 19th , 538 reported that Eric Lynn had a 4 in 100 chance of winning. He is projected to lose to Ann Paulina Luna 41.7 — 55.2
  • Polls can be helpful
    • A Democratic funded B/C rated poll reported on June 28th that Lynn was leading 45-43
  • At the beginning of August, Lynn had $1 million, Luna had $550,000

FL 02 R+16

Inc Al Lawson

This is a contest between Al Lawson, a former basketball player, state Senator and incumbent Congressman from FL 05 who has been an advocate for public employees and the environment environment against the incumbent from FL 02 Neal Dunn.  Dunn’s Congressional and campaign website extols his work as a urologist and says little about his Congressional achievements. He promises to create free market health care, to fight Radical Islamic terrorism, to lower taxes and reduce regulations to improve the economy, and to protect the 2nd amendment.  He has refused to organize Town Halls for his constituents, insisting they are unproductive. Al Lawson touts his achievement as Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee passing the largest land acquisition program ever and protecting the Apalachicola Bay and the Everglades.  He reminds people of his commitment to education – from preschool and beyond.

  • On September 19th, 538 reported that Inc Al Lawson had 3 chances in 100 of winning. He is projected to lose to Inc Neal Dunn  7 – 57.3
  • Polls can be helpful
    • An independently funded unrated poll reported on June 23rd that Lawson was trailing 40-43
  • At the beginning of August, Al Lawson had $400,000, Neal Dunn had $1.1 million

Down ballot state offices.

Attorney General

Aramis Ayala

Aramis Ayala is running against Incumbent Ashley Moody.  Aramis Ayala was born in Michigan.  She got her BA from the University of Michigan, her JD from the University of Detroit – Mercy in 2001. At 5:10”, she is a commanding figure.  Nevertheless, she left town.

She moved to Florida, worked as a Public Defender for 14 years.  In 2009, she married.  In 2016, she ran for office and was elected as the State Attorney for Florida’s 9th Circuit. She was known for her progressive views and institutional connections with the University of Central Florida where she got a Master’s Degree and eventually served on the faculty Three controversies affected her political standing.  She rejected the death penalty, leading Governor Rick Scott to remove death penalty cases to other state’s attorneys.  She videoed being subject to a traffic stop leading to accusations of racial profiling.  And her husband acknowledged that he had registered to vote and voted before Florida allowed felons to vote because he was under the mistaken understanding that his felony conviction in New York did not apply.

She won the primary to be the Democratic nominee for Attorney General and will run against incumbent Ashley Moody.  Initially a commercial litigator, Moody was appointed an Assistant US Attorney.  In 2006, she was elected a Circuit Court Judge for the 13th Circuit,  She was elected Attorney General in 2018.  While Attorney General, she advocated against restoring voting rights to felons, opposed legalization of recreational marijuana, supported lawsuits intended to find the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, and served as a regular surrogate for Donald Trump in his 2020 reelection campaign.  Support Aramis Ayala

Chief Financial Officer

Adam Hattersley

Adam Hattersley (Political Note #299), running to be CFO, was an engineer and a businessman.  He got a degree in space engineering, served in the navy, and then worked as a civilian in nuclear power. Before all of that he was part of a NAACP champion gymnastic team at the University of Michigan. He is a smart guy.

Is smart enough to appeal to Floridians as the CFO?  Adam Hattersley is running against incumbent Jimmy Patronis.  Patronis has an associate’s degree from a community college and a political science degree from. Florida State.  He worked in the family seafood restaurant and served in a variety of political roles including the Constitution Revision Commission.  Adam Hattersley can reasonably make a case that he is better prepared to oversee the state’s accounting function as well as the office’s other responsibilities.

State Agricultural Commissioner.

Naomi Esther Bier

Naomi Esther Biemur is running for this office.  She is a remarkable woman with, it turns out, some abhorrent views.  She lost both parents, immigrants from Haiti,  while in her teens and raised her siblings, including one with Down’s Syndrome.  She has studied in France and Italy, had management jobs in retail and banking, and ultimately resigned from the work.  She created non-profits focused on women’s issues and on girls aging out of foster care. For eight years, she was Executive Director of Esther’s House. She co-founded Balanced Life, Inc. Since 2018, she has been Managing Director of BL Consulting. Her husband was indicted and sentenced to prison, but that is not the problem that led the Democratic Party and many individual Democrats to renounce her.  Biemur denounces homosexuality. She believes that abortion is a sin. She is as culturally conservative as many Republicans. She is, nevertheless, a committed Democrat and says she wants to keep the Commissioner position a Democratic one. Should she be Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner?  Would you give money to her?  Would you vote for her?

Florida Supreme Court

No competitive elections here. The governor appoints from a list of between three and six names given by the Judicial Nominating Commission. Justices have six year terms.  They remain if the win a retention election. Justices must retire when they become 75 years old.

Justice Charles Canady:  BA Haverford, JD Yale. 3 terms in the Florida House of Representatives, 4 in Congress. Served as General Counsel to Governor Jeb Bush and as a Judge on the 2nd Circuit.

Justice John Couriel: He specialized in mergers and acquisitions for Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. In 2009, he became a Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.  In 2013, he joined a private firm specializing in cross border disputes before he was appointed to the Court in 2016.

Justice Jamie Grosshans: She was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2020 after serving on the Fifth District Court of Appeal.  She served as an assistant state attorney and was in private practice for 10 years.

Justice Jorge LaBarga: BA and JD from Florida.  He was a public defender, co-founded a law firm, then became a trial court judge, appellate judge, and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009.  He was elected twice by his colleagues to serve a two year term as chief justice.

Justice Ricky Polston:  BA and JD from Florida State. After a career in private practice, he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2008.

Where to donate.

Florida was once a swing state.  No longer.  The legislature, partly through gerrymandering, is overwhelmingly Republican.  Statewide races, on the other hand, have been close.  One possible result of the November election is that no Democrats will be elected statewide.  It is not probable, but with enough help for the Democratic candidates, Florida could elect a Democratic Governor and a Democratic Senator.

If you had $500 for spend in Florida, consider the following:

$200 for Charlie Crist for Governor

$200 for Val Demmings for US Senate

$25 for Annette Taddeo for FL 27

$25 for Alan Cohn for FL 15

$25 for Eric Lynn for FL 13

$25 for Inc Al Lawson for FL 02

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