Contenders or Pretenders?
The filing deadline for US House and Senate seats in Florida passed yesterday. First the House.
No one filed against Reps. Allen Boyd of Monticello, Corrine Brown of Jacksonville, Robert Wexler of Delray Beach and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston.
It's troublesome that any congressman or congresswoman gets a free ride back to Washington. Realistically I know that most if not all of the above hold 'safe' seats. That certainly has to discourage opposition.
At least Robert Wexler is still around for TFM to pick on. Maybe he wants to earn another Knucklehead award. He has two already.
Republican state Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor, will try to keep his father's 9th District seat in the family. First, he'll have to get by Tarpon Springs chiropractor David Langheier in the Sept. 5 primary and, if he wins then, Democrat Phyllis Busansky of Tampa on Nov. 7. U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis, also Palm Harbor Republican, is retiring after 24 years in Congress. Busansky, a former Hillsborough County commissioner, has no primary opposition.
Gus Bilirakis is the probable winner.
The most competitive congressional races in the state this year are expected to be for three open seats on the west coast and Democratic state Sen. Ron Klein's challenge to Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw in southeast Florida's 22nd District.
Klein of Boca Raton and Shaw of Fort Lauderdale can focus on each other and an independent candidate in November, because neither drew a primary opponent. Neil J. Evangelista of Boca Raton filed without party affiliation. He ran for the Florida House in 2002 as a Libertarian.
As I've noted before, this will be one of the featured races in November. Control of Congress may very well depend on what happens in the Florida 22nd.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor and Florida Senate Democratic Leader Les Miller are the best known of five Democrats and one Republican, all from Tampa, trying to succeed Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, a candidate for governor, in the 11th District.
Castor is the daughter of Betty Castor, who has been a state legislator, Florida's education commissioner, president of the University of South Florida and a U.S. Senate candidate two years ago.
The democratic nominee will be the favorite here but the GOP could make a race of it. It will depend on the candidate and whether the National GOP pay any attention to the Florida 11th.
There's another scrum in the 13th District, where the incumbent, Sarasota Republican Katherine Harris, is running for U.S. Senate this year.
Five candidates, including state Reps. Nancy Detert of Venice and Donna Clark of Sarasota, are seeking the Republican nomination. Manatee County GOP Chairman Mark Flanagan of Bradenton, Sarasota businessman Vern Buchanan and Tramm Hudson, a banker and retired Army officer from Sarasota.
The Democratic primary will be a rematch between lawyer Jan Schneider and banker Christine Jennings, both of Sarasota. Schneider won two years ago but then lost to Harris in the general election as she had in 2002.
Bye, bye Katherine. You won't be missed. My comments for the previous Tampa area race apply here but reverse the parties.
Only two incumbents are facing primary opposition.
In Miami, Haitian immigrant Dufirston Neree is challenging Rep. Kendrick Meek in the Democratic primary. The winner will be opposed only by a write-in candidate in November.
Winter Springs businesswoman Elizabeth Doran is challenging Rep. Ric Keller of Orlando in the Republican primary. Three candidates are running for the Democratic nomination.
Meek and Keller will win re-election.
Two nonaffiliated candidates will try to unseat Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, while Constitutional Party of Florida member Carl J. Lauderdale of Tamarac will challenge Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar. Neither incumbent has a major party opponent.
Ditto for the incumbents here.
Foley is being challenged by Democrat Tim Mahoney of Palm Beach Gardens and Emmie Lee Ross from Hobe Sound, who listed no party affiliation. Mahoney is a financial services executive who was a Republican until last year.
Foley will win re-election
Personal disclosure- Congressman Foley's parents are former parishoners of the Catholic church parrish Dear wife and I belong to. The wife knew the Foleys through her work as church receptionisht/secretary.
Katherine Harris will have primary opposition in September.
Harris, of Longboat Key, must still win the GOP nomination in the Sept. 5 primary because three other Republicans paid the $9,726 filing fee before Friday's noon deadline. They are LeRoy Collins Jr. of Tampa, son of the late Democratic Gov. LeRoy Collins; Will McBride, a lawyer in Orlando; and Peter Monroe of Safety Harbor, a developer and former appointee of former President George H.W. Bush.
A fourth Republican, Belinda Noah of Tampa, qualified without any party affiliation.
I don't know any of these people and I doubt many Florida GOP voters do either. It's extremely doubtful any of the above could stop Harris. Still they have to be a better choice than the crooked and or corrupt representative from Long Key.
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