Frank Torres, Orlando Freelance Reporter

One year since Election Day

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Only a handful of elected officials bothered to mention it this year. For some it was a split second to reflect on one of the best nights of their lives, for others it’s a disturbing day on the calendar. You see, it’s been one year since election day for a lot of these lawmakers. Some are cruising along on their legislative agendas, approval numbers are up, and angry calls to the office are down. A few of the victorious candidates from the “Red November” of 2010 are anxious and they should be. Only a year into their terms, they already face contenders anxious to take their jobs. Let’s run down the line.

Florida Governor Rick Scott:The Guv started out his time in office with the same strategy that got him elected. Avoiding the media. Rick Scott had to dodge and dip his HCA Columbia medicare fraud scandal, and got an assist from his opponent, former CFO Alex Sink to get elected. Textgate was the moment a lot of people remember from that campaign and after election day it was apparent that Governor Scott didn’t need the press. He put up the velvet rope and limited their access.

The state legislature went on to have one of the most conservative sessions ever. He went on to advocate for unions to contribute to their own pensions and drug test for those on unemployment. He struck down 2.4 billion dollars for high speed rail and the protestors started lining the streets of Tallahassee. His approval numbers dipped into the 20’s and 30’s. There was word that he was only working for the Tea Party and no one else mattered.

Then came Sunrail and the charm offensive.

Central Florida wanted Sunrail, they wanted it bad. Democrats, Republicans, Lobbyists, Independents, and even the media. They wanted Sunrail to demonstrate that Orlando was in the major U.S city discussion and they were right. Mass transit its a necessary component of a major metropolitan area. Rick Scott gave that to them. After so many disappointments dealt out by Scott this was a crack of daylight in a troubled economy that leaves a lot of projects unfunded and in the dark.

Presidency V came and so did a new media policy for the guv. He was talking to everyone. The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board (you couldn’t drag him into an ed board during the election), every morning and weekend talker he could fit in to and even lowly bloggers. The stern expression was replaced by a kind smile and an open collar dress shirt.

Rick Scott has three years left. His approval numbers have stopped dropping but Scott still has a long way to go. The protesters are still there and the jobs still need to be created. The specter of Charlie Crist is staying visble and other candidates including State Senator Nan Rich have been included in the conversation to take on Scott in 2014.

Rick Scott's new media policy makes him much more accessible

Senator Marco Rubio: We knew Rubio was going to win. The next question was how fast was he going to rise in Washington?

He was in office about 4 months before the Vice Presidential buzz got started. Walking Nancy Reagan into her husband’s library, trips to Afghanistan with Lindsey Graham and John McCain, Good Morning America and Hannity, America couldn’t get enough of the junior Senator from Florida.

There was negative buzz as well. Overzealous reporters from Univision and the Washington Post attacked Rubio on anything they could find. They looked through every member of his family and double checked every date to find that juicy story on the Senator that would reel in the viewers and sell newspapers.

Those stories have come and gone and it’s still Marco Rubio and everyone else when it comes to the Veepstakes. Rubio’s future is bright and if when he wants to take the next step, supporters on the hill and here in the Sunshine State will be there to support him.

If he's the Vice President, Rubio and Bono will get to hang out more often.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs:If there was ever proof that late entry into a municipal race is a non issue, Mayor Jacob’s campaign is that proof. She entered late, stuck with the trusted and honest reputation that made her a popular commissioner and rolled to victory in the Mayor race. It happened so fast that her opponents never found a way to effectively challenge her.

She cut almost half a million in salary from redundant county positions, audited Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s poor accounting on the performing arts center, called on Rick Scott to green light Sunrail, and held multiple job summits throughout the county.

In her first couple of months…

There will be more, much more but, with this elected position playing such an important role on our home turf, we’re lucky she’s getting a lot done.

Mayor Jacobs has gotten a lot done since being elected last year

One Year Until…We’re only a year away from doing it all over again. This time we’ve got to elect a new President while we’re at it.

Whoever President Obama draws as an opponent (probably Romney) it’s going to be a mean fight and it’s going to come down to Florida. Democrats love their President and Conservatives love the idea of replacing him.

What about Bill Nelson? We’ve got a basketball team fighting a primary for the right to run against him and with Connie Mack jumping in the race, expect the other candidates to go on the offensive against him and protect their ground.

In the house, Val Demings was on national TV and has the swagger of a candidate that raised more money than Dan Webster last quarter. Alan Grayson might have to run against her in a primary if the lines don’t fall the right way, and speaking of the lines…Who knows how many potential candidates are waiting for redistricting to throw their hats in the ring.

So, it’s been one year and like most pundits, I can’t wait till election season starts kicking up again. 2010 was a calm stroll through the park, when it comes to what we’ve got waiting for us next year.

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