If you’re a fan of rumors and speculation involving local politics, then this article in the Orlando Sentinel was a welcome surprise for what is usually a slow Monday. We’ve all know for sometime that former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings was looking at another run and that she could set her sites on Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs next year. We haven’t know that popular State Rep. Stephen Precourt has been urged to run too and unloaded a few shots at Jacobs as well. How hostile can it get this early?
We’ve also got the RNC autopsy from Reince Priebus. Where do our GOP lawmakers stand.
This is your Daily Wrap Up!
Florida Politics with Frank Torres and this is your Daily Wrap for Monday March 18th, 2013. Let’s look at the big story in the Orlando Sentinel this morning that said that Val Demings was a considering a run at Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs for Orange County Mayor in 2014. A lot of layers to this, let’s look at Val Demings, She ran against Daniel Webster last November for Congress and lost in that Republican heavy district with President Obama on the ballot and a decisive money advantage. Couldn’t come up with the grassroots support needed to counter Daniel Webster’s efforts on the ground and ultimately lost that race.
She’s got two choices. She can run against Daniel Webster again without President Obama on the ballot, the DCCC is still attacking Daniel Webster on a weekly basis, trying to pick apart what he’s been doing in Washington this year but she would still be an underdog going into a congressional race, even with the money being there.
She could run against Teresa Jacobs for Orange County Mayor. She won’t be able to match policy wits against Teresa Jacobs, it’s true that Demings is more at home with municipal issues but Jacobs has 12 years of experience with County Policy.
So, you look at her options, neither look very good, but she’s got to do something. If you look at what she would face against Teresa Jacobs in 2014, it would be a mid-term, she’d have to find the money, and raise the grassroots, running a campaign in Orange County is no easy task, it’s huge. You have to wonder if she’s got the infrastructure there to stay competitive.
Jacobs has been underfire recently for “Textgate” or the text messages exchange about the Orange County Sick time initiative. She was targeted by activists, but this isn’t about Sick Time, you can’t think that, this is about flipping seats. Those activists will be able to give Val Demings a push should she decide to run against her. But the policy knowledge isn’t there, she debated Daniel Webster once and didn’t do well, she would have to debate Teresa Jacobs at least 4 times if you look at the debate schedule from 2010. She is a strong candidate with a good background so it’s only a matter of time before she picks her next race.
Out of nowhere, State Representative Stephen Precourt taking some shots at Teresa Jacobs in the media saying there is a leadership crisis in Orange County and that he’s been urged to run. Precourt a pretty reasonable guy, one of the sharper Reps in the area and well spoken but, you’ve got to wonder where this is coming from. He says he’s being urged to run. Who’s urging him? Friends and family? The political community hasn’t been urging him because from the Republican side the two biggest priorities for 2014 is getting Rick Scott elected (which is a task in itself) and reinforcing it’s incumbents. He’s termed out so, he’ll have time to figure out what he wants to do next but really bizarre behavior from Stephen Precourt from what I’ve seen so far. I know some of his buddies tried to throw her off the Expressway Board sometime back.
So, if you look at Jacobs’ role in all of this. She’s going to be attacked for being too lax on the rules from Val Demings in “Textgate” and she’s going to be attacked for being too strict with regulations from Precourt, you just can’t win if you’re the Orange County Mayor.
A very intriguing story it looks like a lot of people are already gearing up for next year, it looks like it’s going to be exciting. 2010 had some interesting personalities and made for a good race and with the potentials already kicking the tires on a potential run, it could be even bigger in 2014.
Other news today, The RNC releasing what is being called “The Autopsy” put out by Chairman Reince Priebus, illustrating the talking points over what went wrong with the Republican party last November. Most of it is stuff we already know. More technology, more outreach or inclusion of minority voters. What I’m interested in is how the local politicians will react. You’ve got John Mica and Daniel Webster who were re-elected and you’ve also got Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush who are already moving in the new direction. You’ve got to wonder what these lawmakers in the state will do. Will they stick with old script? Or the new one?
Big day. Buzz over who’s running for what and national reports being published. We’ll keep an eye on it for you. For now, I’m Frank Torres and I’ll see you next time.