After a few days to soak it all in, I’m back. Here is your Central Florida Elections Wrap-Up. Going to play it by ear over the next couple of days before jumping back into regular posting. See you soon!
Florida Politics with Frank Torres. This is your week in review and what a week it was, the country re-elected President Barack Obama to second term on Tuesday night and it was not even close. The President took the majority of the swing states, including Florida, you know us down here, it takes us a little longer to tabulate those votes, but we finally got the job done on Saturday, Florida fell Barack Obama’s way. How did the President do it? I’ve been capitalizing on turnout. The President was able to activate his voter base from 2008, we’re talking about voters that voted for him the first time and we’re likely to vote for him again, we’re talking about we’re talking about younger voters, African-American voters, Hispanic Voters. The Hispanic was going to be key this year, especially here in Florida but it was one sided. The majority of Hispanic voters choosing to vote for President Obama. The President was able to get his voters to the polls, in addition to capture the independent vote. That was the key to President Obama’s victory as well as the candidates further down the ballot who rode on his coattails, that was a big buzz phrase, that was certainly the case in Florida where we saw several no-name candidates beat incumbents, because of their party affiliations, when voters didn’t recognize the candidate, they voted for the DEM next to their name. They took their Obama voter guides which tell the voters which way to go on each race and they voted in that way, and it resulted in massive Democratic gains, especially here on the state level. Those were the keys to President Obama’s victory, activating his voter base and winning the independent, minority and Hispanic votes.
Mitt Romney what can you say? He lost. There were mistakes along the way, I thought his campaign made some bad decisions, there was this feeling that his campaign was in the doldrums for about a good 30 day period, it was around the %47 percent tape release, and there was a lack of energy from the Romney campaign from about September to October, shortly after Paul Ryan was announced, I think that the Mitt Romney campaign lost a lot of energy, and they never got it back until that first debate, the first debate gave the Romney campaign some life, closed the gap in the polls, and made this a race but Romney had to do that himself. His campaign management certainly didn’t do him any favors. History will come and look at Romney, I don’t think history will judge Romney favorably, I think when it came down to who Republican thought could take on the President, it was done over by they though who would win. And they thought that was Mitt Romney. And Romney certainly was the most qualified, I thought he was the best candidate to take on the President from that group of Republicans, certainly 2016 will be a lot more competitive, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez, the list goes on and on and on, so Republicans have a very deep bench to take on whoever wins that Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden Fist Fight, among others, so a very deep Republican bench, so if there is any solace Republicans can have, it’s that they have a very wide pool of political talent that will almost certainly be better than Mitt Romney, going back to Mitt Romney, his campaign made it’s share of errors, but I don’t think Romney had the passion to capture the Independent vote as well as some other groups, I believe that was his downfall. A fine candidate, he just didn’t make the case to take the election his way.
As far as the other races here in Florida, you had the Florida Senate race, Bill Nelson easily beating Connie Mack IV while I can say Mitt Romney was a good candidate for Barack Obama, I’m not certain I could say that about Connie Mack, it was a very bizarre campaign from Connie Mack, just seems like he didn’t want to be there at times, almost like he didn’t have the conviction to run strong against Bill Nelson, it was like he was an unwilling draftee in the process, Republicans had a lackluster field in the Senate race, which led to Connie Mack jumping into the race, but when you look at the one debate he had against Bill Nelson, the energy and presence of his campaign, right here in Orlando, the heart of the I4 corridor, it was lacking, I don’t think Connie Mack was up to the task of taking on Bill Nelson, Bill Nelson won that race, he will return to Washington but hey, Republicans can say the have Marco Rubio, who given his future is almost as good as two senators, they can take some solace in that but Bill Nelson easily beating Connie Mack.
As are as House Races. Democrats had large gains in some of the state level races, even down towards the county level, the Central Florida delegation did pretty well. Congressional District 10, Daniel Webster vs. Val Demings, Daniel Webster able to pull out that victory. What was the key to his victory, obviously his district, his district leans Republican, Daniel Webster has one of the best ground games you can have in Central Florida Politics, seas of Dark Blue and White, walkers everywhere, large grassroots campaign, keep in mind throughout the election process, Webster was constantly getting criticized for his lack of fundraising power. And he didn’t have that fundraising power in 2010 and he didn’t have it again this year. But he does it the old fashion way, he does it with a good old fashion grassroots movement, and an overall positive message. What’s next for Val Demings? She’s a good candidate, I think she needs a little more work on her policy, she needs to learn more about the nation’s issues, I felt she was particularly weak in that area. I also think this was the wrong district to run in, I remember when she declared, that day, I remembered thinking, maybe she should have gone after a State Senate Seat, maybe she should have gone after a State House Seat, she ran well, I think behind that lack of policy knowledge she did fine. I think there was too much outside influence on that campaign, the DCC really went to negative on Daniel Webster, there negative ads were all over the place, I think there were too many chefs in that kitchen, I think it hurt her, also the 3rd party help from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the 2 million dollars the New York Mayor poured into this race during Hurricane Sandy, those radio ads saturated the air waves, I think those ads in addition to the ones from the 3rd party made her go too negative against a candidate that didn’t believe in going negative. I think that hurt her but she is going to run again. Something on the municipal level would be good for her, and the rumors have already started on what she’ll run for next. but Val Demings a candidate with a great background and a good story to tell.
Congressional District 9. Alan Grayson will be going back to Washington. My condolences to the voters of the 9th district. Alan Grayson, one of the most violently partisan lawmakers out there. Doesn’t believe in being civil to his opponents across the isle, I remember him explaining once, that if he asked his the lawmakers on the otherside of the isle with politeness and civility, he would be rejected politely and with civility, so he’s abandoned any hopes of bi-partisanship whatsoever, of course he’ll try to bring up that Ron Paul “chip” that took place about 4 years ago, I’m sure it included a coffee or something like that but this is not a bi-partisan politician. He is going to be safe in that district a heavy Democratic district, which ultimately hurt Todd Long, his Republican opponent. The layout of that district, they weren’t going to vote for a Republican, also keep in mind Grayson poured his own money into the Republican primary to attack John “Q” Quinones, who was a much better match-up for him, so Grayson once again using his financial advantage to change the tone of the race. He ultimately found victory again, it will be interesting to see how he behaves in Washington, he’s done plenty of memorable things during his first term, the “Republicans want you to die” phrase from the healthcare debates, the K-Street you know what about a lobbyist in Washington, we were raised not to call girls that, but Grayson did it anyways, the Taliban Dan ad, which ultimately costed him his race. It will interesting to see what he does next.
Interesting note, you’ve got Daniel Webster who defeated Alan Grayson in 2010 and will now be serving with him in neighboring districts. There aren’t many more odd couples than that. I’m sure there will be no bad blood there.
Congressional District 7 John Mica rolling to an easy win over Jason H. Kendall as expected. He’s going back to Washington.
Congressional District 6, Ron Desantis, Republican beating Democrat Heather Beaven, the Republican party in Volusia is strong and I think Desantis is going to do good things in Washington, a rising star on capitol hill perhaps, we’ll see how that works.
Breaking down the State House races, remember those Obama coattails, I’ve told you about and that you’ve probably been hearing about on other shows, no more was that evident than during these state house races, Karen Castor Dentel is going to Tallahassee, also victories from Linda Stewart the former Orange County Commissioner, and the activist Joe Saunders so, a 3 seat turnover you can say in the Florida House, that all benefited from the President being on the ballot, and turning out the Democratic vote, all three of those candidates were elected they’ll be going to Tallahassee, in what I believe Democrats will be saying as the start of turning over the Republican majority in Tally, expect this campaign to carry over to 2014, when the Governor himself is on the ballot, I think Democrats believe they can switch the majority in the House and the Senate.
Another interesting race, Chris Dorworth versus Mike Clelland, in State House 29, Mike Clelland coming out on top. Dorworth doing everything but conceding defeat, already sending out a good-bye letter to the press and his colleagues, you know the supposed future Speaker of the House came under a lot of media fire, throughout the course of this campaign, and Dorworth’s biggest point was, he keeps getting re-elected, he keeps getting re-elected, his the candidate for his people. The voters in his district, that was always the biggest argument in his favor, ultimately when he lost his race, he lost that arguement, so it will be interesting to see what the Republicans in Tallahassee do. Who will the new House Speaker be? Also Clelland who was abandoned sometime back, was able to win this race, Chris Dorworth was the favorite heading into November and what very few times you got to see those two together on TV, I only saw them once, Dorworth actually performed better than Clelland on Television, so the bad press, and President Obama being on the ballot were ultimately too much for Chris Dorworth to overcome. And he is most likely defeated barring a miraculous recount.
In the county races, for Orange County Sheriff, Jerry Demings defeating his old foe, John Tegg, that was a very heated race, a lot of accusations being thrown around, Jerry Demings won, so one of the Deming won a silver lining for their night, Orange County Tax Collector, Scott Randolph defeating Jim Huckeba, by way of Earl K. Wood. That name recognition was very difficult to overcome, it will be interesting to see how Randolph runs that office. How political he is going to get with it? what it means for his other political goals? In the Orange County Property Appraisers race Democrat Rick Singh defeating incumbent Bill Donegan.
So, there you have it. What an election cycle it was. More Media, more advertising, a longer extended election season environment, you saw the ads starting earlier, the negative attacks starting earlier, for 2014, how is early is it going to start then? for 2016? Are going to start seeing these negative attacks earlier and earlier, Are we going to get that October environment in June? In May? Who knows? But it is only going to get bigger, a billion dollars spent be each Presidential candidate, for this election will it be 2 billion (each) for 2016. Who knows? So, a very busy and active election cycle, I was privileged to be a part of it. Not every race went the way I would have liked to have seen them go. But that’s how it is. You make your case to the voters and let them decide, A very busy election season. I woke up the next day afterwards and it was a completely different environment in Orlando. No TV ads, no attack ads.
It was nice.
We’ll see how long it is before people start declaring for 2014 or 2016. So, there you have it, your 2012 election season wrap-up, I was proud to be able to do these previews for you and lead you along the way, and we’ll continue to cover Florida Politics, together, we’ll go through this journey together, and move along to the next stage of the process, I’ll be taking a couple of days off after this review, to re-charge my batteries, for the next round politics, probably (legislative) session. So, for Florida Politics with Frank Torres, I’ll see you next time.