Monday, August 09, 2010

August 24 Primary Endorsements

(Photograph): Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek with President Obama (courtesy PB Post)

Today is the first day of early voting for the August 24 primary elections in the state of Florida. On the line are nominations for many pivotal federal, state, and local offices. Florida has closed primaries, meaning only voters registered with a political party are allowed to vote in this election. Independents are still able to vote for judgeships and amendments, and can participate in select primaries where only one party is fielding candidates.

I cast my vote early this afternoon at the Palm Beach Gardens location, one of eight precincts where early voting will proceed for the next two weeks. Some races I was quite familiar with, while others took a little more research. So without further adieu, my recommendations for the contests.

U.S. Senator – Democratic Party
Preference: Kendrick B. Meek
Others major candidates: Jeff Greene, Maurice Ferre, Glenn Burkett
November: Winner faces presumptive GOP nominee Marco Rubio and Independent candidate Charlie Crist.
Comments: Former state legislator and current U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek began as the favorite, but little-known millionaire Jeff Greene emerged and has taken the lead in polls. In a race where each candidate shares similar policies, Greene’s Democratic bonafides has taken center stage. Greene’s 1982 run for Congress as a Republican, along with his amnesia about whether he voted for Ronald Reagan, lead me to doubt his credibility. Greene also faces scrutiny for his role in credit default swaps that resulted from the mortgage crisis. If Greene wins, Democrats will likely abandon the party and vote for Crist in November. Meek may have a better chance of rallying the base, but neither appears poised to finish higher than 3rd in a race with Crist and Rubio.

U.S. Representative, District 22 – Democratic Party
Preference: Ron Klein
Other candidate: Paul Renneisen
November: Winner faces presumptive GOP nominee Allen West
Comments: Klein should easily defeat Renneisen, who unsuccessfully sought this seat in 2008. In his two terms in the House, Klein has voted for key policies like the Stimulus and Health Care reform. Renneisen attempts to outflank Klein’s left by favoring immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Klein is the only candidate with the resources and political acumen to stave off the well-financed campaign of GOP frontrunner Allen West.

Governor – Democratic Party
Preference: Alex Sink
Other candidate: Brian Moore
November: Winner faces GOP nominee (Rick Scott or Bill McCollum) and No Party Candidate Lawton "Bud" Chiles
Comments: Democrats have settled on Sink, the state’s current CFO, to take back the governor’s mansion. Sink, the wife of 2002 Democratic nominee Bill McBride, hasn’t made waives as all the attention has been focused on the bitter GOP primary fight between Scott and McCollum. Sink is a moderate Democrat, and has a chance to defeat a wounded GOP nominee. With issues like redistricting, and the likely return of the terrible State Bill 6 and forced ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, Florida needs a moderate like Sink or Crist in the governor’s mansion to fight the arch-conservative legislature.

Attorney General – Democratic Party
Preference: Dave Aronberg
Other candidate: Dan Gelber
November: Winner faces GOP nominee (Pam Bondi, Jeff Kottkamp, or Holly Benson)
Comments: Two excellent Democrats are vying to become the state’s next attorney general. Gelber initially sought the U.S. Senate seat, but dropped out once Charlie Crist entered the race. What started out as a cordial affair has taken a nasty turn. Aronberg criticized Gelber for his employment with a law firm who defended the odious British Petroleum. Gelber responded in-kind, criticizing Aronberg for his lack of trial experience (Aronberg has not tried cases in front of a jury). In reality, both claims are overblown. Gelber long since resigned from his role with that firm, and Aronberg worked in the Attorney General’s office under Bob Butterworth. Both disagree with the current AG on repealing health care and instituting an Arizona-style immigration law in Florida. All that being said, I will vote for Sen. Aronberg for personal reasons. I volunteered on his re-election to the State Senate in 2004, going as far as flipping ribs with Mr. Aronberg at a Belle Glade BBQ get-out-the-vote effort.

Circuit Court Judge, Group 33
Preference: Lisa Small
November: Winner assumes seat.

County Court Judge, Group 7
Preference: Marni Bryson
November: Winner assumes seat.


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