This is something I have been saying for some time, but I thought some quick analysis would be in order. With so many candidates from the Bay area, plus the open seats at the state and federal level, Tampa Bay will be the true battleground in August and October.
(For the purposes of this post, the Tampa Bay area includes Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties).
Our televisions will be covered with political ads. Our mailboxes will be full of mailers. Our billboards will have pictures of smiling politicians. Tampa Bay voters will see a virtual hurricane sweep through… and it will have a profound effect on the outcome of elections at all levels of government.
Consider what we have here:
Three open U.S. Congressional seats.
District 9 has the son of the outgoing incumbent (Bilirakis) facing a former Hillsborough County Commissioner (Busansky), and this is one of the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” races.
District 11 has two prominent Democrat elected officials (Castor & Miller and two more that ran unsuccessfully for State Representative in 2002 (Farrell & Steinberg) along with a virtual unknown Democrat (Fox) and black Republican (Adams).
District 13 has five prominent Republicans (State Representatives Clarke & Detert, former Republican Party Chairs Flanagan & Hudson, and businessman Buchanan) and two Democrats who have run for this office before (Jennings & Schneider). The DCCC also added this to their list of “Red to Blue” seats.
No candidate for Attorney General.
Two open Florida Senate seats.
District 10 has a former State Representative (Murman), a County Commissioner (Storms), and a prominent businessman and Republican activist (Young). They will face a Navy veteran Democrat nominee (Gorham). This is also the district for one of the candidates for CFO (Lee).
District 16 has two Republican State Representatives fighting it out (Berfield & Farkas) to face a Democrat State Representative (Justice). This is also the former senate district of a candidate for Governor (Crist) and much of it is within the former congressional district (now open, see above) of another candidate for governor (Davis)
Twelve open Florida House seats, five in Pinellas County alone.
Two Hillsborough County Commissioners facing each other (Scott & Sharpe), and with a charter amendment for County Mayor.
With all of this… it will be a wonder if Tampa Bay area voters don’t go out of their mind.