JUST THE STATS
THIRD QUARTER FUNDRAISING TOTAL FOR THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BRINGING THE 2013 TOTAL TO $3.5 MILLION
THIRD QUARTER FUNDRAISING TOTAL FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA, BRINGING THE 2013 TOTAL TO $14 MILLION
THIRD QUARTER FUNDRAISING TOTAL FOR GOV. RICK SCOTT’S “LET’S GET TO WORK” COMMITTEE, BRINGING THE 2013 TOTAL TO $13 MILLION. SCOTT HAS NOT YET OPENED AN OFFICIAL FUNDRAISING ACCOUNT
“WE’RE RAISING ENOUGH MONEY TO TELL VOTERS ABOUT GOV. RICK SCOTT’S FAILURE. THAT’S WHAT’S IMPORTANT HERE. RACES IN FLORIDA AREN’T ABOUT WHO HAS THE MOST MONEY ON ELECTION DAY. RACES IN FLORIDA ARE ABOUT WHO VOTERS TRUST TO TACKLE THE CHALLENGES FLORIDA FACES.”
– FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR JOSHUA KARP
SOURCES: Florida Division of Elections, Florida Democratic Party
Yeah, sure, we understand. Ever since the Citizens United decision declared corporations to be the equivalent of sentient beings for the purposes of election-rigging, the most convenient way to read the tea leaves of a fast-approaching election is to basically read the green leaves notated in the ledgers of public record. How else would a strange and unlikable bald man ascend to the governorship after defrauding Medicare in record amounts? (He would spend $70 million of his own money on his 2010 campaign, that’s how.)
But, once again another fiscal quarter has passed, and once again – even with poll numbers for most elected Republicans (including Scott) teetering on the abysmal mark – the shortest distance between two points of reason would seem to indicate that Republicans are on track to continue their 15-year reign over the entirety of the state’s governance. Never mind the sloth-like stubbornness that led to the legislature passing up some $55 billion for Medicaid expansion this year (hey guys, it’s still available if you’d fucking change your hive mind), nor the sideline cheerleading of state-elected conservative jocks for their Tea Party brethren shutting down the federal government – this is still Florida. In the last quarter alone, the Republican Party of Florida has outraised the Florida Democratic Party by nearly four times: a triumphant $5.1 million to a pathetic $1.4 million. And that only continues the time-immemorial trend of Republican coffer-trouncing. What are the Dems to do? Steady on, say the Dems.
“We had a strong quarter. We raised a lot of money. And we’re very pleased with the work the party did,” Florida Democratic Party communications director Joshua Karp says, like someone who has said it several times before.
It’s an honorable mantra, especially considering the grass-roots buildup the party has publicly achieved by forcing Rick Scott’s face into the polling mud over the past three years, but is it typical Florida Democrat-style wishful thinking? The past year has also seen the party splintering and grumbling over leadership issues, with hardline progressives chafing against establishment Democrats in both the main party operation and its House leadership. Just last month, following a skirmish involving a questionable fundraising strategy, House Democrats renounced their election of Tampa Rep. Daryl Rouson as their 2014-2016 leader and brought in West Palm Beach firebrand Rep. Mark Pafford in his stead. Closer to home, Orange County Democratic Executive Committee chairman – and local tax collector – Scott Randolph’s announcement that he’s stepping down from the party post has stirred up visible discontent from grumpy factions within the local operation. The circular firing squad – at least from the inside-baseball perspective – is alive and well.
For now, all non-diverted eyes are pointed in the direction of Pinellas County, where 82-year-old U.S. Rep C.W. “Bill” Young, R-Indian Shores, will end his 42-year reign as the area’s congressman next year. It should be a prime opportunity for Democrats to test their mettle, especially considering that Young won by a smaller margin last year than he had in decades. But the blue(-ish) name currently being thrown around most vigorously in the race – Charlie Crist – also happens to be the party’s half-hearted hope to retake the Governor’s office. “The story here may ultimately be another reminder of how weak the Democratic bench is in Florida, and even in an increasingly Democratic county like Pinellas,” Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith opined last week. Get it together, Dems!