By Javier Manjarres
Florida politico insiders are saying that the race for Senate President is tight between “moderate” Senator Jack Latvala and conservative Joe Negron from Stuart, the winner of which can set the direction of the State Senate for the next 8-10 years. Republicans in the Florida House do not have any pivotal primaries as is the case in the Senate.
The Republican nomination for the US Senate is all but locked up, as Congressman Connie Mack will most likely win his primary race.
Last week, Matt Dixon of the Times Union wrote about the Aaron Bean-Mike Weinstein Senate race, and how the race not only not affects NE Florida, but how it could spell the end of Senator Jack Latvala’s presidency.
First there is the Kelli Stargel-Jack Meyers race, a priority target for Senators Don Gaetz, Joe Negron and the Latvala camps. Stargel, backed by Gaetz and Negron, seems to be pulling ahead and Meyers, a Latvala-backed candidate is losing steam and is not gaining any traction.
Next you have the Jim Frishe-Jeff Brandes race, but this one’s all but over. Reportedly, Frishe is/was Latvala’s “guy,” and a friend from his ol’ neighborhood. But primary day is just a formality now- Brandes, who is not a Latvala crony, has an army of campaign workers who have run circles around Frishe and has jumped to a double digit lead.
As Dixon and the Times-Union pointed out, the Bean-Weinstein race is the real wild card. Weinstein’s camp is throwing everything plus the kitchen sink into this race with rumors that Latvala has driven the price tag over the $1 million mark, a race that now commands his attention for its remaining weeks. Not to mention Senators Gaetz, Thrasher, Gardiner, and Negron favor Aaron Bean, who also have the full backing of Senate leadership. This race may be too close to predict right now, and will likely come down to turnout efforts on primary night.
Some say that next Tuesday’s primary election just impacts the Negron and Latvala challenge, but it likely affects more than just the 2016 -2018 legislative term, it impacts the conservative direction of the Senate under Gaetz and Gardiner.
Latvala is one of the last anti-Rubio, Charlie Crist ‘moderates’ who does not mind taking trial lawyer and union money who appears to be pro-gaming. Latvala has also teamed with Democrats in the past to take on leaders in the conservative caucus, just like his pal Charlie Crist.
So there is a very clear and distinct choice in this race- you either vote for the Republican or you vote for Charlie Crist’s minions who no doubt will be supporting his forthcoming run for Governor. Is the political fork primed to be stuck into Latvala’s candidacy?
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