Here’s where sh*t stands, the ‘360 hours and counting’ edition

By on October 22, 2012

Believe it or not, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are only 15 days left before Election Day. Perhaps it is easier to think of it as only 360 hours left before the madness comes to an end. See, that’s the beauty of politics — it is no different than accounting in that it is finite.  There is Election Day in November just as there is Tax Day on April 15.  The whole thing may start right back up after these deadlines, but deadlines they are, forcing and narrowing us all to a conclusion.

What will that conclusion look like? Well, here’s where sh*t stands in Tampa Bay politics.

The final numbers are in on who gave what to the host committee for the Republican National Convention held in Tampa in August. A couple of items popped into my head.

Al Austin has been cheerleading for the RNC to come to Tampa for decades, yet when it finally did arrive, the very wealth Austin gave just $25,000 to the host committee; perhaps Austin thought he gave enough in sweat equity to the effort, but still $25K to Austin is probably what the ol’ guy has in his pocket.

Second, I believe I only see six individual contributors from St. Petersburg, including a check from Senator-to-be Jeff Brandes. This data just reinforces my argument that St. Pete was really, truly not a part of the convention, despite the host committee’s efforts to project a sense of all-inness from throughout the region. It also says something about the lack of deep pockets in the ‘burg.

Speaking of Jeff Brandes, be sure to read my post from Friday night detailing the Senator-to-be’s extracurricular activities in two races for the Pinellas County Commission.

Turns out, it’s Brandes behind recent attacks on Pinellas Commission candidates Charlie Justice and Janet Long.

Up-to-date campaign finance documents for Floridians for Liberty, a committee affiliated with just Brandes, donated $52,500 to the Main Street Leadership Council on October 11 — right about the time the direct mail attacking Justice and Long began hitting mailboxes throughout Pinellas.

Why would Brandes, fresh off his primary win and on his way back to Tallahassee, be so concerned about the outcome of two County Commission races?

Brandes is, by now, the most prominent political opponent of a proposal to bring light rail to Pinellas County. So far that proposal has only belched along like an engine train from the 19th century. Were Justice and Long to replace Republicans Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield on the County Commission, the proposal to build light rail would begin moving as fast as an Acela Express line.

In addition to the mailers Brandes sent, here are mailers in which Ed Hooper gets tough here and Dwight Dudley and Frank Farkas exchange body blows here.

Democrats running for the State House are dependent on receiving the intellectual support of the Tampa Bay Times if they have any hope of beating their better funded and better organized Republican opponents. So when two somewhat competitive candidates, Mark Danish in House District 63 and Shulman in House District 69, DID NOT receive the endorsement of the Times for their candidacies, that’s pretty much signaled the end of those races. Tell me when’s the last time you saw a Democrat beat a Republican for a legislative seat WITHOUT the full-throated endorsement of the Times?

Right before he passed, former Congressman Sam Gibbons was poised to cut a television spot endorsing Republican Congressman CW “Bill” Young.  That according to Clifford Sam Gibbons, the congressman’s eldest son.

Could this community be coming to a point where Ronda Storms is not in elected office? This looks increasingly possible as Storms really has failed to gain traction in her race for Hillsborough County Property Appraiser. Of course, Ronda has a ginormous base that needs little incentive to turn out, but one gets the feeling that Storms’ Democratic opponent, Bob Henriquez, has made all the right moves.  I’ve said all along that I thought it was a mistake for Storms’ to jump into this race and I feel more and more confident about this prediction.

I’m not sure who will win the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections post, but both Republican Rich Glorioso and Democrat Craig Lattimer are both solid, proven leaders, albeit with different takes on what needs to be done with the office.

Glorioso is a retired Air Force colonel who served eight years in the state House. Latimer is retired major with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office who has served as chief of staff at the elections office since 2009.

Neither of these men appears to suffer foolishness kindly.

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