As Anna Phillips and Mark Puente generously noted in this Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times, I asked Pinellas Commissioners Charlie Justice and Janet Long what I thought was a tough question.
“Both of you were elected in Democratic wave years in 2006 and 2012 and you lost in a Republican wave year in 2010. Don’t you both owe your political careers to the fickle ebb and flow of the voters?”
Justice and Long’s responses were quick and to the point:
Long: “No.” (sits down)
Justice: “Well, I think uh, no.”
Well, my friend Mitch Kates saw the blurb in the Times referencing this Q & A and sent me the following message (via Facebook, so forgive the casual grammar and spelling), which I thought was worth sharing:
“2006 was in no means a Democratic wave year. Republicans won the governors seat – again – and the Dems won only one competitive state Senate seat (Charlie Justice) that cycle. yes the Dems picked up more than expected number of House seats (under the leadership of Steve Shale) but by no means was there a wave happening in Tallahassee to upset the Republican Majority rule.
“2012 was definitely a better year for Democrats but the Republicans still safely control the House and Senate in Tallahassee and locally both Hillsborough and Pinellas County have majority Republicans serving on their respective County Commissions.
“As a self-admitted partisan player (and a non-apologetic partisan player at that) I would have to say many of these “wins”- such as Charlie Justice’s races were more cases of the voters deciding on someone that was more thoughtful and deliberative and less extreme. It’s not something that happens anywhere near enough (in my opinion) but the voters picked the better public servant for the job.
“As for Pinellas County, I think the voters will have a much more thoughtful and competent group of elected officials sitting on the County Commission making serious and forward thinking decisions. I know that idea is “extreme” when it comes to Florida politics but won’t it be refreshing?!?”