Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?
After a yearslong investigation into corruption at Tallahassee City Hall, the feds finally indicted Andrew Gillum, the city’s former mayor and the man who nearly kept Ron DeSantis out of the Governor’s Mansion in 2018. To be sure, many political observers weren’t shocked. But Bill Cotterell was surprised by one thing. “I thought the FBI would have concluded the case by now,” Cotterell, who’s been writing on state and local politics for the Tallahassee Democrat since 1985, told City & State. “It sure looks horrible for him now.” What did surprise him was Gillum’s statement: “He says it’s all political. From Joe Biden’s Justice Department? Really? They’re trying to destroy the career of an already badly wounded Democrat?” You shouldn’t be surprised, then, who this week’s biggest loser is.
Casey DeSantis -
After beating cancer earlier this year, she’s been in and out of the spotlight. But Florida’s first lady, a former TV news anchor, came back full force this week with “Mamas for DeSantis,” which is aimed to complement her husband's reelection effort. What she’s calling a “million mama movement” seeks to “elevate the voices of Florida parents and families,” Fox News reported. “We need more moms and dads standing up for their kids and their communities. I’m excited to see so much energy around the @RonDeSantisFL education agenda,” she tweeted.
Eric Friday -
The lead counsel and registered lobbyist for Florida Carry, Inc., billed as “the largest independent pro-Second Amendment organization in Florida,” had to love Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The high court struck down a New York law requiring those “who want to carry a handgun in public to show a special need to defend themselves,” SCOTUSblog explained, calling it the court’s “first significant decision on gun rights in over a decade.” It certainly can’t slow the momentum to pass a “constitutional carry” law in Florida.
Allison Tant -
The first-term incumbent in House District 9 was facing a serious general election challenge from Ashley Guy, a local CBD retail entrepreneur. But Guy pulled an oopsie: She wasn’t registered as a Republican for the full previous year as Florida law requires. Since no one else qualified to run for the office by last week’s deadline, Tant was automatically re-elected to a second two-year term. It’s not like she wouldn’t have been ready, though: As of Thursday, campaign finance records showed she was sitting on $322,000 in cash on hand in her candidate account.
Andrew Gillum -
The 2018 Democratic nominee for governor is undoubtedly this week’s biggest loser after being charged with 21 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy and making false statements. The indictment, related to purported fraudulent fundraising, shattered what was left of Gillum’s reputation, dealt a stinging blow to Florida Democrats and left state politicos pondering what would have happened if he had been governor. Sharon Lettman-Hicks, his former campaign adviser, was also indicted, likely dashing her chances at House District 8, a seat opened by scandal in the first place.
Shawn Harrison -
The Tampa Republican formally withdrew from the Senate District 14 race after DeSantis endorsed one of his opponents, Jay Collins. Harrison was backed by incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and outgoing Senate President Wilton Simpson, so his withdrawal signals DeSantis’ outsized impact and how he has diverged from legislative leadership to back his own allies for office. As Harrison tweeted, “sometimes events beyond our control just happen.” And to be sure, Harrison – ever a nice guy – remains a winner in life.
Gregory Tony -
A state commission found probable cause to revoke the Broward County sheriff’s law enforcement license for lying on eight drivers license applications that his license never had been revoked. This adds to the list of things Tony didn’t disclose before being appointed by DeSantis – including that when he was growing up in Philadelphia, he shot and killed an 18-year-old when he was 14. Tony has said it was self-defense. But he could “remain as Broward’s sheriff because elected sheriffs are constitutional officers and are not required to be certified police officers,” Florida Bulldog explains.
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