Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?

Florida politics news kicked off this week with Annette Taddeo’s announcement of her departure from the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. She’s instead seeking a South Florida congressional seat now held by Republican Maria Elvira Salazar. Of the two remaining leading Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist quickly endorsed Taddeo (though she hasn’t yet returned the favor) and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said she “expects a new South Florida Democratic Congressmember and ally of the Fried Administration in 2023." Who does Taddeo’s exit help more? This week’s Winners & Losers also looks at some other races and the deleted tweet that had #FlaPol abuzz on social media.


Charlie Crist & Nikki Fried -

We’re giving them a tandem win now that Taddeo’s leaving the race. Democratic elections data analyst Matthew Isbell, however, gives the edge to Crist. “If Taddeo backs Crist it will give him a further boost,” he tells City & State. (Remember that Taddeo was Crist’s running mate in his failed 2014 bid for governor.) “Momentum seems to be clearly with Crist right now. Her dropping out is also a reflection of that. He’s polling way ahead.”

Jay Trumbull -

The Panama City Republican and House budget honcho was term-limited this year, but can’t quit the Capitol just yet. GOP state Sen. George Gainer declined to try for another term, citing health and other reasons, and Trumbull jumped in to replace him. A lovefest of endorsements quickly followed from outgoing Senate President Wilton Simpson, incoming President Kathleen Passidomo and state Sen. Ben Albritton, who is slated to lead the chamber after Passidomo. It’s good to be the heir apparent.

T.K. Waters -

Oh, the dominoes that fell because Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams moved to Nassau County. He’s stepping down amid questions over whether his residency outside Duval violates the local charter. Gov. Ron DeSantis made Undersheriff Pat Ivey the interim sheriff and endorsed Waters, JSO’s chief of investigations, for the special election later this year. Waters already had raised over $1 million to succeed Williams, who had another year left in his final term. The guv’s thumbs -up iced the cake.


Keith Edwards -

It was the tweet heard round Florida politics. Edwards, Nikki Fried’s campaign communications director, was sour that progressive Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani threw in with the Crist camp, referring to her as an “off brand AOC tampering in the dark art of disinformation.” (AOC refers to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive New York member of Congress.) Needless to say, he got relentlessly ratioed; author Jeff VanderMeer tweeted, “Sorry, but if you go after Anna Eskamani, you're dead to me.” Edwards deleted the tweet and apologized.

Transgender Floridians -

The state began laying the groundwork for the Medicaid program to deny coverage for certain treatments for transgender people. That could include sex-reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and, for younger patients, “puberty-blocking” medication. Advocacy groups are putting up a fight; Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer this week called it "a crusade to deny Floridians their freedom to access healthcare.” But the decision looks likely to stick. Adding insult to injury, June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

Joe Geller -

It’s one of the heaviest of heavy lifts. Despite a regular legislative session and two special sessions this year, Geller – a Democratic state representative from Aventura – is trying to convince fellow lawmakers to return to Tallahassee. He’s calling for yet another special session to address gun violence after Buffalo and Uvalde. But a poll of lawmakers by the Secretary of State’s office ends today, and the numbers so far suggest he doesn’t have the votes in Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature.