Winners & Losers
This week’s biggest Winners & Losers
Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?
Once again, we’re blatantly appropriating Tallahassee Democrat columnist Bill Cotterell as the lead-in to this week’s list. Why? We had another debate, of course. And as to who won – Democratic challenger Charlie Crist or incumbent GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis – it’s as Cotterell says, “Whichever one you were rooting for before it happened.” According to various social media posts, DeSantis supporters say the governor “won hands down.” Crist fans say their candidate “destroyed” DeSantis. How many undecided voters were won over by either one? We’re guessing: Not a lot. And so it goes. Here are this week’s Winners & Losers.
Manny Diaz -
What critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law is safe for now. Why? A federal judge refused to block it. Formally known as “Parental Rights in Education,” it restricts instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms. Manny Diaz, the state’s education commissioner, has been a champion of the new law, winning out in this latest round against opposing parents, students and a nonprofit. Whatever you call it, it’s a win.
Ketanji Brown Jackson -
The rookie U.S. Supreme Court justice doesn’t have much juice, given that she’s one of just three liberal members on the nine-member high court. But at least she’s getting some respect in her home state of Florida, where a portion of Eureka Drive in Miami-Dade County is being renamed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Street. The move won’t get her too far, but at least she’s not dealing an effort to strip her name from a street or some other structure – like some students at a Savannah College of Art and Design want to do with the Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation.
Liz Quirantes -
CBS12 News anchor Liz Quirantes moderated the only gubernatorial debate between Crist and DeSantis, held in Fort Pierce’s Sunrise Theater. Quirantes took flak for a rowdy audience, and the New York Times noted that some of her questions, “which she said came from viewers, appeared to be leading the candidates toward conservative points of view.” Nonetheless, she brought the debate plane in for a landing and on time.
Vickie Cartwright -
If you walk into a meeting expecting to get fired but only get “reprimanded,” is that a win? We thought so, but then we thought again. Broward Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright escaped the chopping block – but for how long? She still must respond in writing to board chair Torey Alston’s concerns within 90 days. And then what? Also, even a reprimand was a bad look. We won’t be surprised if she’s already brushing up her resume and scouring the job boards.
James Washington -
Earlier this month, James Washington became the only candidate officially in the running for a seat on the Pasco County School District, thanks to a residency issue to removed a rival from the race. But Washington may face some competition after all, as the other candidate, Al Hernandez, won a temporary reprieve this week allowing him to continue campaigning while the appeal of the residency ruling continues. Hernandez may not ultimately get back on the ballot, but the DeSantis-backed candidate did already beat Washington in a primary this year.
Shannon Watts -
Moms Demand Action, a national gun control group, last year tried to get the old Capitol in Tallahassee bathed in orange light to recognize gun violence victims. Its request was ignored. Now the state is proposing new rules that would allow only the governor to allow colored lights there. They’ll almost certainly be approved, and – if DeSantis is reelected – we suspect founder Shannon Watts’ future requests will end up in the “circular file.”
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