By Chris Ingram
With apologies to early voters, Irreverent View’s annual general election ballot suggestions are indicated below. If you haven’t already voted, please do so today. This is going to be a close election and your vote counts.
For president of the United States, Irreverent View strongly recommends Mitt Romney. If you need to know why, or haven’t already made up your mind on this one, you need your head examined by a licensed medical professional. I predict Romney will win Florida by three percent and will also win the presidency with significantly more popular votes than Obama, and a squeaker in the Electoral College.
For U.S. Senate from Florida, Irreverent View very reluctantly recommends Connie Mack IV. This guy is about the most ridiculous, unqualified, and unaccomplished candidate the Republican party in Florida has nominated since Mike Haridopolos became president of the Florida Senate. So why am I recommending him? Because his opponent is a forty-year career politician having first been elected to public office in 1972 (one year after I was born). Nelson is a squishes squish. Despite all those years in office, he lacks a single signature piece of legislation. Additionally, Nelson is a rubber stamp for Obamanomics, Obamacare, and other big-government programs. Connie Mack IV is a lucky recipient of political nepotism best known for beer brawls and marrying well. But if elected, the first vote he will cast as a senator will be to organize the chamber. Mack will cast a vote for Mitch McConnell for majority leader while Nelson will be a reliable vote for the liberal Democrat agenda of Harry Reid. After casting the first vote, Mack can go back to California with wife Rep. Mary Bono or search for new watering holes in D.C. I predict Nelson will win unless Romney’s victory in Florida is far bigger than expected.
Note: Congressional races and state Legislative races listed below are for individual districts. Only one such race will appear on each voter’s ballot depending on where they live. Additionally, some races are virtually uncontested (they are only on the ballot due to a write-in having qualified); those races are not included. Contested county races, and Constitutional amendments follow. Keep reading to find out which candidate talks to psychics!
For U.S. House District 11, Irreverent View recommends Richard Nugent. The former Hernando County sheriff deserves re-election to a second term. His gadfly opponent has run for Congress at least six times — and lost every time. Nugent cruises to victory.
For U.S. House District 12, without any enthusiasm, Irreverent View recommends Gus Bilirakis. Just like Connie Mack IV, little Gus was first elected on the strength of his old man’s name — said old man having served in Congress from the same district for more years than should be permitted. Gus isn’t ever going to be asked to join Mensa, but he’s a reliable vote for the GOP House majority and the alternative is a akin to a vote for liberal Nancy Pelosi. Bilirakis will win big as this is still his daddy’s district.
For U.S. House District 13, Irreverent View makes no recommendation. I’m 41 years old and Bill Young was in Congress before I was born. Young needs to retire and give someone with new ideas a chance. He’s served admirably and brings home lots of pork to the district, but that’s part of the reason our country is $14 trillion in debt; hence Young is more part of the problem than the solution. His opponent Jessica Ehrlich is a rising star within her party, but she’s not going to beat Young. Irreverent View predicts a Young blow out.
For U.S. House District 14, Irreverent View strongly recommends E.J. Otero. Kathy Castor is one of the most liberal members of the U.S. House. She has is an Obama apologist, and supported Obamacare and Obamanomics like an eighth-grade cheerleader. Otero is more than qualified to serve, but is underfunded in a heavily leaning Democrat district. Otero is going to get slaughtered by Castor — probably by 18 points or more.
For U.S. House District 17, Irreverent View recommends Tom Rooney. Rooney is an incumbent member of Congress who is not familiar to most Hillsborough County voters as a result of redistricting. Rooney is a capable and competent member, and a reliable vote for the GOP. Rooney doesn’t make a lot of noise, but was part of a Michelle Bachmann-inspired controversy earlier this year. Like Mack and Bilirakis, Rooney is a son of privilege — his grandfather was Art Rooney, founder of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Rooney will win with a respectable margin.
Update: For U.S. House District 20, with extreme enthusiasm, Irreverent View recommends Jack Latvala. A reader pointed out to me I overlooked Latvala’s district and his re-election. My bad. This happened because he’s a total shoe-in for re-election and his opponent is a non-factor (I haven’t heard a single person mention Jack’s re-election in months and I mistakenly believed he only had a write-in opponent). Latvala is one of the few voices of reason (and logic, and common sense in the Legislature). With the loss of Mike Fasano (headed back to House — see below) and Paula Dockery, who were both term-limited out of the Senate, Latvala’s presence is going to be even more important than ever. Unfortunately for Jack, he’s going to be standing by himself quite a bit as there aren’t many Republicans in the Senate like him. Irreverent View predicts Latvala coasts to an easy victory.
For Florida Senate District 24, Irreverent View strongly recommends Tom Lee. Lee is qualified, smart, capable and he knows the district and his way around the Legislature — having previously served as Senate president. Irreverent View predicts Lee will win big.
For Florida House District 26, Irreverent View recommends Bill Galvano. His opponent is a left-wing Democrat supported by labor unions. Galvano was a reliable (perhaps too reliable) Republican member of the Florida Legislature, where he served for eight years. Galvano will win big.
For Florida House District 34, Irreverent View strongly recommends Nancy Argenziano. A former Republican who previously served in the Legislature, Argenziano is now a registered independent. Her opponent voted with party leadership 100 percent of the time. Argenziano would be a much needed voice of reason in Tallahassee. Irreverent View predicts Argenziano will win a close race.
For Florida House District 35, Irreverent View recommends Robery Schenck. Schenk is a local home-grown boy, a graduate of UCF, and is a pro-business incumbent House member. His opponent is a former Republican from New York who served one term on the Hernando County Commission. Irreverent View predicts a Schenck victory.
For Florida House District 57, Irreverent View recommends Jake Rayburn. Rayburn is a young man and a newcomer to politics, but also a serious businessman with strong local roots. Irreverent View predicts a big Rayburn win.
For Florida House District 58, Irreverent View recommends Dan Raulerson. Raulerson is the Plant City Mayor and is a CPA. His opponent’s claim to fame is serving time in prison. Enough said. Irreverent View predicts Dan Raulerson wins in a landslide.
For Florida House District 59, Irreverent View recommends Gail Gottlieb. On paper, Ross Spano looks good, but dig a little deeper and realize there must be something wrong with him as he is closely tied to Terry Kemple’s “Community Issues Council.” His opponent would be a principled voice of opposition in a Legislature that is heavily dominated by one party. Irreverent View predicts Ross Spano will win.
For Florida House District 62, Irreverent View recommends Janet Cruz. Cruz isn’t perfect, but she represents the district well, works across the aisle in the interests of Tampa, and is a much-needed voice of the minority in the Legislature. Plus, she’s the mother of my Democrat counterpart on Bay News 9, and Ana would probably whack me over the head on live TV if I said something bad about her momma (just kidding, I wouldn’t let that drive my recommendation). Cruz will crush her opponent in this heavily Democrat district.
For Florida House District 63, Irreverent View recommends Shawn Harrison. Harrison is young, smart, and knows this north Hillsborough district. His opponent is supported mostly by liberal labor unions including AFL-CIO and the S.E.I.U. Irreverent View predicts Harrison will win handily.
For Florida House District 65, Irreverent View recommends Peter Nehr. Nehr’s opponent Carl Zimmerman is running against him for the third time. Not even the state Democrat Party is supporting him — at least financially; but the Tampa Bay Times editorial board likes him. Enough said. Nehr should win big.
For Florida House District 66, Irreverent View recommends Larry Ahern. Ahern is a Main Street Republican seeking his second term. His opponent is a union-loving liberal who would support a big-government agenda. Irreverent View predicts Ahern wins in a close race.
For Florida House District 67, Irreverent View recommends Ed Hooper. Hooper is a retired Clearwater firefighter seeking his second term. In his first term he has stood up to his party leadership on more than one occasion. Hooper deserves re-election. Irreverent View predicts a Hooper win.
For Florida House District 68, Irreverent View recommends Frank Farkas. In this Pinellas race, Farkas is seeking a return to the Legislature where he previously served with competence. His opponent has come under fire for his service as a defense attorney for several convicted murderers — a weak attack, but effective no doubt. Irreverent View predicts Farkas wins in a close race.
For Florida House District 69, Irreverent View recommends Kathleen Peters. In this open Pinellas seat, Peters, who is a small-government conservative, faces opponent Josh Shulman another big-government liberal. Too close to call this race’s outcome.
On the Florida Legislature’s proposed Constitutional Amendments, Irreverent View strongly recommends a “no” vote on all amendments. See related column by clicking here.
On retention of justices and judges, Irreverent View strongly recommends a “no” vote on all. This matter was “politicized” when the Republican Party of Florida made the same recommendation earlier this year. In years prior, partisan politics generally stay out of these “races.” I agree with the state GOP, but for a different reason than theirs. Mine is, judges in Florida operate mostly in the dark, with little reporting about them or their performance in office. Judicial Canons — essentially the rules that govern judicial political campaigns (and judges in office) — restrict judicial candidates from providing much information about themselves, saying much about their opponents, or from raising money in the traditional way campaigns solicit funds. In theory, these restrictions are intended to make judicial races free from politics and ideology, but they’re really nothing more than incumbent judge protection measures. The retention vote on the ballot is merely a vote to keep the judge in office or not. If voters vote no, the governor will get to appoint new judges (and that is the motivation of the state GOP). My motivation in voting no is to send a message that voters reject the justices on the basis that the system doesn’t allow voters to know anything about them, and the judicial canons need to be changed.
For Hillsborough County Property Appraiser, Irreverent View strongly recommends Bob Henriquez. Henriquez faces political bomb-thrower Ronda Storms. Enough said. Irreverent View predicts Henriquez will win in a close race.
For Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, Irreverent View strongly recommends Craig Latimer. Latimer currently serves as the chief deputy to retiring Elections Supervisor Earl Lennard. Latimer is a former sheriff’s deputy who is well-regarded throughout the community. As Number Two in the office, he has lead the reforms it needed following the Buddy Johnson years. His opponent is a term-limited former member of the Legislature who is climbing the political ladder and/or needs a pay check. Irreverent View predicts Latimer will win in a close race.
For Hillsborough County Commission, District 4, Irreverent View recommends Al Higginbotham. Higginbotham has done a good job on the commission, and is a man of character and inspiration. He deserves re-election. Irreverent View predicts a Higginbotham blow-out.
For Hillsborough County Commission, District 6 (at-large — all county voters eligible to vote), Irreverent View highly recommends Kevin Beckner. Beckner is serious, hard-working, and fiscally conservative. His opponent, Margaret Iuculano is a nice gal, but as I like to say, so is my plumber, and I don’t want him serving in public office. Iuculano has run a negative attack campaign mostly focusing on meaningless social issues unrelated to Beckner’s service on the county commission. She has also associated herself with one of the biggest whack-jobs in local politics — one David Campo — who once boasted to me, “There are about 3 of us who control Hillsborough County politics.” I had to go look him up (see related article here). Additionally it has been reported Iuculano falsely claimed to have received a Small Business Administration award, that her education level is only having received her G.E.D., and that she talks to psychics for business advice. Irreverent View predicts a Beckner blow-out.
For Hillsborough County School District 7, Irreverent View recommends Carol Kurdell. After having served twenty-years in office, normally I would be strongly opposed to re-electing someone like Kurdell. She’s got to be more of the problem at this point than the solution. But she’s running against Terry Kemple whose hate, ignorance, and misinformation about a host of issues cannot, and should not be tolerated. For full disclosure, when Kemple first ran for office a few years ago, I supported him, having fallen for his charm. However, after seeing him in action the last few years, that is support I regret and no longer maintain. People like Terry Kemple have a place in society — but it isn’t at the table as an elected official — more like in a clown outfit at the circus — an atmosphere he is more than comfortable being in. Irreverent View predicts Carol Kurdell wins in a close race.
Hillsborough County Charter issues: Disability issue: vote yes. Financial impact: vote no.
For Pinellas County Sheriff: Bob Gualtieri. Gualtieri has proven himself as a leader and deserves the vote of Pinellas County residents. Irreverent View predicts a Gualtieri landslide.
I apologize to Pinellas and other surrounding county readers for not having more recommendations in your county. Doing these recommendations is a time-consuming effort. When I don’t know enough about a candidate, I think it is only appropriate to refrain from making a recommendation.
Please go vote.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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