The District 13 race: Local boy vs. machine-backed outsider

On Wednesday, I sat down for lunch with David Jolly. Despite his jeans and untucked button-down shirt, he looks like a congressman. He has a low-key and modest demeanor, but his personal style doesn’t make him a slouch. Although no freshman member of Congress from Pinellas County (or Hillsborough, for that matter) could fill Bill Young’s shoes, Jolly is the most qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.

For her part, Alex Sink, the hand-selected candidate of Democratic Party leaders in Washington, looks good on paper (other than she’s not from the district), but as a campaigner, she’s more awkward than Miley Cyrus teaching an etiquette class. The party bosses must have forgotten Sink’s lackluster personality is why Rick Scott is governor

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, January 25, 2014

On Wednesday, I sat down for lunch with David Jolly. Despite his jeans and untucked button-down shirt, he looks like a congressman. He has a low-key and modest demeanor, but his personal style doesn’t make him a slouch. Although no freshman member of Congress from Pinellas County (or Hillsborough, for that matter) could fill Bill Young’s shoes, Jolly is the most qualified and prepared to hit the ground running.

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Photo: Sink and Jolly. (campaign photos)

For her part, Alex Sink, the hand-selected candidate of Democratic Party leaders in Washington, looks good on paper (other than she’s not from the district), but as a campaigner, she’s more awkward than Miley Cyrus teaching an etiquette class. The party bosses must have forgotten Sink’s lackluster personality is why Rick Scott is governor. What they didn’t forget was Continue reading “The District 13 race: Local boy vs. machine-backed outsider”

Ideological opposites set a good example

Kevin and I scheduled the day for him to attend his first meeting as my guest weeks in advance of the actual date. I had all but forgotten which day it was when I invited Tim to attend as my guest the same day. When I realized they were coming on the same day, a slight panic set it.

Panic because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with these two ideological polar opposites sitting together at the meeting. I considered telling one of them a little white lie to keep him from coming to the meeting on the same day as the other.

By Chris Ingram

Earlier this week, Kevin Beckner and Tim Euler were inducted into the Rotary Club of Tampa. I was proud to have sponsored both of them as members of the Tampa club, which celebrates its centennial anniversary next year as part of the international civic organization.

Kevin Beckner is a Hillsborough County Commissioner, a Democrat, and the county’s only openly gay elected official. He had spoken at the club earlier in the year and was interested in Rotary, so I invited him to come back as my guest and consider joining.

Tim Euler is the new Head of School at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, where my girls are students. Tim is an unapologetic Christian conservative and a Republican. Tim moved to Tampa from Orlando over the summer, and we developed a friendship; as with Kevin, I asked him to be my guest at Rotary.

Kevin and I scheduled the day for him to attend his first meeting as my guest weeks in advance of the actual date. I had all but forgotten which day it was when I invited Tim to attend as my guest the same day. When I realized they were coming on the same day, a slight panic set it.

Panic because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with these two ideological polar opposites sitting together at the meeting. I considered telling one of them a little white lie to keep him from coming to the meeting on the same day as the other.

I decided to Continue reading “Ideological opposites set a good example”

Crist to run for governor. Or perhaps not…

It was also disclosed yesterday by the Tampa Bay Times that Crist stooge Peter Schorsch has filed for a permit to have a rally in a St. Petersburg park on November 4th. Schorsch’s wife is also a close Crist confidant. Schorsch has denied the permit is connected to Crist, but Schorsch is a proven liar who has a lengthy criminal record and is not someone whose word about politics is to be taken seriously. That Crist appears to continue to associate himself with the likes of people like Schorsch suggests Chuckles hasn’t learned from past associations with criminals including Jim Greer and Scott Rothstein.

Ever the chameleon, Crist could be changing colors again

By Chris Ingram

Now that former Rep. Bill Young has been interred, expect a flurry of political jockeying to replace him.  Young’s son, brother, and wife, former Mayor Rick Baker, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, and former County Commissioner Neil Brickfield are among Republicans who have been mentioned as possible candidates to succeed him. Former CFO and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink is the leading Democrat mentioned. She is joined by talk of county commissioner and former state Senator Charlie Justice, and state Representative Janet Long as potential candidates, among others (Justice said on Friday he would not run).

Lost in most of the chatter is attorney Jessica Ehrlich, who was the 2012 Democratic nominee and has continued to campaign for the job even before Young’s retirement announcement and subsequent death.

Yet despite posting the strongest challenge to Young in twenty years, she hasn’t won any bonus points with establishment Democrats who care more about winning than rewarding Ehrlich for not just being a political opportunist.  

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Caption: That’s one box of Fruit Loops you might want to take a pass on. (Drawing by Jake Fuller)

Who the candidates will be, and when the election will be held remains unclear. Florida law is vague about the date of a special election to replace a member of the House of Representatives. Unlike replacing a member of the U.S. Senate, vacancies in the House of Representatives cannot be appointed. So there will be an election, we just don’t know when the governor will set it.   

While the rest of the political intelligentsia chatter about a Baker versus Sink race, or all the “what ifs?” concerning Young’s various family members, one person not so frequently mentioned whom I think may very well run, is former Governor Charlie “Too Tan” Crist. Sound crazy? Perhaps, but in politics, anything is possible.

When he’s not pitching his skills as a trial lawyer to take your slip and fall accident or parking lot fender-bender case to court, Crist is said to be forming a campaign team for another run for governor. I haven’t ever bought the notion that Crist would run for governor again — and have speculated it’s been an act all along that he would, in order for Crist to maintain a high profile and build up his fundraising base so he can run against Bill Young.  That’s what I expected to happen. Now that young has died, Crist can run in a much easier open seat and land himself a job as Congressman for the next twenty years if he wants it.

Yesterday he unveiled an odd campaign website that looked like a typical candidate’s website, but it was missing two things. Those two things were: Continue reading “Crist to run for governor. Or perhaps not…”

Reflections by Florida’s senior Republican statesman

The “other side,” as Martinez refers to the Democrats, is very adept at playing politics with important issues. He points to the sequester as a prime example. Initiated by Democrats, they then turned around and pointed the finger at the Republican-controlled House of Representatives as being the villains for the forced spending cuts — which Martinez accurately points out are just cuts in the rate of growth, not really cuts in total spending, which continues to increase.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

After serving as mayor of Tampa for six years, Bob Martinez resigned to run for governor in 1986. The former Democrat became Florida’s first Republican governor in 16 years but lost his re-election bid four years later following the state’s controversial attempt at implementing a tax on services — a measure the Legislature passed but quickly repealed.

He later served for nearly two years as the nation’s “Drug Czar” under President George H.W. Bush. Since then, Martinez, who has always maintained residency in Tampa, has kept an active but mostly behind the scenes profile in Florida political circles.

I recently sat down with the former governor in the offices of the law firm where he works as a lobbyist to talk about his life in politics, his legacy and issues facing the Republican Party and the country.

We start out talking about the national political environment and the major issues facing our country — most notably the national debt and government spending.

“Since the federal government doesn’t have to balance the budget, they have the ability to just kick the can. Every time they kick the can, after a while voters stop listening,” he says.

Economic and budgetary issues are hard to explain, and are far removed from people’s lives — or so they think, Martinez says. Explaining them is “… complicated because there is no sound-bite answer.”

The “other side,” as Martinez refers to the Democrats, is very Continue reading “Reflections by Florida’s senior Republican statesman”

Marco and the Road Runner

Just how different the concerns and interests of Cubans compared to Mexicans are is evident in how differently they are treated by our government.

The so-called “wet-foot, dry-foot” immigration policy of the United States is a perfect example. It says any Cuban who illegally enters the country and sets their foot on dry land is automatically entitled to a fast track to permanent residency.

 By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune
May 18, 2013

Having Sen. Marco Rubio as the champion of the immigration reform bill Congress is considering is akin to asking the Road Runner to be in charge of speed limits. Here’s why: Rubio is Cuban. Being Cuban means he is Hispanic. Republicans have a huge problem in appealing to Hispanics. Ergo, Rubio is the savior of the party who will help it win the Hispanic vote.

Problem is, although Rubio is Continue reading “Marco and the Road Runner”

Almost feeling sorry for Jim Greer

The fact that Jim Greer pleaded guilty Monday to grand theft and money laundering (a fraud charge was dropped), has the Republican Party of Florida and many current and former elected Republicans, as well as former Gov. Charlie Crist (who is now a Democrat) breathing a sigh of relief.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The fact that Jim Greer pleaded guilty Monday to grand theft and money laundering (a fraud charge was dropped), has the Republican Party of Florida and many current and former elected Republicans, as well as former Gov. Charlie Crist (who is now a Democrat) breathing a sigh of relief.

Whether those officials had anything to worry about or not, we may never know. But they are doubtlessly happy that Greer’s trial — which was bound to have a circus-like atmosphere — will not take place. Had the trial occurred, Greer — the former party chairman whose oversized frame competed with his oversized ego — had promised lots of dirt on a who’s who of Florida politics, including Crist, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former Republican Party of Florida Chairman John Thrasher, former Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Will Weatherford.

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Photo: Jim Greer cuts up his RPOF Amex. card.

The subject matter during the trial was certain to include Greer’s claims that party leaders were aware of Continue reading “Almost feeling sorry for Jim Greer”

Lunch with Jim Davis this Fri.

The lunch group is informal but we have some loose/suggested criteria. They are: You should either be a card-carrying Republican, professed libertarian, a conservative, or someone who thinks our country is currently going down the toilet because most of the politicians (both Rs and Ds) we elect are a bunch of bums and morons (think Barack Obama and John Boehner) who are more concerned with their own egos, their own image, and getting re-elected than they are concerned about the future of the next generation. You can be a liberal Republican, or a conservative Democrat, a limousine liberal, or even a card-carrying socialist — though the rest of us may wonder what is wrong with you if you are one of those; still, you’re welcome anyway (seriously, all are welcome, we’re just having some fun here).

Please join me for lunch with former Congressman Jim Davis who will be the speaker at the next Irreverent View lunch on Friday, January 11, 2013. Davis will share his views on the fiscal cliff, the economy, budget, and other things related to politics and government. Davis is just the second Democrat to speak at an I.V. lunch. The first Democrat to attend was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn – who set a new I.V. lunch attendance record.

Photo: Jim Davis

About the lunch*

The lunch group is informal but we have some loose/suggested criteria. They are: You should either be a card-carrying Republican, professed libertarian, a conservative, or someone who thinks our country is currently going down the toilet because most of the politicians (both Rs and Ds) we elect are a bunch of bums and morons (think Barack Obama and John Boehner) who are more concerned with their own egos, their own image, and getting re-elected than they are concerned about the future of the next generation. You can be a liberal Republican, or a conservative Democrat, a limousine liberal, or even a card-carrying socialist — though Continue reading “Lunch with Jim Davis this Fri.”