Ingram weighs in on state and congressional races

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See who he likes/doesn’t like in all of Florida’s statewide and congressional races

By Chris Ingram

Florida’s Primary Election is fast approaching. Election Day is August 24th, but voters can request an absentee ballot and avoid lines and last minute excuses and vote from the comfort of home. Early voting at select polling locations begins August 9th and runs through August 21st.

With ballots already in the mail, it’s time for a quick assessment of the candidates. You can call these recommendations if you will, as “endorsement” seems a bit haughty.

In the Democrat Primary for U.S. Senate billionaire and friend of countless disgraced celebrities like Mike Tyson, Heidi Fleiss, and Lindsey Lohan, Jeff Green is facing Congressman Kendrick Meek. Neither one of these guys deserve anything other than a swift kick in the you know what. Meek is career politician and out of touch with Main Street Floridians.  Green is just weird and he has really bad judgment (the best-man in his wedding was rapist Mike Tyson and Hollywood Madame Heidi Fleiss used to be his “houseguest” – whatever that means). My recommendation to Democrats who want to win this race…find a nice tall bridge and jump.  Charlie Crist is the only electable liberal in this race for all intents and purposes, but Democrats will have to wait until November to cast a vote for the Tan Man.

In the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate two unknown candidates are challenging Marco Rubio (remember, Charlie “Pander Pants” Crist bolted the party). Rubio will certainly win and he deserves to be the nominee of the G.O.P.

In the race for governor, Rick Scott could be the guy that ran over my dog – and I’d still vote for him. Bill McCollum is part of the problem, not part of the solution. I can’t tell you how many McCollum supporters and money-men of his who have said they too like Rick Scott and have long been down on Bill “Howdy Doody” McCollum who thinks he should be governor because “it’s his turn.” Sorry Bill. I think you’re going to have to start thinking about making an honest living and get off the taxpayer’s dime for the first time in your life in oh, about four weeks.

There are two qualified and competent Republican candidates running for Attorney General. One of them is not Jeff Kottkamp – Florida’s current Lt. Governor best known for flying around in state airplanes to attend rock’n’roll concerts and other dubious events – all at taxpayer expense mind you. The LG is also known for shaving his goofy mustache – which was probably the best political advice he ever took as he no longer looks like some guy your kids would run from. Where was the consultant who gave him that advice when Kottkamp was screwing the taxpayers with all his travel on state airplanes? The other two candidates are uniquely qualified and are good people. I recommend Pam Bondi who has tons of courtroom experience. Though she has made a few mistakes on the campaign trail, the fact that she’s not a polished candidate is endearing in this day full of overly polished career politicians.  The other candidate in this race is Holly Benson who is certainly capable, though her “resume” is thin with real-world courtroom experience and is a little too heavy on jobs working for the government.

In the Democratic Primary for Attorney General Dave Aronberg and Dan Gelber are running a heated campaign. Gelber probably has better experience which includes having been a prosecutor, but both of these guys are basically career politicians. Pick ‘em.

In Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, soldier/farmer/businessman Dean Black is the best “token” G.O.P. challenger to incumbent Democrat Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Unfortunately for Black, this is a solidly safe Democrat district. If he wins in November, look for pigs to fly.

In the 5th Congressional District Hernando County Sherriff Richard Nugent faces off against Jason Sager, a Tea Party Activist. Nugent faced criticism in the way he came to be a candidate when Ginny Brown-Waite decided not to run for reelection. I normally don’t like this type of trickery, but we can all thank our lucky stars it happened this way since it kept State Senator (and Charlie Crist apologist) Mike Fasano from appearing on the ballot, and thus potentially going to Washington. Sheriff Nugent is a competent man and will serve the district well, while Sager appears to be a one-trick pony.

In District 6 businessman and Navy vet Don Browning faces incumbent Cliff Stearns. Browning is a long-shot against Stearns who has the support of the party establishment. Republican voters have the chance to send a strong message to D.C. that they are tired of the same old career politicians by nominating Browning. Whoever wins the primary will likely win in November as there is only token opposition from an Independent candidate in the General Election.

In District 8 ex-state Senate Majority Leader Daniel Webster is in a crowded field to take on Democrat Alan Grayson. Webster is a solid conservative, if just a little too closely associated with the establishment of the G.O.P. But he is a decent man, a conservative, and represents the best chance to take back this Republican seat and GOP Primary voters should support him.

In District 9 Democrats Anita de Palma and Phil Hindahl are battling to face incumbent Gus Bilirakis in November. Bilirakis who is arguably the dumbest Republican member of Congress currently serving in the House of Representatives is a shoe-in for reelection. Despite his intellectual challenges, Bilirakis will more than likely be easily reelected.

In the 11th Congressional District currently held by Kathy Castor, four guys who have no chance of defeating the incumbent Democrat face off. Perennial candidate Eddie Adams has the best organization, Mike Pendergast the most financial support, Thomas Castellano the most enthusiasm, and Tony Buntyn is the nicest guy in Bay-area politics. Adams has proven he can’t win, so it comes down to the other three. Any one of them would make a great token opponent against Castor who for all intents and purposes will have the seat until she doesn’t want it because voter registration in the district is so far to the left. Castor faces a token Primary opponent in Tim Curtis who is a Tea Party activist. Bay-area Democrat voters have the opportunity to send the national party a message that they’ve had enough by voting for Curtis but I doubt that is going to happen.

In the 12th District, former State Rep. Dennis Ross faces Tea Party activist John Lindsey in the G.O.P. Primary. Ross has the connections, money, and name ID to be a formidable opponent in November and an he will be an effective Member of Congress. In the Democratic Primary it’s a toss-up between Lori Edwards and ’08 nominee Doug Tudor. Either one will end up a token nominee as this is a district that should remain in Republican hands (the district is currently represented by Adam Putnam).

In the 13th District formerly represented by Katherine Harris, incumbent Vern Buchanan faces Don Baldauf in the Primary. Baldauf is a nice guy who should be running for the state legislature. He presents little more than token opposition to Buchanan who deserves reelection. Rick Eaton and James Golden are running in the Democratic Primary and neither has a shot of beating Buchanan.

In District 17 (currently held by Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek), there is a crowded field of Democrats running. The winner of the Primary will likely be the next Congressman from the district as there is no Republican and only a token Independent candidate in November.  Among the Democrats, Rudy Moise is the only candidate in the crowded field who has never previously held elective office. Moise is a physician and community activist (you know, like Obama was). On the grounds that he has a real job and isn’t a career politician, I suggest voting for Moise.

In District 20, three Republicans are seeking the nomination to challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Any one of the Republicans would mount a serious challenge to Schultz who supported Obama-care and is vulnerable. I like Donna Milo who is a plumbing contractor – yes, SHE is a plumbing contractor. Any gal who is willing to get into this nearly 99% male-dominated business probably has what it takes to “take on the boys” in Washington.

In District 22, Allen West is the ONLY candidate Republican’s should consider to take on Democrat incumbent Ron Klein. West was the ’08 nominee, and is a retired Army officer and Iraq War Vet. West will not disappoint, and is exactly the type of person we need in Washington.

In District 24, five Republicans are seeking the nomination to defeat incumbent Democrat Suzanne Kosmas.  Kosmas is vulnerable for voting too frequently with Obama and the Pelosi Democrats. The crowded G.O.P. field has too many qualified candidates for me to make a judgment on without first-hand knowledge. The party should consider itself lucky that just about any one of these candidates will represent Republican voters well in November.  Pick ‘em.

In Disrict 25, David Rivera, Marili Cancio, and Paul Crespo battle for the GOP nod. This is probably a race between Crespo and Rivera, which also could be defined as the anti-establishment (Crespo), versus the establishment (Rivera). Rivera is basically a career politician – he is also Marco Rubio’s pal and co-owns a house in Tallahassee with Rubio that the two were five months late paying the mortgage on. These guys who can’t keep their own houses in order shouldn’t be expected to keep Washington’s in order. Republican’s should look to Paul Crespo for real fiscal leadership.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of 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 currently serves as the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9 in Florida’s largest media market. E-mail him at: [email protected].

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