One week together in Tallahassee after the surprise win of Democrat Annette Taddeo is all it took for the Senate Democratic Caucus to devolve into infighting.
“It’s going to be bloody…” one Democratic Senator told me today about the imminent leadership fight in the Florida Senate.
Senator Bobby Powell announced this week that he is running for Democratic leader after Senator Clemens leaves the office. Powell, who shares Clemens consultant, supposedly has 6 votes of the 16 member caucus. That’s not normally something to brag about….but there’s three other Senators running!
Senators Gary Farmer and Senator Perry Thurston, have also thrown their hat into the ring. One of my Tallahassee spies suggested that Farmer is making the “it’s my turn, Perry Thurston has already been Leader once” argument to try to consolidate the liberal wing of the party.
Senator Gibson will round out the field on the “seniority ticket.”
“I don’t even know who’s with her,” said my Democratic tipster.
The winner gets control of a large pile of campaign cash and consultant contracts to reward their supporters and punish their detractors.
My ticked-off tipster didn’t shy away from expressing his apprehensions that this will cost the Democrats in 2018 by squandering the momentum they have gained in recent elections. Democrats won on election day in the Taddeo election, as well as in the District 44 seat won by Representative Bobby Olszewski. In the Taddeo seat, that was enough put her over the top…
Now, some of the same Liberal vs. Establishment division that has stunted the national conversation in both parties, threatens to stall their state advance.
The real winner is the GOP, who will use the infighting to their advantage to split the caucus this session and continue to dominate the Democrats in November, despite our state’s demographic shift.