How Dems lose FL in 2018: 1) Ignore our red tide expert candidates 2) Campaign for GOP

First, let me deal with #2 (FL Democrats campaigning for GOP candidates), because this one really pisses me off.

If anyone wants to know why I beat my head against the wall in this stupid state, it’s because of crap like this:

Kathy Lewis
(D-FL Senate Dis 20)

Democratic state Senate candidate Kathy Lewis says it stunned her to see [Democratic] Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller on a host committee for her opponent, incumbent Tom Lee.

“It’s one thing to not be for me,” Lewis said, “but he’s actively working against another person in his own party.”

Democrat Kathy Lewis is a disability advocate who is in an extremely competitive race against her GOP opponent, Tom Lee. Fellow Democrat Les Miller didn't just ignore her, but is actively campaigning against her because he personally likes Lee.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence here in Florida. This isn't even the only example of back-stabbing in the same county:

Fentrice Driskell
(D-FL House Dis 63)

Tampa City Council Chairman Frank Reddick, a Democrat, has endorsed Tampa Republican state Rep. Shawn Harrison in his re-election bid against Democrat Fentrice Driskell.

The move could raise eyebrows in Tampa's black community.
Support among blacks, including Reddick, helped Harrison hang onto the seat against Lisa Montelione in 2016, a presidential year when Democrats usually get better voter turnout.

Fentrice is a young, black, progressive lawyer and community leader who is being shunned in favor of a guy who gets high marks from conservative groups.

Oh, but no, it continues…

One of the most competitive House seats this year is between Republican Carlos Curbelo and Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

Mucarsel-Powell is an immigrant who has dedicated her life to serving the community through various non-profit organizations. The GOP’s Curbelo, on the other hand, consistently votes with the extremist wing in his party. However, he campaigns as a “moderate,” and idiots fall for that every election.

Forecasters are predicting that the House majority is going to come down to a few key swing races—and one of the toss-ups is Curbelo's District 26. This is the most Democratic district in the entire nation held by a Republican!! This district should be solidly in Democratic hands, (D+6), but the right-wing Curbelo currently has a one point advantage.

He can thank several Florida Democrats for bailing him out, including the nine Democratic officials who held an effing fundraiser for him:

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
(D-FL CD26)

Several prominent south Florida Democrats are hosting a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo's (Fla.) reelection bid, the Miami Herald reports.

Among the nine Democrats sponsoring the fundraiser are former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace. Other co-hosts include Hillary Clinton donor Ira Leesfield and attorney Roland Sanchez-Medina, who previously worked as the campaign treasurer for Democratic congressional candidate Joe Garcia.

Try to find any example of a Florida GOP official campaigning or holding a fundraiser for a Democrat. You can’t. It isn’t tolerated in GOP circles, nor should it be. So why the hell is it acceptable in our party?

Any elected official who campaigns against our candidates shouldn’t get a lick of help from any county or the state Dems. Period. (What are they going to do? Work for the GOP? They already are!)

Our state has been ruled by the GOP for almost 2 decades, and they have declared war on its citizens. Florida is now the top state for gun violence, our public schools are floundering, corruption is rampant, and the one thing we had going for us—our beautiful natural resources—are being choked to death with runoff, algae and slime. 

Speaking of which….

Let’s now focus on #1: Ignoring our red tide expert candidates running this cycle

Until Hurricane Michael, Bill Nelson was crisscrossing the state denouncing Red Tide Rick. Red tide has become the main issue that is completely consuming the Florida Senate race. 

To be clear, Rick Scott owns this. He cut $700 million from the state’s five water management district budgets, and signed into law a provision to limit their taxing capacities which disabled Florida’s ability to respond to the red tide crisis. In addition, Scott repealed our mandatory septic tank inspection program, reduced our state’s environmental staff, and allowed nitrogen, phosphorous, and other nutrients contained in run-off from storm drains, fertilized lawns, and septic tanks to completely slime our waterways with algae and weeds. I’ve been writing about this for freaking years.

Yet Scott being Scott, he is now spending millions in a TV blitz trying to blame the red tide crisis on….Bill Nelson. Well, Floridians aren’t stupid—oh wait, who am I kidding? Yes, we are. (We elected Scott twice.) Rick Scott has personally overseen the destruction of our beaches and waterways, and yet somehow Dems are playing defense on this?

Could you imagine if we were lucky enough to have environmental scientists on the Democratic side that Nelson and Gillum could take with them on the campaign trail and go hard on offense?

Well, we do. Haven’t heard of them? Of course you haven’t. Why would we ever want to be proactive on the top issue facing our state? That would interfere with our long-term strategy of letting the Florida GOP set the narrative while we react. You can damn sure bet that if the GOP had anyone close to the credentials of these ladies, they’d be in all kinds of ads and probably household names by now.

Hey guys! Take these incredible candidates with you on the campaign trail. It’s not too late, fellas.

Dr. Lindsay Cross (Florida Senate District 24)
Dr. Cross is well known in environmental circles. She is the Executive Director of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and has worked with businesses and public agencies to protect our state’s water supply and natural habitats. She has been a pioneer with the Tampa Bay National Estuary Program for over 14 years, and has personally tackled issues related to flooding, beach erosion, and algae blooms.

Annisa Karim (Florida Senate District 28)
A graduate of Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, (yes, that one), Annisa Karim is an environmental scientist who holds several advanced degrees in conservation from UF. She is also the land stewardship coordinator for Lee County.

Dr. Jennifer Boddicker (Florida House District 80)
A microbiologist who has been, and continues to be, a fierce advocate of cleaning up Lake Okeechobee, smart management of our natural resources, and restoring the Everglades. (Rick Scott, on the other hand, wanted to frack the Everglades.)

Dr. Katie Tripp (Florida House District 25)
A Ph. D. scientist who states that she uses “data and common sense to inform decision-making”—in other words, the exact opposite of a Republican. She is the Director of Science and Conservation for the Save the Manatee organization—mammals who have been especially hard hit during the red tide crisis. She has actively engaged in efforts to fight for clean water, to include cleanup of the Indian River Lagoon and the threatened springs in Volusia County.

I have linked to all of their campaign websites, including those at the top who have to fight leaders within our own party as well as the opposition. 

As any activist in Florida can tell you, it’s downright frustrating to have to do this. We have always had the best candidates—people who are educated, smart, and have dedicated their lives to public service. Yet instantly, our candidates are at a disadvantage because the GOP apparatus here is so powerful. The Florida GOP can fund and support candidates at every level—no matter how awful, unqualified, or racist they may be. 

All our candidates have is the grassroots. Let’s hope that for this year, that will be enough.