I read today on “Florida Capital News” that debates among the candidates for the U.S.Senate, Governor, and various and sundry cabinet positions are being planned … about a year before they’d actually be held. Locally, Channel 4 was tapped to be the lead broadcaster, not a bad plum. All of the stations selected around the state are Post-Newsweek stations. Good for them.
I love moderating debates, at least when all the debaters show up. I often said I was the most informed voter in Duval county, I sat across the table from so many candidates and researched so many issues. I’ve done several where only the challenger came to the show, as incumbents often don’t want to give the challenger the appearance of equality. That won’t be an issue with any of the races statewide, as every incumbent save one is running for a different office, so everybody will want to get the free television time in a debate.
The senate debate between Governor Crist and Speaker Rubio will be one of a very conservative candidate (Rubio) and a very popular moderate (Crist). On the Democratic side, Kendrick Meek is so far the only announced candidate, though 3rd district congresswoman Corrine Brown has said she’s considering the race. That would create an interesting dynamic in the 3rd congressional district, where Brown has been a fixture for many years. No predictions.
The governors race so far is a little quieter, Bill McCullum for the Republicans, and Alex Sink for the Democrats. But it’s early yet, and others could still easily get in.
But I’ll miss being in the thick of it, if I can’t find my way back into the local media by next year. Our niche at WJCT was always the state legislature, as well as mayor and city council. There will be a lot of activity for the state legislature next year. There are 4 Republicans running for the District 8 seat currently held by Jim King, and, of course, there will be many races in the State House of Representatives. There are also local races here at the beach. Jacksonville City Council and Mayor aren’t until 2011, but the primary is in March, so not that much time passes between the November elections and the city contests in March.
It seams like there’s never a political slow season. Right now, I suppose, is it at least as far as the news is concerned. But this is when all the maneuvering takes place, people make decisions about whether or not to run, and political organizations plan for debates that are nearly a year away.
Let the games begin.