Scott Maxwell:

State Democrats bun­gle winnable race.

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - Scott Maxwell Sentinel Colum­nist

On Tues­day, Repub­li­can

Bobby Ol­szewski, a for­mer Win­ter Gar­den Com­mis­sioner, won a spe­cial elec­tion to serve as the new­est mem­ber of the Florida House. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Bobby. He pulled off a sig­nif­i­cant vic­tory in the pri­mary where many of his own party’s power play­ers were try­ing to keep him out of of­fice.

Ev­ery­one from big busi­ness in­ter­ests (the Florida Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Cen­tral Florida Ho­tel & Lodg­ing As­so­ci­a­tion) to in­cum­bent House Repub­li­cans (Ja­son Brodeur, Bob Cortes

and Mike Miller) were back­ing Bobby’s op­po­nents.

Still, Bobby pre­vailed — and now he doesn’t owe any of those folks squat.

But just as sig­nif­i­cant as Bobby’s vic­tory was the Demo­cratic Party’s amaz­ing dis­play of in­com­pe­tence.

The party didn’t re­cruit any­one to run. Even though House Dis­trict 44 voted for Hil­lary Clin­ton over Don­ald Trump just last year.

And even though Democrats are flip­ping dis­tricts all over the place — in South Florida, Ok­la­homa and New Hamp­shire last month alone — thanks to anti-Trump sen­ti­ments.

The op­por­tu­nity for a win in west Or­ange County was there.

But Florida Democrats didn’t even bother to field a can­di­date for the race.

Then, some­how, things got even worse.

Fi­nally, after un­known Democrat Paul Chan­dler filed on his own, fights broke out.

Repub­li­cans ac­cused him of be­ing in­el­i­gi­ble to run.

Democrats urged Chan­dler to drop out of the race — and then called him “ma­li­cious” when he did not.

Chan­dler did even­tu­ally drop out of the race ... but only after his name had been printed on all the bal­lots.

So when a brave re­place­ment fi­nally stepped up, he didn’t have money, time — or even his own name on the bal­lot.

Truly, if you were writ­ing a book en­ti­tled “How to Screw Up a Cam­paign,” you wouldn’t need to do any­thing other than re­cap this race.

Yet de­spite all that — de­spite Democrats giv­ing vot­ers ev­ery rea­son in the world not to sup­port them — 44 per­cent of vot­ers still voted Demo­cratic.

Democrats only needed 7 more points to win.

All Democrats had to do to win was at­tract a to­tal of 7,000 votes — just a fourth of the 28,000 peo­ple who voted for Clin­ton last Novem­ber — and they didn’t even try.

This is why Democrats keep los­ing.

Be­cause, while ral­lies, protests and pe­ti­tions are great for ral­ly­ing the troops, if you don’t give them can­di­dates to rally be­hind, you sim­ply can’t win.

A small start. On Tues­day, Visit Or­lando caved to House Speaker Richard Cor­co­ran’s threat of a sub­poena by re­leas­ing de­tails about a $76,500 con­tract it inked with Fox 35, whose gen­eral man­ager sits on the Visit Or­lando board of direc­tors. That’s won­der­ful … and yet rep­re­sents ap­prox­i­mately 0.1 per­cent of $51 mil­lion tax dol­lars Visit Or­lando spends each year. Now tax­pay­ers de­serve to know about the rest. Not just this one con­tract with Fox 35, the Sentinel’s TV part­ner. For­tu­nately, in its let­ter to the speaker, Visit Or­lando pledged its com­mit­ment to trans­parency. Won­der­ful again. Hope­fully that means Visit Or­lando will dis­close

all of its con­tracts and in­voices — in­clud­ing any other pay­ments made to companies with rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the board in re­cent years. Visit Or­lando also spends money on mar­ket­ing and spon­sor­ships with the Sentinel. All spend­ing and con­tracts should be dis­closed. That’s how Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-pro­mo­tion agency, does things — and how any or­ga­ni­za­tion that spends tax dol­lars should.

Mickey hates slots. Last month, Dis­ney World­wide Ser­vices dumped an­other Space Moun­tain-sized pile of cash — $575,000 — into a po­lit­i­cal com­mit­tee that wants to make it harder for casi­nos to ex­pand in Florida. That’s on top of the $600,000 Dis­ney do­nated the month be­fore … the $500,000 it gave the month be­fore that … and the $400,000 it gave the month be­fore that. Throw in an­other $250,000 that Dis­ney do­nated in April, and you’re talk­ing $2.3 mil­lion. The com­mit­tee is called “Vot­ers in Charge,” since it seeks to force fu­ture casi­nos to get voter ap­proval. But it’s pretty clear that Dis­ney is re­ally the one in charge here.

Only-in-Florida head­lines:

“Po­lice: Pinel­las Park man Googled ‘how to rob a bank’ then robbed a bank” … “Po­lice: In­tox­i­cated Clear­wa­ter of­fi­cial crashed golf cart, bat­tered diner dur­ing Ok­to­ber­fest” … “Po­lice: Airbnb host rigged condo to record sex par­ties, guests had no idea they were recorded too.”

Man, when you can’t trust the guy host­ing your sex par­ties, what is the world com­ing to?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.