A Democrat steps up to challenge Sen. Jeff Brandes
Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, a political scientist at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and former Democratic operative, has filed to take on Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes.
State Senate District 22, about two thirds of which is in Pinellas and one third in Hillsborough, on paper should be among the most competitive in the state. Barack Obama and Alex Sink won it, and Democrats and Republicans often see Brandes as too conservative for such a swing district. Brandes was on the only Republican senator to vote against accepting more than $50-billion in federal money to help uninsured Floridians buy private insurance.
But Brandes is a polished and telegenic candidate who is an heir to the Cox Lumber family and could spend millions of his own money if he chose. Already, Brandes has raised more than $200,000.
Scourfield McLauchlan is a Fulbright Scholar, veteran of several presidential campaigns, and often appears on local television talking about politics. Her husband is former chairman of the Pinellas Democratic party.