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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats fear primary "Armageddon"

Top Florida Democrats are increasingly worried about detroying their chances to win the attorney general's seat because of a looming battle between three of their top statewide prospects.
 State Sens. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres, Dan Gelber of Miami Beach and former gubernatorial canddidate Rod Smith of Alachua, each is poised to file for the attorney general about to open up when Republican Bill McCollum announces for governor Monday.

By most accounts a three-way primary ensures only that a nominee will eventually emerge bruised and broke for the general election. What's more, if three of the top members of the Florida Democrats' bench run they will stand to be be eliminated as running mate contenders for gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink who is likely to pick her lieutenant governor before the primary.

Florida's senior Democrat, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, last week organized a conference call between the three would-be candidates, urging them to take a breath and wait at least until this week before filing.
 "There's hope that we can work it out," Aronberg said. "We're still talking, and all three of us are friends. None of us want an Armageddon situation. the only thing a brutal Democratic primary creates is a Republican attorney general."

 Meanwhile Democrats lack any strong candidate at this point to run for chief financial officer. Gelber allies have been talking about Aronberg poised to run for CFO, but Aronberg dismissed that as "a non-starter."

Buzz wonders: If Gelber had orignally filed for attorney general, instead of US Senate, whether this would be a moot question.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 6:01pm]


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