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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Don't underestimate Dave Aronberg

Amid lots of speculation about Rod Smith  or Dan Gelber running for the attorney general spot long Aronberg coveted by Dave Aronberg, I've heard a bunch of prominent activists and donors suggest the media is underestimating the strength of Aronberg in that hypothetical primary. The Harvard-educated lawyer and former chairman of the Florida Mainstream Democrats, after all, has been travelling the state constantly in recent years building relationships with grass roots activists across Florida.

"He's been doing the circuit with DECs for the last two years at least, either speaking or raising money or helping build DECs,"' said former Hillsborough Democratic Chairman Mike Suarez. "There are very few Democrats who are as well-known and well-liked across the whole state. .. Dan Gelber can and will be a great candidate, but he needs to do more groundwork in terms of the activists, and grass roots cultivation."

Screven Watson, a top Rod Smith adviser, agrees Aronberg is formidable: "People totally underestimate his network, not only with the grass roots but financially too."

Meanwhile, it's not at all clear how long the would-be Democratic candidates hold off on filing. There appears to be a consensus that a primary should be avoided, but not that it will be. There's chatter about other offices for some of these guys - Aronberg v. Tom Rooney for congress, for instance, or Gelber for U.S. Attorney.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:01pm]

    

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