Winner and loser of the week
Winner of the week: Jack Latvala. About 250 people showed up for Republican state Senate candidate Jack Latvala’s campaign kick-off fundraiser at Ruth Eckerd Hall Wednesday night - a who’s who of Tampa Bay politics that included a few Democrats including state Rep. Janet Long, former legislative candidate Carl Zimmerman, and former state Sen. Ron Silver of North Miami. Latvala, who served previously in the senate, is starting mighty strong in his campaign for the Pinellas/Hillsborough seat now held by Democrat Charlie Justice, while not a single Democrat or Republican has emerged to challenge him.
Loser of the week: Tom Pelham. While local governments and environmental groups roundly trashed a controversial growth management bill on Gov. Crist's desk, Florida’s Department of Community Affairs Secretary stayed largely mum, giving the governor cover to sign SB 360 last week. Job security is a powerful motivator, but Pelham’s legacy may be presiding over what critics claim is the biggest roll-back in growth management in decades. Pelham may prove to be to Florida growth management what Colin Powell was to Iraq war policy.