Winner and loser of the week in Fla politics
Winner of the week: Alvin Brown. There's a new Democratic star in Florida, the mayor-elect of Jacksonville. Even Republicans who worked hard to defeat him quietly acknowledge Brown had a strong centrist message blended with likability and vision. Runnerup: Rod Smith. The state Democratic chairman bet against the odds and invested heavily in Brown's campaign and ended up helping revive his party's image.
Loser of the week: Paul Hawkes. Political connections helped put the former legislator on the 1st District Court of Appeals. Hubris may get him tossed off the bench. A Judicial Qualifications Committee investigation into his role pushing for the lavish $50 million "Taj Mahal" courthouse in Tallahassee contended he was unfit to serve after he destroyed records, bullied employees and "brought the entire judiciary of the state of Florida into disrepute."