The leading Democrat in Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson, lost his re-election to Rick Scott and Broward County's ballot design. The only Democrat holding statewide office next year will be a woman no one heard of a few months ago, Nikki Fried, who will serve as commissioner of agriculture, a post that few people other than farmers pay attention to.
So who is the most influential Democrat in Florida today? We put that question to more than 150 veteran Florida politicos for our latest unscientific Florida Insider Poll.
"For the moment and only because the Democratic Party is a wasteland, Nikki" Fried is the most influential said one Democrat.
Actually, nearly 47 percent of the campaign consultants, money raisers, lobbyists, party activists and political scientists surveyed named Fried as the most influential Democrat. Twenty-eight percent said 2018 gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, 4 percent said Sen. Nelson, and the remaining 21 percent were all over the map – everyone from State Sens. Audrey Gibson, Lauren Book, and Gary Farmer to personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who is no longer a registered Democrat.
"Andrew Gillum is not done. He brought energy and excitement to the Governor's race that none of the other candidates could have brought. The only mistake he made was picking Chris King as his running mate," said a Democrat.
From an independent: "Are there any Democrats left? Only partially kidding. Fried has the opportunity to establish herself, yes, but it's way too early to predict how she'll leverage a relatively obscure role.
We allow anonymous comments for these surveys to encourage honesty from participants, many of who work with the politicians being asked about.
This month's Florida Insiders included:
Anthony Pedicini, Jason Unger, Fred Karlinsky, Jim Smith, Oscar Anderson, Steven Vancore, Mike Hightower, Robert Watkins, Allan Bense, Mike Colodny, Ryan Duffy, Bill Lee, Mitchell Berger, Bernie Campbell, Jorse Pedraza, Rick Wilson, Slater Bayliss, Cory Tilley, Towson Fraser, Jim Holton, Alex Sink, Jim Rimes, Karl Koch, Susannah Randolph, Kirk Fordham, Peter Feaman, Zachariah Zachariah, Alex Patton, Doc Dockery, Brian Ballard, Terry Fleming, April Schiff, Bill Helmich, Samuel Neimeiser, David Colburn, Mitch Ceasar, Tim Baker, Bob Poe, Marion Hammer, John French, Brett Doster, David Johnson, Alia Faraj-Johnson, Richard DeNapoli, Chip Case, Mike Hamby, Kartik Krishnaiyer, Pablo Diaz, Jon M Ausman, Gus Corbella, Jon Costello, Jeff Johnson, Greg Ungru, Gregory Wilson, Sarah Rumpf, Evelyn Perez-Verdia, Christian Camara, Stephanie Kunkel, Wayne Bertsch, Roly Marante, Aubrey Jewett, David Mica, George Riley, Chris Hand, Amber Stoner Nunnally, Pat Neal, Ron Pierce, Jeff Wright, Alan Clendenin, Kelly Cohen, Donna Arduin, Gerald Wester, Jack Seiler, Edward Miyagishima, Husein Cumber, Jim Cherry, Ryan Wiggins, Stephen Shiver, Screven Watson, Jon Woodard, Jim Davis, Clarence McKee, Nancy Watkins, Ana Navarro, Jeff Kottkamp, Alan Becker, Eric Jotkoff, Jack Furnari, Willy Guardiola, Mark Ferrulo, Dave Aronberg, Rich Heffley, Eduardo Gamarra, Abel Harding, Steve Schale, Mike Hanna, Kim McDougal, Joshua Karp, Henry Kelley, Robert Wexler, Nancy McGowan, Bridget Nocco, Jamie Miller, Eleanor Sobel, Mark Zubaly, Barry Edwards, Rick Asnani, Fernand Amandi, Greg Turbeville, Jean Clements, Joe Perry, Tom Scarritt, Gayle Andrews, Ryan Banfill, Leslie Wimes, Susan Glickman, Marc Reichelderfer, Susie Wiles, Chris Hartline, Paula Dockery, Susan Goldstein, Jill Chamberlin, Shannon Love, Lucy Morgan, Andy Ford, Victor DiMaio, Barney Bishop III, Jon Mills, Ron Gunzberger, Nick Hansen, Ron Greenstein, Mel Sembler, Ashley Bauman, Betty Castor, Frank Tsamatoules, Jason Altmire, Travis Moore, Roger Austin, Greg C. Truax, Monica Rodriguez, Seth McKee.