Sunday, February 18, 2018
Columns

A very scientific look at the winner and loser of the year in Florida politics

As all Buzz devotees know, each week we name a winner and loser of the week in Florida politics. With the end of the year — and Adam C. Smith’s announcement of the 2017 winner and loser of the year in Florida politics — coming up, we got to wondering. Who won the most weeks this year? Who has lost the most?

Turns out, it was the same person.

Gov. Rick Scott was, according to our accounting of winners and losers from each week of 2017, the biggest winner of the year. And the biggest loser. Scott won six weeks this year, double that of the next-closest politicians, Marco Rubio and Adam Putnam — fellow Republicans. But Scott also lost six weeks, doubling up second-place loser, Democrat Andrew Gillum.

"The Governor is focused on winning more jobs for Florida," a Scott spokeswoman said when asked what Scott’s reaction was to winning and losing with such frequency. "That’s the win he is focused on. He’ll leave the political commentary to the pundits."

The first week of the year set the tone. Scott both won and lost that week, winning for his handling of the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting (remember that?), and losing because he had a tough decision to make: How would he replace Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was expected to take a job in the Trump administration, without ruffling any feathers? It was a no-win situation. (Note: our prognostication may have been slightly off when it came to Bondi’s future.)

Other politicians had strong showings in our weekly winner and loser columns. Sen. Rubio won three weeks — including last week — and lost just one. Each of the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls — Gwen Graham, Gillum, Chris King and Philip Levine — won two weeks apiece. (Republican gubernatorial front-runner Adam Putnam also notched two victories.) Former President Andrew Jackson won a week despite having died 172 years ago. Now that’s a skilled politician.

Some were not so fortunate. Former state Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, lost two separate weeks, with one loss coming after he unleashed a racist and sexist tirade on colleagues at a Tallahassee bar. (Artiles eventually resigned.) He was the only politician to lose multiple weeks without winning one.

But that didn’t mean Artiles was alone in his misery! Something else lost two weeks in Florida politics this year, according to our crack team of political analysts: Hurricane Irma. You can accuse us of inane punditry, but you cannot accuse us of being pro-hurricane.

Watch out for Adam C. Smith’s declaration of the Winner and Loser of the year in Florida politics later this month.

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