St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker has long looked like a guy with further political ambitions once he leaves office in 2010. The question is, what next? The Republican's political prospects will ebb fast once he leaves office and his profile dims, but he has pretty much ruled out running for Congress if C.W. Bill Young retires. Charlie Crist has the Governor's Mansion.
Which is where Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, fits in. If, as many expect, she runs for the U.S. Senate, or even governor, Baker is a prime candidate to run for the open CFO seat. The mayor insists, however, he won't mull his future at least until mid 2009. "I don't rule anything out at this point," he said.
One wrinkle: Baker's media consultant is Adam Goodman of Tampa, whose clients include another potential CFO candidate, state Senate president Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach.
By Nov. 4, clear winner
Barack Obama won Florida before Election Day. An Associated Press study of 94 percent of the electorate found that John McCain beat Obama by almost 5 percentage points on Nov. 4. But Obama beat him by 11 points in early and absentee balloting.
Martinez vs. who?
How vulnerable is Sen. Mel Martinez in 2010? A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that only 36 percent of Florida voters said he deserves another term, while 38 percent said he does not. By comparison, 58 percent said Gov. Crist deserves to be re-elected.
Still, the would-be Democratic challengers to Martinez, or Crist, are strangers to the vast majority of Florida voters. A whopping 59 percent said they didn't know enough about CFO Sink to have an opinion; 27 percent viewed her favorably and 13 percent unfavorably. More than seven in 10 did not know enough about state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami or U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd of Monticello to have an opinion.
One surprising Democratic contender for U.S. Senate already has popped up: Democratic fundraiser-developer-lobbyist Chris Korge of Coral Gables. "I'm like, why not? It is America," said Korge, 53, who has raised millions for the Clintons. "I've been inspired to reach new heights by Obama. I think I have a lot to contribute."
Fasano on funds
Check out state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, today on Political Connections on Bay News 9. The Senate president pro tem talks about Florida's bleak budget picture, and how he supports taxes on Internet purchases and would be open to considering higher taxes on cigarettes, but he disagrees with Gov. Crist's new support for letting universities raise tuitions.
Political Connections airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Deutsch not done with Democratic politics
Peter Deutsch, the hard-charging former Democratic congressman from Broward County, faded from sight after running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Now he's back as a candidate for Broward County Democratic chairman, vying to unseat Mitch Ceasar, the former state Democratic chairman.
It's not over till the electors vote
Florida's 27 Democratic electors meet Dec. 15 to officially cast their electoral college votes for Obama. Tampa Bay electors include Pinellas state committee member Janet Goen; Gena Keebler, uber Obama volunteer from St. Petersburg; Caren Lobo of Sarasota and Tampa, a top volunteer and fundraiser; Angela Rodante of Tampa, an "O-Train" leader; Tampa fundraiser and Latino campaign leader Frank Sanchez; and state party chairwoman Karen Thurman of Dunnellon.