Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Other Democrats wait as CFO Sink ponders Senate bid

EDITOR'S NOTE: See correction notice appended below.

When it comes to Florida Democrats dreaming of a U.S. Senate seat, it's Alex Sink's world. Most everybody else is just waiting for her utterance.

In the same way Jeb Bush froze the field of Republican contenders awaiting his decision on a Senate run, Florida's chief financial officer is casting her own shadow over the potentially crowded Democratic race. From Washington to Miami, Democrats are awaiting Sink's decision and speculating about whether her entry in the race would clear away any party rivals.

"I'm very seriously considering the race. It's an enormous opportunity to serve the people of Florida. … I have a few more people I'd like to have the opportunity to speak to about it," Sink said Wednesday, the day after former Gov. Bush bowed out.

Sink, 60, said she is focused on the special session on the budget deficit at the moment, and will likely make an announcement after a few more meetings in Washington during Barack Obama's inauguration events later this month.

"Open seats like this don't come around very often," said the former bank executive, noting that other prospective candidates have inquired about her leanings and that Bush's announcement did not influence her. "I was not really focused on his decision at all. For me, it's how I can best serve the state, and of course family considerations."

Sink, who rules out running for governor in 2010 but not running for another term as CFO, remains among the biggest question marks for other prominent Democrats eyeing the rare open Senate seat. Those include U.S. Reps. Allen Boyd of Monticello, Ron Klein of Boca Raton and Kendrick Meek of Miami, as well as state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach.

The national Democratic Party is aggressively courting Sink to run for the seat Republican incumbent Mel Martinez will vacate in two years, and she is widely viewed as the strongest statewide candidate.

"She does hold a special place in many Democrats' hearts around the state in the job that she's done and the strength of her statewide election," said state Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman.

But Thurman also touted other candidates and expressed optimism that a rancorous primary can be avoided.

"If Alex gives some kind of indication one way or another that she's going to run, it probably has a dampening effect on the field," said Democratic strategist Steve Schale, who is close to Gelber. "But the longer this plays out, the likelihood of seeing other Democrats getting in significantly increases."

Not everyone is cowed by the prospect of a favorite.

"My time line is not based on CFO Sink or anyone else that has expressed an interest," said Meek, who has been talking to party activists throughout the state about a potential run.

"I'm talking to everyone that's said they're interested because I don't want to see a situation where the entire Democratic bench is in the same race for the same office," Meek said. "But in the end, if I do decide to do this and you have a crowded primary, that's just the way the field will be."

A big part of Sink's advantage is that she is the only Democrat in the mix who has run statewide already, and she has proved her ability to win over swing voters.

In 2006, Sink beat Republican Tom Lee by 7 percentage points, about the same margin that Republican Gov. Charlie Crist won his race that year. A businesswoman with a North Carolina twang, she performed especially well in conservative North Florida.

Times staff writer Wes Allison contributed to this report. Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8241.

CORRECTION: U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek's home district office is in Miami. Earlier versions of this story used in print and posted online used an incorrect location.

Other Democrats wait as CFO Sink ponders Senate bid 01/07/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
]
  2. Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma

    News

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 10th elderly patient has died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital.

    The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave. [EMILHY MICHOT | Miami Herald]
  3. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us

    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  4. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  5. Facebook to release Russia ads to Congress amid pressure

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators.