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Winners, obvious and not so obvious

So many winners and losers this week, obvious and not so obvious, there's no way could we pick just two. Let's get to work:

Winner: Rick Scott. A fellow most Floridians don't much like and nobody had heard of eight months ago is our governor-elect. Amazing.

Winner: Alex Sink. A fabulous candidate? Hardly. But in a year when no other Democrat running for statewide office could get within 10 points of a GOP opponent, Sink's narrow loss is something to be proud of.

Loser: Karen Thurman. Wave, shmave. The calls for her ouster as Florida Democratic chairwoman already are under way.

Winner: Jeb Bush. Charlie Crist went out of his way to snub him as soon as he took office. Well, it's Marco Rubio's mentor who's smiling now.

Loser: Bush's presidential ambitions. If he has them, he may have to get past a fresher-faced conservative star from Florida — a newly elected senator whose last name is not Bush.

Winner: Tony DiMatteo. The former Pinellas GOP chairman was among Rubio's earliest allies outside of South Florida (as was Pasco's Bill Bunting), and his early rebellion against Crist may help DiMatteo's campaign for state party chairman.

Loser: Newspaper editorial boards. Scott is the first gubernatorial candidate in ages to snub every newspaper editorial board and fail to get a single newspaper recommendation. He's also governor-elect.

Winner: Health care and parimutuel lobbyist Bill Rubin has a 20-year relationship with Scott, so get ready to see his client roster explode.

Loser: State government employees and their unions. There's a new governor in town, folks, and he's looking at the state budget with a chain saw, not a scalpel, in his hands.

Loser: Crist. You should have listened to dad, Charlie, and run for re-election as governor.

Winner: State Sen. Mike Fasano. Loyalty is an uncommon trait in politics, and while most of his longtime Republican friends bailed on Crist as fast as they could, Fasano stood rock solid at Crist's side.

Loser: George LeMieux. Speaking of disloyalty . . . could he have at least pretended to wait for Election Day before starting his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2012?

Winner: John Thrasher. No, not because he won re-election and Republicans swept everything, but because his thankless term as state GOP chairman is coming to an end.

Winner: Suzy Wiles. When the Jacksonville consultant signed on as Rick Scott's campaign manager, people whispered that she had no statewide campaign experience. At least $73 million in personal spending helped a wee bit, but Scott's campaign did very little badly.

Winner: Ellen Freidin. The Miami lawyer-power broker had enormous chutzpah thinking she could enact gerrymandering reform in the face of a mighty GOP opposition and a Republican wave. She's a big winner.

Winner: Todd Harris, Heath Thompson, Mallorie Miller. The senior advisers behind Rubio's once insane bid to topple Crist ran a near-flawless campaign.

Winner: Rubio. Big time. He is the brightest star in the national party today.

Winner: Local TV stations. The record-breaking campaign spending in 2010 did wonders for the stations' bottom lines.

Winner: National Review. The conservative magazine put Rubio on its August 2009 cover with the banner headline "Yes, HE CAN." It was right.

Loser: Tampa Bay. The old rule is that whoever wins Tampa Bay wins statewide elections. But Sink won Tampa Bay, and still lost thanks largely to the drubbing she took in North Florida.

Winner: Dick Greco. The defeat of a sales tax for light rail in Hillsborough makes it less likely Jim Davis steps into Tampa's mayor's race. Greco would have a tough time beating Davis.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at

Winners, obvious and not so obvious 11/06/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 6, 2010 8:02pm]
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