23 April 2005

Florida Democrats campaign for Republican

Last month, the Florida House of Representatives lost one of their own. Representative David Coley (R- Marianna) died from liver cancer at the age of 43. Sadness overcame the capitol, because Coley was a well liked young man. He became a legislator after serving as a legislative aide to members of both political parties, serving for state Representatives Jamey Westbrook (D-Bascom) and Rob Trammell (D-Marianna), former Republican Congressman Bill Grant, and current House Speaker Allan G. Bense (R-Panama City). Coley's seat was previously held by former GOP Representative Bev Kilmer, who unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Alan Boyd (D-Panama City) last November.

Governor Jeb Bush is required to call a special election, but as of last week, no date had yet been set. Coley's District 7 leans Republican, but remains competitive. With a strong candidate, Florida Democrats could possibly retake the seat. Now before you comment that it is too soon to even discuss campaigning for this House seat, keep in mind that the Republicans have already begun their efforts. David Coley's widow, Marti, has been recruited by the Florida GOP to run for the seat, and their party is lining up behind her candidacy. Carl Joaquin Duncan, the Democratic nominee against David Coley last November, is still deciding on whether to run again. Unfortunately, he probably won't have his party's support.

The state party has been alarmingly absent and missing in action during the legislative session, so it is fitting that Chairman Scott Maddox would be silent on this race as well. Even worse is the fact that Democratic members of the Legislature are already jumping ship and supporting the GOP. Senator Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) is scheduled to attend some of Marti Coley's campaign kickoff rallies and to show his support. "Marti is very bright and worked with her husband a long time," stated Lawson. "Not only are they friends of mine, but she'll do a good job politically."

Senator Lawson is not alone. Democratic State Representatives Loranne Ausley (D-Tallahassee), Curtis B. Richardson (D-Tallahassee), and Will S. Kendrick (D-Carrabelle) have also pledged their support to Marti Coley's campaign. Ausley declared, "I think it's a very noble gesture that she'll step forward and complete David's term."

I commend the Democratic members who believe that a high degree of respect is owed to Marti Coley. Her loss was sudden and obviously painfully. All Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should pray for Marti and her family and wish them well. David Coley was close to a great number of Democrats, and they too will sincerely miss him.

This next Monday, however, Marti will no longer be just a widow. She will be a candidate for the Florida Legislature, launching her political campaign. Florida Democrats need to make a choice. They can either campaign for Marti Coley's Democratic opponent, or they can just sit it out. Democrats campaigning for Coley would be a betrayal to their party and a violation of the loyalty oath that they signed in order to become candidates.

Still, expect to hear Democrats say that it would be insulting to run a candidate in this race. I would say they are dead wrong. We have a democracy in this country. The voters deserve a choice, so they can elect the man or woman that they believe would best represent their interests. If the Democrats don't give the voters of District 7 that choice, then that would be real insult.


Anonymous tdog said...

Just another reason why the Democrats continue to lose in Florida.

4:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seat isn't close... It's a Republican district by about 57% to 43%.... can we still win it? Yes but we will not win it this go around.

Listen, the Dang widow of the former Representative is running!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE! She won't lose and why spend money on a race that is already heavily in her column? Wait until 2006.

As a Tallahassee resident, I too would like to see a better candidate run for this seat.

Unfortunately, Carl Duncan IS RUNNING again and well, enough said in that regard. It's sad that a better candidate can't be ran in this race for the Democrats but not that it would matter.

Either way, in 2006, the Democrats will run a candidate for this race and try to get it then.... The wife can only fill her husbands seat for the remainer of the term, which is until re-election in 2006.

6:11:00 PM  
Anonymous tdog said...

Yes, that's a good point. Because it will be easier to win when she is an incumbent AND a widow! Are you serious?

Anonymous' thinking is just further proof why Democrats lose.

7:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the Party has been recruiting heavily in this seat, but are finding that all of the strong candidates are taking a pass based on the fact that Marti Coley is in the running. Had Coley said no, we might have had several strong Democrats to choose from.

This is a seat that will require a very strong Democrat to win. Without a strong Democrat willing to run against Coley, then Democrats have to ask themselves if they are just throwing good money after bad.

In reality, the odds of beating the Republican widow of the former aide to the Speaker of the House in a nearly 60 percent Republican performing seat with an average at best candidate are not too good.

Yes, Democrats should always recruit candidates to provide voters a choice---but unless a strong candidate comes along, the Party is right to hold its powder.

With all that being said, we don't need Democratic incumbents standing side by side with Republican candidates, no matter the circumstance.

8:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Joy Lynn Lewis said...

Guess what? This Democrat just joined yet another political fray. Maybe five minutes ago, a cute kid driving a dark-colored sedan created noise at my door. I looked out my upstairs window just in time to see him leave my yard.

The Coley campaign has so little intelligence and consideration, already, that it is leaving ragged (literally) postcards at our door encouraging us to be an absentee voter.

I opened the door and the white card fell onto the porch floor so that I had to go out and pick it up.

I am SO sick and tired if dealing with Republican trash.

Where do I sign up for Coley's opponent?

12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Republican trash huh?! Who do you all think you are! There was NO ONE else more qualified for that position than Marti or even David for that matter! Everyone needs to WAKE up and smell the coffee!!!!! How could someone be so cruel and make the remarks that were stated!? Give it up!

9:30:00 AM  
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