Fwd: Fl Today: Challengers take on rare GOP-primary run

From: Bob W.
Sent on: Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:14 AM


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From: Pat Pasley <[address removed]>
Date: June 21, 2014, 9:19:23 PM EDT
To: Martin Adams <[address removed]>,  Randal Agostini <[address removed]>, Skip Bollinger <[address removed]>,  Peter Fusscas <[address removed]>, susan howard <[address removed]>, Barbara Knick <[address removed]>,  Dave Pasley <[address removed]>, David Norman <[address removed]>,  Shirley Severin <[address removed]>, Connie Smith <[address removed]>, Beth Young <[address removed]>,  Joyce Errecart <[address removed]>, John Weiler <[address removed]>, Skip Bollinger <[address removed]>,  Pat Pasley <[address removed]>, Karen Fenske <[address removed]>,  Richard Greco <[address removed]>, Bob White <[address removed]>,  Monique Miller <[address removed]>, [address removed], Scott Ellis <[address removed]>
Subject: Fl Today: Challengers take on rare GOP-primary run

Go get em Monique and Tim....we are cheering you on!

Florida Today:

Challengers take on rare GOP-primary run

By Dave Berman

Three incumbent state legislators from Brevard County will face an unusual experience this summer — Republican primary challenges.

Brevard is a decidedly Republican county, with the GOP holding all six seats in the county's state legislative delegation. With Republicans in firm control of both houses of the Legislature, such incumbents have an advantage over any challengers.

Yet three Republicans are facing off against local incumbents in the Aug. 26 primary:

• Monique Miller is taking on Sen. Thad Altman in District 16. The winner faces write-in candidate Lloyd Stanton French in the general election.

• George Collins is challenging Rep. Tom Goodson in District 50. There are no other candidates, so the primary winner will take office.

• Tim Street is running against Rep. John Tobia in District 53. The winner will face three candidates in the general election: Democrat Santa Isabel Wright; David Kearns, who is running without party affiliation; and write-in candidate Kourtney Ann Waldron.

Suntree resident Matt Nye, the national chair of the conservative Republican Liberty Caucus, said he has noticed a national trend of Republican incumbents facing Republican primary challenges.

Often, Nye said, it a case of some party members considering incumbents as not "true conservatives" on fiscal issues, although they may be considered conservative on social issues. Such politicians often are derisively referred to as "RINOs" — Republicans in Name Only.

Open seats often bring out a large number of candidates, such as the 15 candidates vying for the two open Brevard County Commission seats this year,in races in which the incumbents cannot seek re-election because of term limits. But party challenges to incumbent legislators are rarer.

In her position as Brevard County supervisor of elections, Lori Scott can't discuss specific candidates or races.

But she said it's not necessarily a bad thing that there will be relatively large numbers of candidates in the Aug. 26 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

"The more that citizens are involved, that's a great thing," Scott said. "They can be a candidate and get their voice heard through the campaign process. It's democracy at its best. Brevard also has a very active electorate."

Miller, of Melbourne Beach,is an example of a citizen whose activism evolved into candidacy. A member of the Brevard Republican Executive Committee, she said she was working on improving conditions of the Indian River Lagoon when she decided to run for the Florida Senate. More recently, Miller also has appeared before the Brevard County Commission to seek support in trying to block the proposed All Aboard Florida passenger train service that some say will be disruptive to the area.

"I don't feel like I've been well-represented in Tallahassee," Miller said, explaining her decision to run. "I just think they've lost touch with their constituents."

Altman said he believes it is "healthy" to be in a primary, something he has experienced in previous elections.

He said he is "looking forward" to be campaigning to get his message out to the voters.

"It's great," Altman said. "I believe in the process. Primaries are good. I don't see it as a bad thing. I have never discouraged it."

Altman's caveat is that he wouldn't want to see a Republican be negative about another Republican in a primary.

Miller has put $40,000 of her own money into her campaign fund, and has raised $5,420 in contributions from others so far.

But that's still much less than the $200,878 that Altman has raised so far in cash contributions, loans and in-kind contributions, according to latest-available campaign finance activity reports.

In the other races, the incumbents also have the fundraising advantage, with Goodson ($117,684) out-raising Collins ($10,000) so far, and Tobia ($54,517) out-raising Street ($29,546).

Street, a resident of Palm Bay, is a former federal air marshal who later started a software business.

Collins, a resident of Orlando, is an adjunct professor at Valencia College, who teaches communications and public speaking. House District 50 stretches into eastern Orange County.

Nye said it can be difficult for a less-experienced and underfunded challenger to defeat an incumbent.

"The deck is stacked against you," Nye said.

But, Nye added, money isn't everything, and a relatively unknown challenger can defeat an incumbent.

Nye's Exhibit A: The defeat earlier this month of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia in a Republican primary to a Tea Party-backed candidate, Dave Brat.



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