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n689468099_962883_7922It’s pretty obvious that people are hoping that Alex Sink tosses her hat in the ring or higher office. The question we hope she’s facing right now is which one: Senate or Guvna?

There are perhaps a few too many calls for Alex Sink to be our Senate nominee.  This morning, Blast Off! even called for her to run for Senate and forget about the governor’s mansion.

Here at Draft Alex Sink for Governor the bias is pretty obvious. But, think for a second about why running for Senate wouldn’t be as good as a move.

First, just in terms of personality and experience, Alex is perfectly suited to be governor. She’s been an executive- and that’s what a governor theoretically does (just don’t look to Charlie for an example). Dan Gelber, Bob Wexler, Allen Boyd- these men are legislators- damn good ones, if I may. Their skills and interests fit the profile of a Senator more than Alex’s do.

There is a crowded bench already. Alex would have to compete with the likes of Dan Gelber and Chris Korge, maybe Allen Boyd, or even Bob Wexler. Those are some serious players, who could all represent the state well and some will run if she gets in or not. Alex could win the primary and the general, but why go for Senate to when the bench is already so deep, so good.

Winning the senate seat back is going to be tougher than we imagine. Sure, it looks a lot easier than beating Charlie does, but we’re two years out from the election- things change. Charlie should start to look more like a do-nothing, and Mel Martinez might decide to gracefully bow out, leaving the Republicans to nominate someone who could give us more of a challenge. In short, get excited about another Democratic senator, but don’t bet money on it just yet.

While there’s a crowded bench for Senate, there is literally no bench for governor- outside Alex Sink. If Democrats want to stop losing the state, then we can’t cede races like the 2010 gubernatorial. We need to not only nominate a candidate, but we need to nominate a good one. Right now, no other Democrat is really dipping the proverbial toe in the water- no one, not even Rod Smith.

And, there’s my peace.

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The Buzz is reporting that on his Karl Rove wannabe weekly report — LeMieux says the special session is going to happen in December or January and that raising taxes is on the table.

Of course, Charlie is still silent – preferring platitudes like “tighten our belts” (read:means massive cuts in health care, education, and programs for the disabled). So, LiMieux’s mutterings are the closest thing to an indication about what Charlie will do.

Let’s rewind to the end of the 2006 campaign when Crist campaigned in the homestretch using this simple line:

If you want higher taxes, you vote for who? Jim Davis, If you want lower taxes, you vote for who? Charlie Crist.

Economic crises lead to a change of plans there is no question abaout it – but this was a signature issue for him. What is Charlie going to do?

There is no question something has to be done about the revenue situation, but raising sales taxes in a bad economy will just mean less consumer spending and less revenue. A tobacco tax is a decent idea – but it puts state programs dependent on a declining revenue stream. There are not a lot of good choices – so we really do need to get to work.

A guy who doesn’t work for Charlie anymore is updating Floridians on what is going to happen better than the Governor — it’s time to get to work and fix our budget.

So where is Charlie? He got to work at noon today and has nothing scheduled for the rest of the week.

Alex Sink called for a special session, and here at DraftAlex, we’re backing her up.

In case you don’t know about the myriad of projects that would be cut or just deleted from the state budget, you can go online to the Florida Fiscal Portal and check it out. Each state agency has submitted their proposed cuts, which can be seen under Sechedule VIIB-2, in order to comply with the additional 10% of the across the board budget cuts asked for by Charlie.

Here’s a few that chafed my ass the most:

  • No more Amber alerts or sexual predator unit
  • Eliminate 13 state law enforcement offices from Broward to Gainsville
  • Reduction of probation supervision by 40% making the probation officer to parolee ration 1:196
  • Cut contracts that improve nursing homes and organ and tissue donation programs
  • Eliminate health coverage for poor pregnant mothers and their kids
  • Eliminate vision, hearing, and dental appointments from Medicare
  • Dramatically reduced support for Pre-K
  • Significant reduction in investigative services and child protection at DCFS
  • $65 Million in funding shifts in Medicare to local governments who don’t have the money either
  • Reduction of unemployment services for over 88,000 Floridans out-of-work including closing 10 centers

and the kicker: From the Office of the Governor, eliminate 10 budget workers.

At least a lot of this has to be approved by the legislature, although that means we have to count on them to stand up for us.

On Friday, Charlie said, “These are historically challenging economic times our state is facing, but just like Florida’s families, we will continue to tighten our belts and live within our means.”

Are you kidding me? This isn’t just about tightening the state’s belt, this is about not getting the water shut off.

Oh, and if you haven’t yet, sign our petition to call for a special session to back up Alex and other state Democrats.

The 2010 Senate race is shaping up to be a bit of a crowded field. Chris Korge, fundraiser extraordinaire, has already announced he’s going to run. Dan Gelber, newly minted State Senator, is also expected to run. Then, there’s Allen Boyd, a true Blue Dawg from North Florida. And, no I’m not going to get into Alex Sink in this contest- she should run for governor. gelberheadshotchriskorgeheadshotboydheadshot

So, the question becomes who wins the primary? Who can win the general? Everyone expects this to be a cakewalk against Mel Martinez, but if I may, I beg to throw a few questions your way.

Traditionally, south Florida dems cannot win statewide. It’s been the prevailing logic for, perhaps, too long. Which, arguably, makes things a bit more difficult for  Gelber and Korge, both from the Miami area and with both of them in the race, splitting the democratic vote there.

But, with democratic registration growth and shifts in the population overall, will geography be the king-maker in 2010?

Boyd put a poll in the field earlier this week. It included all the usual questions for a potential senate candidate, but also this as brought to us by the Orlando Sentinel:

Oddly enough, the survey also included a few questions about whether voters wanted a Florida politician who did not hail from the southern part of the state. Perhaps Boyd already is considering a strategy that would distance himself from Miami Democrats to bolster his conservative Democrat image.

I think its safe to say that Dan Gelber and Chris Korge would both be phenomenal candidates and Senators. But, can they convey their message enough to win in North Florida? Do they need to win in North Florida? We’ve done a lot of pieces here that makes the argument for needing to at least not get cremed in conservative counties, that candidates need to make dents in those areas because you can never win big enough in South Florida to make up for embarassing defeats in the rest of the state.

If Korge or Gelber- or any other candidate not out of the Boyd mold-  wins the primary, it will be very interesting and definitely an uphill battle for them in the general election.  But, by successfully breaking out of the South Florida stereotype, their victory would mark a new direction for Florida Democrats.

specialsession3So we know how much red ink we have in Florida today: $2.3 Billion. What does that mean?

Well, even AFTER Charlie borrows 700 Million from the Chiles fund and sells low- only to later have to buy high-we will still have around $1.1 Billion to cut from the state budget.

What’s even worse is that the longer we wait the harder it gets, since cuts have to be made above and beyond Charlie’s lazy, election time, across the board cuts – it may be impossible to stop from eliminating services that are necessities for most and even laying off more workers – adding to the highest unemployment rate in 15 years.

We needed to get to work on a special session this week – instead of having the republicans legislators hang out in $400 a night hotel rooms and talking about how they wanted to cut health care services from already struggling Floridians.

Alex Sink called for it. Dan Gelber called for it. Papers called for it. But Cheerleader-in-chief Charlie and the Republican leadership decided to stick their heads in the sand at a beach resort.

But after weeks of wringing his hands and saying he doesn’t want to get to work – Charlie has to get to work now. But it will likely be too little too late to keep the Florida budget deficit from adding to the struggles of most Floridian middle-class and working class families.

And where is Charlie today? He’s working on the budget- but just not the one that’s important to average Floridians. He’s raising money for the RPOF.

kornacki_bob-grahamWhen Charlie Crist decided to raise tuitions at Florida Universities to increase the funding available to them, he tries to make it sound good at the start, but the devil is always in the details.

This time he’s up against someone who was far better at being Governor than Crist: Bob Graham.

We all love Bob Graham, and he’s serious about higher education. He’s founded a new school at the University of Florida, and he’s even suing the legislature to force them to allow the Board of Governors to set tuition.

Why? Because he’s afraid that the legislature will use the tuition increases to lower their funding of universities from the general fund.

St. Pete Times quotes Graham:

It could become almost a narcotic to cover up the real problems by shifting more of the total cost of education to students while the state does not keep up its end of the bargain

Charlie’s staff says the legislature has agreed not to pull a bait and switch. But, with a $2.3 billion dollar deficit and people like Ray Sansom running things in Tallahassee — Graham seems more likely to be right.

Brazil Florida

The AP is reporting that the SBA is meeting today to try and borrow more money from the Chiles fund. As we’ve said before Alex Sink is worried this may wipe out the fund that has taken a serious hit from the Bush economy.

Will Charlie get his way and keep borrowing money until March? We shall see, but more and more people are seeing the need for a special session.

The Orlando Sentinel penned an editorial arguing for a special session and explains where Charlie Crist’s lazy leadership might get us:

[T]his combination of using reserves and across-the-board spending cuts to balance the budget is neither prudent nor smart. Depleting savings this year will leave fewer resources if the economy doesn’t rebound next year, or if a major hurricane or other disaster strikes Florida. Cutting state-agency budgets across the board makes no distinction between high- and low-priority functions of government … The more time they waste, the harder it will be on everyone who counts on state services.

There is no question that Florida has a serious budget problem and we need serious leaders that are ready to fix it. Alex Sink is, but Charlie would rather keep borrowing Florida into a worse financial situation.