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.
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.
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