Let’s say you are the leader of the Democratic Party in the Florida House of Representatives. Of course, since you represent the minority party, you will take an overwhelming load of the questions. In this position, it is your responsibility to represent both your party in the House Chamber, as well as Democrats in your district and, indeed, around the state. So, as one of the most powerful Democrats in the State of Florida, what do you do to assure Democrats that you are fighting for them?
Well, apparently to Rep. Ron Saunders, hiring a Republican operative as your senior level-legislative assistant is the answer.
Holly Merrill Raschein is a staunch Republican that has been with Saunders for a while now. And now that Saunders is leaving the State House to make a run for the State Senate, Raschein has decided to take a stab at Saunders’ old seat in the Florida House.
House District 120 has always been somewhat of a marginal seat, which flips back and forth. But in the latest plan that has been approved by the Supreme Court, this seat now becomes more Republican. While it does increases the number of Cuban votes in the seat, which makes it more Republican, the white population in the seat still gives them a plurality, and usually a majority in most elections. This is the perfect seat for a white Republican. This is the perfect seat for Holly Merrill Raschein.
While being Saunders’ LA, she has been able to make valuable contacts within the district. True, she might have made many of those contacts without working with Saunders, but it does make it a lot easier for her to mount her campaign and hit the ground running, all thanks to Ron Saunders.
With the selection of Raschein by Saunders, I have two very important questions to ask. First, will Saunders endorse Raschein in the Republican primary and, subsequently, the general election? Second, when hiring Raschein, is there a reason why Saunders picked a Republican to head his office? Out of the 4.5 million registered Democrats in the State of Florida, there was not one that could work as his Legislative Assistant? Not a single person? Really Mr. Saunders?
Going into the 2012 election cycle, Democrats will already have their backs against the wall because of the poorly drawn maps. The Democratic Minority Leader has given his state house seat to his Republican Legislative Assistant. Now we are expected to support Mr. Saunders, who has an AIF lifetime rating of 74% and the highest Christian Coalition score for a Democrat in 2009 to be a trusted candidate for Democratic values? As leader, he does vote more with the Democrats than against. But for those of us that are looking for true Democrats to run our state, we need those that will always vote with, and hire, the Democrats.
Mr. Saunders, as it currently stands, is slated to run against Dwight Bullard and James Bush III. Both of these men have served in the Florida House, just like Mr. Saunders. The only difference is that they didn’t seek the advice of Republicans and hire Republican operatives to their staff. Mr. Saunders did.
Therefore, it must honestly be asked, why should we entrust our support in Mr. Saunders in the race against Mr. Bullard and Mr. Bush? As a Democrat, the fact that Mr. Saunders would not only hire a Republican, but actually help propel her to status of front-runner in a seat currently held by a Democrat, should be considered a slap in the face to all Democrats that have actually sent money to or volunteered for his campaign.
There are two true Democrats in this race for the Florida Senate. Even though we don’t know what the seat will look like, it can be said that this will likely be the only Democratic Senate seat located in south Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, and the three candidates will more than likely run against one another. We need a State Senator that will surround himself with other Democrats and come up with the best plan to help move this state forward. We do not need those that patronize with Republicans, and hire them as their most senior advisers.