Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mel Martinez's move changed face of Florida politics

Elections always bring change, but 2010 brought more than usual...especially here in Florida.

Here's an interesting look back on the falling dominoes that reshaped the political landscape in the Sunshine State:

Florida's representation in government underwent a huge change in 2010 and voters can either blame or thank former Sen. Mel Martinez, depending on how they feel about it.

Republican Martinez's December 2008 announcement that he would not seek a second term created a domino effect that led to an election year unlike Florida had seen in more than a century.

If Martinez had just stayed put, Gov. Charlie Crist probably would have run for re-election. Same with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum. Instead, Florida has a new U.S. senator, a new governor and three new Cabinet members.

And it was a year when Tea Party fervor over federal spending helped Republicans take back four U.S. House seats, including two candidates considered safe when the election cycle began...

What surprised you the most about this past election?  Personally, I was not that shocked by Crist's decision to run as an independent, but I was surprised (and pleased!) to see that, instead of drawing away conservative votes from Marco Rubio, Crist swung so far to the left that he stole liberal votes from Kendrick Meek.  The unusual dynamics of the Senate race have been credited with depressing Democratic turnout, and partially assisting Rick Scott win the governor's race. 

...and just as the above-cited article points out...it all started with Mel Martinez. 

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