The results from the 2010 elections have produced exciting results for pro-life and pro-family Floridians in state and federal races. Nationwide voters sent a clear signal that the far left leaning economic and social policies of President Obama and the Congress were unacceptable.
In Florida, Rick Scott won the governor’s race by a 68,000 vote margin from over 5 million votes that were cast as Alex Sink conceded the election just hours earlier this morning when the Palm Beach ballots were counted. We have written about the governor’s race being a close one and indeed it was and your participation in our efforts may have made the difference. Scott’s victory will also mean that Jennifer Carroll will become Florida’s first Black American woman to serve as Lt. Governor. More importantly, Jennifer Carroll is a committed Christian, wife, mother, former Naval officer and a rock solid conservative who aggressively helped us pass the Florida Marriage Amendment in 2008. Rep. Carroll was also one of the speakers at our Power and Policy Event in Tallahassee last year. The Republican candidates also won all of the other statewide Florida Cabinet seats: Pam Bondi will be Attorney General, Jeff Atwater will be the state’s Chief Financial Officer and Adam Putnam will be Commissioner of Agriculture. Watch each of these officials as these statewide positions place each of them in a prime spot to run for Governor or U.S. Senate sometime in the future.
The Florida Legislature will see what could be major positive changes as the Republican majority increased their numbers even further last night. Republicans now have a 28-12 majority in the State Senate and an 81-39 advantage in the State House. These numbers now give the Florida legislature the two thirds majority needed to override any potential gubernatorial veto.
In the Florida Senate, which will be led by conservative Senator Mike Haridopolos, the Republicans picked up two new seats: Jack Latvala won in District 16 and Lizbeth Benacquisto won in District 27. We are encouraged by these changes especially because the Senate has traditionally been the more moderate to liberal of the two chambers in recent years and has blocked much of our pro-life legislation.
In the Florida House, incoming Speaker Dean Cannon won reelection and also saw his State House majority increased by five seats. In District 11, Republican Elizabeth Porter beat incumbent Democrat Debbie Boyd. Republican Larry Ahern defeated incumbent Democrat Janet Long in District 51. Incumbent Democrat Bill Heller was defeated by Republican Jeff Brandes in District 52. In District 69, Republican Ray Pilon beat incumbent Democrat Keith Fitzgerald. And in District 81, incumbent Democrat Adam Fetterman was defeated by former Representative Gayle Harrell.
The new Legislature is expected to meet on November 16th for an administrative session and orientation for new members. They will likely also hold a special session to overturn some of the vetoes that Gov. Crist had issued during the last Legislative Session. Any veto override would need virtually 100% of the members joining in because the veto override majority is an exacting one. It is unlikely that the Ultrasound before abortion bill would come up for an override because a couple of the new GOP House member pickups are not pro-life. The more likely scenario would be that Ultrasound would be brought up again in the 2011 session where it could now be easily passed and the new Governor Rick Scott would sign the bill into law as he promised. Veto overrides will likely occur on less controversial matters such as Shands Hospital funding and Agricultural rules that were killed by Gov. Crist.
On the federal level, the top news story in the country is Marco Rubio’s commanding win of the U.S. Senate seat against newly independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek. Crist only won three of Florida's 67 counties: Broward, Pinellas (his home) and Leon. Meek won Gadsden County and Rubio won all the rest. Rubio’s win was on the front page of the New York Times this morning and people are already talking about him being a presidential hopeful one day. Rubio was the keynote speaker at our FFPC Annual Policy Awards dinner this last May.
Florida also saw four congressional seats held by pro-abortion Democrats go to pro-life conservative Republicans. In District 2, Republican Steve Southerland beat seven-term Democrat incumbent Congressman Alan Boyd, which is an amazing upset in North Florida. Southerland attended our Annual Policy Awards dinner last May and is a fine man of principle. In District 8, former state senator Daniel Webster dealt a serious blow to divisive and controversial Alan Grayson in a race that was one of polar and cosmic opposites. Grayson, the loud mouth leftist bully who ran perhaps the most despicable negative campaign ever-- versus Webster-- the quiet Christian conservative statesmen who committed to running a clean campaign with no negative advertising. The FFPC has named its Lifetime Achievement Award after Dan Webster and for good reason. He is one of the most humble and principled servants ever produced in Florida’s history. In District 22, incumbent Congressman Ron Klein was defeated by tea-party favorite Allen West. West becomes the first Black American Republican in more than a century to be elected to Congress from Florida. In District 24, Sandy Adams also defeated Suzanne Kosmas. Adams will be a reliable conservative and pro-life vote in Congress.
None of the appellate judges up for Merit Retention in Florida were unseated as there was no formal, funded opposition, so they all retained their seats. Of interest, the state of Iowa in a stunning and historical move unseated all 3 of their Supreme Court Justices because of a same sex marriage decision of raw judicial activism. The Florida Supreme Court may have also avoided the same type risk of a defeat by not having to hear the homosexual adoption appeal.
On the Amendments, Democrats got perhaps the most significant and long term win when Amendments 5 & 6 passed on redistricting. This will make legislators very nervous and perhaps less courageous on issues as they are now not sure what the demographics of their seats will look like the next time they run for office. Safe Republican seats could be reduced or eliminated with the impact of the new redistricting in the future. Amendment 4’s defeat was also a major victory as the anti-growth amendment would have produced almost certain economic disaster in Florida. All the other amendments failed except Amendment 2, the property tax break for military personnel which passed. Florida’s unique 60% hurdle for state constitutional amendments, proposed by the legislature and enacted in 2006, was largely motivated out of concern for the passage of this type of a redistricting amendment.
These are some amazing wins but we need to realize the work has just begun and we cannot rest completely thinking the job is done. This is an ongoing process and we need to remain prayerfully engaged as responsible citizens.
Finally, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the FFPC and our entire staff, we want to thank all of you, our supporters, who have prayed, given financially, (to pay for voter guides and our “get-out –the-vote” campaign) and worked hard for pro-life and pro-family candidates. You may have literally made the difference in many of these close races by your participation and support. For this we are so grateful to you. Let’s continue to be faithful and trust in God for the results.