Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION SMORGASBORD; Reduced Clout

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION SMORGASBORD; Reduced Clout

Article excerpt

The Democrats' big win on Tuesday means less power for Florida in the U.S. House.

The Democratic takeover will either demote key Republicans from promising posts or dismiss them from office itself.

Gone altogether is the political capital of U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw. Had Shaw won and the Republicans held on, the Fort Lauderdale House veteran would have been a powerful member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Largo, will no longer be chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. And two Northeast Florida congressmen, Ander Crenshaw and John Mica, are no longer in line for respective chairmanships of the House Budget and Transportation committees.

That means local governments will have to lean more on different players when they want to obtain federal aid for roads, river funding or help in keeping military jobs here.

But, just as elections can take clout away, it can add it.

For instance, Corrine Brown of Jacksonville, one of the state's two longest-serving House Democrats, is a contender for either a railroad or ports subcommittee chairmanship. Jacksonville has plenty of rail lines and a key port.

Overall, the state's ranks in the majority party are going to fall from 18 to nine or 10 depending on the outcome of the old Katherine Harris House seat in Southwest Florida.

And that doesn't help when push comes to shove in Washington.

CORDIAL IN ST. JOHNS

If anyone is giving a Cordial Competing Candidates award, Ron Sanchez and Ken Bryan would have to be the frontrunners.

Sanchez, a Republican, and Bryan, a Democrat, ran for a St. Johns County Commission seat. But they had similar platforms and agreed they would run clean campaigns and keep the focus on the issues.

They stuck to the script - and even became friends.

They carpooled to some candidate outings, ate meals together and even met with some of the same potential voters in smaller meetings at the same time.

Sanchez won, which he largely attributes to the aid of party-line Republican voters. …

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