Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FLORIDA SENATE; Thrasher Best Pick

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FLORIDA SENATE; Thrasher Best Pick

Article excerpt

If you want someone to go to Tallahassee and cast conservative votes, you shouldn't feel disappointed, regardless who wins the Tuesday special election to represent District 8 in the Florida Senate.

This is the election to fill the unexpired term of Jim King, who died recently. The term expires in 2010.

District 8 covers parts of Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

Four Republicans are on the ballot: Art Graham, Stan Jordan, Dan Quiggle and John Thrasher. There are no Democrats and state law does not allow a runoff, so the candidate with the most votes in this race is likely to be the next senator.

That means someone could win with as little as 25 percent plus one vote. Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland estimates the turnout could be as low as 12 percent. Estimates in neighboring counties go as high as Flagler's 15 percent.

Thus, every vote will be crucial.

Technically, the winner will still have to face three write-in candidates on Oct. 6 - Alden Lawrence Antin Bryanton Jr., Robert Ratten and John P. Rosso - but that's a formality.

- Graham, who resigned from the Jacksonville City Council to run, is young and has a lot of leadership potential. He has a promising political future, regardless how he fares.

- Jordan, a self-described skinflint with folksy humor, has a long history of public service as a member of the Duval County School Board and the Florida House.

- Quiggle has never held public office, something that he characterizes as an asset. He's counting on an aggressive door-to-door campaign and his enthusiastic embrace of Reaganism to carry him to victory.

- Thrasher, a former speaker of the Florida House, is touting his record of effective leadership.

Thrasher is the best of a good group.

Except for King (a former Senate president) and Thrasher, this area hasn't had much clout in the state Legislature in a long time.

Perhaps, with his record, Thrasher could become Senate president.

Thrasher has been accused during the campaign of living lavishly at taxpayer expense while speaker. For example, he supposedly flew to Texas to shop for a desk. …

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