Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2010: SENATE DISTRICT 8; This Race Puts the Well-Rooted against a Rookie Longtime Politician Thrasher Faces Perniciaro, Who Thinks a Newcomer Is What Voters Need

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2010: SENATE DISTRICT 8; This Race Puts the Well-Rooted against a Rookie Longtime Politician Thrasher Faces Perniciaro, Who Thinks a Newcomer Is What Voters Need

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL

A familiar theme in national politics is playing out locally in the state Senate District 8 race.

Sen. John Thrasher, the state's Republican Party leader and a seasoned politician, is being challenged by a man with no political experience who believes that it's time to throw out incumbents and bring a fresh outlook to the Legislature.

Charles Perniciaro has financed his own campaign with more than $350,000 and turned down money from lobbyists and political action committees. His campaign, launched partly in response to the outrage over a Thrasher-backed education reform bill that was later vetoed by the governor, is based on the belief that Thrasher has been in politics for too long.

"The longer that you participate in politics, the more tainted you become by your exposure to lobbyists and special interest," he said. "And that's really what defines some of these career politicians."

Both men will face off in the Republican primary on Tuesday. The winner will run against Democrat Deborah Gianoulis, a former TV anchor, in the general election in November.

Thrasher, a former House speaker and Clay County School Board chairman, returned to the Legislature after a special election in October 2009 necessitated by the sudden death of Sen. Jim King. He instantly became one of the Senate's most powerful leaders - and most controversial.

Gov. Charlie Crist handed Thrasher a stinging political defeat when he vetoed Senate Bill 6, an education bill Thrasher had pushed during the spring session that was criticized by school systems and the teachers' union. He was also elected the Republican Party of Florida's chairman in February after the embarrassing ouster of Jim Greer.

He expects to give up the chairmanship post around the new year, but is also in line to eventually become Senate president. Thrasher said voters are supporting him because they want a representative who has a strong presence in Tallahassee.

"In the Florida Legislature, experience does matter," he said.

Thrasher was hammered by negative campaign attacks by political organizations, called 527 groups, during last year's special election, which he blamed on opposition from trial lawyers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.