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Happytown

The gurgle and pop of Democratic balls, the rattle and wheeze of a Disney challenge and the distant sound of justice dying in Florida

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Wait, what’s that sound we just heard? Could it have been the gurgle-and-pop of the Florida Democrats growing a hefty, hairy pair? Fresh from their unceremonious bludgeoning during the 2011 legislative session – and not quite as fresh from the controversy in the 2008 presidential preference primary that left liberals with just half a vote for each of their delegates, an order handed down by their own national party – on Wednesday, May 11, the Florida Democratic Party made a bold announcement: They’re not going to take it anymore.

You’re probably already aware that state Republicans have been playing a laughable game of obfuscation in trying to set the date of next year’s big day of preference, forming a “committee” that will probably come up with a date for the primary around, ohhhh, Oct. 1. While most indications are that the Republicans will try to go early again, they’re expected to work out a wink-nudge with the national party that isn’t as early as the Jan. 29, 2008, hoodwink; by the rules of both parties, Florida isn’t supposed to stage a primary before March 6. Rather than wait around for CannonHair™ to settle on another lawless date, state Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff laid down the gauntlet last week, telling the St. Petersburg Times, “Should the Republicans break the rules, we will not be participating in the primary. Democrats from across Florida would be invited to attend county caucuses held in June, which will be used to allocate the delegates appropriately.” Sound the alarms!

Actually, this falls right in line with the noise we were hearing from Democrats prior to their session bloodletting: Basically, they have no business in a Tallahassee that doesn’t want them, and the way of the future would be to somehow diffuse the party into its stronger regional districts. And with Barack Obama set to face no real Democratic challengers, this may be the perfect political stunt to prove it. Look Ma! No strings!

Wait a minute. You know what else is theoretically supposed to be on the primary ballot? Orlando’s municipal races, where Democrats Phil Diamond and Buddy Dyer are set to battle it out for the mayor’s office. Officially, municipal elections are to be held on the second Tuesday in March, according to city code, but if there could be “substantial cost savings and increased voter turnout,” the city clerk is allowed to pin them onto the primary ballot. City Clerk Alana Brenner, who had not heard of the Dems’ ball-popping when we contacted her, was already growing frustrated with the anticipated October decision on just when the election might be held. Deadlines, people! “I don’t know if we can wait that long,” she says.

Considering that holding even one special election for just one district could cost about $15,000, according to Brenner, holding a standalone election in all districts could come at a “substantial cost” to the city. If one party pulls out, fairness dictates that the city will have to fund its own election, otherwise theoretically we’d have no mayor! Paging Matthew Falconer! Ugh.

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