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Vote smart: Why the Aug. 26 elections are important

Your vote matters, and here’s why

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Finally, there’s Thompson’s seat. Thompson violated the public trust when she deleted text messages from her phone during the sick time/textgate debacle, claiming they were little more than “girl talk” and not relevant to the political discussion. Also, the county commission agreed to an outrageous $300,000 legal challenge against Hispanic activist groups seeking fair representation on the county commission. Even though the court eventually threw out the case, the optics were terrible. Of two Democratic candidates for Thompson’s position, Euri Cerrud and Maribel Gomez Cordero, the party is pushing Cerrud, hoping to mobilize an increasingly engaged – and disenfranchised – Hispanic community.

PAM BONDI NEEDS A CHALLENGER

hough she faces no primary of her own, Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi will be challenged in November by one of two respected Democrats, George Sheldon or Perry Thurston. Both men have served in a leadership capacity in the Florida House of Representatives; Sheldon served as Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Bob Butterworth in 1999. Bondi, a darling of the far right, has been pivotal in fighting against marriage equality and Medicaid expansion since her election in 2010.

“The voters approved an amendment to the state constitution a few years ago to ban same-sex marriage,” Sheldon said in an interview with Context Florida. “That provision is now being challenged in court. The ban is legally indefensible, as some 25 federal and state courts have ruled. Most people in America and in Florida have moved past this old bigotry, but Pam Bondi is going to one court after another trying to stop change. This is unconscionable. We need an attorney general who respects equal rights for all citizens.”

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say we’d take anyone but Bondi on the November ballot, but on Aug. 26, Democrats need to pick who that’s going to be. And it has been Sheldon who has been making the most noise in the media rounds. He’s not afraid to take Bondi on publicly for her partisan positions and her clumsy decisions. He also seems to understand that it’s OK for the attorney general to challenge the positions of the governor.

NAN RICH NEEDS A HUG

Former Florida Senate Minority Leader (and state Rep.) Nan Rich launched her campaign in April 2012, but has yet to really ignite: not in fundraising, not in polling, not in public presence. She has, however, run a negative campaign, if only by default, as she attempts to stifle the well-heeled momentum of her opponent, Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.

“My opponent calls himself the people’s governor. How so, when you don’t listen to the people?” she asked in an interview with South Florida Gay News. “They want a debate. They don’t know where he stands on the issues. Ignoring my candidacy, which Crist has done, is not the Democratic way. He’s running his campaign like a Republican. You can’t learn about someone in a 30-second sound bite. That’s just telling people what you want them to hear. Let’s debate with an independent person moderating.”

Rich will appear on the Aug. 26 ballot, and even though she probably won’t muster as much support as opponent Crist, she’s actually been a pretty solid candidate. She has been consistent on progressive issues, as she will point out to anyone listening or scream into the wind, and that’s impressive considering the way that Tallahassee can beat a politician down. However, she’s also flirted with the idea of Republican funding during the primary in order to take down Crist and attempted to ride Crist’s coattails into public debates. While most admit that November (and even August) ballots will require an extra hand to pinch your nose, most are also aware that Crist wins the nomination, at the very least. Still, it’s got to be hard to be invisible. If you can find her, hug her.

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