Florida Legislature May See Changes in the Chamber After November

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, Florida- August 20, 2012

For politicians who have built their careers on being long-winded, it's a bit of a problem.

If there's a controversial bill up for debate, chances are good there'll be a time limit. A rule Tallahassee's Republican leaders aren't shy about invoking on every issue from election reform to abortion. The ticking clock, along with the right to fast-track legislation, is a luxury you get when you have a supermajority.

Republicans hold more than two-thirds of all the seats in the House and Senate, giving them extraordinary power to push through their agenda. But, with Florida's political map looking more competitive in November, political consultant Kevin Cate is predicting the GOP supermajority is about to be wiped out.

"I don't think anyone believes that the Democrats are going to come into power at the state level in this next election. What's going to happen, if you don't have a supermajority, then all of a sudden, the Tea Party agenda doesn't become paramount, and Democrats and Republicans can start to work together again," said Cate.

Cate's put together an ad for the Florida Democratic Party, a key part of an aggressive campaign to win back anywhere from four to eight legislative seats.

In politics, almost nothing is permanent - not least of all a supermajority.

Florida's changing demographics, combined with redistricting, are giving Democrats a prime opportunity to mount a comeback.

But, for their part, Republicans aren't blinking, at least not in the Senate, where GOP strategist Pete Dunbar is optimistic about his party's chances.

The supermajority could hinge on the outcome of two races - one in southeast Florida, the other near Daytona Beach.

"You can pretty much dictate where the voting majorities are going to deliver, both for the Democrats and the Republicans, and we have two very, I think, hotly-contested, sort of, independent, seats where it could go either way, and it will all come down to those two seats, in my opinion," said Dunbar.

Republicans captured their supermajority just two years ago on the wave of a massive turnout by voters aligned with the Tea Party.

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