Political consultant Mitch Kates on Florida's political scene

05/15/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

This has been a very busy week in Florida politics: Republican Governor Charlie Crist announced he will run for Senate next year; The state’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, said she will run for Governor; while Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum is expected to make the same announcement on Monday.

To analyze the evolving statewide political scene, WMNF spoke with political consultant Mitch Kates. In the last three years, Kates has led three candidates -- who may have been considered underdogs – to victory: Charlie Justice for State Senate, Mary Mulhern for Tampa City Council, and Kevin Beckner for the Hillsborough County Commission. He is currently a consultant for St. Petersburg Mayoral candidate Scott Wagman.

We began the interview, conducted earlier this week, by asking Mitch Kates about Governor Crist’s choice to run for Senate.

“Charlie has only run for reelection one time in his whole political career, which is pretty interesting.”

The Florida Democratic Party recently launched a website called Cut-and-Run Charlie Crist which claims that by running for Senate, the lame-duck Governor "puts political ambition above his commitment to Florida."

Kates also commented on this week’s announcements by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker that they would not seek statewide office in 2010.

“I think what’s nice, though, is they did take the time to think about their families and to carefully figure out what they wanted to do next, which is never a bad thing.”

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