Gelber and Aronberg look forward to primary

06/15/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

Excited by Barack Obama’s victory in the Sunshine State in last year’s presidential election, Florida Democrats hope to win some of the Cabinet positions currently held by Republicans.

Kendrick Meek and Alex Sink are by far the frontrunners in their races for senator and governor, respectively. The Democrats will have a contested race for Attorney General, as two South Florida senators, Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg, have announced their candidacies.

Both were at the Hilton Hotel in St. Petersburg Saturday night for the Pinellas County Democratic Party’s Kennedy King Dinner, and WMNF spoke with them both.

Aronberg says he’s looking forward to the primary.

Dan Gelber says he didn’t drop out of the Senate race because of Congressman Kendrick Meek’s prodigious fundraising totals or big union endorsements. He says it all changed for him when Gov. Charlie Crist decided to run for Senate.

Despite their political differences, Gelber and Aronberg are liked and respected by statewide Democrats. Aronberg voted for Senate Bill 360, the controversial growth management legislation that has infuriated environmentalists around the state.

Gelber voted against SB 360, sponsored by Bradenton Republican Mike Bennett. WMNF asked him why he thought Gov. Crist – despite pressure from environmentalists and newspaper editorial boards – ultimately signed the bill.

A third Democrat with strong recognition throughout the state, former Sen. Rod Smith, says he is also considering a run for Attorney General, and will decide whether or not he’ll run later this year.

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