With help of anti-Dem climate, Republican Jack Latavala wins state senate seat
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11/03/10 Kate Bradshaw
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

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Latavala's Democratic opponent, Nina Hayden, speaking at a recent forum. Latval is second from far right.


photo by Kate Bradshaw, WMNF

Jack Latvala, held his victory party in the Feather Sound area near Clearwater. WMNF caught up with Latvala as the night wound down. He says he waged a campaign that succeeded on the grassroots level.

"Well, we had about a year and a half campaign where we talked to a lot of people."

This isn’t the first time Latvala has won office at the state level. He was a state senator starting in 1994, but termed out in 2002. Tonight, he puts things in concrete terms when he talks about what issues he wants to help solve when he gets up to Tallahassee.

"What I talked about was, you know, common sense problem solving and how we need people to go to Tallahassee and take on some of the problems that really haven't been solved up there. Whether it's the job situation or homeowners insurance or our schools and actually dig into the problems and find some solutions for them."

But in the weeks leading up to the election, Latavala used a campaign framework that analysts say has worked for a lot of GOP candidates. In a race that was otherwise pretty clean, Latvala criticized Democratic opponent Nina Hayden for being a member of the same political party as President Barack Obama. Many Republicans at local and state levels have linked their Democratic opponents to much-maligned Dems on the national level, namely President Obama, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and still-standing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But Latvala says his campaign was one that focused on the future of Florida, not the current political climate.

"In my campaign I used a tv spot with my grandchildren and said that I thought my grandchildren and their future in Florida was more important than what special interests might want or what party leadership might want. We've got to look to the future. "

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