Poor Joe. State Rep. Joe Negron was tapped Monday by the GOP to run for Florida’s 16th Congressional District in the wake of the repulsive Mark Foley scandal. That might seem like good news for an aspiring politician, but I’m afraid that Joe stands about as much a chance of winning as I do the next Miss America pageant.
Rep. Negron is quite popular in the area and was considered a favorite to run for Foley’s seat back in 2003 when the sexual predator was entertaining a senate bid. He has the full support of the state party Chairwoman and surrounding local chairs. And his war chest will have a head start using $600,000 that he raised for his state attorney general campaign.
The problem is that voters in the 16th District (my parents included in full disclosure) will have to pull the lever for “Mark Foley.”
Now the question becomes in Florida – Could you vote for Mark Foley even if you knew an otherwise respectable candidate would actually be the representative?
I don’t think so. Just when we thought the voting fiasco of “hanging chads” couldn’t get any worse – it is now apparent that the deadline for adding a new name to the ballot has passed and won’t be altered to reflect the change of candidacy.
And what signal does this send to the “purple-stained finger” Iraqis who look to our democracy as guide to free and open elections?
It’s worth remembering that Sen. John Ashcroft lost to a dead guy on the ballot in Missouri, but I would imagine it’s going to be much more difficult for the voters of the 16th to find sympathy to pull the lever for someone who chose to have internet sex with an under-age male page while waiting to vote on an emergency War Time Supplemental bill.
We’ve already got a loss of confidence in our representation there – no need to have a loss of confidence in the democratic process as well when voters choose to stay home.
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