After Sen. Travis Hutson conceded the race for the Senate Presidency in 2022 to Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, speculation swirled as to how that affected Northeast Florida.
One plugged-in Republican consultant offered a dire read, saying that the region’s position was compromised for some time going forward.
The theory: that Jennifer Bradley, running for Senate in 2020, would be blocked from the presidency herself.
“They tried to tie [Hutson], Manny Diaz, and Jennifer Bradley together and seize the future of the Senate for six years and it became too much,” goes the theory, which suggests that the dealmaking went back as far as the 2019 budget deliberations when Sen. Rob Bradley was budget chair.
This read sees it as a “big setback” for the Bradleys, with Hutson “hitched to too many people’s goals.”
Widely reported as a cordial battle, this source says the Passidomo/Hutson leadership race became much bigger than the principals.
“The fallout will be felt for years,” goes the theory.
We reached out to the Bradleys last week for their thoughts.
Jennifer, in response, rejected the idea that there was anything to worry about.
“Any discussion about serving as president of a body to which I have not even been elected is premature,” she said. “Kathleen Passidomo and I have a wonderful relationship and the future is very bright for our region.”
A lobbyist with experience in Northeast Florida issues and beyond also discounts the “fallout” narrative.
“Jenn went with the hometown guy,” the lobbyist said. “Which is always the right thing to do.”
He recalled that when Rep. Paul Renner, the Palm Coast Representative and Jacksonville lawyer, was chasing the Speakership, the region was not uniformly behind him either.
Regardless of whether Jennifer Bradley is on a glide path to the Senate Presidency or permanently foreclosed from it, the near-term future is bright for the first-time candidate.
Running in deep-red Senate District 5 to succeed her husband, Bradley already has $1.2 million to deploy.
Competition has emerged.
Melina Rayna Svanhild Farley-Barratt of Trenton is running as a Democrat. She’s currently the Legislative Director for the Florida Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She has $184 on hand as of the end of October.
She is somewhat behind Libertarian Matthew McCary.
McCary has nearly $500 on hand after October totals.
SD 5 covers a broad swath of North Florida, including the whole of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee and Union counties as well as a piece of western Marion County.
The district has a definite GOP advantage — according to the most recent statistics from the Florida Division of Elections, about 51 percent of the district’s voters are registered Republicans while about 29 percent are registered Democrats.