Monday, July 16, 2007

A Panhandle Democrat?

It's been fun focusing on Georgia but I've been too long neglectful of Florida. Besides, this story is too tantalizing to resist.

The Dems may have a chance at winning the Marianna area. For those of you who think everything stops south of I-20, Marianna and Florida's House District 5 is as panhandle as you get. It borders both Georgia and Florida, a tri-state region which is sometimes lumped all together in a wash of scrub oak and flatness. Once upon a time my great Aunt had a fish camp there but that is a story for another day.

For the first time in Lord knows when, a Democrat may stand a chance of taking the seat. Of course, he's a gun-totin, rootin-tootin sort of Democrat who was a county Sheriff for 28 years. But despite endorsing Jeb Bush twice for Governor, he swears he will never switch parties. Meet John "Johnny Mac" McDaniel.
The Democrats' possible savior is John McDaniel, who for nearly three decades has been sheriff of Jackson County..."Johnny Mac," as he is known, is running for the District 5 House seat being vacated by Don Brown, a feisty Republican from DeFuniak Springs, who will be term-limited out of office in 2008...After his wife's death, McDaniel said he prayed about what to do next in his life. He wants to change the way the FCAT is used to grade students, emphasize vocational education more and improve mental health programs for jail inmates.

Republican-lite? Old school Democrat? Just plain ornery old guy that wants to make a difference? Who knows at this point but he should be fun to watch. Read the entire St. Pete Times story here.

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