Congratulations. You survived.
As a Floridian, you deserve a medal. Or at least free PTSD therapy sessions.
Things are going to be different now. For one thing, you get your TV back. And when your phone rings, it's more likely to be your mother-in-law than Ann Romney.
(Oh, what? That was just a misunderstanding? David now wants to stay? Hmm. OK. But I think it should only be for one week at a time … during a designated week of the year … transferable to other states … and with annual maintenance fees.)
So what did we learn in all this mess?
Well, the most powerful and rewarding message local voters sent Tuesday was a serious spanking to out-of-touch legislative leaders. But we'll get to that in Sunday's column. For now, here are a few other lessons:
Florida's still a battleground. This year, Obama didn't end up needing our votes. But Florida remains the most tightly contested state in America — the only one where the presidential candidates were separated by less than a percentage point. This means, among other things, you will lose your phone and TV again in four years.
Orange County is liberal. Very liberal. This is a monumental shift from a few years back. Orange residents voted for Obama over Romney 58-40. And for Bill Nelson over Connie Mack by a whopping 63 to 34. We are no longer a swing county. This is progressive country. (So, chamber-of-commerce conservatives, maybe it's not the liberal activists who are out of touch with their community.)
Every vote counts. One vote made the difference in a city council race in Mount Dora. Thirty-seven in a state House race in Seminole. And 49 in a county commission race in Orange.
Expect to the "Reinventing Rick" tour to continue. Statewide numbers had to concern this GOP governor, whose approval ratings already stunk. Look for more visits to schools and sympathetic chats with teachers where Rick Scott suddenly uses what teachers call his "listening ears."
The nastiest of the nasty does not work. Supporters of state Rep. Scott Plakon sunk to the bottom of the political cesspool when they tried to link Democrat Karen Castor Dentel to Penn State child-molester Jerry Sandusky. Voters rejected that tactic — and Plakon — which hopefully sends a message to campaign hacks for future years.
Your chances of winning may improve if you're running under someone else's name. The dead guy won (Earl K. Wood). So did the guy who resigned after getting caught up prostitution sting (Mike Horner).
This state needs to fix voting problems. Waits of two hours, four hours and longer aren't acceptable. Much of this was due to our knucklehead Legislature, which tried to cram the ballot full of amendments that looked like War and Peace, and were more convoluted. But we have to get past the hyper-partisan gamesmanship and work on solutions. Gov. Scott should form a bipartisan task force that searches for them.
Stan's the man! I admit it: My little man-crush on Stan Van Gundy deepened. Not because the former Orlando Magic coach advocated a tax increase for schools in Seminole County — but because he got involved. In something important. And complicated. And hard. Stan was already beloved by this community. He could have sat back and done nothing. Instead, he took a stand up for something he believed in — even though he become a target for doing so. You may not have liked the tax increase (though apparently 56 percent of you did). But you gotta admire Stan's mettle. Oh, also: Stan's undefeated… which is a lot more than we can say for the team that fired him.
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