Webster vs. Demings: Close, sane … refreshing

One of my favorite races this election season is the one between Republican Dan Webster and Democrat Val Demings.

That's for two main reasons:

One: It's a close race.

Two: Both candidates are actually sane.

Do you realize how rare both of those things are in this state?

You see, for the most part, Florida has gerrymandered congressional districts, preordaining them for one party or the other.

As a result, we get hard-liners — such as Democrat Alan Grayson, who lives to infuriate Republicans, and Republican Bill Posey, darling of the fringe folks who believe Barack Obama is an illegal immigrant.

In some districts, Satan could beat the pope if he were registered with the right party.

Yet, finally, we have a competitive district around Orlando that will be decided by the most underserved category of voters: the moderate middle.

Webster's legislative peers tried keep the district safe for him, stacking it with slightly more Republicans. But it's still a good race.

And it also features two candidates who both meet my definition of public servants — a bar that few of our modern-day hacks can clear.

Demings had an impressive career in law enforcement. She rose to chief of the Orlando Police Department with a reputation as a no-nonsense, tough-on-crime leader.

And Webster was a legislator respected by members of both parties. Plus, unlike many House speakers, he didn't try to cash in afterward as a lobbyist. He went back home to run his air-conditioning business.

That's not to say there aren't differences — big ones.

In fact, if you live in District 10, your choice may be pretty easy.

Webster has long been known as a rock-solid conservative.

Demings describes herself as a centrist Democrat.

Their positions go accordingly.

Webster has long crusaded against abortion rights.

Demings believes in a woman's right to choose.