I've seen some pretty lopsided matchups in my day.
Reagan vs. Mondale. Tyson vs. Spinks. Tiger Woods vs. everyone else in the 2000 U.S. Open.
And now we're witnessing another: Teresa Jacobs vs. Chris Dorworth.
In one corner, we have Jacobs — the most popular Republican, if not politician, in all of Central Florida.
Career pollsters marvel at her numbers — favorable ratings that outmatch her negatives by sky-high margins of 6-1. Jacobs rode into the county mayor's office with bipartisan support, largely for her crusade for efficient and ethical government.
In the other corner, we have … well … Chris Dorworth.
Dorworth is a member of the state Legislature— the least popular political body in the state. With approval ratings around 30 percent, some legislators would struggle to win a popularity contest against a hemorrhoid.
But Dorworth isn't just any legislator. He's a one-man fiasco.
The Lake Mary Republican has been embroiled in ethical controversies. His house is in foreclosure. Twice, the very state he serves came after him for unpaid debts — once for zipping through too many toll booths without paying, another time for an unpaid elections fine.
Dorworth is a guy who lectures others about living within their means — all while sucking up taxpayer-subsidized health care and taking special-interest subsidized trips to Vegas and Taiwan.
Needless to say, in comparing these two Republicans, there's really no comparison.
Still, Dorworth is hungry for power. He's an aspiring House speaker looking to build a local empire, as well. An early effort — helping get a buddy with conflicts of interest on theOrlando-Orange County Expressway Authority— already troubled Jacobs.
So when Dorworth started eyeing the Orange County Commission — and funneling tens of thousands of dollars into a commission race — Jacobs spoke up.
She bluntly suggested Dorworth keep his ethical baggage and special-interest money away from Orange's nonpartisan commission races.
That's when Dorworth blew a gasket. Among other things, he called Jacobs' behavior "irrational" and "bizarre."
Notice the buzzwords — the kind some men use only with women who challenge them. I half-expected Dorworth to offer her a Midol.
This battle between these two Republicans should be a no-brainer. One is widely supported and elected. The other is a statewide punch line. (A Tampa Bay columnist once described Dorworth as having "all the financial acumen of an Irish setter.")
Except what Dorworth lacks in credibility, he makes up for in money.
As an aspiring House Speaker, he has been able to tap into the gravy train of special-interest money — hundreds of thousands of dollars that allows him to travel, dine and dish out favors to other politicians.
Just last year, Dorworth used his money to try to influence another local election. His political committee poured money into a mayoral race in Altamonte Springs.
He failed. The citizens of Altamonte rejected his interference.
Even the guy Dorworth was trying to help later acknowledged that Dorworth's heavy-handed, big-moneyed attacks backfired.
There's a reason for that: Floridians may have given up on the pay-for-play cesspool in Tallahassee. But many still believe local governments should be a sanctuary for nonpartisan, serious-minded public servants.
Jacobs made that point clear while also voicing a sentiment shared by many of her less-courageous fellow Republicans — that Dorworth is a hot mess.
She's right. And while that may be OK in Tallahassee (and apparently Seminole County), it shouldn't be welcome in Orange.
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