Speculation was rife that House Speaker Johnnie Byrd’s no-show at a recent U.S. Senate candidate forum in Tallahassee was a sign that the Plant City Republican might be dropping out of the race. Eight other candidates were there. Byrd’s explanation: He was busy finishing up Speaker work.
Let’s give Byrd the benefit of the doubt. Moreover, let’s fortify it. Most of these beauty contest forums are of marginal value this early. They’re too unwieldy; too superficial. The sound bites could be mailed in. If Byrd had something more important to do, it’s eminently believable.