*High drama this was not. Kathy Castor was the overwhelming favorite in the 11th District congressional race against unknown Republican Eddie Adams. She won overwhelmingly with nearly 70 per cent of the vote.
For all intents, the real challenge in this heavily Democratic district had taken place in the September primary when State Senator Les Miller, among others, had been defeated. Overall, the Castor campaign raised more than $1.2 million. The Adams campaign less than $25,000. Another day at the office.
So the election-watch party was at the modest campaign headquarters in Hyde Park. Talk turned early to the national races and the likely Democratic capture of the U.S. House of Representatives. The latter was especially relevant given Castor’s designs on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Both of Castor’s parents were in Palm Beach, where Frank Castor, Kathy’s brother, was being elected county judge. And U.S. Rep.-elect Castor, along with campaign manager Clay Phillips, had already left for the Alex Sink party by 9:15 p.m.
*Over at the Jim Davis gathering at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, the Associated Press had called the gubernatorial race for Charlie Crist before 10 p.m. That meant for more than an hour that most dreaded of post-election rituals, the concession-speech countdown, had begun.
Those over-sized “Time For A Change” banners seemed to mock the moment. Party faithful, 20-something volunteers and elected officials reduced to waiting for Bill Heller and Charlie Justice updates.
Finally Jim Davis and family. Still the high road. Gracious in defeat. Now was not the time to reflect on a less-than-textbook campaign effort. Nor to bemoan the ineffectual response to the empty chair ad or assail the “had lunch with terrorists” cheap shots. In a concession to bi-partisanship, Davis acknowledged that Crist “will need our help.”
And, then, in a notably blunt concession to reality: “You know there was more money (an estimated $50 million by Crist and the GOP) spent against me then any campaign in the history of Florida.”