Here’s a Citrus County race that won’t make the headlines but is fun nonetheless.
And another reminder that it’s not smart to mess with the political gods.
We all know about the governor deciding he knew better than we who our state senator should be, so he endorsed Spring Hill Rep. Blaise Ingoglia over our Rep. Ralph Massullo.
And we saw the political fallout: Massullo instead ran for reelection, Rebecca Bays dropped a House campaign for county commission District 4, and Ingoglia is our new senator.
Except for that last part. Not yet, anyway.
If ever there seemed a shoo-in for being elected without having to run a race, Ingoglia was the guy. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has that golden touch with Republicans in this state, chose Ingoglia because he was more conservative than Massullo, though I’m not exactly sure what that means.
Ingoglia has a name and money. He was state Republican Party chairman during a time when both Donald Trump and DeSantis were elected.
Plus, Ingoglia is a trendsetter: He riled people up about the government long before it was fashionable.
I recall Ingoglia, as founder of “Government Gone Wild,” holding public events in Lecanto where he cited one example after another of congressional incompetence. Today, “Government Gone Wild” is Ingoglia’s political action committee.
And with the new solidly red Senate District 11 adding The Villages, it’s a no-brainer Ingoglia slam dunk, right? I mean…who in their right mind is going to take that on?
Brian Moore, that’s who.
I saw Moore’s name on the state elections website Thursday night and he qualified the next day. He’s with the Green Party, so his chances in November are somewhere between slim and not in this lifetime.
Here’s the thing about Moore: He’s an established candidate’s annoying opponent, one of those little dogs that nips at your ankles.
I’ve known of him for 20 years, when he first ran for Congress around these parts. He’s been a Democrat, a Socialist (running for president) and now a Green. I don’t ever recall him making a blip on the election radar, but he showed up at all the events and spoke his mind.
Here’s where the election gods intervened.
It would be one thing had a Democrat gotten in the race, or even another Republican who doesn’t care what DeSantis thinks (if there is such a person). That would be normal fodder for Ingoglia who — I’m going out on a limb here — enjoys the political battle the same way I enjoy cold Cattle Dog lemonade on a hot day.
Going after Moore, well, it’s just not the same. Ingoglia told me Monday he won’t lay off just because it’s Green Party Brian Moore, but what can he say that Moore hasn’t already heard over a half dozen unsuccessful campaigns? I mean…the guy’s a Socialist in a heavy Republican district. It's square peg/round hole territory.
What the candidacy does, though, is it forces Ingoglia to wade into the Citrus County community and do a little campaigning. This is the best way to get to know him and put him on the spot about issues near and dear to our hearts before he goes off to Tallahassee. We would have missed that opportunity had Ingoglia won unopposed.
In the hierarchy of Citrus County politics, the state Senate is somewhat of a spectator sport. The House race is focused on local and the congressional races are about national politics, generally. Not many people get riled up one way or another about the State Senate.
Considering this is the race that our governor tried to squash, we owe Brian Moore a debt of gratitude for giving us a choice. Our choice, Governor, not yours.
As it should be. Thank you, political gods.
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