This week’s guest on Political Party with Adam Smith, state Rep. Ben Diamond, is poised to face a bunch of intriguing political and life choices.
It looks increasingly likely that U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, will vacate his south Pinellas Congressional seat to run for governor in 2022, which also happens to be when state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, will vacate his state Senate seat. This means Diamond likely faces the choice of staying put and becoming the Florida House Democratic Leader in 2022, running for state senate, or running for a rare open congressional seat.
Diamond said he will evaluate all opportunities as the arise, but his immediate focus is Tallahassee.
“We’ll see how this all shakes out. Right now I am truly up to my eyeballs in this session,” he said on Political Party, heaping praise on Crist.
“My grandfather, Dante Fascell served our state in congress (representing the Miami area from 1955 to 1993), and I got the public service bug through his work and seeing what he was able to accomplish,” Diamond said. “This was back in the day of an era when members went to Washington and candidly worked well with one another. We need to get back to that.”
As incoming House minority leader, Diamond this cycle oversees the campaigns for Democrats eager to narrow the 78-42 Republican advantage in in the Florida House. He has a back-to-basics strategy.
“You’ve got to start with the recruiting. I think we’ve got to find great people and convince them that it’s worth serving in the Florida legislature, and by great people I mean people that are already recognized as leaders in their community, ” he said.
Pounding the pavement is key.
“We’re not going to win elections unless we get back out there talking to voters and listening to what they have to say – and really listening. You’re not going to do that some BS phone survey that you’re paying some consultant to run,” Diamond said. “You’re going to do that by putting on your campaign T-shirt and going out day after day after day and having those conversations.”
Click on the arrow above to check out the full conversation that also included his relationship with Florida House Speaker and fellow Pinellas resident Chris Sprowls, proposed mail voting changes, and Florida’s unemployment system.
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