Future Composition of Financial Services Commission Still Unclear
With a little more than a month to go until the general election, the races to determine the future makeup of Florida’s Financial Services Commission appear they will go down to the wire. Under Florida’s unique regulatory structure, the Financial Services Commission consisting of the Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General and Commissioner of Agriculture, serve as the collegial agency head for insurance rulemaking purposes. This collegial body also is responsible for selecting and retaining the commissioners of insurance and banking.
The Governor’s race between current Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, and Republican Rick Scott will attract the most attention. Scott defeated Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary, spending considerable amounts of his own money in the process. Two recent polls suggest CFO sink holds a 6-7 percentage point lead. However, polls leading up to the Republican primary showed Scott losing ground but he managed to pull off the victory.
The closest of the three remaining FSC races, at least according to a recent Mason Dixon poll, is to replace Sink as Chief Financial Officer. Senate President Jeff Atwater, a Republican, holds a narow 29-27 lead over Tallahassee resident Loranne Ausley. The race therefore appears to be within the margin of error, and the large number of “undecideds” suggests that Floridians will be familiarizing themselves with the candidates only over the month leading up to the election.
In the Attorney General’s race, Republic Pam Bondi is reported to hold a 38-34 lead over Democrat Dan Gelber. Again, this difference is within the margin of error, and the number of Floridians who have not yet made of their minds remains significant enough that the next four weeks of messaging can swing the final result.
Former U.S. Representative, the Republican candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture, is said to hold a 36-32 lead over former Tallahassee mayor Scott Maddox. This race also is within the margin of error with a large number of undecideds, suggesting that many Floridians have not yet devoted their attention to this race.
Finally, in another race of interest, former House Speaker Marco Rubio reportedly is polling at 40% compared to 28% for Governor Charlie Crist and 23% for Kendrick Meek.
The primaries certainly showed that polls can swing widely leading up to election day, and with so many races showing close margins the future makeup of the Financial Services Commission remains too early to call.