Imagine running on issues rather than slinging mud | Bill Cotterell

A group of experienced, knowledgeable, caring former state legislators and other government officials is trying to slow down Florida’s headlong rush to the right.

Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, a moderate Democrat who served at almost every level of Florida government, knows what he’s talking about. If he’s concerned about the direction our state is moving — an all-powerful governor, the culture wars being waged in schools, the reflexive rubber-stamping of partisan legislation — that’s something to worry about.

“It’s scary,” he said in an interview. “It’s just flat-out scary, what’s going on.”

Butterworth chairs the Florida Leadership Council, a new group of politically aware people who hope that, if they can lower the fever in just a few legislative races next November, a spirit of moderation and cooperation might catch on.

His modest goal is to target four to six Senate races and eight or 10 House seats, promoting candidates more interested in the hard work of finding real solutions that shape Florida’s future than enflaming hot-button issues that stir up school board hearings and fire up partisan turnout.

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