What will you be doing in November 2018?
While you ponder such an odd question, consider this: The race is already underway to choose the speaker of the Florida House in 2018, involving people who haven’t been elected yet.
Bizarre, but true.
Without question, this is one of the most illogical and potentially dangerous side effects of term limits.
House candidates are limited to eight years — four, two-year terms. The instant they hit the campaign trail, they can hear the ticking of that term limits clock.
Consumed with ambition, they run for speaker without first showing the ability to lead. This is the speed-dating version of running for class president, with much more serious consequences.
Why should you care who’s speaker of the House? That person helps decide whether your taxes go up, whether your kids can receive health care or how long you’ll be stuck in traffic.
A speaker could become a U.S. senator, like Marco Rubio, or be driven out by controversy, like Ray Sansom.
With Republicans firmly in control, the next three speakers have been designated by GOP members: Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel takes over this fall; Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary in 2014; and Richard Corcoran of Trinity in 2016.
But there’s a scramble developing for six years out, with Rep. Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes leading the charge.
Oliva is building friendships with candidates the best way Tallahassee politicians know how: by raising money for them. Oliva, 39, a father of three, is CEO of his family’s cigar business, and said he’s not asking people to support him for speaker. More from Steve Bousquet here.