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SYG exposes split in Florida Dems (again)


No issue shows how divided Florida Democrats can be more than the state's "stand your ground" law.

The law passed with solid Democratic support in 2005. They hardly rallied to revist it last year, either.

On Thursday, the House Minority Leader, Perry Thurston, proposed an amendment to repeal the 2005 law, forcing Democrats to put how they feel "up on the board" for all to see.

Twelve Democrats voted against their leader. They are:

-- Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, of Orlando.

-- Rep. Michael Clelland, of Lake Mary.

-- Rep. Mark Danish, of Tampa.

-- Rep. Dwight Dudley, of St. Petersburg.

-- Rep. Katie Edwards, of Plantation.

-- Rep. Dave Kerner, of Lake Worth.

-- Rep. Jared Moskowitz, of Coral Springs.

-- Rep. Amanda Murphy, of New Port Richey.

-- Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, of Miami.

-- Rep. Darryl Rouson, of St. Petersburg.

-- Rep. Irv Slosberg, of Boca Raton.

-- Rep. Carl Zimmermann, of Palm Harbor

Two Democrats, Rep. Elaine Schwartz of Hollywood, and Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, missed the vote.

Republicans, meanwhile, remained unified. All voted against Thurston’s amendment. Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, and Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, missed the vote.

Of the dozen Democrats who voted against it, 10 are rookie lawmakers (Rouson and Slosberg are vets) and of that group, only Edwards, Kerner and Moskowitz hail from relatively safe Democratic districts that have yet to draw a Republican candidate. The seven others are in competitive districts with well-funded Republican opposition.

“I wasn’t convinced it would solve the problem,” Castor Dentel said after her vote against the repeal.

“People should have the right to stand their ground,” Dudley said.

Both said their votes had nothing to do with their pending elections.

“That didn’t enter into it,” Castor Dentel said.

“No, I fundamentally agree with the notion of people being able to stand their ground,” Dudley said.