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Common Core Foe Debbie Mayfield Starts Out Strong for November

March 30, 2014 - 6:00pm
Debbie Mayfield, the most prominent critic of Common Core in the Florida Legislature, is in excellent shape to win a fourth and final term in the Florida House come November.

Mayfield has always followed the march of a different drummer than many of her fellow Republicans in Tallahassee. While other Republicans tripped over themselves in the rush to back Mitt Romney, Mayfield supported Newt Gingrichs presidential ambitions. Most Republicans in Tallahassee have followed Jeb Bushs lead in backing Common Core. Mayfield filed a bill looking to opt out of Common Core. Despite the applause of conservatives and the backing of a handful of her fellow legislators, the bill is going nowhere -- as Mayfield must have suspected would be the case when she filed it last year.

Running for a fourth term, Mayfield should have little problem this year. Mayfield didnt face any opposition in the general election last year. Shes been busy filling up her campaign coffers, already bringing in more than $129,500 by the end of February and keeping most of it in the bank, spending around $12,200. Mayfield did some heavy financial lifting in recent months, raising $51,000 in December and $24,250 in February.

Despite having no opponents in November 2012, Mayfield has already drawn two of them this time out. Pharmacist Joshua Fields jumped in last year. Fields has solid conservative credentials and does have some political activism, including ties with the Florida Pharmacy Associations political operations. But none of that has helped Fields who, by the end of February, had only raised $100.

Mayfield can face some opposition in November on education from Democrat Jorge Lugo, the only candidate running for his partys nomination so far. A high school teacher, Lugo has ties to a flock of unions. Lugo has part of the leadership of the Florida Education Association, serving on its Government Relations Committee. He also sat on the board of the Indian River County Education Association and has ties to the state AFL-CIO. Lugo is making education one of the core issues of his campaign including defending Common Core. Jumping in early February, Lugo raised $925 in his first month on the campaign trail and spent around $300 of it. Hell need to pick up the pace if he wants to come close to defeating Mayfield.

Despite her opposition, Mayfield starts off as the heavy favorite here even as her Common Core bill continues to go nowhere. Mayfield should also shine a bit from her post as chairwoman of the Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee. Theres been talk about Mayfield as a future candidate for higher office, namely a state Senate bid, but there have also been whispers of a future congressional campaign. Mayfields only 57 and she and her late husband Stan have been strong candidates in the region. Whatever Mayfields future plans are, this election cycle shouldnt prove more than a speed bump to them.

Tallahassee-based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

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