This afternoon, in what was a pretty well kept secret, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer endorsed his former colleague, Mike Bloomberg, for President.
This brings up a number of big questions regarding the decision.
Why now?: The easiest theory is that Buddy committed before Bloomberg’s tough debate outings and this was lined up to sync with early voting beginning here in the I4 Corridor. Given Joe Biden’s head of steam heading into super Tuesday tonight, and what the party is prepared to do to stop Bernie Sanders, this is something to consider.
Why wasn’t it Joe Biden?: Buddy Dyer loves Barack Obama. It was Obama who had a relationship with Buddy throughout both of their times in office, and it was also Barack Obama and Joe Biden who supported Orlando after the Pulse tragedy and paid their respects at the memorial. Someone in the Biden camp must have dropped the ball here to not capitalize on what should have been an existing dialog.
How close are Bloomberg and Buddy..really?: In a decade wandering around city hall and over 7 years following Buddy almost daily, it’s not like he mentioned Mike Bloomberg on a regular basis. Now these Mayors do conference together and they share ideas, it’s just strange that Buddy would make a statement this big, right now. You’ve also go to wonder if Mayor Pete ever called Buddy and if Dyer was thinking twice after the hometown paper endorsed his South Bend counterpart before he dropped out.
Will it make a difference with Orlando Democrats?: Buddy’s track record endorsing candidates is mixed. For every Jerry Demings, there is an Andrew Gillum or a Hillary Clinton. If Buddy does get out and work, then I believe it can, but he’s a busy guy.
Who next?: Bloomberg now has Buddy, Stephanie Murphy, Viviana Janer, and Regina Hill, who endorsed this morning. Will we see a Jerry Demings nod? Will we see some lawmakers previously supporting Biden defect to Bloomberg after Buddy’s decision? Who knows?
Today’s events do add an extra dimension to a Democratic Presidential primary that almost purposely avoided Orlando until today.