THE INDY SOUNDS GOOD...BUT DOES HE HAVE A REALISTIC CHANCE?
I had the chance to hear former State Representative Joe Viscusi last evening at the I-4 Corridor Group meeting in Lakeland. The former Democrat, who switched to the GOP after leaving the Legislature, is now running as an independent for the congressional seat now held by Republican incumbant Adam Putnam of Bartow.
He features a good gimmick in this campaign. Viscusi carries around a Howdy Doody puppet with small labels on the strings coming from it representing the various special interests Putnam is beholden to. He also carries a Howdy Doody doll in his pocket, which he pulls out to show that Putnam is in the pocket of those special interests.
Viscusi also criticized both the Republican and Democratic parties on several fronts during his address. He noted that the GOP is "strong and wrong" on several issues, notably fiscal issues and personal freedoms, while the Democrats are looked at as "weak and right". While saying he would like to take the best of both parties, he did not specifically state with which party's caucus he would sit with if elected.
The other independent candidate in the race, Ed Bowlin, doesn't seem to be doing much. He's barely visible on the radar screen.
The question remains: Does an independent candidate have a realistic chance of defeating a popular incumbant, who happens to be the fifth ranking Republican in the House of Representatives and has raised nearly $800,000 so far this election cycle? Probably not, but at least Viscusi is making a good effort at it...and at least he's on the offensive against "Opie".