It's only been a few weeks since it was established that in the newly constructed Senate District 22 race, Republican House members Jim Frishe and Jeff Brandes would be challenging each other to move up to the Legislature's upper body.
The 36-year-old Brandes is an Iraq war veteran who ousted Democrat Bill Heller in one of the most closely contested House races in 2010, and he's eager to move on up after just one term representing St. Pete. He's already aired a commercial reprising his "woodshed" motif that sparked his last campaign. Now Frishe is on the air with his new ad, which emphasizes his considerable experience over his upstart colleague.
Senate District 22 is a hybrid comprising parts of St. Pete and Pinellas Park with South Tampa. It's boundaries aren't too dissimilar to what used to be called District 16, which won in 2010 by Jack Latvala. After considerable contemplation, Latvala opted to run in the new District 20 seat in North Pinellas County.
The 63-year-old Frishe served in the Florida House initially in the 1980's (84-90), and then came back in 2006.
In another example of the weakness of local Democratic parties, there is no "D" running in this race, despite the fact that when it was District 16 it was controlled by a Democrat, Charlie Justice, who won in 2006 and 2008 before opting to leave the seat voluntarily to challenge Pinellas County Congressman Bill Young in 2010.
Therefore, the Brandes-Frishe winner automatically goes to Tallahassee.