Saturday, July 11, 2009

Heather Beaven enters Seventh District Race


On Tuesday night, Heather Beaven had her announcement event at Flagler County Airport for the Seventh District House seat. The unfulfilled threat of rain moved the venue from the steps of the Flagler Courthouse to a bar on the edge of the airport. About a score of supporters showed up, sprinkled with seven staffers and volunteers. The candidate’s husband introduced the first speaker, the chairman of Beaven’s thesis committee, Henry Thomas.

Dr. Thomas praised Ms. Beaven’s intelligence, tenacity and integrity, then Mrs. Beaven spoke. She has an unusual style of combining soft Midwestern tones with chopped, two-step cadences. Her speech was a mixture of folksy idealism and polished rhetoric. She is an appealing person, coming off as relaxed and warm among the small cluster of supporters and friends. It’ll be interesting to see if more challenging circumstances bring out her harder side.

Speech over, the serious business of the evening commenced. Beaven’s campaign manager, Lisa Walker, hit up her supporters for contributions. Her supporters accepted the contribution envelopes noncommittally. Mario Piscatella, a between-jobs politico described by Beaven as “not really” staff and “not exactly” a volunteer seemed to be more-or-less running the event’s set-up, but after the speech focused on networking, eager to speak with a potential seeker for state-wide office. Beaven’s Stetson interns were there in force.

Beaven’s campaign is strong by recent standards in the Seventh. Ms. Walker has kept her Stetson crew in place while recruiting other young politically active people like Mr. Piscatella and Frank Karbassis. Beaven definitely has the beginnings of a campaign here. If she begins to raise money aggressively, she could do the impossible and send John Mica to K Street where he belongs. The evening, while not earth-shattering by any means, was very different from the stealth campaigns of Silva and Armitage and the strange ego trip of Stephen Bacon.

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