"The GOP contenders -- Attorney General Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher -- are trying to out-Bush each other with pledges to carry on the governor's conservative legacy. The leading Democratic candidates -- U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith -- promise to tear it down." "06 Primary: The Florida vote". See also ""Contenders vie for powerful job. The Miami Herald's review of the candidates:
- "Charlie Crist, Republican | 'Charismatic, savvy -- and 'very tenacious'".
- "Jim Davis, Democrat | 'I'm not a screamer. . . . I'm a builder'".
- "Tom Gallagher, Republican | 'Most conservative candidate in race'".
- "Rod Smith, Democrat | 'He's reasonable, effective, likable'".
"With a little more than two weeks before the primary, many Florida Democrats remain undecided - up to 60 percent in some polls - about Davis or Rod Smith. Nowhere else does the problem seem so acute, the stakes so high, than South Florida, home to 1.3-million potential Democratic voters, fully half of whom were undecided when the St. Petersburg Times conducted its poll the week of Aug. 8." Certain
factors have complicated the Smith-Davis game plans:"Davis vs. Smith a hard sell in S. Fla.".
- Name recognition. Smith is from the Gainesville area; Davis from Tampa. Neither has run statewide before.
- Money. Miami is the most expensive television market in the state, taxing the Democrats' already modest treasuries. In speeches, Davis begs audiences, and only half-jokingly, not to get up for a snack during TV breaks, saying a single commercial can cost $1-million.
- Similar messages. Although Smith and Davis have dramatically different personalities, they mostly agree on the issues. And around here, the issues are the same as anywhere else in the state: insurance and education.
"Jeb!" Loses; Wants To Change Rules
"Florida lags in No Child Left Behind; Jeb wants law changed".
"While Gallagher's grim warnings that Crist's moderate stances on issues such as abortion and immigration would move the party away from its moral core, poll numbers and fundraising accounts indicate Crist's happy-go-lucky approach may be more in line with the party's faithful this year." "Crist's faithful brush off attacks".
"If Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and Republican chief financial officer candidate Tom Lee win their primaries,"
the best show of the general election could be those two trying to play mutual admirers. No problem for Attorney General Crist, who is everybody's pal, but state Senate President Lee tends to be a whole lot less diplomatic when he disagrees with someone."Lee doesn't save jabs for other party". See also
Take Lee's response on today's Political Connections show on Bay News 9 when asked about Crist going to court in 2004 to challenge phone rate increases: "Disingenuous," said Lee, who is officially neutral in the governor's race.
GOP Dumps on Harris
Scott Maxwell: "let's be honest here.":
Top Republicans say it's understandable that they're distancing themselves from Harris. They say she's stubborn, eccentric and struggles with the truth."Picking on Harris no longer fun".
But what they haven't said is that she's any different than she was when she was a GOP heroine after counting the ballots in 2000. Yet now, with no stack of valuable ballots before her, she's radioactive.
Perhaps of more concern to Republicans should be that the GOP loyalty problems aren't limited to Harris.
Just a few weeks ago, Tom Gallagher's closest supporters started leaking word to the press that he might get out of the race -- which was news to Gallagher.
The truth, of course, was that the Republican bigwigs had backed the wrong elephant. And when Charlie Crist started pulling ahead, they feared he was taking the gravy train with him.
Longtime Republican operative Oscar Juarez, confidant of Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, shakes his head while saying this wasn't the way it used to be. It used to be that GOP problems were worked out behind GOP doors.
Now that the party's having problems, the old ways seem forgotten.
"Gallagher, after years in Cabinet, hopes to ride Bush's coattails into top spot".
Early Voting; Early Votong
"It's election season, and Miami-Dade voters will decide a slew of key local and state races. Early voting starts Monday for the primary elections, which are Sept. 5." "They all want your vote". See also "Candidates stress early voting". See also "Election 2006: Early voting begins Monday", "On your mark, get set -- vote early", "Early voting for primary begins Monday", "Like it or not, early voting gets going Monday for upcoming elections" and "Shift to fall voting on rise".
A Rare Event
A well-connected wingnut judicial candidate who is too incompentent for the GOP: "GOP insider gets a surprise" "".
Badge of Honor
"Insurance companies, in general, don’t back Democrats." "Insurance pumps in big money".
If the distribution of campaign contributions is the best evidence of future performance, the insurance industry's GOP-love ought to be an issue as "Insurance hikes leave homeowners at a loss". See also "Insurance dominates campaign agendas".
Jebbie "Breaking our Backs"
The Florida Today editorial board:
Ah, elections are in the air and the politicians are nervous."Breaking our backs".
How else do you explain the latest moves from Gov. Jeb Bush and the Cabinet on Florida's hurricane insurance crisis, which is breaking the backs of ordinary people and business owners?
Bush and the Legislature have given insurers carte blanche to push rates through the roof. But with Florida's economy suffering as a result, voters furious and Election Day approaching, they're paying attention.
By applying a Band-Aid to a gaping wound for business, and again using hard-pressed consumers to make sure insurance companies keep making huge profits.
"McCain joins leg of Crist tour". See also "Senators jump on board Crist campaign plane", "McCain woos crowds" and "Sen. McCain campaigns with Crist, calls for less partisanship".
Political Pulse counts the endorsements:
Democrat Jim Davis landed his first daily newspaper endorsement [yesterday], winning the backing of his hometown Tampa Tribune. The Trib also endorsed Republican Charlie Crist, as did the Gainesville Sun."Davis Wins One; Two More for Crist".
That means all eight daily papers that have issued endorsements so far in the GOP gubernatorial primary have picked Crist over Tom Gallagher. But five of the six that have done so in the Democratic primary have sided with Rod Smith.
[Sunday] is shaping up as a critical day in the newspaper sweepstakes, particularly in a Democratic race where so many voters still seem to know little about Davis or Smith. A number of big dailies (including the Sentinel, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel) are expected to make their picks.
- Orlando Sentinel: "Davis for the Democrats".
- Sun-Sentinel: "Governor" ("Charlie Crist, Rod Smith are the candidates to nominate").
- Bradenton Herald: "For the Democrats: Jim Davis".
"Conditions ripe for storm rates to soar far more".
Trib, Sentinel Heart Charlie
- Tampa Trib: "Trustworthy Charlie Crist Deserves GOP Nomination".
- Orlando Sentinel: "Crist for the Republicans".
Collins Gets Endorsements
Miami Herald: "Of the three remaining candidates, LeRoy Collins Jr., is the most credible choice." "The Miami Herald recommends for U.S. Senate, Republican primary". See also "Collins picks up another endorsement". See also "Senate: It's Harris vs. 3 others".
"Derek Newton, a Democratic consultant in Coral Gables who is publicly neutral in the governor's race, said that although the missed votes might be a liability, voters are ultimately going to make their decisions based on more important issues such as education, insurance and taxes." "Do voters care about Davis' absences?".
"Here's one way to make a big impression in Miami politics: Take a seat at center stage at a Charlie Crist rally featuring Arizona Sen. John McCain. And who had that center-stage spot on Saturday morning? That would be state Sen. Alex Villalobos, who's in the re-election fight of his life in which Gov. Jeb Bush and a slew of outside groups are backing his opponent, Frank Bolanos." "Villalobos at Center Stage".
Why Does The Media ...
buy into garbage like this: "Will successor share in Bush's love of big ideas?" Big ideas? Spare me.
"The GOP scrum in Florida House District 107 includes a former Miami mayor and a former Jeb Bush aide who has the governor's endorsement." "Big names compete in a crowded field".
Captain Charlie, Crime Fighter
"Even his rivals agree that few politicians have Crist's charisma, determination and focus to win. But some suggest that Crist is all style and no substance. He also has been accused of picking popular issues while avoiding tough ones." "Election 2006: Gritty Attorney General Crist's persuasive ability buoys image as crime fighter".
Question: Has Crist ever tried a case?
"The Florida Elections Commission cleared Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish Friday of charges she violated state campaign laws in her 2004 run for office. Parrish was accused of failing to report the worth of the campaign ads placed on the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi fleet." "Broward property appraiser cleared of campaign violations".
Gambling Cash To Crist
"Last week's massive money infusion into the secretive third-party political committees late in the governor's race includes another round of casino money to the group backing governor's candidate Charlie Crist." "More gambling money goes to Crist".
"Front-runner's effort hangs on technicality".
GOP CFO Race
"Bush and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings have endorsed Lee, a somewhat-unusual move in a Republican primary. Bush also has made a television commercial for Lee, which could give the candidate a boost in a race where early polls showed many undecided voters. But if Johnson has his way, the race will focus on the problems in the property-insurance system. With eight hurricanes blowing through the state during the past two years, insurance companies have dropped hundreds of thousands of policies and received approval for major rate increases." "GOP hopefuls show differences".
"Attorneys for the insurer charged with not paying $20 million in 2004 hurricane claims from a West Palm Beach condo don't think that the company can get a fair trial in Palm Beach County. They want U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley to choose a less "inflamed" venue - Fort Lauderdale, or maybe Miami. Try Omaha." "Not too winded to run".
Palm Beach Post: "Elect Ted Deutch overself-promoting Slosberg".
"Haitians and Cubans should receive equal treatment when fleeing oppression, gubernatorial candidate Rod Smith told a Haitian-American audience Saturday, taking on an issue that is out of the hands of Florida's governor." "Smith calls for fairer immigration policy".
"Haitians fight for equal representation in state".
Scientology in SD 16
"In a campaign season dominated by worries over insurance and property taxes, an unlikely issue has surfaced in two Tampa Bay legislative races: the Church of Scientology." "Scientology: an election issue?"