"Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis faces a difficult battle to overcome Republican Charlie Crist, as a poll released Tuesday shows Crist with a solid lead and just a few likely voters who remain completely undecided."
Crist, the state's attorney general, was backed by 53 percent of likely voters, including leaners, compared to 43 percent who said they favored the Democratic congressman from Tampa with 3 percent undecided. The random telephone survey of 783 likely voters was taken between Oct. 3-8 by Quinnipiac (Conn.) University Polling Institute."Quinnipiac: Crist has solid lead with few undecided". See also "Crist's lead solid with few on fence, poll says".
This is actually better news for Davis than the recent Insider Advantage and Survey USA polls. And here' an ironic twist reported yesterday: "Events denying Davis a spotlight" ("The Democrat needs headlines to narrow a governor's race gap, but the other party's scandal is grabbing them.")
"The Democrats have asked for all information relating to the page case that the attorney general's office has, including any contacts Crist himself has had with the former congressman. They also are seeking Foley-related communications between the attorney general's office and the office of Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., other congressmen and the Republican National Committee."
A Crist campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Florida Republican Party spokesman Jeff Sadosky called the records request a "resort to gutter politics and baseless accusations.""Florida Dem Party seeks Foley records from Crist". See also "Fla. Dems try to link Foley and Crist", "Painting with a Broad Foley Brush", "For Democrats, A Longshot Search for Records" and "Party seeks Foley records from Crist".
State Democratic spokesman Mark Bubriski replied that Republicans shouldn't be worried if they don't have anything to hide.
"Charlie Crist held a hastily-arranged forum with supporters in Tampa today to talk about hurricane insurance and property taxes, but when the talk turned to taxes, he gave a surprising answer to citizens’ questions. Crist appeared to say he favors a California Proposition 13-style tax revolt constitutional amendment in Florida. ... Campaign spokesmen couldn’t immediately clarify exactly what sort of tax-limiting amendment Crist favors." "Crist For A Prop-13 Style Tax Revolt?" See also "Crist Backs Property Tax Limit".
Crist Goes After Dems
"South Florida Democrats are getting mailers in the governor's race from the GOP. Polls showed that Republican Charlie Crist is picking up a good number of Democratic voters." "GOP's Crist reaches out to S. Florida Democrats".
Davis on Property Insurance
"If elected governor, Florida homeowners will see lower property insurance rates as soon as next year and a guarantee of at least partial coverage by the state, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Davis said Tuesday." "Davis plan: State to cover $20 billion in storm damages". See also "Davis touts plan to slash cost of storm coverage 40%", "On each side, an insurance plan", "Davis Aims To Cut Home Insurance Costs", "Davis plan lets state cover $20 billion in storm damage", "Davis plan lets state cover $20 billion in storm damage" and "Davis tackles property-insurance woes".
"Crist and Davis have several similarities to their financial backgrounds. Yet there are some striking differences that help to describe who they are, what they value and, perhaps, how each would govern. They seek a four-year, taxpayer-funded job with an annual salary of $132,932 and free residence in the stately Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee. Based on interviews with the candidates and family members, tax forms and financial disclosure documents, here are overviews of their financial backgrounds." "Rivals Crist and Davis experienced public servants, neither is a millionaire".
"Violators of sanctions against Cuba targeted".
"Florida conservation groups want the state to commit $1 billion annually to preserve wildlife and create parks." "Environmental groups ask for more money".
"A 2001 bill sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Walter 'Skip' Campbell created some of the toughest regulations of the payday loan industry in the country."
It was co-authored by a Republican, passed unanimously by the Legislature and roundly praised by Gov. Jeb Bush."Payday loan law is made an issue in Cabinet race". See also "Once Praised, Now Attacked. What Gives?" On a related note: "527 attacks Campbell".
But now that Campbell is running for attorney general, his Republican opponent and a newly formed political action group are attacking the legislation as a de facto tax on the poor.
The Republican candidate, former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, says Campbell's bill was ill conceived, burdening Florida's neediest residents. "He acts too hastily," McCollum said of Campbell.
Pruitt Gets A Pass
"The Florida Commission on Ethics announced last month that it had cleared state Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, of complaints related to his political and personal dealings. The issue, however, is less what the ethics panel found and more what the panel didn't look at. ... the commission refused to scrutinize the $2,000 monthly payment Mr. Sanger also had been making to Sen. Pruitt for consulting on strategies and coordinating contacts as Mr. Sanger expanded his business from Palm Beach County into Port St. Lucie. The Post reported that the money could have covered Sen. Pruitt's mortgage and taxes, giving him, in effect, a free house. During an interview last week with The Post, Sen. Pruitt said he is no longer under contract to Mr. Sanger because the company's expansion has been successful and the senator's services no longer are needed." "Ethics panel and Pruitt: An inadequate review".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board believes that "Democrat Alex Sink has the better qualifications to be Florida's chief financial officer, and she also has the better argument" "Start fresh, with Sink".
The Amendment Thing
"Floridians have voted in recent years to shrink school class sizes, stamp out public smoking and even restrict pig farming. They have started a statewide pre-kindergarten program, taken both sides in a fight about medical malpractice and approved -- then derailed -- a high-speed train. But as voters get ready to go to the polls in November, they face a controversial proposal that would make it harder for them to approve similar measures in the future as amendments to the state constitution." "Proposal makes amending constitution harder for voters". See also "Special interests want you to vote against yourself".
RPOF Ad "Turns Some Facts Upside Down"
"This [RPOF] ad turns some facts upside down. Davis did not vote for 'billions in new taxes.' Even the explanation for the statement sent by the Republican Party disputes that notion. Instead, the GOP says that Davis voted, in 1999, against a $792 million 'tax cut.' The ad's claim that Davis wants to 'tax savings, tax seniors' is a broad interpretation of Davis' statement that he would bring back the intangibles tax. Democrats say it taxes the rich. Republicans say the tax hurts middle-class seniors. Regardless, the tax does not affect all seniors. Davis has said that all special-interest tax breaks would be up for elimination. He has said he will reduce property taxes by $1 billion." "Ad watch". See also "New Crist ad slams Davis".
Crist and his allies are apparently willing to say anything:
First, while Davis has voted for tax increases during his decade in Congress, his campaign notes that Davis has voted for tax cuts, too. And one of the votes the ad cites as a tax increase was a bill that would only have permitted counties to hold local referenda on a proposed tax. Davis' Republican opponent, Charlie Crist, has supported similar legislation in the past."Governor's Ad Watch".
But the ad particularly stretches Davis recent comments that “all Florida tax breaks” should be considered for elimination. Davis in fact wants to make the sales-tax holidays on back-to-school materials, hurricane supplies and energy-efficient products and appliances annual events. Davis does say he would seek to bring back the intangibles tax on investments — which Republicans say hurts seniors and savers but which Democrats argue is paid only by the wealthiest Floridians — and repeal other tax cuts, particularly those carved out for specific industries and companies. But the ad doesn’t mention that Davis only wants to do so as part of a plan to cut property taxes across Florida by $1 billion.
GOP Attacks Mahoney
"It didn't take long for the contest to replace ex-U.S. Rep. Mark Foley to turn negative. According to the campaign for Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney, the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent roughly $500,000 on ads attacking Mahoney's position on Social Security reform" "Negron-Mahoney race goes negative". See also "Candidates for Foley's seat agree to a series of debates" and "Negron's climb was slow but sure".
Ric [sic] Keller takes credit for simply being there. See "Ad watch: Ric Keller for Congress".
"The political newbie is a black Republican trying to win election in a traditionally Democratic district. He is running against Kathy Castor to represent District 11, in a seat being vacated by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis. Castor is a well-known Hillsborough County Commissioner and daughter of former state education commissioner and University of South Florida President Betty Castor. Jim Greenwald and R.J. Spencer are write-in candidates in the race." "Adams Making Grassroots Bid For Congress".
He said it: "'Too many people are trying to politicize it and I don’t want to do that'", Charlie said. "Crist Won't Use Moore Commercial". See also "Crist: I won't use Evangeline Moore in ads", "Crist Will Not Use Moore Commercial" and "Jones 'outraged' by Crist's handling of case".
"Ethics panel to tackle Foley case". See also "Republicans on defensive", "Foley scandal threatens GOP hold in Florida's congressional races" and "Legal battle takes shape in Foley investigation".
"Hollywood City Commissioner Keith Wasserstrom secretly cut a deal with a sludge-processing contractor and launched a lobbying blitz to help the company secure an $18 million city contract, prosecutors charged Tuesday." "Hollywood commissioner accused of profiting to help firm win $18 million contract".
"In UM visit, Dean is optimistic about Democrats' chances".
"Shaw and Klein, locked in one of the nation's tightest and costliest congressional contests, reemphasized many of the themes that have dominated the campaign for months." "Congressional candidates hit familiar themes in debate". See also "Big money here lures political big names" ("Barbara Bush is the featured guest at a campaign lunch for U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw today.")
"A day after Democrat Alex Sink launched her first television spot, the Republican Party of Florida is starting a new statewide spot touting Senate President Tom Lee for chief financial officer." "New Tom Lee ad to hit the airwaves".
It took just more than a month and some serious cajoling from the governor, but Republican Nancy Detert has finally agreed to support fellow Republican Buchanan for Congress.
Buchanan narrowly defeated Detert and Tramm Hudson on Sept. 5 in a GOP primary. But since then, Detert and Hudson have avoided supporting Buchanan publicly. Both were no-shows at two different "unity" rallies intended to smooth over the hurt feelings from a particularly rough primary season."Detert agrees to support Buchanan".
Few "Gus Sightings"
"His Democratic opponent, noting rare "Gus sightings," says that she is convinced the Republican is avoiding her."
The television studio was all ready to go: The moderator was at the lectern, the timekeeper was in position. The camera operators were ready to roll."Bilirakis hides from spotlight".
But the candidates' table was set for one.
"I'm sorry I don't have more people with me," Phyllis Busansky, the Democratic candidate for the 9th Congressional District, said with a chuckle.
In recent weeks, Busansky has often remarked that "sightings" of Gus Bilirakis, her Republican opponent, are rare.
A "Gus sighting," Busansky said, is any encounter with Bilirakis in which he says more than three sentences.
Busansky, 69, a former Hillsborough County commissioner, said she is convinced that her opponent is ducking her.
Foley Hurting Buchanan
Jeremy Wallace writes that "Mark Foley's scandalous departure from Congress is taking a toll on Vern Buchanan's campaign scheduling. Already, Republican National Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Tom Reynolds has had to cancel a joint appearance with Buchanan in Sarasota. Now, plans to have U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert in town later this month are 'up in the air,' said Sally Tibbetts, a spokeswoman for Buchanan's campaign."
"For Democrats, who are banking on wins in Pinellas to bring them a few more seats in the state Legislature, there is strain between the state and local parties." "Local Democratic Party's internal beef is no help".
South Florida Key
"Battle for Congress keys on South Florida".
"Incumbent Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, supports the war in Iraq, backs a congressional plan to build a fence along the Mexican border and thinks this country needs to increase oil exploration to reduce dependence on foreign crude. Challenger John Russell of Dade City denounces the war and the Bush administration's handling of it, opposes offshore drilling and thinks Congress has failed on immigration changes. With less than four weeks until Election Day, Brown-Waite, who has raised more than $500,000 for her campaign over the past year, is leading the challenger in both money and support. A recent poll conducted for News Channel 8 indicates that Russell trails Brown-Waite by 16 points in the sprawling district." "National Divisions Show In 5th District Contest". See also "Brown-Waite Runs A Confident Campaign" and "Russell Raises A Fist At Washington Politics".