The inevitable tightening has begun:
Crist, the attorney general, leads [Davis] 50 percent to 39 percent in a survey for The Tampa Tribune by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research released Wednesday.
Crist has been advertising since mid-September. Davis started broadcasting commercials in Pensacola last week. Crist's higher visibility has made him the clear front-runner.
The poll, taken Monday and Tuesday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points. It's an improvement for Davis since the last Mason-Dixon poll released Sept. 22. That showed Crist leading 51 percent to 36 percent.
"Davis Gains Slightly In Poll". See also "Poll: Crist has lead, but Davis edges up" and "Davis still trailing in polls, but gap narrows". However, "Davis' slow start in governor's campaign worries Broward Democrats."
It doesn't make it any easier for Davis that "Charlie Crist has switched positions on several key issues, and his new stances bring him closer to the views of his opponent in the governor's race."
Until recently, Charlie Crist said he was a strong believer in denying felons an automatic right to vote after they left prison.Here's the kicker:
He was equally emphatic that the FCAT tests as they are now administered are fine.
And he declared that Citizens Insurance, the state-run company that provides windstorm insurance, should be abolished.
Those stances have one thing in common: Crist has changed his position on all three.
Crist's late-season conversions, coincidentally or not, target issues that Davis has been using to make inroads into Crist's sizable lead in the polls. The Democrat has launched a series of television ads critical of Crist's position on the FCAT and has used the felons' voting rights issue to shore up support among black voters."Crist changes positions on 3 hot issues".
The flip-flopping seems to have paid off: "In several recent polls, Crist has received support from 15 percent to 20 percent of black respondents - a level greater than the black votes for previous Republican candidates for statewide office." "Crist Endears Himself To Black Voters, Polls Show". See also "Crist, Davis would both lift felon voting ban" and "Crist moves to Davis' position, vows to change felons voting ban".
The RPOF drags out the old standbys: "A group of black Republicans from South Florida's three counties who scheduled a press conference today at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, said Crist's civil rights credentials were solid. They called Democrats' belittling of his record 'a cheap political shot.'" "Crist critique riles black Republicans".
And where Charlie hasn't reversed himself, "good luck getting the Republican candidate for governor to answer a specific question. For at least the third time, Crist, who tells voters he’ll be the 'people’s governor,' has avoided answering questionnaires for voters’ guides circulated by prominent advocacy groups." See also "Critics say Crist's positions a mystery".
Dems shouldn't count on much media scrutiny of Crist's flip-floppery. Scott Maxwell explains how Crist "came by the [Orlando] Sentinel Wednesday for his endorsement interview with the editorial board. And I have to admit: I drank the Kool-Aid." "Debatable strategies; and chatting with Charlie".
And this really is a laugher: "Beginning a pointed attack on his Democratic rival for governor in the final weeks before the election, Republican Charlie Crist said Wednesday that missing votes to campaign for governor is 'pathetic' and 'ridiculous.' The comments came the same day that Gov. Jeb Bush rescheduled an Oct. 31 Cabinet meeting he had canceled just the day before to allow Crist time to campaign." "Davis's voting record 'pathetic,' Crist says". As to Crist's hypocrisy, see "Governor cancels Cabinet meeting for Crist"; the campaign is now backtracking: "Cabinet meeting reset after a 'miscommunication'"
Meanwhile, "Crist woos Hispanics at Cuban American-owned print shop" and "Davis backyard campaigning".
"A former Miami Shores councilman has squared off against a popular teacher turned-businessman for northeast Miami's heavily Haitian District 108." "Republican faces tough race for Democratic district".
Judge Thwarts RPOF Tactic
"A Tallahassee judge blocked signs in polling places saying that a vote for Mark Foley is really a vote for replacement candidate Joe Negron." "Signs for Foley replacement can't be posted near polls". See also "Court: No Foley signs at polls", "Judge bars signs explaining candidate switch", "Judge: No polling place signs in Foley's former district", "Poll notices of Foley switch barred" and "Court: No Foley signs for voters".
The Property Tax Issue
"Polls show that property taxes are among the issues that will drive voters to the polls Nov. 7." "Property Taxes A Dominant Election Issue".
"Rep. Ric Keller of Orlando has built his reputation in Congress on two unlikely issues: college grants and cheeseburgers. Sending poor students to college and protecting fast-food joints from lawsuits aren't causes that have gained a lot of traction nationally, but they have helped the three-term Republican define himself." "From burgers to grants: Issues shape Ric Keller".
The Tallahassee Democrat editorial board: "Nos. 6 and 7 are property-tax issues, and we recommend you vote "no" on both." "'No' to 6 and 7".
"The state House, under incoming Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami, is going to look a lot like Gov. Jeb Bush's office -- at least when it comes to finance and spending matters. A Rubio spokesman said Wednesday that 18 staff members of the governor's policy and budget, economic development, transportation and health-care offices are coming over to work for the House." "Bush staff headed to House". See also "Next House speaker to hire 18 staffers from governor's team".
It Is Election Season
"Customers of Nationwide got good news Wednesday with Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty's announcement he would reject the insurer's 72-percent rate-increase request." "State rejects Nationwide's request for rate increases". See also "Nationwide loses bid for 71.5% hike".
"Insurance special session seen as likely".
"Jeb!" Addicted To Tobacco (Cash)
"Florida collects about $829 million annually from the tobacco industry in settlement payments and taxes."
"The state of Florida, sad as it sounds, has become addicted to tobacco money," said Yerrid, who threatened to sue Bush in 2003 to force a restoration of the funding for the prevention programs."Antitobacco Vows Were Just A Lot Of Smoke".
Yerrid said he met with Bush, and the governor promised he would restore the money. That never happened.
"I was betrayed," Yerrid said.
A Bush press apparatchik said the governor couldn't recall "definitely" meeting with Yerrid, but "the governor is a great supporter" of tobacco prevention programs.
Bush, a supporter? Where have we heard that before?
"Congressional candidate Eddie Adams is in intensive care at Tampa General Hospital after doctors discovered his kidneys shut down" "Illness Sidelines Candidate".
Osceola Voting Plan
"Judge wants new Osceola voting plan in 5 weeks".
"Gerald Richman, a West Palm Beach lawyer and Democratic activist, is one of two prominent attorneys representing Foley. With Republicans hoping to tamp-down the political blaze caused by Foley's e-mail overtures to male congressional pages, Richman fanned the fire Tuesday when he held a news conference to announce the ex-lawmaker planned to identify a priest who he claims molested him as a young teen-ager." "Foley's Democratic Advocate".
Another endorsement: "Florida Cabinet" ("Elect Adelaide "Alex" Sink.")
"Developers may sue over state's new limit on eminent domain".
"Foley's attorneys reveal name of alleged abuser to prosecutors". See also "Attorneys, clergy discuss naming Foley's abuser".
"Congress still aims for sales tax break for Florida, others".
Carville on CD 13
"Democratic political consultant James Carville has seen a lot of politics in his time since coming out of college in the early 1960s. But even the Ragin Cajun is at a loss for words when trying to explain the suddenly supercompetitive 13th Congressional District."
Carville, in town to speak to the Longboat Key Democratic Club, told me in an interview later that he’s shocked that he’s even here, given the Republican edge in party registrations in the district."Carville speaks on Longboat Key".
Carville laughed that there’s 216,000 Republicans compared to just 154,000 registered Democrats, yet the seat is still considered a toss-up.
"Late in race and far behind, Harris rallies base". See also "Harris back on Hannity and Colmes" and "Nelson discounts his big lead over Harris".
"Now, after six years of representing state House Dist. 53, Justice is seeking an open state Senate seat, hoping to bring some balance to the Republican-controlled state government." "Justice Hopes To Bring Balance".
"The contest for state House District 45 pits an environmental activist against an experienced lawmaker." "Incumbent, Political Novice Face Off In District 45 Race". See also "Candidates Disagree On Insurance, FCAT".