"Career politicians Bill McCollum and Kendrick Meek have surged ahead of their wealthy, outsider opponents, overcoming large deficits in the last few weeks, according to a poll released just days before Florida's gubernatorial and U.S. Senate primaries."
McCollum, the state's attorney general and a former congressman, has taken the lead over millionaire businessman Rick Scott in their nasty and expensive fight for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday."Poll: Meek, McCollum now lead in Fla. primaries".
The poll also had Meek, a Miami congressman, now leading billionaire investor Jeff Greene in their battle for the Democratic Senate nomination. Meek was preferred by 35 percent of 814 likely Democratic voters to 28 percent who chose Greene in a random telephone survey conducted Aug. 11-16. ...
Three weeks ago, Scott and Greene held double-digit leads in a Quinnipiac poll and both have spent millions of their own money on their campaigns.
But the races remain volatile as 19 percent of Republican voters remain undecided and 32 percent of those who do name a candidate say they could change their mind. Among Democrats, 29 percent are undecided and 39 percent of those who name a candidate could change their mind. ..."'Insiders' Back On Top In Florida Primaries, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Mccollum, Meek Lead, But Races Are Volatile". See also "GOP Governor's Race Back to Tossup" ("Seniors, male voters spark Bill McCollum's reawakening in GOP primary poll"), "Poll: Insiders surge in Florida's Senate, governor races" and "Poll: McCollum, Meek overtake wealthier opponents".
From August 11 - 16, Quinnipiac University surveyed 807 Republican likely primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points and 814 Democratic likely primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points. These likely voters were selected from lists of people who have voted in past elections.
"Wealthy rookies in the Senate and governor's races are spending heavily on television campaigns; their competitors emphasize 'ground' strategies." "It's money vs. grass roots in fight to win Floridians' votes". But see "Negative ads give Bill McCollum lead over Rick Scott in governor's race".
Inaccurate ballot summaries
"The Florida Supreme Court is hearing arguments in challenges to three proposed state constitutional amendments. In each case Wednesday the state is appealing judges' decisions to remove from the Nov. 2 ballot an amendment proposed by the Legislature. The judges ruled their ballot summaries were inaccurate or misleading." "Fla. justices hearing argument on 3 amendments".
Everywhere a sign ...
"Political season brings glut of illegal signs".
"Sink riding high"
"While Bill McCollum and Rick Scott bruise and blister each other daily in the GOP primary race for governor, Democrat Alex Sink is stepping out from the shadows with a running mate, a new TV ad and new momentum that could spell trouble for Republicans."
Sink, riding high on last week's poll results showing her ahead of Scott and McCollum, has chosen former state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua as her running mate. The campaign plans a formal announcement Thursday in West Palm Beach."Running mate, new ad bring political attention to Sink". Related: "Sink touts passion for education reform at Jacksonville ‘Women for Alex’ event".
Meanwhile, the bitter Scott and McCollum battle drew national attention Tuesday when Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, head of the national GOP statehouse campaign effort, demanded Scott take down an ad attacking McCollum.
"Rick Scott says he is 'clear choice' for governor in Villages appearance".
"In choosing Rod Smith as her running mate, Alex Sink gets a former state senator and former Alachua County state attorney with name recognition in the state's most conservative areas and an ability to work with the Republican Legislature. " "Rod Smith a safe choice for Sink". See also "Dem LG Candidate: Rod Smith".
"Talk about shooting yourself in the foot"
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Just one day after he unveiled a harsh Arizona-style immigration proposal for Florida, Attorney General Bill McCollum was obliged to backpedal, conceding a need to consult with 'my supporters in the Hispanic community' about the provisions in his punitive and potentially unconstitutional measure. That came after U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a co-chair of Mr. McCollum's Hispanic leadership team in his race for governor, pronounced herself 'blindsided' and 'disappointed.'" "It's not Arizona". Related: "Poll shows immigration may be tough issue for McCollum". Related: "Bill McCollum braces for Hispanic backlash over law targeting immigrants".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith says everything is hunky-dory with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results. It is hard to share his confidence." "Straightening out the FCAT mess".
McCollum's "racial profiling"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "There are many reasons why Florida should not copy Arizona's unconstitutional attempt to crack down on illegal immigration. The most obvious flaw is that, like Arizona's law, a plan pushed by Republican legislators and Attorney General Bill McCollum would require police to check the immigration status of anyone legally stopped who is reasonably suspected of being in the country illegally. That would lead to racial profiling, regardless of what the supporters claim." "Immigration plan goes too far".
"Gelber sitting pretty"
"With 11 Point Lead Over Dave Aronberg, Dan Gelber's Sitting Pretty in Dem AG Race".
"Space, space, space"
"If the 2010 midterm elections are all about jobs, jobs, jobs, then the race for Florida's 15th Congressional District is about space, space, space." "It's All About NASA, Space Jobs in Bill Posey's District 15".
Greene goes to church
"Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, the Democratic Senate candidate who profited by predicting subprime borrowers would default on their home mortgages, drove his Cadillac Escalade to Westgate today to visit a church that has sheltered as many as 100 homeless people a night." "Billionaire Greene takes U.S. Senate campaign to Westgate homeless shelter". See also "Jeff Greene Visits Homeless Shelter, Responds to Drug Accusations".
"Georgia scientists argue it's premature to dismiss the environmental threat from vast volumes of oil still floating in the Gulf or settling to the bottom." "Could oil spill threat still remain? Report says yes". See also "Up to 79 percent of spilled oil remains in gulf, scientists say".
More: "New Oil Threat Looms Off Florida's Gulf Coast", "" and "Oil notice signs gone from some Pensacola beaches".
"Tyson: 'I never did drugs on the boat'".
Luv 4 sale
"As Rick Scott freely spends his fortune in his bid to become governor, Republican rival Bill McCollum is fighting to keep up by spending the millions of others."
McCollum's allies make up a long list: Big Sugar, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Progess Energy, real-estate developers, road builders, beer distributors, car dealers, nursing homes and wealthy individuals like Fort Lauderdale entrepreneur H. Wayne Huizenga and Dallas philanthropist Peter O'Donnell."Cash flies in GOP race for Florida governor".
All have written hefty five- and six-figure checks to a pair of political committees controlled by McCollum, the state attorney general, as Scott and McCollum battle for the nomination in next Tuesday's primary.
McCollum's two groups, Florida First Initiative and Sunshine State Freedom Fund, have raked in a combined $4.1 million to help fund a barrage of McCollum TV ads attacking Scott for his role in leading the Columbia/HCA hospital conglomerate, which was hit with record Medicare-fraud fines. McCollum, who has criticized Scott for trying to ``buy the governor's mansion,'' said he's not selling out in taking special-interest money.
"With President Barack Obama headed to Miami Beach on Wednesday for a fund-raiser for the Florida Democratic Party at the Fontainebleau Hotel, two Sunshine State Republicans are welcoming him with a one-two punch on his economic policies." "LeMieux, Rubio Welcome Obama to Florida by Hitting Him on Economy".
Scott gets with the program
"Within less than a week of Sunshine State News pressing Rick Scott about his lack of Spanish-speaking ads on South Florida TV, the campaign launched its first spot." "Rick Scott Gets With the Spanish-Speaking Program".
The Palm Beach Post editorial board endorses "For governor, Democratic and Republican primaries: Sink, McCollum".
Courtesy of our "education Governor"
"Fewer than a quarter of black male students in Palm Beach County graduated within four years of high school in 2008, lagging far behind already woeful statistics nationwide, according to a study. And the county's graduation rate among white males was also well below state and national figures." "Study: Black graduation rate lags locally and nationwide; whites not much better".
The Chiles effect
"Lawton 'Bud' Chiles and his independent was supposed to be the spoiler in this year's race for governor."
Political observers thought he would be the Ralph Nader of Florida politics, siphoning Democratic votes and handing the election to a Republican."Independent candidate Lawton 'Bud' Chiles draws GOP and Democratic voters".
But that's not quite the case, if you believe several recent opinion surveys. They show Chiles, the son of a popular former governor and U.S. senator, with nearly equal support from independents and voters from both parties.
"Bud's not a spoiler for the Democratic candidate,'' said his brother Ed Chiles, a restaurateur who lives on Anna Maria Island. "He's pulling very significant numbers from both sides without spending any money.''
• Chiles garners 12 percent in a November match-up against Republican Bill McCollum and Democrat Alex Sink, according to an Aug. 6-10 survey by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Times/Herald. He would get 14 percent if Rick Scott is the GOP nominee.
• Chiles gets 17 percent if he faces Scott and Sink, according to an Aug. 9-11 poll by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. He would capture 13 percent against McCollum and Sink.
He's pulling from all camps, such as in the Mason-Dixon matchup with Scott and Sink, where Chiles drew 17 percent of the Democrats, 17 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of independent voters.
So, what's behind the numbers?