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July 2010

What does Bill McCollum do now?

Mccolumfin An already difficult election year got even harder for Attorney General Bill McCollum when the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Florida cannot give McCollum a dollar for every dollar over $24.9 million spent by Rick Scott.

The ruling is just a temporary injuction but the federal court based in Atlanta made it clear that it believes McCollum will eventually lose his effort to collect tax dollars to subsidize his campaign.

Meanwhile, the injunction prevents McCollum from getting any additional cash if Scott exceeds the cap.

Continue reading "What does Bill McCollum do now?" »

Is Bud Chiles a 14 percent problem?

Lawton "Bud" Chiles III is on a quixotic independent campaign for governor.

Few give him a chance of winning. In this unusual Florida election year anything can happen. That said, a Chiles victory would be stunning.

Instead, Chiles is seen as a spoiler. In the newest Quinnipiac University poll Chiles gets 14 percent of the vote. Democrat Alex Sink gets 27 to Republican Rick Scott's 29. Switch out Scott for Republican Bill McCollum and Sink gets 26 to McCollum's 27.

What troubles some Democrats is that the 14 percent going to Chiles are votes that would most likely go to Sink. It is hard to be sure.

The poll shows that equal numbers of Democrats and Repubilcans are supporting Chiles right now. If you assume that Chiles GOP supporters are so unhappy with the Republican candidates that they are looking for an alternative, you could also assume those are potential votes for Sink.

Continue reading "Is Bud Chiles a 14 percent problem?" »

Quinnipiac Poll - Charlie Crist 37, Marco Rubio, 32, Jeff Greene 17

Cristnew1 Time magazine editor Mark Halperin said on Morning Joe today - “I don't see how they stop Charlie Crist … He could get 41 percent [as the independent in the three-way race] … [Republican] Marco Rubio could still win, but he needs to have a second act.”

The new Quinnipiac University shows independent Gov. Charlie Crist leading Marco Rubio 37-32 with Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene at 17.  In a match-up with U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek instead of Greene, it is Crist 39, Rubio, 33, Meek, 13.

Those who believed Crist would be dead-in-the-water after he left the Republican Party in April have clearly misjudged the resilency of Florida's governor.

The Q-poll notes that "Crist's lead is based on getting half the independent voters, about 20 percent of Republicans and about 40 percent of Democrats. His 53-37 percent voter approval of his job as governor probably is a factor in his lead.'

But the Q-poll also notes that if in November the Democratic nominee "can move into the mid-to-high 20s, Crist's chances decrease substantially."

Crist may have the lead now, but he needs a very weak Democratic candidate to give him his best shot at winning.


Meek says Greene "is not a good person"

Donkr During an interview for the debut of the new Sunday political program -  "To The Point" - U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek appears annoyed and defensive.

Meek makes it clear it is going to take a lot of convincing for him to endorse Greene if he wins the Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

"He is not a Democrat," Meek says dismissively.

Meek also describes Greene as someone who "just has an imaginary world" and says Greene is "not a good person."

The program, which includes Crowley Political Report, airs this Sunday at 10 a.m. following Meet the Press on the West Palm Beach NBC affiliate WPTV-NewsChannel 5.

Quinnipiac Poll - Rick Scott 43, Bill McCollum 32

This is an ugly day for Bill McCollum. There is no putting a happy face on the polling numbers from Quinnipiac University.

McCollum trails Rick Scott by 11 points. Worse the poll found that likely Republican voters believe Scott is more conservative, better able to handle the economy and they like Scott better than McCollum.

With less than four weeks to the Aug. 24 primary, this is grim news for McCollum. The poll also found that his two decades in politics is turning off voters who want little to do with career politicians.

McCollum, not the most charismatic of candidates, finds himself struggling in a race that many believed he would easily win after the Florida GOP machine cleared the decks for McCollum to win the primary.

The sudden emergence of Scott caught them flatfooted and their response has failed to diminished voter interest in Scott. Yesterday a top Republican operative supporting McCollum told Crowley Political Report that the campaign has been hoping that it's attacks on Scott would cause voters to fear electing him governor.

Quinnipiac notes that when the 760 Republicans polled from July 22-27,  were asked whether they wanted a governor with "years of government experience or a government outsider"  - 54 percent wanted an outsider.

You can take a closer look at the poll here.

Kottkamp and Crist have not spoken since April

Crowley Political Report found this video with Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp on The interview apparently took place in the last couple of days.

Kottkamp is asked about his relationship with Gov. Charlie Crist who four years ago plucked Kottkamp from the Florida House of Representatives to make him his running mate.

"Well I haven't spoken to him frankly since he decided to leave the Republican Party and unfortunately we don't have a relationship now," Kottkamp says.

"My office is not invited to most of the scheduling meetings so it is a little strained but we're staying focused on the responsibilities of the lieutenant governor's office..."

Here's the video:


Some of Florida's top decision makers apparently can't make a decision

Associated Industries has boldly endorsed both Rick Scott and Bill McCollum to be the Republican nominee for governor.

It takes great courage to take a stand and the tough, business leaders of Associated Industries are showing that they know how to make themselves a political force to be reckoned with.

See their logic on the next page:

On McCollum: “[Attorney] General McCollum has consistently been a strong voice for conservative principles and a solid vote on the Cabinet.  His leadership on the lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional health care law, as well as on tort reform issues, water issues, among many others demonstrates to us that he has the right qualities to be Governor.”

On Scott: “While he is a newcomer to politics, Rick Scott’s conservative philosophy is one that also resonates with our members.  He is a successful businessman who understands the need to have an accountable, balanced state budget, is committed to maintaining choice and competition in the health care system, favors lower taxes and limiting regulations that prevent businesses from creating jobs and has said he will work to lower businesses’ workers’ comp costs.”

Bill McCollum doesn't understand

Mccolumfin After 30 years in politics Attorney General Bill McCollum does not understand why this new guy - Rick Scott -  is leading in the polls less than 30 days before the Aug 24 Republican primary for governor.

"It's difficult for me to conceptualize a fellow who's got the background he's got with Columbia/HCA becoming the governor of Florida," McCollum told the St. Petersburg Times editorial board.

"You know me, you don't know him," McCollum told the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

Maybe that's the problem. After two decades in Congress, Bill McCollum lost two, high-profile races for U.S. Senate. His return to public office was the result of the little-noticed attorney general's race four years ago.

That fact is that the only reason McCollum became the heir-apparent for the GOP nomination this year was because party leaders and Republican political operatives, who make millions between elections lobbying in Tallahassee, saw no other choice.

Continue reading "Bill McCollum doesn't understand" »

Still no idea who is behind this odd video

It's been more than a week and Crowley Political Report still has no idea who is behind five computer-animated videos featuring Bill McCollum and Rick Scott.

We first came across these videos on July 13. At that point there were just four. The video-maker is clearly not fond of Bill McCollum or Rick Wilson. This video - number 3 - also takes shots at Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo and St. Pete Times reporter Adam Smith.

After CPR reported on those videos, a fifth video came out on July 19, featuring Crowley Political Report. Today, CPR has received several emails about the video below and we think we're getting closer to figuring out who is KirkPeppersHead.


McCollum's own poll show him 6 points behind Scott

So which of these pollsters is doing a really lousy job - Rick Scott's who, according to campaign sources, shows the Naples Republican leading Attorney General Bill McCollum by mid-double digits (one person said as high as 19 points)....

Or, McCollum's pollster who, according to an internal memo obtained by Politico, shows McCollum behind by just 6 points.

Quite the spread between the two pollsters. They do agree that Scott is leading but the difference between a six-point spread and a double-digit one is the difference between a reasonable chance of victory and calling the game all but over.

Find out more polling details from the McCollum internal memo by visiting Politico.

Jeb Bush catching grief for helping Rand Paul

Jeb Bush, Florida's former governor, son of one president, brother of another and dream president of others, is in Louisville, Kentucky tonight to raise money for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul.

Paul, son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, has been know to make a the occasional controversial statement.

His Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, accuses Paul of being against the American with Disabilities Act, which was signed by Jeb's father 20 years ago - today.

Catching on? So Conway is denouncing Jeb Bush for helping a candidate who opposes his father's ADA. Jeb, says Conway, "is tarnishing the family legacy."

Conway campaign manager Jesse Benton told the Louisville Courier Journal, that Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, “spends much of his time treating the blind, restoring eyesight and treating victims of many types of disabilities. He is deeply attuned to needs and struggles of the disabled, and to imply otherwise is a cheap political stunt by his opponent.”

Kendrick Meek's first ad rips Jeff Greene - Kendrick who?

KendrickMeekFORWEB So with less than a month to go before the primary, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek launches his first ad in Democratic primary for Florida senate.

The ad opens for about 2 seconds with Meek, his wife and their two children walking as Meek says "I approve this ad..."

That's all you learn about Meek. Instead of spending time trying to tell voters who he is...Meek's first ad attacks Greene. Interesting strategy considering that Meek is still relatively unknown to many primary voters.

The ad asks you to "meet the real Jeff Greene" and notes that he once ran for congress as a Republican and came to Florida two years ago.  Then the ad says Greene became a billionaire on Wall Street "betting middle class families would lose their homes." 

The ad concludes with the tagline - "Betting on suffering does matter."


Todd Rome takes shot at Carol and Charlie

This little tidbit is in the New York Post. It would appear that Todd Rome, former husband of Carole Rome Florida's First Lady, may not be a supporter of Gov. Charlie Crist's independent bid for the U.S. Senate.

"THEY figure they might as well come to the Hamptons and get the money from people who don't give a [bleep]," observed Blue Star Jets chief Todd Rome about the fund-raising visit out east of his ex-wife Carol and her new husband, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Hampton Sheet publisher Joan Jedell ran into Rome on Saturday just a couple of hours before Bob Roberts, of Lucille Roberts workout fame, and wife Lauren hosted a $5,000-a-plate fund-raiser at their Southampton digs for Crist's US Senate race.

See the New York Post here.

Alex Sink "embarrassed" by Joe Biden

Asink CFO Alex Sink told Politico that Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to Florida was a "screw-up" and she was "embarrassed by his speech.

Sink, a Democratic candidate for governor who may need the White House in the Fall, told Politico that Biden's speech was "just so off target and out of touch with the reality of what's going on over there."

Sink had expected to meet with Biden during his June 29 visit to Pensacola but instead she says she met with the Vice President "for about 10 seconds" and watched his speech on television.

Politico story is a lengthy one looking at the relationship between the White House and Florida since the oil spill. A number of Florida Democrats are quoted some saying supportive of the Obama administration's handling of the oil spill and others not so much.

Read the Politico story here.

No "millionaire" cash for McCollum

RickScottFORWEB Folks in the Bill McCollum camp have dearly wanted rival Rick Scott to spend more than $24.9 million for his campaign to win the Republican nomination to be Florida's next governor.

The bad news for McCollum is that as of July 16, Scott had spent "only" $22,658,629. That puts Scott more than $2 million below the "millionaire cap" which allows McCollum to get $1 for every $1 Scott spends over $24.9 million.

Some in the McCollum camp were hoping that they would be eligible for millions of tax dollars that could be spent in the final weeks of the campaign.

As it stands now, McCollum has only $524,000 left in his campaign account - a paltry sum in a state where it costs more than $1 milllion a week just for television commercials. McCollum does have access to money being funneled into 527 groups supporting his candidacy.

McCollum is eligible for some public financing. Under state law, statewide candidates who raise at least $150,000 can receive matching money for every contribution that is $250 or less.

For now however, it appears that Scott has outmanuevered McCollum on the millionaire cap.

Rick Scott raises $415,000

Republican candidates for Florida governor Rick Scott raised $415,126 for his campaign from April 1 to July 16. The Naples businessman loaned his campaign $22.9 million.

Scott spent $22,658,629 as of July 16. This does not include money spent by the 527 group dubbed "Let's Get to Work" which is largely financed by his wife.

He had $241,371 left in his campaign account. Scott is trying to avoid the "millionaires cap" which would give rival Bill McCollum millions in tax dollars if Scott exceeds $24.9 million in spending.

McCollum raised $1.04 million has $542,000 left

Attorney General Bill McCollum raised $1,042,081 from April 1 to July 16, according to his campaign finance report filed with the Florida elections division.

The report shows that McCollum has raised a total of $5,711,556 and has spent $5,168,700. That leaves McCollum with $542,856 left to spend in his race to win the Republican primary for governor.

The report does not include money that has been raised on behalf of McCollum by various 527 organizations.