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August 2010

Bud Chiles quitting race for Florida governor

Really it is no surprise that Bud Chiles is quitting his rather quixotic independent bid to be Florida's next governor.

The St. Petersburg Times says Chiles will announce his decision on Thursday.

That's good news for Democrat Alex Sink. Some Republicans were hatching the idea of creating one of those phony "Ain't Florida Swell" organizations that allow insiders to spend millions on television ads while leaving few fingerprints.

The whole idea was that they could drive votes to Chiles that otherwise would go to Sink. Do these guys where their American flag pins while they are plotting undermining elections?

Anyway, the Chiles campaign is about to be over but only for those who actually knew it started.

Should Bill McCollum endorse Alex Sink?

Mccolumfin Bill McCollum is clearly still ticked off as the video below shows.

And really, who can blame him.  Four months ago, McCollum and his team had every reason to believe that not only would he be the Republican nominee for Florida governor but that it would happen easily.

By mid-summer, Rick Scott was like the tornado that suddenly rips through a quiet town in the middle of the night. Everyone in the McCollum camp was glad to still be alive but they weren't sure if they could repair the damage.

This was a huge personal loss for McCollum because it marks the end of three decades in public life.

At 66, this was it. And with no political future ahead of him, McCollum clearly feels no need to play nice just to help Scott and the Republican Party.

Does McCollum's support matter?

Continue reading "Should Bill McCollum endorse Alex Sink?" »

Twelve-year old interviews Rick Scott

Crowley Political Report stumbled upon this interview of Rick Scott by 12-year old Pavlina.

The interview was done before Scott won the Republican primary for governor. Among the questions:

"When you were a kid what kind of stuff did you like to do and did it prepare you for being a successful adult?"

"Growing up was there something you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?"

"What was your happiest moment and what was like your saddest moment?"


McCollum says he still has questions about Scott's integrity

Attorney General Bill McCollum is taking his loss to Rick Scott very hard. In a brief meeting with reporters in Tallahassee, McCollum made it clear he is in no rush to endorse Scott.

"I still have serious questions and I have had them throughout the time that I've had the very brief acquaintanceship with Rick Scott about issues of his character, his integrity, his honesty, things that go back to Columbia/HCA ," said McCollum. "I have not had the occassion to actually every really get acquainted with other voters will do I will judge him throughout this campaign."

Asked if he would eventually endorse Scott, the Republican candidate for Florida governor, McCollum said, "I'm not endorsing anyone right now in this race."

As for his loss Tuesday, McCollum said, "I'm disappointed we didn't prevail the other night but we've got to move on and that's the way life is - you get up the next morning, you put your boots on and you get back to work."

See a video of McCollum's remarks here.

Alice - It would be so nice if something made sense for a change

You have to feel sorry for Tallahassee's Republican insiders. They must feel a lot like Alice in Wonderland.

"I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!" - Alice

Republican insiders woke up Wednesday morning looking at a November election that is nothing like they had planned.

Continue reading "Alice - It would be so nice if something made sense for a change" »

Keith Olbermann dubs Allen West "worst person in the world"

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann is known for offering his very strong liberal opinions and often long ponderous commentary that takes itself entirely too seriously.

One of his more amusing bits is his "worse, worser and worst" person in the world segment. While often funny it can be biting.

Something tells us that Republican congressional candidate Allen West - in a tough election battle against incumbent Florida District 22 Democrat Ron Klein - is not amused.

As a bonus - here is the first Klein ad....again we suspect West is not amused.


Rick Scott - Remember me the handsome bald guy

It is hard to believe that it was only a few months ago that this bald guy showed up on Florida television screens ending his 30-second "hi there" commercials with a friendly - "Let's get to work."

Few knew anything about him.

The Florida media was distracted with the Republican Party fight between Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. The McCollum campaign dismissed him as an irrelevant newcomer.

Only after Rick Scott started spending millions of his own money pushing himself into a double digit lead in the polls did everyone finally take notice.

These are dark times for Republican insiders in Tallahassee. They rallied around Bill McCollum and left themselves little room for making peace if Scott won the nomination.

Now what do they do?  Scott has demonstrated he doesn't need their money. So will they back Democratic Alex Sink instead?

Not likely.

Scott pulled this off but he made a lot of rookie mistakes that could come back to haunt him in the general election.

Scott likes to tell Floridians that he has learned from past business mistakes. It would bode him well to learn from some of the mistakes he made over the past few weeks.

Bill McCollum concession statement

This statement from Attorney General Bill McCollum who was defeated by Rick Scott in the Republican primary for Florida governor was released moments ago:

“The votes today have been tallied and I accept the voters’ decision.”

“This race was one for the ages. No one could have anticipated the entrance of a multi-millionaire with a questionable past who shattered campaign spending records and spent more in four months than has ever been spent in a primary race here in Florida.

“While I was disappointed with the negative tone of the race, I couldn’t be more proud of our campaign and our supporters for fighting back against false and misleading advertising when we were down by double-digits.

Continue reading "Bill McCollum concession statement" »

Career politician vs. businessman - many issues were the same in Chiles vs. Bush

As we wait for tonights results in the race between Rick Scott and Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination to be Florida's next governor, Crowley Political Report takes a look back at another race between a career politician and a businessman.

Many of the issues, charges and counter charges in 1994 are eerily the same today.

November 10, 1994

By BRIAN E. CROWLEY - Palm Beach Post Political Editor

MIAMI - In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Jeb Bush stood in the hotel hallway outside his election-night headquarters holding his first glass of scotch in two years.

His eyes, red from too little sleep and the pain of losing the closest race for governor since 1876, teared up as he hugged his campaign manager, Sally Harrell.

''You did a great job,'' Bush said. ''It was the candidate who failed you.''

Not entirely.

Bush was defeated in his first campaign for governor by incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles for reasons more complicated than simple candidate failure. Misjudgment, poor timing, failure to act quickly at crucial moments and a critical misunderstanding of just how determined Chiles was to win a second term all contributed to Bush's loss.

Continue reading "Career politician vs. businessman - many issues were the same in Chiles vs. Bush" »

Florida polls and the media - let's rethink the whole thing

Please note: This is a very long article. It includes information from the American Association for Public Opinion Research and the National Council on Public Polls. This article begins with a brief assessment of current polling in Florida and is followed by important information from the two groups just mentioned - including the NCCP's 20 questions that journalists - and everyone else - should ask about polling results

In the last few months, Florida votes have been hit with a barrage of polls with wildly differing numbers. Some of the worst of polls have been sponsored by the media.

For years, Florida media has done a less than stellar job with polls.

Explanations for the results are often tepid. Misunderstanding of the margin-of-error is common. Throw away lines about subgroup results being "higher than the margin of error" for the total sample does not reveal that these "higher" results often render the subgroup totals meaningless.

Rarely are there explanations about the differences between registered voters and likely voters - or how it was detemined that someone was a likely voter.

Geographic subgroups - South Florida, North Florida, Central Florida - are often too small to be statistically significant.

News organizations sometimes hold polling results for several days before reporting them - a particularly egregious mistake in the final weeks of an election when voter opinion can shift significantly making the "new" poll, at best, stale.

Continue reading "Florida polls and the media - let's rethink the whole thing" »

Q-poll McCollum 39, Scott 35

This Qunnipiac Poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percent suggesting that even with Bill McCollum at 39 and Rick Scott at 35, the race is too close to call in tomorrow's Republican primary for Florida governor.

Polling has been all over the place with some really awful reporting about some of the polls that are out there.

Crowley Political Report continues its warning to readers to be very wary of polling data. Qunnipiac interviewed 771 likely Republican primary voters. They polling was done during the period Aug. 21-22.

We will take a deeper look at polling this year in a future post.

Miami Herald - McCollum 45, Scott 36

Mccolumfin The Miami Herald is reporting that Bill McCollum has a 9 point lead over Rick Scott in the GOP primary for Florida governor.

The poll from Mason-Dixon suggests that McCollum's effort to cast doubt about Scott's honesty may be working among likely Republican primary voters.

Expect the Scott folks to quickly come back saying they expected to the race to tighten, they always knew it would be close and they still expect to win.

And Scott just might win. Voters have been unpredictable this year and a lot depends on voter turnout. Scott's team believes a high turnout gives him the nomination.

You can hear Crowley Political Report's take on the results during To the Point after Meet the Press on WPTV-5 at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Latest campaign report - Scott $12 million, McCollum $163,000

RickScott During the period of Aug. 7 to Aug. 19, Rick Scott loaned his Republican campaign for Florida governor $12 million bring the total he has given his campaign to $38.9 million.

Bill McCollum raised $163,000, bringing his total $7.7 million.

As we all know by now those figures only tell part of the money story.

Florida First Initiative, a McCollum support group has raised and spent  $5.8 million as of Aug. 19, with nearly half of that money arriving after July 30.

Florida First Initiative is a conduit for other "organizations" such as Citizens Speaking Out Committee, Floirda Liberty Fund, League of American Voters, Freedom First Committee, People for a Better Florida, Committee for Florida Justice, and others.

Most of these are just make-believe groups designed to funnel millions of dollars to favored candidates while making it difficult to determine who is really behind the cash flow. It also gives candidates an ability to shrug and say "golly we don't know where they get the money but we're sure glad they are giving it to us."

Of course many of these groups are sharing key staff with the candidate. This is not something that is exclusive to McCollum. Both Democrats and Republicans do it.

Scott has his own make-believe organization - Let's Get to Work. One key difference - nealry all of  the $12.6 million raised by LGW has come from Scott's wife.

Palm Beacher Ann Coulter loses gig after agreeing to talk to gay group

Amd_coulter The New York Daily News is reporting that conservative lightening rod Ann Coulter, who lives in Palm Beach, got tossed from a speaking gig after the group found out she also was speaking to a conservative gay group (see poster, left).

From the Daily News:

The conservative commentator has been publicly dropped from a keynote speaking gig at right-wing website WorldNetDaily's "Taking America Back National Conference" because she is also booked to headline a gay Republican group's event.

The website's backers say they gave Coulter the boot because she refused to ditch her speech at "HOMOCON" an event sponsored by GOProud which "represent gay conservatives and their allies."

Read the complete Daily News story here.