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August 2010

Is Bud Chiles the killer app?

Republicans political operatives love Bud Chiles and they may put some money behind him.

They see the independent candidate as a threat to soon-to-be Democratic nominee for Florida governor - Alex Sink.

The new Qunnipiac University poll shows Chiles hovering at only 12 percent in the polls, with 9 percent coming from Democrats, 8 percent from Republicans and 20 percent from independents.

A top Republican told Crowley Political Report that there is talk about creating an "Isn't Chiles Swell" type campaign organization to funnel money for ads encouraging voters to support Chiles.


They believe the more votes they can drive to Chiles, the more votes they can take away from Sink.

Sink can run but Republicans won't let her hide

Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald wrote about President Obama's trip to Miami Beach Wednesday for a Florida Democratic Party fundraiser and concluded that CFO Alex Sink went out of her way to avoid being seen near Obama.

If true, it would not have been a display of political courage on the part of Sink, Florida's soon-to-be Democratic nominee for governor.

Sink can run, but the Republicans won't let her hide. Excerpts from Reinhard's story:

For Alex Sink, the Democratic front-runner for governor, the potential price for embracing the increasingly unpopular president was too steep. The state's chief financial officer did not join Obama at the deli or greet him at Miami International Airport, and she had stepped off the stage by the time Sen. Bill Nelson introduced the president at the hotel.

Sink spokeswoman Kyra Jennings said she could not meet Obama on the airport tarmac because of "previously scheduled events." Sink headlined a "power lunch" in Fort Lauderdale with other female officeholders and campaigned at the voter-rich Kings Point retirement community in Tamarac.

Her distance from Obama was not surprising, considering that Gov. Charlie Crist's embrace of the president last year helped his rival Marco Rubio torpedo his standing with GOP voters.

Another new poll says Scott, McCollum tied

We know. It's all a bit mind-boggling.

We start the morning here at Crowley Political Report with a Qunnipiac poll showing Bill McCollum leading Rick Scott 44-35

By lunch, we have a Sunshine State News poll done by Voter Survey Service showing Scott 44, McCollum 42 - a statiscal tie.

A McCollum insider told Crowley Political Report that their internal polls show them up by 12.

A Scott insider said their internals mirror the Sunshine results - a statiscal tie.

Anybody got a coin?

McCollum 44, Scott 35, Women love Bill

Less than a week before the election and according to Quinnipiac University 19 percent of Republican voters don't know who they want to be their party's nominee for Florida governor.

And 32 percent of those who picked either Attorney General Bill McCollum or Naples businessman Rick Scott say they could change their mind.

Insider vs. Outsider? 42 percent want an outsider. 35 percent want someone with government experience. 23 percent don't know what they want.

So much for the throw the bums out theory.

And apparently Bill McCollum is a babe magnet - 48 percent of GOP women said they would vote for McCollum, 31 percent for Scott.

The split males - 40 percent Scott, 39 percent McCollum.

All in all, very good news for McCollum.

Alex Sink, Rod Smith announcement details

Here's the press release from the Sink campaign:

West Palm Beach, FL - Florida CFO and Gubernatorial Candidate Alex Sink will be joined by her newly announced running mate Rod Smith at a campaign event this Thursday morning in West Palm Beach.  Sink and Smith will discuss how their problem-solving approach and real experience can move Florida forward at their first public appearance together.

"The most important thing I was looking for in a lieutenant governor was someone with integrity and who cares as deeply about Florida as I do," said Alex Sink.  "As a former prosecutor, Rod knows how to root out corruption and he will be a strong partner to clean up the mess in Tallahassee.  I am proud to have Rod Smith join me as we stand up for the priorities of Floridians and fight for the future of our state."

Continue reading "Alex Sink, Rod Smith announcement details" »

Giuliani to join McCollum for breakfast Friday

Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner is hosting a breakfast in West Palm Beach Friday for Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Former New York Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will be the guest of honor.

It won't be a long drive the mayor. In February, Giuliani purchased a 2,064 square-foot Palm Beach condo for $1.4 million. Giuliani also owns a smaller condo in Palm Beach Towers which he bought in 2004 for $410,000.

By Palm Beach standards, his condos are not much more than guest cottages.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh lives a few miles away in an oceanfront mansion estimated to be worth more than $35 million.

Travel to Cuba may get easier

Fidel castro Gosh, just what we needed - another hot issue for the election.

President Obama is planning to ease travel restrictions to Cuba for students, educators and researchers.

The howling has already begun proving a point Crowley Political Report made last week when we called Fidel Castro Florida's most important political figure.

Read more about the travel plans here.

Any bets on who does the first political ad?

You knew it was coming - the Jim Greer ad

Bill McCollum's handling of the Jim Greer scandal was at best sloppy but this ad tries to suggest that it was far worse than that. But at least there are no handcuffs.

As for McCollum and open government - here's what he said in June:

"I'm not sure the Legislature is the place for open government," McCollum said. "I was a legislator and you can't negotiate and do deals in the Legislature and get business done in 60 days or 90 days or whatever your session may be with open government, to be perfectly frank"

Here's the new Rick Scott ad:


Is the McCollum camp going too far

Something that campaign consultants usually forget is that when they fade from the scene after cashing their big paychecks - it is the candidate they are being paid to help who risks a sullied reputation when the consultants go too far.

The handcuffs in this ad by the McCollum's crowd is a dishonest distortion of the facts.

Rick Scott's ads are no better. But somehow you expect a bit more from Florida's Attorney General.


Nudity, oral sex, cocaine - yup it's the Florida Senate race

Bitchfire2009 New Times has posted an item, based on the reports of  former Summerwind yatch employee Sharyn Peach, that is, well, a less than a flattering portrait of  Jeff Greene, Florida's billionaire candidate for U.S. Senate.

Working on Greene's 145-foot Choy Lee yacht was like being "locked" in Studio 54 in its prime. It was nothing short of, "Sex, Drugs, and Techno Music." Celebrities, "hired" party girls, mayhem, and debauchery. I saw more tits and ass in one night on Jeff Greene's Summerwind than I have for the past seven years on South Beach.

Peach claims to have kept a journal during her three weeks aboard the yatch in 2006. She also claims to have seen cocaine, oral sex, and other things aboard the yatch.

While the 40-something Peach seems shocked by all off this you have to wonder about just how fragile she really is.

 After all as the lead singer for a South Florida band called Bitchfire, one reviewer of their album described Peach as "playing (hopefully) the rejected and angry white female as the songs combine bitterness and unnecessary vulgarity to prove their point."

She certainly looks shy.

Final question - how long will it take Greene to sue?


Rod Smith - 2006 version

Here's what Rod Smith, soon to be Alex Sink's running mate, had to say about a few key issues in the 2006 campaign for Democratic nomination for governor:

Money that could be used to reduce the cost of windstorm insurance is being wasted on an unneeded election-year tax cut, Rod Smith, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Saturday.

"We have a windstorm crisis in this state, and Jeb Bush wants a $1.5 billion tax cut just so he can say he cut taxes by $20 billion while he was governor," said Smith, a state senator from Alachua.

Smith was speaking to a few dozen supporters who munched on pizza while he stood in front of the movie screen at Silver Screen Cinema Cafe.

Continue reading "Rod Smith - 2006 version " »

Rod Smith will outshine Alex Sink

Asink[1] After spending a couple of days in 2006 traveling around Florida with Rod Smith and a campaign staffer in a rental car, one couldn't help but appreciate Smith's sense of humor, his determination and his political charisma.

His rival for the Democratic nomination for governor that year - then-Congressman Jim Davis - brought a new meaning to  "dull" as he campaigned in a monitone with a hint of entitlement. Smith, a state senator, was the everyman candidate from a rural corner of Alachua County. Davis was the establishment candidate from Tampa.

"The first time I saw a poll in this election, they had me at 4 percent. That's the good news," Smith would tell audiences. "The bad news was that the margin of error was 5 percent. I'd like to think that meant I was at 9 percent."

Smith lost. He took the loss hard.

On Thursday, Smith will emerge on the Florida political scene as Alex Sink's running mate. She will make the announcement in Palm Beach County where Smith grew-up after his family moved to Florida.

Smart move. But Sink, who has taken speech lessons since starting her campaign for governor, remains an uninspiring speaker. She should introduce Smith quickly and then hand him the microphone.

Continue reading "Rod Smith will outshine Alex Sink" »

Drama for Obama in Miami Beach

Obama cartoon President Obama will travel to Miami Beach Wednesday to attend an evening fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party at the Fountainbleau Hotel.

The trip is part of a three-day, five-state campaign swing for the president who is trying to shore up Democratic candidates. His trip includes stops in the stated of Wisconsin (today), Washington, Ohio and California.

So for no-drama Obama, will Jeff Greene and Kendrick Meek provide a bit of drama?

And will Alex Sink be less embarrased being around the president than she was with Joe Biden a few weeks ago?

There's always drama.

Rick Scott's version of the truth about New York mosque

Rscott079 In Rick Scott's new ad about the building of an Islamic center in lower Manhattan (which you can see below) Scott offers his version of the truth.

Staring at the camera with somber music playing in the background, Scott says:

"Barack Obama says building a mosque at Ground Zero is about tolerance, he's wrong it's about truth."

Truth - the proposed mosque is not "at" Ground zero. It is two blocks away.

Scott goes on to use the word "truth" several more times. Unfortunately all Scott is doing in this ad is fanning a political fire - one started by both Democrats and Republicans - with little regard to the whole truth.

Continue reading "Rick Scott's version of the truth about New York mosque" »

Alex Sink and Alaska

Alaska. More on that in moment.

Democrat Alex Sink's new ad attempts to make Bill McCollum and Rick Scott look like a couple of squabbling fools as they fight over the GOP nomination for Florida governor.

Sink, the Democratic nominee by default, is putting this new television ad on the air this week. No word on how big a buy. Throwing this ad up in the middle of the McCollum - Scott mudfight is an interesting tactic.

It is obviously an attempt to portray Sink as a level-headed, above-the-fray leader. But with Scott, McCollum and a host of other primary candidates from school board races to U.S. Senate races buying ad time between now and Aug. 24, her ads might just become part of the noise.

It's not a bad a gamble and if enough voters notice it the ad might give her a good jump-start on Aug. 25 when the general election gets underway.

Meanwhile, Crowley Political Report could not help but notice that there is a map of Alaska in the background. It become particularly noticeable in the closing seconds of the ad.

Coincidence? Or a subtle message about McCollum, Scott and Sarah Palin?


Jeff Greene: I intend to stand up to the St. Petersburg Times

Earlier Crowley Political Report gave you information about Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene's threat to sue the St. Petersburg Times. (Scoll down to see earlier report).

Later, Greene blasted the Times during a press conference.

" ... So trying to connect me to some crook who is in jail is, complete, it's libelous. It's libelous, it's dishonest and I intend to stand up to the St. Petersburg Times. And you can be sure if there is not a retraction printed on the front page of the St. Petersburg Times .... We will sue the St. Petersburg Times."