If you are a Republican, especially a Florida Republican, you probably got an email this week begging for money.
Today is the final day for Florida's U.S. Senate candidates to raise money before they have to file contribution reports next month. In a feverish effort to push up their numbers, they spend the final days before the deadline doing little more than asking for cash.
When the reports are filed on July 15th, it will be the first serious test of the fundraising ability of Florida's three, Republican U.S. Senate candidates, Mike Haridopolos, Adam Hasner and George LeMieux.
Florida is all about cash. You can't win without boatloads of it. This is a state where it costs more than $1.5 million for just one week of television ads. Toss in direct mail, phone banks, polling, staff, radio ads, robo-calls, and all the other stuff of a campaign and, well, it gets expensive fast.
So while we would like to think that voters decide elections, the fact is that campaign contributions decide elections first. Many a decent candidate for statewide office has fallen by the wayside because they were unable to raise enough money to compete.
Ted Deutch wants his fellow Democrats to worry that he might be screwed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
In an email to potential donors, the South Florida congressman says:
Governor Rick Scott and his allies control the entire process for drawing new congressional districts, and Democrats without strong support will quickly find themselves targets. We cannot let this happen.
This is a decisive moment for my re-election campaign. You have an opportunity to send a loud and clear message to Florida Governor Rick Scott that I have strong, loyal, and generous supporters who will stand with me in my re-election and in the battles we’ll wage together. Now is when I need you.
Well this is certainly an interesting fundraising ploy. While Scott has no legal role in the reshaping of state legislative districts he does have veto power over congressional redistricting. But does anyone really believe that GOP lawmakers are going to give Deutch a break because he raises a lot of money?
The best thing going for Deutch is that the GOP will probably be happy to give him as many Democrats as they can squeeze into his Palm Beach/Broward district to help protect Republican districts.
But now that Deutch has targeted Scott and the Republicans - maybe the GOP will try to make Deutch's life miserable.
After a stunning win in New Hampshire - or a damn close second - you swing into South Carolina and continue to build momentum that takes you to the first true test of your ability to win a national campaign - Florida.
Well you better be showing up with a fat wallet.
Unless you are well-financed candidate - say a Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, or, if she can raise the money from her many loyal fans, Michele Bachmann, the odds are very long for a candidate arriving in the Sunshine State without enough cash.
Consider this would be nominee - $1.5 million. Actually it could be a bit more. That's the cost of one week of television ads in Florida's media markets. That's not counting direct mail, radio, web, and get-out-the-vote efforts.
So welcome to the Sunshine State - expect to spend a minimum of $2 million. And if you really want to win Florida, you need to start spending more time here - now.
Remember - when the snow settles in New Hampshire and the last extremist in the Palmetto State has voted, everyone will quickly forget what took place there. The Republican nominee will be decided in Florida.
Please keep these numbers in mind as you continue reading - State of Florida: 1,100, $784.84.
State of Alaska: 24,000, $725.97.
You should be outraged. These are the prices each state charged recently for public records. To be precise, the Great State of Alaska charged $725.27 for 24,000 pages of emails by former Gov. Sarah Palin. The emails came in five boxes. Each box weighed 55 pounds.
Meanwhile, Florida charged $784.84 for 1,100 emails (not pages). And these precious emails were not those of Gov. Rick Scott. No, these were the public records of his communications director, Brian Burgess.
Florida is going to play a major role - if not the defining one - in choosing the Republican nominee for president.
Sure, some of the candidates will still play in Iowa but that state is largely a waste of a candidate's time and resources. Even some political strategists are beginning to believe that Iowa is fading in importance.
New Hampshire desperately clings to its "first in the nation" spot on the political agenda and most of the candidates will be forced to endure the Granite State's cold winter. Nevada can be ignored but South Carolinians all but threaten to succeed from the union if the rest of the nation doesn't pay attention to them at least once every four years.
When those primaries are over, there are likely to be several Republican candidates still in the race. And the next state on the agenda is Florida where the wise candidate should be planting seeds now.
Which bring us to Jon Huntsman. Today, the former Utah governor and just-resigned Ambassador to China, will open his national campaign headquarters in Orlando.
His public schedule begins in Miami where he will make a morning visit to Everglades Lumber and Building Supply. Then Huntsman drops by Sarussi Cafe at 10:40 a.m. for a "casual discussion with local business leaders."
His public schedule goes blank until 4:30, when he opens his national headquarters in Orlando.
Before he gets to Orlando, Crowley Political Report has learned that Huntsman will attend a private event in Naples - home to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Coincidence? With most voters still unhappy with Scott, it is not likely that Huntsman plans to spend a lot public time with Florida's governor at this point despite the fact that Scott's campaign manager, Susie Wiles, is running Huntsman's campaign.
Huntsman has also hired David Johnson, a tough, respected GOP political operative. He is a former executive director of the Florida Republican Party. Other Florida hires include Nikki Jerger Lowery (who worked for Jeb Bush), Marc Reichelderfer and Alex Castellanos, Jr.
Now, all they have to do is figure out how to make Huntsman appeal to Florida's very conservative Republican primary voter.
The Florida Education Association is telling Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature that they are breaking the law by forcing teachers to contribute 3 percent of their pay to pay for their pensions.
So, of course, the FEA is going to court to stop what it calls an illegal "pay cut" for Florida's teachers.
Whether it is a "contribution" to their future pensions, or a "paycut," many teachers are unhappy. And they are not alone, the Florida Police Benevolent Association filed a motion to join the teacher suit.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and GOP legislative leaders believe that the state is doing the right thing by requiring state employees to contribute to their pension fund.
Most Florida voters agree. They see little reason why public employees should not pay something for their own retirement plans.
Michele Bachmann could be a huge pain for other Republican candidates in Florida's 2012 presidential primary.
Bachmann announced Monday night that she is a candidate. See her announcement video is below. In an emailed statement, Bachmann said:
"Our country needs a leader who understands the hardships that people across America have been facing over the past few years, and who will do what it takes to renew the American dream. We must become a strong and proud America again, and I see clearly a better path to a brighter future."
Look at the Florida U.S. Senate race, featuring Mike Haridopolos, Adam Hasner and George LeMieux, and you can get a clue about just how well Bachmann could do in the Sunshine State. The Florida senate candidates are pushing hard right, courting the Tea party by pandering to concerns about Agenda 21, Sharia law and other fear- issues.
But even without those issues, GOP conservatives and Florida Tea party activists will love Bachmann's unyielding stands on economic and social issues.
During last night's GOP debate in New Hampshire, Bachmann gave viewers a taste of her passionate views:
"Marriage is between a man and a woman."
"For children, the best possible way to raise children is to have a mother and father in their life."
"We need the mother of all repeals" of government regulations including getting rid of the Environmental Protection Agency.
If voter turnout is limited to the kinds of folks who feel as strongly as Bachmann does, there is a very good chance she could do very well - if not win - the Florida primary.
UPDATE - Debate ended a few moments ago - some quick thoughts on the other candidates:
Mitt Romney did well. No one layed a glove on him and he sounded experienced and sure of himself. Tim Pawlenty didn't have a single original thought and did nothing to stand out. Newt Gingrich seemed annoyed that he was forced to share a stage with Ron Paul and Herman Cain. Rick Santorum did his best to look like a good running mate.
Bachmann stood out and offered a stark contrast to Romney who remains the frontrunner.
Crowley Political Report never understands folks who can't pronounce Boca Raton - especially Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott was on WJNO radio talking about his trip to Canada and noting that the Canadian company Garda will be moving 100 jobs from Pasadena, Calif, to Boca Raton. Scott pronounced Raton like baton.
So wrong. As former Boca Raton Mayor Carol Hansen, used to say - "it is Ra tone, as in Al Capone."
And it is not Boca RaTAN, as some pronounce it. Good grief.
When we tweeted this on @crowleyreport, one person noted they pronounce it just like Scott does. The fact that Scott is not the only one who mispronounces Boca Raton does not make it less incorrect.
And shouldn't a Florida governor know how to pronounce the name of a Florida city?
During Scott's interview on WJNO, Florida's governor was asked if his low polls numbers - his favorability rating dropped to 29 percent in the last Quinnipiac University poll - would hurt Republicans in 2012.
Scott said the key for the GOP, "to winning any race right now is going to be who has got the right blueprint for job creation. That’s the whole key. . . . That’s going to be the key in local races, that’s going to be the key in federal races, that’s going to be the key in the presidency who has the right blueprint for job creation that is the number one issue."
Scott noted that unemployment numbers have dropped since he took office and claims that Florida has generate 55,000 to 75,000 new jobs this year.
"That is the key and that is why we’re going to do well next year," in the election, Scott said.
Rush hour is going to be ugly in Miami Monday with Air Force One expected to land at Miami International Airport right in the midst of drivers trying to get home from work.
President Obama will spend Monday evening raising money for his reelection campaign at the Adrienne Arsht Center on Biscayne Boulevard. Minimum price is $250 but Crowley Political Report hears that Miami Young Democrats are peddling some tickets for as low as $44. We suspect those folks are not going to be very close to the action.
A few recent conversations with Florida Democrats suggests to Crowley Poltical Report that there is some unhappiness with the president. We're not talking policy differences - and there are plenty of those - these folks think Obama is not spending enough quality time in the Sunshine State. They say Obama has not done enough to nurture his political base here.
Obama won't be doing any better on this trip. He's gone the next morning - leaving MIA just as rush hour is ending.
(Note: Mark Foley was a 2010 client for ImMEDIAcy Public Relations Inc. Brian Crowley is a principal of ImMEDIAcy).
Crowley Political Report has never been a fan of Sean Hannity but he gave Mark Foley a far tougher interview that one might expect.
Foley appeared on Hannity's FOX show tonight - his first appearance on national television since leaving Congress in 2006 following revelations that he was exchanging explicit computer messages with House pages.
Much of what Foley told Hannity has been revealed previously - he talked about being sexually abused by a Catholic priest when he was 11-years old, how much pain he brought to himself and his family, and he repeatedly took the blame for his actions.
But Hannity was determined not to let Foley off the hook that easily.
Hannity questioned how Foley, as an adult, could send sex messages to teenage boys. With a look of disgust on his face, Hannity asked Foley how he could square being the leader of the Committee for Exploited Children while at the same time secretly exploiting children
"There seems to be a missing connection here," Hannity said.
Foley would not say directly whether he thought Weiner should resign instead he said "whatever it is that is troubling him....he is not going to get better going back into that building (Congress).
A few minutes later Hannity asked Foley about punishing people for what Foley had done.
"Should people go to jail for that?" he asked Foley.
"No," said Foley.
"Should they be arrested>"
"H0w do they trust them around kids?...."
"....Should I have gone to jail no, absolutely not."
(Note: Mark Foley was a 2010 client for ImMEDIAcy Public Relations Inc. Brian Crowley is a principal of ImMEDIAcy).
Former Republican Florida Congressman Mark Foley will make his first national television appearance, since leaving the House in disgrace in 2006, tonight on the Sean Hannity show.
Hannity will be talking to Foley about Capitol Hill's latest sex scandal involving Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Since leaving office in 2006, Foley has been frequently courted by the national media. One of the most persistent was Oprah Winfrey who was eager to have Foley for her final season. Matt Lauer of NBC's Today show and many others also tried to get Foley on the air.
Hannity, until now, like everyone else had been unsuccessful despite many entreaties to Foley.
Why the reluctance? Foley, who spoke to Crowley Political Report frequently about these encounters, always concluded that it simply was not worth it to him or his family to dredge up the past.
Foley, who has his own radio show, said he will not be calling for Weiner to resign.
"I know what he is going through. I know how he and his family are hurting. I know the humiliation you feel when you end your career by pulling the rug out from under yourself," Foley told Crowley Political Report. "He needs to decide for himself what is the right thing to do."
Florida Republican U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux was on the Lisa Macci radio show recently when a woman caller had an urgent notice for the former interim senator.
"The main thing I wanted to bring to your attention is what they call the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, local governments for sustainability, and it's not," she says breathlessly. "It's Agenda 21 doing an end run around our states, senator and if Florida isn't careful the state legislators are going to become irrelevant."
"Yeah, I'm familiar with it," says LeMieux, "I've talked to a lot of groups here in Florida , some of the Tea party groups are really on to this issue. We need to make sure that government is run by the people that we elect and that they are making decisions which are based on the best interest of each of these communities and not tied into some international agenda. Something to be watchful for."
Whether he speaks to a newly formed Tea party group or the Orlando Young Republicans, Adam Hasner always warns about what he sees as one of America's biggest threats - Sharia law.
Hasner feels passionately about this issue whether he is speaking publicly or privately.
"Today there is an enemy and that enemy has a name and a defined mission. That enemy is Sharia compliant Islam," Hasner told a Tea party gathering last month. "And we cannot allow political correctness, multiculturalism or appeasement to cripple our defenses at home or abroad. Because this is a threat that not only exists on foreign soil, this is also a threat that exists from those who seek to destroy us from within."
He concluded with "Sharia law is not compatible with the constitution of the United States of America."
Is Sharia law really going to be an issue in Florida's U.S. Senate race? Apparently Hasner believes so. Or at the very least, he understands that this issue can appeal to the fears of some Republican voters.
The front of the card shows a man, his head in hand, looking glumly at a pile of papers on the kitchen table. A small baby sits on his lap. "We going broke! Can we stop it?"
On the flip side in large headline type it reads, "Allen West is fixing this mess." Below the headline it reads, "Allen West voted for a bold plan that prevents an economic catastrophe by: saving Medicare, paying down the debt, rejecting tax increases."
Next is this: "Liberals are attacking the plan, claiming it ends Medicare. This is a lie. The plan saves Medicare and gives Americans the same health care options as Members of Congress."
Folks are asked to call West and "thank him for fighting for our families."
Clearly the Heritage Foundation is doing what it can to help West win a second term. Does that mean the GOP is worried about whether West can win. Since he has won one and lost one in that district, Republicans should be worried.
But West is also proving to be formidable. He remains popular with Tea Party conservatives and it is like that Florida's Republican legislature we do its best to create a new district for him that sheds some of those pesky Democrats.
Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Fort Lauderdale businessman Patrick Murphy have announced campaigns to win the Democratic nomination.