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April 2014

New poll suggests Rick Scott has spent a lot of money for nothing

Not long ago, Crowley Political Report suggested that if Gov. Rick Scott's poll numbers did not improve his campaign could find itself struggling to explain the bad news to supporters and donors.

Well, the Scott campaign got very bad news today. After spending nearly $7 million over the past two months on campaign ads, Quinnipiac released a poll showing Scott trailing former Gov. Charlie Crist by 10 points.

Crist 48 - Scott 38.


And Crist's lead has actually increased since January 30 when that Q-poll showed Crist leading by 8 points, 46-38.

There are other polls that suggest the race is much closer. But Quinnipiac is one of the polls that gets the most attention. It makes for a miserable meeting in the Scott campaign office. And if that spread doesn't keep them up at night, there is this - Florida voters say 53 - 39 percent that Scott does not deserve reelection.

From the poll news release:

Women back Crist 51 - 33 percent and say 49 - 33 percent that he is more compassionate. Men are divided in the matchup with 44 percent for Crist and 43 percent for Scott, but say 50 - 38 percent that Crist is more compassionate.

Independent voters back the Democrat 48 - 34 percent and say 52 - 31 percent he is more compassionate.Crist's political party shift from Republican to independent to Democratic is a positive thing showing he is a pragmatist, 52 percent of voters, including 60 percent of independent voters, say, while 40 percent say it is negative, showing he has no core beliefs.

 "So far, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's television barrage apparently has had no impact on the race. The incumbent has not been able to reduce former Gov. Charlie Crist's lead. In fact, voters see Crist's party switch in a positive light and the incumbent's effort to tie Crist's support for Obamacare has not yet borne fruit," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Scott can still win. It is likely to be a close race as voters start paying more attention in the Fall. But this and other polls suggest Scott's campaign still has some retooling to do. 

They can't start soon enough.

Complete poll results on the next page.

Continue reading "New poll suggests Rick Scott has spent a lot of money for nothing" »

Why Charlie Crist is right

Today, WPBF 25 announced that the Florida Press Association, Leadership Florida and television stations throughout Florida are planning an Oct. 15, gubernatorial debate to be held at Broward College.

Formal invitations have been sent to leading major party contenders Gov. Rick Scott (R) and former Governor Charlie Crist (D), both of whom have previously participated in debates produced by the partnership of Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association. Candidates Nan Rich and Adrian Wyllie also have been invited.


Let's pause for a moment.

Why in the world are Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association sending invitations to Wyllie and Rich? Is this just an act of kindness? Do the organizers really believe either has a reasonable chance of being Florida's next governor?

First, let's consider Libertarian candidate Wyllie.

Okay. That's done.

Now, former state Senator Nan Rich. She is very serious about her campaign. She is traveling, giving speeches, raising money, and demanding a Democratic primary debate with former Governor Charlie Crist.

Crist is declining. His campaign - and quite a few Democrats - say they want to spend their time focusing on Scott. His biggest risk in refusing to debate Rich is that he will give an opening for Scott to insist that he has no reason to debate Crist. 

And one can easily imagine that Scott would rather do anything than debate Crist.

But that is for another day. Back to Rich.

The simple fact is that she has no path to becoming the Democratic nominee for governor. The most telling measure is dollars. She has raised few of them. Her cash haul is a bit more than $328,000. She has other contributions - largely from the Florida Democratic Party to pay for her small staff - of about $182,000. She has spent $230,000. 

She will not raise much more. Her campaign is effectively broke. She cannot do the things that need to be done to win a statewide race in Florida.

Consider this number: 4,628,876

That's how many Democrats there are in Florida. They are in 11 media markets. An effective statewide advertising campaign costs $2 million a week - a Democrat can spend about half that for a primary race in fewer markets. And that is minimal. Scott is planning on spending $100 million on his reelection. Crist talks about spending $50 million to return to the governor's mansion.

Rich is not rich enough to get there. Unless she suddenly gets a sizeable infusion of cash, her campaign is  a quixotic effort that has no real chance of success.

The state is too big. There are too many voters. You can't reach them all by car. You can't talk to enough of them individually or in groups to make a serious dent. We are a media state - traditional and social - and it takes cash, lots of it, to win.



Rick Scott's new ad hits Crist

 Another week, another new ad from the campaign of Florida Gov. Rick Scott.  These ads ask an unintended question - is it working?

There is only one reason Florida's Republican governor has already spent nearly $7 million - and climbing - to bolster his image while tearing apart Democrat Charlie Crist. Scott remains one of Florida's most unpopular governors.

A private Republican poll taken several weeks ago, shows that 46 percent of the state's registered voters disapprove of Scott's job perfomance. 45 percent approve. 9 percent are undecided. 52 percent of women disapprove.

That's what these campaign ads are really about - changing those numbers.

Which leads us back to the question - Is it working?

When the next public polls are done, Scott will need to show that he has seriously closed the gap with Crist - who has had an 8 point lead - or even surpassed Crist.

Failure to make significant inroads, particularly since Scott has had the airwaves to himself, would be deeply unsettling to Scott's campaign and to the Republican Party.

Should Scott's formidable onslaught fail to make a serious dent - Scott may have to spend a lot of his money since GOP donors may decide to sit out the rest of the race. And worst case is that some of Scott's supporters may drift to Crist just to protect themselves should Crist return to the governor's mansion.

Here's the latest video: 

PolitiFact says Charlie Crist mostly false on abortion

 One of the best television interviewers in the state is WPTV's Michael Williams host of the Sunday program To the Point. Democratic candidate for Florida  governor Charlie Crist was on the program Sunday and at times got a touch testy with Williams during the interview.

Politifact's conclusion after watching the program: Crist said in a TV interview that he hasn’t changed his view on abortion restrictions. We find that misleading -- unless you're talking about having views that have always been difficult to pin down.

Read the complete Politifact report here.

It is true, Crist has appeared to be all over the place on this issue - and his political rival, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, will probably argue that this is but one of many issues that Crist circles with a variety of views.

Disclosure: Most Sundays Crowley Political Report does political analysis on the program.

See the complete interview here. The abortion discussion is below. 

Note: Due to a Denial of Service Attack on TypePad, the company's websites, including this one, crashed for several days. We apologize to our readers.

Charlie Crist loses another one

People who have worked with Charlie Crist talk about how frustrating it can be. The former Florida Governor is known to listen to his father for advice and very few others. In fact, Crist listens mostly to Crist.

Folks who have worked with Crist describe it as an often frustrating experience. Crist could toss out a whole day of planning based on, well, often no one really knew why.

Today, Crist lost his second senior campaign staffer - spokesman Eric Conrad. He has been with the Crist campaign nearly an entire week. Yup, a week.

That is longer than Bill Hyers who ended his tenure as Crist campaign manager before the ink was dry on the contract.

Many, including Crist, gave George LeMieux much of the credit for Crist's successful run for governor in 2006. Crist dubbed LeMieux the "maestro" and when Mel Martinez stepped down as U.S. Senator, Crist rewarded LeMieux by appointing him to replace Martinez.

LeMieux could get very frustrated with Crist but he managed the candidate and the campaign well enough to win the GOP primary and defeat Democrat Jim Davis.

The magic seemed to disappear when Crist ran as an independent for the U.S. Senate in 2010. LeMieux, safely in the Senate, abandoned Crist as did most of his GOP campaign staff.

Now, what appears to some to be a chaotic campaign to return to the govenor's mansion, Crist risks shaking the confidence of his Democratic supporters.

Republican Governor Rick Scott has had not shortage of problems with his campaign staff, but Scott has the advantage of being the incumbent and plans to spend $100 million - a figure far greater than Crist can expect to spend.

Chatting with Crist on Monday, Crowley Political Report thought Crist seemed weary.

Crist needs to be careful that he does not make his campaign staff weary of him.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport



People Against Charlie Crist respond

Yesterday, Crowley Political Report revealed the existence of a new website called - The People Against Crist. 

Today, we have a response:

Thank you for promoting our website and educational videos that reveal the REAL Charlie Crist.

The People Against Crist is registered as an Electioneering Communications Organization with the Florida Division of Elections and we are now accepting donations to support the effort to educate Floridians about Charlie Crist - and his many flip-flops.

Speaking as a long time Activist, Artist and Lesbian. I don't think we can trust Charlie Crist.

Charlie Crist wanted to chain African Americans to each other and make them work in chain-gangs, outside, in the hot Florida sun. It raises equations about his sanity and his ability to lead the state of Florida.

He was against Obamacare, then apparently for it. He was against Gun Control, then apparently for it. How can Charlie Crist be trusted? He can't! The People Against Crist will expose the real Charlie Crist - and let the voters decide for themselves if he is suitable to be Governor of Florida - or not.

Sharon Kaplan Chairwoman for The People Against Crist 


1. Crowley Political Report was not "promoting" the website.

2. The claim that it is registered with the Florida Elections Division may be true but it does not appear on the state's website. Until it does or CPR receives other verification (we have asked Sharon Kaplan) the question remains.

3. At CPR's request, our copyrighted caricature of Charlie Crist was removed from the website's homepage.

Click on photo to visit their website.

People against crist


Follow us on Twitter @CrowleyReport

Jeb Bush donors worried about his wife

Politico is reporting this morning that "the donor class" is very worried that Jeb Bush's wife Columba will stop him from running for president in 2016.

From Politico:

Republican donors and operatives are chattering about Bush’s publicity-shy wife, so worried she isn’t on board with a 2016 White House run that they’re urging people in the family’s orbit to make the case.

Columba Bush has long been deeply averse to the spotlight, especially after an embarrassing encounter with U.S. Customs while her husband was still in office.

Donors also wonder whether Bush is willing to subject his family and their personal lives to the inevitable scrutiny that comes with a national campaign. Two of his children have been in the news in past years for arrests linked to drug problems and public intoxication.

Politico goes on at some length about the family issues rehashing daughter Noelle's drug problems, son Jeb Jr.'s, arrest, and Columba's problems with U.S. Customs. All this, according to Politco, leaves Bush's potential donors in a tizzy.

Crowley Political Report dealt with these issues and others in a March report:

It is no secret that as Florida’s First Lady, Columba Bush was not having fun. She did not enjoy the attention, living in Tallahassee, or the enormous amount of time Jeb had to spend on the job.

Her time in Tallahassee was further complicated by the arrest of their daughter, Noelle, on drug charges.  Their daughter continued to struggle for years. The family rarely speaks publicly about Noelle. In most stories, you can find sons George P. (who is running for Texas Land Commissioner) and Jeb Jr., but not a word about Noelle.

That would end the moment her father becomes a candidate for president.

CPR's conclusion - Jeb is not running largely for family reasons.

Politico's story seems to suggest a lot of folks think Crowley Political Report is right. 


New website called The People Against Crist

A curious new website, loaded with anti-Charlie Crist videos, appears to be creeping into Florida's race for governor. 

There is little information about who or what is behind this website. The owners hide their identity by using Domains By Proxy, a company owned by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons that is designed to allow owners to remain secret.

Note to owners: In your zeal, you ripped off a unique Charlie Crist caricature owned by Crowley Political Report. We appreciate that you follow us, and our artist is very proud of his work. Now please take it down. 

Back to our report.

The contact address for the the website is Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. The domain name was created on March 31. The site is accepting contributions and has this disclaimer: Paid Electioneering Communication paid for by "The People Against Crist” 

A web search of the Florida Division of Elections database did not turn up anything suggesting the owners have registered with state. This could be a problem since the site is accepting contributions.

And they have a brutal way of asking for your money:

"Does the idea of Charlie Crist being Governor again make you puke?

Are you equally concerned about Scott's campaign and doubt they know how to beat Crist? If you want to expose Crist and insure that he does not become Governor contribute to The People Against Crist today. We know how to educate the voters about the real Charlie Christ. Your money will be used to take the TV spots on our website and put them on the air in your county."

 The videos on the site are, well, different.


 And this one features Scott Rothstein:


You get the idea. 

There is a lot packed into the website. See it for yourself at The People Against Crist.

Follow us on Twitter @crowleyreport

Rick Scott an American Comeback

The Republican Governor's Association is doing a series of videos about Republican governors. The latest features Florida Governor Rick Scott who is trailing in polls against Democrat Charlie Crist.

From the RGA:

 Republican Governors are not going to take a back seat to anyone in Washington anymore.

The answers aren’t coming from Washington.  Republican Governors don’t just talk about conservative ideas, they put them into action.  Republican Governors are driving the American comeback.

The Republican Governors Association is launching the first five of what will be a series of ads featuring Republican Governors from around the country.  We are also beginning a national online advertising campaign designed to bring the stories of our Republican Governors to the public.

We are no longer going to outsource the Republican brand to the talking heads in Washington.

We are not going to allow the Republican Party to be defined by the dysfunction in Washington.

We are not going to allow the antics in Washington to damage or destroy what we stand for.

The media are focused on Republican infighting — they want to pit the “establishment” versus the “grassroots”.

Republican Governors are showing that when you turn conservative principles into real policies, they work.

The American people are going to hear more from Republican Governors about solutions that work in their states. Many like to say that Republican Governors should be the face of the Republican Party. The truth is, because we don’t live inside the Beltway, or New York, we haven’t been.  But we are making great things happen.


Charlie Crist dismisses Lopez Cantera with "gimme Scott"

This was a classic Charlie Crist moment.

But first. 

The Democratic candidate for governor arrived Monday at the non-partisan Forum Club of the Palm Beaches where nearly 700 had gathered to hear Crist talk about his campaign to oust Republican Rick Scott from the governor's mansion.

One surprise guest at the event was newly-minted Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who sat near the front while Crist spoke to the crowd and answered questions.

When Lopez-Cantera was acknowledged by the president of the Forum Club, Crist stood up and waved at Scott's LG.

Crist gave an aggressive speech.

He called Scott someone who has governed "like this, embrace the ideological fringe, take care of his friends, bully his opponents, hide from the public and the press, and run from tough issues.” 

Other Crist moments:

"You deserve a governor who wakes up everday thinking about you."

"Carlos, it's good to see you. Welcome."

"My record is pretty clear - putting the people first."

"Right now Florida doesn’t have an economic plan unless you count flying around in your private plane and holding press conferences and giving away taxpayer money to your buddies a plan. That may be a great way to take care of your friends and raise campaign dollars, but that’s no way to create an economy that’s built to last.”

"I'm the guy who says Obamacare is great because it is."

Carlos is one of the good Republicans "I know he has a good heart. I know my friend."

Now for the classic moment featuring Charlie and Carlos.

Immediately after the speech, Lopez-Cantera met with reporters to offer his take on Crist's remarks. Basically, he called Crist a liar. But let's roll the video from The Palm Beach Post, it says it all. Click on photo to see Post video.

Crist Forum Club


Charlie Crist gets a surpise visitor

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is about to speak to a crowd of about 700 at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.  One last minute guest is Republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

It should be intersting. Lopez-Cantera was a supporter of Crist when he was in the Legislature. Now as second to Gov. Rick Scott, Lopez-Cantera appears to have the assignment - at least today - to challenge whatever Crist says during his speech.

Is Lopez-Cantera going to be following Crist wherever he goes?

To see live tweets from the event - follow @crowleyreport

Speech should begin at about 12:15 p.m.

Tallahassee lobbyists have special moment for one of their own

It is not easy to impress reporters in Tallahasee. One exception was always former state Sen. Kenneth Plante. After leaving the Senate in 1978, he advised governors and was top lobbyist. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease.

At the time of his diagnosis, Lucy Morgan of the Tampa Bay Times wrote: 

The sleaze that frequently touches politicians and lobbyists has never come close to him. When reporters look for a man of honor who might talk about what's going on in political campaigns or the Legislature, they frequently turn to Plante.

Read more of Morgan's story here.

On Monday, The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists is hosting an ALS Walk. Details below:



As a state senator, lobbyist and legislative affairs director for Governor Bush, Ken has always been known for his ethics, integrity and his dedication to good governance. He lived the credo that “a man’s word is his bond.” He is fighting ALS and you can honor a good man with your efforts,


Join your friends in FAPL as we take one step closer to defeating the disease that steals our friends and loved ones piece by piece.


Check-in: 5:00pm, the Walk starts: 6:00pm

 Parking lot at Doak Campbell Stadium

(Meet at the Unconquered Statue by Doak Campbell and Langford Green)


A look back at Jeb Bush and clan on NBC

 This weekend, the extended family and friends of former President George H. W. Bush are gathering to celebrate his 25th anniversary of becoming preisdent.

If you enjoy physcobabbling you will enjoy watching the body language of Jeb and his big brother George.

The video and explanantion is from NBC News:

This year marks a milestone for the Bush family: the 25th anniversary of President George H. W. Bush’s presidency. The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation is celebrating the 41st president’s legacy with a series of events this weekend, starting tomorrow.

One of the most closely-watched speakers is sure to be Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whom many consider a possible frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, if he decides to run. But George H.W. Bush’s children, including of course the 43rd President, George W. Bush, have been part of their father’s public image long before they had political careers of their own.

 In 1986, NBC’s TODAY Show profiled the four sons of Vice President Bush, who was then running for President, noting that despite living in four different states, all had been backing their father throughout the election season. The five men appeared on the program to celebrate Father’s Day.