Will Gwen become the the third Graham to run for Florida governor?

This morning, North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham posted a video saying she is seriously considering running for governor in 2018 following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather.

Let's start with this premise - yes she is running.

This will bring great joy to many Democrats who look at a very thin field of potential candidates with the most notable being Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Graham, 53, was elected to Congress in 2014 but now faces daunting odds after redistricting all but handed her seat to the Republicans. 

Ernest GrahamGraham's grandfather, Ernest "Cap" Graham (fifth from the left) ran for governor in 1944 after serving two terms in the Florida Senate. It was a time when winning the Democratic primary meant winning the governor's race. It was also a time where most political power rested in North Florida. 

Graham had moved to Miami to grow sugar for Pennsylvania Sugar Company, later named Pennsuco Farming Company. When Pennusco gave up, Graham acquired much of the land and converted it to dairy farming. Some of that land is now Miami Lakes.

Coming in third, Graham lost to Millard Caldwell. Graham died in 1957. 

In 1978, his son Bob Graham, successfully was elected governor and serve two highly terms. In 1986, Graham was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until 2005.

Most recently, Graham has been in the news, including a spot on 60 minutes, as a leader of bipartisan effort to release 28 secret pages of the 911 report. These pages, which Graham saw while chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, contain information about possible Saudi connections to the 911 terrorists.

While there is a long Graham family history in Florida, the road for a second Graham in the governor's mansion, a places she first moved into as a teenager, is a far from assured.

Her video is the start of a long journey that could either end up like her father or her grandfather.



Florida Senate goes Back to the Future

In Tallahassee, some things never change. The current struggle for power in the Florida Senate, the driving undercurrent of redistricting, is all too familiar.

Consider this Associated Press report: The squabbling Florida Senate is finally getting down to the serious business of reapportionment with the disquieting realization this normally bloody process will be immeasureably complicated by the Senate’s internal power struggle.

That was 1982.

Much of what was happening then, is happening now. A battle over the Senate presidency.  A possible coalition of Democrats and Republicans. A fight over Senate terms.  Much of the work done in secret. Egos replacing public policy.

In 1982, the Senate President, Pensacola’s W.D. Childers was under siege. His former roommate, Panama City’s Dempsey Barron was at war with him. Their battle between the two Democrats was so ugly, two nearly came to blows on the Senate floor. The physically imposing Edgar Dunn got between them.

Barron had effectively taken control of the Senate away from Childers. There were 27 Democrats and 13 Republicans. Barron formed a coalition with the 13 Republicans and 9 Democrats – they became known as the Dempseycrats.

They could not take the presidency away from Childers but the Dempseycrats were determined to control redistricting and ensure that Childers could not be elected for an unprecedented second term – something Childers dearly wanted.

Childers, joined by House leaders, pushed for all Senators to face election after redistricting. He was convinced Barron would lose key members of his coalition. Barron insisted that senators already having two more years in their terms did not have to face reelection.

The case went before the Florida Supreme Court in April 1982. Attorney General Jim Smith, then a Democrat, argued in a 50-page brief, “it seems clear that (the state Constitution) requires four year terms for senators unless it is necessary to truncate a term in order to maintain staggered terms. That is not the case in 1982.  Generally neither the equal protection clause nor the right to vote are violated by incumbent senators being permitted (to complete their terms).”

Continue reading "Florida Senate goes Back to the Future" »

PEW Poll finds Republican voters care more about new ideas than experience

Pew Research Center's new poll suggests that in the battle for primacy between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Bush's touting of his experience as Florida's governor for eight years may not be as effective in wooing Republican voters as is Rubio's claim of being the guy with new ideas.

Few polls go as deep or as complex as Pew Research Center's. 

One of the most interesting findings is this:

Since March, the share of all registered voters who say it is more important for a presidential candidate to have “new ideas and a different approach” has surged – with virtually all of the increase coming among Republican and Republican-leaning voters.

Today, by more than two-to-one (65% to 29%), Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say it is more important that a candidate have new ideas than “experience and a proven record.” Just five months ago, GOP voters valued experience and a proven record over new ideas, 57% to 36%.

That finding also suggests a reason why Donald Trump is leading among GOP presidential candidates. 

Pew's also finds that among Democrats, new ideas are less of a concern.

Opinion among Democratic voters continues to be more evenly divided: 50% say it is more important for a candidate to have experience and a proven record, while 42% view new ideas and a different approach as more important. This is little changed from March (46% experience, 49% new ideas).

This is a very detailed poll and takes some time to absorb. It is well worth the effort to get a deeper understanding of how issues are playing out among voters. The poll also includes more than a dozen charts some of which are below. 

And unlike most media polls, it has significant sample size.

The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 22-27 among 1,502 adults, including 1,136 registered voters, gauges the impact of various issue positions on the preferences of possible Republican and Democratic primary voters.

Lean back, relax and read the entire survey here. 


GOP Voters' Views of 'New Ideas,' Experience and the 2016 Campaign


How Possible Republican and Democratic Primary Voters Assess Candidates' Positions

Economy Remains Top Campaign Issue

Support for the GOP Candidates Varies by Income, Education, Gender, Religiosity

Alan Grayson web ad attacks Patrick Murphy

Florida's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is a bare-knuckles affair with a touch of humor and a shade of meanness. Orlando area Congressman Alan Grayson's first web ad is mostly humor featuring a little cartoon character. 

So far, Treasure Coast Congressman Patrick Murphy has largely ignored Grayson. One suspects that is not going to last much longer.




Could Planned Parenthood funding debate lead to a government shutdown

At least one prominent federal budget expert believes that there is a strong chance that the debate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood could lead to a government shutdown.

Stan Collender, a frequently sought speaker on federal budget issues, frequently appears on Bloomberg TV and writes a column for Forbes. He is also a friend of Crowley Political Report.

Collender, who carefully monitors congressional action on the budget, believes that the outcry over videos showing Planned Parenthood officials talking about the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. The undercover video was shot undercover by an anti-abortion group. Planned Parenthood claims the videos are heavily edited.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously voted for federal funding for fetal tissue research, announced that the Senate would take up a bill to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Florida Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel defended Planned Parenthood calling the GOP plans to cut funding, “another insidious effort by extremists . . .which would result in blocking millions of women from accessing critical and lifesaving healthcare.”

Collender says this kind of sharp divide could lead to a government shutdown.

Collender writes:

In the past that line-in-the-sand issue has been budget-related: the national debt, the federal deficit and taxes. This time it’s the new GOP push to defund Planned Parenthood – a highly emotional social issue that has quickly become a political litmus test for Republicans.

Republicans are vowing with ever-increasing vehemence to vote against legislation – including a CR — that includes funding for Planned Parenthoodand that means that a continuing resolution that simply extends existing funding at current levels won’t be acceptable to the GOP majorities in the House and Senate. The House and Senate Republican leadership could cobble together a coalition with the moderate members of their own caucus and Democrats, but they would do so by placing themselves and their members in extreme political peril.

Continue reading "Could Planned Parenthood funding debate lead to a government shutdown" »

Charlie Crist says he is running if

AbbyCharlie Crist Tweeted a few minutes ago that if the Florida Legislature redraws the congressional map with in a way that favors him - he will run for Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly's seat.

With the Florida Supreme Court telling the legislature that it violated the Florida Constitution with gerrymandered seats, our fine legislative leaders are being forced to do it over again. This is creating the likelihood that Jolly's seat with move in a more Democratic Party direction.

Jolly is announcing this evening that after a short stint in Congress, he wants to move on the U.S. Senate.

Crist, who has gone from Republican to Independent to Democrat, all in an effort to, well, help Crist, lost to Marco Rubio for senate and then narrowly lost to Rick Scott in the governor's race.

So now, he may be handed a congressional seat for which to run.

Unless, Republican leaders can figure out a way to screw him because they hate him.

Is Crist out of magic tricks? 

We'll soon find out.

Here's his Tweet:

Charlie CristVerified account‏@CharlieCrist

"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again."

Embedded image permalink
12:00 PM - 20 Jul 2015



"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again."

Alan Grayson with guts for the Senate

Not many candidates for the U.S. Senate would have a campaign website dubbed "with guts." But then not many candidates are like Congressman Alan Grayson.

Today Grayson announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Senate. The Florida congressman will be pressuring the party establishment's favorite, Congressman Patrick Murphy.

Grayson's pitch is hard left with themes echoing the liberal movement that once was hallmark of Democratic candidates.

Grayson is an unpredictable candidate prone to say whatever is on his mind in language that is colorful and leaves one no doubt about his thinking.

With four presidential candidates calling Florida home, Grayson's addition to the Senate race ensures that the Sunshine State will be a fascinating place to be during the 2016 campaign.

Grayson's website:

Senate Democrats go tp Florida Supreme Court to force House back in session


Florida Democratic Senators are asking the Florida Supreme Court to force House Speaker Steve Crisafulli to finish the 60-day legislative session.  Here is what was filed with the court



 Case No. SC 15- _________







THE FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESTATIVES and STEVE CRISAFULLI, in his capacity as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives,






MESSER CAPARELLO, P.A. MARK HERRON Florida Bar No.: 0199737 ROBERT J. TELFER, III Florida Bar No.: 128694 J. BRENNAN DONNELLY Florida Bar No.: 268895 P.O. Box 15579 Tallahassee, Florida 32317 Telephone: (850) 222-0720 Facsimile: (850) 224-4359 Attorneys for Petitioners


Pursuant to Rule 9.100, Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, Petitioners, Arthenia Joyner, Oscar Braynon, Joseph Abruzzo, Maria Sachs, Darren Soto, Christopher Smith, Geraldine Thompson, Jeff Clemens, Dwight Bullard, Eleanor Sobel, Bill Montford, Audrey Gibson, and Jeremy Ring, respectfully petition this Court for a writ of mandamus compelling the Florida House of Representatives to comply with the requirements of Article III, Section 3(e) of the Florida Constitution, which provides that “[n]either house shall adjourn for more than seventy-two consecutive hours except pursuant to concurrent resolution.”




This Court has jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus under Article V, Section 3(b)(8) of the Florida Constitution and Rule 9.030(b)(3) of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. Mandamus is the proper legal remedy to compel a state officer or a state agency to perform a legal duty required by the Florida Constitution. Dade County Classroom Teachers Ass’n. V. Legislature, 269 So. 2d 684 (Fla. 1972). The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked on an emergency basis due to the fact that the action of the House of Representatives was taken in the final days of the 2015 legislative session and relief is required prior to the conclusion of the session in order for the Legislature to complete its duties and responsibilities under the Florida Constitution.


Continue reading "Senate Democrats go tp Florida Supreme Court to force House back in session" »

Patrick Murphy enters Florida Senate race

One of Florida's most promising Democrats - and they are few and far between - U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is leaving his Treasure Coast congressional seat to run for the U.S. Senate.

Blame it on Republican Marco Rubio who went to Washington with eyes on the White House. His bid to get there is complicated, ,made even more difficult by presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Still, Rubio seems to headed toward a national campaign and he has insisted that he would not run for a second term if he runs for the White House.

Murphy, who won his Republican-leaning congressional seat in a tough battle against GOP extremist Allen West, works his district like a small town mayor. A Democratic centrist, he easily won reelection last year.

Murphy, 31, is also ready to take on Rubio, should the Republican senator decide a White House bid is not going to work for him.

Last week, in what seemed like a carefully orchestrated Democratic Party move to clear the deck for Murphy, Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz both announced they would not run for the senate seat.

Of course, if Rubio does not run for reelection, there are a lot of folks in both parties who look in the mirror and see a United States Senator. The field could get very crowded.

Murphy's prepared statement:

“I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 — Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better.

I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she will not run for Senate

Just a day after Charlie Crist announced on Facebook that he will not run for the U.S. Senate, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tells CNN that she too will stay out of the 2016 Florida race.

The coincidence of the two back-to-back announcements could leave one wondering if an effort is being made by Democrats to pave the way for Congressman Patrick Murphy who is expected to jump into the race next week.

Murphy, who is in his second term from a Republican leaning district, is one of the few bright spots for Florida Democrats who have been routinely slaughtered in state races over the past two decades. The governor's mansion, three elected cabinet officers, as well as a majority of the state House and Senate are controlled by the GOP. 

Democrats are thrilled with Murphy who has proven to be a strong fundraiser, a wily campaigner, and an articulate spokesman for moderate Democrats.

Congressman Alan Grayson also is talking about a run, but he may be too bogged down by his ugly divorce battle. Plus, Grayson lives in a political world that his largely unique to Grayson. 

Of course all of this depends on Republican incumbent Marco Rubio leaving the Senate to either run for president or governor in 2018. Rubio seems to be heading toward a 2016 presidential run and he has insisted that he will not run for reelection if his presidential campaign founders. 

For now, Crist and Wasserman Schultz have done Murphy a huge favor.

Here's is DWS breaking the news to Wolf Blitzer:


Democrats wonder what all the fuss is about with Bush announcement

Democratic National Committee spokesman Mo Elleithee responds to Jeb Bush's announcement today that he his starting a Leadership PAC as he inches his way toward formally becoming a candidate for president:

From Elleithee:

“Isn’t this what he’s been doing all along? I don’t know what the difference is between ‘thinking about’ running and ‘actively exploring’ running, but I suspect it has a lot to do with keeping his name in the news. However you see it, there’s no parsing this simple fact: Jeb Bush has fully embraced the failed economic agenda that benefits only a select few at the expense of the middle class. That’s not going to change no matter how many different ways he says he may run.”

Bill Clinton to campaign for Charlie Crist in Miami

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Miami Friday to campaign for Charlie Crist, the Demoocratic candidate for Florida governor.

The campaign rally will be at the J.W.Marriott Marquis on Biscayne Boulevard. The rally begins at 6 p.m.

It comes as no surprise that Clinton would be campaigning for Crist.  While Hillary Clinton continues to ponder her own presidential run, her husband knows better than most just how important Florida is to presidential candidates.

Clinton has credited his victory in the Florida Democratic Party's straw ballot at its 1991 convention with helping to launch his presidential campaign. Clinton won 54 percent in the December straw poll moving him from obscurity to rising political star.

In the final days of the 1992 campaign he pulled out of Florida and later regretted that decision convinced he could have won the Sunshine State had he hung on until election day. Instead George H.W. Bush won Florida by about 100,000 votes. That year Reform Party candidate Ross Perot won nearly 20 percents of Florida votes.

If Demoncrats hope to win Florida in 2016, it would be helpful to have a Democrat in the governor's mansion.

For more details about the rally read here.


Florida Democrats launch release the deposition website

UPDATE: Florida GOP responds: “Charlie Crist’s campaign of constant distraction and mudslinging is an attempt to hide his own problems with ethics and transparency. Crist is drumming up old, failed attacks because he doesn’t want to talk about the 38 days it’s been since he refused to release his and his spouse’s tax returns, and the 179 days it’s been since he refused to debate Nan Rich.” –Susan Hepworth, RPOF Communications Director

Florida Democrats have created a "Release the Deposition" website demanding that Governor Rick Scott provide a public copy of the 2010 deposition involving a lawsuit claiming Solantic, a healthcare company in which he was founder, had committed fraud.

The website features a quote from then Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul, a Republican, stating: "I request you release all documents related to the multiple concerning lawsuits against your company, Solantic, which is now surrounded by allegations of fraud, criminal activity and discrimination."

A countdown clock shows that it has been 1,566 days since Scott refused to release a copy of deposition. 

Release the Deposition also includes a video that uses images not from 2010 but apparently from a much earlier deposition taken in an unrelated lawsuit involving the national hospital Columbia/HCA.

Scrolling across the images, the video text says: "In 2010, Rick Scott's healthcare company Solantic was sued for fraud. Six days before he announced his campaign for governor, he was deposed under oath."

Next you hear the voice of Miami Herald report Marc Caputo asking Scott, "Will you release the deposition?"

Scott replies: "It's a private matter and I will not release the deposition."

The image switches back to Scott's earlier deposition and the text says: "What is he hiding? Release the deposition Governor."

The ad is paid for by the Florida Democratic Party.

Scott sold his interest in the company in 2011 after suggestions that he was pushing legislation that would help Solantic. More on that controversy here.

Newsmax reporting about Republican concerns about Solantic included this:

10 Republican lawmakers in Florida — nine members of the state House and one state senator — sent a letter to Scott stating: “Recently, it has come to our attention that just six days before you announced your candidacy for governor, you were deposed over allegations amounting to criminal and fraudulent activity at Solantic, a company you founded and operate. Instead of being forthcoming about your role in the case, it appears you worked behind the scenes to prevent this deposition from reaching the public view.

“As state legislators with an interest in building on our party’s success over the past 12 years, we are concerned your refusal to be upfront with the public in this case could severely jeopardize your chances of becoming governor should you win the Republican gubernatorial primary.

“We ask that you release your deposition and all documents related to and concerning lawsuits against Solantic in order to provide the transparency the public wants and deserves.

“If you remain unwilling to release these materials and answer questions on these issues, we believe you should immediately withdraw from the race for the good of our party and the conservative cause in Florida.”

Read the Newsmax story here.

Will any of this help Democrat Charlie Crist? Scott did manage to overcome the issue in his GOP primary race with Bill McCollum. And he narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Alex Sink. 

Can it work this time?

Now the video:


Florida Democratic Party TV ad opens fire on Rick Scott

 With recent polls suggesting that Governor Rick Scott is closing the gap with Charlie Crist, the Florida Democratic Party is hoping to do a bit of damage with its first campaign ad in 2014 governor's race.

The 30-second ad is intended to question Scott's integrity by reminding voters that he was CEO of Columbia/HCA - a national hospital company - that paid $1.7 billion in fines for Medicare fraud. Scott, who was forced to resign from the company said he was unaware of any wrongdoing and would have stopped it had he known.

This ad reminds voters that during depositions, Scott refused to answer questions 75 times.

The male voice in ad says:

Maybe you’ve heard about what was the largest Medicare fraud in history, committed when Rick Scott was a CEO.  

Or that Scott’s company paid record fraud fines of 1.7 billion dollars.  

And when Scott was deposed in lawsuits about his company, he took the fifth seventy-five times.  

Meaning, seventy-five times, Scott refused to answer questions because – if he had – he might admit to committing a crime.

A troubling past.  And now Rick Scott is our governor.  

Scott's campaign has spent many millions over the past months building up Scott and tearing down Crist. Democrats have been on the sidelines with political advertising lacking the money to match Scott's impressive firepower.

It will be interesting to see if this ad has any impact.

Follow on Twitter: @CrowleyReport




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 video about Obama, seniors and Medicare Advantage cuts

 Florida Gov. Rick Scott's campaign has turned a visit to an assisted living facility in Tampa into a video of worried seniors looking to Scott to protect them from cuts to Medicare Advantage.

Forget for a moment that there is little that a governor can do to affect changes in Medicare Advantage, but if you believe that frightened seniors is the path to reelection - it is an effective video.

Let's not forget that Democrats have long used scare tactics to convince seniors that Republicans would take away their Social Security.  It would appear that Scott and other Republicans are just borrowing from that playbook.

This video is about two minutes. Expect a 30-second version to hit the airwaves soon.

Charlie Crist does Stephen Colbert and its worth watching

Appearing on the Stephen Colbert's comedy show can be a dicey thing. Many a politician has squirmed and died on the show.

One can only imagine how well Florida Gov. Rick Scott, not known for his effervescent personality, would do with Colbert.

Among the questions Colbert asks Crist:

"You're running for governor of Florida again. Now as a Democrat against Rick Scott   Do you even have to campaign? Can't you just say - I'm Charlie Crist I used to be governor how about more of that?"

"Are you afraid of Rick Scott?"

"You're not afraid he is going to unhinge his jaw and try to swallow you? I mean you're running against a native Florida swamp creature. That doesn't frighten you in any way?"

"Reach, pull, release - are those the three words you want to use when you are talking about the President of the United States?"

"You're not going to play the race card?"

  As you can tell from the questions, Colbert is not a fan of Scott.  


New Quinnipiac Poll offers grim news for Rick Scott: Crist leads 46-38

Despite countless appearances claiming credit for Florida's growing economy, and a steady barrage of anti-Crist efforts by his campaign and the Florida Republican Party, Gov. Rick Scott remains in a deep hole behind former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Quinnipiac Univerisity released its new poll this morning showing Crist leading Scott 46-38. While Scott has somewhat chipped away at .Crist's lead, Republicans must be worried.

Perhaps the worst news is this: Only 41 percent of those surveyed believe Scott is doing a good job while 49 percent believe is not doing a good job as governor.

And this is an important note: 53 percent think Crist did a good job as governor while only 36 percent should not.

Finally, the poll found that 54 percent of those surveyed believe Rick Scott should not get a second term as governor.

Democrats will feel very happy this morning.

See more poll results below:

Continue reading "New Quinnipiac Poll offers grim news for Rick Scott: Crist leads 46-38" »

Bill Nelson is not stupid

Florida Senator Bill Nelson is leaving some of those who know him best mystified about his political future.  Will he or won’t he run for governor.

 “There are days when I think he’s ready to go,” said one Democrat who speaks regularly with Florida’s senior senator.  This person would like to continue the relationship with Nelson and asked not to be named.

 In conversations with several people who have spoken with Nelson, one thing is clear – it’s not clear what Nelson will do.

The consensus is that Nelson will run for governor if Charlie Crist falters.  Perhaps the best evidence is his most recent public statement to Chuck Todd on Daily Rundown.  Todd asked Nelson if he would make a Sherman-like statement that he would absolutely not run for governor.

 With a typical Nelson grin, he replied, “I haven't been Shermanesque but I’ve said what I've said."

 Bill Nelson is not stupid.

 Nelson has been in politics for most of the last 40 years. He knows what his words signal. And so does his intended audience – Democratic campaign donors and activists.

 Some Democrats are still struggling with the idea that former Republican Charlie Crist could be handed the party’s nomination for governor. They view him as an opportunist.

 It’s politics. Everyone is an opportunist.

 The more practical questions are these: Would Nelson be a better candidate than Crist? Can Nelson really defeat Republican incumbent Rick Scott in November?

 Nelson’s most recent election victories were the 2012 defeat of former Congressman Connie Mack, and his 2006 win over former Congresswoman Katherine Harris.  These were easy wins. Nelson barely left the office.

 In 2000, Nelson easily defeated Republican Bill McCollum. Nelson’s toughest statewide campaign was in 1990 when he lost the Democratic primary for governor to Lawton Chiles. Of course the irony is that Chiles swooped in during the final months of the primary and to Nelson exactly what some Democrats are hoping Nelson would do to Crist.

 Another irony – in Nelson’s desperate bid to beat back the last minute challenge from Chiles, he questioned Chiles age and health. Chiles was 61. Today, Nelson is 71.

 Nelson is an old school campaigner. He can be tough. But is he really ready to take on someone like Crist? Is Nelson willing to have his record in the Senate scrutinized and challanged? And is Nelson ready for the onslaught that will come from the GOP and Scott's campaign?

Does Nelson, who is on the verge of being one of the Senate's most powerful members, willing to risk his legacy on another humiliating defeat in a race for governor?

Sometimes you get the feeling that those who are urging Nelson to run are thinking more of their own agenda than what is best for Florida's senior senator.

Bill Nelson is not stupid. He knows that too.

GOP attacks while Crist says he hopes there is a brighter future tomorrow

Gov. Rick Scott's campaign committee did not waste any time going on the attack. Scott's political committee - Let's Get to Work - is going on the air Monday at the same time Charlie Crist is announcing the start of his 2014 campaign to take the keys to the governor's mansion away from Scott.

Predictably, the ad is using quotes from Democrats who opposed Crist while he was a Republican. After decades of running as a Republican for state Senate, U.S. Senate, Attorney General, Governor, and then as an independent for U.S. Senate, there is no shortage of Democrats questioning Crist's qualifications and stands on the issues.

Today, those same Democrats are in the odd position of viewing Crist as their champion. Tampa Bay Times political writer Adam Smith posted the GOP ad here.

Here is a transcript:

Democrat Alex Sink says: "He failed to layout a business plan to get Florida out of its worst recession."

Democratic chair Karen Thurman said:  "He has done nothing to create jobs, his only core belief is personal ambition."

"He's an opportunist," says Tampa's Mayor Buckhorn.

Congressman Kendrick Meek said: "He can't be trusted."

Al Gore said: "It's a little unusual to have someone flip-flop and then flop-flip."

Who are they all talking about?  This man, Charlie Crist.

Al Gore? Really? Why Gore? 

Anyway, when Crowley Political Report spoke to Crist he seemed nonplused by all this. But his best  omment may be what he said to the Associated Press.

"I'm looking forward to Monday and making it official in every way," Crist told the Associated Press Tallahassee Correspondent Brendan Farrington today.  "I just hope that the message that we deliver will lift Florida's spirits and let her know that there's a brighter future tomorrow. And it's coming."

Bright or thing is certain - the next 12 months are going to be hell on the campaign trail. This is gonna be ugly.