Charlie Crist makes it official

Crist cartoon head
Charlie Crist makes it official that he is a Democratic candidate for Florida governor. Crist filed candidate papers with the state Division of Elections today. 

Hat tip to AP's Gary Fineout who first tweeted about Crist filing for election. 

Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida, will annouce his candidacy in St. Petersburg at 10 a.m. Monday. Crist who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate as an independent is making an historic effort to run statewide for the third time 2006 - going from Republican, to independent and now Democrat.

Crist sounded enthusiatic during a phone call Thursday night about the coming campaign. Crist faces a potentional primary challenge from Nan Rich, but so far the former state senator has gained little traction. 

Crist is likely to win the Democratic nomination. Republican Gov. Rick Scott's team certainly seems to think so. The incumbent has waged a steady campaign attacking Crist and Scott's campaign committee is talking about launching a wave of anti-Crist ads beginning Monday - right after Crist announces.

Here's a look at Crist's election file:

Candidate Tracking System

2014 General Election 

Charlie Crist 
1 Beach Drive 
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 

Phone: (727)804-8035
  Campaign Treasurer 
Sanford B. Horwitz 
2121 Ponce De Leon Boulevard 
11th Floor 
Coral Gables, FL 33134
  Status: Active  
  Date Filed: 11/01/2013  
  Date Qualified:    



Florida GOP responds to Charlie Crist

Well that didn't take long. Here's the Florida Republican Party's video responding to Charlie Crist's new campaign video "It's Not Working." 

As often happens with Crist, the GOP offers a clip of Crist saying the opposite.


The 50 million dollar question for Charlie Crist

Crist majic

On July 1, 2005, Tom Gallagher appeared to be the early frontrunner in the race to win Florida's GOP nomination for governor.

On that day, his campaign announced a then record setting fundraising pace. Gallagher had collect $3.02 million in only 43 days. Even Jeb Bush had not raised money that fast in his campaigns for governor.

Gallagher campaign manager Brett Doster talked up the success with the media and Florida's political heavy weights. The message - the Gallagher train is leaving the station and you better hurry and get on board.

Florida's Chief Financial Officer appeared to have every reason to feel comfortable and his chief rival, Attorney General Charlie Crist, seemed to agree.

"It is well known that [Gallagher] knows how to raise money," Crist said in a statement. "I look forward to a campaign not just purchased on television but a real discussion of issues before the people of Florida."

On July 7, Crist made an announcement that changed all of the assumptions about the 2006 race for governor.

Crist said his campaign had raised $3.8 million is just six weeks making Crist the new fundraising champion.

Gallagher's campaign reeled from the announcement and never fully recovered.

This weekend, Crist will attend the Florida Democratic Party's statewide conference in Orlando. The newly minted Democrat is being hailed as the party's best chance to defeat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November.

Crist, in a new video released today, demonstrates his natural knack for appearing to care deeply about average Floridians. He also demonstrates his ability to find an opponent's weakness and capitalize on it. 

Scott's tiresome slogan "It's Working" is flipped by Crist into a somber and concerned "It's Not Working."

Crist knows how to campaign. He has an ability to connect with individuals in a way that continues to elude Scott. 

But while Scott may be sorely lacking in charisma, he has plenty of the other important campaign ingredient - money. He spent $70 million of his own dough in 2010. He is raising money this time and while he says he doesn't want to spend his own money again, be assured that Scott will write checks if that is what it takes to win.

The 50 million dollar question for Crist is - can he raise big money?

The fact is, no one knows. Crist has no experience raising money as a Democrat. A lot of his previous money sources won't pony up for him. Crist needs to find new donors.

Crist is expected to formally announce his campaign in November. If he does, he will need to report in January how much money he has raised in November and December.

He will need a very good showing to prove that he is a viable candidate.

Forget his lead in the polls. Forget his charm. Forget his winning campaign style.

None of that will matter if Crist does not have the money to compete in a very large and very expensive media state.

If Democrats really want Crist to win, they are going to have to open their checkbooks.

That is first and most important test of the 2014 campaign. 

No one knows that better than Tom Gallagher - and Charlie Crist.

Should Bill Nelson run against Charlie Crist?

Is U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson the real savior of the Florida Democratic Party? Some folks think that Nelson should run for governor.

So with that in mind, a few questions:

Would newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist run against Nelson in a Democratic primary?

Could Crist defeat Nelson?

Would Nelson be able to raise the money?

Would Crist stay out of the raise if Nelson got in?

Is there anybody else in the Democratic Party who could give Crist a serious run for the nomination?

These questions are being asked in Democratic circles - the answers will say a lot about the future of the Florida Democratic Party.

Last week, The Palm Beach Post reported this:

“Right now Sen. Nelson cannot envision a circumstance under which he would run for governor. But he remains very concerned about the state’s future,” Nelson communications director Dan McLaughlin said.

If you are one of those who believe Nelson should run - hang your hopes on the words, "Right now."


Cory Booker to attend pink slip Rick Scott breakfast

Florida Gov. Rick Scott gave his re-election, oops, state-of-the-State speech today. Scott wisely focused on topics that he believes will help him win a second term - teacher payraises, falling in love with Obamacare, and jobs.

His take-away campaign phrase - "It's working." 

Very nice. Fits perfectly on a bumper sticker.

While Scott was speaking, the Palm Beach County Democratic Party announced that Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker will be the guest speaker at a "Pink Slip Rick Breakfast."

Details are below.

Cory Booker

Florida Republican Party takes on Charlie Crist again

Either the folks at the Republican Party of Florida have too much time on their hands and are really bored or they really fear former Gov. Charlie Crist. 

The Republican turned independent soon-to-be Democrat and likely candidate for governor is featured in still another attack by the Florida GOP. Makes you wonder what the Republican Party's internal polls are telling them.

Clearly, the party appears to be very concerned about Crist's political future. Could it be that they believe Crist could defeat Gov. Rick Scott in the 2014 election? 

Here's the latest missive from the Florida GOP:


Shipwreck-Poster (1)

After a brief estrangement, professional political candidate Charlie Crist has reforged his alliance with his hand-picked political co-star, Jim Greer, and the two are now trying to leverage it into a new, blockbuster theatrical release.

In a delicately choreographed theatrical teaser, the two former political co-conspirators thrilled MSNBC viewers this week in a coordinated duet, with supporting roles filled admirably by Al Sharpton and Rachael Maddow.

Continue reading "Florida Republican Party takes on Charlie Crist again" »

Florida, Cuban voters, the media and what went wrong

This first appeared in Columbia Journalism Review

Ricky Ricardo


By Brian E. Crowley

Somehow the Florida election is beginning to feel a bit like an episode from the old I Love Lucy comedy. Not only did the Sunshine State hang over election results for four days—and still counting in some races—but there has been forehead-slapping confusion over who won the Cuban-American vote here, by how much, and what it might mean. The confusion has been fueled by a collection of all-over-the-map poll numbers variously cited, depending on the news source, to draw premature conclusions about this unique voting population.

So let’s start with this widely repeated statement by Cuban-American Ricky Ricardo to his wife: “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining’ to do.”

Continue reading "Florida, Cuban voters, the media and what went wrong" »

Florida official says 2.27 million votes already cast Dems lead

Chris Cate, commuications director for Florida Secretary of State, just tweeted the lastest election results:

"Total Votes Cast: 2.27 Million. Early Votes: 817k w/ 291k GOP & 392k DEM. Absentee Votes: 1.45 M w/ 635k GOP & 574k DEM."

Voting machine
Absentee ballots are nearly doubling early votes at this point. Democrats have a 100,000 vote edge in early votes while Republicans hold a 61,000 vote edge in absentee ballots cast. What does it all mean? Too early to tell. Early voting continues for the next five days.

One trend may be emerging....early voting appears to be below 2008 levels.

According to a 2008 story in USA Today: About 4.3 million people cast votes during early voting and absentee balloting; Democrats outnumbered Republicans by almost 360,000 among those voters, but it was unknown how they voted.

Should Democrats be worried? Perhaps.

New Allen West ad links Patrick Murphy to Democratic embarrassment

Some Democratic delegates looked like intolerant idiots Thursday during votes on the Democratic platform.  If you missed it, this ad by Republican Congressman Allen West pretty much sums it up - and Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for handing their opponents this little gem.

UPDATE: They took down the ad. Hopefully, West will put it back up soon.

UPDATE 2: It is back up....see it below.

Democratic chair should resign over his remarks

It is time for Mark Alan Siegel to resign. The chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party has made an ass of himself. In a video taped tirade, he says things such as this:

"I'm Jewish. I'm not a fan of any religion other than Judaism."

He also declares he is not a fan of Christianity.

"The Christians just want us to be there so we can all be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ. They are not our friends."

Siegel has apologized. In a statement he says: 

"I apologize to all Democrats and Floridians for my ill chosen words last night. After watching the interview I realize that what I said did not accurately make the point I was trying to establish.

"More importantly I apologize to all Christians, Jews and other people of faith for any embarrassment or anger my remarks may have caused. Throughout my life I have practiced religious tolerance among all people of faith.

"I am sincerely sorry for any remarks I made that may have diminished that record. I alone am responsible for my remarks and I pray that they are not taken as the position of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party." 

Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith has called on Siegel to resign but so far he has refused. Instead he is taking a leave of absence.

Siegel is being foolish. It is time to resign. Judge for yourself. Watch the video.

Charlie Crist the ambassador to Greece

One thing former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist has always had a knack for is wheedling his way into the spotlight. The former Republican turned independent and soon-to-be Democrat, has more than ticked off a few folks at the Republican National Convention with his endorsement Sunday of President Obama.

Today, he announced that he will be speaking at that Democratic National Convention. This, needless to say, is not lowering the temperature of those Republicans who simply loathe Crist. One thing is certain - Crist could care less.

There is a great deal of speculation that Crist is positioning himself to run for govenor against incumbent Republican Rick Scott in 2014. It would be a fascinating contest. And when you look around the Florida Democratic Party, one is hardpressed to find an alternative.

On the other hand, perhaps Crist simply wants a second-term Obama to name him ambassador to Greece.

When it comes to Charlie Crist, nothing should suprise you.

Obama arrives in Florida, he is no Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter
President Obama arrives in Jacksonville this afternoon to start a two-day campaign swing through the Sunshine State. Florida has not been kind to Democratic presidential candidates. Since 1952, Florida has voted for the Democratic nominee just four times in 15 elections.

Florida may be a swing state but in fact it hasn't done much swinging. Even the four Democrat victories have reasonable explanations that would suggest Democrats won more because of historical flukes than a genuine swing to the Democratic Party.

Continue reading "Obama arrives in Florida, he is no Jimmy Carter" »

Obama to make two day, five city trip to Florida next week

President Obama brings his campaign to Florida next week, spending Thursday and Friday in the Sunshine State, Crowley Political Report has learned.

Obama will travel to Jacksonville and West Palm Beach on Thursday and spend the night in Manalapan. On Friday, Obama will travel to Fort Myers and Orlando. He will return to Washington that night.

The president's two-day trip is a clear indication that the Obama campaign is concerned about winning here. The Sunshine State is key to Obama's chances for a second term and the state is no sure thing for the Democrats.

It will be interesting to see whether U.S. Senator Bill Nelson joins the president on all or part of his trip. Nelson found out this week that winning a second term may not be as easy as many thought against likely GOP nominee U.S. Rep. Connie Mack. 

Nelson huge money advantage was wiped out when the Karl Rove group Crossroads announced it would be spending $6.4 million on the helping Mack. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is pouring in another $1 million for Mack.

It is also a sign that Republicans believe they have a shot at defeating both Nelson and Obama here. 

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Obama's broken promises

If you live in Florida or one of the other key swing states, you can be forgiven for thinking it is already October. Good lord, there's a lot of political ads on television these days - and it's just May.

Now here is some disconcerting news - Comcast is exploring technology that would allow it to show an ad while you a skipping other commercials on your DVR. 

Mind boggling isn't it.

Here's the latest ad from Crossroads GPS. 

Has Obama just lost Florida over gay marriage?

Florida can be slow to change. In 1969, the Florida Legislature ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was the 50th state to do so. The Amendment had become part of the Constitution in August 1920.

Women had been voting for nearly 50 years.

 This year is the 30th anniversary of the Florida Legislature's 1982 decision not to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

 Nov. 4, will be the fourth anniversary of Florida's passage of the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment - "This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized."

 Nearly 62 percent of Florida voters supported the amendment.

It is against this socially conservative, political backdrop that Florida supporters of President Obama must weigh his decision to publicly support same-sex marriage.

Losing Florida will likely result in the White House being occupied by Republican Mitt Romney who opposes same-sex marriage. Where Romney may disappoint social conservatives is that no one believes that President Romney would do anything to stop gay marriages.

Continue reading "Has Obama just lost Florida over gay marriage?" »

An inside look at Obama fundraiser in Palm Beach Gardens

Air Force One landed at Palm Beach Internation airport shortly before noon. He was greeted there by U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Frederica Wilson, and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio.

If you were traveling I-95, life quickly became grim for drivers as the highway was shut down to allow the motorcade to travel. Crowley Political Report must admit that it is a hoot to barrel down the highway in such a fashion - it even makes the traveling press feel very important.

Swinging into Frenchman's Reserve - one of many gated communities that house South Florida's very rich - Obama was greeted by "lots of ladies in tennis outfits," and a "fanclub of a couple of dozen shrieking Bieber-fever-aged girls," according to the White House press pool.

Obama signed posters and a basketball. He also crossed the street to speak with an older couple. he then entered the home of Hansel Tookes II. 

Inside were U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, his wife Grace and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who is the DNC chairwoman.

George Bennett at The Palm Beach Post wrote, in a pool report for Florida media, that Obama told the folks at lunch:  "This election probably has the biggest contrast that we've seen maybe since the Johnson-Goldwater election. Maybe before that. Because my vision, Bill Nelson's vision, the Democratic vision, is one that says free markets are the key to economic growth, that we don't need more government just for the sake of expanding its reach. But there are certain things we have to do, whether it's investments in education, or basic science and research, or caring for the most vulnerable among us, creating an effective safety net, and we have to do it because we can't do it on our own."

He added: "The Republicans in this race, they've got a fundamentally different idea. Their basic view is that if they dismantle government investments in infrastructure or clean energy research, education, if they give it all away in terms of tax cuts to folks like me or some of you who don't need it and weren't even asking, that somehow makes America stronger."

As Obama was leaving, some folks outside chanted,"four more years."  Obama replied, "With your help."

Then it was on to Florida Atlantic Univeristy in Boca Raton where Obama is scheduled to speak about his "Warren Buffett" plan.




Obama, college republicans, the nanny and more

Obama cartoonLet's hear it for the College Republicans of Florida Atlantic University who plan to wave signs during President Obama's visit to the campus Tuesday.

In an email encouraging folks to join them at the protest site - Lot 17 at noon - folks are asked: "Please bring a sign."  But that is not the best part. What is noteworthy is the rest of the message: "Remember to keep the content focused on policy issues and not personal attacks."

How refreshing. There will certainly be a few boobs who show up with signs that are appalling  but one has to give the College Republicans credit for trying to keep the focus on policy differences.

Obama's plans to chat about the "Buffett rule."  Warren Buffett repeatedly notes that the current tax laws allow the billionaire to pay less in taxes than his secretary. Some Republicans have suggested that if Buffett would like to send a few more bucks to the Treasury nothing is stopping him.

Buffett's argument is that the tax code should not be so generous to the super-wealthy because they can afford to pay more - and still be very rich. Republicans counter that simply giving that money to the government does nothing to help the economy, and that in fact, letting the rich keep the extra dough is good for business investment, jobs, and the overall economy.

There will be no shortage of rich folks hanging out with Obama tomorrow  - at least one with a serious nanny problem.  Welcome to the Golden Beach home of trial attorney Jeremy Alters, a major Democratic fundraiser with an unhappy nanny.

Obama 1

Miami Herald political writer Marc Caputo, had this descriptionr of Obama's visit to the Alters home: 

". . .it'll be like walking on to the set of a South Florida telenovela.

There's a spurned nanny. A hint of poison and betrayal. A multi-million case against a bank. Allegations of financial impropriety. Cut-throat lawyers. A bar complaint. An ongoing lawsuit. A lie-dector test. The forced sale of tony Colorado homes, and a $2.2 million loan made with a handshake.

This has been Alters' life for the past few years."

You must read the rest of Caputo's story here. 

But not're not done here. Obama will not be far from the international headquarters of Crowley Political Report, when he drops by the Palm Beach Gardens home of Hansel Emory Tookes II. 
Obama 2The must read about Tookes two, can be found here in the Palm Beach Post.   Obama also will be dropping by the Weston in Hollywood for another fundraiser.
If you a mere Democratic supporter who would like to see the President but Obama 3 you are not among the wealthy or a selected member of the faculty and students of FAU, you will have ample opportunites to wave at the motorcades as it zips around Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties.
There will be plenty of closed intersections to choose from. 

 Obama art by artist Patrick Crowley

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Republican Adam Hasner embraces his Democratic video tracker

Her name is Jesse and from the sound of her voice and the reflection of her image in the window of Republican Adam Hasner's SUV, she is young and blond.

The four-minute video starts with the camera pointing down at the parking lot. It is clear Jesse is moving quickly toward her target. As Jesse raises the camera, she calls out, "Mr. Hasner." And then asks, "Before you go inside can you answer a couple of questions for me?

"Yeah, but can I get dressed first?"

"Sure, I won't look."

Jesse and Adam have met before. In an earlier video, Jesse tracks Hasner down in another parking lot on his way to a speech. Hasner invites her in. When he asks who she is working for, Jesse says, "The D-trip." Hasners sounds puzzled and she explains, "the Democratic Party."

From the two videos we learn that she lives in the "Tidewater area of Virginia." She mentions Virginia Beach and when asked if she plays golf, Jesse says she plays tennis. Jesse also describes herself as "not a politician I'm just a camera person." 

We find out that Jesse has been in Florida for several month and attended James Madison University. Her grandmother played golf and would sometimes take Jesse to the driving range.

Hasner asks her, "so what are we talking about today?"

"The Ryan budget, Social Security, Fair Tax," says Jesse.

Jesse is one of hundreds, often college kids, who are hired by both Republican and Democrat campaigns to stalk the candidates. Their goal is capture every utterance, every gesture, everything that could possibly be used against the opposition.

Hasner, is running for Congress in the seat abandoned by Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West who decided to flee north for safer ground. 

This video is an interesting look at life on the modern campaign trail:




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Quinnipiac Poll gives Florida Democrats something to smile about

Florida Democrats have had little to smile about in the past few years. They have lost so many elections that they are nearly irrelevant in Tallahassee and Washington. Democrats hold just one statewide office - that of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

So you can't blame Florida Democrats if they woke up this morning feeling a little better about themselves. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney by seven points. 

The Q-poll also looks at Pennsylvania and Ohio. The complete poll results for all three states are below:

In his best showing in this election cycle, President Barack Obama pulls away from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in two critical swing states, while a third state remains too close to call, according to today’s Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Women back the president over Romney or Santorum by 6 to 19 percentage points in the three states, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.  Most matchups among men are too close to call.  Voters in these states are much more concerned with the economy and health care than they are with social issues and women’s reproductive health.

Matching Obama against either Romney or Santorum in each of these key states – no one has won the White House since 1960 without carrying at least two of them – shows:

  • Florida: Obama tops Romney 49 – 42 percent;  Obama beats Santorum 50 – 37 percent.
  • Ohio: Obama over Romney 47 – 41 percent;  Obama leads Santorum 47 – 40 percent.
  • Pennsylvania: Obama edges Romney 45 – 42 percent;  Obama tops Santorum 48 – 41 percent.

“President Barack Obama is on a roll in the key swing states.  If the election were today, he would carry at least two states.  And if history repeats itself, that means he would be re-elected,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“But the election is not today.  It is seven months away.  Two months ago President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney were in a statistical tie in Ohio and Florida,” Brown added.

“The biggest reason for the president’s improving prospects probably is the economy.  Roughly six in 10 voters in all three states think the economy is recovering.   Moreover, voters blame the oil companies and oil-producing countries for the rise in gasoline prices and only about one in six voters blame them on President Obama.

 “Although the lead Romney had over Obama in trial matchups late last year has disappeared, he remains the stronger of the two major GOP contenders.  Voters in Pennsylvania still see Romney as better able than the president to fix the economy and both Romney and Obama are stronger than Sen. Rick Santorum on that measure in each state.

“Despite the focus on social issues such as same-sex marriage and women’s reproductive health, these issues are lower priorities for the voters.”

Voters blame oil companies and oil-producing nations more than Obama for gas prices.  And about 60 percent in each state blame environmental regulations for increased prices.

Continue reading "Quinnipiac Poll gives Florida Democrats something to smile about" »