It doesn't appear to matter that Tropical Storm Ernesto is bearing down on the state. The attacks are coming fast and furious in the GOP primary for governor. Charlie Crist is under fire from two new mail pieces that have been sent out to hundreds of thousands of Republican voters. One mailer was paid by the campaign of GOP rival Tom Gallagher, while the other mail piece was paid for by the Coalition to Protect the American Dream, an electioneering communications organization whose major donors include Florida Power & Light.
The mailer from the coalition praises Gallagher's tough stance on immigration, while saying that Crist is siding with Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton on immigration. (The mailer doesn't point out that Crist is also supporting the position taken by President Bush and Gov. Jeb Bush.) Download dream_mailer.pdf.
The piece from the Gallagher campaign riffs on the same points that Gallagher has been making in his debates with Crist -- that Crist is "pro-choice" and will take Florida down the wrong path. The mailer even features an image of two road signs: One is Jeb Bush Blvd.and the other is Liberal Lane. See it here. Download keepfloridaontherightpath.pdf
Crist supporters are firing back. Floridians for Truth and Integrity in Government, an electioneering communications organization, has launched a website, www.taxingtom.com, and has allegedly started running TV ads that rehash past Gallagher tax proposals and even point out past news stories when Gallagher spent tax dollars to redecorate offices in the Capitol. The website even managed to get hold of footage of Gallagher dressed up as Monopoly Man, the icon that graces the game of Monopoly. Gallagher donned the outfit at a Cabinet meeting to promote the state's annual United Way drive.
Floridians for Truth and Integrity in Government was initially bankrolled by Floridians for a Better and Brighter Future, a group linked to the campaign consultant who did the Swift Boat ads that attacked John Kerry in 2004. IRS records show that contributions to Floridians for a Better and Brighter Future include $750,000 from Cape Coral developer Greg Eagle, whose son, Dane, works for the Crist campaign, as well as $25,000 from the Miccosukee Tribe. But Floridians for Truth and Integrity in Government has also received an additional $25,000 from the Miccosukees, $100,000 from TECO Energy, $100,000 from the owner of the Pompano Beach harness track, and money from yet another group that received $100,000 from U.S. Sugar.