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'The Boy Scout of the Democratic campaign machine'

588steve_schale_03embeddedprod_aff_2Don't let Steve Schale fool you, just because he looks like the kid who won the spelling bee, in wire-rimmed glasses and rumpled khakis. Or because Tallahassee is the biggest city he's ever lived in. Or because he lists Eagle Scout on his resume.

Recently tapped to lead Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Florida, Schale may be the savviest Democratic operative in the state.

He helped his beleaguered party do something it hadn't done in more than 20 years: pick up a seat in the Florida House. Under his steady hand, Democrats netted nine seats in the last two years, the biggest sweep in state history.

Statewide, the latest polls show Obama with a slight edge over Republican John McCain, foreshadowing a knock-down, drag-out fight in the nation's largest battleground state. The Republican party has already begun trying to undermine Obama among the state's Hispanic and Jewish voters, and it's easy to picture attack ads questioning his willingness to meet with hostile governments in Cuba and Iran.

Schale, 33, is a southern gentleman who hasn't been in the trenches for very long. But he'll likely have more money, staff and volunteers than McCain's team at his disposal -- "the largest and most comprehensive organization that my side of the aisle has ever seen in Florida,'' he said. His allies warn: don't let the nice-guy demeanor fool you.

"Steve does best when people take him for granted,'' said former state Rep. Doug Wiles of Jacksonville, who gave Schale his first job in politics. "I would never want to be on the other side of him in a campaign. He's very competitive, very focused and very driven.''

Story here.

Comments

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Billy

Kind of odd they never did a story on Frank Terraferma when he was at the RPOF and won more than 25 seats over 3 cycles. Also no mention of Schale running the House Democrats in 2004 when they actually lost seats. Not downplaying the fact that Steve had a good 2006. Only pointing out that a true measure is proven over a number of election cycles.

AC

Nice Job Steve. You are just what the Obama campaign needs, a florida face with whom people actually like working with...Beth said it best. Steve is a true gentleman and it will be nice to have him steer this big ship.

debbydowner

Steve is good, but winning a few state house seats in an overwhelmingly Democratic year doesn't qualify you to run a state wide organization with a budget this large. I think they would have been better suited to have someone who has run a statewide organization before. Maybe one that has to do with federal politics. State and Federal politics are worlds apart, and I think he's gonna have a steep learning curve. We'll see, but I don't think Obama will carry Florida, but it won't be entirely Steve's fault

TD

Billy, Steve didn't run the 2004 cycle, it was run by an out of state team brought in by Chris Smith. I do agree with you that Frank Terraferma never got the credit he deserved. Both Steve and Frank are really good guys.

Billy

TD your facts are wrong. Schale was out recruiting candidates in 2004. Schale suceeded David Daniel when he left for the Chamber.

Roger

Tony Bawidaminn succeeded David Daniel. Schale did not start until Bawidaminn left.

spelling bee

Nice Job Steve. You are just what the Obama campaign needs, a florida face with whom people actually like working with...Beth said it best. Steve is a true gentleman and it will be nice to have him steer this big ship.

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2008/06/the-boy-scout-o.html#ixzz108zalSVj

spelling bee

Nice Job Steve. You are just what the Obama campaign needs, a florida face with whom people actually like working with...Beth said it best. Steve is a true gentleman and it will be nice to have him steer this big ship.

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