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141 posts from August 2006

August 31, 2006

Finally, some good news for Harris. Some.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that, since last month, six percent more likely Republican voters say they like U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris in her U.S. Senate bid.

The poll of 317 people said 36 percent held a favorable view of Harris. Her unfavorable rating -- still high at 25 percent -- is down a percentage point.

Quinnipiac also found that Harris leads the pack of four candidates in the GOP primary, garnering 38 percentage points. Will McBride: 22 percent. LeRoy Collins: 11. Peter Monroe: 3.

Download Qpoll.doc

Pitts won't back Smith

Freddie Pitts, one of two wrongfully convicted black men dragged into the Democratic governor's race, said he can't support state Sen. Rod Smith, whose backers featured Pitts' case in a flier attacking rival Jim Davis for voting against compensating Pitts and Wilbert Lee in 1990.

Pitts was miffed by a radio ad (More here) that suggested he was one of the voices bashing Davis. He wasn't. The committee that posted the ad has agreed to change the phony voice-over.

Pitts made his comments first on Jim DeFede's radio show this morning and then told the Miami Herald: "Smith needs to come out and say this is wrong.'' Pitts also said he couldn't vote for Davis until the Tampa congressman explained how there wasn't enough evidence to warrant compensation.

August 30, 2006

Democratic debate is off

The leading Democratic candidates for governor will not face off one last time on statewide television before the Sept. 5 primary.

U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith were supposed to debate Tuesday night at WPTV, the NBC affilate in West Palm Beach, but Tropical Storm Ernesto forced the station to call it off. Attempts to reschedule the busy candidates were not successful.

"We got a four-day statewide tour planned and only four days left in the campaign,'' said Smith spokesman David Kochman. "It's a big shame."

Jeb's the '08 favorite for some Christian web surfers

Florida's Gov. Jeb Bush may not be running to replace his brother in the White House in 2008 -- yet -- but some people who spend time on Christian web sites are wishing he would. A poll by ChristiaNet.com, which calls itself the world's largest Christian portal, found that 44 percent of the 681 "registered Christian voters" surveyed favored Bush over U.S. Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, which each received 28 percent. More here.

Tale of the tape

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson boasts a body mass index befitting a runner, according to today's Washington Post, which surveyed the Senate for a story headlined, Measuring the Body Politic.

According to the National Institutes of Health, BMI measures body fat based on height and weight. But only 8 Senate offices complied with the newspaper's request for their bosses' stats.

Nelson, whom spokesman Bryan Gulley called an "avid runner," clocks in at 23.9 (5-9, 162). Other senators complying with the Post's request included: Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), 22.2. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), 22.5 (6-foot-4, 185 pounds). Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), 23.1 (6-0, 170), Wayne Allard (R-Colo), 23.5 (6-1, 178), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), 24.5 (5-11, 176), Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), 24.7 (6-1, 187) and George Allen (R-Va.), 26.3 (6-3 3/4 , 215). "It's all muscle!" spokesman John Reid told the newspaper.

See the entire story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/29/AR2006082901281.html

Poll: Gallagher has little hope, Smith a little more

In the GOP governor's  race, CFO Tom Gallagher trails AG Charlie Crist by 25 percentage points -- 32 to 57 -- heading into Tuesday's primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. The candidates' numbers in July: 32-55.

For the Democrats, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis leads state Sen. Rod Smith 43-32 -- a slip for Davis and gain for Smith since July when their numbers were 47-19.

Download QuinnPoll.doc

August 29, 2006

Villalobos-Bolaños debate postponed

Florida's toughest state Senate race got knocked by Tropical Storm Ernesto, which forced the delay of the Sen. District 38 debate from Wednesday morning until Friday at 8 a.m. on WINZ 940 AM. Host Jim DeFede, a former Miami Herald columnist, will moderate. The debate will appear on streaming audio at http://jimdefede.com/.

Frank Bolaños will take on Sen. Alex Villalobos as all the TV ads kick in.

Attacks come fast and furious before primary

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.

Collins ad on Harris: "She can't win."

Unable to muster the money for a major statewide TV ad buy, U.S. Sen. candidate LeRoy Collins is getting the best bang for his new radio ad by taking a passing shot at Katherine Harris after boosting his bio.

Collins asked Harris publicly to withdraw once before. This time, though, a woman's voice does the dirty work, saying "She can't win!" Indeed, Harris is once again under fire, this time for her interview with the Florida Baptist Witness where she mentioned "that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state."

More at http://www.leroycollins.org

$1m-plus ad buys in Villalobos-Bolaños

The Florida Chamber of Commerce's political organization, Partnership for Florida's Future, has made a number of television ad buys opposing state Sen. Alex Villalobos that began cranking up in full this week and that, by the end of the Sept. 5, could cost at least $1 million.

Underwriting some of the ads: a $700,000 cash infusion Aug. 15 from the Committee for Florida Justice Reform. More here on them.

On top of that, the school-choice voucher proponents, All Children Matter, have a large ad buy as well. That's on top of what the campaign of Villalobos opponent Frank Bolaños campaign and the group Citizens for Conservative Values has spent.

The likely result: a 3-to-1 spending margin in Bolaños vs. Villalobos ads, unless the trial lawyers and teachers' unions crank up their machines for the incumbent.

Partnership for Florida's Future chairman Mark Wilson said it's also supporting Tampa Bay Sen. candidate Kim Berfield.

In the Miami race, he couldn't confirm what the group has spent or plans to spend, but said it would spend what was needed because Villalobos voted, among other things, to reject its proposal to limit constitutional amendments.

"If we have to spend $2 million so voters of Sen. [district] 38 can learn how Alex has become more liberal than some liberal leaders in this state, then we’ll do it,” Wilson said.

Said Villalobos: "These are the people who live in the district? These are the people I fought for to get money for indigent health care from Jackson Memorial Hospital? No, it's the same old special interests. The wealthy and powerful."