« September 2010 | Main | November 2010 »

308 posts from October 2010

October 31, 2010

Today on the trail: Republicans rally, Democrats pray and Crist keeps smiling

A boisterous crowd of 700 Republicans with "Fire Pelosi" stickers on their shirts packed a Sarasota jet hangar Sunday, hoping to launch their statewide ticket to a sweep of Florida's top political offices.

They welcomed U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio with the kind of thunderous applause more often associated with presidential candidates, while Rick Scott earned cheers for portraying his race for governor as a referendum on Washington.

Meanwhile, Democrats Alex Sink and Kendrick Meek, running for governor and U.S. Senator respectively, spent Sunday morning at predominantly black churches, where they hoped to push "souls to the polls."

"It's a neck-and-neck race," Sink said of her showdown with Scott. "Right now, for the next 48 hours, it's going to be all about getting our voters and supporters out to the polls."

Story here.

Video: Alex Sink gets her groove on at rally

Democrat Alex Sink grooves to the tune of Akon's "Dangerous" at a early voting rally in Jacksonville.

Latest NYT projections: Rivera in Miami-Dade, West in Broward

The NYT projected election results, based on "polling, expert forecasts, fundraising, past election returns and other indicators" suggest a GOP sweep in the two contested South Florida congressional seats.

The paper has Republican Allen West toppling the Democratic incumbent Rep. Ron Klein, 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent.

And it's got Republican David Rivera besting Democrat Joe Garcia 51.4 percent to 45.9 percent. They're waging war for an open seat that was vacated by Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

Alex Sink feeds the followers with "souls to the polls" push in Jacksonville

IMG_4205 When the doors opened at the early voting site in Jacksonville's Elections Center at the Gateway Shopping Mall, the line of voters was 40 deep. An hour later, 80 people were waiting in line, many of them still in their church clothes, now sweaty from the heat.

It was part of the Democrat Party's coordinated campaign effort to bring out the African American vote on the final day of early voting. In Duval, the effort included phone calls and pulpit prayers.

Democrat Alex Sink took a whirlwind tour of four black churches Sunday morning, joined by Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Brown enticed voters with a chicken dinner at her campaign headquarters across the street from an early voting site in the heart of Jacksonville's North Side. "You've got to vote first,'' Brown said.

Inside, state Sen. Tony Hill dished up platters of barbeque chicken, baked beans, cole slaw and bisquits. "We're going to exceed expectations,'' he predicted of the African American vote.

Sink spoke at each of the churches and acknowledged the bruising election fight. "My faith tells me not to pray for victory, because god will decide that, but to pray for strength,'' she told her audiences, then asked for their prayers.IMG_4208_1

Photo: Sen. Tony Hill dishes up chicken dinners to voters at U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's Jacksonville headquarters.



Altar call for Kendrick Meek

Img00080-20101031-0836 (2) At Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in struggling Liberty City, where he was baptized as a child, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate was summoned to the altar.

Kendrick Meek and his mother, 84-year-old Carrie Meek, stepped gingerly out of the second pew and sat down in two chairs placed in the center aisle, just in front of the simple altar. The 200 or so congregants clustered  around them, holding hands and singing "We've Come This Far By Faith.''

It was an emotional homecoming for Meek, who, according to every single poll, is expected to come in third place in Tuesday's election. He is the only major black Senate candidate in the country, and pastor George McRae reminded the black congregants of the time not so long ago when they couldn't even vote.

"Many times we live in the moment, but I don't want to miss the significance of this, the first time in the state of Florida there's been a candidate such as I who carries the perspective of people of struggle,'' Meek said. "My heart is full this morning as we continue to march on to victory."

Later this morning, outside Christ Way Baptist Church in Miramar, Meek called reports that former President Bill Clinton had urged him to bow out a "very unfortunate thing.'' As if to personally stomp the story out, Clinton made a last-minute offer yesterday to join Meek and gubernatorial Alex Sink at a rally tomorrow night in Orlando.

"His back is going to help me, it's going to help Alex Sink and other state candidates,'' Meek said.

The worst week in Washington? Kendrick Meek

From the Washington Post: "Woe is Meek. Rep. Kendrick Meek, that is - the Miami area Democrat who found himself in the middle of a media maelstrom late last week when a report surfaced that former president Bill Clinton had urged him to end his Senate bid in favor of Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist...

In a last-ditch attempt to save the race for the Democrats (Crist has said he will caucus with the party if he wins), Clinton intervened, telling Meek that he could be a kingmaker if he got behind Crist, even this late in the game. According to Politico's Ben Smith, Meek agreed (twice) to get out before (twice) rethinking that decision.

"Or not. Meek insisted that 'there was never a deal,' conceding only that he and Clinton - a longtime supporter - had discussed the swirling reports that he might leave the race. Um, okay.

"The practical political effect of the Clinton contretemps is simple: Meek, already struggling badly for any traction in the race (polling suggests that his support runs in the high teens) looks hapless and hopeless at a time when voters want the exact opposite."

October 30, 2010

Special interests give big to both Ds and Rs leading to general election

What recession? Despite the state having the highest jobless rate in decades, homeowners struggling with mortgage rates, and consumer spending depressed, Florida's Republican and Democratic parties hauled in nearly $31.6 million in the two months since the primary election -- a record for Democrats -- according to finance reports filed on Friday.

Corporations, labor unions, wealthy individuals and political committees donated uncapped sums to fuel one of the most expensive election cycles on record. And even though polls show a lopsided number of voters favor Republicans this election cycle, the Florida Democratic Party showed its fight too -- raising just slightly more ($32,000) than the Republican Party of Florida. 

The Republicans, marred by a year of intra-party infighting, were helped in part by Rick Scott, the millionaire businessman who has financed his own campaign with a record $73 million, making it the most expensive race in Florida history. 

By contrast, Democrat Alex Sink finished the fundraising cycle having raised $11.2 million, including $6 million in soft money from in-kind contributions. Her campaign was aided by the Florida Democratic Party, which has no limits on what it can collect from contributors. She used the money to pay for the salaries of Sink’s campaign manager, communications director and other top deputies. 

Continue reading "Special interests give big to both Ds and Rs leading to general election" »

So who else should drop out?

A supporter at an Allen West appearance today in Broward County jokingly suggested a new path to victory for the Republican challenger: get former President Bill Clinton to ask Ron Klein to get out of the congressional race.

Allen laughed heartily, but demurred. "We want him to stay in the race," West said. "We want a race."

West stopped at an early voting site in Broward, autographing campaign signs and hugging supporters.

"Stay conservative," one woman told him. "I will," West replied, "There's no other way."

Observers suggest the race will be a squeaker. West lost to Klein in 2008, but has more money and name recognition this time around.

Video of Sink's Saturday: working the base with black voters and educators


With her polls showing her race a dead heat, and the airwaves crowded with all the ads voters can handle, Democrat Alex Sink spent Saturday trying to get out the vote from her base: educators and black voters in Orlando, Tallahassee and Miami.

Sink spoke to several hundred educators at a Florida Education Association conference in Orlando in the morning, just hours before Scott came into town for a viewing of  “Waiting for Superman,” with students who receive corporate vouchers for private school.

“I have to start out by saying one word, `Friends,’” Sink told the crowd, adding that she would be the first Florida governor in 12 years whose children attended public schools. "We cannot build a stronger economy without a stronger public education system.” The group, and it's national parent the National Education Association, steered $2.8 million to the Democratic Party, much of which helped her campaign.

Continue reading "Video of Sink's Saturday: working the base with black voters and educators" »

Listen to voicemail Crist left for Meek

The Buzz has obtained the voice mail Charlie Crist left shortly before 5 a.m. Monday for Kendrick Meek, hoping to meet later that day to set up a deal were Meek would leave the race. Meek, of course, said no.

Listen here.