Thursday, January 11, 2007

2008 Presidential Candidates: The Florida Connection

Lately, a number of political operatives with Florida ties have been scooped up would-be presidetial contenders and this seems as good an excuse as any to discuss the 2008 primaries and caucuses.

Most of the stories have been on the GOP side, from Senator John McCain and former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney courting Jeb Bush, to Gov. Charlie Crist attending a McCain reception in Miami Lakes.

However, the biggest news is Luis Navarro leaving his position as executive director of the Florida Democratic Party to manage the fledgling presidential campaign of Delaware Senator Joseph Biden (see photo). I have had some dealings with Biden in the past and he is an impressive candidate, but he is not high on anyone's handicapping list.

Biden ran for president once before - in 1988. He will be a strong fundraiser at least initially. The reason why? Check your credit card bill. The address will almost invariably say "Wilmington, DE." That's right. For various tax reasons (Delaware is a sort of mini tax haven), many financial institutions are actually incorporated in Delaware - and Biden will be able to tap that for his fundraising base. He will also be able to use his bully pulpit as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to burnish his credentials on the Iraq war debacle.

Despite these advantages, he lacks many of the advantages of some of the other candidates. His fundraising base isn't as broad as some other candidates and his star power is nowhere near candidates like Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He also doesn't have strong connections to any of the early test states like New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (whose latino heritage and proximity to Nevada will serve him well in that state's caucus and who, my sources tell me, will announce before the end of January) or former Senator John Edwards (who was born in South Carolina).

In other news, Romney hired Mandy Fletcher, who worked for both Bush brothers and also consulted for Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future.


At 1/12/2007 02:29:00 PM, Anonymous interested Floridian said...

What does the Navarro departure mean to the FL Democratic Party?

At 1/12/2007 04:16:00 PM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

Certainly his replacement, Leonard, doesn't bring the experience of Navarro, but Karen Thurman's experience will help bridge that gap.

With 2008 being a presidential, state party EDs will be pushed aside to some degree and will answer to the campaigns of the parties' presidential nominees.

The big questions for the FDP in 2007 and 2008 is can they improve on their successes in the legislature and will Alex Sink step up for the party?

At 1/12/2007 06:31:00 PM, Blogger gatordem said...

The really big question for the FDP in 2007 and 2008 is can they get a real ground game organized in Florida and get every last Dem vote to the polls in 2008?

At 1/14/2007 05:32:00 PM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

That's very true, Gatordem.

In 2004, the ground game in two key areas were left to groups who failed to produce - in South Florida, labor did not turn out the vote like they were expected to and in our Tampa Bay area, too much responsibility was ceded to the Sierra Club, who are not suited for grassroots work.

At 1/17/2007 09:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

experience of navarro ?

At 1/19/2007 03:36:00 PM, Blogger Campaign Manager said...

We can argue about Navarro's effectiveness, but not that he was significant political experience.


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