Monday, March 31, 2008

Clinton Falling Behind on the Bills

Nothing to do with Florida, but this represents the nightmare scenario of every political consultant. Unfortunately, it happens all too often (though rarely on this scale).

Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign has been running in the red for sometime. Her response, apparently, has been to not pay a number of bills over the last few months. Television adertising must be paid for upfront, so she is not paying some bills in states whose primaries have alrady taken place in order to pay for tv spots in states with upcoming elections like Pennsylvania and Indiana. As a result, at least one company in Ohio - the state that kept her hopes alive - is still owed $25,000 for event production costs.

Let me tell you, for most of us, $25,000 is no small matter. We are not millionaires living in McMansions on the water. We are small businessmen for whom $25,000 can be the difference between not making it and making it - between keeping one's home and moving back in with one's parents at age 35.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Evolution of a Senator

Let me start out by saying that when I was attending high school in Pinellas County less than twenty years ago, my teacher for Biology II taught evolution. She also took an off the books week to do a sex ed seminar for us after finding out that it was possible to graduate from high school without anymore sexual education than was available from the thirteen year olds hanging out at the 7-11, but that's another matter.

In any case, it never occured to me or my teacher that evolution could be reduced to being just one answer on a multiple choice quiz, but that it would also be one of the cool, new age tests where there is no wrong answer because we are all beaitiful inside - because this was science class!

Despite my misgivings over here in Pinellas, voters in Hillsborough decided to give unruly commissioner Rhonda Storms a try at being a state senator.

How wrong could I have been? Storms has brought her keen insight, rigorous logic, and smooth people skills to the Florida Senate in a huge way.

Yes, she introduced in a committee a bill to protect science teacher who protect teachers who offer alternative theories to evolution. In other words, to protect science teachers who opt not to teach science. With only Sen. Ted Deutch opposing, she shepherded the bill out of committee where it will, sadly, go before the full Senate.

The only silver lining here is that Sen. Steve Wise did amend it to prevent Holocaust deniers from getting equal time.

You heard right: Storms introduced legislation that had to be amended to prevent history teachers from being allowed to tell Florida children that the Holocaust never happened. And all this in the middle of a desperate budget crisis, a desperate mortgage crisis, and a desperate insurance crisis.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Max Linn to Take on Bill Young

Wealthy businessman and former Reform Party candidate for Governor, Max Linn, will be taking on Bill Young.

This is has been one of St. Petersburg's worst kep secrets since last year, but it appears that his slow starting campaign will finally start cranking.

His campaign team is currently being led by Liz McCallum. McCallum, you may remember, ran for House District 52 in 2004 and 2006. In 2004, she was soundly beaten by the incumbent in the general. When term limits opened the seat up in 2006, she ran again, but when Bill Heller got in the race, what momentum she might have had quickly sputtered and Heller went on to win to handily win both the Democratic primary and the general election.

McCallum has so far resisted hiring a campaign manager, but has hired a finance director, and she seems intent on being the primary strategist for the race.

Despite Young's massive headstart in cash on hand, she is adamantly opposed to letting Linn use any of his own money to jump start the late arriving campaign and believes the necessary monies can be raised in the South Pinellas district, without resorting to using Linn's money or raising money traditional donor bases in South Florida; Washington, DC; San Francisco; Los Angeles; and New York. I, however, am not convinced.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jeb Bush a Leading Figure Behind "Mitt for VP"

Sen. John McCain is under a lot of pressure from the Bush wing of the Republican party to anoint former Massachussetts govenror, Mitt Romney, as his choice for the VP spot. Though initially viewed with scepticism by conservatives, by the time McCain's momentum had forced Romney out of the race, he had established himself as the favored choice of conservatives who were mistrustful of McCain.

Though Jeb Bush never took sides publicly in the race (even when Crist endorsed McCain), he always seemed to be discreetly backing Romney and his closest advisors jumped onto his campaign.

Now, Jeb, along with Karl Rove and George W. Bush are leaning on the McCain team to pick Romney for the number two spot. They appear to be buying into the theory that McCain needs to sow up the conservative wing of the party into order to unite the GOP into a winning coalition - this despite overwhelming evidence that the real danger is not that the most conservative wing of the party doesn't come out, but that moderates and otherwise right leaning independents vote Democrat on the issues of the Iraq war and the faltering economy.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Florida to Finally Get a New Election?

Senator Bill Nelson has been leading the way in the campaign to get a re-vote for Florida Democrats. He and his team have been working with the Florida Democratic Party and the DNC and seem to have come up with a consensus around doing a vote-by-mail primary and a rough fundraising plan to pull together the necessary soft money to pay for the election.

There is a provision in Florida law that prevents nominees from being determined by an election that is exclusively mail-in, however Gov. Charlie Crist supports, in principle, the plan to do a re-vote by mail, paid for by soft money fundraising. Having Crist on Nelson's side should smooth the legal process.

Though I have been less than impressed with his outrage at the DNC's determination to enforce the rules, he is right in one respect - it's basically all the fault of the GOP controlled Florida legislature: "They're laughing up their sleeve right now, because they got Democrats all wound around the axle on this. Whether there should be [a state solution] or not, there isn't gonna be, with the state in such financial distress."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Romney Supporters Accuse Crist of Trading VP Slot for Endorsement

Angry supporters of Mitt Romney have been spreading the (so far unsubstantiated) rumor that Sen. John McCain exchanged the endorsement of Gov. Crist in return for the VP slot.

Romney insiders claim that their private polls showed a lead in the January 29 Florida primary, until endorsements by Crist and Martinez turned the tide.

I still don't beleive that Crist will be on the ticket, but the buzz is getting harder to deny.