Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is There Still a Path to Victory for Crist?

You can never write off a sitting governor, but more and more, I'm just not seeing how Crist does it.

Right now, the main advantage Crist has is his cash on hand advantage. Even with Rubio coming close to matching Crist's most recent quarterly totals, there is almost no way that Rubio comes close to matching Crist, dollar for dollar.

And, as I've said before, money is crucial.

But what can Crist buy with his money? I'm not talking buying cable vs broadcast vs radio vs mail. I'm talking about what effect can he buy to change the dynamic.

He can't improve his name recognition - it's already effectively 100%.

Basically, all he can do is tear down Rubio. Former Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey tried that last November (with a similar cash advantage) and it nearly worked - he went from dead in the water to a loss that, while not exactly close, was better than a blowout (about five points).

A massive negative campaign could bring down Rubio's positives, but what generally does, is turn the campaign into a battle of the "bases" - and, as Steve Schale has pointed out, Crist doesn't really have a base.

I'll admit to being slightly baffled as to how Rubio became this outside darling - as a former speaker, he is a true insider and was once one of the most powerful men in the state. As speaker, no, he didn't compare to, say, Johnnie Byrd, as speakers go, but he was still the most powerful legislator in the state within recent memory.

But far from me to question how the zeitgeist moves. And it's moving Marco almost inexorably towards an August 24th victory.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Something Sharon Day Would Never Do

Though some have asked whether Sharon Day can raise the $40 million or so some folks have estimated the RPOF will need to avoid slipping down in Florida, the actual decision may come down to a smaller number - $500.

$500 is the maximum contribution a single entity can make to a candidate for state office in Florida.

Senator John Thrasher wrote a check for $500 to Alex Sink's campaign.

He can say that he didn't know that she would be running for governor, rather than re-election to CFO (though that sounds like B.S. to me - who honestly believed that Sink would not be running for f higher office in 2010? If Thrasher really believed that, then there is another mark against him - vast political naivete).

But Sharon Day would almost certainly never have done that. Known as the queen of the rubber chicken circuit, working to build up RECs across the state and raising money for the RPOF, county parties, and local candidates - I suspect that Sharon Day would rather eat broken glass than write a $500 to a Democratic candidate.

That sort of red blooded loyalty matters in these cases.

P.S. - Charlie, Thrasher follows your buddy Greer over to the "loser" column on Florida's political scoresheet... I'll buy you a drink over at the Green Iguana while we watch a Rubio and Meek debate each other on Bay News 9.

Memo to Charlie Crist

Charlie - that stuff on the wall over there? That's the writing.

Let me show you what I mean... OUCH!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Addendum to My Most Recent Post

The Fix has it's own list - the 20 Congressional seats most likely to flip parties. The only Florida seat on this list is Alan Grayson in Florida's 8th District.

The Fix's author, Chris Cilizza, is training to succeed David Broder as the nation's primary disseminator of bland, uncontroversial, conventional wisdom - but I'm not sure he has a good fix (pun intended) on the Sunshine State.

Now - maybe if Rich Crotty weren't jockeying to be Orange County's own little Ray Sansom and maybe if the GOP could coalesce around a strong second choice candidate who could raise the big bucks needed to oust the well funded the Grayson (who also had one of Florida's most extensive field campaigns - ask someone from his last election how many phone calls volunteers made in his victory; no, really - I was deeply impressed).

Florida Featured in DCCC 'Target List'

The DCCC has listed 26 "Top Races" - 25 GOP held seats and on Dem held seat. Among those is one seat in Florida.

No, it's not in the Tampa Bay area - it's the 12th Congressional District being vacated by Adam Putnam in his race for Agriculture Commissioner.

Charlie Justice did a shout out as one of nine races in the next tier, called "Emerging Races," but it seems clear that he needs to step up his game in the next few months if he's going to challenge an incumbent Bill Young (all bet are off if Young retires).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The New Map

The Bay Buzz got me thinking about the Congressional redistricting coming up.

The new seat will almost certainly along the I-4 corridor, but I question whether it will be at the St. Pete end of it.

No doubt the GOP legislature will try to keep it competitive, but with demographic changes, it will be hard for a new seat to be anything other than swing or Dem-leaning - otherwise, they'll risk losing seat somewhere else.

However, there are a couple of caveats.

Mainly, the first priority will be for them to protect existing GOP incumbents. But let's not assume that the list of incumbents won't change.

Right in Tampa Bay, Young is facing his stiffest challenge yet. If Justice wins, how will the legislature react? Will they make that seat more Democratic - making it safer for Justice and moving the lines around to create a new, GOP leaning seat near Tampa Bay? Will they decide that Young's "will he/won't he?" retirement guessing game can't go on forever and just prepare for life with a Democratic 10th and siphon Republican voters into other districts?

What about Kosmas and Grayson? Grayson looks to have gotten a pass, but Kosmas might have a tough race. If she loses, do they need to put more Republicans into that district to protect their new incumbent, thereby making other districts (including Grayson's) more safely Democratic?

If Fair Districts passes, all bets are off (and I hope it it does). If it doesn't, I suspect that legislature protects the state quo, adding a swing, but Dem leaning district with a significant Latino population in central Florida.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The National Media Pile On

Even the Atlantic is jumping on poor Charlie Crist and our little old straw poll.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Money Talks

It looks like Thrasher will be the next RPOF chair, after all. The grassroots will feel aggrieved, but the rumblings of the big donors matter more, in these cases, and they like Thrasher.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Greer Out, Crist Screwed

I don't have any insight as to who will replace Greer (though Bense seems like a likely choice), but I will bet the house that whoever it is will absolutely not be a known ally of Crist - which means that Crist's tacit endorsement of Thrasher has probably torpedoed his chances.

In fact, Crist will consider himself lucky if the new chair is not and outright Rubio supporter (or at least a stalking horse for Jeb Bush, who clearly favors Rubio).

I wonder if people outside of Florida understand how bad it has really gotten for Crist these days? He's starting to look our version of Chris Dodd - a once popular and seemingly invulnerable pol who saw his chances drop like a rock without his home state appreciably changing (as opposed to someone who might have seen his state fundamentally change from red to blue or vice versa).


This was just too much fun.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Blogger Obits

As I look back over the last year, a couple of fellow travelers have fallen by the wayside.

Stpetersblog seems to have been serious about quitting, for which I am very sorry. They were our version of the Daily Show - funny, trenchant criticism of our little world here.

The Florida Blog is on indefinite hiatus (darn this economic instability!).

The State of Sunshine is also on indefinite hiatus.

The Political Whore has been "consolidated" and Mr. Garcia has moved on to teaching position.

Of all these, the first an last losses are the saddest for me - though I continue to hold out hope that Stpetersblog will return to skewer our new mayor and the city council.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Obituaries

The St. Petersburg Times had an article in yesterday's (12/31/2009) paper titled "Donors call for Greer's ouster." This was nothing particularly - though the agitating of donors, including Republican uber-donor and sometime king-maker Mel Sembler is big news.

No, what struck my eye was the placement of the article. It was in the obituary section. It was the only news article (as opposed to an obit) on the page. If one were being glib - and I am - one could say that the St. Pete Times had indeed printed Greer's obituary. The passing of his chairmanship is not likely to be mourned.