Early Analysis of FL Gov Race

September 7, 2006

This from Political Wire

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      In Florida, Crist to Face Davis for Governor

      CQ Politics says the results of yesterday’s primary elections for

governor “suggest that the Republican nominee, state Attorney General

Charlie Crist, may be entering the nine-week general election campaign a

step ahead of his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Jim Davis.”

 

      Crist defeated his challenger, Tom Gallagher (R), 64% to 34%, while

Davis won his primary fight against Rod Smith (D) by a much smaller margin,

47% to 41%.

 

      Meanwhile, Hotline On Call notes Democratic turnout was much lower

than Republican turnout. Was it the rain in Democratic areas of the state?

Or are Democrats not as motivated to vote?

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RO Note: Dems are emailing me saying the low Democratic turnout just means the Dems didn’t care who opposed Crist. They will still come out in big numbers in Nov. Expect to see Dems push Davis as a family man (one wife, good kids)  vs. Crist – divorced, single guy.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush, Tom Gallagher and Charlie Crist are hitting the campaign trail as one happy GOP team. Folks, Crist will be hard to beat.

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newspaperFrom Miami Herald:

POLL

Crist keeps wide lead; Smith gains on Davis

By MARY ELLEN KLAS
meklas@MiamiHerald.com

Attorney General Charlie Crist’s formidable lead over Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher in the Republican primary for governor appears secure, according to a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University, but with less than a week to go before Tuesday’s election, the race between the leading Democrats is still up for grabs.

Crist is ahead of Gallagher 57 to 32 percent, according to the Connecticut-based public opinion research group.

But the poll says the contest between U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith is much tighter, with Davis leading 43-32 percent, while a substantial 24 percent of Democrats surveyed are still undecided. Among Republican voters, 12 percent say they have not made up their minds.

”The thing about undecideds is many of them often don’t vote,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, adding that many Democrats have ”not been inspired” by the Democratic candidates this year.

The poll showed that Crist’s lead includes voters who identify themselves as ”born-again or evangelical Christians.” Among Republicans, 45 percent describe themselves within that conservative subset, and among those voters, Crist leads Gallagher 53 to 38 percent, although that sample has a margin of error of 8.7 percentage points.

The university surveyed likely primary voters in Florida Aug. 23-28, including 317 Republicans and 312 Democrats. Because of the small sample, the poll had a margin of error of 5.5 percentage points.

newspaperThe St. Petersburg Times has published a special report on Enterprise Florida: Deal me in. Enterprise Florida is the public-private partnership responsible for leading Florida’s statewide economic development efforts. Most importantly, it determines where state incentive dollars are spent.

BellSouth Telecommunications began a $700-million modernization and expansion in early 2000. Even though it didn’t appear to meet the criteria, BellSouth applied for a capital investment tax credit from Enterprise Florida.

However BellSouth executive Joe Lacher was a  member of the board overseeing Enterprise Florida, and he had advocated several bonuses for the EF president and other senior managers. BellSouth was the second larger corporate contributor to EF – $400,000 from 2000-2005.
EF staff helped BellSouth revise its application, arranged meetings for BellSouth with aides to Gov. Bush and twice recommended the requests be approved
In December 2003, BellSouth got the credit which saved it $2-million in state taxes.

The St. Pete article is good investigative reporting by the best daily newspaper in the state.

RO NOTE: The current vice-chair of the Enterprise Florida board is Susan Story, Gulf Power, but she wasn’t on board then. Both GOP governor candidates – Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher -are on the EF board.

newspaper

From Miami Herald:

Building-rule break stands in Panhandle

A state building panel voted to let the Panhandle keep some exemptions from windstorm building codes. Critics say the move will aggravate the insurance crisis.

St. Pete Times:

Candidates come out swinging

Between answering questions on insurance and property taxes, the pair pepper each other with accusations of liberalism and ethical slips.

Rick's BlogThe hottest posts over the weekend.

  1. Port Royal Cocktail Party Buzz

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  3. Did Elebash write Johns’ viewpoint?

  4. Crist pops out of Barkley House

  5. Review of Sunday papers across the state

  6. BSoc Scorecard – 8/19/06 am

  7. David Letterman joins BSoc

  8. IN YOUR HEAD RADIO still rocks

  9. Kathy can’t pack ‘em in like Charlie

  10. From Slate: Washington Buzz for week ended 8/18/06

TGGOP Gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher visited the office today. Duwayne and I interviewed him for an hour.

Very impressive. Intelligent – very knowledgeable on the insurance crisis. Nuts & bolt type of guy who is very comfortable going into detail on his programs.

Handed out a flyer that showed how his positions are more aligned with Gov. Jeb Bush than Charlie Crist. [There are rumors that Bush may endorse Gallagher right before the election, but Gallagher made no inference that he expected it to happen]

TG expressed frustration with Crist constantly changing his message. “I come out with portability of property values within a county. Crist then announces he’s for portability statewide. He has no idea how a statewide program would work. Neither do I.”

On Insurance, TG placed blame firmly on Citizens Insurance -didn’t have enough adjusters or a system to track the claims. Four hurricanes overwhelmed them.

What’s driving insurance premiums up now is the reinsurance costs. Insurance companies that once paid 12% to reinsure – now pay 50 to 70%. TG is working on a system to help with the reinsure issue. I could try to explain, but my brain would burst.

Agrees with Gov. Bush stance on off shore drilling – limit to beyond 125 miles from shore. “If we do nothing, the drilling ban will expire Jan 07.”

Opposes gay adoption – not adopting gays, but gays adopting children – he want to increase grants to traditional families to help with adoption – $10K, $20K for special needs kids.

Pro-life: wants 24 hour waiting period before abortion.

Education: considering a constitutional amendment for school vouchers. Wants to help F schools by getting the principals additional funds and making them the CEO’s of their schools. Wants more flexibility on class size. “I have a choice for my son of a class with 25 kids and a super teacher or a class of 15 kids with a so-so teacher. I will choose the class of 25 kids and a super teacher.”

Wants to establish a commerical property version of Citizens to help small businesses.

GOPtouted the successes of Gov. Jeb Bush. State has AAA bond rating which will save $100 million in interest payments over 10 years. Graduation rates for minorities have improved..

He has questioned heavily on his change in stances: from pro-choice to pro-life; anti-school vouchers to pro-vouchers. Gallaher reply was his wife and the birth of his son change his opinion on abortion. The granting of vouchers to parents in Escambia County changed his opinion on the vouchers.

Wants to create a commercial insurance version for Citizens Property Insurance to help small businesses.

Must amend class size amendment to make it more flexible. Against doubling homestead exemption. Like portability of property taxes withing the county.

Answer criticism of the Ethics commission finding probable cause on this stock dealings. Called them “technical violations”. Found no preferential treatment. Politically motivated.

lensFrom Dr. Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia:

If you hate “the politics of personal destruction” and unpleasant private issues that seep into campaigns, then Florida is one state you do not want to be these days. Three of the four gubernatorial candidates in both parties are spending time talking about their painful marital pasts.

Hardest hit has been the GOP’s *Tom Gallagher*, whose first marriage ended very badly and let to charges of theft, drug use, and, well, let’s just stop there.

His Republican opponent, *Charlie Crist*, had one brief marriage must earlier in life, and his lack of a family has led to scurrilous rumors about his sexual orientation which have plagued his campaign for months.

Add Democrat *Rod Smith* to the list of messy divorces, and throw in an old accusation of unpaid child support.

Smith’s Democratic foe, Congressman *Jim Davis*, is the only one of the gubernatorial quartet with a happy, enduring first marriage.

Will any of this matter come the primaries or the general? If the candidates and the press keep talking about it, probably so.

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/2006/governor/?state=FL

GOPGOP gubernatorial candidate and the state’s chief financial officer Tom Gallagher has agreed to be interviewed by the Independent News. This will be fun!