The election season is rapidly approaching for Florida voters and already the focus seems to be straying from the August 24, Primary and moving towards the November 2, General Election. Moreover, unless you do not have a television, computer or some handheld device where you get your news, you have read where Gov. Charlie Crist is now trailing former House GOP Speaker Marco Rubio for Florida's coveted US Senate seat that was vacated by Mel Martinez.
Many political professionals and pundits of all stripes have weighed in with opinions of why Gov. Crist is quickly becoming a non-entity or that he is so focused on the next higher office that he cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, from my view I see Gov. Crist no different from when he won the September 5, 2006 primary for Governor. During that campaign, Crist defeated the statewide-established candidate Tom Gallagher and then defeated Tampa Congressman Jim Davis on November 7, 2006.
Based on the issues that Gov. Crist has pushed for and accomplished - restoration of felon rights, gambling compact, paper trail for electronic voting - since his January 2007 swearing-in, it is hard to say that we did not know where he stood on the issues. However, where most have been caught off guard is the fact that those accomplishments and his agenda - climate change, public corruption, spending for environmental conservation - are more in line with general election voters rather than the more ardent conservative Republican primary voters.
To emphasize this point look at his current actions during the Legislative Session in Tallahassee. He vetoed a GOP sponsored election reform bill, which would have allowed legislative leadership to maintain their own political action committees and he vetoed S.B. 6, which would have made sweeping changes to how teachers are hired, evaluated and retained. Lastly, the foreshadowing of possible vetoes related to rate deregulation of property insurance and budget vetoes surely are noted.
All the while, Gov. Crist's primary opponent, Marco Rubio had an eye-opening fundraising quarter of $3.6 million and collected key endorsements from national GOP leaders. What that all equals is the notion that as the GOP establishment tries to close ranks the more it appears to make Gov. Crist look as an outsider.
An outsider? One may ask how.
Gov. Crist's reasoning for vetoing SB 6 and now his interest in running as No Party Affiliation both brought one common comment, "I'm listening to the people.” Those are four keywords, and the most important - people. Since the day that Gov. Crist was elected to the state Senate in 1992 by defeating Democrat incumbent Helen Gordon Davis, he has always been looking out for the people. While it may be a common advertising slogan for attorney John Morgan, it has been a mainstay for Gov. Crist. Again, he is not addressing primary voters but general election voters.
What this all boils down to, when you consider the issues and agenda that he has pushed during his elected career as a state Senator, Education Commissioner, Attorney General and now as Governor, his ability to go along and get along with Democrats and now taking his own party to the woodshed on popular issues, he's making himself out to be the outsider and who are the voters angry today?
It’s not partisan, but its directed at incumbents and the more he can frame himself as the solution and blame the insiders in Tallahassee and Washington as the problem, then you have a competitive 2010 General Election where a NPA can win, especially if your name is Charlie Crist.
Mitt Romney was the winner at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) straw poll last weekend. A little surprising seeing as though he wasn’t even there. Sarah Palin, who was the headliner, packed the room with adoring fans but didn’t even grab second place. Instead she tied for third with Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul was the proud second place winner thanks to his strong, enthusiastic following.
What does all this mean? Does it give us a glimpse into the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary? Does Sarah Palin’s popularity take a back seat at the ballot box? Will Romney be our nominee? Maybe. The Politico suggested perhaps Palin fans are more practical when it come to their presidential picks (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35617.html). But more importantly, it means when you are running for office or running a campaign, you better be organized to win straw polls where you play. For the SRLC, Ron Paul’s group bought hundreds of tickets for his supporters and “Evangelicals for Mitt” also purchased tickets and encouraged Romney supporters to attend and, more importantly, vote. Palin and Gingrich did not seem to have any formal organization working the grassroots for them.
Straw polls can be a real thorn in the side of campaigns. Most will tell you they don’t care, that the results don’t matter. But the second they win one, they are quick to tout that win and make the case from it as to why they are gaining momentum. Winning straw polls should be as much a part of your grassroots campaign strategy as knocking on doors and making phone calls. It’s also a great test of the strength of your organization. Know when and where the critical ones are being held, put them on your calendar and organize your supporters to turn out and vote!
Don’t believe they work? Ask any underdog who has worked the grassroots community hard to gain ground. Ask Marco Rubio. A year ago no one thought he had a chance at beating the campaign-pro Charlie Crist in the race for Florida’s US Senate seat. But Rubio was determined. He visited every county, spoke at every neighborhood bbq and played to win in every straw poll possible. Week after week the announcements on his straw poll success were announced. Crist downplayed them and Rubio continued to gain attention and popularity. Now, there have been many other factors contributing to the Rubio rise and Crist collapse but those straw poll wins were an important early momentum builder for Rubio.
So, before quickly writing off the next straw poll, give it some extra thought and consider whether the reward may outweigh the risk for your campaign.
If you had attended the SRLC, who would your pick for 2012 have been? Romney, Paul, Palin, Gingrich, someone else?
Presidents George W. Bush and Franklin D. Roosevelt are the only two American presidents in the past century whose party has not lost seats in the House in their first midterm election. So why does this happen? “This is mainly because in the midterm elections the weak candidates that rode in to victory on the coattails of their party’s presidential candidates two years earlier find it difficult to win when running for election on their own.” If history repeats itself, then the Republicans should expect to gain seats in both the House and the Senate.
The 2010 mid-term election cycle just happens to be ever more important this time around because of the redistricting implications. Every ten years, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Census Bureau embarks on the tedious task of counting all inhabitants of the United States. This process is important to equalizing the population of districts in order to equally distribute funds for essentially services and representation in government.
Current polls indicate that a change is coming. With Congress experiencing a 74% disapproval rating and Democrats falling behind Republicans by 2.8% in a generic ballot, Democratic incumbents, especially in “conservative” districts should be very fearful. On the heels of the controversial health care reform legislation votes and the looming legislative fights over the next Supreme Court nominee, the Cap & Trade legislation, financial reform and a potential bout on immigration reform, President Obama will not be able to provide the political cover that many Democrats need from him. With his approval rating hovering around 46% and a disapproval rating of 46%, connections with President Obama might haunt some Democrats.
2010 might become one of the most important midterm election cycles in our lifetime given the divisive and engaged nature of the electorate. How do you see the 2010 midterm election cycles shaping up? Will the Democrats lose their majority? Alternatively, will Republicans botch this opportunity to gain seats?
In browsing the internet today, we stumbled upon some April Fool's Day pranks...
Google changes its name to “Topeka”
Ever wonder what your dog is saying when he is barking…Google (UK-version)
College Humor is being investigated for Benedict Arnold-ish type activities…
The history of “Wife Selling” is the featured article of the day on Wikipedia
Justin Bieber has bought out Funny or Die
Some All-Time April Fool’s Day Web pranks
Let us know what you think is the best web prank...also, please comment and submit some that we might have missed. We always enjoy a good laugh.