Clear73° WeatherClear73° Weather

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott-Crist nears $100m in ad spending. 11 days to go

Wanna make $96 million disappear into thin air?

Then get into the business of making and running TV ads for the Florida governor's race, where about $12.7 million in broadcast and cable buys has been dropped since last week.

The election team for Gov. Rick Scott, who admitted this week to tapping his personal millions as a campaign “investment,” plopped down almost $7.6 million for current and future ads since Oct. 17. That's 60 percent of the total increase. Democrat Charlie Crist's team put in another $5.1 million, or 40 percent. Crist has reserved air time through next week. Scott has bought through Nov. 4, Election Day.

The race looks like a deadheat.

But Republicans right now are outvoting Democrats in pre-Election Day ballots by about 46-37 percent (a 144,000-vote margin). Democrats are gaining, however. And registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 39-35 percent (a 455,000-voter margin) and therefore have far more voters to turn out, potentially. Also, most recent polls show Crist winning independents (26 percent of the voter rolls and 17 percent of those who have cast ballots). …

Full Story

Scott courts votes in Miami-Dade with (who else?) Mr. 305

this gem from @PatriciaMazzei of the Miami Herald:

Looks like Florida Gov. Rick Scott wasn't the biggest name at his Republican fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables on Friday.

That distinction apparently goes to Miami native Armando Christian Pérez -- better known as Pitbull -- who on posted to his Twitter account (@pitbull) a photo with the guv, Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and state Rep. Erik Fresen.

"Proud to meet and discuss Florida's future with Governor @scottforflorida LG @lopezcantera and Rep @ErikFresenFL," Mr. Worldwide wrote.

He also attached a photo that -- let's be honest -- could be far more persuasive campaign-flier art for voters who may not be into politics but may be into Pitbull's signature brand of Latin pop. (¡Dale!)

Pitbull is registered to vote in Miami-Dade County, voting records show -- without political-party affiliation.


Full Story

New Crist ad says Scott "is used to the finer things"

From a press release:

St. Petersburg, Fla. – The day Rick Scott skipped a deposition about his potentially illegal use of private emails to conduct public business, the [Charlie] Crist for Governor campaign released an ad highlighting one of the prime examples: the Scott Administration's use of private emails to raise funds to improve the governor's mansion.


Full Story

Rubio and Bush cross paths in Miami

Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Jeb Bush

Ana Navarro, via Twitter

Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Jeb Bush

They have been circling each other on the campaign trail for months, the hungry youngster and his mentor. Today Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush crossed paths at the Biltmore, to raise money for Gov. Rick Scott. Was there tension, death stares, smack talk?

"One big happy family," reports Ana Navarro. Naturally both camps are keeping a close eye on each other. Rubio's folks are still pretty sure Bush will not run for president, clearing the way. As Rubio hits early primary states -- he's been to New Hampshire twice this month, South Carolina and will soon go to Iowa -- he should be concerned about Florida. If Charlie Crist beats Scott, Rubio's path would be a bit harder.



Full Story

Poll: Teachers disapprove of Rick Scott

Public school teachers really don't like Gov. Rick Scott, according to a poll released Friday by the Democratic Party of Florida. 

The survey, conducted by the firm Hamilton Campaigns, found that 81 percent of public school teachers who are likely voters have a negative opinion of the way Scott handled education.

Sure, teachers tend to be Democrats. But 62 percent of the educators who identified themselves as Republicans gave Scott negative marks.

Democratic candidate Charlie Crist fared much better. Only about 28 percent of respondents had a negative opinion of the way he handled education while serving as governor, according to the survey results.

"The results of this poll confirm what many Floridians already know: Rick Scott has failed Florida's education system," Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux said in a statement Friday. 

Will that make a difference on Election Day?

The survey found that 64 percent of teachers, regardless of their party affiliation, planned to vote for Crist. About 17 percent said they would vote for Scott. …

Full Story

Scott calls on feds to monitor healthcare workers returning from West Africa

Gov. Rick Scott is once again calling on the federal government to step up its Ebola-prevention efforts. 

Scott made his latest remarks Friday, after Dr. Craig Spencer tested positive for the virus in New York.

"The news of Dr. Spencer testing positive for Ebola after returning to the U.S. last week from treating Ebola patients makes it clear that the CDC and federal government must do more to protect health care workers around the world and our citizens here at home," he said in a statement.

The Republican governor pointed out that the U.S. Department of Defense requires daily medical checkups for military personnel returning from Ebola-infected areas. Scott asked that the same 21-day period of care and quarantine be extended to volunteers. 

"Ensuring that all workers abroad are required to take the same safeguards and precautions as our U.S. military personnel will not only provide an equal level of care for these selfless health care workers, it will also better protect all our citizens here in Florida and across the country from any threat of this deadly disease," he said.

No word yet on if the federal government will comply. …

Full Story

GOP leads in early votes, Dems slowly closing margin

About 1.5 million pre-Election Day ballots had been cast as of Friday morning and the Republican advantage over Democrats is slowly eroding in terms of a percentage advantage.

Yesterday morning, Democrats were down 10.8 percentage points compared to Republican ballots cast. Now, Democrats are down 9.8 percentage points.

That's the first time since votes have been posted Oct. 6 that the Republican advantage has been cut to below 10 points. On Oct. 6, when overseas ballots (mainly military) were coming in, the GOP advantage was 20.5 percentage points.

Now that tomorrow marks the first weekend of early voting (and perhaps the first weekend without rain in Democrat-heavy South Florida) there's a good chance Democrats will -- or should -- close the gap more.

But elections aren't decided on percentage-point gains. They're decided by the number of ballots cast. Votes won't be tallied until Election Day. But the totals by party in ballots cast before then gives us an idea about the strength of each side.

And the GOP is still winning outright: 144,109 more ballots cast than Democrats by absentee and in-person early vote. …

Full Story

Mayhem at Rick Scott rally

We're getting to that point toward the end of a neck and neck, heated campaign where nothing much of significance happens but every day seems to bring greater annoyances. Rick and Ann Scott appeared at an early vote rally on the outskirts of Tampa, an area known as New Tampa, and were greeted by several dozen protesters, including a giant, not entirely unflattering paper mache version of the governor. They held signs that variously requested Scott return more than a $1-million in campaign donations from Duke Energy, that he embrace solar energy more, and that he maybe should reside in prison.


Full Story

Memo from Team Rick Scott: Blah, blah...We're winning...blah, blah...Crist isn't

FROM:             Tim Saler, Deputy Campaign Manager
TO:                   Campaign Supporters
DATE:              October 24, 2014
SUBJECT:       Early Voting Review – Day Four


The first four days of early voting are in the books, and while many Republican-leaning counties won’t begin voting in person until tomorrow, I wanted to give you a brief update on where we have been and where we are today.

In previous updates, we’ve talked about our performance, usually compared to the 2012 campaign that set the table and the dynamics for our race. The Crist campaign has smartly tried to explain to their donors that it’s okay they’re losing and not to panic, with various reasons for that being the case. …

Full Story

By the numbers: Florida's pool of voters approaches 12 million

Florida's ever-expanding pool of eligible voters for the election is now close to 12 million people: 11,931,533, to be exact. That's the number as of the Oct. 6 book closing.

A few other statistics from the Florida voter file:

* Democrats outnumber Republicans statewide by 455,946, and voters of no party affiliation continue to grow at a much faster rate than either of the two major parties. NPA voters number nearly 2.8 million and represent 23.2 percent of all voters.

* Miami-Dade, the state's largest county, has the most Republicans and Democrats and has 1.3 million voters. Dade also has the highest percentage of NPA voters of all large ecounties, 27.9 percent. Orange is a close second at 27.2 percent. 

* Statewide, African-American voters total 13.5 percent of the total, up one-half of a percentage point from 2010. Broward has more black voters than any other county (243,132). Hispanics make up 14.6 percent of the Florida electorate, up from 12.7 percent in 2010. Combined, there are 461,211 more black and Hispanic voters today than there were in the 2010 general election. …

Full Story

Marco Rubio becomes Rick Scott's latest Spanish-language TV ad spokesman

First there was Jeb Bush. Then Luis Fortuño and Maurice Ferre. Now Marco Rubio takes the mic for Gov. Rick Scott in his latest Spanish-language spot.

The translation:

I was the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the first two years of Charlie Crist as governor… it was a disaster, property values falling, people losing their jobs, very high unemployment rates. We can’t let this state to go back to where it was just five, six years ago, when he was governor, and we did not have any serious solutions. The only way for Barack Obama and Charlie Crist to be able to win is for you not to vote. I vote in this county and in a few minutes I will go to vote for Rick Scott and I urge you all to do the same.


Full Story

NextGen Climate hits Rick Scott w 2 new Duke ads

NextGen Climate is out with two new ads in Tampa Bay critizing Rick Scott as too cozy with Duke Energy and for the first time, the political action affirmatively mentions Charlie Crist, contrasting his record with Scott's.


Full Story

30 minutes, four TV markets, one Fla gov race

It's no secret that Florida is essentially several different states in one. How one area of Florida views the world - and votes--  is often quite different than how another does. The Times/Herald tried a little experiment today, monitoring the political commercials that aired in three distinct TV markets/political territories during the 6 p.m. local news.

A few obvious conclusions:
***Competitive campaigns are a glorious gift to TV station owners. And even if your region is not so politically divided to be a top target from both Democrats and Republicans, a competitive congressional race -- like Steve Southerland vs Gwen Graham in the Tallahassee and Panama City markets -- can be gold for the bottom line.

***In Tampa Bay, the words "Duke Energy" are political poison (And, it seems, the Florida GOP has decided Republican State House candidate Bill Young may not be competitive enough to merit a big TV campaign). …

Full Story

Crist, Scott court female voters

From the sound of things, Florida's gubernatorial candidates consider female voters key to the Nov. 4 election.

Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist stressed his record on women's rights Thursday while campaigning in Broward County.

Sen. Anitere Flores issued the response from Republican Gov. Rick Scott's campaign.

"Charlie Crist is waging a serious and offensive war on women," said Flores, a Miami Republican. "First he takes $90,000 in campaign cash from strip club bosses who ran prostitution and drug rings, then he said 'it's worth it' to lose another 500,000 jobs. There's no telling how many of those jobs will belong to Florida women. Last time Charlie was governor, 244,000 women lost their jobs."

Both campaigns (as well as the Republican and Democratic parties and various third-party groups) are making a serious effort to engage women before Election Day. Earlier in the week, union leaders and pro-immigrant groups rallied female voters during a left-leaning telephone townhall meeting. 

A Quinnipiac University poll released this week showed Crist leading Scott among female voters, 45-39.

Full Story

Big Dog Clinton coming to campaign with Charlie Crist

Barack Obama won't make it to Sunshine State before the election, it appears, but former President Bill Clinton is expected to headline an early vote rally in Tampa on 5 pm Sunday. It will be at Cyrus Greene Park.

Clinton will be campaigning with Congressional candidate Gwen Graham earlier in the day in north Florida.

Full Story