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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Is Alex Sink campaign Bill McBride's reincarnated?



Sinkmcbride Just weeks after the Alex Sink campaign hired Ken Morley as the campaign general consultant to replace Marc Farinella, Morley has resigned over what we're told was a "fundamental difference" in campaign strategy and structure. Morley's departure comes just as the campaign announced campaign manager Paul Dunn was leaving as well as finance director Joanna Belanger - Sink's third fundraising chief so far.

The Sink campaign and some allies suggest the shakeup simply reflects a campaign assessing and making appropriate adjustments when necessary.

"I've seen a lot of campaigns, and I've never seen a winning campaign without a staff shakeup,'' said longtime Democratic fundraiser Mitchell Berger, a Fort Lauderdale attorney. "This campaign has come a long way and learned a lot. Now we need to deploy the appropriate assets and resources to complete the mission.''

Still, the day-to-day management team is likely to raise some eyebrows over a campaign already facing serious second-guessing. In charge is Jim Cassady, well respected and thoroughly trusted by Sink, but really more of a veteran banker than an experienced campaign strategist. The new deputy campaign manager, Shellie Levin, is a longime friend of Sink's and fundraiser for Emily's List, but has little experience managing campaigns.

It's hard to resist the comparisons to the 2002 general election campaign of her husband, Bill McBride. After a big primary upset over Janet Reno, team McBride jettisoned its campaign manager, Robin Rorapaugh, and essentially put the teachers union and longtime friend Fran Davin in charge of the statewide campaign.

Now, as in 2002, Sink-McBride is surrounded by friendly, trusted friends running the day to day operations, as opposed veteran campaign managers. And just as the McBride campaign looked like a wholly-owned subsidiary of the teachers union, Sink risks fueling the perception -  already alleged by the Florida GOP - that Emily's List is running the show.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:27am]


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