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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

McCain's FL woes

On Monday, senior McCain strategists announced that poor fundraising totals forced the campaign to lay off dozens of staffers and aides including those specifically assigned to Florida, like regional spokesman Tucker Bounds. The campaign already had lagged behind rivals Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani in building a formal statewide organization.

"I'm not trying to put an 'Oh, no problem' face on this, " said J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich, a McCain adviser who has helped both Jeb Bush's and Charlie Crist's campaigns for governor. "He's in a difficult situation." Difficult, but not unprecedented, Stipanovich said. In 1984, former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart used a victory in New Hampshire as fuel to beat the much better organized Walter Mondale in Florida.

"It's too early to tell what Jan. 29 will look like, " said Phil Handy, the former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education who is backing McCain. "I wish there was more money, but I think they'll be enough."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:37pm]


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