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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tony Fabrizio joins Rick Perry campaign

24

October

Two words from Tony Fabrizio spell bad news for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: 'I'm in." That is, Fabrizio is in with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with whom he has been in talks for months.

Fabrizio, one of the most well-respected pollsters in Republican circles, is widely credited for being the man who did the politically impossible: He oversaw a campaign that bested GOP establishment candidate Bill McCollum and elected Rick Scott governor of Florida. (A few moments after we wondered when Fabrizio, would join Perry's team, Politico coincidentally reported sources say he has).

Fabrizio has been in talks with the campaign since and before Perry's disastrous performance at the Republican Party of Florida's Presidency 5 straw poll and debate. Just after the event, Perry sources had told people that Fabrizio was signing on. But Fabrizio, obviously, hadn't.

Fabrizio isn't the only Rick Scott man on Perry's team. It has hired ad-men Nelson Warfield and Curt Anderson. Along with Fabrizio, they're among the most adept at turning the crosstabs of polls in political messages that kneecap opponents.

Fabrizio, Warfield and Anderson brings some badly needed non-Texas talent to the Austin-heavy campaign of Perry. The Scott tri-fecta sets up an interesting dynamic with Romney's de facto political guru, Stuart Stevens, who was a message and ad man for former Sen. Mel Martinez and former Gov. Charlie Crist, until Crist's campaign for Senate fell apart.

Fabrizio has highly detailed knowledge of Florida, having polled the state consistently for about two years. The Republican Party of Florida has been paying him to poll on behalf of Scott and state Republicans in general. So chances are, he already has message-tested the weaknesses and strengths of the various Republican candidates.

-- Marc Caputo, Miami Herald

[Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011 12:36pm]

    

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