For What It's (Butter) Worth
Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth -- you remember, the last elected Democratic Cabinet member who turned off the lights in 2002 -- foresees a close race between Charlie Crist and Jim Davis, who he describes as "two good guys."
Butterworth, now dean of the St. Thomas University Law School in Miami, said the small pool of undecideds in recent polls tells him people have mostly made up their minds, so the race largely depends on which side does the better job of getting its supporters out to vote.
The key to Davis' success, Butterworth says, is a statewide black turnout that matches that of the "Save Florida: Arrive With Five" campaign of 2000, and a huge outpouring of Democrats in South Florida -- in particular the southern half of Palm Beach County, home of the state's most loyal universe of condo voters.
"Four years ago, when McBride lost to Jeb, Broward County and South Palm Beach County stayed home," Butterworth said.
Butterworth likes Crist, but he said the Republican risks defeat when he talks of staying the course on Gov. Jeb Bush's education policies like vouchers and the FCAT. "Charlie is going to have to get out of that, or he's going to lose this race," Butterworth said. "I think it's Charlie's race to lose."