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The Buzz on Florida politics

Get ready to see a lot of the candidates

Anybody at all surprised John McCain is coming to Tampa on Tuesday? Don't be. The old political rule still holds: In America's biggest battleground state, swing-voting Tampa Bay remains the biggest battleground.

"This is going to be an I-4 corridor battle. Pinellas County, the Tampa Bay region, all the surrounding counties are going to be extremely, extremely important," Buzz Jacobs, McCain's campaign manager for the Southeast, said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9. "We know we've got to turn out the vote here on election day, and we're working hard to do so."

Team McCain is also paying attention to the unprecedented campaign organization that Barack Obama is putting in place in Florida, but Jacobs and other Republicans say McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, has revved up volunteers to jump in and help win Florida. He dismissed talk that the McCain ground organization has been invisible.

"We don't spend all our time bragging to the press. We actually like to get out there and do the work and make it happen on the ground. While they've been doing that, we've been busy building," Jacobs said. "We're going to implement the same model that George W. Bush used in 2004, with a few tweaks to make it better."

Check out the interview today at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Crist sets date for capital celebration

Gov. Charlie Crist and his fiancee, Carole Rome, have set a date for their wedding celebration in Tallahassee: Saturday, Dec. 20. No word yet on how many people will be invited to the reception at the Governor's Mansion. The couple have scheduled their nuptials for Dec. 12 in St. Petersburg.

Call or e-mail if you want to see McCain

Want to attend McCain's rally Tuesday at the Tampa Convention Center? You can call (813) 274-1819, a recorded line, or e-mail RSVPMcCain2008@gmail.com. Leave your name, address and phone number on the recorded line or include it in your e-mail.

Doors open at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 South Franklin Street in Tampa.

Nader joins long list of candidates

Ralph Nader is on the Florida presidential ballot, along with other semi-big names like the Libertarian Party's Bob Barr, the Green Party's Cynthia McKinney, and the American Independent Party's Alan Keyes. Because it's easier to be a minor party candidate in Florida than an independent, Nader is the nominee of the Ecology Party, formed in 2007 by his backers.

Here are the presidential candidates on the Florida ballot in order of how they'll be listed (minor parties are listed in order of when they submitted their paperwork):

McCain and Palin (Republican Party); Obama and Joe Biden (Democratic Party); Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear (Socialism and Liberation); Chuck Baldwin and Darrell Castle (Constitution Party of Florida); Gene Amondson and Leroy Pletten (Prohibition Party); Barr and Wayne A. Root (Libertarian); Thomas Robert Stevens and Alden Link (Objectivist); James Harris and Alyson Kennedy (Socialist Workers); McKinney and Rosa Clemente (Green); Keyes and Brian Rohrbough (America's Independent Party); Nader and Matt Gonzalez (Ecology); Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander (Socialist); Charles Jay and John Wayne Smith (Boston Tea Party); Gary Nettles and Brad Krones (Write-in).

Steve Bousquet and Jennifer Liberto contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

A lot of Republicans had been getting nervous about John McCain's Florida operation, but after the Sarah Palin pick, it's the Democrats who are sounding anxious in Florida. Three out of four polls released last week show McCain — our winner of the week — opening a comfortable lead in this must-win state.

Maybe it's just a temporary bounce, but you'd sure rather be in McCain's position at this point than Obama's.

Loser of the week

The award goes to state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, because even as head of the Legislature's nominating committee for the Public Service Commission, he did not have the juice to get his buddy, lobbyist and former state Rep. Luis Rojas, appointed. Gov. Charlie Crist instead reappointed Lisa Polak Edgar to the panel that has a huge impact on our pocketbooks.

Get ready to see a lot of the candidates 09/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 18, 2008 8:54pm]
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