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Talk of running mate a sign of confidence for Bill McCollum

If most of the polls prove right, on Tuesday night we could be talking about Bill McCollum being the biggest comeback kid (and Rick Scott being the costliest loser) that Florida has seen in ages, if not ever.

In a sign of the confidence returning to supporters of McCollum's Republican gubernatorial campaign, speculative Buzz about McCollum's running mate ramped up in recent days.

Among the most frequently mentioned names: Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, state Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami, state Rep. Anitere Flores of Miami, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton and state Rep. Jennifer Carroll of the Jacksonville area.

Endorsements aplenty

Democratic attorney general candidate Dan Gelber spends a fair amount of time criticizing the record of Republican Attorney General McCollum. But Gelber and McCollum have something in common: Both swept up endorsements from newspaper editorial boards.

Eleven of Florida's biggest newspapers — Lakeland Ledger, Miami Herald, Naples Daily News, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, Tallahassee Democrat, Pensacola News Journal and Sarasota Herald-Tribune — endorsed McCollum for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. The fact that rival Scott refused to meet with any editorial boards probably had something to do with it.

Those same papers all endorsed Gelber for the Democratic attorney general nomination over state Sen. Dave Aronberg.

The Republican attorney general primary drew a mixed batch of recommendations. Pam Bondi of Tampa led the pack with nods from the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Lakeland Ledger and Miami Herald; Holly Benson of Pensacola earned the support of the Naples Daily News, Sarasota Herald Tribune and Pensacola News-Journal; while the Palm Beach Post and Tallahassee Democrat backed Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp.

In the Democratic Senate primary between real estate mogul Jeff Greene of Palm Beach and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, Greene won the support of the Bradenton Herald and Tallahassee Democrat, while Meek got the nod from every other major Florida paper's editorial board.

Voters speak

Check out a special hourlong Political Connections today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. It features eight thoughtful voters talking about the election choices and issues this year. Some Republicans were so turned off by negative attacks from Scott and McCollum that they voted early for long-shot gubernatorial candidate Mike McCalister as a none-of-the-above alternative.

Tyson talks of yacht vacation with Greene

The Jeff Greene campaign last week made boxer Mike Tyson available to Politico to clarify what happened and didn't when he traveled with Greene on his yacht in the summer of 2005. Tyson, who was best man at Greene's wedding, recently told an interviewer about his drug use and sexual activity that summer, but last week he stressed that Greene had no involvement.

"Jeff had nothing to do with it," Tyson told Politico. "I didn't do drugs on the boat. I had a problem. I had just lost a fight. I was depressed. I was fighting for 20 years. I was finding out after 20 years I was broke. Jeff said, 'Come with me on the Summerwind.' "

Tyson also spoke about an incident in Sardinia, where, according to Politico, "he was charged — and later cleared — of a sex assault in which the woman making the accusation claimed he'd wanted her to do drugs."

"I got into a problem with a young lady that came on the boat," Tyson said. "Jeff and everyone was sleeping. … She said I had beat her or something. The cops came over, she said we had drugs on the boat, we had guns on the boat. … Cops came and searched the boat, and they found nothing."

Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

Winner

of the week

Adam Hasner. When most of the GOP political establishment was writing off Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum as dead candidate walking (and lobbyists were quietly reaching out to Republican Rick Scott or Democrat Alex Sink) the uber-partisan House majority leader remained firmly and vocally behind McCollum. He even played Scott in McCollum's debate prep.

Loser

of the week

Charlie Crist.

Gov. Crist refuses to refund contributions to Republicans who wanted their money back after he abandoned the GOP, except one: indicted, hand-picked, former GOP chairman Jim Greer. Looks like Crist probably couldn't afford to tick off his old wing man too much.

Talk of running mate a sign of confidence for Bill McCollum 08/21/10 [Last modified: Sunday, August 22, 2010 1:49pm]

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