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THE BUZZ: FLORIDA POLITICS

Meet the winner and loser of the week

Winner of the week

Tom Rooney: Republican Rooney had a fair shot at winning Rep. Tim Mahoney's congressional seat in South Florida. But now he looks like a sure winner after revelations of Mahoney's multiple affairs. The latest? Mahoney's wife filed for divorce, national Democratic leaders are steering clear of the incumbent. Mahoney refused to appear in a debate in Palm Beach County last week because TV cameras were there, so Rooney participated alone.

Loser of the week

Rep. Tom Feeney: Republican Feeney once looked like a rising conservative star in Washington. Now the former Florida House speaker from the Orlando area looks like toast. The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee has cut off funding his the race, basically seeing his race against Democrat Suzanne Kosmas as a lost cause.

Rest of the print Buzz is here. (http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/article871689.ece)

Posted by Alex Leary at 9:20:37 PM on October 25, 2008

Bill Clinton and Obama together in Orlando

Details to come, but Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are planning a joint Wednesday evening rally in Orlando.

Posted by Adam Smith at 3:50:07 PM on October 25, 2008

Pinellas sucking wind on early votes

The decision by Pinellas Elections Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark to open only three early voting sites has given her county statewide distinction. Of the 25 largest counties in Florida, no one has a lower rate of early voting. Through Friday, only 2.2 percent of registered voters - 14,235 people - had voted early. By comparison the percentages were 6.4 percent in Hillsborough, 7.9 percent in Pasco, 9.1 percent in Sarasota, 10.6 percent in Duval, and 13.3 percent in St. John's county.

Thanks to Jon Ausman for the analysis.

Posted by Adam Smith at 2:42:32 PM on October 25, 2008

Andy Stern: '08 GOTV no comparison to '04

Caught up with Service Emloyees International Union President Andy Stern today at an early vote rally in St. Pete, and he acknowledged thinking at this point in '04 that Kerry-Edwards would pull it off (though not necessarily in Florida). He said SEIU - which has 123 members working full time on voter turnout in Florida - is taking nothing for granted this time, but that there is no comparison between the efforts of lavishly funded groups like ACT and the Obama campaign this year.

"I've never seen a Democratic candidate for president where on every factor - money, enthusiasm, debates, volunteers, advertising, on the issues - is ahead,'' said Stern, who leads the largest and fastest-growing union in north America.

And if Obama loses? "It would take an incredible amount of passion and wind and hope out of the country. I think we'd lose a generation of young voters."

Posted by Adam Smith at 2:28:42 PM on October 25, 2008

GOP's law created long voting lines

The pictures of early voters on TV look like crowds waiting to ride Space Mountain.

Hour after hour, people stand in line for the "convenience" of early voting. The National Campaign for Fair Elections says a three-hour wait is a big problem, but Secretary of State Kurt Browning says it's a sign of a healthy democracy.

In frustration, some voters fault election supervisors for too few sites or machines. But there's a bigger culprit - the Legislature.

Steve Bousquet explains in his Saturday column. (http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/article870417.ece)

Posted by Alex Leary at 1:14:09 PM on October 25, 2008

Lieberman, socialism and tests of leadership

The Democrats have Sarah Silverman, who encourages young Jews to get their grandparents in Florida to vote for Barack Obama with her website, www.thegreatschlep.com (http://www.thegreatschlep.com/site/index.html). The Republicans have Joe Lieberman. He's scheduled to be in Tampa in the next few days, in part, to rally Jewish voters, says Greg Truax, who's leading the John McCain effort in Hillsborough County. More details to come.

Meanwhile, Truax said while the Obama camp is organizing get out the vote events in the region, his team is vigorously working the phones to encourage absentee and early voting, and knocking on doors in neighborhoods. County Commissioner Mark Sharpe says the last few days are critical, because Obama is not a good "closer." Overly confident Democrats are getting sloppy, he said, with talk of "spreading wealth" like socialists and a world waiting to test Obama's leadership ability. "They're talking about things Americans don't like," Sharpe said. That, he said, will convince the undecided voters to back McCain.

Posted by Janet Zink at 9:23:13 AM on October 25, 2008

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