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THE BUZZ: ON FLORIDA POLITICS

Obama pushing Huizenga to sell Dolphins

Like Joe the Plumber, Wayne Huizenga is worried. The former Bush Pioneer fundraiser and multi-milloionaire from Broward, who backed Mitt Romney in the primary, says (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/football/pro/dolphins/sfl-flspdolwayne27sboct27,0,1382404.story) he's eager to sell his 45% share of the Dolphins to avoid Barack Obama's capital gains tax increases.

"I'd rather give it to charity than to him" said Huizenga, who gave $2,300 to John McCain in late May.

Posted by Adam Smith at 11:41:54 PM on October 27, 2008

Fla poll: Obama up 5

Datamar (http://www.datamar.net/pdf/flpg102708.pdf) Oct. 25-26 robo poll (moe +/-3.9%): shows Barack Obama with 49.2 percent support and John McCain with 44.4 percent.

Posted by Adam Smith at 11:12:46 PM on October 27, 2008

A pitbull with lipstick takes on McCain

Her blazing "Marxist" (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/obama-campaign.html) interview with Joe Biden made her an Internet sensation. Today, Orlando TV anchor Barbara West elicited the same awkwardness (http://www.wftv.com/video/17810719/index.html) from John McCain.

McCain begins with a joke about the Obama campaign's apparent boycott of the station. He was settling in for some free TV exposure.

But West put McCain on the ropes, asking about strife with Sarah Palin ("pure unadulterated baloney," says McCain) and suggesting that while Obama has a "well coordinated" Florida operation, the McCain team "still seems to be trying to get itself organized." An incredulous McCain laughed, "Really?"

Kinda strange given the approach West took last time (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvJ1zUsVcWM) she interviewed McCain.

Posted by Alex Leary at 8:39:18 PM on October 27, 2008

The final scramble for Florida

It all comes down to this: A final push by John McCain and Barack Obama to win Florida and its 27 electoral votes. Here's the latest on their plans.

Sen. John McCain arrives in Miami on Tuesday night. He'll have an event in the morning then heads to Tampa and West Palm Beach. The Tampa event will focus on national security and West Palm will be on the economy. Both events will have limited, or "pool," press access, suggesting they will be more intimate in scope. Could McCain be trying to avoid crowd comparisons with Obama?

Sen. Barack Obama will be in Sunrise and Orlando on Wednesday and Sarasota on Thursday morning. The Orlando visit is with Bill Clinton.

Posted by Alex Leary at 8:02:38 PM on October 27, 2008

Biden arrives in New Port Richey

Joe Biden has opened a rally in New Port Richey, trying to appeal to voters in Pasco County, which went for President Bush in 2004. More than 3,200 people have arrived despite the chilly wind.

Biden has tied fellow U.S. Sen. John McCain to voters' negative review of Bush these days.

"I know Halloween is Friday. But John McCain, dressed as an agent for change -- that costume doesn't fit," Biden said to cheers.

Early on, Barack Obama's running mate has tied McCain to Bush and the economic troubles in a locale hit hard by foreclosures.

View photo gallery of Biden' visit (http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2008/photo_galleries/biden_npr/)

Posted by David DeCamp at 7:40:44 PM on October 27, 2008

Jeremiah Wright coming to Fla airwaves

The National Republican Trust PAC is dropping $2.5-million to $2.9-million to air this Jeremiah Wright spot in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, says Rick Wilson, the Tallahassee-based master of disaster/producer. He says it's running in Jacksonville and I-4 markets.

Posted by Adam Smith at 6:13:10 PM on October 27, 2008

Florida GOP urges votes on abortion issue

A new mailer from the Republican Party of Florida appeals to anti-abortion sentiment to turn out the vote.

Continue reading "Florida GOP urges votes on abortion issue" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/florida-gop-urg.html#more)

Posted by Alex Leary at 5:56:15 PM on October 27, 2008

Unusual support for "No on 2"

This might be a first. The pro-Amendment 2 folks have legions of clergy and religious leaders talking to their congregations about supporting a constitutional amendment that would limit marriage to a man and a woman.

Now the anti-Amendment 2 folks have one too: Bishop Leo Frade of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida.

"Not only would the passage of Amendment 2 infringe upon our religious liberty by imposing a single religious definition of marriage on all Floridians, regardless of their beliefs; but because of its wording, this amendment could also deny many important benefits to all unmarried Floridians," he wrote.

Posted by Jennifer Liberto at 5:19:35 PM on October 27, 2008

List of unverified voters grows to 12,000

A new list of unverified voters under the so-called no match law lists 12,165 names, an increase of one third over the first list of 8,867 released a week-and-a-half ago. Even as election supervisors work to match voters' identities so they can cast real ballots, the list continues to grow.

The new list includes still-unverified names from the original list, and African-Americans and Hispanics continue to comprise slightly more than half of the total.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning's office pointed out that the total is 2.7 percent of all new voters who have registered since Sept. 8, when the law was re-implemented after the state prevailed in a federal lawsuit.

Posted by Steve Bousquet at 4:26:51 PM on October 27, 2008

'No on 2' group highlights domestic partners

This mailer spreads the same message that popped up in the last weeks of the Arizona 2004 ballot initiative to ban gay marriage, which failed that year.

However, passing Amendment 2 would not automatically prevent "Wayne" from staying with "Helene" while she waits for breast cancer surgery, as the ad suggests. It would be up to a court to decide whether hospital visitation rights for domestic partners, which some Florida municipalities grant, would be impacted by the passage of a constitutional amendment, which limits marriage and its "substantial equivalent" to a man and woman.

Posted by Jennifer Liberto at 4:23:23 PM on October 27, 2008

Boulware-Vasilinda race getting nastier

More fire in the Tallahassee House race between Democrat Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda and Republican Peter Boulware ... Democrats have filed an elections complaint, while Republicans are railing against an "illegal" attack ad on TV.

(read all about it below)

Continue reading "Boulware-Vasilinda race getting nastier" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/democrats-have.html#more)

Posted by Alex Leary at 3:58:26 PM on October 27, 2008

Crist endorses Amendment 4

From an event in Crystal River on Friday:

Posted by Times Editor at 3:25:12 PM on October 27, 2008

Suffolk Fla. poll: Obama 49, McCain 44

Suffolk University Oct. 23-26 (moe +/-4%) has Obama up 5 points in Florida. From the pollster:

"Barack Obama continues to lead John McCain by a slim margin," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston. "But our Florida bellwethers may be telltale signs of the race tightening."

In both Florida bellwethers of Hillsborough and Monroe counties, Obama and McCain were deadlocked at exactly 42 percent each. Suffolk University conducts bellwether polls in particular regions that historically reflect how the wider population will vote. Statewide, Obama led McCain 46 percent to 45 percent among those very likely to vote but was crushing McCain 60 percent to 40 percent among those who had already voted.

Continue reading "Suffolk Fla. poll: Obama 49, McCain 44" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/suffolk-fla-pol.html#more)

Posted by Adam Smith at 3:09:08 PM on October 27, 2008

McCain bringing the troops to Tampa

Bill Kristol fleshes out McCain's Tampa visit Wednesday: "The McCain campaign intends, I gather, to return to the commander in chief theme with an event in Florida Wednesday showcasing former secretaries of state and retired senior military officers."

Posted by Adam Smith at 2:37:09 PM on October 27, 2008

Greer says supervisors need to follow law

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer is calling out local elections officials, including Pinellas County supervisor Deb Clark, who are deviating from guidelines under the controversial "no match" voter verification law.

From a Greer news release: "Despite the clear language of the law, the practices outlined on the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections website call for regular ballots, not provisional ballots, to be issued to voters whose information has not been verified before they arrive at the polling place. According to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections, "If a citizen with a pending application brought identification to the polls that matches the identification number that he/she has on the application, the application would be considered completed, and the voter would be given a regular ballot." (full release below)

Continue reading "Greer says supervisors need to follow law" " (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/greer-says-supe.html#more)

Posted by Alex Leary at 2:09:45 PM on October 27, 2008

The Fla. tally so far: Ds up 80K votes

Through Sunday, it appears absentee and early votes have Democrats up by 80,287 votes.

Of the 1,010,046 people who voted early, 53.7 percent were Democrats, 30.19 percent Republicans and 16.02 percent other. Of the 1,059,518 absentee ballots returned so far, 35.31 percent were from Democrats, 50.23 percent Republicans, and 14.46 percent other.

All told, 2,069,564 people have voted already -- 44.33 percent of them Democrats, 40.45 percent Republicans, and 15.22 percent other.

Posted by Adam Smith at 1:50:31 PM on October 27, 2008

GOP halts interview of paid canvassers

Things got a little tense in Orlando when a videographer started interviewing paid canvassers for the McCain/RPOF Victory effort. It goes both ways. The Obama campaign last week ordered one of its volunteers to stop talking to a St. Petersburg Times reporter (they eventually backed off) because they had not authorized the conversation.

Posted by Adam Smith at 12:57:43 PM on October 27, 2008

Caroline Kennedy to stump for Obama

Caroline Kennedy is scheduled to speak at the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Reservations are required. To save your seat, call (813) 634-6013 or send an e-mail to lynleestep@mac.com or idalear@aol.com. Kennedy also has tentative stops planned this week in Fort Myers and West Palm Beach.

Posted by Janet Zink at 12:02:13 PM on October 27, 2008

Crist: 'McCain's going to win'

Gov. Charlie Crist predicted the Rays would make the playoffs and they did. He predicted voters would pass the Amendment 1 property tax cut, and they did. He said Monday that John McCain is in good shape in Florida, despite not choosing him as his running mate, and said: "I think Sen. McCain's going to win regardless. I really do."

He dismissed the suggestion in a weekend New York Times piece that he would be more bullish on McCain's campaign if his pre-taped seven-minute speech was shown to TV viewers at the Republican convention in August. "No, it's probably better that it didn't play. It wasn't that good," Crist said. "I couldn't be more enthused about Sen. McCain and his opportunity to be our next president." He said he will campaign alongside McCain if the senator, as expected, returns to Tampa on Wednesday.

Crist also encouraged state agencies to utilize a little-noticed provision in state law that says state workers "may" be given up to an hour off to vote during working hours. Most state employees are Democrats. "I'm sure they're aware of it, and I would encourage them to do so," Crist said.

Asked what he thinks of the wisdom of the possibility of using foreclosure lists to challenge the legitimacy of any voters, Crist said: "Not much. I don't understand why it would be something we would pursue."

Posted by Steve Bousquet at 11:55:54 AM on October 27, 2008

Sen. Martinez talks up Florida on Fox

Sen. Mel Martinez on Fox News this morning: "Florida's absolutely a dead heat. I mean, we are neck and neck, which I think is good news for the McCain campaign."

Posted by Alex Leary at 11:43:39 AM on October 27, 2008

McCain in Tampa on Wednesday

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. The Buzz is John McCain will be in Miami then Tampa on Wednesday then possibly West Palm on Thursday morning.

Gov. Charlie Crist will campaign in Tampa with John McCain on Wednesday. Plans are being made for a stop somewhere Thursday. (AP photo from earlier this year in Florida.)

Posted by Alex Leary at 11:28:18 AM on October 27, 2008

Obama in Sarasota?

Top Democrats in Sarasota confirm that Obama's advance team arrived in Sarasota an hour ago looking for places to hold a forum or rally Thursday. More details to come.

Jennifer Liberto, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Alex Leary at 10:56:01 AM on October 27, 2008

Zogby: Obama 47, McCain 47

Zogby/Reuters Oct. 23-26 Florida poll (http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1612) (moe +/- 4.1%) shows a tied race, with 47.2% for Obama and 46.9% for McCain.

"McCain is winning 16% of Democrats compared to Obama's 10% with Republicans. That is enough to offset Obama's 64%-25% lead with Independents. McCain's favorable showing with Democrats is reflected in his 55%-38% lead among those over 65. Whites choose McCain by 17, while Hispanics favor Obama by 16. Maximizing African-American turnout will be the key to a possible Obama win."

Posted by Adam Smith at 9:07:54 AM on October 27, 2008

Dems see long-term gain in Obama Army

ST. PETERSBURG -- It was only 9:30 a.m., but inside the dingy Central Avenue storefront, volunteers filtered in and out. A half-dozen 20-somethings hunched over laptops and worked their cell phones. A sign taped to the wall said: "How am I increasing my infrastructure? How can I empower my team leaders? How can I multiply my field army?"

Across Florida, there are about 60 such offices, an estimated 500 paid organizers and tens of thousands of volunteers on the front line. Florida Republicans have been fielding daunting get-out-the-vote programs for years, but this is the most massive organizing operation Florida has seen from a presidential campaign.

So sweeping and so lavishly funded is the volunteer-focused campaign that many Democrats think, win or lose, Obama's efforts will reverberate well beyond this election cycle in Florida. (story here.) (http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/state/article873073.ece)

Posted by Alex Leary at 1:09:57 AM on October 27, 2008

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