Among the great unanswered questions this year is whether Charlie Crist would caucus with the Democrats or Republicans if he makes it to the Senate. Marco Rubio's campaign, eager to consolidate Republican support, is pushing the idea that Crist would be a Democratic vote, and there have even been unsubstantiated whispers that the White House tacitly backs Crist.
Nonsense, Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9.
"I don't have any control over that," Kaine said of which party Crist might work with. "What I can control is that we put our support behind the Democratic nominee - and that's Kendrick Meek (above)."
Of course, that nominee could wind up being billionaire real estate mogul Jeff Greene of Palm Beach, but Kaine made clear Meek is the one with party support: "He is our candidate at the DNC and the White House's candidate."
Kaine noted the ongoing state and federal criminal investigations circulating around the Florida GOP and suggested they could end up damaging both Crist and Rubio, while the tough Republican primary battle between Rick Scott and Bill McCollum will help Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink.
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Greene seems to have a thing for celebs with legal problems. Convicted rapist Mike Tyson was his best man, Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss lived in his guesthouse, and now comes word that the Senate candidate is pals with Lindsay Lohan, the actor sentenced last week to 90 days in jail. The Buzz blog last week posted a photo of Greene hanging with Lohan in St. Bart's last New Years Eve, and an Orlando TV reporter asked Greene about that.
"I don't even know what photograph. People stand next to me all the time in photographs. What can I say? This is not what's important," Greene said. "Floridians are worried about jobs, getting results."
After we found more photographs of Lohan aboard Greene's 145-foot yacht, his campaign clarified: "She was a guest of (Greene) and his wife."
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Chiles on TV
Along with Kaine, check out independent gubernatorial candidate Bud Chiles today on Political Connections on Bay News 9. He talks about his recent business failures, how he left Florida in the 1990s because of perceptions of conflicts of interests between his father, Gov. Lawton Chiles, and his PR firm, and how he's not worried about being a spoiler whose long-shot candidacy could ensure a Republican wins the governor's race.
"I wasn't raised to keep faith with the Democratic Party," Chiles said. "I was raised to keep faith with the people of Florida and to be a public servant."
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Anti-Rubio Web effort not an election foul
Remember back in simpler times when Crist was a Republican, none of us had heard of Scott or Greene, and then-Florida GOP executive director Delmar Johnson wasn't imitating Frank Serpico? You may recall that Republican consultant and longtime Crist adviser Rich Heffley was busted helping create an anti-Rubio website. Well, as Heffley predicted, that complaint went nowhere.
Here's what the Federal Elections Commission concluded: It found no reason to believe the respondents committed a violation because the commission's regulations provide that volunteer Internet activities by an individual or group of individuals, whether acting individually or in coordination with a candidate or committee, do not require disclaimers and do not constitute contributions.
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For those wondering about the Florida GOP gubernatorial primary media spending, (the Rick Scott Let's Get to Work Committee now has a spot comparing Bill McCollum to a dirty diaper, seriously), here are the totals through July 13:
Pro-Scott Let's Get to Work political committee:$2.99 million
Total: $20.48 million
Pro-McCollum Alliance for America: $1.86 million
Pro-Florida First Initiative:$1.93 million
Total: $6.3 million
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Winner of the week
Bill McCollum. Now that he and Republican gubernatorial rival Rick Scott have agreed to debates Aug. 2 and Aug. 5 (Scott has not yet agreed to an Aug. 11 Leadership Florida debate), McCollum has probably his best opportunity to outshine Scott, who tends to be much more impressive on his ubiquitous TV ads than in person.
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Losers of the week
Senate president-to-be Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker-to-be Dean Cannon. In a huge victory for those hoping to ban gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts, a judge threw out the sneaky and confusing ballot initiative Republican legislative leaders had proposed to essentially void two other proposed amendments to reform the redistricting process.