Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Florida Governor and Senate races

It's a GOP primary. But I can't say it looks pretty. The process produced a big-spending, rightwing healthcare exec as the Republican nominee for Governor, Rick Scott. Florida is a big state, which means it has a lot of Congressional seats and a lot of electoral votes in Presidential elections. And as we saw in 2000, who the state officials in Florida are can literally change the course of world history.

Marc Caputo and Steve Bousquet report in Rick Scott wins tight GOP race for governor; Alex Sink wins Democratic nod St. Petersburg Times 08/25/2010:

Scott, 57, of Naples, pulled off one of the most startling victories in the state's history by flooding the state's airwaves with ads while sending mountains of mail to hundreds of thousands of Florida homes. A hefty amount of the flyers and ads from both campaigns was highly negative and even made supporters of [losing candidate the fomer Congressman and current state Attorney General Bill] McCollum and Scott a little queasy. ...

Scott burst on the scene in April with the first of many advertising blitzes, and cut a distinctive figure on TV with his bald head and piercing blue eyes. But he refused to debate McCollum on live statewide TV, dismissed the ritual of editorial board interviews, and refused to make public a deposition he gave in a civil case six days before announcing his campaign.

Scott also deftly and firmly planted a foothold on McCollum's right by aggressively supporting the Arizona law getting tough on illegal immigrants, and he relentlessly hammered McCollum as a "desperate career politician," a message that resonated at the polls Tuesday.
Adam Smith and Beth Reinhard write in the Times, Rick Scott puts GOP and Democrat Alex Sink in unfamiliar territory 08/25/2010:

The Obama White House cares much more about Democrats winning the Florida gubernatorial race than it does winning the open U.S. Senate seat. A Democrat as governor has repercussions for redistricting and the 2012 presidential race in America's biggest battleground state.

With Scott, Democrats face a political rookie who knows little about Florida and who carries a ton of baggage from his controversial business career. But he is also capable of spending tens of millions of dollars.
I'm not sure that the idea that the White House cares more about the Governor's race than the Senate seat. But it emphasizes the national importance of the Florida Governor's race.

The Florida Senate race three-way Senate race in Florida is unusual in that there are three competitive candidates: Congressman Kendrick Meek for the Democrats; Gov. Charlie Crist, elected to the Governorship as a Republican but running as an Independent; and Tea Party darling Marco Rubio for the Republicans. There is a possibility that Crist will caucus with the Democrats if he's elected. Just what we need: another Blue Dog Democrat to vote with the Republicans. I suppose there's always the possibility that he'll turn out to be a closet liberal. After all, Joe Lieberman's with us on everything but the war, right?


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