Frank’s Political Notebook for 11-8-13: Stand Your Ground, Jacobs Fundraising, and Nan Rich

First off, Sorry..

I haven’t been posting as much these days. I’m working on a really big project and that’s taken up most of my time. Still, I’ve got time to breakdown a few notes and observations for you.

1. The Push to Change/Repeal Stand Your Ground was defeated yesterday but will still play a role in the elections next year: The Bill to Change/Repeal the Stand Your Ground Self Defense Law was defeated in Committee yesterday in Tallahassee, which is a major setback for opponents of the law that believe it played a role in the death of Trayvon Martin, even though it wasn’t cited in the case. Martin’s attacker, George Zimmerman, who was found Not Guilty this past summer. The incident occurred in Sanford. It doesn’t look like opponents will quit just yet, and State House Candidates should expect to answer questions about the controversial law on the campaign trail next year. Polling indicates that Stand Your Ground has the support from the majority of Floridians.

2. The New Reporting Rules for Fundraising are really taking the fun out of the anticipation of “the Big Announcement Haul“. True Politicos know that money is the Queen of Politics (Votes are King) and fundraising numbers can often be the pulse of a campaign. Simply put, if people believe in a candidate, they’ll open their wallets. The new reporting can make that pulse harder to take. The note is my example.

3. Mayor Teresa Jacobs Brings in 4,375 in October: You see? Now for all we know, Jacobs holds a few fundraisers before the end of the year and what is a small monthly number, turns into a less flattering quarter number. I know you’re wondering but the majority of Jacob’s haul were from businesses inside of the county. Good info coming for the Mayor race before the beginning of next week. You can read all of my notes on the Orange County Mayor Race HERE.

4. Nan Rich opens up attacks on Charlie Crist: The Palm Beach Post is reporting that former State Senator Nan Rich has opened up attacks on Charlie Crist and is going after the Ex Republican on education, gun control, and abortion (that story HERE).

Rich has no other cards to play here. Charlie entered the contest and produced a whirl-wind of national publicity, and many Democrats have pushed away his conservative past and see him as their best chance to defeat Rick Scott next year.

I’ll have more for you tomorrow. Great stuff coming soon!

The latest push to repeal Stand Your Ground has failed but expect Activists to try again

The latest push to repeal Stand Your Ground has failed but expect Activists to try again

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Nan Rich wants to Debate Charlie Crist 10 Times

Everyone is already looking forward to a Charlie Crist vs. Rick Scott showdown for the Governor’s Mansion next year but it’s not that easy. At least not now.

The first major Democratic Candidate to announce her candidacy, Nan Rich wants to primary Crist for the nomination and despite early whispers asking her to drop out and clear the way for the Republican turned Democrat Ex-Guv, she’s not budging.

In fact, she wants to debate Crist. Ten times.

Here is a statement from her campaign that went out this morning.

“Charlie is a Democrat now – but he’s changed more than his party registration – he’s changed his stance on many major issues and voters I’ve met with wonder how committed he is to his new found positions.

“That’s why I hope that he will embrace this opportunity to debate the important issues Floridian’s care about. They want to know how we will improve Florida’s schools and what we’ve done in the past to support them, they want to know how we will protect Florida’s fragile environment, they want to know how we will protect Florida’s at risk children and elderly and I know that Florida’s women want to know where we stand on protecting their reproductive rights.”

Rich has been campaigning for over a year but has never really found her footing with her own party, with candidate rumors swirling around not only Crist, but former CFO and Gov Candidate Alex Sink, as well as Senator Bill Nelson.

Rich recognizes that the only way to stun Crist is to catch him behind a podium on television to answer for his Conservative past. She does have a small contingent of supporters and campaign donations that makes this story just important enough. The Republican Party of Florida has also hinted they would give her a little push in her uphill battle against their former leader.

10 Debates is a high number, the aggressor typically leads with. The actual agreement on events is usually half of that, if not less.

Crist’s connection with his new party is one of the major subplots in this entire race. Unfortunately, the Political Calculus doesn’t add up at this point for the newest candidate in the race. A debate with Rich would only soften him up for Rick Scott, who’s prepared to spend 100 million dollars to defeat Crist in the General Election.


Rich hopes her party views her as the genuine Democrat in the race

Rich hopes her party views her as the genuine Democrat in the race

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Crist Makes it Official, Slams Scott Policies During Gov Candidacy Speech

This morning surrounded by Gray Skies, a Strong Breeze, and a Crowd of Supporters, Charlie Crist made it official, and declared his candidacy for Governor.

The conditions were similar to that of a brewing storm, and it was appropriate of the political fight the state has in front of it, to determine who will be the next elected leader of the Sunshine State.

Crist came out swinging and pulled no punches, attacking his predecessor, now opponent Governor Rick Scott on almost every issue.

“Governor Scott went to Tallahassee on the message of being an outsider. That didn’t even last a day, he went from taking on Tallahassee, to the example of what’s wrong with the place”

Flanked by his wife Carole, Congresswoman Kathy Castor, and St. Petersburg Candidate for Mayor Rick Kriseman (who’s election is tomorrow), Crist painted a picture of Scott, as a special interests darling, and slave to Tea Party policies. He called his campaign a “Journey to take back Florida’s Destiny”. He also accused Scott of putting his interests before the people’s.

“What we have here in Florida is not working, Tallahassee is out of control” He added, taking a shot at Scott’s “It’s Working” re-election catch phrase.

The Republican turned Democrat Ex-Governor also laid out a 5 point plan that dealt with everything from restoring the education budget which he criticized Scott of Slashing, High Speed Rail which Scott turned back, and more comprehensive tax cuts to smaller businesses and families. Crist said that the cuts in place now, only benefit the larger companies. He also planned on restoring the state’s ports, to include Port Canaveral on the space coast.

“Rick Scott may think that flying around in his jet and holding press conferences is job creation, but it’s not” Crist said mocking his opponents frequent appearances at company announcements. He also tried to revive Scott’s private sector problems with HCA Columbia which was caught in a billion dollar medicare fraud investigation.

Cris was on the offensive this morning but he’ll have his own share of battles to fight regarding his record. Former State Senator Nan Rich was the first viable Democrat to declare and she’s indicated that she’ll primary the former Republican and take him to task on his days with the GOP. Then there is the massive fight that would await with Scott who, carries the powers of incumbency, higher GOP mid-term voting trends, and a warchest of 100 million dollars.

Charlie Crist announces

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Crist vs. Scott is Official, What to Watch for the Rest of the Year

It’s On! Former Governor Charlie Crist will go after his old job and Challenge Rick Scott next year, setting the stage for the biggest Gubernatorial contest in the State’s History, and taking their respective Party’s place as the Candidate which all other Candidates line up behind.

It was made official when Crist, the former Republican turned Democrat filed his papers this afternoon, turning what would have been a somewhat calm Monday morning announcement, into a full blown Campaign Rally, and the biggest political event of November.

There is going to be a Hurricane of Political Noise surrounding these two for the next year and alot of information to take in. Let’s zero in on 5 specific things you need to watch out before as 2013 comes roaring to an end.

RPOF is already attacking but, which cards will they play early on?:The Republican Party of Florida has a mixed bag with Crist. They’ve got an opponent that is beating Scott in every poll we’ve seen but also a political foe that every Republican can rally against. How do they go after Crist without showing too much too soon but at the same time, not letting him rally to a 20% lead in the polls and forcing Scott to go into campaign mode and fight a two front battle when the legislative session starts. The early on tone is to attack Crist on his Republican track record and results during his time in the Governor’s mansion during the recession.

Is Nan Rich serious about this primary?: The Former State Senator and only other legit Democratic Candidate has been campaigning for over a year but its apparent that party favors the former Republican. Rich has just enough support to do some damage to Crist and could cause some cuts for Scott to open up later. She has insisted that she will not drop out of this race but expect her fundraising channels to dry up. It’s going to be a tough end of the year for her.

Who’s going to Bankroll the Crist Campaign?: Scott doesn’t have a fraction of the charisma that Crist has but big business is faring much better under his watch, and he’s already got a strong warchest, in addition to his own personal fortune.

Who’s going to donate to Crist?

Obviously, he’ll tap the channels the rest of the Democrats pull from but which corporate entities will deliver maxed out contributions to the former Guv? We know the Personal Injury Attorneys love him, but who else and can he stay within view of Scott?

When does Scott throw his first punch?: Crist isn’t Alex Sink, and the Anti-Obama Sentiment wasn’t what it was in 2010. Rick Scott rarely attacked Sink herself during debate and on the campaign trail, instead focusing on the President. “Obama Math”, “Obamacare”, “Big, Overreaching Government” were some of his commonly used attack terms. When does an attack on Crist come directly from Scott.

The Political Sentiment as the year comes to a close: What kind of a mood will Floridians be in as we close out 2013? Will we have more problems in Washington that will hurt or help either of these candidates? Obamacare problems will hurt Crist. Another looming Government Shutdown could hurt the GOP and Scott. What about the X-Factors? Events in Florida that neither party have control of? How will they affect this race?

This contest is going to be a lot of fun. It’s also going to get those emotions roaring and pull rear-ends off of the couch. These two Floridians couldn’t be more different from a personality aspect, and with Charlie Crist officially in the fight, it’s hard to think of a more unlikely champion for the state’s Democrats, and a bigger antagonist for Florida Republicans.

Let’s do this.

Former Governor Charlie Crist Officially filed to challenge his predecessor Rick Scott today

Former Governor Charlie Crist Officially filed to challenge his predecessor Rick Scott today

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Here is What We Learned from the Florida Democratic Party Covention in Orlando This Past Weekend

The Florida Democratic Party held their annual convention here in Orlando this previous weekend, and it wasn’t boring. We had candidates declare (or announce hint at announcing), others dig in for primaries, and FDP Brass Pledge that Governor Rick Scott would be defeated next year.

Here are the Main Take-Aways

Charlie Crist will announce his attentions on November 4th and the part is for the most part behind him: The biggest news came from a political figure who wasn’t even in the party a year ago. The former Republican turned Democrat Governor announced that he would declare his intentions on November 4th in his hometown of St. Petersburg at 7am in the morning (he says he loves the sunrise).

From the websites, webvids, and harsh words he’s had towards Scott, it’s looking like a pretty sure thing (story HERE).

The sentiment from the convention was mostly positive at his possible candidacy. Florida Democrats are anxious to defeat Scott and will nominate whoever it takes to accomplish that, even if it’s a former “Jeb Bush Republican” who once lobbied to be John McCain’s running mate.

But Nan Rich still has enough support to primary him: It would have been a smart play for FDP to start stepping away from Rich, who went on the record saying “This race will be more about substance than style” taking a mild jab at Crist’s easy-going tone but it looks like she’s got enough loyalists to put up a small resistance to a possible Crist run. Her main concern should be money. Fundraising will almost certainly dry up if the former guv jumps in and it would be a stretch to believe she’s even got enough in the bank to make it to an August primary against an opponent who’s got whale donors on speed dial.

Thurston is game to Challenge Bondi, but it looks like he’ll have a primary too: ICYMI House Minority Leader Perry Thurston declared that he was also going to challenge incumbent Pam Bondi in the Attorney General Race next year. The buzz that he was going to run has been around for sometime now, but it looks like he should have declared sooner. Former DCF Chief George Sheldon declared just over a week before and Democrats went from having zero candidates in the contest to a primary scenario in 8 days. That story HERE

Neither Candidate should have Bondi shaking in her designer boots at this point. The only obvious gig she’s got at this point is rescheduling an execution for a campaign kick-off, which she’s apologized profusely for, and will cost a lot of money to keep fresh in the mind of voters with over a year left to go. She’s an aggressive campaigner and defeated the former Lt. Governor in her own primary during her first run.

Alan Grayson continued his extreme, controversial rhetoric, and FDP Chairwoman Allison Tant is apparently cool with it: “That’s just Congressman Grayson, being Congressman Grayson” said Tant when asked about the Representative from Florida’s 9th District dialog with supporters that has compared the Tea Party to the KKK, and the Republican Party as “the stupid vote”.

Tant might have believed that backing Grayson in the party environment was just being a good team player, but she opened the door for him continue this kind of message heading into an election year, when it could become a liability, like the “Taliban Dan” ad which got him defeated in 2010.

She would have been better off following DNC Chairwoman and South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s lead by saying “I just think that we need to dial down the really intense vitriolic rhetoric. We need to make sure when we are criticizing our opponents we need to be more civil,” (That Sentinel story HERE).


Florida Democratic Convention Orlando

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