Is the Florida GOP already hedging its bets on Mitt Romney winning Florida?

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The Republican Party of Florida last week launched a compelling, well-coordinated advertising campaign spread across several mediums and outlets.

Was the campaign designed to promote or assist presidential candidate Mitt Romney? No.

Was the campaign designed to promote or assist U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack? Nope.

Alright, if the advertising wasn’t suppose to help Romney or Mack, maybe it was designed to attack Barack Obama or Bill Nelson. Nope, not that either.

OK. If these new ads don’t help Romney or Mack or hurt Obama or Nelson, perhaps they’re suppose to generate grassroots support or help get out the vote. Uh uh.

No, the ads paid for by the Republican Party of Florida by donations presumably made during the 2011-12 election cycle target former governor Charlie Crist, who may or may not be running in 2014.

Talk about taking your eyes off the prize.

Every moment Republicans spend focused on Crist is time away from helping Romney and Mack get elected.

Florida GOP chair Lenny Curry doesn’t see it that way.

In a perfectly framed tweet sent this weekend, Curry said, “Its called chewing gum and walking at the same time, @FloridaGOP has a team that multi-tasks. Its not complicated.”

Curry response was to a tweet of mine that places the blame/responsibility for the Florida GOP focusing on Crist — at the expense of Romney and Mack — on Curry.

Thinking more about this, I do see Curry’s point; that the Republican Party of Florida is a big enough, capable enough organization that it can open up a line of attack on Crist while simultaneously maintaining its lines on the Romney & Mack fronts. After all, the RPOF’s opponent is the Florida Democratic Party and the FDP doesn’t bring knives to gunfights, it brings water balloons.

Still, doesn’t it sounds a little like Curry and Co. are already hedging its bets on Romney winning Florida?

Former state GOP executive director David Johnson said (via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union), it would be a nice “feather in his cap,” but Romney’s campaign, which is based in Boston, should not define Curry’s chairmanship.

Curry brushes off suggestions a Romney loss in Florida could cost him his job.

“I don’t think about it,” Curry said. “I don’t see us losing. That’s my mindset.”

Although I would like to agree with David Ramba’s quote in the FTU story — “He can do everything right and read all the textbooks, but he could still fail the final exam” — Curry is in little danger of losing his job.

Curry’s number one priority is not winning Florida for Romney or helping Mack win a Senate seat. It’s paving the way for Rick Scott’s re-election in 2014, which the RPOF is working on now, two years out from the election.

Witness Scott spokesman Brian Burgess leaving the governor’s office to go to work at the RPOF.

Witness the TV ads, paid for by the RPOF, touting Scott’s record on education.

Witness the attacks on Crist.

So, yes, I believe the Florida GOP is prepared for a Romney loss in Florida.

As for hedging its bets, it’s more like the party is doubling-down.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.