Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Live-blogging, tweeting of Pinellas GOP’s straw ballot showdown between Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio

in Statewide/The Bay and the 'Burg by

Life has its little ironies. For me, one of them is the fact that I get along much better with my old Republican friends than I do with my new Democratic colleagues. I’d much rather have a drink with Tony DiMatteo than Ramsey McLaughlan. Maybe that’s why I’ve enjoyed going to the Pinellas Republican Executive Committee meetings (do the Pinellas Democrats even have meetings?)

I’ll be at January’s meeting of the PCREC to blog and tweet about the straw ballot showdown between Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. My friends in Charlie’s camp, such as County Commissioner John Morroni, say the vote is going to be a squeaker, but that Charlie will prevail. My sources on Rubio’s side are predicting a blow-out for their guy.

Crist’s campaign has already begun to downplay expectations of Monday’s straw ballot and is not actively campaigning for votes among the PCREC. Another unfortunate turn for Crist’s prospects is the declining health of the venerable John Milford who, along with his wife Margie, had been leading the effort to whip votes for Crist.

I expect that about 160 members will actually show up to vote and many of those will be people who have been with Charlie Crist for a long time. If I was still a betting man, I’d give Charlie 6-to-5 odds he wins. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

One thought I have is if Charlie will release his fundraising total for the 4Q, assuming its a strong number. Or does Crist save his press release for Tuesday in order to wash the bad taste out of his mouth (assuming a strong report and that he loses the straw ballot).

Update – 3:11 p.m.: Former Pinellas GOP chair Tony DiMatteo predicting a 3 to 1 victory for Rubio tonight.

Update – 2:05 p.m.: GOP operatives normally associated with Crist distributing mis-information about logistics about tonight’s vote.

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.

Latest from Statewide

Go to Top