Mitch Perry Report for 3.25.15 — Maybe Jeb Bush isn’t so inevitable?

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Polls, schmolls, right? I mean, it’s not even the beginning of the 2015 Major League Baseball season, so we’ve got a lifetime — or a year and a half, anyway, before the 2016 presidential election.

But it’s not just the fantasy of political reporters who are hoping for a knock-down, drag-out affair to suggest that despite his obvious financial prowess, Jeb Bush isn’t exactly dominating the still very early field so far.

A PPP survey yesterday showed a majority of Floridians said they didn’t want Bush to run for president. OK, that particular question included Democrats and independents, but it certainly adds a wrinkle to the idea that he could easily win the state’s 29 electoral votes if he were the GOP nominee next year.

This morning there’s a column by Josh Kraushaar in the National Journal who makes somewhat of a comparison of Bush with failed GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. He writes that, “there are signs that a worst-case, crash-and-burn scenario for Bush is more realistic than even his skeptics recognize.”

Go ahead and read the piece and agree or disagree (lord knows I’ve taken exception to other opinion pieces by this writer). The point is, it really seems that this field is wide open, despite the fact that Bush is going to have a huge financial advantage maybe the whole way through. And while I still can’t take Ted Cruz that seriously as a challenger to the top-tier candidates like Bush, I’m also not sold on Scott Walker being the last man standing.

In other news..

We attended both campaign parties last night in the Tampa City Council District 6 race. Not surprisingly, there was more celebrating going on with Guido Maniscalco’s friends than at the Jackie Toledo event. Toledo said attacks by the media and the Democratic Party were the difference.

In the Florida Senate yesterday, the difference between Tampa and Miami was never more evident than when the Legislature’s upper body voted overwhelmingly to condemn President Obama’s overtures toward the Cuban government. Hours after that vote, Tampa U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor announced a forum to be held next Monday all about, yes, U.S.-Cuba relations. 

The Florida Senate also passed Jeff Brandes’ bill that would allow you or anyone you know here in Florida who doesn’t have a concealed weapons permit to go ahead and take your gun with you when a hellacious hurricane requires evacuation, because, well, it’s Florida. Everything goes better with a gun, right?

So who is Patrick Murphy, you may be wondering? In the second part of an interview we conducted with the 31-year-old Democratic candidate for Senate in Florida next year, Murphy talks about why he hopes to be part of a “Gang of 8” type of Democratic-Republican team to get things done for the American people.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.