New Rick Scott campaign memo: Election Day is here, GOP winning

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Who says political campaigns aren’t dangerous?

With competing campaign memos flying around furiously, its surprising no one has been taken out of the game with a nasty paper cut.

On Thursday, a new memo from Charlie Crist advisor Steve Schale argued numbers showing the Democrats are in a much more favorable position in 2014 than in 2010, when Rick Scott won by only 61,000 votes.

Now, it is Scott’s turn, reports Marc Caputo in the Miami Herald.

Deputy Campaign Manager Tim Saler responded today with his own numbers, reiterating the argument that it is the GOP, not Democrats, in the best position for Election Day by winning the war on turnout.

Saler echoes the well-known fact that Democrats have struggled with turnout, citing the vote history of 5 million Democrats on Florida voter rolls, which includes eligible, but inactive voters. Only sixty percent – or 3 million – have voted in two or fewer of the last four general elections.

In comparison, only 48 percent of Republican voters participated in two or fewer of the last four general elections.  When it comes to unlikely midterm voters, Democrats have to contend with a much larger number of people to get to the polls.

What troubles the Crist campaign the most is that the Republican turnout of those “least likely” voters is higher in this year’s election.

President Obama’s Florida ground game in 2012 relied on three factors: defusing the Republican absentee ballot advantage, a large turnout of early voters and winning by just enough on Election Day to counterbalance absentee and early voting advantages.

Crist’s campaign, Saler says, is failing at least one of those factors, as Republicans have a 12-point advantage in returned ballots. Republican voters returned more than half of all ballots requested, which is up from both 2012 and 2010.

With four days of early voting concluded, the expected Democrat early voting victory lead is also out of reach for the Crist campaign.

Saler notes that as Florida heads into the first full weekend of early voting, Republicans have taken the lead, out-performing 2012 in all counties, and besting 2010 returns in 24 of the 45 counties with early voting that began before the weekend.

Over a quarter million Democrats voted in 2012 during the first weekend of early voting; more than 100,000 on Sunday as part of the “Souls to the Polls” plan. Saler expects the same this time around, especially if Crist keeps to the Obama playbook.

However, energized Scott supporters are also turning out.

Saler ends the memo with one last “stubborn fact”:  Election Day has already arrived … and Rick Scott is winning.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.