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>>>My preview and live-blogging of the first Presidential Debate here.
>>>A substantial majority of voters plan to watch the debate: 62% say they are very likely to watch, another 21% say they are somewhat likely.
>>>Bill Herrle, Executive Director of NFIB/FL, on what’s he’ll be watching for tonight: “The debate tonight is an opportunity for both President Obama and Governor Romney to lay out their economic agenda and explain how they plan to jumpstart our economy. As the leading voice of small business, we need them address how they intend to reform the government, give some semblance of predictability on taxes and regulations, and remove the hurdles to job creation that are currently in place. Hopefully Obama and Romney will have some solid answers for Florida’s small businesses.”
>>>Eight clips of some of the most memorable presidential debate moments from the television era.
>>>How post-debate spin makes a difference.
>>>Mike Murtha, President Florida Concrete Products Association, on what’s he’ll be watching for tonight: President Obama and Governor Romney need to incentivize reinsurance companies to continue working with insurance companies by opposing current federal legislation HR 3157 and S 1693. If passed, they would levy exorbitant taxes on global insurance companies that provide nearly two-thirds of all the reinsurance throughout Florida. Furthermore, FCPA also opposes language included in President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal, which would deny a tax cut for certain reinsurance premiums paid to foreign-based affiliates by domestic insurers. How will the candidates safeguard insurance and reinsurance to remain viable for the most hurricane-prone state in the world? We hope this issue will be addressed during the domestic policy debate tonight.
>>>Tampa Bay Times Adam Smith’s 5 things to watch in the presidential debate.
>>>Why it will be difficult for Romney to effectively attack Obama.
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ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUESTS FROM FLORIDA’S MILITARY VOTERS DOWN 56% FROM 2000
A Military Voter Protection Project report finds that absentee-ballot requests by Florida’s military voters are down by 56% from 2008 levels, mirroring trends found in several other battleground states.
During the 2008 election cycle, 89,926 of Florida’s military voters cast an absentee ballot. So far in 2012, just 37,953 absentee ballots have been requested by service members registered to vote in Florida. … This represents a 56% drop-off from 2008.
18-POINT LEAD WITH WOMEN GIVES OBAMA 49-45 LEAD IN QUINNIPIAC NAT’L POLL
An 18-point lead among women puts Barack Obama ahead of Mitt Romney 49-45 percent among likely voters nationwide, and voters expect 54-28 percent that the president will win the debates … The president leads 56-38 percent among women and 94-2 percent among black voters … Men back Romney 52-42 percent while white voters back the Republican 53-42 percent. Independent voters are divided with 47 percent for Romney and 45 percent for Obama.
NEW POLLING MODELS RAISE SPECTER OF TIE IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
The latest polling, reflecting a slight regression to the mean for Obama, is raising the chance of a tie in the Electoral College. Assume Obama wins the states where he has at least an 85 percent chance of victory in Nate Silver’s forecast, but no others.
If you add up the electoral votes in that case, they come out to Obama 269, Romney 269: an exact Electoral College tie. The election would then be thrown to the House of Representatives, which would cast votes based on the provisions of the 12th Amendment.
…Fortunately, such an outcome remains quite unlikely. Of the 25,001 simulations that we ran on Monday, a 269-269 tie came up in 152 model runs, or about 0.6 percent of the time.
SUFFOLK U POLL OF FLA.: OBAMA UP 3, NELSON UP 6
The latest poll from Suffolk University shows Obama leading Romney 46 percent to 43 percent, and Sen. Bill Nelson leading Rep. Connie Mack 40 percent to 34 percent, among a sample of registered voters in Florida.
TWEET OF THE DAY: @DavidABeattie: To all reporters. The more decimal points a pollster uses to report a poll, the less accurate it is likely to be.
CROSSROADS UP WITH BIGGEST AD BUY YET
Crossroads launches $16 million [one-week] buy in Senate, presidential contests, reports Maggie Haberman: “American Crossroads and its affiliate Crossroads GPS are going up today with their biggest paid media push so far in the 2012 cycle … on TV and radio in eight presidential battlegrounds and four Senate contests … On the presidential level, American Crossroads will spend $11 million on a spot called ‘Actually Happened,’ which focuses on the impact that President Obama said the stimulus would have on the unemployment rate. The spot features a man using charts and graphics to show where the president said unemployment would be around now, under 5.5 percent, compared to where it is, at 8.1.”
The ad is running in Florida, as welll as Colorado Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. Crossroads GPS … is spending an additional $1 million on radio in those states. Another $4 million is being spent by GPS [on Senate races in] in North Dakota, Virginia and Montana, and American Crossroads is going up in Florida. … Republican outside groups are about to demonstrate the extent to which they can have impact as the 2012 cycle enters its final stretch. … [T]he case has been made that, especially given Mitt Romney’s own comparatively light advertising in the summer, the groups helped keep the race close in the face of Obama’s spending.”
See the 30-second ad, “Actually Happened,” which ends with the line: “What Obama promised, versus what he delivered” here.
Likelihood of … Obama winning: 74.1%; Romney winning: 21.4%
Likelihood of … Nelson winning 78.1%; Mack winning: 22.9%
Likelihood of … Obama winning: 85.7%; Romney winning 14.3%
Likelihood of … Democrats keeping the Senate: 80.2%
ELECTION DAY: Early in-person voting began Ohio yesterday, while the first of more than 922,000 absentee ballots will begin to be mailed today by county boards of elections,” the Columbus Dispatch reports.
STUMPING FOR ROMNEY IN NAPLES, JOHN BOEHNER CALLS RACE ‘DEAD HEAT’ by Nora McAlvanah of FLDemocracy2012
Campaigning for Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner spoke for about 10 minutes to 75 people Tuesday morning in Naples. The House speaker said polls showing President Obama leading Romney should be taken with a grain of salt, stressing the race is actually a “dead heat.”
“It is as close as anything that you’ve seen,” Boehner said. “These debates over the next couple of weeks are going to be very important for our team. One thing you know about me is that I never give up.”
Boehner, who stressed the importance of Romney’s economic plan, called the upcoming election the most “important” of our lifetime.
“Thirty-five days before the biggest election of our lifetime. You’ve heard politicians talk about the upcoming election being the biggest election of your lifetime. Guess what? They were wrong. The most important election of our lifetime is going to be this November,” he said.
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OUT OF STATE DONORS HAVE POURED $22 MILLION INTO FLA.’S US SENATE RACE by William March of the Tampa Tribune
Outside spending by independent groups helping Rep. Connie Mack’s Senate campaign — mostly by attacking his opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson — has reached nearly $22 million, according to Nelson campaign figures.
Mack doesn’t dispute the numbers. In fact, he says, the total will go even higher.
He said in Tampa on Monday that he thinks spending by both sides in the race during the final five weeks of the campaign will be $25 million to $30 million.
REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT DAN WEBSTER TARGET OF SUPER PAC AD
Dan Webster is one of six Republicans targeted in a new, $1.2 million nationwide ad blitz by the House Majority PAC. View here.
The new television spot attacks Webster on several issues, including his support for a continuation of Bush-era tax cuts for taxpayers making more than $250,000 annually. Webster faces Democrat Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief, in a redrawn district that includes parts of Orange, Lake and Polk counties.
DCCC CANCELS NEARLY 500K IN AIRTIME FOR KEITH FITZGERALD
Less than 24-hours after Democrat Keith Fitzgerald was forced to fire his spokesperson for anti-Catholic, hate-filled rants, the DCCC has pulled the plug on yet another ad buy for Fitzgerald. This is the second consecutive week the DCCC has cancelled airtime in CD 16.
In total, the DCCC has scrapped over $646,000 in scheduled TV buys for Fitzgerald.
PATRICK MURPHY AD TARGETS MILITARY INCIDENT THAT ENDED ALLEN WEST’S CAREER
Patrick Murphy as released a new ad that takes aim at the 2003 incident in Iraq that ended Allen West‘s military career. Watch here.
It’s a risky strategy that Democrats chose to avoid when West ran for Congress in 2008 and 2010.
West was a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel in 2003 when fired a gun near the head of an Iraqi detainee during an interrogation to scare him into talking about a rumored plot to ambush West and his troops. Military prosecutors charged West with assault and he potentially faced 11 years in prison and dishonorable discharge. After a military hearing, West was fined $5,000 and allowed to retire with a full pension.
“Allen West misrepresented the teenage mistake of Patrick Murphy in his latest desperate attack ad,” remarked Murphy’s communications director Erin Moffet. “In his ad, West also omitted key facts regarding his own record, and opened the door to a discussion of the circumstances leading to him being relieved of his command. This ad clarifies the events that took place in 2003.”
>>>With a $4 million haul during the third quarter, West has now raised $14.5 million for his re-election.
JOE HENDERSON COLUMN: GOP THEMED BALLOT ISSUES MAY BOOST TURNOUT
Think about the amendments: health care, lower taxes, religious freedom. They all are sponsored by the Republican-led Legislature and could drive voter turnout in what should be a tight election for Florida’s electoral votes for president.
… You shouldn’t need gimmicks to drive voters to the polls in a presidential race, but maybe the Legislature wanted to make sure. That would be playing politics with the state’s constitution, though, and our leaders would never do a thing like that.
VOTER PURGE OVER CITIZEN STATUS SOURS FLORIDIANS ON REPUBLICANS by Michael Bender for Bloomberg News
Florida residents erroneously subjected to a Republican-led effort to purge noncitizens from voter rolls said they’re furious, and several promised to vote against the party’s presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, as a result.
…“If this is what Rick Scott believes, and this is what the Republican Party believes, then maybe this is what Mitt Romney believes, too,” said Rolando Baster, 60, of Miami, an ear, nose and throat doctor originally from Cuba who said he has been a U.S. citizen for a decade and has always supported Republican candidates. This year, he said, he plans to vote for Obama because of the “trouble” he was caused by Scott’s administration.
TWITTER SHOT ... @Karen4Congress: Former Governor Jeb Bush Endorses Karen Harrington for Congress in #FloridaCD23 Race
TWITTER CHASER … @bsfarrington: Is there anything more boring in the political world than a post-primary, same party candidate endorsement?
DEBATING ABOUT DEBATES IN SENATE DISTRICT 4 via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times-Union.
So, will Nancy Soderberg and Aaron Bean debate, or won’t they? It depends on how you define debate.
What’s clear is that the candidates for state Senate District 4, which includes Nassau and portions of Duval County, will be on stage together at least four times before election day
Bean says that constitutes a series of debates. Soderberg disagrees. She says the scheduled forms are too scripted, short, and don’t give the candidates a real chance to talk about the issues or question each other.
“Come on Aaron, let’s debate the issues,” she said Monday night.
>>>More from Dixon: During lunch with a group of reporters Tuesday, Don Gaetz said that the Bean-Soderberg race is among a handful of campaigns on his radar, and he will be willing to spend money to ensure that former state Rep. Aaron Bean, a Nassau County Republican, wins the seat.
DWIGHT DUDLEY GARNERS ENDORSEMENT OF PBA FOR HD 68 BID
The PBA had previously supported former lawmaker Frank Farkas during his time in office, but have chosen to back Dudley in 2012. Dudley has also received the endorsement of the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police.
“I’ll always stand with our hardworking law enforcement officers to keep our streets safe, and I’m honored that they’re also standing with me,” said Dudley. “Ensuring our community’s law enforcement professionals have the resources they need to get the job done will be one of my top priorities in Tallahassee. I believe protecting our Pinellas families is too important for anything less.”
NASTY IN THE MAILBOX, BUT FLA. DEMS POSITIVE IN NEW TV AD IN HD 69
Concurrent with a barrage of negative direct mail it is sending to voters in House District 69, the Florida Democratic Party has released a new television ad, “Trust,” highlighting what it describes as Josh Shulman’s record as a businessman and his commitment to investing in our public schools.
“As a small businessman, Josh knows firsthand how to balance a budget and pay bills on time — and he also knows that the best way to help businesses create jobs and grow our economy is to invest in our public schools and keep class sizes small,” said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux.
>>>Former Congressman Patrick Murphy endorsed Jessica Ehrlich’s campaign for CD 13.
>>>The Sarasota School Board looks to join the growing ranks of districts urging voters to turn down Amendment 8 on the November ballot, the Herald-Tribune reports.
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FLORIDA GETS MORE FEDERAL FUNDS THAN ANY OTHER STATE
Florida receives more federal funds than any other state, both in total dollars and on a per capita basis. In fact, based on total volume, Florida’s take is 50 percent higher than No. 2 Texas.
According to an analysis by CNBC.com, Florida received $577.8 billion in the 2011 fiscal year, or a whopping $30,318 per capita. Rounding out the top five in per-capita payouts were Louisiana, South Carolina, Hawaii and Virginia.
The analysis included federal money used for government operations — distributed both to government agencies and contractors — as well as money for entitlement programs like Social Security, unemployment compensation and food stamps.
STATE TO ADD A MILLION JOBS BY 2020
Florida is forecast to add one million “new” jobs by 2020, according to data from the Florida Workforce Estimating Conference held in September. Certainly good news, but 80 percent of those jobs are those the state lost during the recession, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
TWEET, TWEET: @SaintPetersBlog: News that Florida will add a million jobs by 2020 will be good news for Governor @JeffreyBrandes.
CERTAIN BEST-SELLER: America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert.
DEVESTATING: With arms decisively NOT wide open, the Floridian independent and Creed frontman, Scott Staap, tells Fox News that he’s not voting for Barack Obama this time.