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WHY OBAMA IS THE FAVORITE
Contrary to conventional wisdom, history suggests that undecided voters are unlikely to uniformly flock toward the challenger: Candidates almost always finish above their share of the vote in summer polling. While there are examples of challengers sweeping undecided voters, as Reagan did in 1980, the “1980 or bust” position is hardly enviable. The economy is bad enough that the 1980 scenario can’t be discounted, but the differences between 1980 and 2012 are too great to count on it—especially given Romney’s astonishingly bad numbers among undecided voters.
ROMNEY TO SPEAK AT FLAGLER COLLEGE MONDAY MORNING
Mitt Romney will make a stop Monday at Flagler College in St. Augustine. The event begins at 8:20 a.m. and is being held in the school’s courtyard. The trip is part of a three-city bus tour. Romney will also be making stops in Orlando and Miami.
It’s the presumptive Republican nominee’s first trip to Northeast Florida in three months and the second this year, including January’s GOP debate at the University of North Florida.
>>>DNC will “stalk” Romney while on trip: CNN reports the DNC is rolling out a bus tour to trail Mitt Romney over the weekend through key battle ground states, while accusing the GOP nominee of having economic policies which throw “the middle class under the bus.” The DNC tour will last for four days and make stops in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio between Friday and Monday. The bus debuted Thursday parked, as a not-so-subtle jab, outside the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington.
DID ROMNEY HINT HE’LL PICK PAUL RYAN?
Mitt Romney told NBC News that he wants a vice president with “a vision for the country, that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country.” But he “would not say if he is any closer to making a decision or if he had made a decision.”
Romney’s comments about “vision for the country” and adding “to the political discourse” certainly fit the mold of Rep. Paul Ryan better than they do either Tim Pawlenty or Sen. Rob Portman, the most often mentioned as being on Romney’s short list.
BEST POINT OF THE DAY: ROMNEY HASN’T EXPANDED THE MAP
Here we are in August and what the Obama campaign, at the beginning of all this, said would be the battleground states are the battleground states. They are not what the Romney camp said and hoped it would be, expanding to places like Pennsylvania and Minnesota (and Michigan and Wisconsin still look like reaches). Look at the four states where the campaigns are advertising most heavily this week (by points) – Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, and Iowa. All four are states George W. Bush and Barack Obama carried. And just one of those is a state Al Gore carried (Iowa). The point is: just four years ago, these were all places Republicans had traditionally been favored in. Yes, it speaks to polarization and a demographically divided America. But this is one reason why Romney’s perceived to be slightly behind – because he hasn’t expanded the playing field. Now, Obama’s defending in all these states, but he’s just not playing defense enough or in any other places. There has been advertising in just 11 states this election, now it’s really only just about eight — with none or very little in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
MORE DOSTER VS. SCHALE ON HOW ROMNEY AND OBAMA WILL WIN THE I-4 CORRIDOR
Doster: “If we have good crossover appeal with our Democrats in the Panhandle and the I-4 corridor, if we achieve a strong win by more than five points with no-party affiliates in the state, and then we win in the Hispanic community. … I think we have an opportunity to win.”
Schale: “John Kerry lost Florida (in 2004) by about 380,000 votes. (Obama) won it by 230,000 or something like that. Winning Florida means doing well in Volusia County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County. We don’t have to win Polk County, but we can’t get creamed in Polk County. Our math to win is all about margins.”
IF YOU LIKE ‘ANGRY BIRDS’, YOU’RE A SWING VOTER
Ever wonder what sites we tend to visit most frequently on the Internet — you know, the series of tubes— say about our political leanings? Us too. Now we have some answers thanks to a very cool project from Engage DC, a Republican consulting company with a digital focus.
If you use Spotify to listen to music, Tumblr to consume content or Buzzfeed to keep up on the latest in social media, you are almost certainly a vote for President Obama. … If you buy things on eBay, play FarmVille or search the web with Bing, you tend to favor former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. (Google users tilt slightly toward Obama.) … The closest thing to a swing constituency in terms of web habits? For voters who are more politically engaged, it’s Pandora — the online music streaming site.
For the less politically engaged, the swing constituency is the game Angry Birds.
CONNIE MACK RESPONDS TO BILL NELSON’S OPENING AD by Nora McAlvanah of FLDemocracy2012.com
Rep. Connie Mack’s campaign released a new web video Thursday in response to Sen. Bill Nelson’s recent attack ad, “Meet Connie.” The Nelson ad released last week, hit Mack for having “questionable work habits,” drawing attention to the likely GOP nominee’s “history of bar room brawling, altercations and road rage.”
The web video, entitled “What Matters,” opens with a clip of Nelson’s ad and then transitions into a shot of Mack with the ad playing in the background. “Sad. Forty years of politics and this is what Bill Nelson wants to talk about? Even if it were all true, and it’s not, who cares?” Mack says in spoke. “After all, Bill Nelson and I are candidates for the United States Senate and there are real differences between us.”
Mack, speaking directly into the camera, says those real differences include ObamaCare and taxes.
WHERE TO FIND AIR CONDITIONING, GOOD SPEAKERS AND LOADS OF GOP WOMEN AT RNC by Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times
Mary Anne Carter, former senior adviser to Gov. Rick Scott and now public policy director of theYG Network founded and run by former Eric Cantor advisers, is putting together a cool “Woman Up Pavilion” in the Channelside area near the Tampa Bay Times Forum during the Republican National Convention. YG has 14,000 square feet in a former Chamber of Commerce space (right near Hooters), and will be open every day from 9 a.m. to midnight during the convention. YG’s Woman Up Pavilion will feature lectures and panel discussions, a coffee shop, vendors, and a women’s suffrage museum.
THE RNC IS COMING TO TOWN
>>>BuzzFeed will take over the Florida Aquarium Aug. 29, presenting an invitation-only reception after that day’s events at the RNC. (Via Eric Deggans.)
>>>The Obama Campaign reserved $181K in TV airtime in Tampa Bay during RNC week. Obama for America will air more than 160 spots on shows as varied as ‘Dr. Phil,’ ‘Undercover Boss’ and ‘Bachelor Pad’ … The Obama ad buys are set all day and into the night, from spending up to $4,500 per ad on ‘America’s Got Talent’ to spots on ‘Rachael Ray’ … and the fantasy show ‘Grimm’ – all in addition to morning and evening news buys. … The Obama campaign … doesn’t have anything approaching the Tampa buys in other large Florida markets.
>>>Small airports brace for restrictions because of Republican National Convention.
>>>While many local businesses look for ways to cash in on delegates attending the Republican National Convention, a few are targeting a different group: the protesters.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I do think the interesting stories will be the opposite stories the convention wants to tell…I want to break the story of the first (GOP) delegate arrested for solicitation.” — Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.
CRIST-GELBER IN 2014?
Quite honestly, Charlie Crist, as popular as he is, hasn’t been really embraced, invited in or welcomed by other politicians. For the last three years, he has been more often asked to leave a party, rather than join one.
So for Gelber to be the first prominent Democrat with a statewide profile to invite Crist to join the party means a great deal to him.
… Among members of The Society of the Tarpon Belt — the Crist-in-waiting faction of state politics — the greatest threat to Crist’s chances at the Democratic nomination is believed to be if Gelber entered the primary along with Alex Sink & Co. It’s not that Gelber would win — he can’t, as his early dropping out of the U.S. Senate race to Kendrick Meek in 2010 proves. But he would be a wildcard who, with his genuine gravitas, could inflict considerable damage on Crist’s campaign.
Moreover, it is the operatives in Gelber’s faction of the Democratic Party — the Steve Schales, the Christian Ulverts — who were once considered most resistant to Crist joining the party.
But now Crist has been invited into the party by a Democrat from the Democratic wing of the party.
Charlie Crist should thank Dan Gelber for making that path just a little bit easier. In fact, Crist-Gelber in 2014 certainly fits nicely on a bumper sticker.
THE MAN-CRUSH CONTINUES: RICK SCOTT TO TAKE RICK PERRY FISHING
Gov. Rick Scott will be joined on a fishing trip next week by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and military personnel. Scott’s office said Thursday that the governors will fish in the Gulf on Monday and then have lunch with veterans, local officials and legislators in Destin.
BATTLE OVER VOTER PURGE FLARES BACK UP AGAIN via The Associated Press
Florida officials on Thursday warned that the state may take new legal action because it still has not gotten access to a federal immigration database.
But the move comes while the U.S. Department of Justice is pushing ahead with its own lawsuit to block the state’s efforts and is demanding information from local election supervisors.
Gov. Rick Scott’s press office put out a statement contending that “attorneys representing the state of Florida and its citizens are now preparing all appropriate legal options to ensure that an agreement is executed in a timely manner and prevent the irreparable harm that will result if non-citizens are not removed from the voting rolls.”
STATE ECONOMISTS: REVENUE FORECAST IS STEADY, AS IS RECOVERY
The funding available for next year’s state budget is expected to grow by almost $2.6 billion, according to a new estimate issued Thursday, though how much wiggle room that gives lawmakers in crafting a budget during the next legislative session remains unclear, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.
Forecasters left an earlier estimate for taxes in the 2013-14 fiscal year essentially unchanged Thursday, shaving just $5.3 million off the total. But they warned that the economic recovery was likely to remain sluggish for an extended period of time, and that the ongoing crisis in the Eurozone and a series of federal tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January still posed dangers.
The state actually turned about a $407.1 million surplus in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the economists said, while adding that much of that appears to come from one-time boons in certain income sources and not the beginning of a stronger phase of the recovery.
SEN. GWEN MARGOLIS RECEIVES 2012 PUBLIC LEADERSHIP IN THE ARTS AWARD
Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, and the National Conference of State Legislatures today announced Florida State Senator Gwen Margolis (D-Miami) as the recipient of the 2012 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership, which honors a public official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the state level. Senator Margolis will receive her award today at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Annual Meeting in Chicago.
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SANDY ADAMS SAYS SHE RAISED $27K IN 27 HOURS
U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams, who is waging an uphill campaign against her veteran congressional colleague, U.S. Rep.John Mica, said this afternoon that she just raised “almost” $30,000 in a little more than 27 hours.
That just about matches the total amount Adams, R-Orlando, raised in the month of July, which underscores either how impressive the one-day total is or how anemic her earlier fundraising was. By contrast, Mica raised about $64,000 in July.
IS AN UPSET BREWING IN THE GOP PRIMARY FOR CD 9?
Is there an upset brewing in the Republican primary to challenge Democrat Alan Grayson in the 9th congressional district? Aides to establishment pick John Quiñones seem to think so.
They say a flurry of last-minute attack ads — largely funded by Grayson, who’s spent $110,000 on anti- Quiñones TV commercials and more on mailers and radio ads — have turned the GOP primary into a real race, with perennial candidate Todd Long playing the role of dark horse.
The latest development is that House Majority PAC sent this mailer in an attempt, Republicans say, to provide cover for Grayson’s previous attacks against Quinones.
You’ll be forgiven if you are having trouble keeping up.
POLITIFACT RULES TRUE CLAIM THAT AARON BEAN VOTED TO GIVE TUITION BREAK TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
Floridians for Ethics and Truth in Politics says “Bean voted for in-state tuition breaks for illegal immigrants.”
It’s true that in 2005, Bean voted for a wide-ranging House bill that would have allowed up to 2,000 undocumented students to receive in-state tuition rates.
But only some undocumented students would have received the in-state tuition rates — specifically, high-achieving students who lived in Florida and graduated from Florida high schools.
Whether Bean meant to vote for the bill is a different story. Sometimes legislators sneak provisions into bills at the last minute that go unnoticed. We don’t see any evidence that happened here. Bean is responsible for knowing what is inside the bills that earn his votes, even if they are long.
DIRECT MAIL ROUND-UP
>>>In SD 4, a Jack Latvala-aligned committee sent this mailer in support of Mike Weinstein.
>>>In SD 22, Jeff Brandes is walking tall.
>>>Ugly attacks on Jim Frishe (SD 22), Kathleen Peters (HD 69) and Joe Wicker (SD 59) here.
EDITORIAL: DIRT FLIES, BUT FLINGERS SOILED
…Rachel Burgin’s campaign in the Senate District 24 Republican primary in east Hillsborough may be the worst. …. And she continues to tar Lee, a former Senate president who has been recommended by the Times, as part of the “Tallahassee elite.” That is rich for a state representative whose predecessor and former boss effectively handed her the seat. Burgin is desperate because she cannot match Lee’s credentials and accomplishments, which led this editorial page and others to recommend him.
IN TOUGH BATTLE FOR HD 11, REP. JANET ADKINS PICKS UP SEVERAL KEY ENDORSEMENTS
State Representative Janet Adkins announced today that State Attorney Angela Corey, State Senator John Thrasher, State Senator Steve Wise, City Councilman Clay Yarborough, City Councilman Doyle Carter have endorsed her campaign for House District 11.
“As a member of the Florida House of Representatives, you have acquired a reputation as a hard worker and a no nonsense leader who can get things done in Tallahassee…Florida is fortunate to have smart conservatives like yourself helping shape the path towards a better future for the citizens of our great state,” said Wise.
“I am please and honored to have the endorsements of these regional leaders who have stood firm for conservative values and fiscal principles that define our way of life here in Northeast Florida. I am humbled to have a chance to work with so many respected leaders in Northeast Florida,” said Adkins.
>>>Pasco superintendent Heather Fiorentino gets a “Pants on Fire” rating for her latest campaign attack against challenger Kurt Browning.
>>>Rep. Ray Lake, Nassau County School Superintendent John Ruis, the Nassau County School Board Chairman Donna Martin and Nassau County School Board Vice-Chairman Kathy Burns endorsed Aaron Bean in Senate District 4.
The Florida Current on Senate District 24: Even by the rough-and-tumble standards of Tampa Bay politics, former Senate President Tom Lee‘s comeback campaign and state Rep. Rachel Burgin‘s grassroots effort to stop him is one of the toughest Republican slugfests on the Aug. 14 primary ballot.
Naples News on HD 106: A political unknown who has lived in Naples for two years will square off Tuesday against an incumbent and 33-year Collier County resident in the Republican primary for state House District 106. It will likely be an uphill battle for David Bolduc, 44, a precious metals assets manager who has never held or run for political office, elections experts say. He hopes his financial prowess will win voters from Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, 59, R-Naples, a practicing attorney.
IF I HAD TO BET: Alright already! You’re tired of me hemming and hawing about who I think just might possibly win next Tuesday. You’re tired of the parsed answers and qualified explanations. You want predictions. You want me to put my money where mouth is.
But I am the House. I set the lines, so you can bet. But, if I had to bet…I’d take Jeff Brandes, but not by the margin his supporters are hoping for and Tom Lee by almost two touchdowns over Rachel Burgin, Put me down for Mike Weinstein pulling an upset against Aaron Bean in SD 14, Kelli Stargel easily beating Jack Myers in SD 15, Mack Bernanrd and Jeff Clemens too close to call in SD 27 and Ron Saunders edging out Dwight Bullard in SD 39.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY this weekend to Jeremy Ring (Friday) and Jen Greenfield (Sunday).