Today on Context Florida: Florida Dems, John Thrasher, October Surprise and flawed polling

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Today on Context Florida:

Having returned from a quick vacation, Peter Schorsch found his inbox bombarded with emails from all sorts of Florida Democrats bent out of shape by the “new lows” and “repulsive” tactics of their Republican adversaries. Upsetting Florida Dems the most is the Gov. Rick Scott campaign having trackers videotape license plates at a Democratic Party fundraiser for former Gov. Charlie Crist at a private home in Tallahassee Tuesday.

As the insider Board of Trustees planned all along, John Thrasher will be the next president of Florida State University. What Adam Weinstein witnessed was a small influential club’s successful assertion of authority over a taxpayer-funded public institution. That’s why it’s especially rich to hear connected beneficiaries of Thrasher’s impending reign attack his opponents and call them uncivil. It’s time to accept the “choice,” they say.

Every campaign fears the dreaded October Surprise, says former Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp. Some October Surprises have been more effective than others. In Florida, the most potent “October Surprise” took place during the 1994 race for governor between Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush. Fearing they were about to lose the race, the Chiles campaign authorized a blitz of “Mediscare” calls to 680,000 senior citizens during the last two weeks of October, according to The New York Times.

As time goes by, Barney Bishop notes that Amendment 2 faces serious opposition from likely voters. Though the press loved quoting a flawed Quinnipiac Poll showing 88 percent of voters were in support, once pollsters began asking the question as it appears on the ballot, support drops to somewhere between 56 percent and 61 percent.

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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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.