Friday, August 22, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 8.22.14: Fun with fundraising

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 9:32 AM

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Thank God it's Friday, we say this morning. Why, you ask? Was it a particularly trying week? No, it's because candidates running in Tuesday's primary election can no longer ask you for money for that particular contest.

Many candidates were reaching out at the last hour yesterday, but none more egregious than the folks in the Charlie Crist camp. There were too many email requests for money coming all day yesterday, with the oh-so subtle "11:59:59" email sent last night a little before 8 p.m. reminding us that we still had four hours to whip out the checkbook and contribute to the likely Democratic nominee for governor.

But look, who can blame Crist? He's being vastly outspent by Rick Scott, probably the main reason Scott now maintains a small lead over Crist. And Crist has vastly outspent Nan Rich, whose underdog campaign will in all likelihood be history in 5 days.

And let's be honest here — other than political junkies, is anybody even going to vote in next week's primary? The early voting numbers are pretty low, but is that a surprise? There really aren't too many sexy races on the ballot, though of course we're very into some county commission and school board choices.

But the most competitive statewide race is for Democrats only: the attorney general contest between House Minority Leader Perry Thurston and longtime Florida Democrat George Sheldon, whose past two jobs have been appointed positions at HHS in Washington and DCF in Tallahassee. Is this race going to be competitive? A St. Pete Polls survey done for Peter Schorsch this morning shows Sheldon with a healthy lead. And what's with name Democrats only running for AG, while ignoring the other Cabinet posts? In 2010 it was Dave Aronberg vs. Dan Gelber, two solid Dems. This year Thurston and Sheldon are battling it out, while GOP incumbents Jeff Atwater and Adam Putnam appear to be coasting into re-election. I thought Allison Tant was supposed to fix that? 

In any event, there are still 74 days until the general. And just a few more days before you'll start getting hit up again by underfunded candidates.

In other news...

Rick Scott is attempting to stifle one of Charlie Crist's big talking points this fall — that he doesn't believe in funding public education. Yesterday Scott boldly announced plans for the biggest one-year increase in education spending any FL governor has ever proposed. 

Bill Nelson admits there's no enthusiasm for putting "boots on the ground," but he's unquestionably eager for our military and intelligence agencies to help out rebel forces in Syria and Ukraine. 

Hillsborough County has three school board seats up for election next Tuesday. One of those seats is the South Tampa/ South Hillsborough District 2 contest. Former IT consultant and Hillsborough school teacher Michael Weston believes he has a fighting chance, despite the establishment's backing of his opponent, Michelle Popp Shimberg.

And in this week's issue we look hard at four different races taking place next week in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.

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