Thursday, August 12

Musings About the Florida Primary

I am sitting in the Peter Deutsch for Senate offices working on a number of issues - and once again, I find myself in a situation of not knowing how the election will roll. With John Kerry, the polls that we (in the Internet team) were aware of were coming from CNN - we had no insight to the surge that was occurring in Iowa. Here in Florida, it seems to be a different situation - where the organization is completely different. In DC, in December, I remember how the entire campaign staff were shipped out to Iowa into the Iowa offices - basically crafting an entire field team from every able-bodied person in the campaign. Our email composer was in a little town in Iowa (see the Kerry Blog for Richard Rho), Morra Aarons was working the ground in Iowa - getting little to no sleep, and all that was left in the Kerry office was Luis Miranda (the original Kerry Cyber-Organizer), Josh Ross (who I brought into the campaign to lead the team) and myself watching the servers. Every day at the DC townhouse, in the midst of the winter, we were amazed when the Iowa polls continued their uphill climb for Kerry.

Here in Florida, the awareness is almost non-existant - with people barely aware of the election - and I sit here wondering how this election will turn out. The polls say Betty Castor is up by single to double digits (meaning that she can be either 5-15 points up) but there are between 25% to 33% of the expected voters still not decided. We are spending a lot on media (read: television) and Castor is getting a lot of umph from her relationship with EMILY's List.

From our accounts, she generated $1.25M from EMILY's List supporters and has already had "independent expenditures" of close to $1M in TV advertising. It is an interesting set of facts since, in the past two months, Deutsch has been accused of "coordination" with a 527 - American Democracy Project which is headed by an old friend of Peter's. But Peter, for all of his aggressive nature, has shown me to be a person of integrity and honesty - and has working pretty damn hard to avoid any interaction or coordination with anyone from ADP. No telephone calls, no emails, no conversations whatsoever.

But when compared with the EMILY's List efforts with regard to Betty's campaign (e.g. staff from EMILY's List fundraising side-by-side with Castor staff, use of content from the same videographer, a speech where Betty recognizes the coordination of EMILY's List staffers in raising money), it makes one think - when are rules applied?

As a supporter of women's issues - I am all for EMILY's List and its efforts in places where there is no candidate supporting women's issues. But in this case, the difference between Peter (and his standing with all issues regarding equality, NARAL, Planed Parenthood, etcera) and Betty is stark - Peter has an incredibly strong record and Betty??? That is the question I ask...

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