Monday, September 27, 2004

Getting back to business as the recovery continues...

Mustang Bobby down in Miami posted on his blog Bark Bark Woof Woof about an interesting story from the New York Times regarding a sharp increase in the number of Democratic registrations in Florida and Ohio, two "battleground" states in the November election.

Wish I could say that was the case in Polk County. The Supervisor of Elections puts everything online, including a record of stats on voter registrations. While the local Democratic Party has begun working to do phone banking, primarily to get registered Dems to vote absentee or early vote to insure those votes ARE COUNTED, the Repubs have admittedly done a better job at getting people to either register on their side or change their registration.

The efforts of groups like ACT may be working in the larger metros such as Tampa/St. Petersburg, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando/Daytona Beach, but you can't ignore the mid level areas, especially along the I-4 Corridor.

And while we're on the subject of politics, Scott Maxwell has a good column in today's Orlando Sentinel about Mel Martinez' decision to accept a debate against Betty Castor. One piece of this column struck a nerve:

If Martinez was really concerned about the Florida press corps, he wouldn't have hired an out-of-town national Republican operative named Jennifer Coxe to be his lead press agent.

So fervent is Coxe in promoting and defending her candidate (regardless of facts) that, in a previous political job in Tennessee, the Nashville Scene reported she was voted "most annoying spokesman" in a survey of press and political operatives. In fact, the paper noted that she won the 2002 title by "a stunningly wide margin."

Coxe, however, is just one out-of-town cog in a Washington-coached campaign that Martinez appears to have little control over.

Asked if Martinez was making his own decisions on issues like the debates, Coxe responded: "It doesn't matter."

Here's the article that Maxwell was referring to from 2002. At the time she had worked for Van Hilleary, the Republican candidate for Governor of Tennessee.

As for wheather it matters, the answer if clear: Yes, it does. A candidate should/must have the final decisions over his/her campaign. Certainly, a campaign manager is there to provide guidance and direct the operation, but in the end the candidate must accept responsibility for everything said and done in his/her name. The debacle with the low-blow advertising toward Republican primary opponent Bill McCollum was something that Martinez should have been advised of, and should have had final yes or no approval since it would represent Mel and his campaign. The same applies here, as it represents a major opportunity to present himself to potential voters still undecided at this point.


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