Monday, April 23, 2007


Lakeland Ledger political writer Bill Rufty takes note today that former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani seeming hasn't made much of an effort to put together an organization for his Republican presidential bid here in Florida. As a matter of fact, according to Rufty, "he doesn't have a grassroots organization here yet...Heck, forget the roots, he hasn't even laid the topsoil."

The man many call the hero of 9/11 has made a few visits to the Sunshine State, including a couple of weeks ago to St. Petersburg and a visit with Governor Charlie Crist. But Giuliani hasn't made the effort in Florida that fellow GOP wannabees U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney have. McCain and Romney have been in the state several times, and have put together a campaign organization which includes many of Florida's Republican leadership. McCain has also met with Governor Crist, and Romney will do so today along with a meeting with House Republicans. Tonight Romney will be in Sarasota as the keynote speaker for the local GOP's Lincoln Day fundraiser.

The Guiliani campaign's lack of attention noted by Rufty extends to press releases and mailouts to Florida Republicans seeking contributions:

"Florida staff members for McCain and Romney have daily e-mailed the news media and sent letters to Florida Republicans with a local twist. The Giuliani team seems to be working Florida mainly from his home state.

Local Republicans have received mailouts requesting contributions, just like all the other candidates, but the card to join Team Rudy lacks the Florida touch that Florida political consultants, including operatives for former Gov. Jeb Bush, bring to the Romney campaign and to McCain.

Brochures from New York just don't seem to be as effective as big time operatives from Tallahassee or Miami or Tampa."

All that said, Giuliani is still raising a decent amount of money in Florida, although third among Republican candidates behind Romney and McCain, and is actually second in GOP contributions in the Tampa Bay area


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