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And So It Begins

No "Can't Win"

Over the past week I came across no less than three or four newspaper articles where Rod Smith supporters are saying publicly that Jim Davis can't win.

Their charge brings back memories. And they're not good ones.

Nobody remembers, but at this time eight years ago Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay was actually beating Jeb Bush in statewide polls. In fact it wasn't until February or March of the following year (1998) that Prince John (Ellis Bush) took a polling lead he'd never relinquish.

About that time, two things happened that permanently tilted the race in Jeb's favor.

First, Jeb's fallacious re-packaging as a moderate began to take root in the public psyche. Remember when Jeb ran in 1994, he told African-American voters he would do "probably nothing" to help them. He picked right-wing-whack-job Tom Feeney as his running mate and campaigned with an arrogance we've come to know as the Bush smug.

By 1997, the real Jeb was cleaned-up for public consumption. He began to like education and black people. In fact he put them both together in his Liberty City Charter School. He first picked a pro-choice moderate woman as his running mate before selecting the telegenic and energetic Commissioner of Education as his number two.

People bought it.

But I thought at the time that the far more damaging occurrence for Buddy MacKay was the public chatter among Democrats that MacKay couldn't win.

A group of well known Democratic donors began a public search for a candidate "who could beat Jeb." Naturally, they searched no farther than their own ranks for a replacement and found none.

But the sting was delivered on the front page of every state newspaper. And the echo of MacKay's inability to succeed never faded. It dogged him through the summer and into the fall campaign - his slipping poll numbers reinforcing the perception which impacted his polling numbers which ... you get the idea.

In my mind at least, a rule has developed from that MacKay experience.

Democrats: don't go there.

Disagree on choice? Let's debate it. Differ on gun policy? Tee it up. Want to make a case that one candidate is better suited to win in November? Fine by me. But don't make that case by saying your opponent can't win.

If Smith's allies continue to say in public that Davis can't win and Davis is our nominee, those predictions may become self-fulfilling. We have a hard enough time winning in Florida without hanging a "can't win" anchor around our own necks.

In 1997-98, there was also a conservative central Florida Senator in the race for Governor. Senator Rick Dantzler did everything in his power to wrestle the nomination from MacKay. He made a case that he was a better General Election candidate. But, to his credit, I don't ever recall him saying MacKay couldn't win. That was classy. And it allowed him to accept a spot on the ticket as MacKay's running mate.

In 2002, Bill McBride was loud and clear about his concerns about a Janet Reno candidacy. He said she couldn't win. It was a dangerous gamble that paid off for him in a primary election miracle. I agreed with his assessment of Reno's chances at the time, but he still should have known better. Had he fallen short that September, he would have done untold damage to our nominee.

Rod Smith should follow Dantzler's example.

Not only is Jim Davis no Janet Reno, it's a great opportunity for Smith to be a leader.

He should issue a campaign edict to his supporters to knock off the "can't win" talk. It would demonstrate a partisan loyalty that is one of Smith's true weaknesses in this race. And it would be classy.

To be clear, I'm not supporting anyone in the Governor's race. I briefly worked for Rod Smith in the Senate and I honestly like him. He has some things to say in this race and if he's our nominee he can count on my full support. He should extend the same courtesy to his opponent.

But if the "can't" talk continues and Davis is our nominee, Smith could be an unfortunate profit. And there's too much at stake next year to wound either of our potential nominees - especially with our own careless bullets.


9/13/2005 9:51 AM, by Anonymous kate

I agree. Smith won't win any points for going after an honorable Congressman who has won election after election after election. Don't count Davis out. He'll surprise you and then we'll be stuck with fellow Dems who have done nothing but hurt us.

Does it always have to go this way or can we learn from past mistakes?



9/13/2005 10:36 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous


Well said. I'm proudly supporting Rod Smith because I think he's the best candidate. But you're right everyone - on both sides - should stop the talk about not being able to win.



9/13/2005 11:18 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Derek, that is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Particularly coming from a blogmaster who has aired every iota of dirty laundry about the FDP, Maddox, et. al., with your commentary I might add, and now when other folks air their own personal views, it's off limits? What BS!

Now you are calling on Smith to be the thought police and tell Democrats who are tired of losing year after year that they should keep their opinions to themselves? Rather than being his bouncer, why not let Davis respond to that single quote from one person in the St. Pete Times?

If you think Bush took down McKay and McBride, and McBride took down Reno because of some folks calling it as they saw it, you are rewriting history. Each one lost because they were the weaker campaigner than their competition.

I like Smith, and yes, I think he could win in the general, but he doesn't own my mouth and I don't think any of the three candidates have a strong enough base to control any of their supporters to the extent you are decreeing.

I don't think Davis will win in the general; he may be a really nice guy, but I wouldn't vote for him in the general. oops...did I say that without getting a permission slip?



9/13/2005 12:09 PM, by Blogger DerekTNG

Dear Anonymous,

First of all, I am not a blogmaster. I'm not even sure what that is.

Second, what have I ever said or posted that is "dirty laundry"? I challenge you to find it. It's not there because that's not what I do.

Had you read my post you would have seen that I have no problem with - and even encourage - a healty debate. Even on electibility.

My problem is when Democrats say in public that other Democrats can't win. That's dangerous and only helps Republicans.

Since it's obvious you're a Smith supporter I wouldn't expect you to like what I have to say. And believe it or not, I would have written the same thing had Davis people been saying it about Smith. But they aren't.

And (for the record) it wasn't just one comment in the St. Pete Times. Just for example, paid staffers for the Smith campaign are circulating that article with the "can't win" line highlighted. Surely, it's not a thought police action for Rod Smith to demand better of his paid staff.

My point, good sir, is that we should expect some things from people who want to represent our party as Governor. Surely, at a minimum, we should expect them not to damage another Democrat's chances just to enhance their own.



9/14/2005 6:02 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Policy discussions and debates help candidates who appeal most to the Democratic base... which usually means they're already too far left to appeal to general election swing voters... which means Dems lose. I'm afraid this may be the case with Davis.

winnability is important - maybe it will get Dems to think with our brains instead of our bleeding hearts.

agree with anon- candidates talking about winnability isn't what loses races... it's crappy campaigning.

The question is, which do we want more... a nice, policy-savvy Dem nominee who everybody likes or a strong, call-it-straight Dem GOVERNOR???



9/14/2005 8:22 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

The problem isn't that Democratic candidates are too far left. The problem is that they're not far enough left so that Democrats can tell they're not Republicans.

If Skip Campbell is a Democrat, what's a Republican?



9/14/2005 12:20 PM, by Anonymous BJK

Hey, man, good blog. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Look, I agree with the anonymous person, to a degree (as much as it troubles me, frankly, because I don't think I'm that looney tunes, you know?) You tell a Democratic candidate that they *can* debate one thing, but must remain silent on the other, you've opened a big ol' can of worms. What you have, in fact, is a slippery slope.

I worked a congressional campaign down in Florida -- 13th C.D. -- in 2002, and the Dem primary was packed. There was a lot of "this-person-can't-beat-Katherine-Harris-for-this-reason-or-that" kind of stuff. Nonsense. But none of that is what caused Kitty to win in November. She won because she had a shitload more money and the 13th is wildly Republican.

It might help to think about it from a different point of view. Rather than urge Smith (or whoever in whatever race) to NOT say Davis is unelectable in the general, urge him to say that Davis is unelectable in the general for THUS-AND-SUCH-A-REASON. And then urge him to say, "Well, the reason *I* can win in November is because I have a solution to thus-and-such-a-reason."

It's a little more convoluted, but it is the difference between the politics of personal destruction and negative campaiging. (As an aside, the politics of personal destruction always comes back to bite you in the ass, and a negative campaign works quite a bit of the time.)



9/14/2005 5:51 PM, by Anonymous Carol A. Overland

Congressional race up for grabs?

Fasten your seat belts and hang on to your hats, because odds are your new Chancellor of Ed, thankfully our former "commissioner who wasn't" of Education, Cheri Yecke (Yucky), will be running for Congress down there.

Last night I was blogging and pulled down a Yecke sign from google, and then clicked on the "from" link to look at how she did her campaign, and it had this big picture of the state of Florida, saying, "... coming soon..." and "Yecke for Congress" and I sent it around to a few folks, but essentially heard nothing back. Blogged about it though, under the Outtake bit:


The "Yecke for Congress" and the big green state of Florida is GONE now, and it says only "under construction."

Very different from what it was last night. I'd do an affidavit as an officer of the court!!!! It really was there. Should have saved it, duh.

Anyway, $50 that Yecke is running for Congress in Florida. Watch.


Carol A. Overland
Attorney at Law
402 Washington St. So.
Northfield, MN 55057
(507) 664-0252
(612) 227-8638 (cell)



9/14/2005 7:08 PM, by Anonymous Frank

822 AM anonymous: It is the DFA thought pattern of people like you that makes conservative Democrats like me want to switch parties. There are two choices, you can either vote for someone who is with you 70% of the time, or get stuck with a Republican who is with you never.

As to the subject of Derek's post, he is right. Quite frankly, this field of Democrats (at least Smith and Davis) is far stronger than our 2002 field, and both of them will be much stronger than McBride and are quite electable.



9/14/2005 7:34 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Great article. I lean toward Smith, but if he starts saying that Davis can't win, I could easily switch to Davis.

Frankly, they are not that different policy-wise. Davis has a lead in the meaningless polls right now, but Smith seems to be working the hardest.

Smith would be smart to phrase the argument in the way that I've heard it - that he is electable because he's won several elections in North Florida, where Democrats vote Republican too often.



9/15/2005 8:02 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

We don't have a candidate!!! Say what you wish!!! I blame the state party and DNC for not working harder to grow some good candidates in Florida.



9/15/2005 9:13 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Simply put, Jim Davis IS Buddy McKay. When you talk to people who have met him it is ALWAYS the same thing - Nice Guy but Can't Win. That is not Rod Smith promoting that. That sentiment is people's normal reaction to him. Davis will join a very long list of Bill McBride, Buddy MacKay, John Kerry all who lost and why? They all have one very clear dominating personal characteristic -they have no charisma. They don't "connect" with Voters. Voters want to say "this guy speaks my language". Have you been in any room where Davis and Smith speak? One reads notes and puts people to sleep. The other creates energy and knows his crowd. The reason people said Buddy MacKay couldn't win was that he couldn't. The same applies today. Against a charismatic Charlie Crist, Davis gets slaughtered. All you have to do is look at the St. Pete Times recently. Adam Smith's Republican sources tell him that Senator Smith is the one Republicans don't want and a life long friend of Charlie Crist was quoted saying he had concerns about Smith making it through the Primary but if he did-he would probably win. To blame Rod Smith, or other operatives for the can’t win discussion, dismisses the obvious: Davis can’t win.



9/15/2005 8:25 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Anyone who compares Jim Davis to Buddy MacKay is an absolute idiot! Buddy was a tired old pol who been around the block one to many times. Davis is a young, energetic, fresh face, who has a wealth of experience and knowledge to go with it! Remember, our great leader Bob Graham is strongly backing him. Davis has much more in common with Graham (who once wiped the floor with Charlotte Crist)than Buddy. Simply put, Davis is the only Dem candidate currently running that has a shot at winning. I strongly hope that Davis will choose State Sen. Tony Hill as his running mate. That would make an awesome ticket. Rod Smith should be running for AG, not Governor!



9/15/2005 9:44 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Okay Derek - here's your cue to scold the previous poster for saying that Davis is the only Democrat with a shot a winning. I personally don't mind him saying that, though I don't agree. I do find it an ironic drumbeat by the Davis folks for Smith to get into the AG race. Both Smith and Davis are lawyers by profession and it is almost an admission that Smith has used his superior knowledge of the law to leave a much bigger mark as a labor attorney, prosecutor, law professor and Legislator. They're right; I'd rather have Smith than Davis representing the people's interest in a legal battle, just as I'd rather have him representing the working people's interests as our next Governor.



9/15/2005 10:37 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Ok, here is where the last guy is wrong. Rod Smith's experience is mostly as a lawyer and prosecutor. Having been an SA for 8 years it would make much more sense for him to slip into the AG job. His political experience in state govt is limited to a term and a half as a back bencher in the FL Senate. Don't get me wrong, Smith is talented, but lets face it, there is only so much he can do in a GOP dominated chamber. Jim Davis, on the other hand, served eight years in the FL House, the last two as Majority Leader. Not to mention a decade in Congress. All in all, Davis is higher in the pecking order than Smith. Both are good guys, but Davis is more qualified! Smith would do well to run for a lower office and wait for another time to run for the big job.



9/16/2005 5:49 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

10:37 anon-

Didn't want this to turn into a Smith vs. Davis board, but your comments were so off-base that I couldn't resist.

You said Rod Smith's only experience in state govt a term and a half as a senate "backbencher?"

Where have you been? Rod is the ONLY Democratic member of the REPUBLICAN-led legislature with a CHAIRMANSHIP - of the Ag Committee. As State Atty (which IS a state office) he prosecuted cases from white collar crime to serial killers. He won both of these seats in a very rural, Republican-leaning district where Democrats typically don't win.

For a "backbencher" with such "limited" experience, Rod Smith sure does have a lot of political successes. I'd rather have a candidate who knows how to win in tough districts than a guy who, while intelligent and qualified, simply hasn't had the tough races and situations to overcome that Smith has.

For the future of the Democratic Party, this race is ALL about winnability... and we SHOULD talk and think about it, or continue to be a minority party for the next decade.



9/16/2005 6:53 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

This is a response to Anon at 5:49am.

First of all, you are wrong that Rod Smith is the only Democrat with a chairmanship. Sen. Skip Campbell (D) is the chair of the Children and Families committee.

Second, have you even stopped to think why the Republicans gave Smith a chairmanship? They didn't give him a committee chairmanship because he is a genius. The reason is he votes Republican. He is just a Republican with a "D" behind his name.

I challenge anyone who thinks Smith is best candidate for the Democrats to look at his voting record.

We are not in the same position as we are with Sen. Nelson. We have choices. Two others in fact!

And FYI, Republicans don't give real Democrats committee chairmanships. Republicans may be many things but they are not stupid!!



9/16/2005 7:33 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Honesty is more improtant than party loyalty.

Davis can't win. He looks like a wimp. And next to other wimp look alikes Crist and Gallagher, people will choose the Republicans. Damn it.

Put that mangy mtt Smith next to them. he can out anti-murder Crist and he can make gallagher look like the poser he is.

The last thing the Democrats need is another wimpy candidate.



9/16/2005 8:35 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Okay now 6:53AM - now you've got me giggling. The chairmanships they gave Smith were because no one, save you, can deny he is exceptionally intelligent and even Republicans are going to exploit that. Do you think King made him Chairman of the committee that oversaw the constitutionally mandated restructuring the State's court system as some kind of reward? Yeah, what glory. The work product of that commmitee wasn't Republican or Democrat; it just got the job done. Lee had a choice this go around, either sit on a prospective Democratic gubernatorial candidate or have his administration benefit from having the agriculture committee be chaired by someone who has an extensive and personal knowledge of the issues. Lee chose to do the latter.



9/16/2005 9:43 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Allrighty then...

Senator Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is bright. Sen. Buddy Dyer had one of the best scores in the state on the bar exam. Sen. Aronberg went to Harvard. No one ever accused Sen. Geller of being an idiot. Sen. Tom Rossin was a lawyer and a bank president.

But I sure Republicans picked Smith to Chair a committee because he's smart. Not because he's really a Republican.

After all, Republicans always do the right thing. They're always risking partisan idiology to put the best man in leadership. Come on. Get a clue.

Bragging about being a leader in a Republican controled legislature is not going to win you votes in a Democratic Primary. "Republicans like me" isn't going to inspire Democrats. Or much anyone else for that matter.



9/16/2005 11:37 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

interesting little davis v. smith battle going on here.

i guess the campaign staffers dont have much to do these days - allowing them time to spend their days on the insider - blog sites.

first off, smith has had a reputation for working with republicans - because he, well, works with republicans. if i lived in his district, i guess id rather he did so instead of being completely irrelevent like every D member of the house and most in the senate.
and if smith were really a republican, like you claim, why not just switch parties? because he enjoys the fringe benefits of being in such a powerful florida democratic party? come on.

and davis? im sorry, but watching this guy speak is painful. ive never met him, but i do hear he is a genuinely good person. but is that enough to get a person elected. i doubt it.

ive been able to watch smith on the senate floor - while fighting repubs tooth and nail (on issues like shaivo and tort reform) and WINNING! so much for the back bench comment. i imagine most of the people posting here are not exactly undecideds, as i doubt there are many undecideds on the campaign payrolls, but for those who are not in anyone's camp, i think smith is a real no-brainer as our nominee. from what i read, he has been wrapping up some pretty serious support around the state. i dont see any traction out of davis - no one is excited about the prospect of him bringing the party back, and maddox is MIA.

and davis cant win. thats right, i said it. sue me.



9/16/2005 2:10 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Excellent point about the campaign staffers having too much free time.

But one thing quickly, Rod Smith doesn't switch parties because he can't - his Senate district is nearly 70% Democratic. It's the reason Sen. Kirkpatrick (who had the seat before Rod) didn't switch to Republican until AFTER his last election. If Rod wanted to be in the Senate, he had to be a Democrat. But it hasn't stopped him from voting like a Republican.



9/16/2005 4:19 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

OK, I'm the Anon who posted 9/15 at 8:25 and 10:37, and here is my response to the later postings. First of all, I am in no way affilitated with Jim Davis' campaign, other than being a supporter, and a Dem activist since 1986. For those of you who say that Davis has never had a tough race, you really show your ignorance. Ask Congresswoman Sandy Freedman if you don't believe me! In 96, Davis was a heavy underdog to ex-Tampa Mayor Freedman, and even Hillsborough Co. Commr Phyllis Busansky and popular ex-St. Sen and 88 U.S. Sen candidate Pat Frank. But Davis ran a tough, smart, campaign and edged past Busansky into the runoff, where he upset Freedman. He then won the General Election over a guy who had twice before run for that seat, the last time nearly upsetting the legendary Sam Gibbons. As a young attorney, Davis also won a tough race in his initial run for the FL House back in 88. Davis would also win two competitive elections in 92 & 94 to hold his very marginal State House seat.

As for importance, I think being House Majority Leader is a little higher than Sen Ag Comm Chm. And facts are facts, Jim Davis has a total of 18 years of governmental experience to Smith's 14 years. Also, being a State Attorney really has little to do with political leadership, more legal skills. As I've said, I like Smith, but think this is just not his time and needs to run for a cabinet seat, idealy AG. And Bob Graham, the most popular politician in FL, has never been exactly a barn burner, so much for your "charisma" factor!



9/16/2005 4:57 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

I wouldnt exactly say that Rod Smith holds a safe Dem seat. There is alot more to that district than liberal Gainesville. That is why it is at the top of the FL GOP's target list. I think Jennifer Flinn will make quite a race out of it. Check her out at http://freeforallcandidates.com/jflinn.htm



9/16/2005 8:50 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

I'm 8:35AM and you think I work on a campaign? Please.....it's a noble calling but I've got bills to pay.



9/16/2005 9:38 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

No one cares who headed what committee, or who beat who in a democratic runoff 10 years ago.

As someone who likes both of these candidates, I'm currently favoring Smith based on this: He can attract North Florida voters who have been voting republican for the past 10 years. I don't think Davis can. Can they both win? Sure. But I like Smith's chances better.

Lastly, isn't funny that Maddox isn't involved in this debate?



9/17/2005 6:03 AM, by Anonymous Redneck Democrat

Not going to get involved in the Smith/Davis fight here, but it is interesting that Maddox is a non-factor in this discussion.

I will say however, that Rod Smith is getting some serious looks by many Democrats (liberal AND conservative) up here in the Panhandle, and by LOTs of moderate Republicans (who used to be so-called "Reagan Democrats"). And from what I read and hear, Smith is getting some serious traction down south, too.

It's been a long time since Democrats have had a candidate for anything who appealed to such a broad range of voters... Bill Nelson comes to mind. Oh wait, he's the only Democrat that is winning statewide these days.




9/17/2005 8:34 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Well, Nelson can win, thats the only reason many of us Dems accept him. As a die-hard George Stuart supporter from 89/90, I still don't exactly feel warmly toward Nelson. Statewide races are won in the I-4 corridor, which is the home of Congressman Jim Davis. Outside of Metro Tallahassee and Gadsden County, whoever the GOP nominee is will carry North FL!

Somebody had stated that Davis had never had a tough race, thus the little history lesson! I do think its relevant when somebody has already beat the odds and won a major upset once in their career! It shows their political talent. As for Smith's gaining traction, it must be as invisible as Caspar The Ghost, as I sure don't see any evidence of it (and neither do the polls.)

Scott Maddox is NOT a factor indeed, thank God for that scandal that derailed his campaign. Maddox would make Hugh Rodham look like a winner!



9/17/2005 8:45 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

"Statewide races are won in the I-4 corridor" - just as they say in the Guinness commercials "Brilliant!" Yeah, write-off North Florida. That's the strategy that has got the Democratic Party in its current state. If your barometer is winning tough elections - Smith beat a sitting State Attorney and when he ran for Senate, he went against a well liked and outstanding sitting State Representative in the Democratic primary and won.

Saying you don't see any evidence of Smith gaining traction just kills your credibility. At least give the man his props; he's all over, people are talking and the fact that the "frontrunner" hasn't pulled away shows that people are looking at all the options.



9/19/2005 8:37 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Would it be great to have Rod's wit, Maddux delivery and Jim's character all wrapped in one guy ? Sure it would. I'm a Jim supporter and believe he is only getting better on the stump. Rod's strength will weaken after session is over. Maddux should say good night. I support Jim not because of what's wrong with the other candidates but what is right with him. If Rod wins - i'll be a huge Rod guy - he is a great candidate. Either of our two are better than their two. Let's get it together and just get the job done.



9/19/2005 1:43 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Hey, 8:45, your the one who needs to learn a little something about FL politics. Facts are facts: Billy Graham himself couldnt win in the panhandle if he ran as a Democrat! Face facts buddy, Dems can and DO win statewide elections when we carry Central FL (I-4) by a small margin and roll up big numbers down south! Just ask the late Lawton Chiles (in 94.)You some how keep insinuating that I dislike Smith, which is not the case. I just think Davis has a much better resume (therefore more qualified), and has a much better shot at winning (as he has won several tough races in the past.) BTW, comparing some State Attorney's race to a Congressional race is like comparing a T-Ball team to the NY Yankees!



9/19/2005 5:31 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

I have been a democrat for all my 58 years. I REFUSE to even consider Smith! He is a liar and a good sub for Jeb.

When all the poop hit the fan about the DOC being investigated (Tuesday) I called Mr. Smiths office. I was told that Mr. Smith knew about it. His statement to the newspaper (on Saturday) stated he knew nothing about it. He called Clark and Crosby his "friends".

I have my opinions on Crosby but I know that Clark is a serious threat to correctional officers, their family’s and the public at large. Clark has been associated with drugs, fraud, embezzlement and assault/battery. This is the man that Jeb put in the Judicial Nominating Committee for Circuit 8. This is man that Smith calls “friend”.

If these are the people that Mr. Smith calls “friends” then I will NOT vote for him and I WILL campaign against him in every way I can. This man is no better than Jeb Bush and I think we have all seen what Jeb has done.



9/19/2005 6:27 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Get your facts straight - the article didn't say Smith "knew nothing about the investigation" it said he was surprised when he found out about it, just as a whole host of individuals "outside the walls" who "consider them friends" were, Democrat and Republican alike.

As you will also note in that article, he rightfully reserved judgement but stated he would be disappointed if the outcome of the investigation proved either acted illegally. We all would be in a world of hurt if we had to be taxed with the sins of our Republican friends in which we had no knowledge nor played no part.

Coincidentally, it was Smith as State Attorney who charged the 5 prison guards who worked for Crosby when he was warden at FSP in the beating death of death row inmate Frank Valdes mentioned in the article. At the time Smith said, "The death that was inflicted in this case is a beating, and it is a brutal beating."

At the time, although he was running for State Senator and it risked hurting him politically, he didn't shy away from doing the right thing. A lot of folks were asking "Why does it matter, the guy was going to die anyway? Besides, he deserved it because he was on death row for killing a corrections officer."



9/19/2005 7:39 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

I must say 5:31 is being a bit harsh. No Democrat is as bad as JEB! And I'm the strong Davis supporter on this thread! If Smith is the nominee, I'll back him, but I dont think that scenario is likely.



9/19/2005 8:25 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Some of the swipes at Smith on this blog show that he is obviously gaining traction. The only attack on Davis is that he can't win, not much of an attack unless Davis can't prove otherwise.

The only polls so far show Undecided winning with over 50%. I'm not sure we can name a frontrunner at this point. When these guys start advertising next July, we'll see the numbers start to move. In the meantime, look at the $$$$ if you want to see who's winning.



9/19/2005 10:06 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Well if that is the standard, Jim Davis looks to be in pretty good shape. He has led in fundraising the past two quarters (since the start of the campaign), and although it is correct there are a high number of undecideds, Davis has placed first in EVERY poll taken so far!



9/20/2005 6:00 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

The margin Davis is ahead in fundraising is miniscule, about 50K; for a sitting member of Congress, that's pretty weak. His nomination was suppose to be a forgone conclusion but he hasn't pulled away - for obvious reasons.

Could anyone tell me what he's noted for in Congress or when he was in the State House? I mean without having to do some "bubble gum" and "chicken wire" hindsight where the fact that he voted in favor of something transforms into him leading the charge.

The guy doesn't exude much passion and I consider myself pretty astute politically, but the only thing I know about his "resume" is that he was in the State House from 1988-96 and in Congress from 1996-present. It's funny how the Davis folks will twist Smith's record, but the Smith folks really don't have a Davis record to twist.

Don't tell me he was the Majority Leader in the State House because that's what the leadership gives the policy wonks to keep them busy and out of trouble.



9/20/2005 11:11 AM, by Anonymous Anonymous

6AM, you must have really hated our great former Governor and Senator Bob Graham! Remember the term "Governor Jello"? Graham was/is a policy wonk and never exuded much "charisma", yet he is the most popular figure in FL politics in the last 40 years! He never lost an election! Neither has Jim Davis, who is indeed a policy man just like Graham! I'll take another Graham any day of the week! Guess you must still be scraping off your crusty old Bob Shevin bumper stickers ... lol!

Davis was in fact selected for a leadership position by his Dem colleagues in the FL House. Additionally, he was elected President of his freshman class in Congress, and that right there should tell you he can impress folks!



9/20/2005 11:54 AM, by Anonymous Bob

He can't win because the Democrats kill their own. In 2004 in Orlando, we had OPEN seats uncontested by the Dems while the local Democrat party recruited a Dem to run against an incumbent Dem in the primary. That makes no sense; very poor strategy. Why expect anything different in 2006?



9/20/2005 3:55 PM, by Anonymous Anonymous

Yes, sadly Dems do turn on each other. It is especially discusting whats going on in Hillsborough County, where a young talented women has basically been pushed out of the local chairmanship by a small clique of descruntled folks. I believe that the Dems should field at least 100 nominees for FL House (ignoring only the 20 most GOP districts), and fully fund at least a quarter of the most competitive races. You never know where lightening will strike! Candidate recruitment has been abismal for the last decade. But, I must say if you were referring to Gary Siplin, well, lets say he did need some Dem opposition, unfortunatly she didnt win. Siplin gives the Dem party and Orlando a bad name!



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