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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Money Talks in the Sunshine State

If you want to hear how loudly money can talk in politics, check out the new Quinnipiac survey in Florida. Two very rich men who leapt into statewide contests very late are doing very well.
One of them is Republican Rick Scott, a former for-profit hospital exec who was forced from his job amidst a massive fraud investigation, and then won fame by putting together national-level anti-health-reform ads. He leapt into the governor’s race very late, and now, after a $7 million barrage of ads that mostly express his support for Arizona’s immigration law, he’s leading conservative warhorse Bill McCollum–whose time finally seemed to have come this year after two unsuccessful U.S. Senate races–by a 44-31 margin.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic contest for the U.S. Senate, already roiled by the independent candidacy of Gov. Charlies Crist, billionarire real estate investor Jeff Greene, who got into the race right before the end of qualifying just over a month ago, has moved into a statistical tie with congressman Kendrick Meek. Advised by Democratic bad boys Joe Trippi and Doug Schoen, Greene is playing the outsider card as hard as he can.
Neither of these guys has held public office or has any deep roots in Florida. Both have been questioned about their business ethics. But they’ve got the loot, and while political history is littered with the wreckage of ego-driven campaigns by rich people, more than a few have succeeded. And if you are Bill McCollum or Kendrick Meek, who were both focused on the general election until their rich challengers came out of the woodwork, it’s got to feel like Sisyphus watching that rock roll back to the bottom of the hill.

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