Post Primary Recap in today's Mitch Perry Report 8.25.10

You may have been up last night to watch Bill McCollum's awkward address, that clearly was not a concession speech at around 10:45 p.m. - where minutes later the Associated Press then called the race for Scott.  All of the GOP establishment was in that hotel room with the AG - the incoming state leaders Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos (do these guys always hang together?), House Speaker Larry Cretul, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (who will always have to live with the fact that he introduced McCollum as "the next Governor of the state of Florida" moments before the race was called).  CL contributor Chris Ingram has some thoughts on how McCollum handled it all.

Although political writers made much about the fact that Kendrick Meek never said he would endorse Jeff Greene if Greene beat him, the fact is that Bill McCollum pointedly refused to answer questions posed to him (which I did at a Tiger Bay event in Clearwater) on whether or not he'd ever endorse Scott if Scott beat him.

What about Jeb Bush?  What's he gonna do?

Moving on, there has been much discussion about the enthusiasm gap this year.  Democrats led in all surveys leading up to the 2006 and 2008 elections when asked how fired up they were to vote those years, and the results later in November proved those polls were accurate.

In 2010, that enthusiasm gap is all about the Republicans.  According to a tweet by Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald,  354,683 votes were cast for Marco Rubio over all the Democratic Senate candidates combined.

Speaking of the U.S. Senate race, it begins right now in Tampa Bay.

Marco Rubio speaks this morning at the Grand Hyatt off of Rocky Point at 9:45 a.m.,  Charlie Crist holds a noontime event in St. Petersburg, and Kendrick Meek also appears in St. Pete later in the day.

As far as the other races, you can check our blog posts that we published throughout last night for all the data.  A few races we did not write about last night - despite the scandals, Jim Norman defeated Kevin Ambler in the Senate 12 race last night.  That means the 18-year Hillsborough County Commissioner now takes his act to Tallahassee.

In a couple of GOP primaries in Hillsborough, Sandy Murman beat Trey Rustmann by the same distance as their ages, with Murman winning 59%-41% (Actually I think Rustmann is only 40, sorry about that Trey).  In the very interesting District 7 race between incumbent Mark Sharpe and Josh Burgin, Sharpe was easily re-elected, 55-45%.


the report here.

Although Rick Scott's victory over Bill McCollum undoubtedly ranks as an upset, it's not completely shocking.  That's because there was one polling firm - Public Policy Polling, who Monday morning predicted Scott up 47%-40%.  He ended up winning the GOP gubernatorial primary 47%-43%, with Mike McCalister taking a stunningly large third place finish at 10%.

The question everybody seemed to be asking Tuesday night - Who the f*ck is Mike McCalister?  I believe he's a former Colonel in the National Guard, but I can tell you this- it's doubtful that the 10% of the Republican electorate knew much about him either.  He was in fact the human embodiment of "None of the Above," (which is an actual listing in ballot races in Nevada).

Clearly, this was one of the all time negative races in modern Florida politics, and the fact of the matter is that there were a solid group of Republican voters who were never sold on McCollum, knowing him all too well, but could never vote for Rick Scott, who showed an amazing lack of policy knowledge in the campaign.  Not that that hurt him at all.

But there's another description you could call those who voted for Mike McAllister: Alex Sink voters.

Sink is a centrist.  Democrat in party label, she certainly isn't liberal (though of course the Republican party establishment, which Rick Scott has sort of became a part of as their nominee now, became spouting that tired line last night, referring to Obama/Pelosi/Reid in his victory speech).

Although most pundits will ignore it, check out the fact that Sink's only Democratic party opponent, Spring Hill resident Brian Moore (the 2008 Socialist candidate for President) received 23% of the vote, meaning nearly 1 out of every 4 Democrats who went to the polls deliberate chose not to vote for Sink.  I'm going to speculate that some of that vote was from the Democratic Left, thoroughly unimpressed by Sink's primary campaign (such as it was, which was virtually nil).

Sink may take pride in that.  She'll run as a centrist all the way through, and showed that last week, when she was careful not to get within camera shot of Barack Obama at a campaign appearance in Miami.  She has already proven she can gather Republican support, as she did in beating Tom Lee for CFO in 2006.  The only negative for her (and state and national Democrats) is that she will have to spend a slew of money to try to compete with the tens of millions of dollars that Scott will have no problem expending.

As far as how Rick Scott gets along with his new buddies in the Republican Party, we can't wait to watch that unfold ( We mused on this possibility 24 hours ago).  So far, it wasn't an auspicious start. 

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