A campaign memo from a top official with Rick Scott's campaign blasts Charlie Crist for what it calls "one-off stunts" in his campaign in order to stay competitive with Governor Scott.
The memo, authored by Tim Saler, Deputy Campaign Manager for the Scott campaign, includes some interesting nuggets from the re-elect Scott brain trust. Certainly important to note is the governor's GOTV effort, which includes having already knocked on over 150,000 doors to date in this campaign; that accomplishment, he says, didn't happen until August in the 2010 race. He also says that the campaign has 24 field offices set up around the state, halfway to their targeted goal. The Crist campaign has also said they intend to open up 50 offices throughout the state, though there nowhere even close to 24 at this point in time (which, to report the obvious, is still 5.5 months away from the general election, and just under three months from the primary election).
Saler mocks Crist's recent announcement that he is contemplating a trip to Cuba, "a brutal dictatorship that Crist says he still believes is a state sponsor of terrorism."
"Unfortunately, this is par for the course," Saler writes." Charlie Crist seems to think he can be elected Governor of Florida by campaigning only through regular public outbursts of comments so outrageous and unbecoming that they demand news coverage."
There's no doubt Crist is dependent on free “earned media" as he attempts to stay competitive with Scott, whose team has publicly boasted of raising $100 million in his bid for re-election. Crist has played his hand well in cranking up the outrage whenever and wherever he can, the latest example of which being his fundraising off of the cancellation of his scheduled speech at the Council of 100 event yesterday, a banishment that Team Crist has laid at the feet of Governor Scott's team, though Scott has denied any involvement.
"Florida can re-elect a bully and a cheat — or we can choose someone who brings people together to move our state forward," Crist Campaign Manager Omar Khan writes in an email fundraising letter sent out on Friday afternoon. "Fight for the good guy with me, Mitch. Donate $10 or more today." The pitch also includes a link to the now-infamous speech that Crist was "banned" from giving.
The memo comes out on the same that Scott has begun airing yet another television ad, this one that again tries to show a more personable candidate than the image most Floridians seem to have of their governor. It's called "Grandpa."
The Governor has now spent a reported $8 million in television ads sprinkled in some of the state's various media markets, and a compendium of the most recent polls shows Crist maintaining a solid 3-5 percentage point lead. It's only May, but those "one-offs" by Crist appear to have kept him more than competitive at this stage.