Jeb Bush delivers Florida ... to Janet Reno's opponent in the primary.
September 12, 2002 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Jeb Bush delivers Florida ... to Janet Reno's opponent in the primary. Not a repost of the trouble-at-the-polls brouhaha. Carl Hiaasen looks at the Bush team's "stupendous" backfire in targeting a second-tier candidate, eventual winner Bill McBride, in an apparently incessant string of TV ads that moved McBride from anonymity to a fearsome candidate. "Why else would the GOP buy so much TV time to slam him?" asks Hiaasen, and indeed, McBride's follow-up ads capitalized on this notoriety. By carrying the primary, the race against Bush gets more interesting: "Reno is a known quantity about whom most voters already feel strongly one way or the other," notes Hiaasen. "McBride is a fresh face with no Clinton baggage and a Bronze Star from the Vietnam War."
posted by blueshammer (11 comments total)

Maybe a calculated risk that they would fare better versus McBride.

Of course, politicians would never think like that.....
posted by ikareru at 12:52 PM on September 12, 2002

There is no doubt that this campaign by Jeb’s people helped McBride. The only way that a democrat could take the seat of governor in Florida is for McBride to run against Jeb. The only chance for a complete win for Jeb would be to face off Reno in November. There is absolutely NO WAY she would even get close. Between the conservative democrats in North Florida and the zero possibility of catching any of the Miami Cuban Republican vote, Reno would have had no chance. As an active volunteer for the McBride campaign, I agree with Hiaasen in that the best way for Jebs campaign to help Reno would be to a) cut her a check or b) shut up about McBride.

The unofficial results are McBride won by .06% (or 8,000) votes!
posted by bmxGirl at 1:01 PM on September 12, 2002

McBride, a long-time Democratic fund-raiser, has 10 times the money available that Janet Reno does. It's extremely far-fetched to think Bush would want to face him by choice.

Bush's attack ads were the same strategy that worked against Buddy McKay four years ago -- buy a lot of negative ads early about a candidate with little name recognition, in effect "introducing him" to the electorate on your own terms.

Unfortunately, he appears to have underestimated the number of Democrats who would view a Jeb Bush attack ad as a compliment to McBride. The overwhelming number of commercials helped increase McBride's name recognition, and McBride's follow-up ads, asking what Bush was afraid of, were extremely effective.
posted by rcade at 1:06 PM on September 12, 2002

Keep in mind also that two years ago set the stage for Florida to be the end-all be-all revenge election: this isn't about Reno or McBride. This is about kicking Jeb Bush out of office, with preventing Katherine Harris from becomming a congresswoman as the undercard.

Putting Governor !Jeb in office is much more likely, as Harris is safely running in one of the most predominantly-Republican districts in Florida. But honestly, as only one of 435 there's a modest belief that Democrats want Harris in office just because the anti-Harris fundraising the party garners is worth giving up the seat.

And I mentioned this during the California primary discussions: the Right doesn't always tend to think clearly in terms of aiding the better chance of candidates, ikareru. The conservative GOP led the efforts there to both put more-conservative (and much less likely to win) Simon in the Republican Grubernatorial slot, while going nuclear against Gary Condit (thus eliminating the nomination of one of the most conservative Democrats in the House and giving the likely-winning nomination to a more left-leaning Democrat.)

Typically, Republicans are more known for campaigning in primary season on principles rather than election strategy due to the presence of right-wing spin and "moral values" dominating the political season. Democrats constantly reflect on the "good of the party" rhetoric because that same spin is brutal on radical DNC candidates... and frankly, Democrats usually have no abilty to do anything related to principles in the first place. (Look, I can hate everyone!)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:28 PM on September 12, 2002

Not to derail the thread or anything, but this is already being discussed about 14 posts down.
posted by me3dia at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2002

me3dia: That thread is a different subject. This one is not about florida voting, it is about the candidates and campaign mistakes.
posted by bmxGirl at 2:05 PM on September 12, 2002

Umm, can you say "passive aggressive" me3dia as you proceed to derail the thread.
posted by jeremias at 2:11 PM on September 12, 2002

Whoops, I see that now. Even mentioned up there, isn't it? Sorry.
posted by me3dia at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2002

Now that i've read a bit more, perhaps I was giving them too much credit. I don't know what made me think Reno stood a chance, but.....

creating buzz for a candidate that would be easier to beat seems like a viable political strategy though it is obviously not the case here. I wonder how commonplace tactics like that are? Do the wheels turn within wheels?
posted by ikareru at 3:15 PM on September 12, 2002

Well, there was controversy over GOP and right-wing groups being found to have given money to Green Party candidates in local swing state elections.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2002

Latest update: oh for fuck's sake.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2002

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