Tuesday, November 2, 2004

The Senate Race

The balance of the Senate could depend on a couple of races. Salon.com has a run-down of the closest ones, including the one here in Florida.

A new CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll has the Democrat, former University of South Florida president Betty Castor, up 2 points over Karl Rove’s handpicked candidate, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Mel Martinez. But a poll by Republican firm Strategic Vision has Martinez up by 4. The most likely scenario is Zogby International’s analysis: dead even at 46 percent each, with 7 percent undecided. Castor campaigned Monday with John Edwards, retiring Democratic Sen. Bob Graham and singer Jimmy Buffett. After appearing at rallies on Sunday with President Bush, Martinez is campaigning Monday with Gov. Jeb Bush and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Martinez has been running some really vicious ads, a tactic he used in the primary against Bill McCollum. Gee, I wonder where he got that from? (Hint: see the italicized phrase in the first sentence of the quote from Salon.com.) My guess is that if the turnout in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties is as big as early voting suggests, Martinez will lose, but not by much.

And sometimes campaigning can bring about some interesting if not awkward meetings.

The frenzied last day on the campaign trail included an only-in-Florida moment: Martinez and Bush-bashing filmmaker Michael Moore ran into each other at the Orlando Executive Airport.

Campaign staffers and reporters tensed up when Moore walked right up to Martinez and offered his hand.

But the potentially awkward meeting turned into a gentlemanly exchange.

“Even though we’re on the other side, good luck tomorrow,” Moore said.

Martinez smiled and said, “I understand. We’re all Americans.”

Moore agreed, “We’re all Americans, and we love our country, all of us.”

Martinez added: “Absolutely. Welcome to Florida.”