Saturday, March 11, 2006

Swift Boating in Florida

The primary battle in the Florida Republican party is heating up. From the Miami Herald:

In a sign that the race for governor may become nastier than imagined, the same Republican consultant who helped Vietnam War veterans attack John Kerry in 2004 has put together a political committee in Florida and has already raised at least $508,000.

Almost all the money for the group — $500,000 — has come from a single contributor, Cape Coral real estate executive Greg Eagle, a supporter of Attorney General Charlie Crist’s bid for governor. Eagle’s son Dane is on the payroll of the Crist campaign and travels with Crist to campaign events.

Yet the Crist campaign maintains it knows nothing about Floridians for a Better and Brighter Future, which according to Internal Revenue Service records was organized in late December, and whose president is Christopher LaCivita, a veteran GOP consultant and strategist.


Crist is being challenged in the September Republican primary by state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher; the two rivals have already raised a combined total in excess of $12 million.

When asked about the new Florida 527, the Gallagher campaign said it hoped the group was not going to be used to attack Gallagher in the months to come. Crist has maintained in recent appearances that he will not run a negative campaign against his GOP opponent.

“Charlie Crist’s record of running negative campaigns is well documented,” said Alberto Martinez, a spokesman for Gallagher, referring to campaigns dating all the way back to his first Republican primary in 1992. “We hope this news is not an indication of him continuing in that tradition. If it is, it will only help the Democrats in November.”

You’d think that the Republicans would have enough trouble with the wheels coming off the Katherine Harris senate campaign, but no…they want to make it even more self-destructive with a nasty primary battle between Gallagher and Crist.

And they say Democrats are the ones who can’t get their act together…