14 May 2005

Florida icon backs Jim Davis for governor

Yesterday, former U.S. Senator Bob Graham announced that he "enthusiastically" supports Congressman Jim Davis (D-Tampa) in his run for governor. The announcement by the former governor and presidential candidate advances Davis into the frontrunner position among Democrats in the race for chief executive of the Sunshine State.

Davis currently faces state Senator Rod Smith (D-Gainesville) in the Democratic primary, and state Attorney General Charlie Crist is the only Republican who has yet filed. Former Democratic Party Chairman Scott Maddox is predicted to join the field, and many expect Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings to jump into the race on the Republican side. Republican Jeb Bush currently holds the state's top position, but is prohibited from running for reelection because of term limits.

The Graham endorsement is a major feat for the Davis campaign. Bob Graham is revered by Floridians of all party persuasions and receives the respect of political leaders from throughout the country. The former senator brings with him an impeccable reputation and an impressive list of contributors. Graham and his wife Adele will be hosting a fundraiser in Coral Gables on June 1st, and the senator plans to actively campaign on behalf of Davis.

Other prominent players in the race for governor include former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, who has endorsed Smith, and Congressman Robert Wexler (D-Boca Raton), who has indicated that he would throw his support behind Maddox if he enters the race.

The timing of the endorsement is quite interesting, because it comes very early in the campaign. The Graham announcement comes days after the entrance of Crist into the race and within a week of Maddox resigning from the state party to prepare for his own run. Following the Crist announcement, some pundits were quick to declare the race over. The Graham endorsement may be the elder stateman's way of saying, "Not so fast." And while Maddox is widely expected to run for governor, the Graham announcement may have been intended to steer the former party chairman into a different cabinet race.

While overlooked for months, Jim Davis is now the candidate to beat in the Democratic primary. Let's see if the former senator can help put him in the governor's mansion.

11 Comments:

Blogger thelastdem said...

It would be great to see Rod Smith step back and run for Attorney General, and Maddox just stay out, clearing the field for Jim Davis.

1:09:00 PM  
Anonymous tdog said...

I personally like Smith and Davis equally. I think either one of them would make a great governor. Maddox would be horrible, and he would lead to a lot of Dems voting for the GOP candidate next November.

I like the suggestion of thelastdem because we do need Ds in those other races. Unfortunately the Party didn't recruit anyone for those races and Maddox worked to hurt the two guys we have in the top race now. (Have you noticed that there are no links to the Davis and Smith campaigns on the FDP's homepage? You have to go to another page on the web site to get to them. I hope Thurman corrects that ASAP.)

I'm just afraid that Democrats are repeating our mistake from 2002. That year, we had three good candidates running for Gov., some good people running for AG, but almost no one for Ag. Commissioner, and no one at all for CFO. Maddox has left us in a position where we appear to be repeating that mistake. I hope that changes.

2:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Leon County Democrat, Maddox draws support from many Republicans within this county. He is a moderate on the issues, a very good campaigner if any of you remember how close he was to pulling the upset over Buddy Dyer in 2002 for Attorney General.

Scott Maddox also has a lot of support from the Police Unions and Firefighter Unions around the State. Maddox was Mayor of Tallahassee and chairman of the League of Cities. He has visited every county in the State.

Scott Maddox would make a great Governor and has the support to win the primary and general election if this is the race he decides to go with....

But I will tell you this, according to what I know, Scott has yet to make up his mind but is planning to announce something by the end of the month.

I wouldn't be surprised if he ran for Attorney General instead against Skip Campbell in the primary.

He has my support no matter what office he seeks.

Maddox in 06!

4:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't met Scott Maddox, and from all I've read, he seems like a likable guy.

But I must admit, if Tallahassee Democrat is right and he tried to give some of his staff a $100,000 contract during his last week as Chair, then I fear what he might do when he gets control of millions in state contracts as Governor.

I do know Jim Davis and know him to be of solid ethics. After years of questionable Bush administration contracts, I am not sure I want a Republican or a Democrat who is predisposed to take care of their friends, even if it is not in the best interest of our state.

6:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above comment that serves as an informercial for Maddox is quite troubling, because it makes a blatantly false statement. The author states: "Scott Maddox also has a lot of support from the Police Unions and Firefighter Unions around the State." This is completely false.

I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of PBA (police union) guys, and they are pretty much unified in their dislike of Maddox. In fact, a group of PBA employees official switched their voter registration from Democrat to Republican on the day Maddox was elected state chair as a form of protest against the FDP.

Say what you want about Maddox - either you love him or you hate him. But let's try to keep the dialogue honest. I hope that the author of the comment above was simply mistaken and is not an operative of the "Maddox campaign" intent on spreading lies to get him elected.

1:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiments of the last commenter. Scott Maddox does not have any real support of the police and firefighters around the state. Check out the the real record. Maddox as Mayor of Tallahassee and a leader in the Florida Leauge of Cities led the fight against a major pension bill in the Florida Legislature that benefited the police and firefighters.

4:08:00 PM  
Blogger BlueDawgDem said...

Not to pile on Maddox, but the last time that the police had a chance to endorse Maddox, the 2002 AG race, they chose Buddy Dyer.

7:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly only two Democratic candidates- Rod Smith and Jim Davis are qualified to be Governor of Florida, and can be counted as serious candidates. Maddox is a demogogue of the first degree and might switch races by the end of the year when he realizes all of the key players in the state are with Smith or Davis.

1:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's official - Maddox is in the governor's race. If he gets the nomination, say goodbye to Bill Nelson.

Heaven help the Democrats - they'll need it.

2:58:00 PM  
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