17 May 2005

Maddox jumps in the governor's race

As expected, former Democratic Party chairman Scott Maddox officially entered the race to be Florida's next governor. Maddox faces Congressman Jim Davis (D-Tampa) and Senator Rod Smith (D-Gainesville) in the Democratic primary. Attorney General Charlie Crist is the only Republican who has filed as of yet, but news reports indicate that Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher will enter the race by the end of the month. Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings is also considering the contest to succeed Governor Jeb Bush, who is prohibited from running for reelection because of term limits.

In 2002, Maddox ran for state Attorney General, but was defeated in the primary. Buddy Dyer went on to win the nomination, but lost to Charlie Crist. Since then, Maddox has been a controversial leader for the Democrats. Just after the election, former chair Bob Poe was ousted from office, and Maddox was elected to lead the Democratic Party, promising to bring them back to relevance in Florida. Maddox was not shy in using his position in the party to advance his own career, and his record with the party brought mixed reviews. He was successful in creating an online presence and recruiting volunteers, but failed to deliver at the polls last November. Last November, Senator John Kerry lost Florida by five percentage points to President George W. Bush, House Democrats lost three more seats in the legislature, and the U.S. Senate seat held by Bob Graham for eighteen years was lost to the Republicans.

Friends and foes of Maddox do agree that he is probably the best public speaker in the party. He has a reputation of being able to rile up Democrats, throwing red meat to his partisan audiences. "One of Scott's strengths is he is an excellent speaker and motivator," said Mitch Ceasar, chairman of the Broward Democratic Party. For that reason, it is not surprising that Maddox attracks a lot of the same Democrats who supported Howard Dean in the presidential primary.

The race is still too early for predictions. The three Democrats running for governor are all starting from square one, but each enjoys his own advantages. Maddox has the support of local parties; Smith has the support of state legislators and law enforcement; and Davis has the support of former Senator Bob Graham and the party establishment. Right now, Davis is leading in the polls, but those numbers simply reflect name recognition. Maddox has the momentum and has caused the most excitement within the party. His campaign is already morphing into a Sunshine State's version of the Dean campaign. Let's just see if Scott Maddox has an "Iowa moment."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, Scott is all talk no action. He gives a great speech, but he didn't really do anything as state chair but help himself.

10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

Also, the Dean people, including from what I hear Howard Dean himself, supports Maddox. One reason is Maddox was the First State Chair across the country to endorse Howard Dean for DNC Chairman and the entire Florida delegation did so as well.

As a Leon County Democrat, I have seen Scott in action and he will have my complete support.

Maddox in 06!

1:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with one statement on this blog. It says that Davis is leading in the polls because of name ID. Well that's not true. As accurately reported by the Miami Herald this morning, Maddox has the highest name ID of the three Dem candidates. He ran for statewide office in 2002 and has run the party for two years, earning a lot of free media along the way.

For Maddox to be trailing Davis in the polls while being the most well known shows that Maddox already has some problems.

I wonder what is holding Maddox back in the polls. Any thoughts?

3:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous makes an interesting observation on Maddox's polling numbers. It might be that a lot of folks aren't sure why they know of Scott Maddox, meaning that his name ID is not translating into vote. Has anyone seen postive/negative numbers? This might also provide a clue. At one point, Johnnie Byrd had similar name ID numbers to Mel Martinez, except his name ID was 3:1 negative.

Josh, I am sure that Dean feels as though he owes Maddox, but I would be floored if Dean got involved in this primary in any public fashion. His responsibility is much more global than it was when he was a just Howard Dean, candidate for DNC. Further, I would hope Dean would show his thanks by raising money for the whole state party, not just Maddox.

Maddox is officially hitting the big time, but until this point, he has been able to make a living in politics by being the energetic, enthusiastic guy. Now that he is a major candidate, there is a new kind of scrutiy. Even Maddox (and Davis, and Smith) supporters should embrace these tough questions, as surviving this time will make them stronger candidates in the general election.

6:31:00 PM  
Blogger Robert C. said...

I would agree that all are beginning from square one. That said, one either loves Maddox or hates him. While his efforts didn't help at the polls, it was during his watch that the state party now own their own headquarters building with state of the art studio facilities, and that the party eliminated their debt.

I've seen both Congressman Davis and Mr. Maddox speak. It is still much too early to make a decision, as I want to watch all of them, especially to hear Senator Smith.

That said, any of the three would be far better than Crisp/Gallagher/Jennings and their bunch.

6:37:00 PM  
Blogger thelastdem said...

One correction to the above comment. The FDP does not own anything.

The FDP used to own a building...a neat old house downtown. This was sold under Bob Poe. The party leases the building they are in now.

6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the FDP's finances. The state party financial reports are all right here for everyone to see. Check out both contributions and expenditures to get a full look at the Party's finances:


9:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and here is where you can find the FDP's financial disclosure reports to the Federal Elections Commission:


9:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and one more area of the Federal Elections Commission web site that should interest anyone who wants to know about the financial condistion of the FDP:


9:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. According to the FEC report filed by the FDP for the period 3/01/05 though 3/31/05, the FDP started the month of March with
$41,819.13 cash on hand. On March 31, the FDP reported having $31,464.27 cash on hand.

Tell me if I'm reading this right:


10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think maybe the most interesting fact is that during that month, the party only raised $205.

The rest came from affiated party groups.

It also said that they had $31K on hand, and $29K in obligated expenses, meaning they really only had about $2K on hand.

Two questions--

What exactly were they doing at the FDP?

Did this regime leave Thurman with no money to meet expenses?

11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be reading this wrong, but if you go back and look at the report for February, they started the month with $77K and finished with $41.9K, and in this month, their primary sources of revenue were refunds from their insurance company and the phone company.

Is this right???


11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maddox is going to be hitting on traditional Democratic themes in this campaign.....the sort of themes that play well in vote rich South Florida which is dominated by new deal liberals. Jim Davis is running to the middle and is basing much of his campaign on insider support and endorsements. One can assume Davis will get the bulk of editorial board support next summer. Davis is also, curiously going after religious voters. With three GOP candidates all with potential problems with religious conservatibes, Davis can possibly be the first step in a Democratic revival those who have abandoned the party the last several years. Rod Smith is an instutional candidate backed by elected officials who are in safe seats who is running an insider campaign, and barring one of the other two getting out of the race, he is likely to finish a distant third, despite being the Democrats best candidate from a policy standpoint.

12:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have pointed out that the nomination is a toss up between two very different candidates of different style, substance and a different world view. Rod Smith represents the safe landing for the Democrats but again I fear his candidacy is not going to get off the ground.

12:22:00 AM  
Blogger BlueDawgDem said...

As to the money issues raised above, those number may only include the "hard" money side of the ledger.

9:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If those numbers only include the "hard" money (I thought McCain Feingold made it harder to get "soft" money) will someone please point us to the "soft" money side of the ledger so we can know the true fiscal state of the FDP?

Thurman should do a public audit of the books so she can start with a clean slate. If she doesn't and Democrats get wiped out in the next election (see 2002), someone will just throw her under the bus in November 2006 and make her accountable for the sins of the previous administration.

9:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I understand, the numbers you were seeing include soft money. When the comment above said that other Dem related groups gave money to the FDP, that would probably be soft money. The FDP can take soft money as long as it isn't used for federal candidates.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the party's finances are as bad as we may think. Maddox chose to have a HUGE staff and payroll killed us. If he had cut our staff in half last year, we could have used that money on candidates. Shame.

10:42:00 AM  
Blogger thelastdem said...

The full reports can be found at the Department of State, Division of Elections website, election.dos.state.fl.us.

State parties can still collect corporate soft money. I believe they just can't spend it on federal candidates.

6:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The challenge of the Jerry Maguire lightning round of the Democratic gubernatorial sweepstakes still remains: Show us the money!

8:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was FDP Chairman Scott Maddox doing on Oct. 26, 2004 as the campaign for the presidency and U.S. Senate was in the home stretch? According to a developer, he was lobbying for a controversial project.

See this story:


10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On behalf of all the activists who were working hard on our nation's priorities by canvassing and calling a week before election day, I know we were all glad to know that our leader was taking care of his priorities instead.

8:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just shows that Scott never put the interests of the FDP first. All the activists that are throwing their support behind Scott are idiots. He is a charmer, and he is pulling a fast one on all of them.

9:55:00 PM  

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