If Election Day in November is the Superbowl, then Primary Day is... the first day of the season? The start of playoffs? See, this is why I don't ever talk about sports stuff.
Couple of things I've noticed here in Florida this time around -- and I've been watching primaries across the country for a few years, now. First, I think the blogs (present company excepted, of course) were front and center with respect to reporting on this. Like his work in the St. Petersburg Mayoral race, Peter Schorsh's St. Petersblog has been out front on a number of issues in the Florida races. Steve Schale has a fantastic roundup of local races to watch around the state on his own blog. The Reid Report is a daily must-read, always providing some kind of new, fresh perspective on the races. So is Pushing Rope; they are pushing boundaries, and whether you agree with them or not, that's a good thing. Pensito Review is providing some of the best writing out there. Even hyper-local blogs like Gulfport Watchdog is engaging citizens in useful discussion like "what are good candidate characteristics". The Progress Florida news-clips -- which have generously featured this blog a few times -- are worth your time to sign up, easy.
Even nationally, I find my first and most reliable stop for polling data and trends is Talking Points Memo. FiveThirtyEight (moving to the New York Times) is next.
This isn't about heaping praise on blogs I like. It's about simply noting that more and more of us armchair quarterbacks are increasingly getting our material from different places. And those places are getting better about providing timely, quality information.
Okay, the other thing I've noticed is that with respect to the Florida Primary, people seem mighty reluctant to offer any predictions. And why would they? There is a lot riding on many of these races, and several of them are way too close to call!
What reasonable, articulate, thinking person would risk their good name to make predictions in such a turbulent ocean of uncertainty?
Who would be so very, very foolish?
Maybe this guy:
It's like I can't help myself. (We made these cards and took a picture of Duncan almost every week of her pregnancy.)
Alright, so here we go.
In the U.S. Senate race on the Democratic side this is an easier choice as recent polling has Meek breaking away from recession pimp Jeff Greene -- and even Maurice Ferre is dropping. The Real Clear Politics average for Meek is +14.5.
It will tighten up in the end, but I call this one for Kendrick Meek.
Let's go over to that GOP fight in the governor's race. The Miami Herald reports that Rick Scott is leading by as much as seven points! The problem is, the TPM aggregate -- which includes that data -- shows McCollum up by around four. The RCP average is +2.6 for McCollum.
Which is what I'm going with, here. As much fun as it'd be to have hospital grifter Rick Scott as the GOP nominee, I think that Republicans only flirted with him back in July but have come home to marry their fortunes to Captain Vanilla -- I call this one for Bill McCollum.
Moving on -- and without a net, as the polling data in some of these races is harder to get (and often older than you'd like). A quick look at the Florida Attorney General fight, what some genius blogger called "the best race you're not watching". Or something. On the Democratic side, I call this one for Dan Gelber.
Yes, I am a Gelber supporter, but that is not clouding my judgment here. I think Democrats went with experience over Dave Aronberg's risky, tough attacks. Look, I understand attack ads -- I really, really do. But they are almost always a gamble, and I think that Senator Aronberg's gamble just didn't pay off. Gelber's message of courtroom experience and evenhanded leadership played well. Also -- and this matters -- in my political circles, I've dealt with more Gelber supporters than Aronberg supporters. Sorry, Dave.
Now the GOP side of the Attorney General fight is a bit of a tough cookie. Newt Gingrich has endorsed Holly Benson who was up in a poll not too long ago. Sarah Palin has endorsed Pam Bondi, who was also up not too long ago. Here's some data from the 20th that shows Bondi up in the three-way race 27 to Benson's 23 to Kottkamp's 22 (and Gelber ahead of Aronberg 32 to 25). That's anybody's race, gang.
Although there's been some buzz about the (possibly) shrinking empire of Sarah Palin (which could only mean she's about to do or say something outrageous and evil), I think the Sarah Palin nod could help Bondi -- remember, we're talking primaries, here. These are the Republican (and Democrat, in their races) true believers. I am still amazed that anyone cares what Newt Gingrich says, but there you have it. I call this one for Pam Bondi -- which will make this fall's Bondi/Gelber (if I'm right) match-up a fantastic race, and a very real pick-up opportunity for Democrats.
There you have it. That's the big races everyone will be watching around the state -- and indeed, around the country. I'll be watching them, too. And until I can figure out what the hell is with this cough and random fever, I'll likely be watching it in front of my computer, scanning blogs and maybe some news sites. Stay tuned -- and don't laugh at me too much when I get it wrong.