Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fred takes Florida by storm!

From St. Petersburg Times:

In the most unpredictable Republican presidential primary Florida has seen in ages, Fred Thompson is adding a giant extra dose of uncertainty. And just to dramatize the mystery of his strength as a candidate, when campaign finance reports are released on Sunday, Thompson's fundraising figures won't be among them because he has yet to formally enter the race.

Despite that, the Law & Order actor and former Tennessee senator is in second place in Florida polls. Giuliani, who is making Florida's Jan. 29 primary the linchpin of his strategy to win the nomination, has seen his lead shrink in Florida polls from as high as 20 points in March to as low as 6 points in June.

Without even laying out a platform, Thompson, 64, has won more legislative endorsements in Florida than any other Republican. And to ensure no more slips like missing the Jacksonville meeting, Thompson's "testing the waters" committee has hired a respected veteran GOP strategist, Randy Enwright, to help navigate Florida. Enwright also is expected to play a role in the national campaign.

"You had a lot of people who were searching and looking for a candidate and feeling like they were going to have to settle for someone. You don't have to settle with Fred Thompson. Fred Thompson is a candidate you can be excited about," said Rep. Jeff Miller, a Panhandle Republican who recently hosted a fundraising reception for Thompson in Pensacola.

His fans, including Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow, the third-highest ranking Republican in Congress, see Thompson as the only consistently conservative candidate among the leading Republican contenders. They see a charismatic lawyer with a comforting bourbon-tinged drawl.

"The support for Thompson in this county is really something," said Pasco GOP chairman Bill Bunting, who has a Thompson sticker on his car. "He's a true conservative who really represents the party's values more than anyone else."

Of course, there are the usual cadre of naysayers:
"His support is a complete and total reflection of his name ID. He's the flavor of the month," Sally Bradshaw, a senior adviser to Romney, said of Thompson.
Truth is, once Fred gets in the race, Romney is toast.

The way this blogger sees it, look for a two-way race between Fred & Rudy, with Fred coming out head and shoulders (literally and figuratively) from the pack by September of '08!

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