|FLORIDA||25 Electoral Votes|
Overview : From the outset of the campaign George W. Bush was seen to have an edge in Florida. His brother Jeb served as governor. Republicans controlled not only the governor's office, but both houses of the state legislature and the congressional delegation. However, in 1996 Clinton/Gore had won Florida by a bit more than 300,000 votes. In 1976 another Southerner, Jimmy Carter, had won. Al Gore's state director Marcus Jadotte thought early on that the state was winnable, and the addition of Joe Lieberman to the ticket encouraged him further, as it would make it more difficult for Bush to make inroads among the state's Jewish voters. Lieberman ended up making ten trips to the state. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush did not play an overly active role on behalf of his brother during the campaign1, which prompted occasional comment.
Social Security and Medicare were major issues in a state with almost 2.4 million people aged 65 or older (18.3% of the population compared to 12.6% nationally). Whether it was Vice President Gore speaking on "Medicare at a Crossroads" in St. Petersburg on Sept. 25 or Governor Bush holding a discussion on seniors' health care in Orlando on Sept. 12, the candidates and their campaigns wooed seniors. Gore state director Jadotte said after the campaign that a major objective was to "develop and maintain an advantage on Social Security." Each side also accused the other of using fear tactics. Automated phone calls from the Bush campaign in the latter part of October warned against scare tactics. Jadotte pointed to independent expenditure TV ads (1, 2, 3) run in the last week in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market that were effective in scaring seniors and erasing Gore's advantage.
The Elián González saga hurt Gore among Cuban-Americans, a largely Republican voting bloc concentrated in Miami-Dade county. This seven-month soap opera began with Elián's arrival in November 1999. On March 30, 2000 Gore broke with the administration's position. He issued a statement saying that the case should be treated as a custody matter, in family court rather than in federal courts, and he announced his support for legislation to make Elián a permanent resident. Gore's position was seen as pandering for Cuban-American votes, which was somewhat puzzling since this group tends to vote strongly Republican. In any event, Gore's stance drew widespread criticism, even from Democrats. Cartoonists had a field day. From Gore's point of view, worse was to come. On April 22, INS agents staged the dramatic raid on the Miami home of Elian's relatives and secured the boy. Images of the terrified six-year old boy, most notably Al Diaz's searing photo of the boy and the gun-pointing federal agent, dominated the news. Finally, on June 29 the six-year old Elián was returned to Cuba. Four months later, on Election Day, Cuban-Americans turned out in huge numbers, voting even more strongly than usual for Republicans. "It hurt us a lot in Dade County," Gore state director Marcus Jadotte said.
|Gore/Lieberman carried Miami-Dade
County by 6.3 percentage points or 39,275 votes (328,808 votes to 289,533
In 1996, Clinton/Gore carried Miami-Dade by 19.5 percentage points or 107,744 votes (317,378 votes to 209,634 for Dole/Kemp)
At the same time, Gore achieved record support among African-Americans.2 One factor was the political environment in the state. Gov. Jeb Bush's "One Florida Initiative," announced in November 1999, undid affirmative action in university admissions and state contracts. State Rep. Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville) and State Sen. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) sought a meeting with the the governor, but were referred to the lieutenant governor; not finding satisfaction there, they staged a sit-in. There was a big march in Tallahassee on March 7, and, more significantly, the two launched an "Arrive with Five" voter registration drive aimed at women, African-Americans and Hispanics. A second major factor was the contrast between the two candidates, what Gore's state director Marcus Jadotte termed, "Bush's lack of credibility in the community and Gore's strong position in the community." Finally, at the national level, Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile placed a major emphasis on getting out the Democratic base vote, including African-Americans.
Bush had a significant edge in the television campaign. More presidential ads ran in Florida than in any other state. The Brennan Center for Justice estimated that from June 1 to November 7, the campaigns, parties and supportive interest groups spent $24.4 million on television advertising in the presidential race in Florida. Although the Gore campaign makes the case that it ran a more efficient and smarter television ad campaign, Bush and allies had a spending edge of $4.4 million. According to the Campaign Media Analysis Group Bush/RNC ran 42% more ads than did Gore/DNC. And, at least in the Tampa market, a couple of interest groups ran ads attacking Gore. Meanwhile, organizations such as the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood, which entered into the fray in battleground states such as Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, largely bypassed Florida. The Brennan Center reported that "Gore enjoyed nearly no independent TV ad spending on his behalf anywhere in Florida."
With Republicans drawing support in rural counties and Democrats having a base in the "Big Three" South East counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, the campaigns focused much attention on reaching persuadable voters in Central Florida. Thus there was considerable activity in the counties along highway I-4, which runs from Tampa in the West through Orlando to Daytona Beach in the East. This focus on Central Florida is not new; in 1992 Gov. Clinton and Sen. Al Gore did not wage an all-out campaign in Florida, but in early October they did do a "On the Road...To Change America" bus tour, travelling along part of I-4 from Daytona Beach to Orlando then heading Ocala and Gainesville.
Eight years later, Gov. Bush's final campaign event in Florida was a rally on Nov. 5 in Orlando; on his previous visit to the state on Oct. 24-25 he had done a bus tour across Central Florida with brother Jeb Bush and Sen. John McCain. Vice President Gore made two trips to Tampa in the last week of the campaign: he held a rally in a park there on Nov. 1, and, in his final events on the trail before flying off to Nashville, he visited the local campaign headquarters, a cancer center, and a bakery very early on the morning of Election Day.
|"The race came down to I-4 in a lot of ways."|
1. After the campaign, Jeb Bush was instrumental in mobilizing Florida's top lawyers for the Bush cause.
2. According to an examination of Florida's active voter file by the Washington Times (July 11, 2001), 10.0 percent (610,616 of 6,086,109) of Floridians who voted in the Nov. 7, 2000 election were African-American, compared to 9.50 percent in 1996 (517,203 of 5,444,245). In 2000, African-Americans accounted for 10.7 percent of the state's registered voters (934,261 of 8,752,717) compared to 10.5 percent in 1996 (845,179 of 8,077,877).
State Chair: Gov. Jeb Bush
Victory 2000 Exec. Director: Jillian Inmon
...Originally from Ohio, Inmon was director of scheduling and events for Gov. Jeb Bush's 1998 campaign and worked as his director of government affairs from Jan.-Sept. 1999; she started as exec. director of Gov. George W. Bush's primary campaign in Oct. 1999.
Press Secretary: Leo DiBenigno
Field-Surrogate Travel: Heather Roebkey
Field-Central (Orlando): Matthew Hunter
Field-SW (Fort Myers): Wendy Grant
Field-SE (Miami): Tom Dinanno
Office: 9200 South Dadeland, Suite 415-B, Miami
Republican Party of Florida
State Chair: Attorney Gen. Bob Butterworth
Gore-Lieberman State Director: Marcus Jadotte
...Prior to the campaign Jadotte worked in the Department of Labor as special assistant to the Deputy Secretary and as an intergovernmental officer. Florida experience includes tenure as special assistant to Gov. Lawton Chiles, director of communications for the state AFL-CIO, committee staff for the State House and work on campaigns including Clinton/Gore '96 and the Buddy MacKay gubernatorial campaign.
Dep. State Director: Emory Mayfield
Press Secretary: Liz Lubow
Office: 514 East College Ave., Tallahassee
Political Director: Joe Fraga
Dep. Political Director: Mohamed Yilla
Office: 2990 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Coordinated Campaign Director: Natalie Zellner
Florida Democratic Party
Travel (Aug. 1-Nov. 7)
GWB: 6 trips
DC: 4 trips
Travel (Aug. 1-Nov. 7)
AG: 9 trips
JL: 10 trips (4 included joint appearances w/ AG)
|Nov. 7 -- 1. AG rally with celebs after midnight at Ocean Blvd btwn 6th and 7th, Miami Beach. 2. (4:45 a.m.) AG discusses healthcare with nurses at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. 3. (5:45 a.m.) AG and JL w/ Rep. Jim Davis brief stop at a Cuban bakery to pick up doughnuts for campaign workers, Tampa. 4. (6:00 a.m.) AG and JL greet campaign workers at Hillsborough County Coord. Campaign headquarters, Tampa. Also, before heading to Nashville, TG and AG meet with Kailey Ellis and her family on Air Force II.|
|Nov. 5 -- GWB and LB spend the day in Florida: 1. Attend church service in Jacksonville. 2. Private prayer breakfast with Rev. Billy Graham in Jacksonville. 3. Victory 2000 rally at Galaxy Aviation in West Palm Beach. 4. Victory 2000 rally in the football stadium at Florida International University, Miami. 5. Victory 2000 rally at Raymond James Stadium (NFL stadium) in Tampa. 6. Victory 2000 rally at Tinker Field (minor league baseball stadium) in Orlando.|
Nov. 3 -- JL attends GOTV event at Joseph Caleb Center, Miami.
Nov. 4 -- JL evening rally, Aircraft Services Inc. Group, Orlando.
|Nov. 1 -- DC does three rallies with Sen. Alan Simpson and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf: 1. DC attends breakfast reception for Rep. Clay Shaw in West Palm Beach. 2. Victory 2000 rally (w/ Hank Williams, Jr.) at St. Lucie County Sports Complex, Port St. Lucie. 3. Victory 2000 rally (w/ Jeb Bush) at Laishley Park, Punta Gorda. 4. Victory 2000 rally (w/ the Bellamy Brothers) at Weeki Wache Springs Water Park, Weeki Wachi.||Nov. 1 --1. AG meets with family and releases 153-page book "Bringing Prosperity Home" at Robinson's Pharmacy and Coffee Shop, Kissimmee. 2. AG discusses Social Security, Kissimmee Civic Center, Kissimmee. 3. AG and TG rally with Jimmy Buffett at Lykes Gaslight Park, Tampa.|
Oct. 31 -- JL evening supporters event in the recreation room at Wallace J. Merritt, Ft. Lauderdale.
Nov. 1-- JL touring in RV. Stops include: 1. Visits with members of the Hollywood Fire Station #5, Hollywood. 2. Visits Broward County Public Safety Department. 3. Speaks to seniors in Coconut Creek. 4. Deerfield Beach. 5. Rally outside the Student Center at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
6. Rally, Daytona Bandshell, Daytona.
|Oct. 24-Oct. 25
Oct. 24 evening -- GWB Victory 2000 rally at Jacksonville Landing, Jacksonville.
Oct. 25 -- GWB and LB w/ Jeb Bush and Sen. John McCain bus tour across Central Florida (I-4): 1. Rally at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach. 2. One-on-One at Seminole Community College, Sanford. 3. Victory 2000 rally at Florida State Fairgrounds, Brandon (Tampa area).
23 -- 1. JL impromptu stop at restaurant in Liberty City.
JL supporter's event at Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, Aventura. 3. JL participates in a Cuban-American round table discussion, Freedom Tower, Miami. 4. JL informal remarks to Haitian-American community in El Portal (Little Haiti). 5. JL rally at Miami-Dade Comunity College, North Campus, Opa-Locka.
16-17 -- DC and LC Road to Victory Florida Bus Tour 2000 (approx. 300
Oct. 16 -- DC and LC begin tour with Victory 2000 rally at Tigertown Hangar #2 in Lakeland.
Oct. 17 -- 1. DC and LC Victory 2000 rally at Kissimmee Civic Center, Kissimmee. 2. DC and LC Victory 2000 rally at The Villages Florida, Lady Lake. 3. DC and LC one-on-one in the gymnasium at Central Florida Community College, Ocala. 4. Tour finishes in Tallahassee. (In the evening DC and Jeb Bush watch the final presidential debate at a debate party in Los Robles, a suburb of Tallahassee).
Oct. 16 -- 1. JL attends discussion on prescription drugs, Century Village, West Palm Beach. 2. JL DNC luncheon at private residence in West Palm Beach ($). 3. JL DNC reception at Boca Grove Country Club in West Palm Beach ($). 4. JL DNC dinner at private residence in West Palm Beach ($).
Oct. 17 -- 1. JL meets with African American ministers at the Orlando Palace Hotel, in Orlando. JL attends the Gartner Group Symposium/ITxpo at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, Lake Buena Vista.
|Oct. 9-10 -- AG debate
prep at Mote Marine Laboratory, Longboat Key (nr Sarasota).
Oct. 9 -- AG takes break to shop at a bookstore in Sarasota. Oct. 10 -- AG discusses college tuition tax deductions at Manatee Community College, Bradenton.
|Oct. 7 -- [Arrived at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Int'l Airport on evening of Oct. 6]. 1. GWB and LB morning One-on-One at Pasco/Hernando Community College in New Port Richey. 2. GWB Victory 2000 rally at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.|
Oct. 5 -- AG and TG visit Florida Coord. Campaign debate watch, Wyndham Palace Resort Spa, Lake Buena Vista (nr Orlando).
Oct. 6 -- AG and TG, JL and HL noon rally on protecting Social Security, Lake Eola Park, Orlando.
|Sept. 30-Oct. 2 --
AG debate prep with 13 ordinary citizens/"special advisers" and Bush stand-in
Paul Begala at Mote Marine Laboratory, Longboat Key (nr Sarasota).
Sept. 30 -- AG airport arrival rally at Jones Aviation at Sarasota-Bradenton Airport.
Oct. 1 -- AG does mock debate and lunch with ordinary citizens/"special advisers."
Sept. 28 -- 1. DC remarks on military readiness and other issues, Pensacola Junior College, Pensacola. 2. DC at Florida Victory 2000 evening reception, New World Landing, Pensacola.
Sept. 29 -- DC remarks on military readiness, Jacksonville Agricultural Fair Complex, Jacksonville.
|Sept. 25 -- 1. AG and TG speak on Medicare (report "Medicare at a Crossroads"), The Coliseum, St. Petersburg. 2. AG and TG DNC concert, Omni Colonnade Hotel, Miami ($). 3. AG DNC dinner at private residence, Miami ($).|
Sept. 22 -- 1. GWB and LB welcomed at Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport, Sarasota. 2. GWB and LB one-on-one with local citizens at Kings Point Theater in Sun City. 3. GWB and LB Republican Party reception at Hyatt Regency Westshore, Tampa. 4. GWB and LB Miami Victory 2000 evening rally at the Coconut Grove Convention Center, Miami.
Sept. 23 -- GWB airport rally, Orlando; addresses Pennsylvania Republican State Party Convention via satellite from Orlando.
Sept. 21 -- 1. JL speech on the New Economy ("Vision for America" speech), Cirent Semiconductor, Orlando. 2. JL rally, Plumbing and Pipefitters Local 719, Ft. Lauderdale. 3. JL DNC dinner, Signature Grand, Davie ($). 4. JL DNC reception at private residence in Ft. Lauderdale ($).
Sept. 22 -- JL discussion on child care, Boynton Headstart Center, Delray.
Sept. 11 --1. Airport arrival, St. Petersburg-Clearwater Int'l Airport, visits with senior citizens and discusses drug plan, Top of the World Senior Center, Clearwater. 2. Airport welcome, West Palm Beach Int'l Airport, reception for the Florida Republican Party.
Sept. 12 -- Airport arrival, Orlando International Airport, discussion on seniors' health care, Florida Hospital, Orlando.
Sept. 8 -- JL and HL early evening rally at Nautilus Middle School, Miami Beach. Sept. 9 Saturday. Sept. 10 -- JL and HL DNC brunch at private residence in Miami ($).
|Sept. 4 -- "American Workathon" AG and JL eat breakfast with firefighters and speak, Firehouse No. 9, Tampa Bay.|
|Aug. 31 -- 1. (morning) DC, accompanied by LC, "greeted by one of the millions of families who would benefit from Governor Bush's tax cut;" remarks on education and school construction at Croissant Elementary School, Victory 2000 luncheon, Ft. Lauderdale. 2. (early afternoon) DC and LC remarks on education and school construction at Highland Elementary School, Lake Worth (West Palm Beach).|
|Aug. 28 -- AG and TG discuss Medicare and prescription drug benefit, Florida State University, Tallahassee.|
|Aug. 24 -- GWB airport arrival, Miami International Airport, Miami. Aug. 25 -- GWB speech on relations with Latin America, Florida International University, Miami.|
|Aug. 23 -- 1. AG and JL discuss long-term care at Kings Point Senior Center, Tamarac (near Ft. Lauderdale). 2. AG and JL DNC dinner at private residence in Parkland ($).|
In the roll call vote at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Florida put Gore over the top.
|A Sampling of More Campaign Activity||A Sampling of More Campaign Activity|
|Nov. 3 (p.m.)
-- George P. Bush rallies students at University of Florida in Gainesville
and at Florida International University in Miami. Nov. 4 -- George
P. Bush rallies students at University of South Florida in Tampa, University
of Central Florida in Orlando, and Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Nov. 2 -- Bush foreign policy advisor Condoleezza Rice at University of Southern Florida in Tampa (guest speaker of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce) and at Valencia Community College's East campus in Orlando (invited by Valencia Trustee Jerry Buchanan, Rice was accompanied by Senator Florence Shapiro from Texas and Elaine Chao, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation).
Oct. 31 -- Former president George H.W. Bush Victory 2000 breakfast/rally at Okaloosa County fairgrounds in Fort Walton Beach, rally at McKenzie Park in Panama City; "First Family Festival" rally with Barbara Bush and Jeb Bush at the First Baptist Church parking lot in Orlando.
Oct. 30 -- Former first lady Barbara Bush and Jeb Bush at the Colony Cove retirement community in Ellenton (Manatee County) and at The Village Church at Shell Point Village retirement community in Fort Myers. Oct. 31 -- Barbara Bush and Jeb Bush at the Palm Harbor Senior Activity Center in Palm Harbor (Pinellas County), in the Halloween parade in Bartow, then join former president Bush for the rally in Orlando.
Oct. 24 -- "Barnstorm for
Reform" tour-- Govs. Ridge (PA), Schafer (ND) and Whitman (NJ) and Texas
Democrat Sen. Kenneth Armbrister visit VFW Post 6827 in St. Petersburg
and Drummond Printing in Jacksonville.
Oct. 9-10 Lynne Cheney.
Oct. 9 -- Speaks at "stand up for Sarasota High School" luncheon sponsored
by the Republican Women's Club of Sarasota at Michael's on East in Sarasota,
stops in Port Charlotte, and visits a nursing home in Fort Myers.
Oct. 10 -- Stops at Collier County Republican hdqtrs in Naples, visits
North Palm Beach Elementary School, visits students and teachers at Fort
Pierce Magnet School of the Arts (St. Lucie County), and finishes with
a town hall forum in Daytona Beach.
In addition, note the following
surrogate visits (not independently confirmed):
|Nov. 3 -- On
behalf of the Gore/Lieberman campaign, African-American leaders kick off
"Your Vote Counts, Democratic Unity" tour at 5238-9 Norwood Avenue in Jacksonville
[proceeds on to other states].
Nov. 1 -- Comedian Al Franken campaigns for Gore at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Oct. 24-25 -- Karenna Gore-Schiff
two-day tour: Oct. 24 speaks to students at Bethune-Cookman College in
Daytona Beach, Rollins College in Orlando, and University of South Florida
in Tampa. Oct. 25 speaks at a rally at Palm Beach Community College
in Lake Worth.
Oct. 22-24 -- "Women on a Roll" Florida bus tour including JL's mother Marcia Lieberman and daughter Rebecca Lieberman (tour started in Jacksonville).
Oct. 12 -- Hadassah Lieberman talks with fourth grade students in a mobile classroom, discusses early childhood education in the library at South Hialeah Elementary School in Hialeah (Dade County).
Oct. 10 -- Tipper Gore seniors healthcare event in Fort Myers, meets with citizens at the farmer's market in Fort Myers, and rallies at Florida Convention Center in Melbourne.
Sept. 13 -- Education Secretary Richard Riley promotes Gore's education plans at TRAK Microwave in Tampa.
Sept. 13-14 -- Rebecca Lieberman. Sept. 13--In Gainesville speaks to students at the University of Florida and speaks to Alachua, Marion and Levy County DEC members at the Alachua County Courthouse. Sept. 14--Speaks to students at the Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter (Palm Beach County).
Aug. 28-29 -- Tipper Gore. Aug. 28--Joins husband at Medicare event in Tallahassee. 2. Meets with supporters at the 4th Fighter Group Restaurant in Orlando. Aug. 29--1. Tours the Tampa General Healthcare Center and meets with patients and administrators. 2. Greets supporters and patrons at West Tampa Sandwich Shop. 3. Visits after school program at Florence Davis Center in Jacksonville. 4. Addresses supporters at Hilton Jacksonville.
the Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG Eye, Jan. 2001 and Nov./Dec.
2000) during the general election the Bush campaign and the RNC ran more
ads in Florida than in any other state: 21,400 ads; this accounted
for an estimated 17% of total Bush/RNC ad spending, topping all
According to the Brennan Center for Justice (Dec. 11, 2000 report) spending in Florida on TV advertising in the presidential race by the Bush campaign, Republican party and supportive groups in the period from June 1 to Nov. 7, 2000 totaled $14,471,492.
|According to the Campaign
Media Analysis Group (CMAG Eye, Jan. 2001 and Nov./Dec. 2000) during
the general election the Gore campaign and the DNC ran 12,400 ads
in Florida, putting the state third behind Pennsylvania (14,400) and Ohio
(13,500); this accounted for an estimated 12% of total Gore/DNC
ad spending, fourth behind Pennsylvania (20%), Ohio (13%) and Michigan
According to the Brennan Center for Justice (Dec. 11, 2000 report) spending in Florida on TV advertising in the presidential race by the Gore campaign, Democratic party and supportive groups in the period from June 1 to Nov. 7, 2000 totaled $10,063,322. However, the report noted that in contrast to other states, "Gore enjoyed nearly no independent TV ad spending on his behalf anywhere in Florida."
Gore/Lieberman state director Marcus Jadotte stated, "We anticipated the Bush ad advantage from day one. We were far more efficient in our spending." Jadotte said the campaign concentrated on reaching persuadable voters, running ads in Tampa, as well as Orlando and some in Palm Beach, while not spending money in the expensive South Florida-Miami market until very late. Meanwhile, he said, "Bush turned on the faucet all over the state."
|Some Newspaper Endorsements||Some Newspaper Endorsements|
Tampa Tribune --10/22/00 Daily199,753 Sun 290,837
Florida Times-Union (J' ville) --11/5/00 Daily170,504 Sun 230,789
Lakeland Ledger --10/22/00 Daily68,735 Sun 83,105*
Naples Daily News --10/29/00 Daily 43,749 Sun 54,841 EWS
Bradenton Herald --10/29/00 Daily 38,996 Sun 46,800
Stuart News Daily 34,153 Sun 41,409 EWS
Diario Las Américas
|Miami Herald --10/29/00
St. Petersburg Times --10/29/00 Daily 307,556 Sun 388,191
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale) --10/29/00 Daily 238,416 Sun 350,189
Palm Beach Post --11/5/00 Daily 159,275 Sun 202,286
Daytona Beach News-Journal --11/2/00 Daily 95,465 Sun 113,965
Sarasota Herald-Tribune --11/4/00 Daily 94,912 Sun 118,785
Florida Today --10/29/00 Daily 81,854 Sun 106,393
Gainesville Sun Daily 50,205 Sun 57,683
Boca Raton News
|Miscellaneous Notes||Miscellanous Notes|
|In a post-election
interview, Inmon said that with Jeb Bush as governor some people thought
Florida "should be a walk in the park...[but] we knew it was going to be
extremely close." She points to a strong grassroots operation, including
13 regional coordinators, and chairs and coalition chairs in all 67 counties,
as being vital to the campaign's ultimate success. Each county had
a leadership structure comprising a chair, co-chairs and directors of various
coalitions (this was all set out in "the Bible," as it was referred to).
Leon to Dixie and Alachua - Rusty Price
NE (Nassau to Volusia) - Mike Hightower
Central incl. Orlando - Jerry Buchanan
Brevard to Martin - Jim and Cynthia Handley (Melbourne)
Palm Beach - Fran Hancock
SC/West of Palm Beach (Hardee, Okeechobee, Glades) - Steve and Nell Roberts
Broward - Paul Sallarulo
Miami-Dade and Monroe - Maria De la Milera
SW (incl. Collier, Lee, Charlotte) - Ralph Livingston and Marsha Nippert
Sarasota and Manatee - Tramm Hudson and Paul Scharff
Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco - Al Higgenbotham (Plant City)
Hernando, Citrus, Levy, Marion, Sumter, Lake - Debbie Brooks and Tom Barnett
|Gore state director
Marcus Jadotte arrived in Florida in mid-February. The Gore campaign
anticipated Bill Bradley, who had a sizable field team in the state, would
put up a strong challenge in the March 14 primary. However, Bradley
ended his campaign on March 9. Jadotte left, but staff person Mohamed
Yilla stayed on and continued the work of building an organization with
regional and county chairs. Jadotte returned in late June and remained
through the post-election period. Attorney General Bob Butterworth,
Gore's state chair, also played an active role in the campaign, talking
with Jadotte a couple of times a day.
Floridians for Gore State
During the fall, Ralph Nader visited Florida on Oct. 12-13 and Nov. 4. On Oct. 12 he spoke at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, the University of Florida in Gainesville, and at an evening rally at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg; on Oct. 13 he held a news conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tampa. On Nov. 4 he held a press conference and rally at Radisson Mart Plaza and Convention Center in Miami.
The Nader campaign spurred the growth of the Greens in Florida. By Fall 2000 there were 23 county organizations, compared to a handful of active counties back in April. In late August and early September Greens focused most of their efforts on getting Nader into the debates. Nader state coordinator Alan Kobrin was convinced that if Nader debated Bush and Gore "there would be a tremendous change in public sentiment." Greens worked with Reform Party members and Libertarians to open up the debates, forming an Open the Debates Coalition. On Sept. 23 the coalition sponsored an "Open the Debates--Let Freedom Ring" rally at the Torch of Friendship in downtown Miami. About a hundred people showed up. Kobrin said Greens had a hard time "finding media space." "It was difficult to get any material published," he said. Only when the media had pigeonholed Nader into a "spoiler role" and vote swapping became a story did reporters begin writing articles. Summing up, Kobrin observed after the election, "We were green at being political." For example, Nader had made it one of his goals to attract support from nonvoters. "We didn't quite know how to go about it," Kobrin said. "Where do you find these people?" he asked.
All told, Nader finished with 97,488 votes (1.63%). His strongest showing was in Alachua County (Gainesville) where he obtained 3.76% of the vote. He obtained between 2- and 3-percent in Pinellas, Monroe and St. Johns counties.
Nader State Coordinator:
Alan Kobrin of Miami
Kobrin was the only paid Nader staffer in the state; he started in late Aug./early Sept. after coordinating Green efforts in Miami-Dade. Kobrin brought varied experience to the position: he served in the Peace Corps; spent years doing photography and teaching in South America; did graduate school studies in visual anthropology; taught instructional technology at Florida International University for nine years (he led opposition to the Gulf War at the University); and was active in the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, which opposed the 1997 launch of the Cassini space probe.
Pat Buchanan spoke at Flagler College in St. Augustine on Sept. 25. On Oct. 19 he made a three-city tour, unveiling his new television ad in Tampa and Orlando and speaking to a big crowd at the University of Florida in Gainesville. On Nov. 2 he visited Tallahassee where he was the featured speaker for the Capitol Tiger Bay Club at Leon Civic Center.
On Aug. 5, 2000, the Florida Reform Party held competing conventions; the established party met in Tampa, while Buchanan supporters gathered in Gainesville. After the dueling national Reform Party conventions in Long Beach, Calif. concluded a week later, Florida's Division of Elections was unable to determine the Reform Party nominee. Buchanan forces filed suit in mid-September to have him appear on the ballot as the Reform Party nominee. A hearing was to have been held in Tallahassee before Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, but the two sides reached an agreement on Oct. 2 wherein Buchanan appeared on the Reform Party line.
Buchanan State Coordinator:
Jim McConnell of Gainesville
Retired U.S. Army Colonel.
Harry Browne campaigned in Florida for six days in early September, Sept. 3-8. He arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport on Sept. 3. Each day was filled with the daily round of interviews followed by an evening rally. The rallies were in Miami on Sept. 3, at the Sheraton Hotel in West Palm Beach on Sept. 4, in Orlando on Sept. 5, at the Sheraton Suites Hotel in Tampa on Sept. 6, in Tallahassee on Sept. 7, and at the Marriott Hotel in Jacksonville on Sept. 8; he left the state the morning of Sept. 9.
Dr. John Hagelin spoke at University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus on the evening of Oct. 23 and at the Universalist Church of Clearwater on the evening of Oct. 24.
Copyright 2000, 2001
Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.