With nearly 18 months before the 2010 election for Florida Governor, the Democratic Party has plenty of time to tee off on Republican frontrunner Bill McCollum, the state Attorney General who is announcing his candidacy today. But according to at least one anti-dandruff shampoo, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression, and Democrats don't want voters to know McCollum as the partner in crime (fighting) of popular Charlie Crist.
Rather, they'd introduce him as the clumsy juggler of private lobbying and public service who pockets Enron money and claims to favor term limits even as he campaigns compulsively. Also, Democrats humbly request that voters keep in mind that McCollum ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2000.
Yet the McCollum=Loser narrative isn't just a Democratic thing. An article in this weekend's Sarasota Herald-Tribune quoted Republican operatives who expressed doubt about the AG's chances against Florida CFO Alex Sink, the Democrat who has a clear path to the nomination.
After the jump, the memo that the Democratic Party is circulating, drenched in satire, in which Republican fat cats welcome McCollum to the race by acknowledging his many shortcomings.
Happy 14th Run-for-Office, Bill McCollum
No matter what anyone else says, your career as a professional politician and lobbyist looks 32-years-young to us.
As you announce your 14th run for office (the decades just fly by, don't they?), we're remembering just some of the times you were there to put the "special" in special-interests.
- McCollum has been in professional politics for 32 years, and -- with today's announcement -- has run for office a whopping 14 times. McCollum's serial campaigning includes two failed statewide bids for U.S. Senate.
- "Without any apparent sense of irony, U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., has been advocating congressional term limits ever since he was elected to the House in 1980." (St. Petersburg Times, 2/7/97) By the time he left his seat in the US House, McCollum had built a twenty-year record of support in Congress for a 12-year term-limit.
- In his failed 2000 U.S. Senate campaign, McCollum touted his close friendship with Enron's CEO Ken Lay. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McCollum's biggest single donor in the 2000 election cycle was the Enron Corporation, a Texas-based energy conglomerate. McCollum said he'd been friends with Enron CEO Ken Lay for 20 years, from when Lay lived in Florida. "We've known each other since I ran for Congress and he supported me then," McCollum said. "This time, he went out and raised early money for me from individual contributions." (Miami Herald, 11/3/00)
- Soon after leaving Congress in 2001, having spent 20 years in Washington, McCollum became a special-interest lobbyist. McCollum earned hundreds-of-thousands of dollars lobbying for corporate special interests. Lobbyists interviewed by The Hill newspaper said that McCollum was "considered one of the biggest prizes" of the 2000 retiring class of congressmen. (The Hill, 11/29/00)
- McCollum: Ex-Politicians Lobby Because "We're Familiar with Washington." Ex-Rep. McCollum, said many ex-politicians go into lobbying because they know the business from the inside. "We're familiar with Washington," he said. (Orlando Sentinel, 7/17/01)
- St. Petersburg Times Editorial: McCollum Indulgent Toward Special Interests. "He (McCollum) has been conspicuously indulgent toward special interests," said a St. Petersburg Times editorial in 2000.
Bill McCollum: Here's to many more years practicing politics-as-usual and preserving the status quo in Tallahassee!
Your Friends Who Like Tallahassee Just the Way It Is