Saturday, January 06, 2007

Florida: Key battleground state in '08

Florida is shaping up to be one of - if not the - key battleground states in the race for 2008.

As reported here on Thursday, Mitt Romney has picked-up some important early supporters in the state. Beth Reinhard (Miami Herald) is expanding on the list we gave you.

Romney has enlisted several big-name Florida Republicans in record time. In addition to Herberger, Romney has hired Sally Bradshaw, Bush's former campaign manager and chief of staff. Former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Al Cárdenas and former state House Speaker Allan Bense are members of his steering committee.

This week, Romney announced that two top Florida money men -- Mark Guzzetta and Mel Sembler -- would be national fundraisers.

''Is it impressive? Absolutely,'' said Kirk Wagar, a Democratic fundraiser for former and possibly future presidential contender John Kerry. ``On the Democratic side, we have a lot more people playing footsie.''

Miami businessman Chris Korge, who is committed to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton if she runs for president, said: ``The gun has gone off, and Mitt Romney is a smart guy who is trying to lock down Florida.''

Beth added that McCain is also busy in Florida:
John McCain has signaled he will not let Romney have the run of the place. When Romney was in Miami-Dade County recently for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, the Arizona senator quietly swept participants away to his own reception. He has hired Melissa Shuffield, a former spokeswoman for Sen. Mel Martinez, and Kathleen Shanahan, Jeb Bush's former chief of staff and campaign manager.

**Related story: (from Americans for Tax Reform)

Romney, Brownback Sign Taxpayer Protection Pledge
Presidential candidates begin new year with resolution to fight tax hikes.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R) and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R), candidates vying for the 2008 presidential nomination, have jumped out early in the new year and signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). The Pledge commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

Gov. Romney signed on December 31, 2006. Sen. Brownback signed the pledge January 1, 2007.

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, President George W. Bush, 43 U.S. senators, and 197 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Seven Governors and over 1,300 state legislators have signed the Pledge as well.

“America needs leaders who are committed to protecting taxpayers, and signing our Pledge demonstrates that kind of leadership,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Sam Brownback and Mitt Romney demonstrate allegiance to hard-working taxpayers nationwide. It is now up to the other candidates in the race to stand up to the challenge.”

“I strongly encourage every Presidential candidate to sign the Pledge,” Norquist continued.

Copies of the Pledge are available at or by calling (202) 785-0266.

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