Obamans Say– FL’s in Play

   Ten days ago, I pondered the possibility that FL might not be a battleground state, if Barack Obama’s the Democratic nominee (3/31 “FL Off Center Stage?” below).  Obama’s FL Finance Chair Kirk Wagar disputes any such suggestion, so here’s some equal time:

   1) Wagar suggests that trailing John McCain by 9-points right now (46-37% in the Quinnipiac poll) is, in fact, great news for Obama, referring back to the GOP’s contested FL primary– “John McCain won, and spent millions, yet he’s not over 50%.  That’s staggering news for us.”

       I asked, if Obama clinches the nomination in June, whether we’d likely see an intensive “make-up” tour of Florida and Michigan, the two states he didn’t contest due the “The Pledge” the Demo contenders made to snub primaries that broke party rules by moving up to January.  Though Wagar didn’t like my “make-up tour” characterization, he did predict heavy-duty “introductory” tours in FL & MI…adding as an afterthought “if we’re fortunate enough to be the nominee.”

2)  Wagar scoffed at the notion the Obama campaign might target states like Virginia, Missouri, and Colorado rather than playing catch-up in high-priced Florida.   Referring to Obama’s record-breaking fundraising, Wagar said “Thankfully, because of the support we have in this country, we can target everywhere.”

    This raises the question of whether Obama will keep his pledge to run his campaign with public financing, which would limit his spending.  Usually, Democrats have to scramble to keep up with Republican fundraising.  Not this year– Obama’s blowing everyone out of the water– close to 2-to-1 last month over both McCain and Clinton.

   Florida’s an exception, so far.  The $4.7 million Obama’s raised here ranks 3rd,  behind Sen. Clinton’s $7.8 million and Rudy Giuliani’s $5.4 million.

   NBC News pundits, by the way, are predicting Obama won’t accept Federal matching funds, freeing him of spending limits the law would impose. 

3)  Wagar says skipping Florida would run contrary to Obama’s practice of running everywhere (“unlike other campaigns”, he adds pointedly).  Wagar points out Obama even contested Clinton’s home state of  NY (she won 57%-40%) and seems to be making a race of it in Pennsylvania, where his rival had a huge lead just a couple of weeks ago. 


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