Former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist (D) said that he has discussed getting into the GOV race with several of President Obama’s advisers, including David Axelrod, Jim Messina and Valerie Jarrett. (Palm Beach Post)
SCOTT ‘NO LONGER A LONG SHOT’. The political winds “have shifted in ways that make” Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) reelection “much less of a longshot than Tallahassee prognosticators once expected.” With no Democrats yet in the race, the party is having trouble raising money to take him on, while Scott has raised $8.7 million this year and has a vast personal wealth to draw on. 2010 nominee/former CFO Alex Sink (D) said she would decide “soon,” noting that she had already raised $2-3 million at this point in her last campaign. And Democrats are worried that Crist won’t be as successful at fundraising “in a party that relies heavily on smaller donations and unions.”
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is down and Scott’s campaign is already forming a narrative around the economy’s improvement. Sink: “The problem is, that’s a response that takes more than a 30-second sound bite. … Somebody has got to come up with some clever graphics and clever sound bites to push back on one individual taking credit for an improving economy when the rest of the country is improving, too.”
The RNC is already pouring resources into the state and the state GOP plans to put tens of millions into a voter-targeting and mobilization strategy mirrored after Obama’s 2012 ‘quality over quantity’ approach, using smarter data analytics to identify persuadable voters.” (Orlando Sentinel)
SCOTT TOURING STATE. Scott is kicking off a statewide tour tomorrow touting his new call to cut taxes by $500 million. “The ‘It’s Your Money’ tour will last from Tuesday through Friday” with stops in “Orlando, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa”. (Palm Beach Post)
CRIST PRESSING FLESH IN KEY DEM COUNTIES. Crist is making a big push in South Florida as he prepares for a likely GOV bid, “renewing ties and meeting with old pals” in Broward and Palm Beach counties, which will be key to a Democratic victory next year. (SunshineStateNews.com) “Crist on Sunday appeared to be like a man on the campaign trail, making a stop at the Ocala Hilton to speak to the Marion County Democratic Party,” where he worked the room and proudly proclaimed himself a Democrat. (Ocala Star Banner) Crist will be in Broward County again this week, where he’s hosting a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. “Ostensibly non-political because of the nature of the charitable cause, it still gives the former governor a chance to do what he does best: schmooze with people who could end up as potential campaign backers.” (Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel)
GREER SPEAKS. In an interview from prison, former state GOP chairman Jim Greer said that he fully expects to be featured in attack ads on Crist next year. Greer: “Charlie’s a cut-and-run kind of guy. Don’t go up the hill in a battle with him, because you may turn around, and he’s not there with you. Charlie’s a loyal person when it benefits his self-interest.” (Tampa Bay Times)
MEMOIR COMING IN FEBRUARY. Crist said Friday that he has finished his “no-holds-barred” memoir, which will be out in February. (Palm Beach Post)
— Sarah Mimms
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The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The Washington, D.C. area will undergo "a full-scale exercise" Wednesday morning "designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the National Capital Region." The drill will take place at six different sites throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The drill should not be taken as a sign that emergency services are expecting an attack, said Scott Boggs, Managing Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee "acknowledged late Monday that a final report it filed with the Federal Election Commission this month was riddled with errors, many of which were first identified through a crowdsourced data project at HuffPost." The committee raised about $100 million for the festivities, but the 500-page FEC report, which detailed where that money came from, was riddled with problems. The likely culprit: a system of access codes sent out by the GOP's ticketing system. Those codes were then often passed around on the secondary market.