[Miami, FL] Former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, former Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty, and the Deputy Chief of Staff for former Gov. Jeb Bush during his time in Tallahassee (and current health care administrator/policy expert) Alan Levine have joined team Gingrich.
They top the list of politicians and political operatives on the just-announced roster of statewide leaders and steering committee members that will have an active role in Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign.
With the Florida presidential primary mere weeks away (Jan. 31), the Newt 2012 FL campaign has a lot of work to do if they want to put the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives into the White House.
But first, Newt needs to win Florida.
“Florida is always a top prize in the presidential election with 29 electoral votes, having statewide leadership like Bill McCollum, Rich Crotty and Alan Levine positions our campaign to tap the organizational resources of former elected officials and the intangibles that are key to Florida campaigns,” remarked Jose Mallea, Florida State Director for Newt 2012 .
“We are grateful for their support and guidance,” Mallea concluded.
McCollum – a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives himself who served alongside Gingrich during his high-profile reign as Speaker – will serve as Newt’s Statewide Campaign Chairman for Florida.
“Newt Gingrich is the strongest possible candidate that the GOP can field against Obama in 2012,” McCollum announced during his endorsement of Newt Gingrich for President. “Newt is the right person with the right set of leadership skills and vision for our country at this critical time.”
“Newt is the most likely Republican candidate to defeat President Obama,” said McCollum. “He is the most able to articulate the conservative positions, is the most concise and convincing advocate, speaking and debating, is the most versed on foreign policy, and has the best plan to restore the economy.”
Gingrich, who was virtually tied with perpetual frontrunner Mitt Romney in a poll conducted of likely Republican Party of Florida voters last month, has been slipping a bit as of late. In Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, Gingrich finished a distant fourth while Romney came out on top.
And Iowa is a conservative state, which has to worry Gingrich who is considered much more conservative – in many respects, anyway – than Romney.
Newt does not shy away from the spotlight
The reasons for the slide? Attack ads from pro-Romney Super PACs have reminded voters of Gingrich’s personal and political ethical lapses, not to mention the former Speaker’s penchant for using the type of over-the-top hyperbole usually reserved for news-show pundits – and even a few Hillary Clinton-esque tears – on the campaign trail.
And then there is Gingrich himself, always reminding voters of the special kind of “wait, did he just say that?” moments he is capable of. On national television. Repeatedly. He actually said that as President, he would instruct U.S. Marshals and/or The Capitol Police to arrest judges that he thought were uncooperative or too radical.
Those types of comments are making Romney’s job all too easy, say political experts. Romney, the more polished candidate, understands that he should just keep his mouth shut whenever possible and let Newt do the talking. Mitt should know – he’s been running for president since 2008.
In turn, Gingrich has been chastising Romney for the negative ads and his moderate stances on the issues that are of importance to conservative voters. Unfortunately for Newt, the verdict already appears to be in: Romney’s slick, hands-off approach of a campaign has been winning the battle of public perception.
Even Gingrich understands this as he has started to throw hardballs in Romney’s direction, calling the former governor and Wall Street businessman a “timid Massachusetts moderate” in press releases.
But not everyone is buying what Romney is selling, as Florida politicos align themselves with Newt for this final 25-day Florida run.
Crotty – announced as a Newt 2012 FL Co-Chair along with Levine – prefers Gingrich, calling him, “a proven conservative leader who knows how to hold the line on taxes and balance a budget.”
“Newt’s commitment to economic opportunity, as it relates to our nation’s space program is important; thousands of jobs were lost when Obama scrapped plans to return astronauts to space,” said the former Orange County Mayor.
Gingrich poses for a picture at last year’s CPAC in Orlando
The Newt 2012 Florida Steering Committee members:State Sen. Jim Norman (R-12/Tampa) State Sen. Thad Altman (R-24/Melbourne) State Rep. Michael Bileca (R-117/Miami) State Rep. Gayle Harrell (R-81/Port St. Lucie) State Rep. Deborah Mayfield (R-80/Vero Beach) State Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-116/Miami) Xavier Suarez, Miami-Dade County Commission Steve Abrams, Palm Beach County Commission Patrick Roff, Vice Mayor of Bradenton and Bradenton City Council Ray Holt, Jacksonville City Council Kevin Hohn, Brooksville City Council Gary Lee, former U.S. Congressman (Lee County) John Grant, Sr., former State Senator (Hillsborough) Kurt Kelley, former State Representative (Marion) Luis Rojas, former State Representative (Miami Dade) Joe Carollo, former Mayor of Miami Monica Rodriguez (Miami-Dade) Ed Depuy, former Leon County Commissioner Dan Wyrick, former Chairman of Calhoun County Commission Allison DeFoor, former candidate for Lt. Governor Bruce O’Donohough, former Congressional Candidate (Orlando) William Tolley, Brevard County Chair Sam Rashid, Hillsborough County Chair Coy Clark, Honorary Brevard County Chair Bert Ralston, Duval County Co-Chair Dr. Miguel Fana, Pinellas County Co-Chair Nathan Meloon, Gingrich Florida Chair College Republicans Christian Waugh, Gingrich Florida Chair of Young Republicans
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Images: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate Images
Florida presidential primary