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Subject: Are GOP Congressional Primaries Constructive in 2008?

BThree incumbent GOP members of Congress face primaries this August.  Primaries can be a positive influence in guiding partisan politics, but during an election year when the dynamics are not conducive to an overall successful general election, people should question the motives of those who are running against Republican incumbents when they will not have the resources to win in November even if they were able to win the August primary.
As a conservative GOP consultant, I want to see as many Republicans as possible elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.  In this election atmosphere, a GOP challenge to an incumbent will not be successful in the general election, especially when we inspect the quality of the challengers involved in these three key races in the I-4 corridor.  If these challengers have no chance of victory, their goals can only be:

   1. Weaken GOP incumbents to increase the possibility of a Democrat pick up,
   2. Require GOP incumbents to spend during the primary increasing the possibility of a Democrat pick up,
   3. Possibly gain name recognition to increase their potential business interests.

It is not lost that all three of these challengers come in the important I-4 corridor.  The I-4 corridor is the voter-rich area of Florida that includes Tampa and Orlando media markets and is considered the swing area in statewide elections.  All three of these GOP incumbents' districts fall within the Tampa and/or the Orlando media markets.  I will not go as far to say that these GOP challengers are Democrat pawns running in an effort to diminish GOP chances during the Fall by requiring that they spend their campaign coffers during an unwarranted primary, but when you look at the quality of these challengers, at the very least, they are misguided candidates who do not have the best interests of the Republican Party nor their own candidacies at heart.
Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite has represented Central Florida with distinction.  Her primary opponent Jim King has not gained the financial support of the community, and he has recently even attacked Congresswoman Brown-Waite for supporting her terminally ill husband.  In a recent Associated Press article, Mr. King said, ""I think she needs to be by his side," King said."You can't serve two masters. Either you accept family values, and support morally and physically your spouse, or you don't."
Interestingly, the Congresswoman's Democrat opponent said in the same article that "he wouldn't think of raising Mr. Waite's health during the campaign."  It is clear that Mr. King's judgment does not reflect what Floridians want to see in their Representatives to the U.S. House.  I have met Mr. Waite on several occasions and the one thing that always seemed clear is that he supported his wife's political success and would never want to come between her and her service.  It is incomprehensible that a primary opponent would use a spouse's health for political gain.  Mr. King should truly be ashamed of himself.
Congressman Feeney's primary opponent can only be described as a character.  He opened his campaign account in April 2008 and qualified for office by borrowing the nearly $10,000 qualifying fee.  John Paul Davis has a distinguished military career, but at 46, is unemployed and is a full-time student at a local community college.  While looking at his web site, his press section lists a Democratic-supported web site that bashes the Congressman.  He seems to be void of both money and ideas.  A simple public record search shows an arrest report from April 2001 for a John Paul Davis with the same date of birth and the same last four digits of the new candidate's social security number.  The arrest is for fraud over $20,000.  Voters can only speculate at his motivation for running for Congress. 
The third incumbent facing primary opposition is Congressman Ric Keller.  Congressman Keller continues to represent Central Florida with distinction.  Democrats constantly have him listed as a vulnerable member of Congress, but voters in his district continue to support him overwhelmingly.  He has not faced a serious challenge since his first election for the open seat during the 2000 Election.  Congressman Keller has won every race since 2000 by significant margins.  Congressman Keller's primary opponent, Todd Long, would seem to be the strongest primary opponent of the three listed because it appears he has raised or loaned his campaign a significant amount of money. 
Looking at his federal campaign finance reports, however, is like trying to find an apple in a 55-gallon barrel of mud.  The Federal Elections Commission must be as perplexed, because they've asked him to respond by June 6 to correct numerous areas where his report shows "incorrect" figures.  It appears that he has spent $25,000 more than he has collected which would violate election law.  His report shows that he has nearly $17,000 on hand.
Mr. Long's campaign report is likely the least of his problems.  His biggest problem is not likely a DUI he received in 1997, a trespass warning at a local Orlando mall in March 2005 at 1:20 a.m. for "disorderly/drunk", nor the fact that he has financially supported at least eight democrats in the past for elected office.  The most bizarre behavior that can only be described as behavior that is unbecoming a member of Congress are events listed in a Tallahassee incident report on March 29, 2007. 
The report shows that Mr. Long started the evening passing out campaign literature for his campaign for Congress in the bar at the Holiday Inn in Tallahassee and finished with him passed out on a sidewalk near Leon High School near downtown Tallahassee.  An officer responded when a concerned citizen called concerned about Mr. Long's health.  The officer found Mr. Long passed out but breathing normally.  Mr. Long woke up disoriented and did not know at what hotel he was staying.  Mr. Long said he was in town with the Orlando Chamber of Commerce for the annual legislative session.  The officer assisted Mr. Long to the Holiday Inn where Mr. Long thought he was staying in a room that was occupied by someone else.  No member of the hotel staff recognized the type of key that Mr. Long was carrying for his hotel.  Finally, the embarrassment ended when Mr. Long was picked up by a colleague who took him to his hotel.
Mr. Long was an announced candidate for Congress during these events.  Mr. Long is clearly not qualified to represent Central Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Quite frankly, he should remove his name from the primary ballot.
All of the above public records concerning Mr. Long show the same driver's license number for the accused and also include the same address.  Interestingly enough, the address mirrors his campaign address listed on his campaign web site. 
The 2008 Election Cycle is likely to be difficult on all Republican candidates.  These primary opponents should reflect on their likelihood for success when they have few resources for direct voter contact or have "sketchy" pasts that will not be embraced by primary nor general election voters.  The motivation of all three of these sub-par candidates should be questioned by Republican voters in their respective districts.

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