Governor Debate on for tonight by Mitch E. Perry

10/24/06

Tonight, the race for Florida’s governor reaches its highest point of interest, as Democrat Jim Davis and Republican Charlie Crist will discuss the issues of the moment in a one hour, live televised debate from Nova Southeastern University, in the Broward County city of Davie.

This campaign has been by all accounts, lackluster. Jim Davis has trailed throughout the race, and has at times, had a hard time solidifying his base, particularly black voters.

On the other hand, Charlie Crist, coming off a 30 point dusting of chief rival Tom Gallagher in the GOP Primary, has run a mistake free race, as he has, if anything ,tried to encroach upon Davis base, gathering up a bigger share of Black voters in polls than any GOP gubernatorial candidate ever has.

But – and this is a big but – one poll, released yesterday morning, may have put a charge in this here to fore dull race.

That was the poll by Quinnipiac University , which showed Davis within a statistical tie, trailing Crist by only 2 points, 44 to 42 percent. That poll is dramtically different than any conducted before – and even since.

USF Political Science Professor Susan McManus says the new poll should create more interest in tonight’s debate more (roll tape#1 o.q.�between he and Crist�)

In the 2 GOP debates during the Primary Election, Attorney General Charlie Crist proved his flexability – acting above the fray in the first debate, as he seemingly almost ignored challenger Tom Gallagher and talked directly to the voters at home – maybe even independent voters who were not going to vote in the Primary.

But after the first poll showed Gallagher gaining some momentum, Christ shifted tactics in the 2nd debate, aggressively confronting his opponent. USF political science professor Susan McManus expects more of the latter tonight (roll tape#2 o.q.�for a lot of viewers�)

Former Tampa City Councilman and Democrat Bob Buckhorn says the strategy for Congressman Davis now shifts as he has moved up in the polls (roll tape#3 “Charlie’s very effective at that�)

It’s expected that one plan of attack for Davis is to hit Crist on his sometimes all things for all people promises. Tom Gallagher tried a similar tactic during the Primary Debates, to little obvious affect. And Bay News 9 political analyst Bob Buckhorn says that in most televised debates, it’s ‘style, , not substance that is what viewers take them (roll tape#4 o.q.� in Florida’)

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