A Florida Party official criticizes Jim Davis campaign by Mitch E. Perry

11/08/06

A day after his defeat, Democratic candidate for Governor Jim Davis and his campaign team now have plenty of time to ponder their loss and wonder what, if anything, could have been done differently.

For weeks leading up to the election, there have been some complaints about how the Davis campaign ran their race.

One such critic is Screven Watson, former Florida Democratic Party Executive Director and an adviser to Rod Smith in his primary campaign against Davis.

He says that the Smith campaign had prepared a book with contact information for Davis to contact immediately after the Primary campaign ended. But he doesn’t think the Davis camp ever used it (roll tape#1 o.q.�seemed to be running in place�)

Some Florida Democrats say that though the selection of former State Senator Daryl Jones as Lieutenant Governor was an inspired choice, how the Davis camp used him was something else altogether. In selecting an African-American, Davis was clearly trying to bring back some of that core base of the Party that went with Rod Smith in the primary.

But former Democratic Party Executive Director Screven Watson says Jones was probably used to help raise money, because the Democrats were desperately behind the Republicans in that critical category (roll tape#2 o.q. “not the best thing for him�)

Part of Jim Davis’s struggles coming out of the gate included not having a joint appearance with his primary opponent, Rod Smith , until nearly a month after the Primary election. There was also a group of Rod Smith’s campaign team that surprisingly came out against Davis and for Charlie Crist. Former Rod Smith advisor Screven Watson was NOT one of those who jumped to support Crist, and he insists it was not a case of sour grapes. He says they just thought Jim Davis would not win the election (roll tape#3 o.q..�Then just being bitter at Jim�)

When it comes to money, the Crist campaign’s ads certainly were effective. Congressman Davis’ poor attendance record in Congress the past 2 years – the 2nd worst of all representatives, was a serious issue in both his primary and general election campaigns. Charlie Crist’s ‘empty chair ‘ add struck a chord with some voters. One, Dorothea Williams of Miami, told today’s New York Times after viewing the ad,“I asked myself: Is this true? Did he do that? Is he really not there?�…She then told the reporter the ad did sway her vote.

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