GOP Says Florida Loves McCain

Republican Party officials, buoyed by the division in Democratic ranks over holding a do-over primary in Florida and new Sunshine State polls showing a surge of support for Sen. John McCain, are expressing new hope of winning the critical Electoral College state in the fall. "Republicans are excited about McCain's prospects in Florida," said a GOP strategist on background this morning. Republican officials said that the Democrats' fight and possibility that their delegates won't be seated at the convention in Denver are pushing voters the GOP's way. They also point to President Bush's $1.5 million take at two RNC fundraisers this week as evidence the state Republican Party is still strong. And GOP strategists today have been circulating two new polls of Florida voters showing a McCain victory over both Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. "Florida Democrats feel disenfranchised, while Republicans are united and leading the polls," says a key party strategist in an E-mail to Whispers today. "That's an awfully good starting point. Add the popularity of McCain, [Sen. Mel] Martinez, [former Gov.] Jeb [Bush], and [Gov. Charlie] Crist and Obama's unpopular foreign policy positions, and there's every reason to feel very confident Florida will continue to trend Republican in 2008," says the strategist.

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By Paul Bedard