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This perhaps isn’t as stunning a turn of events as one might think. But consider that six weeks ago, Reno led McBride in some polls by as much as 30 points. But in the last month, McBride has ponied up dough for a major ad blitz, and a number of local newspapers handed out endorsements for him. “The killer there was the Miami Herald backing him instead of Reno,” says the DNC pollster. “That paper over the years invested a lot in her, touted her as attorney general and pushed her as a potential candidate to Jeb Bush. To turn around and back her opponent is just devastating.”
What has to be troubling Republicans is that the big momentum McBride is bringing into the primary election could translate into a decent run against Bush in the fall campaign. In June, DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe had all but written off Florida as a state in play for the party. “Now maybe he reconsiders that,” says the DNC staffer. “In fact, he might just have the national party pour some money in there just to make life interesting for Bush.”
“Bush has had a tough summer and still has a great double digit lead,” says a Florida GOP staffer. “And we haven’t been ignoring McBride. We haven’t taken anything for granted, but Bush is going to be just fine running this fall. We have to be confident.”
Most likely, Bush enters the race for November with a 15 to 17 point lead against McBride. Against, Reno, should she get her senior base energized in time to pull this election out of the raging fire seemingly consuming it, Bush’s lead over her could double what it is against McBride.
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