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Mitch Perry Report for 12.15.15 – Vegas, baby, Vegas!

After the third GOP presidential debate in late October, I wrote in this space after Marco Rubio received plaudits for his effort if it would translate into votes.

A couple of weeks later, after the fourth debate in Milwaukee, the conventional wisdom from pundits was that it was time that Rubio and Ted Cruz were going to take off.

As we’ve seen in the past week, Cruz has finally jump started his campaign, and now leads in several polls in Iowa, the site of the first caucus next February.

And Rubio? He really hasn’t moved the meter. Yes, he’s moved up from the first debate in August from an average of 5.3 percent to 13.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics.com average of national polls (h/t to the Palm Beach Post’s George Bennett for that stat).

The problem is that Donald Trump is averaging at around 33 percent in most polls. You don’t have to be a math major to realize that Rubio doesn’t come close to that.

For all the hype about Cruz, he’s averaging only at 16 percent nationally.

So, undoubtedly Marco will surely have another solid performance at the debate tonight at the Venetian in Las Vegas, but why would he move the dial now?

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Trump and Cruz tonight, or at least mine will be (then again, they’ll actually be dependent on where the CNN producers choose to put their camera). Cruz is riding the momentum – but it’s Iowa folks, the site where Mike Huckabee won in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012. In other words, it’s somewhat overrated in terms of how it will decided the next president.

The fact is, other than the first debate, where Carly Florina did well in the “kiddie table” forum, the polls haven’t changed that much all year, save for the fact that Ben Carson’s stock is dropping like a rock and Cruz has filled that void.

In other words, Jeb Bush can have a spectacular debate tonight, and it probably won’t do much for his ratings. Chris Christie continues to hang in there in New Hampshire, but nowhere else really, yet some political analysts continue to rate him up there as possible figure who could start doing well.

It’s been five weeks since the previous debate, meaning before Paris and San Bernadino. Expect lots of questions on combating terrorism, Syrian refugees and gun issues.

In other news…

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is very much against the open carry legislation being pushed by GOP lawmakers in Tallahassee. But he says that quotes attributed to him in a News Story of Florida last week were out of context, and he’s been paying hell for them for the past five days.

Former GOP CD 13 candidate Mark Bircher is about to become a candidate once again in 2016.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz questions the premise that Marco Rubio has any appeal to millennial voters.

The Florida Democratic Party has released a web ad mocking Rubio’s financial issues, with their new “Rubio Card.”

Bob Buckhorn wants bankruptcy protection for Puerto Rico, and said so yesterday in an op-ed co-penned with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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