Carlos Beruff is a successful man.
He has made tens of millions of dollars building homes in Florida in boom times and lean times.
He has been a dedicated community leader, serving on one high-profile board after another.
A few weeks ago, Beruff — suddenly everywhere as his campaign has spent at least $4 million on television ads and he traveled to all 67 of the state’s counties — was becoming the candidate to beat in the GOP primary for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat. He was such a strong candidate, in fact, the actual frontrunner at the time in the race, David Jolly, announced he would drop out of the race even before Marco Rubio made his decision to run for re-election. Jolly knew he would not be able to keep up with the self-funding Beruff.
Beruff has been an aggressive campaigner, backed by a hyper-aggressive political staff made up of several operatives with ties to Gov. Rick Scott.
Even as Jolly and Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox all melted away in the face of Rubio’s decision, Beruff has not shrunk from the fight. Only a few hours seem to separate the press releases his campaign blasts out, most of which are highly critical of Rubio.
In other words, Beruff is campaigning in the same determined manner he built his private and public record of accomplishment.
But with two months left to the primary campaign and less than a month until early ballots are mailed, it’s time for Beruff to pull the plug on his Senate bid and save the $15 million more he’s pledged to spend on his campaign.
Two new polls released Tuesday strongly suggest Beruff has no path to victory.
The first survey is one from one of the best data shops in the state, Data Targeting, and it has Beruff trailing Rubio by 67 points.
Beruff has already spent a small fortune on his campaign, and this first poll shows him at just 6 percent with Republican voters. That’s $1.5 million a point.
The second survey is actually the more damning. It’s from television stations Bay News 9 and My News 13 and it also shows Beruff trailing Rubio badly, 63 percent to 11 percent.
But trailing Rubio by 52 points is not the worse part of that poll for Beruff. It’s the fact that he’s just one point ahead of a man named Dwight Young, whom, and I write this as someone who lives and breathes Florida politics, I’ve never heard of. He doesn’t even really register in Google News or Lexus-Nexus.
Young’s website, which looks to have been built in 2006, touts his motto, which evokes the 19th century Republican Party, “Free soil, free speech, free labor, free men.”
Four million dollars spent by Beruff’s brain trust of Curt Anderson and Melissa Sellers and he is just one point ahead of a tomato can.
Beruff is in such bad shape, at least according to the Bay News 9/My News 13 poll, that he almost has to stop worrying about catching Rubio and focus on remaining in second place.
Again, Beruff is an accomplished man. There is no shame in admitting that there was no catching Rubio without the entire political universe lined up behind him. But there will be shame and embarrassment if Beruff spends $20-$25 million and all he has to show for it is a T-shirt.
Mr. Beruff, for your own sake, take the holiday weekend to assess where your campaign is. Then, come Tuesday morning after the 4th of July, have Anderson leak to POLITICO that you will be dropping out of the race.
The numbers, at this point, do not lie.