Andy Kroll

Andy Kroll

Senior Reporter

Andy Kroll is Mother Jones' Dark Money reporter. He is based in the DC bureau. His work has also appeared at the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Men's Journal, the American Prospect, and TomDispatch.com, where he's an associate editor. Email him at akroll (at) motherjones (dot) com. He tweets at @AndyKroll.

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Does That Nomination Have a Price Tag? [VIDEO]

| Tue Aug. 24, 2010 5:00 AM EDT

Mother Jones' Andy Kroll breaks down the Democratic senatorial and GOP gubernatorial primaries and helps viewers understand Florida voters:

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Battling Till The End For FL Gov

| Mon Aug. 23, 2010 5:38 AM EDT

When Florida Republicans vote tomorrow on their pick for governor, one of the most bruising, bitter primary campaigns will come to a close. For the past few weeks, Republicans Bill McCollum and Rick Scott have traded blow after blow in their gubernatorial primary fight in what quickly became an overwhelmingly negative race. The pair even took their fighting into the lord's house over the weekend, with the two accusing each other of lying and skewing facts and track records in respective visits to Florida mega-churches.

A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows Scott's attack ads may be working. Scott leads McCollum 47 percent to 40 percent, an advantage, it's worth noting, that's within PPP's margin of error. According to PPP pollster Tom Jensen, McCollum slightly leads Scott among moderate voters. Which is to say, if Scott wins, "it will be because he destroyed McCollum's reputation with conservative voters," Jensen writes. Scott leads McCollum among conservatives 50 percent to 39 percent.

But as Jensen notes, whoever wins the GOP primary for Florida governor tomorrow will emerge a wounded candidate in voters' eyes:

Regardless of who emerges as the winner Tuesday night Republicans' chances of holding the Florida Governor's office will have been considerably damaged by this primary campaign. Only 46% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of Scott and just 38% see McCollum in a positive light. They've left GOP voters with mixed feelings about them and Democratic and independent voters with pretty negative ones. Five months ago we would have said Alex Sink looked like a dead duck. Now with the way this contest has unfolded she looks like the favorite.

Workers: Pay Up, Jeff Greene

| Mon Aug. 23, 2010 5:12 AM EDT

Jeff Greene, the self-made billionaire running for US Senate as a Democrat in Florida, likes to say that "Creating jobs is priority number one." His slogan is "Jobs. Results. Florida." In a new ad, "Never Let You Down," Greene tells Floridians, "I've created thousands of jobs, I understand the economy, and I know what it will take to get things moving again."

Imagine, then, the surprise of some part-time workers for Greene's campaign who claim to have been stiffed by the candidate. In the run-up to tomorrow's primary vote, Greene's campaign said it'd pay $50 each day for workers to canvass neighborhoods, call prospective voters, and otherwise promote the wealthy, largely self-funded Greene. Now, some of those workers claim they're not getting paid for their work. Here's the Miami Herald's Beth Reinhard:

"He's a crook," said 22-year-old Sabrina Height, picking her teeth with a toothpick after enjoying the spread of free food [at a Miami Gardens restaurant on Sunday]. She said she was owed $200. "He's giving us the runaround," she said. "To tell you the truth, I don't even know why I voted for him."

James Alvin, 43, who said he was owed $250, said he would probably vote for Greene's rival, Kendrick Meek "because of what his mom done." His mother, Carrie Meek, served in Congress from 1992 to 2002, when Kendrick was elected.

Greene spokesman Luis Vizcaino insisted that everyone who worked on the campaign would be paid. "They're here for a back-to-school event,'' he said of the people leaving the restaurant with armfuls of spiral notebooks, folders and No. 2 pencils.

Greene faces Rep. Kendrick Meek in the Democratic primary for US Senate, for which voting day is tomorrow. (Early voting has already begun.) While Greene has challenged Meek, and even surged past Meek in the polls, his controversial past has caught up with him in recent weeks and dogged his campaign. According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, Meek leads Greene by a whopping 51 percent to 27 percent. As PPP pollster Tom Jensen put it, "Jeff Greene made a bad first impression on Florida Democrats and the more they got to know him the less they liked him."

Rick Scott, The Bail-Out Man

| Fri Aug. 20, 2010 10:23 AM EDT

Rick Scott, the wealthy Republican running for the Florida governor's seat, has a bailout problem. No, he doesn't support using trillions in taxpayer money to save failing banks. But he does have a habit of bailing out on big-time campaign events, a nasty habit that's coincided with a drop in the polls just a few days before Tuesday's primary election.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Scott, a former big-time hospital executive, bailed out of an event hosted by the Boca Raton Republican Club where he would've appeared alongside his primary opponent, Florida attorney general Bill McCollum. A record crowd had turned out, organizers said, to see the two candidates side-by-side. As it turns out, that's an arrangement that Scott has seemingly avoided when he feels like it.

Earlier this month, Scott dodged a forum with McCollum hosted by the Christian Family Coalition, even though he willingly delivered a speech of his own at the same CFC setting earlier in the day. And Scott also dodged a televised debate hosted by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association pitting him against McCollum. 

Here's more from the Sun-Sentinel on Scott's latest bailout:

Club president Margi Helschien said Scott's staff had repeatedly confirmed his appearance, and did a walk-through of the venue earlier this week at the Boca Raton Marriott.

Helschein said Scott's staff confirmed at 1 p.m. Thursday that he would be at the event. At 4 p.m., she got a call from the Scott campaign saying he was in the Panhandle and wouldn't show up.

The campaign offered up the candidate's mother, Esther Scott. Helschein accepted, figuring she could provide people with some insight into her son.

"What better person to know a candidate than their mother," she said.

Scott's aversion to tough questioning apparently extends to reporters as well. Earlier this summer, Scott's staff "barred a Miami television reporter from his campaign bus for the offense of asking Esther Scott a few questions about her son," the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The latest Quinnipiac poll for Florida's GOP gubernatorial race shows McCollum out in front, 44 percent to 35 percent. The Broward New Times has five pretty hilarious reasons of their own for why the tall, bald-headed Scott skipped the Boca Raton event. (Hint: Number three is "Jet lag from trips to the planet Krypton.")

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