Bill Segal has been running a very confusing campaign for awhile now. I have always thought he was a nice guy, and he has not governed as any sort of partisan extremist, but his campaign has seemed like one partisan attack after another, especially after the primary election results showed Teresa Jacobs so far ahead.
For some reason, Segal decided to come by our Orange County Young Republican meeting last night. Most of the membership did not know he was coming and I think a lot of people were shocked that he was there. I give him credit for being willing to take the heat and answer a lot of tough questions, but I have to question the campaign strategy here.
Segal tried to claim he had run a nonpartisan campaign, but the Sentinel has diligently tracked down all of the Segal campaign's clumsy attempts to tie Jacobs to Sarah Palin and call her a right-wing extremist (See Sentinel blog posts here and here). He admitted he was a Democrat and then claimed that he had "supported McCain eight years ago." I assume he meant to say ten years ago, in 2000, but I don't see how he could have supported McCain against Bush in 2000, when he would have been unable to vote for a Republican in Florida's closed primaries as a Democrat.
Segal then was asked if he had supported Obama, and he said yes, and continued on with something about how he thought Obama had a great message of hope, good ideas, etc. Ummm, what was he thinking? The average independent voter on the street is not excited about Obama right now, and you are in a room of Republican activists, campaign workers, RPOF staffers, and volunteers. Understanding your audience FAIL.
Frank Torres was at last night's meeting too and has a great blog post on his take on all this. You really should be reading Frank's blog anyway, he's got a great take on Central Florida Politics:
...and I have to agree with Frank, I was a bit shocked when Segal called Frank an "entertainer." I don't know what Segal's intentions were, I can't read minds, but it sounded condescending and dismissive to me, and I heard a number of other people in the room sharply draw in a breath or say "Oh!" at that little comment.
Again, I have to just question the strategy of the Segal campaign. It's like the campaign is being run by
Tweedledee and Tweedledum Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.
This whole visit was nothing more than a big waste of time for them. Segal and two of his top campaign staffers spent almost three hours at GrayRobinson (most of it sitting in the lobby), they didn't raise a dime in campaign contributions, didn't win a single vote, and managed to anger a lot of the OCYR membership. If the group wasn't already firmly on Team Teresa, they sure are now. Plus, I'm pretty sure the multiple people in the room that pulled out video phones and cameras when Segal popped in, now have some sound bites that will not help Segal win votes with Republicans, or Democrats for that matter.