No, there's more than badly written emails here. For one thing, Maurice has an influential friend in longtime Republican strategist Roger Stone, a resident of Miami. Stone, the architect of (among other things) the infamous "Willie Horton" ads for George H.W. Bush in 1988 that effectively derailed Michael Dukakis' candidacy, actually is an old pal of mine, too -- I neglected to follow up on it here at the blog (and I wish I had), but a year ago when I did my on-air pre-election pundit gig for the European cable network Sky News, I went mano-a-mano (psst, Maurice ... that's Spanish, too!) with the estimable Stone on continent-wide television, analyzing political advertising -- a bit of a David vs. Goliath scenario, sure, but I didn't totally crap my pants or anything.
Anyway, Adam Smith of The Buzz delved into the Stone-Ferre connection a few days ago:I didn't take Miami resident Stone especially seriously when he predicted months ago that another Democratic U.S. Senate candidate would emerge and very likely beat Kendrick Meek for the nomination. So when former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre jumped in, I wondered about his relationship with Stone, who has a reputation for being in the middle of bizarre political theatrics- from the "Brooks Brothers riots" that shut down the Miami-Dade recount in 2000 to the Al Sharpton presidential campaign in 2004.
"Roger Stone is a friend of mine for many, many years, and he has been for many years an adviser...He talked to me about this race about a year ago and said you need to keep an eye on this race,'' said Ferre, who also stressed that Stone is not advising or directly involved in his campaign.
Stone - who has previously worked alongside several of Ferre's Democratic consultants - said the same thing: "I'm a Republican. I'm not switching sides." Stone said he backs Charlie Crist, even if it doesn't always seem that way. "Maurice Ferre is a very old friend of mine with whom I have strong regard. I urged him to start looking at this race before Charlie Crist was a canddiate...I have always believed that Democratic nomination could be worth having for a candidate for broad appeal."
"Stone is not advising or directly involved in his campaign." Okay. Indirectly, though? It would be irresponsible not to speculate....
But wait -- there's more. Ferre's campaign manager, Todd Wilder, had worked on Rod Smith's unsuccessful bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2006, but after Jim Davis won the primary, Wilder switched over to support Charlie Crist through a 527 (in Florida, they're known as "ECOs, " or "electioneering communications organization") called the "Coalition for Bipartisan Progress" (CBP) However, not only did Wilder's group support the GOP candidate -- Crist -- in 2006, but subsequently they've been in bed with a lot of other right-wing groups with oxymoronic names like "Families for Conservative Values" and "People for Integrity in Government." So Wilder raised money for Charlie Crist and now he's managing Ferre's campaign for the Democratic Senate nomination ... where the GOP nominee is none other than Charlie Crist? Where there's smoke ....
Now I am not saying for sure that Ferre is up to no good, and he did in fact have a somewhat decent run as the mayor of Miami at one point. But that was way back in the 80s and this seems to be something totally out of the blue. What would make a person who couldn't even win the Miami mayor's office again as recently as 2004 think they are a viable candidate for the U.S. Senate. Who exactly is whispering in his ear?
I don't know the answer to these questions and I don't want to jump to any conclusions. But I will be checking Mr Ferre out very closely and see where he goes with his primary bid. If he looks to be anything but on the up and up you will definitely hear about it from me.