Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed national political correspondent for One America News, Neil W. McCabe, to the newsmaker line to discuss the Florida gubernatorial race and Senate race in Washington state less than a week out from midterm elections.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line, our very good friend, a great political journalist, “Top Gov” tracker, reporting everything on Ron DeSantis from Florida for One America News Network, Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Mr. McCabe!
McCabe: Good morning, Michael. Good morning Crom, great to be with you.
Leahy: Tell us the state of the election contest between governor Ron DeSantis, the incumbent Republican, and his challenger Charlie Crist.
McCabe: Let me put it this way, (Chuckles) DeSantis is no longer campaigning, really, in Florida. He’s now campaigning around the country. I don’t want to say it’s over but it’s pretty much over. And President Joe Biden came to Miami. He was campaigning for Charlie Crist.
He really didn’t even make a dent in the news cycle. It’s sort of a foregone conclusion that DeSantis is going to sort of ride this red wave. He’ll win by anywhere from 10 to 15 points. But remember Marco Rubio will win by the same margin. And so a lot of it is DeSantis.
DeSantis has done a lot of things right, but he’s also in a very healthy environment because all of the things that people are concerned about, and that’s crime and parental rights, grooming of children, all of these things DeSantis is on the right side of.
Leahy: I’m looking at RealClearPolitics’ average of polls; right now it has DeSantis up by 12 points. So looks pretty safe. And by the way, Charlie Crist has got to be the most inept campaigner this cycle of any major candidate. Crom has a question
Carmichael: The point that you made about DeSantis is just spot-on but it’s not just that his positions are in the right spot. For four years he has made the right decisions. What you’re saying is just, it’s really quite amazing.
There isn’t anything – can you think of a single weakness that somebody running against DeSantis, any material weakness in DeSantis’s performance in four years? I mean can you even think of one? I can’t.
McCabe: The weakness that DeSantis would have is, number one, he signed a bill that basically allows the insurance companies to not fully redeem the value of your house or your roof, with very high deductibles.
The insurance premiums are going to absolutely explode in the state, and that’s going to put a lot of people out of their houses. Another problem that DeSantis has is that he talks about election integrity, but there are a lot of people who have pointed out election integrity problems who have told me that they just get ignored.
There are places that Charlie Crist could go. He tried to bring up Hurricane Ian in the debate and there is a legitimate case to be made in Lee County, which is basically Fort Myers, they didn’t evacuate people quickly enough.
Now DeSantis said, hey, I told them to get out, I’m not going to have the police drag people out of their homes. But by the same time, DeSantis says he has the meteorologist, he has all the views. Like a guy in his house, he doesn’t really know what the hurricane is going to be because Crist could have made a bunch of points.
It’s just that Crist was inept. He really just didn’t emerge, and he didn’t have the intensity.
Leahy: Is Crist just going through the motions?
McCabe: This is the sad part, right? If you go back, say, 15 years, Charlie Crist, the Republican governor of Florida, was the most popular governor in the United States.
Charlie – it’s like he does have talent as a politician, and unfortunately, he got caught up in the 2008 presidential race where he endorsed Giuliani, and then he changed to McCain, and then he saw a rising Marco Rubio, and he wanted to challenge Marco.
It’s like he got caught up in a bunch of events where he ended up, where he said, fine, I’m just going to be a Democrat. And this is where he’s been.
The Democrats don’t fully trust him because he was a conservative Republican governor of Florida. The Republicans don’t trust him because he’s a Democrat …
Leahy: He’s got nowhere to go.
Leahy: So what’s your overall take on the midterm elections right now? Republicans take over the House? It’s increasingly looking like Republicans will have plus-three, maybe plus-four in the Senate. This is according to RealClearPolitics. What’s your take on the Senate?
McCabe: I think the Senate is maybe we could see a plus-six in the Senate. And what’s extraordinary about that is that of the 34 seats that are up, like, only about 12 or 14 of them are Democratic seats. Structurally, it is a bad cycle for the Republicans because so few Democrats are up.
But you have Charles Schumer, like, maybe he’ll win, but he’s going to have to spend millions of dollars to win that he can’t give to somebody else. And this is what’s been happening for the last month.
Leahy: And that would augur well also for 2024 in the Senate when there’ll be, I think, 33 seats up and the mix is more.
Carmichael: Pretty much the opposite.
McCabe: Okay, there you go. The next cycle is very good for the Republicans.
Leahy: So in terms of pickups in the Senate, right now, RealClearPolitics has a pickup in Arizona – Masters, they think, will beat Kelly, the Democrat; a pickup in Georgia – Walker, they think, will beat the Republican, will beat the incumbent, Warnock.
In Nevada, they’ve got Laxalt, the GOP challenger, beating the incumbent, Cortez Masto. Just last night, they moved New Hampshire into a pickup. Bolduc is the GOP guy picking up Hassan. You said there might be two more seats.
McCabe: Do we talk about Washington state?
Leahy: Let’s talk about Washington state.
McCabe: I think Patty Murray is a sad, miserable woman. And she’s been carried through because she’s had weak opposition. And then you have Tiffany Smiley, who’s got energy, intensity, she’s got purpose. It’s her personality versus personality, it doesn’t even matter about the politics …
Leahy: Let me add this – my comment about Patty Murray, she has the worst hairdo of anybody in the U.S. Senate, which is consistent with your description of her.
Carmichael: Do you know why Tiffany Smiley decided to run against Patty Murray?
McCabe: Was it about her husband? What happened?
Carmichael: Her husband was injured in war – blinded, and almost died. And he was denied veterans benefits. And she went to her senator, Murray, to get help and Murray just gave her the back of her hand.
Leahy: Wouldn’t help her.
Carmichael: Wouldn’t help her.
Leahy: Made her mad. Don’t make Tiffany Smiley mad.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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