Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MacKay Captures Straw Poll but Butterworth Not on Ballot

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MacKay Captures Straw Poll but Butterworth Not on Ballot

Article excerpt

TAMPA -- Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay swept the state Democratic

convention straw poll over two challengers yesterday, but a

large number of abstentions could signal trouble in his campaign

for governor.

MacKay captured 82 percent of the 1,050 ballots tallied,

overwhelming the fledgling campaigns of state Sen. Rick

Dantzler of Winter Haven and Rep. Keith Arnold of Fort

Myers, the only other announced candidates for the

Democratic nomination.

Dantzler received 10 percent and Arnold 8 percent.

"I think it gives us tremendous momentum," MacKay said. "These

are the opinion makers at the grass-roots level."

But an undercurrent of support for Attorney General Bob

Butterworth as an alternative could be troubling to MacKay's


Butterworth ignited the convention with an uncharacteristically

fiery speech Saturday, and "Run Bob Run" buttons and placards

were everywhere.

Twenty-six percent of the registered delegates did not vote or

had their ballots rejected because they wrote in Butterworth's

name. Only votes for announced candidates were counted.

One who said he was voting for Butterworth was Insurance

Commissioner Bill Nelson.

"He's who I think ought to be governor," Nelson said.

There were even a few buttons at the convention reading

"Butterworth-Nelson," but Nelson said he had nothing to do with


"That's just some people having some fun," Nelson said.

Regardless of the Butterworth rumblings, there was no doubt

yesterday that MacKay was in control of the convention.

Demonstrations for Dantzler and Arnold were small and centered

on their home county delegations, while MacKay supporters were

throughout the convention center.

Dantzler and Arnold said they were in the race to stay,

however, and hoped to build on the contacts they made with the

party activists attending the convention.

"We've got a ways to go," Arnold said. "We've got a long ways

to go. …

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