Blogged from the road by Brad Friedman
Once thought to have been a "safe" Republican U.S. House seat in Florida's 24th Congressional district the race to defeat the once-powerful incumbent Rep. Tom Feeney now appears to be up for grabs, according to a new Zogby International poll.
Computer programmer turned vote-rigging whistleblower turned Democratic Congressional candidate Clint Curtis is now in a virtual dead heat with Feeney, despite the sitting Congressman's enormous campaign treasury funded by top-tier GOP funders and corporate PAC money.
Curtis' campaign has, to date, been funded only by individuals across the nation via the Internet. Neither the DNC nor the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee (DCCC) has contributed funding to Curtis's race, which now appears set to possibly unseat the once powerful Republican House Deputy Whip.
The inequity in funding may all now (hopefully) change as Feeney is seen as leading Curtis by only 2 points in the new poll commissioned by Election Integrity organization VelvetRevolution.us.
The Zogby poll showing the dead heat also reveals that Curtis is leading among likely voters who describe themselves as independent by a full 11 points!
According to the report from Zogby International of 402 likely voters in Florida's 24th district when asked "If the election for Congress were held today and the candidates were Democrat Clint Curtis and Republican Tom Feeney, for whom would you vote?" respondents replied as follows:
Curtis - 43
Other - 2
Not sure - 10
The race for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 24th District is a virtual toss-up. Incumbent Tom Feeney holds the slimmest of leads over challenger Clint Curtis, 45% to 43%, with one in ten (10%) undecided.
Each candidate leads big among his own party's members, but Curtis leads among independents, 48% to 37%.
The two point difference between Curtis and Feeney is well within the poll's +/- 5% margin of error. As we're currently on the road, and scrambling with a number of breaking stories even while barrelling down the highway towards home, we hope to have more details on the poll after we get the opportunity to review the internals, which look very good indeed for the challenger Curtis.
Feeney (R-Abramoff), the one-time gubernatorial running mate of Jeb Bush and close friend of the Bush family, carved out what was believed to have been an extremely "conservative" 24th Congressional district for himself while Speaker of the Florida House. Ascending to the U.S. House in 2002, Feeney was not even challenged for the seat in 2004, as he was thought to be unbeatable. Many Florida papers have continued to knee-jerk report on the race in those terms despite the lack of any known polling for the contest between Feeney and Curtis until now.
Curtis is the computer programmer and political novice who has alleged (as we originally broke back in December of 2004), that he was asked by Feeney to create electronic vote-rigging software back in 2000 when both men worked together for the Oviedo, Florida, software firm, Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI). At the time, Feeney was YEI's general counsel and registered lobbyist even while he was Speaker of the Florida House and even while they had multi-million dollar contracts with the state. Feeney has since been named one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" two years in a row by the D.C. ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
He remains the only sitting U.S. Congressman who went with Jack Abramoff on one of the lobbyist-paid golf trips to St. Andrews, Scotland, who has yet to be indicted.
Feeney has mounted a costly smear campaign attempting to label Curtis as "crazy" and unfit for office in light of the charges. Yet Feeney's campaign, which has included a number of documented lies, unevidenced claims and attacks, and even a controversial mailing which offended voters when it included doctored photos of Curtis and a Hustler magazine cover --- seems to have backfired.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal, which reported on a number of Feeney's ethical lapses over the years, recently endorsed Curtis over Feeney, criticizing the sitting Congressman for "not really talking issues in this campaign" and "choosing to focus largely on denigrating his opponent." Curtis, meanwhile, the paper says, "is an independent thinker" who has "prepared well" for office.
Curtis, once a Republican until his dealings with Feeney soured him on the party, made his allegations concerning Feeney and YEI long ago via sworn affidavit, video-taped testimony to a Congressional panel, and a polygraph test, which he has called on Feeney to take. Feeney has denied Curtis's allegations, many of which have since been documented via state and federal reports as accurate, but has refused to either take a similar polygraph test, or even meet face to face with Curtis.
His story has also been highlighted in a number of documentaries. We recently posted documentary video footage from the film Eternal Vigilance, which tells the basics of Curtis's story through interviews with the whistleblower.
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis is now running for U.S. Congress against Feeney.
To support or for more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com