United for Care Director Ben Pollara: We're Pivoting From Medical Marijuana Petition to Get-Out-the-Vote Drive
An organization is a terrible thing to waste. Especially if you're in the business of winning Florida elections and the organization is one that in six short months canvassed statewide, located more than 700,000 legally registered voters and got them to sign a petition to amend the state constitution. Think of the mailing lists!
Having placed the medical marijuana referendum on the 2014 ballot, United for Care (UFC) stands as a ready-made get-out-the-vote campaign. The organization is already shifting gears, with inevitable consequences for the 2014 governor's race. Here's what UFC executive director Ben Pollara this week told New Times about the battle ahead.
New Times: You're switching from petition-gathering to a get-out-the-vote drive, right?
Ben Pollara: That's certainly going to be part of what happens. We're transitioning into a full general election campaign. This has been grassroots from the beginning and it will continue to be grassroots through Election Day. We're gonna put a lot of focus on turning out our voters and make sure they get to the polls and that we're successful.
It's a partisan issue now, isn't it? Rick Scott opposes it; Charlie Crist supports it. How is anyone going to separate what you're doing from the Crist campaign?
Charlie Crist is going to be running for governor and we're trying to get an amendment passed. They're two separate issues.
No consultation back and forth? Would that be illegal, in fact?
There's very little that's illegal under Florida campaign law. I don't know what communications we will have back and forth with the Crist campaign. I've not had any coordination with them or any other campaign so far. Charlie needs to get 50% plus one and we need to get 60%. So we're going to need a lot of Republicans and a lot of independents, libertarians... So there may be some overlap in what our voters look like but it's definitely going to be two different campaigns.