Reno kicks off tour in red pickup once again


Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno kicks off her Red Truck Tour through the state in Orlando, Fla., Saturday morning. Reno is in a tight battle in the Democratic primary with attorney Bill McBride.

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
Published: Sunday, September 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 1, 2002 at 1:28 a.m.
ORLANDO - With Bill McBride gaining on her, Janet Reno jumped in her red pickup truck Saturday and hit the road again.
Reprising the late February tour she used to reintroduce herself to voters, Reno kicked off an 11-day statewide journey in her Ford Ranger as partisan polls showed her main Democratic challenger chipping away at her lead in the race for governor.
One poll done by Gov. Jeb Bush's campaign showed a gap of only 5 percentage points between McBride and Reno as of a week ago, The Tampa Tribune reported Saturday. Another one, released by the McBride campaign, showed a 6-point margin. The third Democratic candidate, Daryl Jones, is running a distant third. The primary is Sept. 10.
If Reno is concerned about the polls, she's not showing it. Her campaign spokeswoman, Nicole Harburger, said they don't believe McBride can overcome the support the former U.S. attorney general enjoys among Democrats.
"We're just going to campaign for the votes," Reno said when asked about her narrowing lead. But McBride's surge doesn't surprise her, she said, "not with the money he has."
On Thursday, Bush's re-election campaign warned supporters that upcoming polls may show Reno's lead evaporating as the primary approaches.
Public polls expected this weekend could offer more definitive evidence of whether McBride is within striking distance of Reno, who held a 53 percent to 25 percent lead over her him in a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research poll conducted in early June.
Wearing a red linen dress to match her truck Saturday, Reno toured the Orlando Health Care Trauma Center and met with a handful of supporters at the Orange County election supervisor's office. Other scheduled stops Saturday included the UAW Labor Picnic in Ocala, and a firefighters memorial benefit and Working Women's Network social back in Orlando.
The tour will take her through most of the state's major population centers right up to the primary.
"I want to let people know how important it is to vote and make sure we catch as many people as possible," she said. "We started in Pensacola (Friday) and had a great 24 hours, and I'm feeling encouraged as we take this final sweep around the state."
At a GOP picnic Saturday in Ormond Beach, Bush touted his education policies, defended the hiring of new Department of Children & Families chief Jerry Regier, and criticized Democratic candidates' education spending plans.
"This will be a close election. It will be a tough fight," Bush said.

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