Around the South for Oct. 20: FL, NC & TX

Florida: Scott touts lower jobless rate. Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced yesterday that the Sunshine State’s unemployment rate for September was 5.2%, the lowest it has been in seven years. When Scott was inaugurated in January, 2011, Florida’s jobless rate was 11.9% ……. North Carolina: Ellmers faces three foes and a rumor. Third-term US Rep. Renee Ellmers (R), who represents the state’s 2nd District (Fort Bragg, etc.), has denied gossip that she had an affair with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA) and is avoiding media interviews where the topic might come up, reports Raleigh’s News & Observer. But two of her three opponents, Frank Roche and Kay Daley, have discussed it superficially, helping keep the story alive. The third, Jim Duncan, ignores the rumor. However, the main thrust of all three is that she is too “moderate.” (The National Journal gives her an 86% conservative rating.) …….. Texas: Cruz candidacy viable? Harry Enten, a prognosticator for, writes that he is revising his former opinion that US Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is “too extreme and too disliked” to win the GOP nomination. Enten points out that Cruz’s main advantage is that he appeals to the Republican base, with a 33 point favorability rating, which ranks fourth among the 15 contenders. He notes that Cruz is also popular with the GOP’s grassroot activists, has an ideology that the base likes, and is raising plenty of money. Stay tuned …….