Florida Democrats Looking Forward to 2014 Gubernatorial Standoff with Rick Scott
By Marc Caputo, Miami Herald
Florida Democrats’ best candidate for governor right now isn’t a candidate and wasn’t always one of them.
And party leaders caused a stir by snubbing a longtime candidate and party stalwart.
But when the elites of the Florida Democratic Party met Saturday in Hollywood for their annual fundraising gala, they suggested none of that was really a big problem for one big reason: Rick Scott.
The unpopular Republican governor looks like an easy target for an incumbent.
“Whoever the Democratic nominee is will beat Rick Scott,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “We will win the Governor’s Mansion next November. There’s not any question.”
Even before the Jefferson-Jackson dinner began, Florida Democratic Party leaders said it was a success, bringing in a record $850,000.
But the fundraiser came at a cost for Nan Rich, a former Democratic state Senate leader from Weston who was blocked from speaking because they wanted to limit the program, which in past years had gone on for hours.
One Broward County activist carried a sign saying “Let Nan Rich Speak.” He was removed by security at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.
Rich attended the Jefferson-Jackson dinner nonetheless. On her website, Rich posted the speech she would have given. It bashed Republicans and Scott for their policies on education, health care and elections.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Republican turned independent turned recent Democrat, also attended Saturday’s event along with the Democrat who narrowly lost to Scott in 2010, Alex Sink.
In a written statement, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Lenny Curry, jeered at the Democrats’ choices.
“Florida Democrats,” Curry said, “have to choose between a former governor who oversaw the second-highest jump in unemployment in the nation, an extreme liberal former state senator who doesn’t see a tax hike she doesn’t like, or a former CFO who’s already lost to Governor Scott.”
Curry also pointed out that Florida has the nation’s second-largest drop in unemployment under Scott, businesses such as retail giant Amazon are expanding here, and schools are highly ranked.
Said Crist: “I’m not going to take credit for the global economic meltdown, and so I think he shouldn’t take credit for the jobs that are coming in thanks to President Obama.
Read the rest at the Tampa Bay Times here.