Earlier today, Florida Governor Rick Scott was in town promoting his “Jobs for the Next Generation” plan. A S.T.E.M program that centered around legislative goals and educational initiatives to create opportunities for the jobs of tomorrow (that story HERE).
While it was a strong outing for the Governor, it was not what people were talking about after the event ended. Rather, it was buzz surrounding Orlando’s elected leader, that was getting all of the attention.
Mayor Buddy Dyer told WOFL FOX 35, that he was staying neutral in the Florida Governor’s race.
He’s never been much of a participant in partisan politics. But, it was the fact that Dyer stated any position whatsoever, in the upcoming political war between Scott and his predecessor, Republican turned Democrat Charlie Crist, that spoke volumes. Dyer, a moderate Democrat staying “neutral” in this race, could be interpreted as a mild endorsement for the Republican incumbent, rather than his fellow Democrat that defeated him in the Attorney General race in 2002, when still with the GOP.
It will have local Democrats, who believe Dyer doesn’t do enough already, to help the party, shaking their heads. And it will have the State Party making phone calls, trying to get Dyer to “clarify” his position.
There is plenty of history around this. Besides losing the AG bid to Crist in 2002, Dyer himself declined running for Governor this year. It turned out to be the smart play. The early polling wasn’t favorable, and the party has lined up behind the former GOP Governor.
What was surprising was the praise the Mayor gave Scott behind the microphone today, saying he’s created jobs in the area. It was just over two years ago, that Dyer said this..
We’ve got a governor who has done more harm to the state of Florida in the last nine months than any single man in the history of the state of Florida,”(source HERE).
Now, that line was delivered during President Barack Obama‘s reelection campaign. The President is the only guy, Dyer goes dark blue for. Despite, Charlie Crist’s own love for the President, Dyer says he’s staying neutral.
This morning, I was looking the Governor straight in the eyes when asked about Dyer’s neutrality, and I saw a suppressed smile. He said “I’ve worked with Mayor Dyer a hundred times, he knows families are like my families growing up, they struggle for work” he adds “I know the Mayor agrees with me. We need more jobs. Better jobs. A better education system”.
Now, Dyer standard operating procedure says the Mayor doesn’t go near this subject again. There is no political capital here, and while this can be written off as going on with his duties as the leader of the City Beautiful, a 2nd incident will hurt the Crist campaign, and hurt Dyer with the local party. Two Democrats ran against the Mayor in 2012 and while they were speedbumps, he could be facing even more opposition should he run for reelection again.