Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich announced that she would be running for Governor in 2014. She’s the first Democrat to surface from a crowded field of potential candidates and will be trying to get her name out to voters, in what promises to be a busy political year in Florida.
So, does she stand a chance? Let’s chop up the political landscape and have a look.
Florida Governor Rick Scott’s approval numbers have been dismal since he’s taken office. He consistently polls in the mid 30′s down the high 20′s but he’s been making himself more accessible to the media, and released what he called “the education budget”, returning to schools some of the budget he cut last year to keep his campaign promises and satisfy his Tea Party base. He’ll have two more sessions to get moderates on his side and meet high job development expectations. Just like he rode the “Red November Tidal Wave” to victory in 2010, a lot of his future will also be decided on what’s going on in the political landscape nationally in 2014.
Right now? Yeah he’s vulnerable.
Nan Rich is the Senate Minority leader facing a Republican Super-Majority in Tallahassee. She is liked by the party and declaring now might result in some early campaign cash amongst the anti-Scott sentiment. She’ll be able to position herself next to the Obama campaign and get herself out there to the rest of the voters this year.
She was also the Minority leader during the most conservative legislative session in the state’s history. Democrats in Tallahassee these days are like field goal kickers in the NFL. They don’t score touchdowns and run up points for their teams, they have to score a couple of points here and there and declare smaller victories from time to time. Is that enough to position yourself as the alternative to Rick Scott, when he pushed most of his policies through on your watch?
She’ll be 73 years old when she takes office and, will already have more than her share of fights in the legislature. Would she be able to keep it up until she’s 81?
Then perhaps the biggest red flag when you look at a Rich candidacy and, that’s the other possible names floating out there for a gubernatorial run.
Former CFO, and Scott foe Alex Sink has been pretty bold on the speaking circuit and through social media channels. She’s rebranding herself as an angrier candidate as oppose to the too timid 2010 political personality, that saw her lose that race by a referendum on President Obama and a text message.
There is newly re-elected Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who, sports strong numbers here in our very own town. The unions love him and he carries one of the biggest markets in the state. He says he won’t run but I don’t believe it and there is that one quote from the Obama for America Office Opening here in Orlando…
“Governor Scott has done more to hurt Florida in one year than anyone in the history of the state”
Yeah, he’s a possibility.
Then there’s good ol’ former Governor Charlie Crist. He’s been penning op-eds for state newspapers criticizing his successors policies and would still be Governor today if he hadn’t let the lights of Washington DC blind him. His lovely wife Carole joined the Democratic Party last year and weary Florida voters might experience nostalgia when seeing that name on the ballot.
Back to the original question. Can Nan Rich win the Governor’s Race?
Maybe. Maybe she can win the general election. Can she win her primary? No way. Not if any of those 3 previously mentioned names jump in.
I didn’t even mention current State Democratic Chair Rod Smith and Former AG candidate Dan Gelber.
Nan Rich throwing her name in the ring does open a crevice of light to state Democrats, those that desperately want Governor Scott gone and it’s a reminder that it should be a competitive Governors race in 2014.