I wouldn’t let Charlie Crist Debate Nan Rich Either

Articles from all over the state from the South Side (Miami Herald article HERE) to right here at home (Sentinel post HERE) are asking a very important question, that’s been asked plenty of times before but with the calendar racing towards election season, have become a very relevant issue.

Why won’t Republican Governor turned Democratic Candidate for the same office, Charlie Crist, debate former State Senator Nan Rich?

The Blogger in me would love to see this. It would be fascinating political theater. Crist essentially answering, not only Rich’s objections, but critics from the remainder of Florida Dems, that haven’t jumped on his bandwagon yet. His message would be simple enough. “I can beat Rick Scott. You can’t”.

Of course, the opposite could happen. Rich could take him to task for his “evolving” beliefs on the issues. The whole thing could blow up in his face and the Pundits will be asking “Why did he even get on stage in the first place?”.

It’s that second reason, that unwarranted risk, that I wouldn’t let Crist debate Rich.

Why? I’ll use one of the football terms, that Crist is so fond of.

You don’t play your Starters much in the pre-season, and you certainly don’t get them injured against your own second stringers in practice, when they’re playing for a Championship this year.

Don’t think Rich is a 2nd stringer?

The Florida Democratic Party wouldn’t even give her a speaking slot at their Gala, FDP Chairwoman Allison Tant has been listed on host committees at Charlie Crist Fundraisers. Here in Orlando, he’s already won over the local party leaders He’s the guy.

So, while I would love to see it. My friends in the media would love to see it. Governor Rick Scott and his team would definitely love to see it. It shouldn’t happen. It doesn’t make sense.

Don’t blame Crist. Don’t even blame Nan Rich. Blame the Florida Democratic Party, who’s already made their decision back in January over who would be their nominee.

Charlie Crist mic

New Crist email says he’s never met a Scott Saturday Canvasser

Former Republican Governor, turned Democratic Candidate for the same office Charlie Crist, sent out an email this morning titled “I haven’t met one, either…”. In this message Crist says he’s never met anyone that would spend a Saturday afternoon knocking on doors, for his predecessor and likely November Challenger Rick Scott.

The fundraising email says the following.

Have you ever met someone willing to spend a Saturday knocking on a few doors for Rick Scott?

I haven’t, either.

That’s why I’m investing a whole lot in our organizing program. The energy is out there — I see it everywhere I travel. We’ve got the right vision for Florida, and we’re going to talk to as many voters as we can to make sure everyone knows it.

Help build the biggest grassroots campaign a statewide race has ever seen.

The Republican Party of Florida has had grassroots operations in place (especially here in Orlando) for sometime now, knocking on doors for Scott’s reelection push. I would expect some kind of photo opp from them in the future, in response to this message. This campaign has gotten very personal, very early, between the state party and one of their former leaders.

Florida’s Intense Gubernatorial Contest will be one of the nations most watched races, with all of the story lines involved. Crist’s party switch and his favorable opinion of Obamacare. Scott’s wealth and struggle with approval numbers. It’s a tug of war that will have every Florida Politico involved.


Orange Democrats Spring Reception to feature Dyer, and State of Party Address by County Chairman

The Orange County Democratic Party, has announced that their Spring Reception will take place next month on May 17th at the Sanctuary, in Downtown Orlando.

The Program features Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and the County Chair Carlos Smith. Other elected officials listed on the Host Committee include Congressman Alan Grayson, Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore-Russell, and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Other notable attendees include Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant and former Orlando Police Chief and Current Candidate for Orange County Mayor Val Demings.

Smith will be giving the State of the Party Address at the reception. Look for local Democrats to springboard from this event into the election cycle, where they’ll try to protect their gains from 2012, while trying to win seats on the County Commission and the Mayor race. They will also have to do their part for likely Gubernatorial Democratic Nominee, former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, as he takes on his predecessor Rick Scott in what will be one of the most highly watched races in the country.

You can read the flyer below.

orange county dems spring reception

Video: Crist Crashes Lopez-Cantera Press Scrum, Challenges Scott to Debate

How do you get ambushed by Charlie Crist?

That’s what happened today in Palm Beach, where Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and his boss’s likely future opponent crossed paths, in what is the most interesting video clip of the year.

Have a look.

UPDATE: The embed player is Auto-Play and you probably find it as obnoxious as I do. You can watch the Ad HERE

A George Costanza moment, where the Lt. Guv has a 100 things he’d say if that whole 30 seconds played all over again. Instead, he got owned in the most polite way, I’ve ever seen anyone get owned in front of a platoon of press.

So what should he have done?

He should have momentarily excused himself from the media, shook his hand and said “Good afternoon Governor, I’m describing to our friends here, how you abandoned the state to run for Senate and will say anything to get elected again”. You have these things planned out.

Instead, Crist told Lopez-Cantera who he would debate and challenged Rick Scott before gliding away, leaving the Lt. Gov with nothing to do but grin.

Is it a big deal. Of course not. But there is a lesson fighters always teach. Always talk about an opponent like he’s standing right next to you. Because one day, he will be.

Crist Meets and Greets with Voters Downtown Before Fundraiser

Very few are as gifted in retail politics as Charlie Crist.

The former Republican Governor turned Democratic Challenger for that same office, demonstrated that to a restaurant full of guests and several members of the media, Thursday night before a big fundraiser in Downtown Orlando later that night.

Dressed in a perfectly pressed white shirt and a bright yellow and blue tie, the full head of gray hair could be seen as you drove by on Summerlin avenue, going table to table, talking to voters at Wildside BBQ in the Thornton Park area. “How are those ribs?” the Governor was heard asking guests.

He waited by the entrance and greeted customers as they came in. Despite being out of office for a few years, he was recognized by most that entered the restaurant, and the ones that didn’t know him certainly did when they were done speaking. He spoke with young children and yes, even had a photo opp with a baby. Crist also had conversed with staff. “How long have you worked here?” he asked a pair of servers before his media availability session.

When he finally got mic’ed up. The former Governor wasted no time slamming his predecessor and likely November challenger Rick Scott.

“You know, I was thinking, coming over here on Beautiful I4, how great it would have been to be coming on High Speed Rail, unfortunately Governor Scott rejected that. It would have been 2.4 billion dollars, tens of thousands of jobs for Floridian, it’s just a shame that it didn’t happen.” “I’m hoping if we make a change in November, we can get someone in there that gets along with the President, maybe we can get that High Speed Rail back here to Central Florida.”

He went on to slam Scott on his education cuts during his first years in office. He stood by taking stimulus money during his own time in office and also said he had an issue with the controversial Stand Your Ground Law.

Crist also didn’t shy away from his support of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”. “Voters deserve to have clothing, they deserve to have food. And they deserve to have affordable healthcare and they deserve to have a Governor that will help them get it”. He also voiced support for in-state tuition for the “Dreamers” that recently passed and medical marijuana. The host of his fundraiser, Super-Attorney John Morgan, led the push to get the latter before voters later this year.

A Crist vs. Scott showdown would be one of the most highly watched races in the country with a slew of storylines present. Ranging from Scott willing to spend up to 100 million dollars to defend the mansion and the up-down popularity of Obamacare which will be a big issue, to Crist’s relationship with his former party. The rhetoric between Crist and the Republican Party of Florida has been very personal with many members of the GOP viewing his defection from the party as a betrayal to them and his run for Senate as an abandonment of the voters.

charlie crist orlando meet and greet