2014 Governor's Race is Heating Up
Around the State
All signs show the Florida gubernatorial race is starting to heat up as Rick Scott pushes his tax cuts and two major potential Democratic candidates lay out new timetables to decide whether to enter the race.
Scott spent this week pushing a proposed $500 million tax cut at stops around Florida. As he readies to run again, his game plan is simple: he will rely on fiscally conservative policies, cutting taxes and reducing government, to appeal to voters. Scott will argue these policies have led to the dramatic drop in the state’s unemployment rate and he will contrast it with how it went up under Charlie Crist’s watch.
Scott will also look to win over independents and moderate Republicans -- who could support Crist -- with some of his policies, ranging from improving the state’s economy, bringing in jobs, to supporting pay increases for Florida teachers.
In the meantime, there are signs that the Democratic race is starting to finally take shape. Nan Rich is starting to hold some high-profile fundraisers. Crist’s camp is signalling their candidate will enter the contest in October. Alex Sink continues to weigh jumping in and, this week, gave herself a late October deadline to enter the race.
Scott’s team is trying to boost up Rich. The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) keeps attacking her, trying to give her more credibility as a candidate. Scott’s people even hinted this week they might help raise money for Rich to make her more of a threat to Crist in the primary. Still, Rich has done little in the race despite being in it since last April and, for the moment, is not shaping up to be much of a factor.
While Florida does not have much of a history of backing candidates outside the two major parties, Adrian Wylie, the chairman of the state Libertarian Party, appears poised to be the most significant of the various candidates with no party affiliation or running on minor party lines. To his credit, Wylie has been campaigning across the state. While a St. Pete Polls survey finding Wylie at almost 9 percent seems a little high, he is well-positioned to do better than any other Libertarian candidate ever has in Florida.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.