Annette Taddeo-Goldstein a Bad Choice to Rev Up Charlie Crist's Stalled Campaign

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: July 17, 2014 1:10 PM
Annette Taddeo Goldstein

Annette Taddeo Goldstein

Charlie Crist tried to restart his increasingly stalled campaign against Rick Scott on Thursday by naming Annette Taddeo-Goldstein as his running mate.

Crist's move reeks of political desperation, especially considering the former Republican governor has seen his double-digit lead in the polls over Scott vanish. Nan Rich remains an underdog in the Democratic primary against Crist, but she continues to do some damage, especially because Crist has gone out of his way not to debate her.

Most gubernatorial candidates name their running mates after the primary. That’s what Crist did when he plucked Jeff Kottkamp to be his understudy in 2006. Scott selected Jennifer Carroll after his primary battle with Bill McCollum in 2010. True, Alex Sink chose Rod Smith before the primary in 2010, but she had no major Democratic opponents.

But Crist sped things up and picked Taddeo-Goldstein on Thursday. It’s pretty telling that the Crist team tried to strike the “Goldstein” out of her name on Thursday and bill her as “Annette Taddeo.” The pick is Crist’s latest attempt to get Hispanics in his column instead of behind Scott.

The move is also purely political. Liberals continue to have their problems with Crist, who held three statewide offices as a Republican. Taddeo-Goldstein’s claim to political fame is leading the Miami-Dade Democrats. She’s never once held elected office, though she did help launch LanguageSpeak, a small business focusing on translation. Besides trying to rally Hispanics to his banner, Crist is also looking to reassure party activists that he’s one of them, despite joining the party only a year and a half ago.

There are some downsides to the pick. Taddeo-Goldstein has had no success when she aimed for higher office.

“In 2008, she was the Democratic nominee for Congress in South Florida's 18th District, receiving more votes than any other Democrat who's run in that district,” the Crist team boasted of Taddeo-Goldstein’s bid against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen that year. Taddeo-Goldstein managed to get 41 percent in a good year for Democrats. Barack Obama pulled 51 percent in that district in the same election.

Taddeo-Goldstein might also not be the unifying figure Crist needs to attract members of his new party. In the running to be state chairwoman of the Florida Democrats, Taddeo-Goldstein ran afoul of Debbie Wasserman Schultz who backed Allison Tant. Tellingly, Wasserman Schultz, who leads the DNC, did not do much for Taddeo-Goldstein back in 2008, either.

Naming a running mate comes off as Crist trying to change the subject and an effort to get the party behind him despite the primary and his refusal to debate Rich. This move will only inflame Rich supporters, angry about Crist acting as if the primary is a coronation.

At the same time, Republicans will call out the move as purely political and will wonder if a small-business founder and party boss can lead the state if something were to happen to Crist. Look at Crist’s history. He never bothered to run for re-election for any of the three statewide offices he held. Having twice tried to move to the U.S. Senate, Crist could be looking at it again in 2016 if Marco Rubio ends up on the Republican presidential ticket. Taddeo-Goldstein’s lack of experience is fair game for Republicans.

Crist’s pick shows he is trying to win Democrats over. With Rich being, at best, a minor threat in the primary, Crist’s new running mate shows he is still trying to inspire the Democratic base. This could be a big mistake for Crist as polls show Scott has come back by winning independents. This might help Crist turn things around with Hispanics -- though Scott has a good understudy there in Carlos Lopez-Cantera. 

Rick Scott started the 2014 election as one of the most unpopular governors in the nation and far behind in the polls against Crist. One of the arguments Crist supporters made was their candidate could win over independents, rally moderate Republicans away from Scott and hold Democrats in line because they despise Scott so much. Polls show Republicans are staying with Scott while the governor now leads Crist with independents.

The fact Crist went with a party boss for his running mate should raise questions about his standing with the Democratic base. Crist’s choice was made in a position of weakness instead of strength and won’t help him turn things around with independent voters.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (14)

3:50PM JUL 20TH 2014
A terrible lead about what all acconts is an exemplary human being.
PS,Annette Tandero-Goldstein has run as Annette Tandero for the past several elections when she has sought office.
Once again conservative media shows its true colors, report everything about Democrats in a negative or conspiratorial light so the rumour mill may churn on.
Then pretend to have had nothing to do with sprading the rumour(s).
Tom Bryson
3:38PM JUL 18TH 2014
When it comes to pandering, Charlie is world class; women, Latinos, & S. Fl Dems in 1 brilliant move.
C Breeze
10:58AM JUL 18TH 2014
Told ya so ! ! !... "the tuna", in desperation. would pick a South Florida black or Hispanic as a running mate; So, he picks Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, a woman. a Hispanic, pseudo Jew, pseudo politician, etc., "tagging up at ALL the bases" and providing "talking points" for EVERY campaign stop in EVERY part of South Florida... BUT, what the heck, 'consistency' is telling after all, Charlie Crist is, himself a 'pseudo candidate'...and without "Morgan & Morgan's" monetary backing, "The Tuna" is merely a cartoon character to be laughed at....
10:09AM JUL 18TH 2014
It pains me to read slanted articles running under the cloak of "news". I assume objective coverage is dead in Fl? The objective polls put $cott far behind even after a $million media in the spring.
9:30AM JUL 18TH 2014
The truth is, the LG pick matters very little on both sides. Jennifer Carroll didn't win over many blacks, and women will base their vote on Governor based on the records and their personal politics.
9:19AM JUL 18TH 2014
I know of several women in the State of Florida who are stronger in the Democratic Party. Like Crist, Mrs. Taddeo-Goldstein had just joined the DEC when she ran for DEC Chair and FDP State Chair. She had no history with the democratic organization in Miami-Dade County.
Kathleen McCook
8:20PM JUL 17TH 2014
If adding a strong Democratic woman is supposed to make Charlie Crist more appealing, than why not just skip the middleman and VOTE FOR NAN RICH? I will.
8:12PM JUL 17TH 2014
The Democratic Party's pro-abortion litmus test is alive and well.
Mary Bunk
5:50PM JUL 17TH 2014
We are sick of Rick.
Tom Bryson
3:40PM JUL 18TH 2014
When I ask "Why should we vote for Charlie Crist?", I frequently get the answer "He's not as bad as Rick Scott" or "We have to get rid of Scott". In Nancy Smith's Sun Shine State News July 9 article titled "Jim Greer No-Shows His Scheduled Radio Interview: Why Would He Do That?", she described an exchange between Jim Greer biographer Peter Goldenbock and the show's hosts:

"Nevertheless, the author, an affirmed Democrat, spent much of the hour pardoning Charlie Crist -- no, not really pardoning, but painting him as "the lesser of two evils," the bigger evil being Rick Scott. In fact, when Kathy Scott pointed out that "the lesser evil" is still an evil, Golenbock said dismissively, "This is the reality of politics today.""

In the Crist/Scott lesser of 2 evils contest, the greater evil will win. Democrats are walking into a trap. Vote for Senator Rich 8/26.
Mary Bunk
5:49PM JUL 17TH 2014
Such a negative story about such a wonderful pick.
Scott Marshall
2:01PM JUL 17TH 2014
News Flash Jeff Henderson Rick Scott is still unpopular BTW Crist only changed parties once , being independent is not a party. ..... jeeez what will you reach for next.
3:24PM JUL 17TH 2014
independentpartyofflorida (.org)

Apparently, it's real.
1:37PM JUL 17TH 2014
BAD? Are you suffering from dimentia?

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