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Politics

Charlie Crist Not in Any Rush to Name Running Mate

July 13, 2014 - 6:00pm
Caught in the polls by Rick Scott and behind in the money chase, Charlie Crist and his supporters in the mainstream media are trying to change the topic from the new Democrats underwhelming performance so far in the campaign. In recent days, the media have started playing the guessing game of who will be named as Crists running mate.

Crist needs to direct attention away from his meandering campaign. Despite his recent conversion as a Democrat, Crist refuses to debate primary rival Nan Rich. Admittedly, Crist has a clear charismatic advantage over Scott but he hasnt put that to good use yet. Even that could be marred due to Crists constant changes in positions and party affiliations.

Crists simple message -- hes not Rick Scott -- isnt enough with the economy on the rebound. Fumbling to appeal to yet another new party with a different core of voters, Crist often appears to be an empty suit and, if he doesnt turn things around, he could be headed to the cleaners come November.

In recent days, speculation has increased as to who Crist will name as a running mate, thanks to Kathleen McGrory from the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times with an article on it. But Alex Sink didnt name Rod Smith as her running mate until the middle of August last time out. Scott delayed his choice even more, not naming Jennifer Carroll until the start of September back in 2010.

For his part, when he ran in 2006, back when he was a Republican, Crist was in no rush to find an understudy. He didnt name Jeff Kottkamp as his running mate until September.

Despite Crist saying the choice will be made sooner rather than later, there is no reason to rush the decision, especially with primary rival Rich still going on the attack. As Saint PetersBlog rightfully notes, there is no reason for Crist to name a running mate in the coming days. Crist still has to avoid coming off as weak in the Democratic primary and naming a running mate early will only infuriate the Rich supporters even more than they are now. That also gives Scotts opposition research team less time to do their work against whoever Crist selects.

Nobody in Florida votes for governor based on who the running mate is. The lieutenant governorship of Florida is a vaguely defined position which has done little for the mostly forgettable cast of politicians who have held it. Few people outside the chattering class care about who Crist names to the spot. Its a perfect subject for the media to focus on instead of other topics -- like how Charlie Crist has blown a double-digit lead in the polls against an unpopular incumbent with little charisma and turned what was supposed to be a slam dunk for Democrats into a competitive contest.

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

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