Columns

Charlie Crist Won’t Be the Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee

By: Barney Bishop | Posted: January 2, 2014 3:55 AM
Barney Bishop

Barney Bishop

Much has been written lately about whether U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will jump into the governor’s race. While I’ve thought for a long time that he would not do so, I’ve recently changed my mind because of comments he's made about the race.

His staff has indicated the senator would consider jumping in if Charlie Crist stumbles in the Democratic primary. Well, he’s going to stumble because there's just so much the GOP has on Charlie.

What the senator really means, in my humble opinion, is that he is prepared to jump into the race in order to save the Democratic Party.

So what do I mean by “save"? I mean that the vast majority of Democratic-elected officials around the state don’t want Charlie at the top of the ticket because they believe that ultimately he will drag them all down. And in all likelihood, he will.

Just recently, Gov. Rick Scott’s own pollster, Tony Fabrizio, released polling showing that the governor is only 4 points behind Charlie. Some pundits wondered why a pollster would want to show his incumbent candidate behind, especially this early.

Well, the answer is real easy. Charlie is beloved by the press, to the point that every newspaper will endorse him, most right now. Not so much because they love Charlie – though almost all do – but because they all loathe the governor.

So, for an incumbent governor, who will not get any love from any newspaper in Florida, to only be behind at this juncture by 4 points is incredible news. And that’s before the governor even spends $10 million to slam him!

No, the writing is already on the wall. The Democratic-elected officials are seeing blood everywhere and it has caused them to second-guess what the liberals are doing in promoting Charlie.

Bill Nelson will win the primary against Charlie, although as I have written before, I’m not sure Charlie will even stay in the fight. Frankly, he’d rather step back and try to work out a deal that has been much ballyhooed: when Nelson wins, Charlie gets the Senate seat.

But Sen. Nelson can’t do that because of the very reason he got into the primary to begin with. He’s stepping in to save the party from Charlie. He, and party leadership, can’t afford to have Charlie as the head of the Democratic Party, regardless of what President Obama wants.

In fact, the idea that the president wants him only puts an anchor around Charlie’s neck. The president is so unpopular here and Floridians across the board dislike Obamacare so much that despite the president helping significantly to raise dollars for Charlie’s campaign, and a few key presidential visits to certain parts of some Florida cities, he will otherwise be a huge liability.

Furthermore, the last thing that we, as Floridians. should want to do is send Charlie to Washington, D.C., because that’s exactly where he wanted to go to begin with. You don’t think Charlie will be content to just be governor, do you? And please don’t try to convince me that he will want to spend two terms in Tallahassee; he was barely here when he was governor.

No, Bill Nelson will jump in because the party’s only chance of having a competitive campaign against this governor is if the senator is the nominee. Otherwise, it will just be a host of television commercials with Charlie talking when he was a Republican, contrasted to what Charlie is saying now that he’s a supposed Democrat.

The Republicans won’t have to say anything; they’ll just let Charlie do the talking against himself.

Truth be told, most people expect politicians to “evolve” over time on some issues. But you can’t evolve on every issue, because then by definition that means you’re a serial flip-flopper, and few folks want that kind of politician leading their state.

Bill Nelson is the Democrats' best -- no, their only -- hope of having a fighting chance to beat this incumbent. If he doesn’t get into the race, all the money in the world isn’t going to make Charlie a principled politician.

Like the governor or not, and I certainly like him, he does what he says he will do, to the steadfast angst of his detractors. Florida’s economy is growing, jobs are coming here, state debt is down significantly, college tuition costs have become level, especially at Florida colleges, and the budget is in the black again.

Put me down for a Bill Nelson versus Rick Scott general election fight in November of 2014.



Barney Bishop, former CEO of Associated Industries of Florida, who recently created his third company, is an outspoken, lifelong Democrat with a strong fiscally conservative streak. He believes that government is not the answer to our problems, that civil discourse is obligatory, that compromising on details will not undercut one’s core beliefs, and that a resilient, robust private sector is the elixir needed for a true democracy to grow and survive.


Comments (11)

Stormwatcher
1:33PM APR 9TH 2014
The medical marijuana issue will bring out a lot of folks who normally would not vote in a midterm election. Even without the issue on the ballot, Scott is toast. He screwed us out of the bullet train and he tried to ruin Florida his first 2 years as to hand it to Romney. Didn't work. But now that the medical marijuana issue is on the ballot, Scott is not only toast, he's burnt toast. Charlie Crist will win by at least 5 points.
David Cohen
11:52PM JAN 6TH 2014
I certainly agree that Crist will lose to Scott, and that many Dems are uneasy with him, even if many or most will not say so publicly. The prospect that Nelson would come in and become the nominee is entirely plausible. But I wish I could discount, as you do, the prospect of a victorious Nelson appointing Crist to the Senate. Nelson would need to make an unequivocal and passionate (read: believable) promise to the people of Florida that he will not appoint Crist; if he fails to make such a statement, then in the general election many undecided voters (Democrats, Republicans and Independents) who can't stand Charlie Crist will go with Scott instead of Nelson. You mentioned Crist as the albatross around the neck of Florida's Democratic elected officials. He may well be the albatross around Bill Nelson's neck in November unless Nelson comes out hard against Crist and makes clear in no uncertain terms that Charlie Crist will NOT be a U.S. Senator. Failure to do so would only give Rick Scott a delicious campaign issue: "Elect Nelson and see Charlie Crist in Washington"! The sooner the Florida Democratic Party unshackles itself from being tied to the political fortunes of one Mr. Charlie Crist, the sooner it can ensure that the damage of 2010 will not be repeated. Those who fail to learn the lessons of history re condemned to repeat it. The people of Florida are burnt out on the job-killing, corrupt, shape-shifting and unprincipled flip-flopper known as Charlie Crist. He is a 21st-Century Manchurian Candidate and he will take down any and all that touch him. The surest way to ensure that the Democratic Party becomes enshrined as the permanent minority party in Florida is to support Charlie Crist.
Steve Dorries
2:10PM JAN 6TH 2014
Mr. Bishop, you say that you're a fiscally conservative Democrat. Is it possible that you are actually a libertarian and haven't realized it yet?
Would it be possible for you to take five minutes out of your day to take this small quiz? It isn't exhaustive, but it does a very good job gauging where someone stands on the political axises.
It would seem that I can't post that as a link.
Please perfom a Google search for The Advocates Worlds Smallest Political Quiz
Dave Trotter
7:25PM JAN 20TH 2014
No, he is actually a Republican and he does know it. He stays registered so he can always say that he is a "Democrat for (insert Republican name here)".
Richard Paul Dembinsky
9:14PM JAN 5TH 2014
I ran against Charlie Crist while he was a Republican and if I had the $7838.32 I would challenge him as a democrat. I keep asking Charlie Crist to start campaigning in Volusia County, or call me 386 788 3885.

I decided two days ago not to run for CFO (even before Atwater decided to move up to President of FAU if they offer it to him.).

WE soon will see if Atwater goes home for better weather; I expect the lady from Tallahassee to be the democrat's nominee for CFO.

Charlie Crist has a problem but it can be solved by avoiding President Obama....the President I wish would be impeached.

Now Charlie Crist, will you take the advice I gave Janet Reno?

YOU Charlie Crist need to immediately apologize for your "pot of pot stand"....you will not get independent voters just because Mr. Morgan advised you of his goal.

Insurance, Florida's economy etc. for sure NOT a hot issue like POT.


Oh, I am a democrat but Charlie Crist YOU still don't have my vote.

Wife is an independent and she will support Charlie Crist...but this issue POT has to be put off the table. Time is needed to expose the auto accidents and related impacts in Colorado.

Charlie Crist YOU really do have a Janet Reno problem.
ORLANDO DELGADO
7:31PM JAN 8TH 2014
Is he a SO,so too.....
sportsaddict
8:36AM JAN 3RD 2014
If Crist has an Obamacare anchor on his neck, Nelson has a bigger Obamacare albatross to overcome - he voted for the Obamacare train wreck while taking his Gator Aid corrupt bribe and has sat back MIA as the damage has hammered Florida and his constituents. Nelson sent letters to his constituents SPECIFICALLY telling them that if you like their current healthcare coverage you can keep it which is now the biggest lie of 2013. In addition, Nelson voted to raise federal flood insurance rates last year and is now whining for a do over on his flub vote while he was been silent on the Obamacare nightmare as his constituents get cancellations and sticker shock. Problem with the Dems is their failed policies, Obamacare being a case study of big gov failure and intrusion - it is not who is running because the Dems cannot run on their failed policies anymore.
wbp
4:42PM JAN 2ND 2014
nelson may very well jump in, but the people of florida have just as much on scott has the republicans have on crist and that's what matters.
besides millions of citizens in florida of all parties like crist and have to problem with his record or him changing parties. only partisans care about the party.
i chuckle that a former CEO of AIOF [ the largest lobby for special interest in fl ] acts like he actually cares about consumers or whats best for all it's citizens.
Tony Smith
2:55PM JAN 2ND 2014
You're an idiot. Incumbents usually have the lead. That Scott doesn't is quite telling. Even his own numbers have him trailing, and Crist hasn't even begun campaigning. The only blood Democrats smell belongs to Governor Vampire.
Like it is
9:20AM JAN 2ND 2014
As usual, Barney is right on the money. Both Crist and Nelson are hopeless has-beens, but Nelson is the only Dem with a ghost of a chance.
Harold P. Monoginslogin
8:52AM JAN 2ND 2014
You people are giving Barney way to much credit and he is a has been! Obviously he did not see the poll showing Crist trouncing Nelson in a primary. And the Governor is in trouble even with his $10 million beause teachers, unions, state workers, blue collar workers and many others despise him. Nelson is not going to get in, and as for Charlie bringing other Democrat's down, the only two with any chance of moving up are Mayor's Jack Sieler and Buddy Dyer. Face it, in Florida Charlie is the D's best shot!!

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