Charlie Crist's Gamble on Annette Taddeo Didn't Get Instant Payoff

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: July 19, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist and Annette Taddeo

Charlie Crist and Annette Taddeo

Charlie Crist hoped to get some positive attention by announcing Annette Taddeo as his running mate but his move was overshadowed by other events, some of which don’t help his campaign. 

The front pages of newspapers across Florida came out Friday morning with stories on the Malaysia Airlines crash in the Ukraine and a judge’s decision to allow same-sex weddings in Monroe County. Crist plucking Taddeo got buried as a result.

Things didn’t improve on Friday as Rick Scott crowed about the unemployment rate going down in June with 36,900 private-sector jobs created. That type of news only underscores one of the best weapons in Scott’s arsenal. Under Scott, the unemployment rate has dropped 5 percent to 6.1 percent. That’s a stark contrast to Crist’s record when the unemployment rate rocketed to 11.1 percent and he decided to hightail it to Washington with his second try at winning a U.S. Senate seat.

Allison Tant didn’t help clear things up for Crist. Ignoring the fact that Nan Rich is still looming in the primary against Crist, Tant offered lavish praise for Taddeo. Needless to say, Rich and her supporters criticized Crist for acting as if he should be coroneted with the Democratic nomination, with no debates and selecting a running mate despite being a member of the party for barely a year and a half.

The Democrat bosses have spoken and they are behind Crist. In fact, a Democrat boss is Crist’s running mate. Taddeo’s only real political experience comes from leading the Miami-Dade Democrats since every time she’s sought elected office -- from Congress to a County Commission seat -- she’s flopped.

Having Taddeo on the ticket might help Crist with stalwart Democrats who are wary about his recent political changes -- from the GOP to no-party affiliation in 2010 before joining the Democrats in December 2012 -- and his constant changing of positions.

But Democrats have plenty of reasons to question the competence of their leaders across Florida. Tant backed Allie Braswell to challenge Jeff Atwater but, after a few days, it was found he had numerous financial problems. Braswell didn’t even last a week in the race and Tant had egg all over her face since she didn’t bother to vet him. Democrats couldn’t produce major candidates to take on Atwater and Adam Putnam. Despite David Jolly beating Alex Sink by 2 percent in a special election earlier in the year, Democrats couldn’t find a candidate to run against him in November. Democrats have no mathematical possibility of picking up the Florida Senate.

Nor do things look better for Democrats in Miami-Dade where Taddeo held the reins. No Democrats are running against Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart for congressional seats. Rene Garcia and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla are headed back to the Florida Senate with no opposition. At least most of the Miami-Dade Republicans in the Florida House have Democratic opponents, but only a handful of them are serious candidates. Not exactly a sterling record for Taddeo.

But Crist is lashing himself to the Democrat bosses despite their meager records. Regardless, announcing his running mate six weeks before the primary was a bit of a roll of the dice for Crist. While he didn’t get snake eyes, the bet doesn’t seem to have paid off for Crist, who tried to change the focus away from being caught in the polls by Scott but ended up off the front page.

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

Comments (9)

Scott Marshall
7:54PM JUL 20TH 2014
Well Jeff Henderson again your cherry picking of the facts is laughable. What experience in government did our current disgrace Rick Scott have. Keep up the good work Jeff with your column who needs the Comics
Barney Bishop III
11:28AM JUL 19TH 2014
Jeff is absolutely correct on all points...first, to think that this woman who has never held elective office before is qualified to be Governor is something happened to Charlie is a JOKE!...and you're right on point that her tenure as Miami-Dade Dem Chair has been worthless...many of the Dem's that she put up against Repub incumbents are straw candidates with no chance or hope of winning...in candidate interviews they ALL have the same campaign manager - and the campaign manager himself is running for office...what a p.r. disaster if only the mainstreeam media would report it...thanks for Sunshine State News for popinting out the obvious...Charlie picked a weak running mate out of desperation, someone who has no experetise in dealing with the GOP legislature and with which Charlie will not be able to deal with the legislature either...most competent politicians pick an elected official as their running mate...guess Charlie couldn't find any of them to run with him...sorry Charlie!
2:28PM JUL 19TH 2014
So, if a person has never been a politician they do not qualify to become Govenor of Florida? Please explain then, how is our current Govenor qualified to be Govenor? Seems a bit hypocritical.
10:50AM JUL 19TH 2014
I am very pleased Charlie selected Annette. She is a very strong woman, a nationally recognized leader beyond the Fla Dem Party.

What I don't understand is what Henderson finds news worthy about this absurd statement, "selecting a running mate despite being a member of the party for barely a year and a half." How dumb is that? Just any ol' reason to remind people that Charlie switched parties. Like he finally saw what the Republican party has devolved to so he converted to the party of the middle class.
Central Florida PR
9:52AM JUL 19TH 2014
Naming Ms. Taddeo or Goldstein which is it? is a slap in the face of every Central Florida Hispanic. We have many great leaders in the PR and Cuban community in south and central Florida. Political, business and community leaders that have lived and worked in our neighborhoods and truely represent our community. Taddeo not qualified to represent our Hispanic community or our state. This is offensive! They believe just naming “anyone” remotely identifiable as Hispanic would fool us. Check the box does not work for me or my community.
Kathleen McCook
9:04AM JUL 19TH 2014
Hillsborough voter here, Voting for NAN RICH, the real Democrat. Charlie should debate her. As long as he does not he is viewed by precinct level voters as only the choice by Tant w/o concern for people hearing his voice. He has not convinced me he is a true Democrat, And, BTW, here in Hillsborough we wanted Alan Clendenin for head of the party.
Robert Samuel Kaplan
8:54AM JUL 19TH 2014
My name is Robert Samuel Kaplan Strong Candidate for Florida State Representative District 74 Sarasota County, Florida. In regards to Goldstein as Christ's running mate only proves one thing: I am a Sephardic Jew which means I am half Spanish and Jewish. I have two strikes against me and there is a paid political stunt to try to defame my character as the IRS supposedly was coming to my home to arrest me. Sarasota Herald Tribune has twisted my words to no end and is trying to scare me from running for my District 74. To end the battle of Education: A graduate level course 3 hrs. is on the rise due to, I believe, both. The cost is eighteen hundred dollars and I cannot finish my Master's degree because of this. When I am in office I am proposing a 50 percent cut as graduate level courses should be offered the same as undergraduate courses as I was paying $500.00 for a 3hr course and I took only one course at a time so I could have the prize. I can not wait to be in Tallahassee to straighten out matters. The moral of the story is this: The number one rule in law, medicine, journalism, and even The Great State of Florida's political scandals is Thou Shall Not Harm and I believe the Political Community is harming the Public. I want Sunshine News to interview me any time any place as my first debate with my opponents is July 25th, 2014. I am a serious Strong Candidate for Florida State Representative District 74 and I mean business. See you in Tallahassee as I am already on the Ballot in November and I am not changing my platform for anyone anymore. Respectfully,
8:10AM JUL 19TH 2014
Your opinion Jeff Henderson, but in my household everyone is real happy with Annette Taddeo being Charlies running mate. Sometimes you need to ask the voters or maybe they don't really matter so just print the B.S.! Blame Charlie for the recession is a low blow. Hey what about a raise in pay since Scott is the mighty Quinn, a lot of Floridians still haven't seen an increase, except cost in living. Let the voters decide and quit printing one sided B.S. opinions.
7:47AM JUL 19TH 2014
Unemployment is down across the nation. Nothing that Scott did. But many are making less while Scott has been in. Many of us in HOA got stuck with all those that didn't pay and still not paying their dues which up keeps our road maintainance plus other things.through all of this will little or no government help. Seems like those not paying mortgages and fees are the only ones that faired well. They were the only ones with extra money from all of this. Thanks Scott.

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