At the End of the Day It's Nan Rich Who Embodies Character

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: August 23, 2014 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ

You won't find Nan Rich using the "L" word prematurely and neither will I.

Whatever the numbers after the final count in Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary -- in terms of principles and persistence and downright graciousness -- the former Senate minority leader cleaned everybody's clock in 2014. Every candidate in every race.

It's way past time I fired back at Democrats who accused me and Sunshine State News of playing up Nan in columns, stories and other blog posts to weaken Charlie Crist or strengthen Rick Scott.

Nan Rich

Nan Rich

It so happens I've been as big an admirer of Nan's as any supporter in her camp. And if anything I wrote about her hurt Charlie, it's only because the contrast in their characters is unbelievably stunning and I called attention to it.

For two years I watched Rich's party leaders abuse her -- starting in 2012 by virtually ignoring her candidacy announcement, as if she'd somehow insulted them by jumping into the race, to 2014 when they stomped on her like grapes in a Tuscan tub.

Rich, as I have pointed out, is no johnnie-come-lately on the blue team. She did more to earn party respect in 20 years than all her tormentors put together. Read her bio. No wonder Charlie Crist was such a tough sell to Rich's long-time friends Bill and Hillary Clinton, when the Clintons arrived in Miami for a Democratic fundraiser earlier this year.

Most of us would have understood if party leadership argued with Rich as an equal -- if they talked about her liabilities based, say, on her liberal views on taxation and gun control, which might fire up the base but turn off moderates in the November general election. But a real policy discussion to support their views? They paid her no such courtesy.

Having done their best to blend her into the woodwork -- to lift not a finger to push her campaign statewide -- they disparaged her lack of name recognition and paltry fundraising (by July, $11.3 million for Crist and $900,000 for Rich).  

Then they sicced their goons on her supporters -- loyal Democrats all -- threatened to have them shunned or otherwise punished for not playing follow the leader before the primary.

Most of all, Rich wanted one thing: a televised debate with primary opponent Crist. Several debates, preferably. She never got one. 

Rich was sure she could win going toe to toe with a candidate who stumbles over his policies and can't remember all the flip-flops. It always seemed to me party leaders and Crist's campaign team both feared their chosen candidate would slip and fall, make far-left promises Scott's people could have a field day with -- and, of course, lose the debate to the lifelong Democrat, boosting Rich's name through the roof.

As a result, Crist barely acknowledges her, and when he's forced to answer a question about her, says he's "too busy focusing on Rick Scott" to think about a debate.

Through more than two years of adversity, buoyed by a strong core of grassroots supporters, Nan Rich puts up with all this. She's been hanging in and hanging on with unspeakable grace and aplomb, moving daily from town to town, speaking mostly to small gatherings, trying as hard as she can to use the last of her money wisely. 

She and I have spoken many times on the telephone and once face to face. I've heard in her voice on various occasions disappointment, resolve, hope, humor, excitement for the future of Florida. You would think somewhere along this epic journey I would have heard Nan Rich express bitterness. Certainly if anyone has a right to talk a little trash, she does. But she never has. Not even once.  

Rich's class and character, frankly, is inspirational. She says she will support the Democrat who wins Tuesday's primary, no matter what. If it's Charlie Crist, I wish she wouldn't, but this is Nan Rich we're talking about here. Loyal Democrat to the end. "I would work, obviously, to have a Democratic governor after 16 years in the desert," she told the Sun Sentinel newspaper. The last Democrat to occupy the governor's office left office in 1999. And, by the way, that governor -- Buddy MacKay -- endorsed Rich.

Nan Rich's class and character is what I'll take away from the 2014 primary. 

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423.

Comments (18)

Patricia Ireland
6:52PM AUG 24TH 2014
Nancy Smith got it right. Nan Rich has run an admirable race, and she deserves our votes!
12:57PM AUG 24TH 2014
Nan Rich would get buried if she were to win the nomination, plain and simple. We can't afford another 4 years of Voldemort, plain and simple . . .
2:15PM AUG 24TH 2014
You just made my point.
12:40PM AUG 24TH 2014
The blind, widespread belief that "she can't win" reflects the lack of critical thinking among voters.

What would the headlines be in every daily newspaper throughout FL if Dems elected Nan as their nominee? Her name recognition would go through the roof. She would become an overnight sensation. Momentum, support and money would catapult her campaign to another level. She would have every bit as good a chance of beating Scott as Charlie the Chameleon Crist.

That the party has backed Crist and ignored Nan is despicable and will only make them even more irrelevant than they already are in FL.

If it's Crist I'll be voting Wylie in Nov.
12:05PM AUG 24TH 2014
One thing's for sure . . . . Nan Rich has a lot more class and character than Rick Scott ever thought of having . . . . . meanwhile, Nancy claims that she has "been as big an admirer of Nan's as any supporter in her camp" . . . . yet, If Nan were to be the Democratic candidate, would that mean that SSN would support, and Nancy vote for, her over Rick Scott in a general election . . . yeah, right . . . raise your hand if you don't believe that is blatant, cynical hypocrisy after swearing that she has "been as big an admirer of Nan's as any supporter in her camp" . . . . . just more journalistic politics of the "Big Lie" . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
3:28PM AUG 24TH 2014
How much do they pay you to keep dumping on Nancy Smith story after story? She must be doing something right to get attention from a real big shot like you.
4:48PM AUG 26TH 2014
Of course, you must be right . . . . partisan truthiness and hypocrisy must be accepted on their face value . . . at least if you're a good partisan conservative soldier . . . never question, never object . . . . never expose hypocrisy nor tell a truth that goes against the ideological party line . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Teresa Gavalda
12:00PM AUG 24TH 2014
Great article. Nan Rich deserves our vote because she is a decent, dedicated citizen who has served her constituency and the entire state with honor. I really can't say that about the other candidate. However, in Nan were not to get the nomination I will have no choice but to vote for her opponent.
12:09PM AUG 24TH 2014
Right . . . . you would switch your vote from a more left liberal to a far right tea party candidate, who attempted partisan voter suppression against even Hispanic war veterans . . . . . right . . . .
3:31PM AUG 23RD 2014
Adrian Wyllie deserves my vote and yours too. He is a honest average Floridian just as you and I , that is willing to stand up and do something for the interest of all of us here in Florida. The other candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned and controlled by special interest, like puppets and will lie to your face to gain your vote, then continue the same old agenda that we complain about year after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round, election after election, thinking it will be any different. Take a stand, vote for the candidate that loves this state and is willing to take time out of his life, effort and money to SERVE the people of Florida and stop voting for these 'paid for' career politicians that are only out for money and fame and have zero interest in us Floridians. Even if it's just for honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of the other two (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours and yours alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the face, go ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do what is right for our (yours and your children's) future and vote for Adrian Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the word and contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very powerful. Visit his website today.
REAL Florida Democrat
2:35PM AUG 23RD 2014
This is RIGHT ON! NAN RICH is the BEST Candidate to be Florida's next Governor - FLORIDA, use your common SENSE and VOTE FOR NAN RICH, not Crist who will say "anything" he thinks will get him elected and change to whatever party he thinks he needs to be in at the time to do it.
2:05PM AUG 23RD 2014
Nancy Smith, if all journalists were as intelligent and fair minded as you, we would have a better country and a better democracy.
9:50AM AUG 23RD 2014
Thank God! Someone finally told me how to vote in the primary. I am a little nervous about it being a right-wing "journalist" telling me to support someone who doesn't appear to have a snow balls chance in Florida of beating Scott. Hummm.
9:36AM AUG 23RD 2014
I haven't agreed with you lately, but thankfully we agree and are right on target in believing Nan Rich is the answer. I have said that, here, for a few months now. Nan Rich has the class and brightness a candidate should have as a candidate for Governor has! I only hope Charlie's money doesn't buy his way back into the race. The guy is a creep, I still question his alleged "marriage", and he becomming a D from an R so easily. I believe the Democrats in this state have the intelligence to vote correctly, however, I also believe they all MUST come out for the primary to vote for the right person….Nan Rich.
Ana Gomez-Mallada
7:36AM AUG 23RD 2014
It is like a viral infection. First make promises left and right to gain the approval of activists and the donors. Feasibility irrelevant.
Have your supporters ignore, belittle, eclipse and sling mud at your rival. If that causes a virtual civil war in your party, so be it.
Take over the party leadership. When the dust settles, you are in your new elected position and your party is now in your back pocket functioning exclusively to keep you looking good for the next higher office you seek. No energy or money will be wasted on other candidates for other offices.
That was Charlie’s Playbook against Tom Gallagher. He and his State Chairman, convict Jim Greer, brought it to bear in full force against Marco Rubio, but by then the Republicans were fed up. Now Charlie has found another major party to infect. Democrats: get your booster shots.
9:48AM AUG 23RD 2014
I am sorry. You mixed up the names. It is Nan who is slinging mud at Charlie and getting party donations.
2:00PM AUG 23RD 2014
broward bob
4:07PM AUG 24TH 2014
Nan who? You, Nancy Smith, and silly child Leslie Wimes can join together for a big loser crying fest on Wednesday, Josie.

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