'Unity' is the Byword for Florida Democrats Now
Around the State
The winners of Tuesday’s primaries for statewide office -- former Gov. Charlie Crist and former DCF Secretary George Sheldon -- crossed Florida on Thursday as Democrats insisted they were united in trying to take down Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi in November.
Crist and Sheldon appeared in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale with other leading Democrats, including the candidates they beat on Tuesday night. Despite Crist refusing to debate her, former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich appeared at the events to campaign alongside her primary rival. House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, campaigned alongside Sheldon who beat him in Tuesday’s primary. Other Democrats at the event included U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and former Miami-Dade Democratic Chairwoman Annette Taddeo who is now Crist’s running mate.
Despite Crist having been a Republican for most of his political career, leaving the GOP in 2010 and joining the Democrats in December 2012, his fingerprints are all over his new party.
“Florida Democrats in Orlando are fired up and ready to win in November," the Florida Democratic Party posted on Facebook on Thursday. “Floridians deserve a fair shot and the People’s Team will deliver!
Crist has been calling himself the “people’s governor” on the campaign trail, echoing his old employer trial lawyers Morgan & Morgan’s “for the people” slogan.
Despite her appearances with her former rival, Rich could not resist taking a final shot at Crist this week.
“Last night I spoke with Charlie Crist to congratulate him,” Rich posted on Facebook on Wednesday. “It was a brief call, I didn't feel like debating him.”
Rich offered more enthusiasm later on Wednesday in another Facebook post.
“Last night, I called Gov. Crist to offer him my congratulations,” Rich wrote. “He will now bear the Democratic standard in a contest where nothing less than the future of Florida is at stake. It will be a very tough fight to beat Rick Scott. Charlie Crist will need all of our support to win. He has mine.”
“As I traveled across our state these past two years, I met and spoke with thousands of Floridians -- thousands of working men and women, retirees, and students,” Rich added. “Not all of them were Democrats. But almost all of them shared a desire for making Florida better by investing in education and making health care available for everyone. The voters we reached believe in fairness and social justice for all. These are all issues Floridians care about. And they remain an important part of the dialog of this election.
“I entered this race to defeat Rick Scott and get Florida back on the right track. That is a goal to which I remain committed,” Rich noted. “Tomorrow I’ll be attending Democratic unity rallies in Orange County and Broward County. They will kick off the run to the general election – the run that, with your support, will make Rick Scott a one-term governor.”
Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), was in Fort Lauderdale, throwing jabs at Crist.
“Voters should be asking Florida Democrats today why they are uniting behind Charlie Crist’s failed record of massive job losses, higher debt and education cuts,” Dougher said on Thursday. “Gov. Scott has cut taxes and reduced debt while Florida has added over 600,000 new private-sector jobs and invested in our schools at record levels. Florida Democrats are uniting behind Charlie Crist’s record of failure, but Floridians are going to unite against Charlie Crist on Nov. 4th.”
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