Low Turnout Aside, Charlie Crist the Easy Democratic Primary Winner

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: August 26, 2014 10:10 PM
Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist, man without a party less than 25 months ago and a "Reagan Republican" in 2010, handily won the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday, defeating lifelong Democrat Nan Rich of Weston 3-to-1 in virtually every corner of the state.

Before addressing his supporters, Crist immediately released an email to Florida Democrats:

"Tonight I am honored to be the Democratic nominee for governor of the great state of Florida. Because of your time and generosity, we're going to take on Rick Scott on November 4th. And if we do our jobs right, when the sun rises on November 5th, it'll shed light on a Florida full of opportunity for our kids, our businesses, and our families.

"For the next 70 days, we have to tell Floridians what that sunny future looks like. Tomorrow, we're going to hit the ground running. We have money to raise and doors to knock on -- we have to put the people back in charge again. ... Thank you and God bless you."

There was some bad news for Crist among the good, according to one political analyst: low voter turnout, particularly in the Democrat-rich South Florida counties of Palm Beach (10.1 percent), Broward (8.16 percent) and Miami-Dade (11.27 percent). In fact, statewide, some 116,060 more Republicans than Democrats voted in Tuesday's primary.

"Democrats still have a lot of work to do ahead of November to get voters down there to the polls," said retired professor and analyst Gerald Antilocke. "They pulled it off for Obama, but Crist who is very moderate among his new friends might be a tougher sell to the base. This turnout doesn't exactly exude enthusiasm for Crist.

Rick Scott on primary night

Rick and Ann Scott on primary day

"Rich still came away with more than 25.83 percent. That's not strong, but she turned in a respectable performance," Antilocke told Sunshine State News. "She got the maverick vote."

Rich's supporters say although their candidate had been in the race for more than two years, she had little help from party leaders, who never encouraged her, were influential in denying her Emily's List support, openly urged her to fold her campaign and refused to set up a debate between her and Crist.

She and her supporters were watching the results Tuesday night at Bonaventure Country Club in Weston.

Crist's win is unlikely to provide him with a momentum burst headed into the stretch, considering it came as no surprise and Crist himself has made the race between himself and Republican Gov. Rick Scott from the start.

Scott's victory against two unknowns Tuesday was far easier. The primary is unlikely to change the strategy of either candidate, both in full attack mode, in what is predicted to be the most expensive race in the nation.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie who has generated buzz of his own since the beginning of the year is likely to affect November results, too. But it is too early to tell by how much.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter @NancyLBSmith 

Comments (3)

6:13PM AUG 27TH 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.
11:20AM AUG 27TH 2014
If you run a dirty campaign like Rick Scott is doing I will not vote for you Charlie, instead my vote will go for Micky Mouse. Vote for amendment #2 folks, the sick thanks you.
Melody Heilmann
11:45PM SEP 19TH 2014
write in Nan Rich Wth? eh

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