Nan Rich has a Tough Hill to Climb Against Charlie Crist

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: July 31, 2014 3:55 AM
Nan Rich and Charlie Crist

Nan Rich and Charlie Crist

Nan Rich has less than four weeks to try to catch Charlie Crist, and the task is looking near impossible. But there are some factors which will help Rich close the gap though they are certainly not enough to overcome Crist’s edge. 

Even though she’s been in the race for more than two years now, Rich’s fundraising has been abysmal. Since she got in back in April 2012, Rich has raised $420,801, used $299,310 of in-kind donations and spent $324,900. That’s not enough for some of the congressional and legislative races in Florida, let alone a gubernatorial campaign. Rich has been noticeably absent from TV, something that can’t be said of Rick Scott and Crist.

But Rich has a few advantages. One is the mood of the Democratic electorate. There will always be Democratic primary voters who won’t like moderate candidates being backed by the party leadership. Despite being the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate two years before, Brian Moore still took almost a quarter of the primary vote against Alex Sink in 2010.

Rich is also helped by other Democratic primaries across the state. Nobody is particularly excited about the yawn-inducing showdown between George Sheldon and Perry Thurston to get to see who loses to Pam Bondi in November. A good turnout by Thurston in Broward County could help Rich who has longstanding ties to that area.

But there’s not much else out there. None of the Democratic congressional primaries are that compelling with the possible exception of two challengers going after Alcee Hastings. With the exception of the Geri Thompson-Gary Siplin contest, there are no really exciting state Senate primaries. There are some more competitive Florida House primaries across the state, including in Tampa Bay and South Florida, but all signs indicate a low turnout.

That should help Rich to some extent. Her voters are committed to her more than Crist’s are, and various factors -- his refusal to debate her, the party leadership going out of its way to ignore her -- only strengthen their resolve. Crist is already acting like a general election candidate, going after Scott, ignoring Rich and even already naming a running mate. That alone should ensure Rich’s voters hit the polls.

But all of this being the case, Rich is still a major underdog. Even if all these factors go her way, Rich will have a hard time breaking 40 percent against Crist. Florida is simply too large and has too many media markets to rely solely on grassroots turnout the way Rich is. Candidates need to hit the airwaves, the way Scott and Crist have been doing for weeks.

Rich’s long, lonely campaign is almost done. She is set to do better than people think, certainly better than the 20 percent she got in a recent Gravis poll. But it will be next to impossible for her to beat Crist come Aug. 26 or even keep it within single digits.

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

Comments (6)

3:02PM JUL 31ST 2014
Union bosses and party bosses are all short sighted They don't reflect the will of the people. Vote for Nan Rich, she will represent, WE THE PEOPLE.
2:42PM JUL 31ST 2014
Nan Rich would not be the first person to come from behind to win. The polls are highly flawed. Charlie had his chance and it was the 4 worst years in Florida's history. Let's not go back . Let's move forward. Stand with Nan.
8:35AM JUL 31ST 2014
@ Fire, Kathleen,& Everyone else in Florida. No matter the party, it's time to clean EVERY office in this state. FRESH faces, NEW ideas, and the possibility of electing someone who just might actually LISTEN to those people who elected them. A concept brand new to those already in office, but not to those of us frustrated at this good ol' boy/gal system. It truly is time for CHANGES!
8:01AM JUL 31ST 2014
Sick of politics as usual. Vote for new faces and get rid of the same ole same ole politicians. Just because someone has suitcases full of money doesn't make them Leaders infact make lousy leaders. Let's make a change for good, vote for amendment #2 and go out of your way to vote for someone new.
Kathleen McCook
7:28AM JUL 31ST 2014
No primary is yawn inducing to voters who pay attention. We (Hillsborough) have local races, too,--judges, school board, county commission. Jim Davis who was mocked by Crist lives here. We remember that.
NAN RICH is the true Democrat running in the Democratic primary. Voting for NAN RICH.
Tyler Barrett
9:32AM AUG 2ND 2014
same here, in Hillsborough too and we have a TON of school board candidates along with a heated county commission race among others. We should have a record high turnout. Nan is gonna prove alot of people wrong.

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