Nan Rich Links Rick Scott and Charlie Crist as Two of a Kind
Around the State
Nan Rich has a new strategy as she continues her dark-horse bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rick Scott: unite and conquer.
Rich is increasingly looking to cut into Charlie Crist’s lead among Democrats by tying him together with Scott.
Take public education, for example. At the end of last week, Rich punched away at Scott and Crist on the issue, noting her record when she was Democratic leader in the Florida Senate and where her rivals stood.
“As a Democrat, I’ve always believed it is important to speak up when I see the Democratic values of our state being challenged,” Rich proclaimed. “That’s why I’ve taken a strong stand against Rick Scott’s effort to expand private school vouchers yet again. I’ve spoken out, editorial boards have taken positions, reporters have written about the issue. The only person we haven’t heard from is Charlie Crist. Maybe it’s because when he was our Republican governor he expanded vouchers himself.”
Rich has also looked to stand out to her fellow Democrats by emphasizing her position on same-sex marriage and pointing out Crist’s recent apology for his past opposition to it.
“Nan Rich has always supported marriage equality,” the Rich campaign trumpeted last week. “For years, and mostly without popular or political support, this has been her position. Never has she wavered or flip-flopped or apologized for her stance on the equality of all Floridians to marry the person they love.”
In the past two months, Rich has been going out of her way to attack the “Bush-Crist-Scott Republicans” in Tallahassee. It’s a reminder to liberal Democrats and party activists -- easily the most likely voters to show up in the primary -- that she’s always been one of them and Crist hasn’t.
Rich has one more argument she can make, especially after Alex Sink lost her bid in a special congressional election earlier this month. Democrats have put up Tampa Bay moderates for the last three gubernatorial races and they went on to lose each time out. Sink, her husband Bill McBride and Jim Davis all tried to claim the political middle and all went down to defeat. Crist follows the same model. He’s from St. Petersburg and he’s going to try to claim the middle.
Since getting in the race almost two years ago, Rich hasn’t made much ground against either Scott or Crist. But with five months to go, Rich is starting to find her niche. By tying Crist to Scott, Rich can cut into her rival’s leads in both the primary and the general election. It’s a pretty strong message for Rich and, if she can start raising cash, it will serve her well in the coming weeks.
Tallahassee based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.