Scott Refusing to Debate GOP Foes Different to Charlie Crist Ducking Nan Rich
Around the State
The liberal media were beside themselves this week when Rick Scott didn’t answer whether he would debate minor Republican primary opponents while calling for Charlie Crist to debate Nan Rich.
The mainstream media, particularly the Tampa Bay Times, are trying to make an issue of how Scott isn’t committing to holding a debate with pharmacist Yinka Adeshina or frequent candidate Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder, especially after calling out Crist for not debating Rich.
But that couldn't be more like apples and oranges. Cuevas-Neunder has never been a serious candidate in her frequent bids for office, ranging from not making the ballot when she first challenged Jeb Bush back in 1998 to finishing dead last when she set her eyes on the Republican nomination for a state House seat. Adeshina, on the other hand, has much greater ambitions. She’s been running in the 2016 presidential election as early as 2010.
To compare these candidates to Rich is a joke. Rich hasn’t set the world on fire in her gubernatorial campaign, but she is a veteran politician who served more than a decade in both chambers of the Legislature, including leading Democrats in the Senate. Bill Clinton named Rich to the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and she’s racked up endorsements from the likes of NOW and Buddy MacKay.
Rich might not have gained much momentum in the race, but she is in a far different class than the likes of Adeshina and Cuevas-Neunder. Unlike Scott’s Republican opponents, Rich is a credible candidate, even if she has underwhelmed in the race. She has every right to call out Crist for a debate, especially in light of his switching parties twice in the last four years. She watched him close-up from the Legislature in Tallahassee, performing as a Republican.
Go back to 2010. While Bill McCollum and Scott were engaging in one of the most no-holds-barred primaries Florida has ever seen, Alex Sink had her own primary opponent on the Democratic side. It was liberal activist Brian Moore who was the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate back in 2008 and a political gadfly who backed everyone from Ralph Nader to Pat Buchanan to John Anderson and was a frequent candidate for office himself as a Democrat, Green and a Republican.
Nobody in the mainstream media was clamoring for a debate between Sink and Moore, who went on to win 23 percent of the vote in the primary. It simply wasn’t a serious idea for the mainstream media, just as a debate between Scott and the no-hopers standing in his way of the Republican nomination shouldn’t be.
Instead of wondering why Scott isn’t debating Adeshina and Cuevas-Neunder, the media should focus on why Crist isn’t debating Rich and why Democratic bosses aren’t insisting on it.
Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.