Scott Refusing to Debate GOP Foes Different to Charlie Crist Ducking Nan Rich

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: June 18, 2014 3:35 AM
Rick Scott

Rick Scott

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.

Comments (7)

9:56AM JUN 19TH 2014
These 2 Republican candidates are a joke. One of them supported Howard Dean for christs sake.

The fair way to do this is to lay out ground rules that if a candidate gets above a 15% threshold, hold a debate. If not, then go away. If Nan Rich cannot get over 15%, then Charlie shouldn't debate her. Likewise Rick Scott. Anything else is just a waste of everyones time.
5:23AM JUN 19TH 2014
To demand anything less of both candidates is hypocrisy and exposes a partisan political hype
Independent Floridian
9:49PM JUN 18TH 2014
Can't wait to see that thief Pink Slip Rick voted out of office. Easily the most crooked governor in American politics. Its time for him and the tea part nut jobs to leave florida for good. RICK SCOTT'S DAYS AS GOVERNOR ARE OVER IN NOVEMBER.
4:06PM JUN 18TH 2014
YEAH . . . right . . . . standard blatant far right GOP hypocrisy . . . . . do as I say, not as I do . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
8:44AM JUN 18TH 2014
Scott is hypocrite. He refuses to answer any questions and I mean any questions. The guy is holed up in his bunker surrounded by his campaign team. This will back fire. Now avoids debate with other Republicans HE IS THE GOVERNOR! For God's sake how can a governor of a state in a heated political season hide from the public and answer scripted questions like a robot.
James R.
7:55AM JUN 18TH 2014
If a leading candidate has an opponent then that candidate should debate. I don't care if it is Scott or Crist. Debate your opponents, what are you afraid of?!?!?
Tom Bryson
7:43AM JUN 18TH 2014
Does the Democratic Party really think Charlie Crist can beat Rick Scott or is this another example of sloth on the part of the Party Leadership?
Ex Governor Charlie Crist has always been a soft target for the Scott campaign. His reputation among Republicans as an Obama hugging traitor assures a large turnout for the Governor. The ex Governor's record of restricting abortion, of being anti gay and pro gun, of giving public money to private schools, appointment of Justices Canady and Polston, sponsorship of the chain gang legislation and having several friends and associates behind bars rightfully creates skepticism among Democrats.
When this or any political contest is turned into a battle of negatives as in Crist V Scott, the outcome is determined by the two GOTV efforts. Crist has a real disadvantage here. Republicans vote, and enmity toward Crist will encourage turnout for Scott.. Democrats have a poor record of voting in off year elections and are rightly skeptical of the Crist epiphany. Additionally there are 1.1 million presumably Democratic votes rejecting Charlie in 2010 as well as hard feelings over Charlie's destruction of the Meek candidacy.
If Charlie continues to ignore his Democratic opponent and sticks with his refusal to debate, his probable nomination will be seen as unearned and a consequence of the party having it's thumb on the scale. Democrats understandably resent being taken for granted or told how to vote. Charlie will come up short in November.

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