Earlier this year a spate of political rumors abounded that Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), fresh from his 2012 re-election to a third term, was looking at a 2014 gubernatorial run. Repeatedly denied by Nelson spokespeople at the time but never completely ruled out, more such stories are again surfacing. Now it appears that the senator’s political staffers are calling state Democratic political leaders to seek advice about their boss running for governor.
The Florida gubernatorial race should be one of the most competitive in the country. Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R) continues to poll badly with job approval ratings in upside down territory. As we all know, Florida performs as the nation’s quintessential swing entity, so all statewide contests have the potential of becoming very close.
Two weeks ago, former Gov. Charlie Crist declared his candidacy for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Crist was elected state chief executive in 2006 as a Republican. He then filed as a candidate for the 2010 GOP senatorial nomination, but when it became apparent that he would lose the primary to former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, he left the party and ran as an Continue reading >
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist officially registered as a Democrat yesterday in what is likely a prelude to entering the 2014 gubernatorial contest against incumbent Rick Scott (R). Crist announced the move via his Twitter account, Tweeting a picture Friday of he and his beaming wife with his Florida voter registration form. Crist, as a Republican, served one term as governor and chose to run for Senate instead of seeking re-election. The move proved politically disastrous.
Marco Rubio, then a former state House Speaker, ran such an effective early Republican primary campaign that Crist was literally forced out of the party, choosing to run in the general election as an Independent. He placed second to Rubio, trailing 49-30 percent, but came in 10 points ahead of the Democratic nominee, then-Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL-17).
Usually, a party-switcher’s most difficult election is his first primary in the new party. If Crist enters the Democratic nomination contest, he almost assuredly will have competition. In fact, he could still face the Democratic 2010 gubernatorial nominee, former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who only lost to Scott by a scant one percentage point, 49-48 percent. Sink has yet to rule out another run.
Scott is viewed as vulnerable because his job approval ratings have continued to hover around the 40 percent mark or lower for most of his tenure. As is the case for virtually every race in Florida, the contest is expected to be close.