Both former Republican Governor Charlie Crist and 2010 Democratic nominee (and former CFO) Alex Sink are prospective candidates for Governor. Senator Nan Rich has been campaigning extensively for year developing a strong grassroots network of support among progressives. Still Rich polls in the low single-digits and clamoring for Crist or Sink to run continues to intensify among party elites. Rich is declared un-electable by elites and too far out of the “mainstream” (whatever that is) by others. Yet it is worth noting that Rich’s numbers are only slightly lower than that of Marco Rubio at this point in the 2009 GOP Senate Primary against sitting Republican Governor Charlie Crist. Anybody recall how that turned out?
Below is a mail piece Charlie Crist ran during the 2006 Gubernatorial campaign. In it Crist clearly identifies himself as not only as s conservative but a hard-line religious conservative.
The mailer speaks for itself. But since we’ve spent lots of time on this website addressing Crist’s deficiences let’s also take a look at those of Alex Sink. Many a Democrat has said to me they are uncomfortable with Crist but if Sink is the only alternative they may opt for Crist because while historical party registration is one factor for many, commitment to progressive causes is another. Crist was active in campaigning for President Obama whereas Alex Sink not only was not a key factor in the 2012 Presidential campaign, but also was highly disparaging of the President in 2010.
From the New Times comes the following:
In an interview with POLITICO, Sink said the administration mishandled the response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, doesn’t appreciate the political damage done by healthcare reform and argued that her GOP opponent’s strategy of tying her to the president did grave damage to her candidacy in the state’s conservative Panhandle.
Sink’s camp came in to conflict with the White House a number of times. She refused to meet the President at the tarmac when he was flying in for a Miami fundraiser, and rebuffed an offer to have Obama appear at a “Get out the Vote” rally in the final days of the election in South Florida. In another instance operatives in the Sink campaign “laminated and regularly mocked” a memo from a mid-level administration figure that they saw as “illustrative of the Obama team’s cluelessness about the race.”
A couple points here. Sink could have won every single vote cast outside of Leon County in the Second Congressional District and STILL LOST THE ELECTION. She did run well ahead of Obama’s 08′ and 12′ numbers in the region though. Yet Obama carried the state both times and Sink lost. As far as the Western Panhandle she ran worse than Obama did in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okalossa, so she was less popular there than the President was.
More importantly Sink ran behind Obama in every medium sized county in the state south of Ocala. That means counties like Sarasota, Polk, Lee, St Lucie and Marion, Sink ran worse than Obama providing Scott with his padding for victory. Yet it is these counties (where at least theoretically Crist would be strong) that Sink nor the FDP never seem to focus on or mention in political strategy.
Sink also seemed to ignore activists AND the base Democratic counties. Much of this may have come from the fact that the primary field was cleared for her, allowing her a sense of complacency regarding her base vote. But because of this, she spent much of the campaign distancing herself from the party and its values, making it difficult for many Democratic voters to embrace her. Complicating matters was the polarizing US Senate race which likely would have been won by Marco Rubio regardless, but the Democrats made a mess of things with many establishment figures violating their party loyalty oaths by openly backing Charlie Crist instead of the party’s nominee Kendrick Meek. Some of these same officials had backed a quixotic primary by Jeff Greene to Meek perhaps simply to weaken him for Crist’s benefit. All of this led to an election year debacle of epic proportions.
Following the election, Alex Sink to was named by MSNBC as ” the worst candidate of 2010.”
The again the RPOF reminded us last year about Charlie Crist’s past statements and he could prove to be the “worst candidate of 2014”:
So Crist has plenty of explaining to do. Do not doubt that this ad or some variation will run again during the Democratic Primary (if Republicans do truly fear Crist as many claim) or be saved for General if Republicans really want to face Crist as they all seem to claim to me. As for Sink, while IO have a theory that she will be a more seasoned and understanding candidate if she were to run again, many I speak to just think that is simply impossible. I claim that she cannot possibly be any worse, but perhaps the critics are right about her.
Thus, right now you have a progressive candidate in Nan Rich who won’t be forced to answer any of the question outlined here about Crist and Sink. The apprehension about Rich seems to be based on a ideal profile Democratic elites have of a candidate but this is the same profile that have led Democrats to lose 13 of the last 14 races for Governor & Cabinet, the worst such record of any state east of the Mississippi since 2000. Democrats continue to push candidates who don’t represent much different than the Republicans who have misgoverned the state so miserably other than the fact that they have a “D” next to their name.
Isn’t it about time the party tried something different?