While recent attention has been focused on Charlie Crist and Alex sink potentially getting into the governor’s race, Nan Rich continues to plug away meeting voters and energizing the grassroots activists on the left.
Recent polls have indicated that Rick Scott will be more difficult to unseat in 2014 then many Democrats originally anticipated, thus it is important for the Democrats have framed a message at an early stage of the campaign in order to inoculate the party from the seemingly unlimited resources Scott will spend on re-election. While a well seasoned candidate statewide is a plus, it may be more important to nominate a candidate who has worked the grassroots and talked to activists across the state understanding the needs of the state and engaging voters.
As every off-year election this millennium has demonstrated a direct correlation exists between enthusiasm in each party’s base and electoral results. This reality has proven disastrous for Florida Democrats in past cycles and despite Rick Scott’s overall weakness, the party very well could blow this election if events continue down the current course.
The current course among some insiders seems to be encouraging potential candidates whose connection with the party base is tenuous to run while ignoring the only announced candidate in Senator Rich who is connecting with activists and local Democratic officials throughout the state. The continued uncertainty around other candidates in the race has not stopped Senator Rich from coalescing more and more grassroots support. Traveling the state actively each and every week, Rich has collected an impressive group of activists to support her campaign.
Many party elites appear to be completely out of touch with the sentiments of grassroots activists and local party officials. The party both on the state and many local levels need to reconnect with those who walk precincts, make phone calls and devote just about all of the free time in their busy lives to electing good progressive Democrats to office.
Charlie Crist and Alex Sink are largely defined to Florida’s electorate. Nan Rich is not. Whether that makes a difference as we approach the 2014 Democratic Primary remains to be seen but it would be wise of other Democrats to at least try and engage the infrastructure Rich has created even if she fails to win the nomination.