Does Governor Rick Scott have an opportunity to one-up Charlie Crist with women?

Over the past few election cycles Democrats have made a key component of their campaigns the so called “Republican War on Women.” However, Florida Democrats face a tough challenge if former Governor Charlie Crist defeats Senator Nan Rich for the party’s gubernatorial nomination. As this blog has previously noted, Senator Rich is the only consistently pro-choice candidate running for Governor. Governor Crist, who was once somewhat pro-choice as a State Senator, amassed a poor record on women’s issues as Governor. In fact, it wasn’t until after Marco Rubio erased a 40 point deficit in a Republican Primary for US Senate in 2010 that Crist made his first significant veto of a legislative action that targeted women. Shortly after his veto of the legislation that would have required ultrasounds for all pregnant women seeking to exercise their legal right to an abortion, Governor Crist became an Independent.

There is no doubt that Governor Rick Scott has a poor record on women’s issues. However last year he vetoed a highly controversial alimony reform bill. While some argue that alimony reform is needed, the bill allowed for changes retroactively to alimony agreements, and made child custody cases in divorce an almost guaranteed 50/50 split. The purpose of that was to make it easier on the non-custodial spouse when settling the alimony agreement.  His veto was praised by many women’s groups, as well as the Florida Bar, and came as a welcome surprise to progressives around the state. Many on the left felt Scott was playing politics, however it was not an election year and he explained his veto not as an opponent of reform but based on the unfair retroactivity clause included in the bill.

Was his maneuver more cynical than that of Crist with his veto in 2010? It could be argued that it was  more  genuine considering it was more than a year out from an election.

This Session the Legislature passed a measure (HB 1047) that will make it more emotionally, legally and medically challenging for a woman to obtain a later-term abortion. Current law makes it illegal for a third-trimester abortion except in cases when necessary to save the life or protect the health of the mother. So far this year zero third trimester abortions have been performed in the state of Florida, yet anti-choice advocates argued this was needed because of upgrades in medical technology. It can legitimately be claimed that a fetus can survive earlier than ever because of advances in medicine. The sponsors chose to file this bill that puts an undue burden on the mental health of a likely already grieving pregnant woman who has to make this decision. Additionally, the medical doctor is now at risk because unless physicians have documented the development of the fetus and chances of viability, they can be arrested – Arrested for simply practicing medicine. There is no doubt that a later-term abortion is a difficult subject for women and families, however this bill is a catalyst to chipping away at the fundamentals of safe and legal reproductive rights.

Governor Scott has a chance to break Governor Crist’s record of vetoing one bill that was anti-woman during his four years in office. If Governor Scott does the right thing and vetoes this bill, he may neutralize some of the women’s organizations support of Charlie Crist. The argument heard around Florida is that one does not know which Charlie they will get if he returns to the Capitol. Would he veto this bill? He still claims that he is “personally pro-life” but would not interfere in a woman’s personal decision. Frankly, this is the definition of pro-choice; it just seems that he is afraid to say it. Will he be afraid to veto a bill like this, when the Legislature could then make a case of withholding his priority legislation? Will he have the political courage to stand up to a Legislature that chisels away at the rights of women each year? Or will he stand with the majority of Democrats and few Republicans willing to say they’ve had enough?

The Governor can show his own political courage by standing up and vetoing a bill that would make an already difficult decision harder. He didn’t do it with the same ultrasound bill that Crist as Governor/Candidate vetoed in 2010 and that should be held against him. However, he could stand up to the activist base of the GOP that will likely vote for him anyway and tell them that the State of Florida should not be interfering in medical procedures that a physician has deemed necessary. Governor Scott’s mantra of less government demands a veto.

26 comments

  1. Dems in 14 · · Reply

    As this particular blog proves, a vote for Nan Rich is a vote for Rick Scott.

    Charlie Crist’s record as a republican is irrelevant. What is truly relevant is that he is a democrat now committed to the values and ideology of our party.

    Kartik and Justin keep bringing up Crist’s record. It does not matter. As a Republican he was forced into positions he doesn’t need to take anymore.

    More serious is when Democrats who are Democrats in the legislature vote the wrong way on things. Let us see how the vouchers and gun votes go in the next few days over on the Senate side. The House Democrats have already done enough damage this session siding with the NRA let us see if the Senate Democrats do the same and side with Jeb Bush also.

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    1. We all hope Governor Crist has come around to our side on the issues that matter most to Floridians. He is doing great on Health Care for instance. But his record is undeniable and it is difficult to take seriously the constant rationalization by some on here that he did what he did in the past simply because he was a Republican. So essentially it is claiming he had ZERO personal convictions as a Republican but since becoming a Democrat he will stay on the straight and narrow because he is comfortable with the ideology of the left. Somehow that simply does not wash and is completely illogical. I realize we have a lot of younger people in our party that did not follow Crist’s tenure in the State Senate or as Attorney General and maybe caught just the last year or two of his Governorship. He did have a certain pragmatism, but by and large his calculations were entirely political. Certainly it can be argued that is better than Scott or Bush both of whom tended to be more ideological, but to simply believe he is now a good Democrat takes a real stretch of logic.

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    2. Charlie is for Charlie.He will say or do whatever it takes to get ahead. Unless of course there is money involved. Then he is for sale to the highest bidder.

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  2. forced into positions? Crist was never forced into anything. His record is relevant, and by continually denying that fact, you are in for a rude awakening.

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    1. Dems in 14 · · Reply

      If Crist loses to Scott all of you idealist activists, this website and the handful of lobbyists and elected officials propping up Nan Rich will be held responsible.

      To blow this election would be unforgivable. If we blow it we can thank all these phony divisions AstroTurf supporters of Nan Rich.

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      1. Charlie is done. Greer, Rothstein and Sargeant. Time to elect a progressive women.

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      2. Dems in Action · ·

        IF Crist wins the primary and he loses to Scott don’t blame Nan Rich supporters. It will be because no one believes he is a Democrat. He has no values except for himself.

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  3. Floridian · · Reply

    Crist’s positions on abortion were never defined. He vetoed a bill Scott signed a year later. He is a Democrat. All this Nan Rich talk is hurting our chances. We will not win this fall if Rich and her loud supporters persist in this futile suicide missions.

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    1. Your repetition of Charlie’s talking points give you no credibility whatsoever.

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    2. Nan’s supporters will get the vote out. Let’s all support a true blue honest Democrat.

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  4. The mere fact you’d suggest a veto which would help the Governor shows your loyalty is not to the Democrats.

    We need him to sign this bill doing a big signing ceremony with the Christian Right in attendance and then play those ads statewide.

    That is how we play this, not giving this evil man unsolicited political advice.

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    1. So the health and welfare of Florida’s female population is less important than scoring political points???

      No wonder the Democrats keep losing with these sorts of insulting attitudes.

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    2. You are the problem with the Democratic party. Blind allegiance and willing to sacrifice someone else’s rights for your cause.

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  5. Our chances are being hurt because we’re probably nominating a man who doesn’t stand for anything. Democratic base voters stayed home in 2010 because they didn’t know what our party stood for. When you nominate someone like Crist, you’re further confusing them.

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  6. I find the silence on Crist’s choice record among democrats defeaning and problematic.

    So much for a war on women.

    I will never vote for Rick Scott but if the demos nominate Crist I may just skip the Governors race.

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  7. This is a great article and properly articulated why a lot of us women do not see a dimes worth of difference between these two men.

    Vote for a real progressive, vote Nan Rich!

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  8. Concerned Democrat · · Reply

    Great piece and premise.

    CharLIE has a record he must live with and defend.

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  9. Democratic leadership in the Tampa Bay Area appear to be set on Crist……St. Pete is his home town….it’s important that his votes and stance on the issues are noted, since people have amnesia…. supporting someone with the ethics and integrity of Scott is troubling…..and that the choice is to settle for the lesser of the two is sad….which won’t work when folks stay home. ……unfortunately, the system is rigged, money plays a tremendous roll….. Is our Representation a reflection of the people they represent?

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  10. Broward Bob · · Reply

    Only one Democrat has ANY chance of beating Scott. And that Democrat pees standing up.

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    1. That’s not what I heard. LOL…………Broward Bob, you are quite the debater. Give Charlie some lessons.

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    2. Dems in Action · · Reply

      That was so sexist you should be taken out and flogged.

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  11. Beat Rick Scott · · Reply

    These sorts of posts must be paid for by the RPOF.

    Crist is our man. The sooner you guys realize the better our shot of returning progressive leadership to the state.

    This Nan Rich thing is nasaueating and her campaign is being backed by Republican interests.

    Why are the republicans so scared of Crist? They know he will shake up the apple cart. They know the state changes and their corporate pals are out of luck the day he becomes governor.

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    1. You are so wrong. You have no clue.

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  12. Monty K · · Reply

    You all are pretty dumb. You are crying how we should not discuss Crist’s record because then he wont beat Scott. Scott will tear him to pieces and FDP will still blame Nan. Looks like Nan Rich has bigger balls than Crist. I mean ovaries. It is really scary for the boys club (even the dumb ladies that think Crist ok) The reality is this. It is the issues so stay stupid and you will get what you have been getting. Winning 7% of state elections because you stand for NOTHING. Crist you also owe the money for the following:
    Mendelsohn
    Rothstein
    Sargeant
    Greer
    Should we go on. Hey seniors vote for the guy that helped your ponzi taker! Fucking idiots.

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  13. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/30/4088964/crist-leads-gov-scott-by-10-points.html

    I was wondering the Squeeze’s take? Could this be an election where all the money being spent makes no difference. You’ve already had an outside “progressive” group take shots at Gov. Crist and the huge ad buys by Gov. Scott. Yet it seems that voters like and dislike who they already know, and money spent just won’t move the dial.

    I know some people will “unskew” the poll, but it just seems the current governor is stuck in the low 40’s, while the former govenor has a higher floor (how high is up for debate).

    Also Squeeze crew, has anyone seen any dem primary polls? It seems with numbers like those in a general election that at this rate it seems the Democratic primary would only be a bit more competitive than the Republican primary. Do you think Republicans attempt to try to play in the Dem primary to weaken Crist or has that ship sailed for them? Are progressives really motivated to beat Crist in a primary, or is it just a small vocal sliver you see on websites?

    Excellent blog Fla. Squeeze.

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  14. You keep pushing this primary for Governor yet are unwilling to accept that some Democratic legislators need primaries. You told a little birdie recently paraphrasing “I do not think any Democrat in either chamber needs a primary.” This was after the majority of the House Democrats voted against Medicaid Expansion.
    It is a dangerous thing that so many look to this website for leadership rather than the party. You have a responsibility to be more responsible. This is not fun and games. People read this site and all you give them is slanted propaganda that serves certain trouble makers throughout the state.

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