I must admit the various postmortems on Governor Crist’s loss on Tuesday to Rick Scott have been interesting. The discussion of Scott’s North Florida strategy and the Crist campaign’s progressive messaging costing the former Governor the region (which Alex Sink did far better in) is being discussed – though I believe this is a canard and that any emphasis on North Florida for the Democrats is largely a waste. Another talking point is the poor “coordinated campaign” efforts in the larger counties. This is a more valid issue. Yet another talking point is about Crist’s “baggage.” I suppose this worked with some voters though comparing Charlie Crist’s “baggage” to Rick Scott and the Republicans outright corruption was disingenuous but seems to have had an impact on the electorate (On this note, it should be recalled that all of Crist’s issues with cronyism came while he was a Republican, playing ball with lobbyists and monied interests in the way the RPOF always does). The barrage of negative ads and the ineffective yet expensive campaign efforts by some progressive groups also were factors in Crist’s defeat.
One takeaway from my electoral experience this cycle was the disengagement of some Hispanic voters along the I-4 corridor and southeast Florida. President Obama’s decision to punt on Immigration Reform until after the election in order to try to save some red state Democrats in the US Senate perhaps was directly responsible for Charlie Crist’s defeat. The lower turnout than needed for Crist in Broward, Miami-Dade, Osceola and Orange Counties can be directly tied to the drop in Hispanic turnout from 2012, In 2012, Hispanics made up an estimated 17% of Florida’s electorate but in 2014 they made up only 13%
It is worth noting however, that Crist’s efforts to run a progressive urban area based campaign saw him win Hispanics by 20 points statewide. In 2010, Alex Sink had barely carried the Hispanic vote.
Obama’s immigration punt is worth considering as a cause for Governor Crist’s defeat.