While the Washington Post reports that Florida Democrats are "desperate for a winner," it is worth noting that Bill Nelson managed to win another term in the U.S Senate last year.
Still, the assessment is essentially correct. Here's a look at some of the early reporting about Charlie Crist's announcement today that he is running for governor as a Democrat against Tea Party Republican Rick Scott.
Florida Democrats are desperate for a winner because they have lost their previous four attempts at the governor’s mansion – including in 2006 to Crist. They have essentially no power in Tallahassee. With Crist, a relatively popular figure, the Democrats begin their race with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of image-making already in the bag. - Peter Wallsten, Washington Post
Get ready for the second coming of Crist. When Charlie Crist stepped to the microphones Monday in St. Petersburg, he instantly changd the dynamics of Florida politics and set in motion a 52-week campaign that could end up making history: a former governor who switches parties and attempts to unseat his successor. - Anthony Man, Sun Sentinel
Get ready for the most-negative Florida governor's race we've ever seen. Yes, we could probably say that every year. But this time it will likely be disproportionately nasty. - Marc Caputo, Miami Herald.
In declaring his candidacy, Crist rolled out a Democratic platform promising increased spending for education and infrastructure and a broad new commitment to renewable energy programs. But he also harkened to his old Republican roots, declaring, "I do believe in cutting taxes," and pledging a new cabinet-level position to promote trade. - Scott Powers, Orlando SentinelCrist spoke from a lectern on a small, black stage, facing north, with an American flag, a Florida flag and a huge sign that says THE PEOPLE'S GOVERNOR in white letters on a blue backdrop. -Adam Smith, Tampa Bay Times
Many state Republicans hold a personal grudge after Crist left the party in 2010 to run for U.S. Senate as an independent. He made that party switch after it became clear he was likely going to lose to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican primary.Soime GOP donors asked for their campaign contributions back, but Crist never gave refunds. - Matt Dixon, Florida Times Union
Charlie Crist was a failure as Governor and is a pure political opportunist who is out for himself. Under Crist, Florida lost over 800,000 jobs, saw their unemployment rate surge from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent, and experienced a budgetary crisis that left the state sinking faster and faster. - Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal, chairman of Republican Governors Association.
Gov. Rick Scott's campaign committee did not waste any time going on the attack. Scott's political committee - Let's Get to Work - is going on the air Monday at the same time Charlie Crist is announcing the start of his 2014 campaign to take the keys to the governor's mansion away from Scott.
Predictably, the ad is using quotes from Democrats who opposed Crist while he was a Republican. After decades of running as a Republican for state Senate, U.S. Senate, Attorney General, Governor, and then as an independent for U.S. Senate, there is no shortage of Democrats questioning Crist's qualifications and stands on the issues.
Today, those same Democrats are in the odd position of viewing Crist as their champion. Tampa Bay Times political writer Adam Smith posted the GOP ad here.
Here is a transcript:
Democrat Alex Sink says: "He failed to layout a business plan to get Florida out of its worst recession."
Democratic chair Karen Thurman said: "He has done nothing to create jobs, his only core belief is personal ambition."
"He's an opportunist," says Tampa's Mayor Buckhorn.
Congressman Kendrick Meek said: "He can't be trusted."
Al Gore said: "It's a little unusual to have someone flip-flop and then flop-flip."
Who are they all talking about? This man, Charlie Crist.
Al Gore? Really? Why Gore?
Anyway, when Crowley Political Report spoke to Crist he seemed nonplused by all this. But his best omment may be what he said to the Associated Press.
"I'm looking forward to Monday and making it official in every way," Crist told the Associated Press Tallahassee Correspondent Brendan Farrington today. "I just hope that the message that we deliver will lift Florida's spirits and let her know that there's a brighter future tomorrow. And it's coming."
Bright or not....one thing is certain - the next 12 months are going to be hell on the campaign trail. This is gonna be ugly.
Hat tip to AP's Gary Fineout who first tweeted about Crist filing for election.
Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida, will annouce his candidacy in St. Petersburg at 10 a.m. Monday. Crist who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate as an independent is making an historic effort to run statewide for the third time 2006 - going from Republican, to independent and now Democrat.
Crist sounded enthusiatic during a phone call Thursday night about the coming campaign. Crist faces a potentional primary challenge from Nan Rich, but so far the former state senator has gained little traction.
Crist is likely to win the Democratic nomination. Republican Gov. Rick Scott's team certainly seems to think so. The incumbent has waged a steady campaign attacking Crist and Scott's campaign committee is talking about launching a wave of anti-Crist ads beginning Monday - right after Crist announces.
Here's a look at Crist's election file:
|2014 General Election
1 Beach Drive
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Well that didn't take long. Here's the Florida Republican Party's video responding to Charlie Crist's new campaign video "It's Not Working."
As often happens with Crist, the GOP offers a clip of Crist saying the opposite.
On July 1, 2005, Tom Gallagher appeared to be the early frontrunner in the race to win Florida's GOP nomination for governor.
On that day, his campaign announced a then record setting fundraising pace. Gallagher had collect $3.02 million in only 43 days. Even Jeb Bush had not raised money that fast in his campaigns for governor.
Gallagher campaign manager Brett Doster talked up the success with the media and Florida's political heavy weights. The message - the Gallagher train is leaving the station and you better hurry and get on board.
Florida's Chief Financial Officer appeared to have every reason to feel comfortable and his chief rival, Attorney General Charlie Crist, seemed to agree.
"It is well known that [Gallagher] knows how to raise money," Crist said in a statement. "I look forward to a campaign not just purchased on television but a real discussion of issues before the people of Florida."
On July 7, Crist made an announcement that changed all of the assumptions about the 2006 race for governor.
Crist said his campaign had raised $3.8 million is just six weeks making Crist the new fundraising champion.
Gallagher's campaign reeled from the announcement and never fully recovered.
This weekend, Crist will attend the Florida Democratic Party's statewide conference in Orlando. The newly minted Democrat is being hailed as the party's best chance to defeat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November.
Crist, in a new video released today, demonstrates his natural knack for appearing to care deeply about average Floridians. He also demonstrates his ability to find an opponent's weakness and capitalize on it.
Scott's tiresome slogan "It's Working" is flipped by Crist into a somber and concerned "It's Not Working."
Crist knows how to campaign. He has an ability to connect with individuals in a way that continues to elude Scott.
But while Scott may be sorely lacking in charisma, he has plenty of the other important campaign ingredient - money. He spent $70 million of his own dough in 2010. He is raising money this time and while he says he doesn't want to spend his own money again, be assured that Scott will write checks if that is what it takes to win.
The 50 million dollar question for Crist is - can he raise big money?
The fact is, no one knows. Crist has no experience raising money as a Democrat. A lot of his previous money sources won't pony up for him. Crist needs to find new donors.
Crist is expected to formally announce his campaign in November. If he does, he will need to report in January how much money he has raised in November and December.
He will need a very good showing to prove that he is a viable candidate.
Forget his lead in the polls. Forget his charm. Forget his winning campaign style.
None of that will matter if Crist does not have the money to compete in a very large and very expensive media state.
If Democrats really want Crist to win, they are going to have to open their checkbooks.
That is first and most important test of the 2014 campaign.
No one knows that better than Tom Gallagher - and Charlie Crist.
"It's not working." That is the backhand slap Charlie Crist gives Gov. Rick Scott in what is clearly the official, unofficial start of Crist's Democratic campaign for governor.
In addition to the video Crist has launched a website CharlieCrist.com.
Much of the video is classic Crist. "I worked to be the people's governor every day. You the people were in charge."
Crist then starts blistering Scott:
"I'm an optimist, but let's face it the last few years have been tough. Government on the fringes, donors and politics above you, the people."
Crist goes on with a litany of problems then says - "It's not working. Only you the people can end this nonsense and get us back to common sense."
See the video below:
This morning Democrat George Sheldon announced he is running for Florida Attorney General. The Republican Party of Florida responds:
STATEMENT FROM RPOF CHAIRMAN LENNY CURRY: “In his candidacy announcement for Attorney General, George Sheldon has proven to be just like the rest of the Florida Democratic Party: offering no positive policy agenda for Floridians. Sheldon is already doing what Washington politicians seem to do best: do little, accomplish even less, but always attack your opponent. Meanwhile, Attorney General Pam Bondi fights for Floridians every day, whether it be against the overreach of the federal government or against criminals who seek to harm our children, our job creators and our seniors.”
Pam Bondi has staked out some interesting political ground during her first three years as Florida Attorney General.
She was the lead attorney in the lawsuit attempting to declare Obamacare unconstitutional. She lost.
Bondi was forced to apologize after cancelling the execution of killer Marshall Lee Gore because the execution date conflicted with a political fundraiser she was having.
She added Florida's name to a tough Arizona immigration law that she felt needed Florida's support in the courts. Bondi opposes gay marriage although she has not taken any action beyond restating her objection.
This would seem to make Bondi ripe for Democratic opposition next year. But up until today, the Democrats appeared to have difficulty finding a candidate.
Now they have one - George Sheldon, 66, who has served in a wide variety of capacities in Tallahassee and Washington. He is resigning, effective immediately, from his current post as Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.
Sheldon began his career working for then state Sen. Reubin Askew. He was elected to the state House in 1974 and left in 1982. In 2000, Sheldon ran for education commissioner against then-Republican Charlie Crist. Sheldon lost. Two years later, Sheldon ran for attorney general and lost in the Democratic primary to Buddy Dyer (now Orlando Mayor). Crist defeated Dyer.
Could Sheldon have a Crist jinx?
He may find out when Crist finally announces that he is a candidate for governor.
Meanwhile, Bondi has handed the Democrats some clear issues to use in the 2014 campaign. The best thing she may have going for her right now is that the Democratic Party is a shadow of its former self.
It's been a long time since Democrats have dominated statewide.
Here's Sheldon's announcement:
"This past Friday I officially resigned as Assistant Secretary for the United States Department of Health and Human Services and today I am announcing my candidacy for Attorney General for Florida.
As Deputy Attorney General for Bob Butterworth I know the potential that office holds for protecting our families and taking on any one or any corporation that would threaten us.
Taking on predatory lenders, human traffickers, and those who engage in deceptive practices is the job of the Attorney General…not working full time trying to deny health insurance to children and anyone with preexisting conditions.
This race is about character. Who has the experience and character to use the office of attorney general for general good rather than as a personal, political, partisan platform.
I hope you agree that my experience in Florida’s Attorney General office, serving as Secretary of Children and Families in Florida, and as Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of Health and Human Services allows me to serve as Florida’s Attorney General.
I’m proud that children and families have been in my job title for almost a decade and that protecting has been a job description.
It is time to restore integrity in the Attorney General office. Together we can do it. I ask for your vote, your help, your time and your prayers. Together we can restore character to the office of attorney general. "
Florida Congressman Bill Young, who served in the U.S. House of Represenatives for 42 years and as a state senator for 10 years, died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He was 82.
Young recently shocked his home district - Pinellas County - by announcing on Oct. 9, that he would not run for reelection.
Congressman Young's death follows the loss in September of retired Congressman E. Clay Shaw, who like Young was prominent and power Republican in the House of Representatives.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Andrew Meacham has written an excellent story marking Young's passing. Many will be surprised at some of the details of Youngs life - particularly his childhood. The story is here.
This is the Young family statement:
“U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (FL-13) passed away this evening at The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the company of his family. The cause of death was complications related to a chronic injury. Information on services will be forthcoming.”
Speaker John Boehner - The House has lost another dear friend http://j.mp/1bGHe5g We'll miss Bill Young, as will countless others blessed by his life & service
Florida Agriculture Commission Adam Putnam who served with Young in the House - FL lost a statesmen tonight, in every sense of the word. Ppl will say they don't make 'em like Bill Young anymore. Truth is they never did.
Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis - Tonight, we lost a great leader & an even better friend. "Chairman" will be remembered for his pure/honest leadership
John Harwood, reporter MSNBC/NYTimes - RIP Bill Young & thx for serving America more than 4 decades as House member from St. Petersburg (where I started covering him 35 yrs ago)
Charlie Crist - My prayers are with the family of Congressman Bill Young. He served our county, state and country with distinction.
Congressman Vern Buchanan - Bill Young was a mentor. He was an inspiration to so many bc he personified the most important virtue of public service-he did it for others
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi - RIP Cong Bill Young. An advocate for veterans and Tampa Bay, and a great Floridian. Keeping Beverly and the Young family in my prayers.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio - Floridians have lost one of the greatest public servants we’ve ever had in our state’s history.