As exciting as a run by Charlie Crist for Governor would be, it just wouldn’t be good for newspaper sales if Crist walked into the Democratic nomination. Hence this morning’s must-read from Adam Smith about “oh-so-quietly, veteran Democratic fundraisers and strategists across Florida worry about another scenario: A Charlie Crist train wreck that would ensure a second term for one of America’s most vulnerable Republican governors.”
“It’s a difficult sell for a candidate who was governor, who left governor to run to be the Republican senator, to now come back and say he wants to be the Democratic governor,” said former Florida Democratic Party chairman Rod Smith. “Charlie Crist may very well be able to explain that to people’s satisfaction, but it becomes the focus of the campaign. … As soon as the election becomes focused on the challenger, rather than the incumbent, I think the challenger is in trouble.”
“I know Gov. Crist has had a spiritual journey and has found many of his past positions are not positions he now feels comfortable with. However, that journey is a public record and it is something we will have to defend if he is our nominee,” said Mitchell Berger, a top Democratic fundraiser and lawyer from Fort Lauderdale.
Miami businessman Chris Korge, another of Florida’s top Democratic fundraisers, said, “Bill Nelson is the 800-pound gorilla, and nobody could beat him in a primary if he were to run. Until Bill declares unequivocally that he is not going to do it, it gives a lot of people an excuse to sit on the sidelines.”
Perhaps the most interesting quote is from John Morgan, who Smith reports is one of the major Democratic fundraisers who originally asked Nelson to run for Governor.
“It would certainly make my life easier,” Morgan said of Nelson running, noting that Nelson ran for governor in 1990 but lost the primary after then-Sen. Lawton Chiles entered the race. “I said to Bill, ‘Lawton did it to you, and wouldn’t you rather be an executive than a senator?’ I believe that Bill Nelson is one of our great politicians ever.”
Of course, there’s still a large faction of the Democratic party which wishes to see Alex Sink run.
“Charlie Crist seems to be the hot commodity, but there are donors that are still very excited about Alex. I just had one the other day say to me, ‘Let me know as soon as she decides because I want to help,’ ” said Justin Day, 32, of Tampa who raised money for Sink in 2010 and in 2012 raised more money for Barack Obama than anyone else in the country under age 40.
Smith then goes on to lay out what he thinks will be the GOP’s line of attack against Crist. Of course, Smith has thought for two years that the Jim Greer scandal would be Crist’s Achilles Heal and we can now see how wrong Smith is about that prediction.