Gov. Rick Scott's leadership hasn't given Floridians much to celebrate. He's the most unpopular governor in America, and his poll numbers don't appear to be getting any better. But Democrats see a silver lining in the dark cloud. Scott's deep unpopularity gives them renewed electoral hope. In fact, there's already talk about who will take on Scott in 2014. One surprising name that is apparently coming up: Charlie Crist.
Florida Democrats gathered in Broward County Saturday night for their annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraiser gala, and according to multiple reports, the mood seemed absolutely jubilant.
"He's our number one supporter. What would we do without him?'' Ron Mills, president of the Dolphin Democrats club of South Florida, told the St. Pete Times of Scott. "You see the energy here? That's thanks to Rick Scott. We didn't have that in 2010."
Potential 2014 hopefuls were there to hobnob.
Alex Sink, who narrowly lost to Scott last year, was there. She's made it a point to stay active in Democratic circles, and a recent poll taken in March showed she would trounce Scott by 20 points if the governor's race was held then.
So were other possible candidates, such as former Miami Beach state Sen. Dan Gelber and Broward state Sen. Jeremy Ring (a former Yahoo.com executive).
Charlie Crist himself didn't take time out of his busy schedule of ambulance chasing, but apparently he was there in spirit. Steve Schale, the guy who ran Obama's 2008 operation in Florida and worked on Sink's campaign, thinks Crist might have a chance if he became an official Democrat to take on Scott in 2014.
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"Charlie Crist is the wild card in this whole thing," Schale told the St. Pete Times. "It's hard to say how Democrats would react to Crist switching parties, but if he was thinking about it, I think he would find a base of support."
Crist is a guy of great ambition and, in contrast to Scott, had extraordinarily high approval ratings during most of his single term. We could easily envision him being tempted to jump into politics again, and in a matchup against Scott, he'd easily come away the victor. But he'd have to get through a Democratic primary first, and the guy just doesn't seem to have good luck in partisan primaries.