Democrats Are Trying to Draft Medical Pot Architect John Morgan for Governor

Public polls show wide support for Florida's latest medical pot push, but a GOP fundraising developer has vowed to defeat it.
Public polls show wide support for Florida's latest medical pot push, but a GOP fundraising developer has vowed to defeat it.

Florida Democratics haven't won a governor's race since 1994. Yet they've been totally unwilling to invent a new strategy to change that streak. For the past four elections, like clockwork, the party has nominated a milquetoast Tampa-area centrist. And for the past four cycles, they've all lost.

Almost everyone agrees the Dems need to try something different in 2018 if they have any hope of retaking Tally. And some Democratic consultants are now pushing a candidate who would certainly shake up the status quo: John Morgan, the outspoken — and very wealthy — attorney who bankrolled the successful push to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Ben Pollara, the consultant who ran the Amendment 2 campaign, sent an email to the group's supporters this morning asking them to sign a petition urging Morgan to run.

"If there's one lesson to be learned from Tuesday night's election, it's that people want change," Pollara tells New Times. "They're sick of the status quo. They elected Trump to blow up the status quo."

In some ways, Morgan could be the left's answer to the model that Rick Scott used to twice win the governor's mansion. He's an outsider with immense personal wealth that he could channel into his campaign, and he's already energized his base with Amendment 2's resounding victory Tuesday.

Morgan, for those unfamiliar, runs Morgan & Morgan, the nation's largest personal injury law firm. That firm, incidentally, employs none other than Charlie Crist, the Dems' last failed candidate for governor.

Pollara says he's received a good response from Dems looking for some reason to hope their party could make a statewide impact after a catastrophic day at the polls last week.

"The feedback I've gotten since this thing broke at 6 a.m. this morning is overwhelming," he says. "People are not particularly excited about our prospects in 2018. The prohibitive favorite is probably Gwen Graham, who has served a single term in Congress. That's got people nervous. They know John; they know he has the money and the passion. I think it's exciting."

Morgan would certainly not be milquetoast, in case you've forgotten his infamous F-bomb-dropping campaign appearance in 2014.

But would he want to do it?

"He laughed, and he didn't say no," Pollara says. "If he had told me, 'Don't do this; don't light this match,' I wouldn't have. He didn't. I'm hopeful that we can push him to do something."


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