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Nancy Smith

Florida Democrats Are Still Retreading Their Losers

September 11, 2011 - 6:00pm

Don't look now, but here comes another Democrat loser looking to choke off party competition in the 2014 election or at the very least grab a seat at the table.

No kidding, people. Can the majority of registered Democrats possibly be happy with Alex Sink right now?

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich gets with the News Service of Florida, floats a trial balloon announcing her interest in running for governor in 2014, and barely two days later, up pops Sink.

The 2010 failed gubernatorial candidate circulates a hey-dont-forget-about-me press release announcing the launch of something she calls the Florida Next Foundation.

Florida Next, Sink explains, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, communications and research organization that I have created to gather the best ideas from everyday Floridians, small-business owners, and entrepreneurs."

Way to stake your claim, Alex.

"Florida Next will use an aggressive platform focusing on interactive social networking, in-person policy forums around the state, opinion polling and online surveys, to reach as broad an audience as possible so Floridians can share their ideas, concerns and aspirations."

Meanwhile, Rich is seeing firsthand that bringing a fresh message -- hers includes education and human services -- doesn't count for diddley. Old horses dont like new ones anywhere near their pasture.

And, as the party's highest ranking loser, Sink gets first refusal anyway. Watch Democratic Party leadership -- including Chairman Rod Smith, Sink's 2010 running mate and co-loser -- block Rich's path to the governor's mansion until Sink decides if she wants to take another shot.

Florida Dems have run the husband-wife combo of Sink and Bill McBride in two of the last three gubernatorial elections. And voters aren't biting. Voters want to see the next course; they want a big-time energy injection.

Unfortunately, press corps opinion writers -- the guys who went nearly 100 percent for Sink in 2010 -- aren't doing their party any favors by ignoring the retreads they've got in the governor's race. I believe that if it were Jeb Bush and his wife who had run and lost, the press would have written a thousand copy feet on how the whole family had been soundly rejected by the voters and they should ponder life on a remote island so as not to infect the citizens.

Said Rich, 69, last week, "I feel I have experience and the passion and the commitment I've focused a lot on education and children's issues, and senior services, and I feel those things are still extremely important and they should be the focus of the state."

Her message might not exactly resonate with the Florida electorate, but at least with Nan Rich, the Dems would be hitting the road with fresh rubber. It would be a start. And if somebody better comes along, so be it. But for heaven's sake, isn't it time to ask "Bill and Alex Sink" to keep their Gubernatorial Grand Prix parked in the garage this cycle?

This is an opinion column: Reach Nancy Smith at or at (850) 727-0859.

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