Former state Sen. Nancy Argenziano is joining the Reform Party’s gubernatorial ticket as the running mate for Darcy Richardson.
The Richardson campaign announced on Thursday that Argenziano was being added to the ticket. First elected to the Florida House as a Republican in 1996, Argenziano moved to the Senate in 2002 and was appointed by then Gov. Charlie Crist to the Public Service Commission (PSC) which she chaired in 2009. In 2010, she left the PSC to campaign for state CFO Alex Sink and against Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott. She ran for Congress without party affiliation at the start of the 2012 election cycle but opted to run for the state House instead that election cycle, running wit no party affiliation but losing against Republican Jimmie Smith.
On Thursday, Argenziano weighed in why she was joining the Reform Party ticket.
“Given the state of our democracy, is there any question we need to make major reforms? I am certain Darcy is up to the task,” said Argenziano. “When Darcy asked me if I wouldn’t mind getting back in the trenches, given the state of America and Florida in particular, I said yes -- of course!”
“Nancy’s record speaks for itself, she has been a champion for Florida consumers and is going to be an incredible asset for our campaign," said Richardson. “Cleaning up the corruption in Tallahassee is no small job. As our next lieutenant governor, Nancy Argenziano will be the special interests’ worst nightmare.
“I am deeply humbled that Nancy Argenziano has agreed to join the Reform Party ticket as our candidate for Lieutenant Governor,” added Richardson. “We are building a powerful coalition of former Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and independents to challenge the status quo. Together we are going to give millions of forgotten Floridians a fighting chance for a better future!”
“We have learned that the two‐party system just doesn’t work for most average Floridians anymore,” insisted Joseph Wendt, the chairman of the Reform Party of Florida. “Voters are tired of politicians that line their own pockets with lobbyist dollars. They are tired of candidates from the extreme right and the extreme left. The Richardson/Argenziano ticket represents a genuine opportunity for Florida voters to take back their state government.”
Richardson, who lives in Jacksonville,is a familiar name to many activists and political junkies across the nation. Besides serving as the campaign manager for former U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy’s, D-Minn., independent presidential campaign in 1988, Richardson is an expert on third-party politics, having written a multivolume history on them and he also writes in various media outlets.
In 2016, Richardson ran for the Reform Party’s presidential nomination but he came up short at the convention, losing to businessman Rocky de la Fuente who has run in more than a half dozen states in various U.S. Senate contests this year. On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott routed de la Fuente in the Republican U.S. Senate primary.
Back in 2010, economist and gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari tapped Richardson as his running mate as they ran with no party affiliation. Richardson took on President Barack Obama in the 2012 Democratic primaries but ended up dropping out to support former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer’s short lived presidential bid outside of the major parties which included seeking the Reform Party nod.
From having backed Ross Perot, Roemer and Ralph Nader, Richardson is no stranger to the Reform Party . After Roemer ended his presidential bid in 2012, Richardson sought the party nomination and, after losing out to de la Fuente in 2016, he did encourage supporters to back the Reform Party.
The party had some highs back in the late 1990s with Perot almost taking 10 percent on its line in the 1996 presidential election and Jesse Ventura winning the Minnesota governorship as a Reform Party candidate in 1998. But party factionalism and in-fighting limited its impact as the party swang to the right to nominate Pat Buchanan in 2000 only to swing over to the left to back Nader four years later. Some of its more recent presidential candidates--Ted Weill in 2008 and Andre Barnett in 2012--each pulled in less than 1,000 votes but De La Fuente pulled more than 33,000 votes last time out.
On Tuesday, the Democrats nominated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and the Republicans nominated U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., as their gubernatorial nominees.