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The Invisible Nan

August 4, 2013 - 6:00pm

Nan Rich made headlines when FDLE shut her out of the Dream Defenders' weekend protest against Stand Your Ground at the Florida Capitol. But when she actually showed up at the protest, got into the building anyway, the media didnt really want to know.

The media, the donors, the voters never seem to want to know about this candidate who has given her all but gotten so little back. Surely it's getting near quitting time for Nan Rich.

The only officially declared gubernatorial candidate for 2014, Rich had months of time to get publicity on issues she deemed important and months of time to get voters on her side. Yet she remains essentially invisible in Florida politics.

Nan Rich served as a senator for eight years, from 2004-2012, and was even Senate minority leader. Yet, shes still struggling to gain notoriety in a race that is soon to be filled with political giants.

Rich has been fighting for recognition since she jumped into the governors race more than a year ago. So far, not a single member of her party has joined her to challenge Gov. Rick Scott and despite her effort, not a single Democrat of consequence supports her.

She was shut out of one of the most important Democratic events of the year, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner; her fundraising has been weak at best. In a National Review story last month, Scott said he expected to have $25 million in the bank by the end of the year to use "in early 2014 to define my opponent."

As of mid-July, Rich had raised slightly more than $160,350 in cash, relied on more than $34,800 through in-kind donations and spent more than $101,100 -- leaving her with around $59,000 in the bank -- a wilting number compared to Scotts.

Nan Rich clearly is secondary to Florida Democratic leadership. Even though they put her in a recent poll as ahead of Rick Scott, they mention her only in the context that even she could beat the governor, which appeared just to prove how beatable Rick Scott is, not how valuable Rich is.

She may have flip-flopped on the Stand Your Ground law in 2005, but Nan Rich attempts to take current issues and runs with them. She wants people to know where she stands and she wants to gather more support.

Meanwhile, Charlie Crist has been conspicuously absent from Florida politics and remained silent for weeks on the controversial Stand Your Ground law until he finally made a comment. But even despite his absence, big-time politicians like John McCain say hes still the one to watch come 2014.

"There are a lot of people who thought he did a good job when he was governor," McCain told the Tampa Bay Times in July. "Everything I hear from my friends in Florida is, he's going to be very competitive."

Nan Rich doesnt get mentions from big names like John McCain. Her struggle is ongoing. The average Floridian doesnt know her name, and despite her best efforts to stand out, she has become another face in the political-world crowd. With diminishing funds and heavy-hitting opponents on the horizon, Rich finds herself essentially invisible, and seems to only be biding her time until she is forced to take herself out of the gubernatorial race.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at

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