Consider this a public service announcement. You might want to think about disconnecting your home telephone for the next year or so, especially if you are among the more than 2.6 million registered voters in Florida who declared no party affiliation.
That is, of course, unless you don’t mind multiple phone calls at suppertime from extremely sincere people telling you:
A: Charlie Crist/Rick Scott is ...
B: Wonderful/horrible and ...
C: It will all be better if you vote for ...
D: Charlie Crist/Rick Scott
Yeah, I know Crist hasn’t even won the Democratic primary, so technically he is running against fellow Democrat Nan Rich for the right to oppose Scott in next year’s general election.
Crist made his candidacy official Monday with a rally in St. Petersburg. Since everyone with the possible exception of a few stray Martians knew he was running, the announcement didn’t carry the same mouth-dropped-open surprise as, say, the Bucs taking a 21-point lead Sunday at Seattle. But it’s good to get these moving, and now Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie is officially on the trail.
Here are a few things to consider before our mailboxes get stuffed with campaign fliers and our phones melt from robocalls.
Our state has about 500,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans — give or take a voter purge or two. Democrats are particularly strong in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties. Those counties overwhelmingly voted against Crist in 2006 when he ran as a Republican against Jim Davis, and Rich does have support there. Crist will likely spend a lot of time down there in the next year, mending fences and trying to ram home the message that he is not Scott.
Take his campaign mantra, for instance: The People’s Governor.
It’s makes a clever contrast with the man Crist has to beat. Scott came to Tallahassee promising to run the state as a business, only to find Florida is not a business. Florida is people with varying interests and needs. The same bully club Scott could wield in the business world to get his way produced plummeting poll numbers in the world of politics.
Scott, of course, will keep repeating his one-word mantra over, and over, and over, and over, and over again: JOBS!
He may be one of the nation’s most unpopular governors (JOBS!) and his heavy-handed dealings with teachers (JOBS!) and state employees (JOBS!) is likely not to be forgotten by those groups. But the man who rode “Let’s Get To Work” to the governor’s mansion has an improving JOBS! market in his favor, and that will matter a lot.
Both men have flipped positions more times than an Olympic gymnast, so it could really come down to whether Crist’s general likability can sway more voters than JOBS!
We won’t know for a year, which is an eternity in politics.
Put another way, that’s at least a few hundred phone calls from sincere people with a special message, just for you. It’s OK to be afraid.