Former FL Senator Nan Rich pushes gubernatorial bid in Tampa
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06/21/13 Janelle Irwin
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Former Florida Senator Nan Rich, a Democrat, isn’t getting much traction within her own party in her bid for governor against Rick Scott. During a Tampa Tiger Bay luncheon Friday, the South Florida progressive said her low name recognition across the state isn’t going to hold her back.

Three other Democrats have declared candidacy in the gubernatorial election, but none have a resume likely to stand up against potential primary contenders like Charlie Crist and Alex Sink. Nan Rich was recently denied the opportunity to speak at a Florida Democratic Party event. The Republican Party of Florida came to Rich’s defense, but just Friday released a press release condemning her as a progressive liberal. Rich said it’s all just part of the political game.

Before being introduced to the non-partisan political club at the Straz Center, Rich was jokingly asked if she planned on bringing Lenny Curry, chair of the Republican Party of Florida, on as her publicist.

A Tampa criminal justice lawyer, Adam Bantner, considers himself a conservative. He said he understands the strategy behind publicizing Rich’s bid against Scott, but doesn’t necessarily agree with it.

Former gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink has said she will make a decision about whether or not she will run again by September. When asked how she would beat Sink in a primary, Rich touted her experience as a state lawmaker.

She continued with claims that her voting record on gun control legislation sets her apart from other would-be contenders. That includes her consistent ‘F’ ranking from the National Rifle Association.

Some strategists claim the strongest democratic candidates are moderate and tend to emerge from the I4 corridor. Rich lacks much of the name recognition carried by Charlie Crist and Alex Sink, but where she lives and how well she’s known isn’t something Rich said she’s prepared to let get in the way.

Rich said she wants to run, and win, for governor because of Rick Scott’s failed first term. She blasted the Republican governor for turning down federal dollars for high speed rail, funding for senior in home care programs and most recently, the legislature’s failure to approve any sort of Medicaid expansion. She said even though Scott eventually came out in favor of expanding the state’s program, it wasn’t enough.

Rich plans to capitalize on her head start against other Democrats who may join the race by continuing to tour the state to boost her name recognition. She’ll be in Volusia County Saturday morning for a breakfast with other Democrats.





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