Demos Can’t Count Rick Scott Out Yet



After Barack Obama’s victory in Florida this month, the Democrats have turned their guns on Gov. Rick Scott.

Wait a minute.

Despie his low standing in the polls, shoving Scott aside won’t be easy.

Two reasons quickly come to mind:

  • Democrats have no candidate to unify behind.
  • The turnout will be much less in 2014, an off-year election. Two years from now, the Obama turn-out-the-vote team and its money will have scattered to the wind.  There is no way to repeat the Democratic triumph of 2012.

Let’s look at the numbers.

The average turnout for off-year elections in Broward has been 50.49 percent since 1986.  That compared with an average turnout of 70.41 percent in Broward since 1986 in presidential election years.

That’s a 20 percent drop-off, or more than 200,000 voters who stay home.

Lower turnout usually means Democrats are at a disadvantage, according to numerous political scientists.

Democrats would have an easier time if they had a candidate.

Let’s look today’s field of Democrats:

  • Alex Sink, the former state Chief Financial Officer who lost the 2010 governor’s race after her husband Bill McBride lost in 2006.  Florida Trend this month called her campaign “lackluster” and states, “MSNBC branded her the year’s worst candidate.”
  • Nan Rich, the term-limited state Senator from Weston who is the only candidate who already announced for governor. She was the Legislature’s most prominent liberal, not a good sell across the state.  At 70, she is the oldest Democrat being mentioned. She is unknown outside of Broward and has had trouble raising money – roughly $150,000 so far compared with around $4.5 million for Scott’s Let’s Get To Work committee.
  • Dan Gelber, the former Miami-Dade state senator who lost a race for attorney general to Pam Bondi in 2010.  Despite running before, Gelber still is largely unknown around the state.  And he must carry the Miami-Dade tag, a definitely negative anywhere north of here.
  • Charlie Crist, the former Republican-turned-independent governor.  Having endorsed the president, Crist is already gathering elements of Obama’s campaign around him. But his fund raising won’t be able to tap the many Republicans who gave to him in the past. He is untested as a Democratic. So it is uncertain of his appeal in a Democratic primary since he was once a GOP conservative nicknamed “Chain Gang Charlie” for his support of punitive punishment for inmates.
  • Buddy Dyer, the mayor of Orlando since 2003 who served 10 years in the Florida Senate and lost a 2002 race for attorney general to Crist.  Dyer is from the right part of the state, the Interstate 4 corridor, but is unknown outside of Central Florida. He could be tagged as a champion of big government, having engineered the construction of a new sports’ facilities and the SunRail commuter rail.
  • Jack Seiler, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale who was in the Florida House eight years.  Seiler also is unknown and I would bet that a poll would show him in the single digits even in parts of Broward.  Still his moderate, pro-business positions and his calm stewardship of the city during the recent economic downturn is a plus.  Here is what Seiler says about the possibility of a race:


“I am still interested in running for Governor at some time.  Whether that is 2014 or 2018 is one of the decisions I need to consider and make over the next 3 months.  When considering the timing, the primary factors to be considered are the impact on my family (wife and 4 kids), the impact on the City, and the impact on my personal, political, and professional life.  Further, as Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, I have the benefit of being home almost every night with my family; I have a great job representing an awesome City; I get to address public policy on a daily basis; and, I have direct interaction and communication with our residents, businesses, and visitors.  Serving as Mayor Is truly an enjoyable and rewarding job, and I really would prefer to complete my term (in 2015) and continue to move Fort Lauderdale forward,” Seiler e-mailed

Could putting local-boy Seiler on the ticket pump up the Broward turnout?

Maybe, but probably not enough to make a difference statewide.

So it’s an uphill battle in a state that has recently been bright red in races for statewide office with few exceptions.

The Democrats do have one big factor in their favor:  Scott.

Very poor poll numbers, especially on education.

Democrats should remember that today’s poll numbers are meaningless tomorrow.  Scott has two years and all the power of the governor’s office to repair his image.

Plus his number one campaign promise, to improve the job picture, has been achieved. It is arguable whether the governor is responsible for any new jobs. He will take credit for them, however.

So it won’t be easy to beat Scott in two years.

It can be done…if the Democrats don’t mess it up.

That’s why I don’t have a tremendous amount of confidence.

Because the one thing the state Democrats have proven they can do well is….bungle elections.

13 Responses to “Demos Can’t Count Rick Scott Out Yet”

  1. OFA - Here To Stay!!! says:

    Florida Democrats turn their sights to defeating Rick Scott
    By Ernest Hooper, Metro Columnist
    In Print: Monday, November 12, 2012

    The Democratic National Committee’s ground game, Organizing For America, received a lot of credit for getting out the vote in Florida. But OFA is not done yet in the state.

    The group will now turn its attention to defeating Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. It already has held events to thank supporters and build enthusiasm for a defeat-Scott campaign. […]

    FROM BUDDY: Pipe dreams….

  2. That's Not All says:

    The above list of Democratic candidates omits the most likely possibility – Pam Iorio. She is honest & trustworthy, moderate, and always, always competent and professional.

    She will absolutely destroy Rick Scott, both in the debates and at the polls. Pam Iorio will be both Florida’s first female Governor and… Florida’s Best. Governor. Ever!!

    Disgusted by this week’s long lines at the polls, former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio says she is “getting to work” on election reform.

    Iorio, a Democrat who is mentioned as a possible candidate for governor, made the announcement via Facebook and Twitter.

    “Now with the election behind us, and with Florida still counting ballots I want to turn my attention to much-needed election reform,” wrote Iorio, who served three terms as Hillsborough County’s supervisor of elections and is a past president of the State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

    “After the 2000 election debacle we set out to improve technology and the laws so that Florida’s 67 counties could have standardized processes,” she added. “What I saw in the past four weeks has been a setback for our state. Inconsistent procedures amongst counties, a shortened window for early voting when clearly the customers (the voters) wanted and needed more time, and Election Day lines that stretched for hours. The last voter in Florida didn’t cast their ballot until after 1 a.m. This is the 21st century in the greatest country on Earth and people have to stand in line for eight hours to vote? This is wrong and it is time for a bipartisan solution. I’m getting to work.”

    […] Would Floridians give Crist another shot at the governor’s office? That may depend entirely on the undercard. For Rick Scott, Jennifer Carroll was first considered a sure-fire winner, but when a scandal involving allegations of sexual harassment on a female staffer by her arose, her stock dropped rapidly. Today, Carroll is a capable attack weapon, but that’s about all she’s been lately. For Florida Democrats, a Lt. Governor with substance, style and name recognition would be just what the doctor ordered.

    Enter former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.

    Nicknamed “Mayor Mommy” by radio pundits in the Tampa Bay area, Iorio has been rather mum about her intentions for 2014. Speculation has been flying as to whether she is considering running for the General Assembly, the U.S. Senate, or is going to toss her own hat into the ring for governor. To many, Iorio represents that elusive “happy medium” between liberals and conservatives which Florida voters tend to gravitate towards. Though some believe Iorio’s style to be heavy handed compared to her successor, the more relaxed Bob Buckhorn, even her critics agree that Iorio’s no-nonsense, professional demeanor is an asset that Florida Democrats should not overlook.

    David Colburn, director of the Reubin Askew Institute, had nothing but praise for the former mayor following a speech given by Iorio in Gainesville in February.

    “As a mayor of one of the most dynamic cities in Florida, I think she’s got an extraordinary perspective,” Colburn told the Gainesville Sun. […]

  3. christine says:

    I don’t know Buddy. I am a middle of the road Republican ( who did not vote for in the Presidential election cuz I wasn’t pleased with either Romney nor Obama), but when it came to governor last time out, I voted for Alex Sink. I am betting lots of Repubs, at this point, would vote for ANYBODY other than Scott.He just has such a yuck factor. I would LOVE it if Seiler ran, but could certainly understand his desire to postpone Tallahassee.

  4. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Here is one for you. Charlie Christ runs for Gov, has Mayor Seiler as Lt.Gov. Then you have the turn out you allude to. Mr.Crist has name recongntion, and will have the Democrats welcome Crist w/ open arms($$). Money will flow. As far as Jack Seiler running for Gov, I woul d like to see him replace US Sen. Bill Nelson. How does that sound. As far as Gov.Goober Scott-not a chance. Everyone both Democrats/Republicans think he is a red herring. Scott has more baggage than American Airlines. Disaster this Gov. has been for Florida. What else you gonna buy (70plus mill)since you basiclly bought your way into the Gov.Mansion.?? Stay put for now Mayor Seiler,trust me you will get there.PS-be nice to the civil service employees, they have been very good to my mother(enough said)…….You get it.I like Mayor Seiler but I had to stick up for these employees Jack, besides the majority don;t even live in Ft.Lau,but they certainly (via myself) got their point across(and how).

  5. Independent says:

    While Crist is a serious consideration, and depending upon his campaign might get might vote, my next choice would be Dyer with Seiler as Lt. Gov.

    Actually if it was Crist then Seiler or Dyer would be great choices for Lt. Gov.

    Rich, unfortunately, has no possible chance in Florida and Gelber would be difficult. Sink is a throwback.

  6. Plain Language says:

    Many hold a very inflated view of Jack Seiler. On the surface he is a super smart guy and without any doubt Jack has talent. But the more you work with him the quicker you realize he lacks the basic inner strengths leaders must have to make good governors.

    Seiler lacks loyalty because he is way too preoccupied with himself. Jack is a very self-centered person.

    He lacks courage and conviction because he doesn’t like controversy. Case in point, everybody knows Jack has no personal problem with gay marriage. But he refuses to take that stand. Jack thinks that behavior makes him a moderate politician who Democrats and Republicans will like. In reality it just makes him a mediocre leader because he lacks the ability to be loyal to his own sense of right and wrong.

    It’s not Jack’s education that is lacking. Jack simply lacks that inner core of strengths we should not cheat ourselves out of when it comes to electing a governor.

    He would be wise to keep serving as Mayor. Perhaps run for the Senate, he might make a decent Attorney General. After all, he and that boob Butterworth are cut from the same cloth.

    But governor? I don’t think so and the fact that he’s Judy Stern’s lap dog doesn’t improve his image either. That woman is poison to every leader she touches.

  7. Chaz Stevens, El Genius says:

    And speaking from personal experience, Seiler is a shitty liar.

    You can tell his “tells” from a mile away.

    And well, when it comes to my politicians, I want an individual whose expert in the field of lying.

    Besides which, isn’t Seiler under Federal investigation?

    Oopsie… Sorry. Shouldn’t have said that.

  8. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    To some of the negativity here. First I think your perception of Mayor Seiler is way off. You say he lacks loyality etc-no way. One thing about him is he calls it like he see’s it. I do think again th e right fit for him is the Senate(US). Also don’t forget he is also a team player w/in the Democratic party. He is also a very good lawyer. I got on him in regard s to calling the Civil Service employees archaic, and out dated. They where pissed. Was he concerned not really, cause alot of them can’t support him even if they wanted to becaus e they don’t evenlive in Ft.Lau. Its the City Manager that sometimes makes alot of you suspect of Jack. For the record Jack didn’t even want Feldman he and Charlotte Rodstrom wanted some one else(leveinson?). I have spoken to Mayor Seiler alot and one thing to point out is he will always call you back. Support him ,don’t support him he will take your opinions,beliefs etc. seriously. He is also a no nonsense type of guy, and if he feels the need to set the record straight and to get his point across believe you me , he will. As for Judy Stern-what is with some of you? Her track record is very good. She has had more wins, than loses. Cheap shots some of you constantly about this lady. I like her because she is like me, throw the bs, the cheap shots, she catches them, and then throws it right back at you. Isn’t that right Charlotte Rodstrom. I told you Char to keep it cute w/ her. di d you listen? Of course not, Johhny(husband) knows everything. Hope he is right. No sides here, sad tosee 2 woman ,very intelligent, smart, both could benefit for their sucess, but no we have them @ opposte sides now. I blame Char, husband. Although Char did have some points w/ merit,but to eliminate Judy from the charter was just mean spirited, but as they say “its politics”. Back to Jack to call him a liar-substantiate.

  9. Word To Wise says:

    For poster Robert Walsh who is clearly half-way into his allotted 15 minutes of fame: soon your new found friend Judy Stern and her smiling, laughing ways will melt away and reveal the poisonous snake she truly is. When that happens you will wish you never met her. You will realize just like everyone else in her life has realized why her every relationship ends in disaster. She is a monster of a human being and to become associated with her is to end up poisoned.

  10. The Alumni says:

    Not quite, no one gets poisoned after Judy anymore, the screwed over just sit down and realize they were all subject to lies about each other and played against each other for years by Stern. Once the air is cleared the enemies as you see in 2012 come together to bring about her fall. 2012 no wins, loses with Lieberman, Gonzalez, Granteed, Lamberti, Chris Mancini Melanie Golden, Maria Sachs (lost Broward).

    The irony about Stern, is there are races like Tim Ryan where she probably did help him win the race and when Ryan even mentions her name he has a “who farted look” on his face.

    How sad it is that she had been succesful for years, rumored to be corrupt but never close to charges, an effective lobbyist, YET even those she helps are ashamed to know her in public.

    The best part in the past year she screwed with both the Sheriff-Elect and the Broward State Attorney, lol. Good luck to ya.

  11. Duke says:

    2014 will be a much higher turnout than expected. Scott is in trouble and he knows it. Obama and the dems won’t forget how he tried to hand Florida to Romney. Scott is fighting an uphill battle. He’s already starting to advocate $10,000 tuition at some state schools. He’s also giving in on Obamacare. I expect him to embark on a bullet train initiative any day now. It will be funny watching Scott advocate all the things he was previously against while he tried to hand Florida to Romney.

  12. City Activist Robert walsh says:

    Judy Stern is poison huh? What is this that State Att. Satz is after her. Well, let the chips fall where they may. I hardly think Mrs.Stern looses any sleep over these comments. i would bet heavy on Judy Stern. She is also a very good friend from what i hear. Shame that she hates some of you. That is the real issue here. As far as some of you getting back @ her-eat your Wheaties caus e she has plenty of heavy hitters in her corner. Trust me….

  13. just one vote says:

    Perhaps this column prompted another local blogger to jump in

    Aug 2014 primary is a long way off but I guess the wannabees are already getting funded up.
    Question for Buddy’s expertise -Does resign to run govern the gov race? Or can they ‘govern’ while they campaign?


    They can govern while they campaign, although it would be tough to run for governor and still find the time to be mayor of Fort Lauderdale.
    Under the Resign To Run Law outlined below, if Seiler runs for governor, he would have to resign as of no later than the date he would take office. Florida’s Constitution states that the governor is sworn in on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January 2015. So the date existing office holders must resign before is January 6 for the next governor’s election. Seiler’s term ends in March 2015.

    Here is the information from the state Division of Elections:

    The resignation must be submitted in writing at least 10 days prior to the first day of qualifying for the office the person intends to seek. (Section 99.012(3)(c), Florida Statutes.) (The qualifying dates for elections to particular offices can be obtained from the county supervisor of elections office.)
    The resignation must take effect no later than the earlier of the following dates:
    The date the officer would take office, if elected; or
    The date the officer’s successor is required to take office.
    (Section 99.012(3)(d), Florida Statutes.)