One out of three Floridians in the state thinks Gov. Rick Scott is doing a good job. That means more than 60 percent of Floridians are upset with the governor or they don’t trust his leadership skills. Without a doubt, in the last election our governor made bad decisions and he embarrassed the state when it took three days to count the ballots.
But the Democrats should not underestimate the Florida Republican machine. Gov. Scott this time around will have a track record and unemployment is at a four-year low. “If somebody thinks that Rick Scott won’t have time, energy, and resources to be re-elected, they’re making an error in judgment,” says Susie Wiles, who managed Scott’s 2010 campaign.
Four years ago, Scott was a controversial stranger to Florida politics but now the GOP establishment is willing to unify and get behind the incumbent. He is still controversial and he has learned that education and jobs should be his primary focus in his 2014 campaign. This year, he has given the teachers a $2,500 raise and more folks will support him because of this effort.
At this point, the Democrats do not have a unanimous statewide choice and the party appears disorganized and divided. In order for the Democratic Party to win the governor’s race in 2014, the candidate must be able to mobilize and address the critical problems that impact the black and Hispanic communities. There are more Democrats registered in the state than Republicans but the Democratic candidate must be able to connect with grassroots folks and with a powerful message.
“Whoever the Democratic nominee is will beat Rick Scott. We will win the governor’s mansion next November. There’s not any question,” said U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman. But, the Republicans have won the governorship the last 16 years and I wonder what evidence Rep. Wasserman is using to prove her case.
Florida is a red state. The Republicans have the majority of large corporations in their corner and they will generate a $100 million campaign for the election.
There are 76 weeks left until the election and the Democrats will be forced to build a strong, innovative, technical ground team which can match Scott’s campaign dollar for dollar and be extremely excited about beating the incumbent.
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate must have charisma and be an articulate speaker, one whom Floridians trust.
Scott has made many mistakes and now he has left $51 billion on the federal table and many Floridians are upset with him. Recently, he vetoed a bill that would have helped immigrants secure a driver’s license and now the Hispanics are upset.
Many Floridians don’t understand the decisions our governor makes but the Florida economy has improved under his watch. “People have been very supportive and invested in my political committee already, because they believe in what I’m doing and they know I’ve turned our economy around,” Scott has said.
Democrats cannot underestimate our governor because he is raising millions of dollars right now and also can invest millions of his own money, if GOP money gets slow. He is not an easy opponent to beat and the Democratic candidate will be in the fight of his or her life.
Roger Caldwell, an Orlando-based journalist, is CEO of On Point Media Group and an author who has written the book The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor that details his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org