A state senator from South Florida says she will run against Governor Rick Scott in 2014.
"I am planning on running for governor in 2014," West Democrat Nan Rich told a crowd of supporters chanting, "Run, Nan, run," on Wednesday, officially confirming reports from as far back as September 2011.
The 70-year-old, currently the minority party leader in the Florida Senate but soon to be booted by term limits, may face a crowded field: fellow Broward County state Sen. Jeremy Ring, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, 2010's also-ran Alex Sink, and state Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith are also expected to vie for the Democratic nomination.
The Tampa Bay Times notes Rich isn't seen as a strong candidate among that group, but Scott's former spokesperson told the paper Rich may be underestimated:
"She's been the Florida Senate's most consistent voice from the left," said Republican consultant Brian Hughes, former spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott. "Given that her constituency is the heavily Democrat portion of the state, I don't see how she's anything but formidable in a Democrat primary. Party leaders may want to embrace a chameleon like Charlie Crist, but South Florida Democrats see Rich as a fighter for what they believe."
Whoever wins the nomination should have a field day on the campaign trail. Scott has consistently earned markedly low approval ratings, and a December showing at 26% earned him the honor of being the least popular governor in the entire country -- and prompted Public Policy Polling to note that in a hypothetical rematch, Scott would lose to the previously defeated Sink 53-37 and be crushed by Crist, 55-32.
Rich told the Sun-Sentinel in a phone interview Wednesday that she's currently working on a strategic and financial plan for her campaign, and will tour the state in a listening tour.
"We have very different priorities," she said of Scott. "There is going to be a stark choice in terms of the agenda that he would pursue and that I would pursue."