Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist has picked a running mate in his bid to re-take the state's top office -- and, like incumbent governor Rick Scott (R), he chose an experienced Hispanic political operative from populous South Florida.
Crist introduced Annette Taddeo Goldstein as his running mate Thursday morning at a campaign event in Miami, calling the well-liked local party chair “a remarkable woman and a classic American success story.”
Taddeo, who was born on a U.S. military base in Colombia to an American father and a Colombian mother, moved to Miami at 17. She founded and runs the translation and tutoring company LanguageSpeak, and serves as the chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and vice-chair of the Florida Democratic Party. She has also hosted a show on CNN Latino and is a member of the Democratic National Committee's executive committee.
“As a working mom, a small business owner and a Floridian, I am proud to serve this state that has given me so many opportunities,” she said, according to the Miami Herald. “Unfortunately, too many people across Florida are feeling left out and behind.”
The selection helps solidify the Democratic credentials of Crist, who was a life-long Republican until he left the party while governor in 2010 to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent. After losing the race to Sen. Marco Rubio (R), he officially switched to the Democratic Party in 2012.
Taddeo also potentially gives Crist a leg up with women and Miami-Dade's heavily Hispanic voting base. Though Crist must still secure the Democratic nomination over longtime but lesser-known Democrat Nan Rich, his selection virtually ensures that Florida's next Lt. Governor will be Latino: Scott's running mate is Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R), a former state representative he appointed to the post last year.
"Crist might be excused for not knowing that Democrats typically don’t choose a running mate until they win the nomination," Rich reportedly quipped.
Recent polls show the race for governor, which will be decided in November, is neck-and-neck between Scott and Crist.