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Democrats embark on muted "Unity" tour

In primary dismount, everybody tries to look like friends; most succeed

Photo: PHOTO BY BILLY MANES, License: N/A

PHOTO BY BILLY MANES


“Last night, I called Governor Crist to offer him my congratulations. He will now bear the Democratic standard in a contest where nothing less than the future of Florida is at stake. It will be a very tough fight to beat Rick Scott. Charlie Crist will need all of our support to win. He has mine. I am very grateful to all the loyal and dedicated volunteers who worked so hard and for so long on our campaign these past many months. Your support meant so much me. I hope you know, as I do, that the election results were not a rejection of our ideas or ideals.”

– Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich

JUST THE STATS

 

39,712

Number of people who cast votes in the Orange County Aug. 26 primary for incumbent Gov. Rick Scott

 

39,212

Number of people who cast votes in the Orange County Aug. 26 primary for former Florida Gov. Charlie Cris

 

11,659

Number of people who cast votes in the Orange County Aug. 26 primary for Nan Rich

Unified front

Do you remember that time when Michael and Tito and Jermaine (and the rest of the Jacksons?) laid down their arms to make one last familial jab at the “Torture” of a Victory Tour – shut up, we know about 2300 Jackson Street, and we’re trying to forget it – and everybody sort of cared, but also nobody really cared because not everybody (cough, Michael) showed up for the filming of the “Torture” video? That’s how we felt on the morning of Aug. 28 as Democrats, fresh from a sort of obtuse primary, came together at a union hall off of South Orange Blossom Trail to gather in a circle and square dance to the notion that in just over two months, all of the acrimony and bitterness of primary season would be shed in order to render the state of Florida “[Rick] Scott-free” and “[Pam] Bondied-out.” It was, in short, awesome.

Only it was awkward in equal measure. Before the perfunctory smoothing of loose ends to make it look like gubernatorial hopeful, and former gubernatorial hopeful, and former Senatorial hopeful, and former Republican, and former independent and present karma chameleon Charlie Crist (who ignored his opponent’s pleas for an actual debate) and Nan Rich were besties (he called her “classy”), the full gaggle of Democratic operatives (minus Congressman Alan Grayson, but not his staff) coalesced in a palpably half-hearted manner and hoped out loud for the best.

“It’s a good crowd,” Orange County Democratic Executive Committee chairman Carlos Smith told our pen to write into our trusty notebook.

But outside, there was a coup of sorts. While we were driving down OBT, barely noticing the strip joints and predatory lenders and bad streetscaping, the wonder that is Republican revivalist – meaning he’s hoping to return to the state House of Representatives after a bit of an unelected respite – Scott Plakon honked at us. The NERVE! Anyway, it turns out that Plakon, Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, and Sen. Kellie Stargel, R-Lakeland, all showed up for something of a picket situation. A mob of about 10 people held signs saying “failed governor” and such. We, like other reporters, had to get a quote. The three of them settled on something about how Crist would still be a Republican hating on Obamacare if he had beat Rubio, so there. Hooray.

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