Crist, a former Republican governor, turned-independent, turned-Democrat, is expected to cruise to victory despite having been a Democrat for less time than Rich has been running for governor. Rich launched her bid for the state’s top office more than 2 years ago and, in recent months, has been beating the drum that she’s the only “real Democrat” in the race.
Rich, 72, is a former State Senator who was the first woman to be elected leader of the Senate Democrats – a position she held from 2010 until she was term-limited in November, 2012.
Unfortunately for Rich, despite her long record of public service, the campaign cash has flowed almost entirely to the Crist camp, which has outspent her nearly 15-to-1. For her part, despite little encouraging news, Rich is predicting a miracle outcome and has remained actively engaged on the campaign trail.
"My opponents are extremely negative toward each other. People are noticing it and they're not liking it, and they're looking for someone else," Rich said. "Both of them have totally ignored me. We'll see how that works out."
In July, a Quinnipiac University Poll found that 83% of voters felt they didn't know enough about Rich to formulate a positive or negative opinion of her. Making matters worse, Crist has refused to debate her, focusing his attacks on incumbent governor Rick Scott and further marginalizing the Democratic primary in the minds of most voters.
Without a competitive gubernatorial primary in either party, there is some concern among Crist supporters that turnout will be at a record low for this election. If the former governor is hoping to make a statement with a decisive first round win, an extremely low turnout could backfire and result in a closer-than-expected victory over his plucky adversary.