It's voting day for the 2014 Primary Election and the top contest in the state is the race for governor's mansion, and the number of names on the ballot may surprise you.
Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor who wants his old job back as a Democrat, was in town Monday for a final push with voters. In Tuesday's primary, Crist is facing off against former state Sen. Nan Rich of South Florida, who has been campaigning for more than two years.
Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott faces two little-known and unfunded Republican challengers: Yinka Abosede Adeshina, a former pharmacists who has never held public office, and Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder, former CEO of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce who has run for several offices in southwest Florida.
WHO'S ON THE BALLOT? Florida Primary Voter's Guile
A political science professor at the Florida State College of Jacksonville, Marcella Washington, said Tuesday Democratic primary is so important for Crist because he switched parties, something she believes will be a hurdle for him to overcome.
Washington believes Christ will defeat Democratic opponent Rich without any problem, but the margin will be important for his momentum going into the General Election.
“What happens after he gets the nomination on Tuesday is the big deal. He’s got to go and try to bring together independents and make sure some wayward Republicans join his parade to be governor again and that’s the issue,” said Washington.
She said the tough part after he gets the nomination and has to of face Governor Scott will be to let viewers know not only why he left the job in the first place, but why he decided to switch parties.
“He’s going to have to make sure that they understand why he felt dissatisfied with the Republican party and that his economic social and education policies are better for the state of Florida, he’s got to run a campaign for the state of Florida and put Florida first,” said Washington.
Political adviser Susie Wiles, who was Scott's 2010 campaign director, said Christ's time as governor was not spectacular, and now he has to not only win voters from his new Democratic party, but also sway Republicans.
“I think it’s fair to say most Republicans take this party switching thing pretty seriously. The general electorate maybe not so much, but elected officials at state and local level they tend to work together with people of their same voter registration,” said Wiles.
Washington believes Crist has a shot but, will have an uphill battle. She said he is going to have to work hard .
According to the most recent poll on the General Election matchup by Survey USA, Scott right now is leading the race with 44percent over Crist, who has 41 percent. Libertarian candidate Adrian Wylie has 4 percent. One month ago both the CBS News/NYT/YouGov and Quinnipiac University polls showed Crist with a five-point lead over Scott.