Scott, Crist must still beat out primary opponents

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (left) and current Gov. Rick Scott
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (left) and current Gov. Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Before Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist can face off against each other in the race for governor, both must first get by primary opponents. Both are expected to win handily when results are announced a week from Tuesday, but that isn't keeping the unknowns from trying.

Former state Sen. Nan Rich has been in the governor's race for more than two years and has raised $650,000, spending most of it on travel, consultants and some TV ads.

Scott and Crist have already spent millions attacking each other, but both have primary opponents.

Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder, a Sarasota mother of three, is one of two Republicans challenging Scott. She told the audience in a retirement community that she was fed up with the direction of the Republican Party.

"The selfishness, and the greed, and the misunderstanding of how and where to take this state and nation forward has been misleading for the past 10 years," she said.

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The unknowns have raised just $1,600, but Cuevas-Neunder loaned herself $19,000.

"You know, we have two flip-floppers trying to be governors," she said.

Political scientists said there are really no studies on why virtual unknowns seek a big office. They suggest the unknowns want to see their name on the ballot, or they believe in the American dream.

"I think someone has to stop this nonsense about someone is in office not to have a challenger. If I don't beat him, I make him stronger," Cuevas-Neunder said.

Another Republican, Yinka Abosede Adeshina, also paid the qualifying fee, but has not campaigned.

On the Democrat side, Rich is on the stump, campaigning and raising money every day.

"I believe this state is ready to elect a progressive Democrat and to have the first woman governor of the State of Florida," Rich said.

While Rich is a long shot to have her picture in the Hall of Governors, observers and insiders are watching to see how many votes she gets as a sign of Crist's strength with Democratic voters.