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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Another Democrat looking hard at '14 Fla gov race



jimmymorales.jpgAdd another name to the prospective Democratic candidates for governor in 2014: former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jimmy Morales.

The Miami Beach lawyer has been talking to Democrats across the state about the prospect of campaigning and argues that he has what it takes to capatilize on the changing political playbook for winning a statewide race in Florida.

"We've got to put some new faces out there, and we've got to reach out to new constituencies," said Morales, 50, pointing to the exploding population of Democratic leaning Puerto Ricans in the Orlando area and the need to excite voters in the Democratic strongholds of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.

Broward and Miami-Dade saw weak turnout in the last two gubernatorial races, as did areas around Orlando.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result," Morales told Buzz. While no decision is expected soon, "I'm leaning very heaily in the direction of making this move."

Morales, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University and graduate of Harvard Law School, is half Puerto Rican and half Cuban. He's little known outside of Miami-Dade, but was widely seen as a potential lieutenant governor choice for Jim Davis and Bill McBride. Still, he would be a decided underdog against such well known potential candidates as Alex Sink or Charlie Crist, and his fundraising ability is unclear.

Morales lost the 2004 Miami-Dade mayoral race to Carlos Alvarez by roughly 10 percentage points. A former Miami-Dade Democratic chairman, he also looked at running for attorney general and state Democratic party chairman.

What already seems certain is that Democrats won't be able to avoid another gubernatorial primary for the privilege of taking on Rick Scott. State Sen. Nan Rich already has announced, and other prospects include state Sen. Jeremy Ring, former state Sen. Dan Gelber, state party chairman Rod Smith, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Sink and Crist.

[Last modified: Thursday, July 12, 2012 3:38pm]


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