Alex Sink, the only Democratic woman running statewide, drew a politically diverse crowd of more than 50 people at a meet-and-greet Tuesday night at Food Glorious Food, a Tallahassee restaurant. In the crowd were lobbyist and former state Sen. Ken Plante (Republican); ex-IBM exec and TaxWatch chairman Steve Evans (Republican); Lawton "Bud" Chiles, son of the late former governor; Chiles' former chief of staff, Linda Shelley; and lawyer-lobbyist Steve Uhlfelder, who backed Jeb Bush over Sink's husband, Bill McBride, in the 2002 race for governor.
Marty Munroe, a sales rep and gung-ho Sink supporter, was wearing a gold lapel pin in the shape of a pair of high heels. It's the Sink crowd's way of underscoring the fact that "Alex" is a she -- something a lot of voters don't yet realize. "We're trying to tell people that Alex is a female," Monroe said. "Women need to write checks. We need to pump some power into the system."
Sink will appear on the November ballot as "Alex Sink," the name by which she's best known. The retired banker from Tampa Bay will face either Rep. Randy Johnson or Sen. Tom Lee in November. She planned to file qualification papers Wednesday and then head out across North Florida for campaign stops in Lake City, Live Oak and Hamilton County -- places where her Southern demeanor and North Carolina twang are likely to get a warm reception.