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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jim Davis,'06 Democratic candidate for governor, not sold on Charlie Crist

2006 Charlie Crist mailer paid for by the Republican Party of Florida

2006 Charlie Crist mailer paid for by the Republican Party of Florida

Charlie Crist is working to win over members of his new party but he hasn't convinced Jim Davis, the 2006 Democratic candidate for governor, who says Crist would be judged on his record -- "and he's got a record."

Davis is among those urging Sen. Bill Nelson to enter the 2014 gubernatorial race.

"I served with Sen. Nelson for years and I think he'd be a very strong, effective governor," Davis said in an interview. "I think Charlie's going to run but I assume if Sen. Nelson runs he would be the nominee, and I think he would win."

Asked if Democrats could accept Crist, he said: "I think he's going to be held to a high standard. When you run, you're judged on your record and he's got a record." Just one example: The mailer above from 2006.

"The real question is, how does (a candidate) stack up against Gov. Scott?" Davis continued. "That's going to be a huge battle. It's going to be a campaign that Charlie Crist has never faced before. Sen. Nelson has faced a campaign like that. He just went through one. They threw everything in the world at him."

Davis said he likes Nelson's approach to the job.

"The thing Bill Nelson does is he works the entire state. He goes to Ocala. He goes to Chipley. He's in Fort Walton Beach. He's in Fort Myers. He never stops. They know him. It's not just the election cycle.

"I remember talking to him after he'd been through the Panhandle talking about the Affordable Care Act. You can imagine that was pretty tough. He said he stood there in front of people and they asked him the tough questions. He had some good answers and some answers they didn't like, but they appreciated that. People don't forget that."

The question is, does Nelson commit. While he's considering the race, signs point to him sticking to the Senate.

"It would be an immense personal sacrifice for him," Davis said. "And it is a longshot. He is still recovering from the last campaign."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 1:18am]


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