Monday, February 19, 2018
Politics

Will Alex Sink run for (the good of) Florida?

Lunchtime at Tampa's of-the-moment Oxford Exchange, and over ice tea, that trendy chick pea appetizer everybody orders and the chili because it's so unFlorida cold out, Alex Sink is sounding a lot like a candidate.

Or maybe she's just sounding like a lot of Floridians lately.

I am asking about Republican Gov. Rick Scott, the millionaire hospital executive who defeated her for the job of running this state by an eyelash in 2010 and went on to become arguably the least-liked governor in America. She hasn't said too much during Scott's semi-disastrous first term, but, well, I did ask.

A narrow agenda. A newcomer who does not get us. A businessman who had trouble transitioning to statesman.

"He's not won the hearts of Floridians," says Sink, 64, Florida's former chief financial officer. "He doesn't know how to talk to us."

She has one of those light Southern voices with a center of steel running through it. "I'm sorry for Florida, because in any race somebody wins and somebody loses, and I was the loser," she says. "He's my governor, too. I wanted him to be successful and do well."

So, The Question, the one she gets asked only about a dozen times a day: Will she run against Scott again in 2014?

Only three months have passed since the death of her husband of 26 years, Bill McBride, a former gubernatorial hopeful himself, during a family Christmas gathering in North Carolina. So it should be a delicate, even improper thing to ask her — except there is nothing delicate in politics.

They all want to know: friends, fellow Democrats, reporters and strangers, the airport baggage handler who pulled her aside as she was catching a plane one night, the parking attendant when she drove up to pay her 10 bucks at a Yankees spring training game.

And the answer is: It is too soon to answer, to decide something this big. There is the sacrifice of family to political commitment and the kind of money that must be raised. There is the loss of a husband.

These days she divides her time between being "gainfully employed" (as she puts it) in investment banking and also working at her "passion," a nonprofit that encourages small-business entrepreneurs and explores ways to rebuild the state's economy. She talks about an economic base beyond tourists and retirees and about ways to keep the brightest "young folks" from taking their talents elsewhere. She is still sorting through piles of letters she has gotten about kindnesses committed by her husband, sometimes in ways she never knew. She is very busy. "Bill would want me to stay busy," she says.

I ask about the most intriguing rumored candidate thus far, the recently flipped Charlie Crist.

"He's a very new Democrat," she says. "At this point in time there's a lot of skepticism."

And what about rumors that Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson could run?

She surprises me by saying she thinks he should seriously consider it. "I think he shares the values of mainstream Floridians — he shares my values," she says. And: "I wouldn't run against him."

She talks more about the state of our state, that economic base and the environment and public education. And you think, okay, it's too soon. But Alex Sink is thinking about it, or she is at least thinking about Florida.

Comments
Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

Do Trump’s alleged affairs even matter?

One of the quotes from the 2016 presidential campaign that has stuck with me came from an unidentified Donald Trump supporter who shared his appraisal of the "Access Hollywood" tape on an episode of Showtime’s "The Circus."Having heard Trump boast on...
Published: 02/18/18
Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

PARKLAND, Fla. — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. "You're the president. You're supposed t...
Published: 02/18/18
Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Published: 02/17/18
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Published: 02/17/18
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Published: 02/17/18
Divided Congress unable to act on guns, immigration despite public pressure

Divided Congress unable to act on guns, immigration despite public pressure

It’s been five years since the guns and immigration debate collided at the same time on Capitol Hill. This time, the results were even more unproductive.In early 2013, weeks after a gunman killed 20 students and six educators at an elementary school ...
Published: 02/17/18
Stormy Daniels does Tampa: 10 minutes of dancing, then $20 a photo

Stormy Daniels does Tampa: 10 minutes of dancing, then $20 a photo

TAMPA — Well, that was fast.Adult film actress Stormy Daniels made her first appearance at Thee Dollhouse on Friday evening, the first of several shows planned this weekend at the Tampa strip club.She took the stage about 7 p.m. dressed in a pink, fl...
Published: 02/16/18

3 things we just learned from the indictment of 13 Russians in the Mueller investigation

We have the first indictment in Robert Mueller’s investigation that actually has to do with Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The special counsel on Friday indicted 13 Russians in connection with a large-scale troll farm effort aimed at influenc...
Published: 02/16/18
Under fire, Kelly overhauls White House clearance procedure

Under fire, Kelly overhauls White House clearance procedure

NEW YORK — Under pressure over his handling of abuse allegations against a top aide, White House chief of staff John Kelly on Friday ordered sweeping changes in how the White House clears staff members to gain access to classified information, acknow...
Published: 02/16/18
Romney officially announces run for Utah Senate seat

Romney officially announces run for Utah Senate seat

Associated PressSALT LAKE CITY — Former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is running for a Utah Senate seat, officially launching his political comeback attempt Friday by praising his adopted home state as a model for an acrimonious national governmen...
Published: 02/16/18