Nan Rich is a long way from home.
In this ultraconservative city on the western edge of the Florida Panhandle, the Democratic candidate for governor is more than 650 miles from her base of support in left-leaning Broward County.
Any farther and she would be in Alabama.
Rich is keenly aware of the distance as she settles in for a meet and greet at a trendy restaurant that serves both sushi and Southern comfort food. Winning votes here is a long shot. But so is winning the governor’s mansion.
Rich, a former state senator from Weston, is the decided underdog in the Aug. 26 Democratic primary. Her opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, is better known and better financed, and widely expected to face sitting Gov. Rick Scott in the general election.
Still, Rich has spent more than two years crisscrossing the state, hammering on her talking points: More money for public schools. An increase in the minimum wage. Healthcare for all.
Her campaign workers say she has traveled more than 160,000 miles and attended more than 325 campaign events.
Listen to the full broadcast version of this story, which also appeared in the Miami Herald, here:
This piece was produced with help from Carla Javier.