No long lines and quiet polling places are what most South Florida voters can expect so far during the primary election on Tuesday.
For most Democratic voters, the highlight of this election is getting to choose who will run against Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November: Charlie Crist or Nan Rich. But there are local races on the ballot, and some voters are finding it’s wise to go into the voting booth with a plan.
Former state senator Nan Rich is challenging former governor Charlie Crist in the Democratic primary later this month for the chance to challenge Gov. Rick Scott later this year.
But polls show Rich has a tall hill to climb to become the face of the Democratic Party in this year's election. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll shows more than 80 percent of respondents don't know enough about Rich.
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.
Nan Rich often riffs that she has an unfair advantage over Charlie Crist in the quest to oust incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.
"I'm a woman, a mom and a grandmother. Those are powerful things to be today in this state," Rich told Democrats gathered in Orlando for their state conference over the weekend.
Rich may have exaggerated her edge over Crist, a former Republican who will formally enter the race on Monday. But she isn't overstating the importance women voters have in determining who wins elections across the country, and especially in Florida.
State Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, says she hopes her colleagues in the Legislature will resolve an issue with State Attorney General Pam Bondi that is currently tying up $300 million dollars meant to help Florida homeowners hurt by the state's foreclosure crisis.