Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Florida Labor Backs Crist for Governor

TALLAHASSEE, FL - The race for governor in Florida is heating up almost as fast as the temperature, and now Democratic candidate Charlie Crist has the backing of the state's largest labor federation as he vies to compete with incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.

The Florida AFL-CIO voted to endorse the former governor of the Sunshine State over the weekend. Mike Williams, Florida AFL-CIO state president, says the union members are united by one goal.

"Our priority is to remove Rick Scott from the governor's office," says Williams. "Folks are hitting the ground running. We've already got a plan in place for the work to be done around the state."

The Florida AFL-CIO represents more than 900,000 union members around the state, and the labor group says it's important the state's leader supports programs that improve the lives of teachers, law enforcement, and service workers.

Political science professor Stephen Craig at the University of Florida says the endorsement isn't surprising.

"What labor likes is a winner," says Craig. "I think that they anticipate Charlie Crist being the Democratic nominee, and have endorsed him in anticipation of that."

Craig says that in today's political landscape, fundraising capability and social media power can be more important than the endorsement itself.

Williams says he believes the AFL-CIO's support will provide an extra boost to the candidate.

"I hope that our endorsement can educate, motivate and move people when it comes to persuasion on the reasons why Charlie Crist should be elected and then get out the door when that time comes," says Williams.

Gov. Scott is running as the Republican incumbent in November, while Farid Khavari and Nan Rich also are seeking the Democratic nomination. The nominees to face each other in the November election will be selected by voters in the state primary on Aug. 26.

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