Democrat Rich to join protesters at Capitolby John Kennedy | July 25th, 2013
Democratic gubernatorial contender Nan Rich plans to be the first statewide political candidate to join protesters at the Florida Capitol, saying she shares the concerns of those now in their 10th day outside Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
“The lack of equality in this state and how our laws are administered are important issues,” said Rich, a former state senator from Weston. “Stand your ground and the juvenile justice concerns these young people have raised are worth talking about.”
Rich supported the controversial stand your ground legislation when it was approved, 39-0, by the Florida Senate in 2005. It later cleared the House 94-20 and was signed into law by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.
Rich plans to stop by the Capitol on Saturday. She expects to be in Tallahassee that day to meet with the Democratic Club of North Florida.
While activists intend to remain in the Capitol for the weekend – visitors like Rich would be barred from entry. Still, several supporters showed up last weekend outside the 22-story building to voice support for those inside.
“I am the only active, Democratic candidate in the race,” Rich said, a dig at the anticipated, but still unannounced candidacy of former Republican governor-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist. “These issues are very important to me.”
Some organizations involved in the push for repeal of the self-defense, stand your ground law were active in get-out-the-vote efforts for President Obama in 2012. Democrats acknowledge that the measure potentially could power voters to the polls in a fashion similar to last year, when anger over election-law changes enacted by Scott and Republican leaders gave a spark to voter drives.
On Thursday night, the couple dozen protesters who have been overnighting at the Capitol are expected to be joined by as many as 40 clergy from around the state. Scott has been at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Colorado and has said he doesn’t anticipate returning to Tallahassee until next week.