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Even to opponents, Crist running mate Annette Taddeo is a 'class act'

@PatriciaMazzei @MarcACaputo

The Miami-Dade County Republican Party leader quickly summed up the opposition’s greatest strength.

“The best asset that the Miami-Dade Democratic Party has is Annette Taddeo,” Nelson Diaz, chair of the local GOP, said during a spring good-government seminar arranged by the Miami Dade College faculty union.

“As the Democrat chair, she’s very involved,” he said. “She worked hard to organize and mobilize the left wing of her party — which is now the party’s base — making them more of a presence. She made us work harder.”

Now, Taddeo has a much bigger role in state politics: running mate for Democrat Charlie Crist, who tapped her on Thursday to become the first female Hispanic lieutenant governor if the ticket can knock off Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Unlike Lopez-Cantera, Diaz says, he doesn’t believe Taddeo, a Miami businesswoman who runs a translation company, is ready to become governor because she has never held elected office or run a large company.

But when it comes to the mechanics of fundraising and generating buzz, Republicans should not — and will not — take her lightly, Diaz said.

Taddeo twice has run for elected office — Congress in 2008 and the Miami-Dade County Commission in 2010 — and lost both times. An avid partisan Scott-basher, Taddeo jumped at the chance to help Crist when he called her Tuesday to offer her a spot on the ticket.

“I am so fired up. And I’m ready,” Taddeo told Crist, paraphrasing the Obama campaign’s fired-up, ready-to-go call-and-response mantra.

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