Charlie Crist on Thursday tapped the head of Miami-Dade’s Democrats to become his running mate for governor, adding a needed South Florida Hispanic face to the former Republican’s ticket.
“As a working mom, a small business owner and a Floridian, I am proud to serve this state that has given me so many opportunities,” Annette Taddeo Goldstein said Thursday morning at a Miami press conference at the Lab Miami.
“Unfortunately,” she said, “too many people across Florida are feeling left out and behind.”
Crist called her “a remarkable woman and a classic American success story.”
Taddeo-Goldstein, who runs a translation company, checks a lot of boxes for Crist: Hispanic, South Florida-based (needed to turn out the Democrat base), a good fundraiser, well-liked by rank-and-file Democrats, experienced she has run before for office (unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and then for county commission), and she's female (another crucial slice of the Democratic base).
Taddeo-Goldstein’s selection all but ensures that the state’s next lieutenant governor will be a Miami-Dade Hispanic.
Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Rick Scott chose former Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera to fill the post.
The first major Democrat to call for Taddeo-Goldstein on the ticket: Henry Crespo Sr., the president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida. He said Goldstein would be a good choice as would Val Demings, Orlando's police chief.
“If we look at it not only in terms of optics, but of shoring up the base, I would pick either an African-American woman or a Hispanic woman,” Crespo said in a Miami Herald story that ran earlier this week. “Women tend to vote more than men.”
Asked about Taddeo-Goldstein’s ethnicity, and his struggles in attracting Hispanic votes in Miami-Dade, Crist said her selection “certainly won’t hurt. It’s nice that she’s fluent [in Spanish].”
But, Crist said, “it’s not for some particular demographic, it’s for all the people of Florida.”
Crist’s selection of Taddeo comes at an unorthodox time.
Gubernatorial candidates typically pick running mates after contested party primaries, and Crist still faces longtime Democrat Nan Rich, who has assailed the Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Crist for not being a consistent party member.
Crist’s standing over Scott has been slipping as the incumbent has dropped about $15 million of unanswered TV ads. Only recently has Crist started advertising.
By picking Taddeo, Crist ensured he’d dominate the news cycle without having to advertise.