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Nan Rich on a Scott vs. Crist race: 'Two Republicans'

The News Service of Florida's Jim Saunders reports on Nan Rich's speech Friday to the Florida Society of News Editors:

Nan Rich is frustrated. That much is clear. But the lifelong Democrat and former Senate minority leader isn't backing down.

She told news executives and editors Friday that she will continue battling for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and trying to draw distinctions with opponent Charlie Crist, despite many of the party's fundraisers and leaders lining up behind Crist, a former Republican.

"We need to make sure we don't have two Republicans running in the gubernatorial election,'' Rich said during a forum that was part of the annual convention of the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of News Editors at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

Rich wanted to debate Crist during the press gathering but was rebuffed. During an appearance Thursday, Crist said he needed to stay focused on challenging Republican Gov. Rick Scott and pointed to the massive amounts of money backing Scott's re-election bid.

"I am running against $100 million,'' Crist said. "I really don't have the luxury to take my eye off the ball."

That irked Rich. "People don't run against $100 million,'' she said. "They run against people."

Rich remains a longshot in the Aug. 26 primary.