Already, at least six candidates are considering running against Rick Scott.
About: Dyer, who has been mayor of Orlando since 2003, when he won a special election to replace Glenda Hood, has said he will decide by January whether to run in 2014. Dyer has become known for his efforts to revitalize downtown Orlando, championing projects ranging from the Orlando Magic’s new arena to a new performing arts center, renovations to the Citrus Bowl and the new SunRail commuter system.
Pluses: Dyer served 10 years in the Florida Senate, including three years as Democratic Leader before becoming mayor. He’s also well-known in the nine-county Orlando media market that’s home to 2.9 million Floridians. A previous run for statewide office — he lost a 2002 bid for state attorney general to Charlie Crist — left him with a statewide network for fundraising.
Minuses: Despite his popularity in central Florida, Dyer is far from a household name statewide. He could face some local fallout over leaving his mayoral post two years early.
About: In July, the Miami Beach lawyer told the Tampa Bay Times that he’s seriously considering a run and believes he can energize the Democratic electorate and reach out to new constituencies.
Pluses: A Harvard law school graduate of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent, Morales could appeal to the state’s Hispanic voters, including a growing population of Democratic-leaning Puerto Ricans in the Orlando area.
Minuses: Morales has a name recognition problem outside Miami-Dade County and lost the 2004 mayoral race in Miami-Dade County to Carlos Alvarez.
About: Crist’s endorsements of Barack Obama and Sen. Bill Nelson have led many to conclude it’s only a matter of time before the man who once declared himself a “Jeb Bush Republican” switches to the Democratic Party and runs for his former job.
Pluses: As a Republican, Florida’s 44th governor enjoyed support among Democrats. Crist’s appearances in commercials and on billboards for his employer, the law firm Morgan & Morgan, have kept him visible.
Minuses: Crist’s Democratic primary opponents are likely to question whether any conversion to their party is genuine. The GOP already ran an attack ad against Crist during the Democratic convention. Crist can count on financial support from his employer, John Morgan, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to raise much money from Republican donors and it’s unclear whether deep-pocketed Democrats will support him.