They're divided, though, on the best way to do it.
Many said they are waiting for the man they view as the white-haired hope, former Republican and former Gov. Charlie Crist, to make official what everyone expects, a candidacy for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor. Crist's supporters see him as a sure winner.
"He will be a major force for change in the state of Florida. We need someone who cares. He has just been a superb governor and a superb human being," said Rabbi Joel Levine of Temple Judea in Palm Beach Gardens. "We're only for Charlie."
Others want a lifelong Democrat, former Florida Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, of Weston, who they regard as a more pure representation of party principles than the Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat Crist.
"The values that she has demonstrated in her years in Tallahassee prove her to be a true Democrat," said Rick Neuhoff, who lives west of Boynton Beach. To those who support the newer Democrat, "I tell them don't be a hypo-Crist."
He said he thinks Crist's appeal is largely because "compared to a Rick Scott, he's the lesser of two evils. At the end of the day, Charlie is a moderate Republican."
The looming Crist-Rich contest was a big part of the buzz among attendees at the Palm Beach County Democratic Party's annual Truman-Kennedy-Johnson fundraising dinner. Technically, it's still speculative, because Crist hasn't officially announced his candidacy.
Crist continued his non-committal posture Saturday evening, telling reporters as he schmoozed and posed for pictures with Democratic activists that he had no intention of making news at the West Palm Beach Marriott, and declining to say just when he might make an announcement.
He said he has been warmly welcomed by Democrats and isn't having trouble explaining his party switch. "They get it, especially Democrats. I think they understand."
The event illustrated just how hungry Democrats are to go after Crist. It was a sellout, attracting about 450 people — so many, two portable bars had to be removed from the back of the ballroom to accommodate more tables — and party leaders estimated a take of at least $100,000 by the time all the checks come in.
"One year, one month and seven days from now, Nov. 4, 2014, Gov. Rick Scott is going to be history," declared Terrie Rizzo, chairwoman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.
Allison Tant, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, said her party's nominee would win in November 2014.
"Florida voters are not going to step back and forget this trauma that we've gone through at the hands of Rick Scott," said Tant, who said the opposition party has been "cannibalized by the most corrosive elements" of its base.
Rich said Scott is making her job as a Democratic candidate easier.
"We really owe Rick Scott a debt of gratitude. I don't think anybody could do a better job than he has of convincing voters that we need a Democrat in Florida," she said.
For County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger, Crist is the better choice.
"I thought he was a good governor," Berger said. "And I think he can beat Gov. Scott."
Her predecessor, former County Commissioner Burt Aaronson, who escorted Crist into the pre-dinner cocktail reception, was even more effusive.
"It's inevitable that Charlie Crist is going to win," Aaronson said.
"The people who get the vote out, who work on the ground, who make the phone calls and knock on doors really, really are supporting Nan. And we're the ones who are going to get the vote out, and we are the ones who are going to be supporting the true Democrat," she said.
Still, Rosenthal said she doesn't think a spirited Crist-Rich contest would make it harder for Democrats to win the election the way some past Democratic primary fights have left bitterness.
"Because of the terrible state of Florida, the terrible situation that Florida is in, I think it is going to be very easy to get a Democratic candidate elected, no matter who that candidate is," she said.
Party secretary Diedre Newton agreed. "We're all just excited to get rid of Rick Scott, no matter who it is."
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