TALLAHASSEE -- Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Crist turned to voter-rich South Florida Thursday to tap a running mate.
Crist's campaign announced he had picked Annette Taddeo, a Colombian-American and chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, to be his lieutenant governor nominee -- provided he wins the primary against Broward Democrat Nan Rich.
Taddeo is a Miami businesswoman who founded a translation services company called LanguageSpeak, and is a longtime participant in Miami-Dade business groups, the League of Women Voters, and has hosted a local talk show. She ran for Congress unsuccessfully in 2008, and has been a prominent voice for Hispanic interests at the state Democratic Party and as a committeewoman to the Democratic National Committee.
Crist tapped Taddeo over potential Central Florida candidates Val Demings and state Sen. Darren Soto, and the choice means both Crist and Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott will have running mates out of Miami-Dade. Scott appointed Carlos Lopez-Cantera as his lieutenant governor earlier this year, after leaving the post vacant for more than eight months.
Crist made the announcement in Miami and praised Taddeo as "an American success story" and "working mom" who moved to the country at 17, graduated college and created a successful company.
“As a working mom and a small businesswoman, I am thrilled to serve with a man who has always fought for Florida’s middle class families,” Taddeo said in a statement. “We deserve a governor who understands the struggle our families and seniors are facing and works every day to make our lives better – not harder.”
Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties are the richest troves of Democratic voters in Florida, and the selection gives the newly minted Democrat a potential entryway to also claiming Miami-Dade's majority Hispanic voting base. But the party has had problems turning out South Florida voters in the past.