The most important rivalry today might not be the battle between Democrats and Republicans, but between South Florida and South Texas.
The keynote speaker for the Democrats’ dinner is Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio. His city’s Spurs hope to deny the national championship to the Miami Heat, in an NBA Finals series tied at two games each.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, presented Castro with a Heat Jersey with the name “Castro” emblazoned on the back.
He responded by pulling out and presenting her with a Spurs Jersey with the initials “DWS.”
Wasserman Schultz, who said she had no idea she was going to get a jersey back, said she was reluctant to wear it. Maybe she’ll wear it while working out, she said, then came up with a better place to wear the Spurs apparel: while she’s cleaning her house.
Castro, who was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, said the Florida Democratic Party is all about “opportunity for all.” Florida Republicans are about “opportunity for some.”
He echoed intense Democratic criticism of Gov. Rick Scott for vetoing legislation that would have eased the process for obtaining drivers licenses for young people in the country illegally because their parents brought them here as young children. “This is just one more example of the divisiveness that’s too much a part of the Florida Republican Party today.”
Nelson says he’s staying put
Democrats spent much of the spring crossing their fingers, hoping that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the only statewide elected Democrat, would run for governor.
In recent weeks he’s sought to tamp down the talk, and did so again Saturday. “I have no plans to run for governor. I have no intention of running for governor.”
Re-elected last fall, he’s now chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. If Democrats keep control of the Senate, he’d become chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and No. 2 on the Armed Services Committee.
“I’ve got my hands full as senator,” he said.
Charlie Crist is attracting lots of attention.
His attempt to slip into the Diplomat early Saturday afternoon, after a morning appearance before a Democratic group on the Gulf Coast, wasn’t a quick trip.
Outside the hotel and in the lobby, people wanted to stop and talked to the Republican turned Democrat – who’s widely assumed to be planning a run for governor.
Crist said he was at the event so he could “meet some of the nicest people I’ve ever met: Florida Democrats. I’m just listening and enjoying the opportunity…. Just listening to people and hearing what they have to say.”
He said he doesn’t have a timetable to make or announce a decision about seeking the Democratic nomination. “I don’t have a timetable, really. I just think it’s important to listen and see what’s on the minds of my fellow Floridians.