Why should Charlie Crist debate Nan Rich if Rick Scott won’t engage her either?

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Democratic newcomer Charlie Crist says he has no plans to debate his leading rival, Nan Rich, in a party primary as they both run for governor.

“I’m not even thinking about that right now, to be honest with you,” Crist told reporters in January and he hasn’t changed his mind since that time.

“I am focused on doing everything I can to help the people of Florida,” he said. “And this is not really a race about candidates. This is a race about the people of our state.”

Crist has received a great deal of flak for not agreeing to debate Rich.

Supporters of Rich within the Democratic Party clamor on social media that there should be a debate. Columnists such as the Orlando Sentinel‘s Scott Maxwell say there should be a debate.  Even U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch says there should be a debate. Heck, even this blogger said on The Usual Suspects that Crist should probably debate Rich.

Of course, the Florida GOP would like nothing more than for Crist to debate Rich, preferably on statewide television.

But therein lies the reason Crist should not and won’t debate Rich.

Why should Crist debate Rich if Scott and the Republicans aren’t engaging her either?

Has there been one television ad or web video from the Rick Scott campaign or the Republican Party of Florida targeting Nan Rich? No, of course there hasn’t been. They’ve all been about Charlie Crist.

Has there been one email or Facebook post or infographic or tweet from the Rick Scott campaign or the Republican Party of Florida targeting Nan Rich? No, of course there hasn’t been. They’ve all been about Charlie Crist.

Is there any mention of Nan Rich on the RPOF’s website? No. Are there Republican trackers following Nan Rich? No.

Perhaps more importantly, listen to Gov. Scott on the stump, as he was at a Brandon auto dealership Tuesday. Is there any mention of Rich by Scott? No, of course not. It’s all about Charlie Crist.

Rick Scott’s campaign knows who its opponent is, just as Crist knows he’s running against Rick Scott, not Nan Rich.

So long as Scott remains bullseye-focused on Crist, the newly minted Democrat would be foolish to do anything but return the favor.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.