LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Florida Democrats are holding a weekend conference that they see as a rally to defeat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the 2014 election — though the person many see as the best hope at defeating him isn’t a candidate yet.

Former state Sen. Nan Rich will be the only gubernatorial candidate speaking at the conference, unlike a major fundraising dinner in June when the party didn’t allow her to speak.

But former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican turned Democrat, will be making his presence known, speaking at caucus meetings and working the crowd.

Crist has already created a website asking Floridians to share their thoughts with him. Along with it is a video that attacks the current administration and counters Rick Scott’s “It’s working” catchphrase by saying, “It’s not working.”

Crist isn’t expected to announce his plans at the Florida Democratic Party conference being held at Walt Disney World. That will likely come after the month ends.

The party said the event is designed to build off the momentum of the 2012 election year, when President Barack Obama carried Florida and the state’s Democrats made gains in Congress and the Legislature.

“This weekend, 1,500 Democrats are gathering to celebrate the accomplishments of our party and get fired up to defeat Rick Scott and move Florida forward in 2014,” said state party Chair Allison Tant.

The keynote speaker Saturday night will be Ohio Gov. Ed Rendell. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, will also speak.

Republicans are scheduling several events in the area to try to take some attention away from the Democrats, including neighborhood canvassing in Orlando by Republican volunteers on Saturday. Scott plans to speak to a Republican women’s group Sunday morning.

“The Florida Democratic Convention will be a great way for Democrats across the state to gather and discuss the future of their dysfunctional, disorganized and disappointing party,” party Chairman Lenny Curry said in a statement.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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