Prominent Democrat Throws in the Towel

John Morgan tossed a bomb Friday into the 2018 political landscape, saying in a post-Thanksgiving message he is leaving the Democratic Party, and that Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson should not run for re-election, but rather seek the governor’s mansion so he can leave a “legacy.”

“I can’t muster enthusiasm for any of today’s politicians,” the prominent trial lawyer and Democratic fundraiser wrote on Twitter. “They are all the same. Both parties. I plan to register as an independent and when I vote, vote for the lesser of two evils.”

Morgan did not close the door on the idea of running for governor himself — a notion supported by many in his party —  but said in his message, if he did, he would do so as an independent. In follow-up text messages with POLITICO Florida, Morgan confirmed he was not saying he would not run for governor, “just not as a Dem,” he said.

He said he would still support Democratic candidates he “likes personally,” including Sen. Bill Nelson. Morgan, though, said he thinks Nelson should run for governor, not a fourth-term in the U.S. Senate.

“I believe [Nelson] should run for governor. He is the Dem’s best chance and he would be happier there,” Morgan wrote in a text message to POLITICO Florida. “In the Senate he accomplishes nothing. As governor he could have a legacy.”

It’s both a nod to how Morgan views the governor’s mansion, but also an implicit knock on the current field of Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

Even though he is not running, Morgan has lead the so far lackluster Democratic field in recent polls. The perceived current front-runner is former Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, who has been running since early May and has roughly $2.5 million in the bank. That number is surpassed by both declared Republican nominees and likely future candidates already stocking away cash for a potential run.