The Phoenix Flyer

Former GOP lawmaker Nancy Argenziano to run on Reform Party’s gubernatorial ticket

By: - August 30, 2018 10:31 am
Nancy Argenziano

Although the media focus will be on Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis in the race to become Florida’s next governor, 11 other gubernatorial candidates are also on the ballot in November, including the Reform Party’’s Darcy Richardson.

Richardson announced on Thursday that his running mate will be former state legislator Nancy Argenziano, who served in the Florida Legislature as a Republican representing Citrus County from 1996 to 2006, and then moved on to the state’s utility regulation panel, the Public Service Commission. The Reform Party is most famous for its candidate Ross Perot, who launched a showy – but unsuccessful – presidential run in 1992.

The Reform Party describes itself as a, “moderate, centrist and populist party that sits in the center of the political spectrum.”

Florida Reform Party candidate Richardson says:“We are building a coalition of former Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and independents to challenge the status quo. Together we are going to give millions of forgotten Floridians a fighting chance for a better future!”

Argenziano has had a fluid relationship with traditional political parties;then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist (now a Democratic congressman,) nominated her to the Public Service Commission. When a state nominating council refused to recommend Argenziano for a second term on the Public Service Commission in 2010, she left the Republican Party.

Argenziano planned to run as a Democrat for a North Florida congressional seat in 2012, but her plans were thwarted by a state law that prohibits candidates from switching parties within a year of an election qualifying period. She then ran as an Independent in a state House race that year, and lost.

“Given the state of our democracy, is there any question we need to make major reforms? I am certain Darcy is up to the task,” Argenziano said in a statement. “When Darcy asked me if I wouldn’t mind getting back in the trenches, given the state of America and Florida in particular, I said yes – of course!”

This is not the first time the 62-year-old Richardson has run for governor in Florida. In 2010, he was running mate with independent candidate Farid Khavari. He also ran in several Democratic primaries against Barack Obama in 2012, though not in Florida.

Joseph Wendt, the chairman of the Reform Party of Florida, says there could be an opening for the Richardson/Argenziano ticket because Floridians are weary of candidates “from the extreme right and the extreme left.”

Although just chosen to be their party’s nominees for governor on Tuesday night, the clock is ticking for both DeSantis and Gillum to choose their own running mates. State law requires that they must submit documents regarding their lieutenant governor pick to the
Division of Elections office no later than 5 p.m. next Thursday, September 6.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.