Could a Mount Airy native become Florida’s next governor? Her father, who still lives here, thinks she has a good chance.
“The folks in Florida would do well to elect her,” Kester Sink said Friday of his daughter Alex, three days after she handily captured the state’s Democratic primary for governor.
Alex Sink, now Florida’s chief financial officer, now will be involved in a three-way race that includes Republican nominee Rick Scott and Lawton “Bud” Chiles III, who is running without a party affiliation. A November election will decide who goes to the Governor’s Mansion.
“In a poll taken yesterday, she was beating her opponent by seven points,” Kester Sink said Friday in reference to Scott, a health-care executive and political newcomer.
“But the problem is, she’s running against a guy who in the Republican primary spent $40 million of his own money,” Sink added of her chief opponent’s well-positioned campaign. “He’s willing to spend his money to get elected.”
However, Sink believes the values his daughter learned while growing up in Mount Airy will serve her well for the duration of the campaign.
“Alex has a lot to offer to the people in Florida,” he said of the Democratic nominee who was born here in 1948 and graduated from Mount Airy High School and later Wake Forest University. She also is a great-granddaughter of Chang Bunker, one of the Siamese Twins.
“From the standpoint of somebody graduating from Mount Airy High School, her teachers have all been gracious and helped her, and she loves this area and has never forgotten where she grew up,” Kester Sink commented.
“She’s honest, and she’s smart and she has a lot of experience.”
After graduating from Wake Forest with a degree in mathematics, Alex Sink taught in West Africa for three years. She later became a major player in the banking field, eventually presiding over Bank of America’s Florida operations. Sink was elected as the state’s chief financial officer in 2006 and threw her hat into the ring for governor in May 2009.
Her father describes Sink as a moderate Democrat who has built a strong base among the diverse population of the Sunshine State. She is married to Bill McBride, an unsuccessful nominee for governor there in 2002, and is the mother of two children.
“She loves the state of Florida, because that’s where she’s been for 30 years,” Kester Sink said. “But the main thing about Alex is she knows where her roots are, and they’re right here in Surry County.”
While Sink believes a daunting task is in store for the local native in trying to overcome the deep pockets of the Republican nominee and what some might consider underhanded political tactics on his part, there are definite factors in her favor.
Unlike Alex Sink’s comfortable win in the Democratic primary with 77 percent of the vote, Scott narrowly captured the GOP primary against Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. The elder Sink, pointing out that this climaxed a bitter campaign, said the Republicans might remain divided leading up to the November election.
It’s his guess that some GOP support will come his daughter’s way as a result, while some Republicans upset with Scott simply won’t vote at all. Chiles, the third candidate, has name-recognition due to being the son of a former Florida governor.
Above all, “She’s very savvy and can take care of herself well,” Sink said in further assessing his daughter’s chances in November.
So far, he has only participated in her campaign from a distance. “I haven’t been down there any this year,” said Sink, who is planning to journey to Florida as the governor’s race hits the home stretch.
That state has nearly 11 million registered voters, including about 4.5 million registered Democrats and 4 million Republicans. The rest are either unaffiliated or registered with minor political parties.
From a historical perspective, Sink could become only the second Surry Countian ever elected governor in any state. Jesse Franklin, a veteran of the Revolutionary War who lived at Lowgap, was chosen as governor of North Carolina in 1820 and served one term before declining to seek re-election.
Contact Tom Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1924.