Charlie Crist Comes Crashing Back Down to Earth

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: July 2, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist starts off the second half of 2014 in a far weaker position than he did the start of the year. 

Crist’s double-digit lead in the polls has long since vanished. Some polls even show Rick Scott ahead of his rival. Crist backers often shrug the polls off, saying their candidate simply hasn’t started running ads yet. But even the most die-hard Crist supporters concede that Scott and the Republicans have more cash than the Democrats and will be able to blanket the state with ads whenever they want.

As July begins, Crist is starting to hear more voices from his side bemoaning his efforts so far. Crist’s cheerleaders in the media are recognizing that their candidate isn’t catching fire, complaining that his flips on Cuba and not releasing his wife’s tax returns are hurting him.

But solutions aren’t exactly forthcoming. As Saint PetersBlog rightfully pointed out, with all of his previous campaign team shakeups, bringing in yet another new team won’t help out and Crist often ignores his staff anyway. Blithely ignoring his constant refusal to even consider it, Steve Bousquet suggests Crist should debate Democrat primary rival Nan Rich. But yet another flip won’t help Crist much either even if he does throw a bone to liberals and Rich supporters with the debate.

The problem goes even deeper. Coming up the political ladder, Crist benefited from the GOP machinery. Love them or hate them, Florida Republicans have generally been able to win most gubernatorial, Cabinet, congressional and legislative races over the last 20 years. When he went his own way to run for the Senate with no party affiliation back in 2010, Crist looked lost and his campaign sunk. The Florida Democrats, based on their own various stumbles, aren’t going to be of much help on that front.

Crist certainly seems to be taking Democrat support for granted. Besides not debating Rich, Crist blew off meeting with Democrats this past weekend at the Leadership Blue event. Allison Tant tried to defend Crist by saying that people knew who he was from all his past campaigns, a strange statement to make considering he’s only been a Democrat for a year and a half now.

Tant inadvertently pointed out the problem Crist’s having. Floridians know quite a bit about Charlie Crist from his various campaigns. In the last four years, he has run for office as a Republican, then with no party affiliation and now as a Democrat. Crist has fundamentally shifted his stances on almost every single major issue during his political career.

Floridians also know that Crist might have won three state offices but he never left much of a legacy once in power. Crist only bothered to run for re-election for a state Senate seat. He never sought second terms for any of the state offices he won.

Now, four years after deciding to forgo a second term as governor to run for the Senate, Crist is trying to reclaim his old turf. But having changed offices and positions so many times before, Crist starts off with a disadvantage as he tries to reassure voters he can be trusted on various issues. Crist’s simple theme -- I’m not Rick Scott -- isn’t enough to beat a governor with strong fundraising and a winning organization behind him.  

As July begins, Crist needs to find other weapons in his arsenal if he wants to turn things around. The problem with the Crist campaign can’t be solved with a few new faces or a debate with Nan Rich. The problem with the Crist campaign is the candidate himself.

Crist has been here before. After leaving the GOP, Crist was in the pole position in the Senate race but he quickly got lapped by Marco Rubio after failing to define himself. His lead over Scott a distant memory, Crist needs to find something to recharge his campaign, which he didn’t do in 2010.

Democrats have also been here before. Their last three gubernatorial candidates -- Bill McBride, Jim Davis and Alex Sink -- were all from Tampa Bay and thought not being Republicans would be enough for them to break the GOP hold on the governor’s mansion. As Democrats look ahead to the rest of summer and fall, they have to be increasingly worried that Crist, yet another candidate from Tampa Bay who is making “I’m not Rick Scott” the theme of his campaign, could follow the same path.

Tallahassee based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (8)

Tyler Barrett
11:52AM JUL 5TH 2014
The problem is simple-- CHARLIE CRIST IS NOT A TRUE DEMOCRAT!! This is why I am voting for Nan Rich. She has been a democrat her entire adult life, not just when it's convenient.
8:06PM JUL 2ND 2014
Chain-Gang Charlie's problem isn't not being Rick Scott, it's being Charlie Crist. The Democrats and Cristocrats can spend their money from hell to breakfast, and it won't change a darned thing. Crist's other problem is not that he hasn't gotten his message out; it's that he has done so in spades, and his message is: "I want to hold high office, and I stand for nothing."

Massachusetts might believe the Kennedys, but Floridians for the most part are smarter than that. Crist has been a member of every party, as Sen. Rubio noted recently, except for the Communist Party - which may be why Crist wanted to go to Cuba.

Sorry, Charlie.
child abusers records vanish
3:36PM JUL 2ND 2014
We the people of Florida will never win the war against child abuse as long as the system protects the abusers and not the children. This is literally just one case out of hundreds here In Florida where the abuser is protected by the system. Enough information is being provided so as any ethical person with average intelligence can verify the enclosed information for validity!
Taken directly from public records formerly available on-line:
On 1/20/2013 - MICHAEL JOHN MORROW was arrested by Leesburg, Lake County, Fl Police and booked in to the Lake County Jail - Booking #:13000734-Case #:-Inmate ID:60711 – DOB: February 1986. Place of birth: Omaha, Nb. [Franklin Scandal territory]


On 2/23/2013 – The arrestee posted a $500. Bond and was released from jail.

On 2/25/2013 – The charges against this defendant was dropped by Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Don Briggs, without comment!

12/4/2013 – Lake County Florida Circuit Court Case# 2013 DR 002421 – Name Exempt vs. Morrow, Michael John [an injunction for protection against sexual violence is filed]

12/6/2013 – Case is heard by Circuit Judge Heidi Davis! Remarks entered into docket as reference #4: Order denying petition for injunction for protection against sexual violence; court notes: The parient’s (sic) may supplement the petition to include they are filing because they feel their daughter needs this protection, not because DCF told them to file. Court will be willing to review it again; copies to petitioner by mail.

Who is this protected species? Other Lake Judges have been flippant with this man on other criminal charges as well. On 2/6/2013- Judge Donna Miller -NOLLE PROSEQUI –drug charges
On this person!

But this is blatant disregard for the safety of a child under the age of 12 years old by Judge Heidi Davis’ remarks it is apparent after the Chief Circuit Judge dropped the charges against the 28 year old attacker the parents of this sexually abused child , went to DCF – who apparently advised the parents to seek this “injunction for protection against sexual violence” in circuit court. The results of which are not only appalling, but could possible lead to the death or continued abuse of this child. What if we hear the parents of this child have taken the law into their own hands? The system would never admit they have protected this sexual offender of a child under the age of 12 years! They will blame the parents for going berserk and taking the law into their own hands. Once this case was brought to the attention of certain persons all “official Records” of this arrest as well as his drug related arrest #12009378 on 10/10/2012 disappeared from the Lake Jail website. Likewise “Circuit Court Case# 2013 DR 002421” (containing the disparaging remarks of Judge Davis) disappeared from the website of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Lake County Florida website as well. Maybe Leesburg Police still have a record of this arrest? Can't help but wonder how this arresting Leesburg Police officer feels about his attempt to get this child molester off the streets being thrown back in his face!
protected child abusers
3:48PM JUL 2ND 2014
In 1989 Gary Borders (Now sheriff of Lake County) and his friend Don Brown who along with his family owns The Bridges of America Florida Department of Corrections vendor early release facilities and prison ministries opened the Green Isle Ranch for wayward boys near Clermont in South Lake County.
That same year Gary Borders come to Lake County to run the Lake County Jail. Rumors of boys having sex with each other and being sexually abused at Green Isle was on the streets of Clermont and Groveland almost from the beginning.
In 2000 a none year old boy was sexually abused by older boys and a houseparent. His parents removed him from Green Isle. Don Brown convinced the parents if they would return him he would get the boy special treatment and protect him from further abuse. They retured the boy to Green Isle where he was once again sexually abused. In 2001 they hired Attorney Keith Mitnik who was raised in Tavares. He filed a lawsuit against Green Isle. That lawsuit was heard before Lake Circuit Judge William Law whose wife Julie Law was the Attorney of Record for the Green Isle Foundation at the time. Judge law dismissed the case in favor of his wife’s employer Green Isle.
In October 2006 founding Green Isle Board member Gary Borders become the sheriff of Lake County. In 2008 complaints surfaced that Green Isle had been feeding rancid food including frozen maggots and over working the boys at the Green Isle Thrift store. The ranch closed. Soon State Attorney Brad King announced he could find no criminal wrong doing on the part of Green Isle and the ranch reopened under new management.
On November 21, 2009 five boys ranging from 12 to 16 years old reported to the Green isle administrator that they had been sexually assaulted over the summer (from July to early November) by an older boy who had recently left the ranch. They all said he threatened their lives if they told on him and that was why they were only now coming forth. Green isle administrator Rev. Steve Zepp called 911 immediately and reported the crimes to the Lake Sheriff’s Office (Sheriff Gary Borders). A deputy sheriff went to Green Isle and took a through report including handwritten statements from Rev. Zepp and the five victims who all “initialed the yes box” in “do you want to prosecute?” the responding Deputy also notified the DCF Child Abuse hotline from the ranch. Rev. Steve Zepp was gone from Green Isle in 48 hours after dialing 911. He only says “over an disagreement with management!” Insiders at Green isle said it was over his calling 911 without consulting his management.
Absolutely nothing was done for these five little rape victims. By February 3, 2010 some of them had attempted to commit suicide and the sheriff’s office had reportedly responded to those calls and again took no actions on behalf of the victims! The original report was Lake Sheriff’s Office Case Number (09 191988) No records have been found regarding the attempted suicide calls, but entered into that case is the following: On February 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM Lake Deputy Walker responded to a call from Paula Whetro the new Green Isle Administrator regarding the fact that she was receiving threatening & harassing phone calls, text messages and emails from a disgruntled former employee (house parent) Clayton Berkey (and his wife Angela) who still had keys to the boys cottages. Why was this entered into the report of the rapes?
Then by 5 PM that date Clayton Berkey was on all the local television breaking news stories relating over and over the plight of the five boys being held at Green Isle for seventy-five days after reporting they had been brutally sexually abused by the older boy over the summer. Then Green Isle insiders released a flyer with the rapist named by all the victims pictured right next to Sheriff Borders in July 2009 around the time the rapes began. Later a retired Captain who was a direct report to Jail administrator Gary Borders for fifteen years reported in all those years he never heard Gary Borders mention his involvement at the Green Isle Boys Ranch.
According to the report (09 191988) the next day after the leaks of the rapes was exposed on local television Sheriff Gary Borders sent two of his detective teams to Citrus County to interview the suspect who had been named in the original report over 75 days earlier. The FDLE reported that Sheriff Borders Office arrested the rapist on February 9, 2010 for four counts of sexual battery, one count of Lewd & Lascivious and one count of Battery.(The sheriff’s office report marked out the box “cleared by arrest” and in fact indicates the case was not filed for prosecution because it liked enough “probable cause for and arrest!” FDLE also reported that on May 20th, 2010 the rapist pled no-contest and was later sentenced to community control. Anonymous Lake Courthouse rumors reported the case was numbered (2010-CJ-000185) and the sentencing by Circuit Judge Michael Takac occurred on may 26, 2010.
Bu October 2010 – The convict at large was receiving traffic citations. On March 3, 2010 – (Just 13 months to the day that his crimes were leaked to the public) the convicted rapist who was supposed to be serving community control in Citrus County , Florida had an injunction for protection against dating violence filed against him in Citrus County by the father of another juvenile victim. As required by the courts the petition alleged a history of violence against this juvenile. (They won’t even take a complain for just one act of violence against a person) The petition described events such as assault with a motor vehicle against the parents of the juvenile and two Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Deputies reports of violence was contained in this request. Any of the calls to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office should have turned up the fact that the violator was on community control and should have violated that judgment. The request for injunction for protection should have violated the judgment of community control, but it did not and the petitioners request for protection against dating violence was denied.
By November 16, 2011- The protected rapist was still at large and received a careless driving citation for an accident resulting in damages. From that day forward this protected species – protected by Sheriff Gary Borders and his friends in the fifth circuit of Florida has laid low and off the grid.
Over the last several years a large group of people has been following the horrors of the Green Isle Boys Ranch and the involvement of those who conspired for over two decades to keep their little secret of the abuses of those who were unfortunate enough to have been “students” at the Green Isle Boys Ranch.
Can you imagine anyone working side by side with fellow employee’s (for fifteen years) and not once mentioning to that fellow employee that he was involved in this great boys ranch to help the unfortunate and wayward boys and invite that fellow employee to join in this great worthy cause? Some of Sheriff Borders employee’s was pictured with him in the flyer (where he was pictured with the rapist) Summer 2009 – why was some employee’s invited to Green isle while others never even heard of it?
This nightmare of horrors reopened in 2011 under true new ownership and recently it was closed down again (this time by DCF – thank God they finally done their job) The only reason they closed it down so fast this time is the new owner was not politically connected the power house that Sheriff Borders and his friends has been connected too since the middle 1980’s.
And now the local oligarchs are trying to convince animal lovers that Sheriff Gary Borders can manage the Lake County Animal Services more efficiently and more ethically than its present and previous management teams have. What possible morals and ethics can a human have who as the sworn sheriff of this county and (by his employees who are nothing more than extensions of his power as sheriff) takes the obviously certifiable and authenticated reports of the brutal rapes of five little boys and sits on it and does nothing – no immediate arrest; nothing! Even after his employee’s are called back to the scene of the crimes (more than once) where the victims are still being held because they have attempted suicide (not just threatened suicide). Those of us who follow child abuse cases have seen more than enough documented evidence regarding the 30 + years of Gary Borders and his involvement with Green Isle Ranch, The Osceola Boys Clubs and other functions “where the boys are” to know we do not want Gary Borders around young boys. Therefore we would be inclined to believe animal lovers likewise would not want him to be in charge an animal shelter making decisions regarding the life and death of animals when he has shown by documented evidence (in reports obtained from his own office) that he does not enforce the laws against child rape. And he show no concern about children who are trying to take their own lives because he has failed to protect them from his abusive friends.

This is not politics – this is the plain hard facts concerning the true history of the man who runs our sheriff’s office. He was handed this job on a silver platter because of and not in spite of his history.
Anyone who disputes these facts (unless Sheriff Borders has destroyed -09 191988) you can obtain a copy of the entire report by public records request. The rapist is named in this report. Then you can also obtain the continued criminal actions of the rapist (who was supposed to be on community control) by obtaining Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and Clerk of the Courts reports. Then ask yourself why is this young man at large and not required to have been registered as a sex offender or predator?
C Breeze
11:08AM JUL 2ND 2014
Tampa Bay "politics" are "dried up" (unless the Tampa Bay RAYS decide to run for office).... My suggestion would be for McBride, Davis, Sink and "Charlie the Tuna" relocate to Maryland with its "political ilk".... For the right price, Joe Biden would probably even support them (another politician who can't pass up an empty stage to pontificate upon).
10:59AM JUL 2ND 2014
Rick Scott still in a dead heat with Crist. This despite all the money Scott has spent. Not good for Scott who thinks big money always wins elections. Dems need to vote in a mid-term for once.
10:38AM JUL 2ND 2014
It will be a pleasure of mine to vote against Crist yet again.
10:38AM JUL 2ND 2014
"The Times, They are A-Changing." Nan Rich stands head and shoulders above Charlie Crist & Rick Scott.

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