With buzz building that he will launch a gubernatorial bid next week, former Gov. Charlie Crist is drawing fire from both his right and left.
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) released a parody letter from Crist to President Barack Obama on Monday making fun of the former governors attempts to head to the Senate. Crist was the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in 1998 and ran for the GOPs Senate nomination in 2010. After being caught by Marco Rubio in the primary in 2010, Crist left the Republicans to continue his Senate bid with no party affiliation. Crist joined the Democrats at the end of 2012 and is the heavy favorite to be his new partys nominee to challenge Gov. Rick Scott next year.
The RPOF also mocked Crist for campaigning against President Barack Obamas federal health-care law, noting the former governor attacked it as a "Trojan horse for a government takeover of the health care system." While he attacked the health care law, Crist did endorse Obamas federal stimulus plan in 2009. In 2012, Crist, who was a strong backer of U.S. Sen. John McCains, R-Ariz., presidential ambitions, the former governor endorsed Obama at the Democratic National Convention last year before joining the Democrats.
Crist also drew fire from his main rival for the Democratic nomination in recent days.Speaking at the Florida Democratic Partys convention in Orlando over the weekend, former state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich directed most of her fire at Scott, but she also threw a few jabs at Crist.
I remain the only serious Democratic candidate in the governors race, Rich said. But I have a sneaking suspicion thats going to change soon. Rumor has it that Charlie Crist will soon announce hes running again.
Now, I know that being a woman, a mom, and a grandmother probably gives me an unfair advantage over Charlie but he does have a lot of experience running for statewide offices hes run five times, you know so Im not taking his candidacy lightly, Rich added. Seriously, theres no denying that Charlie Crist has a lot of style. But with so many Floridians still out of work, with so many seniors on waiting lists for care, with so many childrens lives negligently lost by a broken social services system, with so much at stake in how we manage our environmental resources I truly believe this election will be more about substance than style, and I believe it must be if we are to get Florida back on the right track.
For his part, as he gears up to launch his bid, Crist is holding his fire against Rich and had some kind words for her at the convention. Crist took to Facebook on Sunday and insisted the convention was a positive experience.
It was great to see so many familiar faces and new friends this weekend in Orlando, Crist wrote. Best part was learning more about what's important to the people of Florida. Saying 'Hi' to Mickey and Minnie wasn't bad, either.
Increasingly it appears Crist and Rich will be the main contenders for the Democratic nomination. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., continues to insist he has no interest in getting in the race.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.