Charlie Crist's Revolving-Door Staff Underlines GOP's Attacks

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: April 17, 2014 2:00 PM
Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

As Eric Conrad exits Charlie Crist’s campaign stage left, questions have to be asked about what’s in the belly of the beast.

Conrad is a committed liberal Democrat. He worked for Enroll Florida, spreading the message of Obamacare. Conrad was a staffer for the Florida Democratic Party and an old Barack Obama hand. His commitment to the Democratic Party and left-of-center politics can’t be questioned.

But after only a week, Conrad is now gone from Crist’s campaign team. Conrad’s quick departure summons memories of Bill Hyers. After guiding Bill de Blasio to an upset win in New York, Hyers was one of the hottest Democratic politicos in the nation. It was big news that he went to work for Crist. Hyers is a true believer, a liberal’s liberal, and he went to work for Crist who had been a Democrat for a year after years of positioning himself as a conservative Republican and winning three statewide offices.

But Hyers also quickly bailed on the Crist campaign. After a month, he hightailed it out of Florida and away from Crist. Hyers isn’t done by any means. He’s currently handling Pat Quinn’s effort to stay in office in Illinois.

Even as Crist reinvents himself from pro-life, anti-gun-control Republican to a pro-choice, pro-gun control Democrat, liberals are rightly asking what their new colleague stands for. Democrats across Florida are starting to give Nan Rich a listen as she demands a debate with her primary rival. But Crist won’t give one to Rich.

While liberals still have questions about what Crist stands for, they can’t be pleased to see left-of-center activists ditching the campaign after short tenures. Nor does this bode well for November. Republicans insist they have the edge when it comes to a ground game and, based on their success in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 in Florida, the point must be conceded. Allison Tant and the Florida Democratic Party, the team that brought out Allie Braswell as their state CFO candidate without vetting him enough to recognize he had a history of personal bankruptcies, do little to inspire confidence. Crist has to build a team of his own and defections like Hyers and Conrad aren’t helping. Sure, Crist leads Gov. Rick Scott in most polls but it’s nowhere near by the margins he did a half year ago. Scott has enough money to keep running ads which will tarnish Crist even further.

With Crist staffers going through a revolving door, liberals and Democrats have to wonder if the GOP isn’t correct about their former candidate. Republicans are portraying Crist as someone who cares more about his own ambitions than principles. This explains, Republicans say, why Crist couldn’t bother to run for re-election to any of the three statewide offices he had, even forgoing a near-certain win for a second gubernatorial term to run for the Senate. It also helps explain why Crist left the GOP to run for the Senate with no party affiliation before joining the Democrats two years later, changing his positions as he switched parties.

And now stalwart liberals and committed Democrats like Hyers and Conrad leave the Crist team after the passage of mere days. They’ve been in the belly of the beast. They could have seen how empty, how vacuous and how committed to his own career, instead of to issues, Charlie Crist actually is.

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

Comments (6)

10:21PM APR 18TH 2014
Funny how Crist demands debates with the governor who straightened out the mess he left his successor - but he ignores his own party's opponent, Nan Rich.

It must suck being an opportunist.
8:29AM APR 18TH 2014
This isn't a new phenomenon. Back in the day when Charlie was a Republican, there wasn't anyone he wouldn't throw under the bus, hence the move to "Independent", now "Democrat". Is this really what we want as a State? Another opportunistic politician trying to enrich themselves? Give me a principled person any day of the week. I at least know what to expect.
C Breeze
4:02PM APR 17TH 2014
Yup,...Crist's people do "have the ground game" alright;...and they should start early, digging a "politician's grave" in that ground for Charlie "Stick a fork in the "Tuna", he's done." "Not this time Charlie !" Better keep your little metal desk in that dark corner of "Morgan & Morgan's" basement...
follow the leader
3:26PM APR 17TH 2014
Charlie's father Dr. Crist has publicly stated it was Mel Sembler that brought Charlie to live that funny lifestyle. right down to the leather pants and dancing on the bar at the Green Gables - wonder what ever happened to those picts?

It don't matter if it's Charlie Crist or Rick Scott - they are both cut from the same loin cloth; it's hard to take chicken chet and make chicken salad out of it- by the time you get enough mayonnaise to abate the scent its to think to eat and you practically have to slurp it!

It is too bad for Florida that some honest person that does ot own their soul to the company store don't come in an run for Governor like Claude Kirk did in 1966 (Thanks to Steve for reminding us of that!) But then we would also need some State Senators and State Reps and county officials that don't belong to the establishment waiting around to take orders just as well. What we need is people with morals and integrity that will tell the truth no matter whose neck goes in the noose for it, and until we get those people Florida and the USA will remain teetering on the pits of hell.
2:22PM APR 17TH 2014
The other way to see the departure is that Christ and Florida are not so stridently liberal that thy can pass the litmus test from the NE Carpetbaggers. I'm not a fan of Charlie Christ but, if the left wing guru's that demand adherence to DeBlasio style policies can not stomach being around Charlie, he might not be that bad after all.
C Breeze
4:09PM APR 17TH 2014
Oh,...make no mistake...he IS that bad. Just ask seven juvenile facility guards, a nurse and a medical examiner who Charlie "threw under the bus" and cost them their jobs before the investigation even began. And to add insult to injury, Charlie gave five thousand taxpayer dollars to the sickle-cell victim as soon as the "investigation" was commenced and before any factual findings. We don't forget "Charlie The Tuna" intrusions up here in the Panhandle where honor and integrity still resides...

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