Long Expected, Charlie Crist Is a Democrat
Around the State
Former Republican-turned-independent governor Charlie Crist is now 'turned-Democrat.'
Now that he has filled out voter registration paperwork a-fixed in the large "D" column, next on the list of things Crist is expected by most political insiders -- and even outsiders -- to do is file paperwork for the 2014 gubernatorial contest.
'Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President (at)Barack Obama!," Crist tweeted on Friday.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Crist announced the change in voter registration papers while at the White House.
“He did so during a Christmas reception at the White House, where President Obama greeted the news with a fist bump for the man who had a higher profile campaigning for Obama's re-election this year than any Florida Democrat,” the Times wrote.
Crist, who abandoned the GOP after he was overtaken in the polls by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, in the 2010 Senate contest, follows his wife Carol into the Democratic Party.
The formerly staunch Reagan Republican who grabbed the moniker “Chain Gang Charlie” in the 1990s -- as he became the face of criminal justice legislation that was actually proposed by former Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie -- this past summer endorsed President Obama and spoke, with a lukewarm reception, at the Democratic National Convention.
Last month Crist, while appearing on MSNBC, shifted from denial and noncommittal responses on challenging Gov. Rick Scott to “Anything’s possible.”
The Republican Party of Florida has already envisioned Crist making the registration move, releasing a series of hits titled “two faces" since the summer and last week crafting a disaster movie-style poster focused on Crist and the legally challenged former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer.
In response to Crist's latest actions, the RPOF chimed that "Charlie Crist's first official act as a Democrat was to tell a lie about why he is now pretending to be one."
“The truth is that this self-professed Ronald-Reagan Republican only abandoned his pro-life, pro-gun, conservative principles in 2010 after he realized that Republicans didn't want to send him to Washington, D.C., as a senator, especially after he proved he couldn't do the job as governor," the RPOF stated.
“It's obvious that Florida Democrats are desperate when Charlie Crist is the one who gets invited to the White House just two years after he disowned Barack Obama in 2010, publicly ripped him at every turn, accusing President Obama of having 'the same tired answer for every problem, trashing Obamacare and promising to repeal it, endorsing John McCain, and blasted President Obama for wasting money on the stimulus."
While Crist would immediately be the biggest name in the Democratic field if he jumps into the race, his path back to Tallahassee or even to the Democratic nomination -- where, since last summer, his face has adorned a Morgan & Morgan law firm billboard blocks from the governor's mansion -- isn't a slam dunk.
Former state Sen. Nan Rich from Weston has already opened a campaign account, while anticipation remains high that Alex Sink, who was the Democrats' 2010 candidate, would like another run and the mayors of Tampa and Orlando are looking at the governor’s mansion.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.