'Summer of Charlie Crist' a Political Box-Office Bomb

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: August 31, 2013 3:55 AM

Charlie Crist

Labor Day weekend is here and now we know the “summer of Charlie Crist” was a bigger box-office bomb than “The Lone Ranger.”

This summer, Florida politics was supposed to focus on Crist’s efforts to win Democrats over as he prepares to run again for governor. Back in May, pundits insisted Crist would be the story and this would be the "summer of Charlie Crist."

True, Crist made some noise this summer. He expressed his support for same-sex marriage and questioned Rick Scott’s voter purges. Those positions could certainly help Democrats forget he spent most of his political career portraying himself as a conservative Republican.

But Crist stayed off-stage most of the summer, though things should pick up in the months to come. He’ll continue to speak to Democratic groups in the fall and he’ll have a political memoir -- and perhaps a book tour -- coming out at the start of 2014. Crist was noticeably absent as protesters took over the Capitol to demand a special session to repeal the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Crist dodged a few bullets this summer. Nan Rich continues to be a nonfactor in the gubernatorial race and Alex Sink has done nothing to indicate that she will run again. Despite some occasional media noise, Bill Nelson appears increasingly unlikely to run. If nothing else, Crist’s odds of avoiding a nasty Democratic primary are getting better by the day.

While Crist remained in the wings, Rick Scott was able to use his office this summer to continue to crawl back into the race. The economy keeps getting better and Scott hasn’t been shy about heralding the fact that Florida’s unemployment rate is below the national average. He also did a fine job of falling into a trap on Stand Your Ground. Polls show Floridians support the law and Scott had no problem taking on the likes of Jesse Jackson when they started insulting the Sunshine State and its residents.

Scott is also starting to engage Crist. Speaking at an event backed by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in Orlando Friday, Scott bashed Crist’s fiscal management and reminded listeners that he backed Barack Obama’s stimulus plan. Scott also called for more tax cuts, hoping to ensure Florida doesn’t have a surplus at Floridians’ expense.

The governor is still an underdog to be sure but, as Florida’s economy continues to improve, so do Scott’s chances of winning a second term. There wasn’t much Crist could do to dominate the summer headlines. He doesn’t currently hold office and he’s still not officially in the race. Using the bully pulpit that comes from being governor, Scott took advantage of his opportunities on everything from Stand Your Ground to jobs.

It wasn’t the summer of Rick Scott by any means, but he made more political gains than Crist during the past few months.

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

Comments (5)

co ruption is deep
3:28PM SEP 2ND 2013
Hey Scott Goodyear what about some goods news that's going to come soon for the 5th Circuit of Florida.

These suckers have stolen us blind Borrow $562 MILLION and built schools we can hardly even find. Built a courthouse expansion that make the Taj ma Hall one in Tallahassee look like and outhouse.

They steal and take kickbacks from contracts right on video and right under our noses. And Rick Scott and CharLIE Crist both are just a crooked as they are. What do we do about all this corruption?
scott goodyear
8:44PM SEP 1ST 2013
Nobody remembers him calling for an Investigation into Public Corruption before he stepped down? Was a ploy to try and save himself in some bad news that's going to come soon for the 20th Circuit.
10:41AM SEP 1ST 2013
Charlie isn't going to Run as Gov. He already did that gig I hope not can we afford another year like 2009 two double tax hikes on everything I hope the dems rolls out someone Better than Charlie to un seat Gov. skeletor we Had Charlie Thank Him for red light Cameras The Fl. Republican Party scandal Of 2009 Taxes After Taxes If He would Have ran Against Alex Sink He would have lost Big Im Not A fan Of Rick Scott Or Charlie Christ
royal brown iii
10:34AM SEP 1ST 2013
Gov. Scott has delivered on all his campaign promises whereas Christ was a RHINO while Governor and switched parties when he realized he wasn't popular among conservatives. Christ can't be trusted. Jeff - what trap are you talking about then you said "He also did a fine job of falling into a trap on Stand Your Ground" ? Gov. Scott's actions to support SYG mirrors the stance of a super majority of Floridians.
9:55AM SEP 1ST 2013
I don't think He wants to Run for Gov. He wants A Re Mach With Rubio In 2016 for his senate seat

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