What’s in the Water at Charlie Crist’s Camp?

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: December 9, 2013 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

It’s been a month since the former governor announced he would run for his old job, yet despite a decent fundraising start, it appears Charlie Crist’s campaign may be crumbling from the inside.

Crist drew several big names to his camp -- political minds who have worked with Barack Obama and Bill Nelson -- and he turned heads when he brought one person in particular to be his campaign manager: Bill Hyers.

Hyers became a blazing hot commodity after helping secure Bill de Blasio’s mayoral victory in New York City during one of the largest campaigns in the country this year. Almost immediately after de Blasio was declared the winner in New York City, Crist’s campaign snapped Hyers up, presumably with the hope Hyers could work the same magic on Crist’s campaign.

But that magic was snuffed out when Hyers abruptly split from the Crist campaign last week.

Crist’s campaign downplayed Hyers’ departure.

"It’s early,” said the campaign in a statement released after Hyers’ departure. “Our campaign structure is still coming together. Bill wanted to stay in New York because it was good for him."

Hyers had seemed to be looking forward to spearheading the campaign, saying he was “thrilled” to help Crist “return the governor's office to the people.”

Crist himself even referred to Hyers as his campaign manager at a Miami Beach fundraising event last month.

Despite the camp’s attempt to assuage talks of trouble in Crist's world, there could be several reasons why Hyers left so suddenly.

Big-time trial lawyer -- and Charlie Crist supporter -- John Morgan said it all came down to chemistry.

“You’ve got to be comfortable,” Morgan told Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Herald-Tribune. “It’s a marriage, and it’s for the long haul. I think it was more of a chemistry thing.”

Morgan also alluded to a time commitment issue because Hyers has a New York girlfriend. 

“Charlie Crist is not going to be in short supply of campaign managers,” said Morgan, who called Crist's campaign the "hottest" for next year. “Many, many people want to manage his campaign.”

The Tampa Bay Times said Hyers was pushed out of Crist’s campaign due to scuffles with Carole Crist, Charlie’s wife of five years.

Others, however, have gone further with assertions that Hyers left because the cogs in Charlie’s campaign weren’t turning to his liking. Hyers has found himself as somewhat of a campaign celebrity since running de Blasio’s progressive campaign, and political analysts have speculated that Hyers made the decision to pull out before his newfound reputation as a successful campaign manager for progressive candidates was tarnished by Crist's flip-flopping politics and shaky stances.

It’s unclear who will replace Hyers. Several names have floated around as potential replacements, such as Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina. But the latest string of events seem to suggest that the Crist campaign is seeing trouble, struggling to get off the ground.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at Allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.


Comments (3)

William in Tampa
10:04AM DEC 9TH 2013
DEMOCRATS: You're DONE in Florida!
7:52AM DEC 9TH 2013
7:48AM DEC 9TH 2013
complete political fantasy. it's almost a yr before the elections. crist will have no problem finding some one else and taking on scott. scott makes it easy.

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