April 16th, 2010
02:06 PM ET
4 years ago

Crist brushes off top adviser's resignation

Charlie Crist's campaign chairman resigned Thursday evening.
Charlie Crist's campaign chairman resigned Thursday evening.

(CNN) - Gov. Charlie Crist is brushing off news his top political adviser resigned Thursday night after the Florida Republican vetoed a GOP-backed education bill.

"[T]here is always a price to pay for making decisions in life, and in my business, in the political world, you take political hits, and that's OK, that's just part of it. But you have to do what you think is right at the end of the day," Crist said during an event in Miami Friday.

The Associated Press reported Thursday night that Connie Mack, a longtime political ally of Crist, tendered a letter of resignation because the governor had vetoed a bill favored by state Republican lawmakers and grassroots conservatives but largely unpopular among teachers' unions.

"As you know, I strongly disagree with your veto," the former senator wrote. "Your veto I believe undermines our education system in Florida ad the principles for which I have always stood.

Some political watchers say that Crist's veto may be a signal that the governor is positioning himself as a centrist and giving up his bid against Marco Rubio for the Republican Senate nomination. But on Friday, Crist denied that is the case.

"My veto is a signal that I thought the bill was bad. And I though we need to do it better and do it right for the people of state of Florida, especially the children and teachers," Crist said.

Crist's comments were made at a joint appearance on Friday with Alonzo Mourning at a Miami-Dade school named in honor of the former Miami Heat star.

When asked if he was considering a run as an independent in the Florida Senate race, Crist dodged the issue.

"I am trying to come to this great school and honor Alonzo Mourning, and we'll look at that [running as an independent] later on.

Crist has until the end of the month to declare if he'll remain in the GOP primary or run as an independent.

A Quinnipiac University poll indicates that Rubio, the former state house speaker and a darling of conservative activists, leads Crist by 23 points among Republican primary voters. But the survey of Florida voters, released Thursday, also indicates that Crist, if he chose to run as an independent, would hold a narrow edge in a three-way contest with Rubio and Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate in the race.

– Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Marco Rubio
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Ben in Texas

    I'm beginning to like Crist more and more. He is obviously willing to go against the radicals in his party. That shows integrity. He should run as an independent, since he will obviously get no respect or help from the radical Repugnants who dominate the GOP.

    Isn't that something the teabaggers talk about? Doing what you think is right rather than slavishly following the party line? Somehow, I doubt they'll see it that way. The teabaggers think they are independents, despite the fact that they are funded by Repugnants and will overwhelmingly vote for Repugnants.

    April 16, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Squigman

    Can some person in the media get a better picture of this person. Every time he shows up in the news (and it all too often), he looks like he about to stroke out..

    April 16, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. gatormom7

    I admire Charlie Crist for standing up for what he believes was the right thing to do for education in Florida. And Connie Mack resigning is one of the best things that could happen for the state.

    Tying a teacher's job and salary to a standardized test was one of the most unfathomable ideas I've heard of in years. Morale is already low in the teaching profession – that bill would have effectively run off every good teacher there is in the current system. There are too many other variables that affect a student's progress.....the next step in Florida should be to quit attaching so much importance to a standardized test grade and begin to address all the other issues that go with poor student performance.

    Quit blaming teachers for the ills of the Florida Education System and look to the legislators who refuse to adequaely fund education!

    April 16, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    Don't worry Crist, doing the right thing always pays off in the long run. And also remember that there's a reason that Connie Mack is the FORMER Senator.

    April 16, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Independents for Crist

    If you want someone who won't carry either party's water, vote for Charlie Crist

    April 16, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Michael

    And don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    April 16, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. proud conservative

    Sorry Charlie. You reap what you sew. You sided with the devil and now you are going down in defeat. Democrats should take notice.

    April 16, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Good for Charlie, now that is courage! That is leadership!

    April 16, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. ALEXIS

    I big supporter of Obama and a democrat but for some reason I always like Charlie Crist. I always ask myself why is he a republican cause he sure doesn't think like these bubble heads, I would love for him to finally see the light and come home to the left side, Charlie Crist is too good to be part of the republican party.

    April 16, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Florida Joe

    Sure, at all costs Charlie listen to the GOP and not the people of Florida that were precluded from drafting this bill..............I guess the Repubs only want open dialog when is suits them...and I'm sure Jebb really wanted it to pass so his testing company could bring in the $$$

    Good for you Gov Crist, you stood by the people of Florica rather than just doing what the Repubs wanted.........run as an independent and you have this Democrats support!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. Ron

    Connie Mack is an old washed up bought and paid for former state senator. Good for him and his likes to be gone

    WAY TO GO GOVERNOR CRIST FOR DOING WHAT IS RIGHT. I am not a Republican, but I'll vote for Crist for Senator, I'd even vote for him for re-election to governor, and I could think about voting for him for VP or President before I'd ever vote for Rubio and his band of CRAZIES. Johnny McCrazy could have made the 2008 Presidential race close if he would have chosen Crist instead of the CRAZY he did.

    April 16, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  12. alphonso

    go get them crist.stop being a punk and ran as a inddp

    April 16, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. Pragmatic

    Crist, a man with principals, is out of step with republicans. Who do Florida republicans "luv?"

    Rubio! Poster boy for unethical behavior – already!

    During Rubio’s 8 years in office, he unofficially pushed $250 million to his hometown.

    This contrasts with his campaign hawk crusading against “earmarks”. When asked, Rubio wouldn’t comment.

    Rubio, as Florida Speaker of the House, inserted special budget language in the 20007 budget that helped his friend’s bid on the fuel concession for the Florida Turnpike. He claimed he was trying to make the bidding “fair”.

    Now that's a republican for ya!

    April 16, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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