May 2nd, 2010
06:14 PM ET
8 years ago

'I'm much happier now,' Crist says

Gov. Crist was surrounded by supporters last week as he announced that he will skip the Republican Senate primary and run as an unaffiliated candidate in November's election.

Gov. Crist was surrounded by supporters last week as he announced that he will skip the Republican Senate primary and run as an unaffiliated candidate in November's election.

(CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist told the National Review Online that he is much happier now that he has decided to skip the Republican primary as he campaigns to become the state’s next senator. In a separate interview broadcast Sunday, Crist left open the possibility that he would align himself with Democrats in the Senate, if elected in November.

Crist credited Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, for helping him make his recent decision to skip the GOP Senate primary in Florida and, instead, run as a non-party-affiliated candidate in the midterm election.

Lieberman, who lost the Democratic primary in 2006 but went on to win re-election as a self-described independent Democrat, told Crist that his unaffiliated candidacy was “liberating,” the Florida governor said in an interview with the National Review.

“'He was right. I’m much happier now, to be perfectly candid,’” Crist said to the conservative publication.

Related: Lieberman opens up about becoming an independent

Crist, who appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, would not rule out following in Lieberman’s footsteps and joining with Senate Democrats for organizing purposes.

“I’ll caucus with the people of Florida,” Crist said when asked whether he would caucus with Republicans if elected to the Senate.

Pressed on the issue, Crist added, “Well, when I'm independent, I'm going to do what I think is in the best interests of my people. And that's my decision. And that's what I'm going to do for Floridians. And that's what people want.”

In a similar vein, Crist said that he might also vote for a Democrat as Senate majority leader.

“I might not vote for either [a Democrat or a Republican]. You know, I'm going to vote for who I think would be best for the people of Florida. And if that happens to be a Democrat, so be it. If it happens to be a Republican, so be it,” the Florida governor said.

And Crist tried to stake out a position on the political spectrum relative to his two lead opponents, Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek and Republican Marco Rubio.

“We've got candidates, now, in this race, one that's on the hard right, in Speaker Rubio, one that's on the hard left, in Congressman Meek,” said Crist.

Related: Rubio depicts himself as conservative with mainstream policies

The governor described himself as the more moderate choice compared to Rubio and Meek adding “and then you've got a common-sense guy, right down the middle, that wants to represent the people of the state and do what's right.”

Related: Meek lays out planned attacks against Rubio, Crist

He added, “It's not right versus left. This is about right versus wrong.”

Crist acknowledged that it will be an uphill battle to run for the Senate without the support of the Republican Party, but added the backing his campaign has received from teachers has given him a boost.

“That really inspired me,” said Crist, who recently vetoed a bill opposed by teachers. “And while it's an uphill battle, I'm encouraged.”

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Extra • Florida • Popular Posts
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. ib

    Why shouldn't he join the democrats he thinks like them; only what they themselves want not what the people want. Democrats proved that with the passing of this so called healthcare reform.

    May 2, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. Kap

    We can only hope that Republican voters will remember his statements and not let him divide the vote to allow a Democrat to win.

    May 2, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Pkm

    The dem party will be very happy to welcome you in

    May 2, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Lets Go Yankees!

    This is the same style of our idiot president. Keep saying you're for the people, nothing but the best interest of the people, without ever deciding or arguing for anything during a campaign. Have some guts, take a position. Look at the situation we're in now where we wake up to find out which industry the government has decided to take over on any given day. If you're for the people then take some stands and tell them what you believe in so we don't have to live in constant unpredictability.

    May 2, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Pat in IL

    I think all candidates for public office should run as independents. The parties (especially Republican) have just gotten too crazy. Also, running as either a Rep or Dem makes it more of a "them against us" issue, rather than just getting to know exactly who the candidate is and what his or her platforms and issues are. We could get to know what the candidate is "made of", and we coulld vote for the person – not the party.

    May 2, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Proud member of Global Zero

    You first have a bill to veto down here Mr. Crist. Do not think for one second that I will vote for you or Rubio. I do not want drilling off the coast of Florida. I also cannot wait until Mr. Rubio's kill " Social Security" rant goes public. We are educated voters down here. Do not take us for granted.

    May 2, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Ethan

    Crist has a history of being a shameless panderer and opportunist. Rubio abused his office as FL Speaker for personal gain. Meek has done EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to support the Middle Class and to improve the FL education system as a Representative in the U.S. House of Reps. Meek is the only candidate who has truly earned his stripes. I encourage ALL Floridians to support Meek in November. If you want a govt that actually WORKS FOR YOU, Meek is the clear choice.

    May 2, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. Glitz

    I say, good for you !

    May 2, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. g ontario

    funny how your live changes once you get rid of your republican skin

    May 2, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  10. Joe

    Expect him to run in 2012. Another plus for Obama.

    May 2, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. BeverlyNC

    Crist should be happy to be away from the Republican Party. They are a bunch of racist losers who have no leadership, no solutions, and only consist now of lunatics who are so ignorant they don't even know what they are mad about.

    To be a Republican today and pass their "purity test" you have to:
    1.Hate Obama
    2,Believe he was born in Kenya
    3.Believe he is a socialist (even though you don't know what that is)
    4.Be white and rich or white and racist

    Guess that is why less than 20% of Americans say they are Republicans.

    Republicans have alienated everyone Charlie – you were smart to get rid of your tie to them.

    May 2, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Jarad

    I think he's happier now for sure. He's happy because he is no longer losing in the polls by 20 points to his challenger. He's not a moderate Republican, nor is Rubio. You shouldn't change the rules when you're getting beaten, you should concede, or send it to the voters. So now they'll fight over the same voters, and likely send a Democrat into the seat.

    May 2, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. tag

    benedict spector....benedict crist............don't need to say anything more!

    May 2, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. Dennis

    Free at last, free at last.

    May 2, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Independent_me

    That's what I'm talking about, Gov!
    The Rethuglicans have taken over the Republican Party – that's why I and my spouse left it...and so did several of our friends and family. We kept hoping that they would change...

    and they did...

    for the worst!

    The Rethuglicans do not value intelligence.
    They berate Obama and worship Palin, Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh...

    No right-thinking person will affiliate himself with those racist thugs!

    May 2, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Methuselah

    Good for Crist, good for Florida. Enough with the GOP. The only right decision is to serve your Floridians, not the GOP or the Dems.

    May 2, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    Good for Governor Crist.

    According to a report on the Fox internet site, there is a portrait of the Governor being auctioned off by "GOP officials." There isn't a picture of it on the e-Bay site, but there is a description, comparing the governor to other Republicans who were suspected of being gay.

    This man could not have left that party soon enough. They've become toxic with all their hate. And we're ready to put them back in power? Try and figure that one out. God help us, we're so stupid.

    If you don't believe me, read some of the posts on the Ticker. The ignorance and misinformation is downright astounding. And it's colored in shades of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the like. Don't these people realize those guys have to keep them angry to keep them coming back so they can make tens of millions of dollars a year?

    May 2, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. UP

    When listening to your own conscience and following your own beliefs loses you the support of your "party"–whichever one–there is no choice left but to run as an Independent. This tunnel vision politics is beginning to get really annoying.

    May 2, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Dale

    When 100% of Republicans vote against health care reform, that tells me that they are doing what they are told, not what they personally believe in. 100% agreement just doesn't happen, especially in politics. Seriously, not ONE Republican voted for it.

    Republican– it isn't about what you believe in, it is about doing what you are told.

    May 2, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. Fitz in Texas

    'I'm much happier now,' Crist says"

    And that's all Crist is worried about...keeping himself happy, and employed, and to hell with the rest. I have faith that Floridians are smarter than Crist gives them credit for and will vote for Marco Rubio.

    May 2, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. SteveB

    Why wouldn't he be happy to be away from a party that allows not one single original thought much less deed?

    Must be so frustrating to have ideas or even know exactly what to do and have to abandon them time and time again to appease the party. Like a child doing whatever they have to, no matter how wrong you know it to be, to stop Big Bad Parent from beating them.

    May 2, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Common Cents

    Finally, a moderate voice of reasoning for us independents...

    May 2, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Jim in St. Johns, FL

    Crist is much happier now that he has lied to the people of Florida and now that the polls have him in with a chance to win his coveted Senate seat.

    After all, Crist was born with rights to that Senate seat.

    Crist is what is wrong with Washington and much of America. His ego is beset by the entitlement syndrome.

    Does it matter that Crist is a liar? Not to Charlie – this is all about Charlie.

    May 2, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Pragmatic

    Democracy is about voting for the candidate of your choice: Crist has given voters this additional choice:

    The rabid, blind, brain dead republican partisans want to ram the already corrupt Rubio down the throats of hapless voters – he's being investigated by the IRS before he's even nominated !!! ... or the unknown Democrat.

    The GOP demands unthinking submission to the choice of "the party"! As an American, I say "God Bless Charlie Crist!" Now I have a moderate to vote for!

    May 2, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. Walter

    At this point, Crist might well find the Democratic caucus more hospitable than the Republican one. There are plenty of fiscally conservative, socially moderate Democrats in the Senate.

    On the other hand, the Republican caucus has pretty much been whittled down to the hard-core knuckle-draggers. After all, when Lindsay Graham is your moderate, you have drifted (or charged) pretty far to the right.

    May 2, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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