Crist's political hat trick: Former GOP governor, independent candidate announces switch to Dem
December 7th, 2012
11:44 PM ET
1 year ago

Crist's political hat trick: Former GOP governor, independent candidate announces switch to Dem

(CNN) – Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who served his state as a Republican then sought office as an independent, tweeted Friday night that he switched his party affiliation to Democrat.

Crist posted to Twitter a photo of himself holding voter registration paperwork and the message, "Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President @BarackObama!"

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The news may come as little surprise to Sunshine State Republicans who watched him campaign for Obama’s re-election and speak at the Democratic National Convention. In 2009 they noted his literal embrace of Obama at an event in 2009, when he was a Republican and serving as governor.

"I've had friends for years tell me, 'You know Charlie, you're a Democrat and you know it,'" Crist told the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.

His move could be seen as an early step toward a run for governor. Gov. Rick Scott is currently in his first term and is up for re-election in 2014.

Crist won his 2006 bid for governor as a Republican and previously served as the state's attorney general.

In 2010 he made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, facing former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. With tea party support, Rubio took a lead on Crist, who then left the GOP ahead of an anticipated primary loss and continued his run as an independent.

His endorsement of Obama's re-election effort referenced health care reform and the president’s handling of the economy, as well as his own differences with the Republican Party. It drew criticism from Republicans who branded him "the silly putty of Florida politics."

Crist also backed Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson's re-election bid this year.


Filed under: 2014 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Rick Scott
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. harold

    He'd be better than Scott

    December 8, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  2. petena

    I'm in Florida and support all democrats but Crist makes me uneasy.

    December 8, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  3. Penny Wright

    Say goodbye, Rick Scott.

    December 8, 2012 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  4. Mrs b

    I suspect we will see some others leaving the GOP.... Not a goos place for reasonable people to be right now.

    December 8, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  5. VCMD

    This guys just wants to stick to power in whatever party can help him to it.

    December 8, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  6. Boycott Florida

    Typical Floridian Politician, does not know anything, just has his head in the sand when problems occurs.

    December 8, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  7. Flipper

    Great! I hope he saves us from Gov Scott, that guy just had my Citizens home insurance double this year because he wants to get away from state backed policies. CNN should do a story on all the people here that can no longer afford home owners insurance because of him. Scott is the worst we have had here in decades.

    December 8, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  8. SafeJourney

    Welcome Charlie. Glad to have you join us

    December 8, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  9. yogi

    A logical step. To many republicans who are fed up with the way their party has degenerated: It is not that hard to join the party of inclusion, diversity, and compassion, and....you will feel much more at home, with intelligent people who have way more of a sense of humor.

    December 8, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  10. gwats

    Well Governor,
    May I officially welcome you to the daylight.

    December 8, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  11. Big Al

    Yet another who choses to abandon the dark side...

    December 8, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  12. Bob

    Right on! I too started out as a Republican, voted for Reagan (twice) and Bush Sr., Didn't like Clinton in '92, voted for Perot. Sat out the '96 election, then after W. stole election in 2000 before all votes were counted in Fl. I realized this was not my fathers GOP. I dumped those power hungry war-mongers (Cheney and Rumsfeld + puppet with name appeal) and switched to Democrat party. Power to the people!

    December 8, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  13. Max

    I would do the same thing if was in his case. This man has been stabbed in the back by the same people he called friends and kicked out of office.

    December 8, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  14. RichardS

    Another Rhino shows his true colors. Good riddance

    December 8, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  15. Eric

    Now there is truth in advertising. No more pretending to be what he's not and deceiving the voters.

    December 8, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  16. Bob

    He probably was always a Democrat.. but, just had to hide it cause he was in Florida.

    December 8, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  17. Realpolitik

    Hardly a surprise there, Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican, switched parties because the GOP was becoming far too radical. Charlie Crist is simply following the path of many moderate, pragmatic Republicans. We might see other such Republicans such as Chris Christie (who also embraced Obama, much to the dismay of Romney), Susan Collins, Olympia Snow, maybe even Jed Bush. Wouldn't that be something, a Bush as a Democrat!

    December 8, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  18. nomad2003

    mr flip flop... say anything do anything to get a vote and then do his own thing and ignore the folks he swore to serve.

    December 8, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  19. Eugene

    The former governor's change in party affliation and future re-election bid as a Democrat could possibly be one of those moments in time inwhich the future of the American two-party political system is refined by the electorate.

    December 8, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  20. LizardLance

    Only Texas' governor, Rick Perry, is more inept at governing on behalf of the people than Rick Scott. Re-electing Charlie Crist would certainly be an improvement to the citizenry as a whole.

    December 8, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  21. Joel

    It's not a surprise I think, as the Republican Party increasingly has moved to the right from moderates. I say good job, Mr. Crist.

    December 8, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  22. Howard

    Welcome, Charlie Crist. There's no shame in switching out of a party that no longer seems to tolerate your own convictions. Just ask the several Southern "former-Democrats-and-now-Republicans," such as John Connally and Trent Lott, among others.

    Strange how the Repubs heap scorn on those who abandon them and the Democrats don't. Well, maybe not so strange after all, but it does speak volumes about the Repubs "my way or the highway" mindset.

    December 8, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  23. David L

    Regardless of his party of choice, it's annoying to see his face on those obnoxious Morgan and Morgan law firm billboards along Florida's highways.
    DL, Colorado

    December 8, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Now that man has got some Brains,Welcome to the side that will fight for others and don't just care about thier self center selfs

    December 8, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  25. schmez

    Being Floridian, no surprise at all "Sorry Charlie" went Democrat. Reminds me of the kids who root for the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Yankees that are natives from anywhere else beside those hometowns.
    Well, Crist will probably beat Rick Scott in 2014 and represent the flavor of the month. Happy trails.

    December 8, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
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