Crist's political hat trick: Former GOP governor, independent candidate announces switch to Dem
December 7th, 2012
11:44 PM ET
2 years 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. mario

    thought he already did this during the presidential election.

    December 8, 2012 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  2. JC

    I haven't followed the governor's career in Florida. But given that the GOP didn't do well in Florida in this past presidential election, and that the state has many retired citizens on Social Security, who might not appreciate reforms to it or to Medicare that the GOP is pushing, I can certainly see why a politician would jump ship from the GOP.

    December 8, 2012 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  3. Bob

    This is the most contrevercial thing since Lieberman went from Democratic vice-presidential candidate to republican convention keynote speaker.

    December 8, 2012 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  4. Joe Plumber

    Who cares? Reagan was originally a liberal democrat and ran the most powerful union in Hollywood.

    December 8, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  5. Jeannine

    Welcome to the Democratic Party Governor Crist.

    December 8, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  6. coffeebean02

    Way to go Charlie...! Blue is a more becoming color for a silver fox.

    December 8, 2012 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  7. littleme

    Welcome to the Democratic Party, Charlie Crist!

    December 8, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  8. Muffy 7

    Welcome Gov.Christ you are where you belong now and much wanted.

    December 8, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  9. hermes chavez

    First sign of the republican's regime as a miority party. Way to go charlie !

    December 8, 2012 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  10. trufaldino

    Crist probably hasn't changed,but the tea party, entertainment based conservatives, and ayn randists have moved Republicans so far to the right as to leave reality based moderates without a party to call home. Crist is, no doubt, acting opportunistically, but expect more to get on the bandwagon as Republican ideologues drive their party over the cliff. Gerrymandering currently makes for an obstructionist Republican majority in Congress, but don't expect it to last. The conservative movement of the last 30 years was born as a reaction to the civil rights movement, nurtured on xenophobia and embraced by big money masquerading as small government. It is now a movement in decline burdened by the failures of George W. Bush, changing demographics and the zeal of its purists who value belief over facts.

    December 8, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  11. Mtheumer

    Crist had way too much sense to be a Republican anyway.

    December 8, 2012 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  12. bill

    Rubio was picked by the right wing because the idea was he could deliver the Spanish vote. Failed selection. Chris a moderate republican was in the wrong place and time.

    December 8, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  13. SiggieF

    Another self-serving politician proving that there is fundamentally little difference between Republicans and Democrats in this country...

    December 8, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  14. ultimately

    Boy am I surprised......NOT. The man's career was over, he had to switch to his real party affiliation to run again.

    December 8, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  15. Debra for Obama

    Welcome aboard, we love you. Leaving that fringe crazy party is a good step "FORWARD"

    December 8, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  16. Neurotoxin

    Good riddance. You were a terrible excuse for a conservative, and we don't want you.

    December 8, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  17. Jason

    As a Florida Democrat I am disgusted to have Christ join my party. This man who has absolutely no core beliefs. Political silly putty is a perfect way to describe him. I pray that if he runs for governor, Alex Sink runs as well and defeats him in the primary (and then Scott in the general).

    December 8, 2012 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  18. Maeve

    What a weird political landscape, where a person isn't supposed to hug another person because of party affiliation. Would they reject a compliment, a gift, a transfusion of blood donated by someone from the other party, as well? Prohibitions based on political affiliations = a sort of racism.

    December 8, 2012 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  19. Beavis

    Guy's a tool. How unfortunate for the democratic party.

    December 8, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    Very Very Wise guy. God bless!!!

    December 8, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  21. SCOTT

    Democrats can have him, the man is an idiot and clown

    December 8, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  22. onlyfacts

    I saw Crist in a short TV interview several years ago. Right-away I thought, "wow, there is actually a Republican out there that isn't insane". I guess I was wrong.

    December 8, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  23. JayHobeSound

    Right on!

    We need to get Rick Scott out of Tallahassee before he privatizes the Florida sunshine!

    December 8, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  24. Normal in NH

    Hey Charlie...those that call you a democrat aren't your friends!

    December 8, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  25. henry

    Anybody surprised? He was a democrat when he was elected the republican govenor of fl.

    December 8, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
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