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. EVN

    There's really not that much difference between the two anyway.

    December 8, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Chris in TN

    Sounds like he got pushed out of his own party by the Tea drinkers. Here's hoping this man is a true moderate!

    December 8, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. snowdogg

    Isn't the term "turncoat" appropriate here?

    December 8, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. crooket

    Another crooket politiican from Florida. No scrupels or character just lies and more lies. This guy should get a real job and earn an honest living. He is a pimp. Never ever vote for this crook.

    December 8, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  5. Freeway

    The Dems can have him!!

    December 8, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. teachdiesel

    and why would anyone trust a man who switches allegiances so quickly?

    December 8, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. gango

    The only sad note in the story is that there is one less voice of reason in the GOP.

    December 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Mark

    He didn't leave the GOP the GOP left him. I know the feeling.

    December 8, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. Paul

    He seems like a common sense kind of governor. Unlike the guy that Florida has now.

    December 8, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. omgamike

    I am proud to be the first to congratulate Governor Crist on his switch to the dems. I predict that we will see more and more defections from the GOP as the radical right destroy their party and eat their own.

    December 8, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Jim

    Florida's new governor won re-election, those idiots get what they ask for. He should go to a smarter state that may actually listen to the issues.

    December 8, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. kxr

    First, Republican, then Independent, now Democrat, next stop is Communist. Evolution!!!

    December 8, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. manboy

    Way to go crist good choice 2015

    December 8, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. John

    I don't blame him. He's always been left leaning and besides the gopers keep shooting themselves in the foot or feet.

    December 8, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. arosel

    He's smart. The GOP is headed for further demise as they continue to poke themselves in the eye.

    December 8, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  16. Senior

    Congratulations Gov. Crist. You did not leave the Republican party, the party left you.

    December 8, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. MaryM

    Glad to have you on board Charlie.

    December 8, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. KeninTexas

    Reminds me of a palm tree. Sways with the change of wind direction.

    December 8, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Steve

    It's where he should be. The GOP moved so far to the exreme I doubt many sane people would be co=mfortable there. Good luck to Gov. Charlie.

    December 8, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Ken from FL

    What a freaking surprise, Charlie. Now your conversion to the dark side is complete. Just try getting elected to any significant position in Florida from here on out, or are you angling for a job in Obama 2.0?

    December 8, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. Ken from FL

    Can you spell "o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-s-t?" Nothing about Crist surprises us Floridians anymore.

    December 8, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. NoTags

    Good for Charlie Crist. I hope President Obama can find a place for him in his administration.

    December 8, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. nothing new here

    Personally, I think he should stay Independent.
    But I can understand Crist not wanting to affiliate with the GOP anymore.

    December 8, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  24. Papa Milt

    We'll see more of this as reasonable conservatives recognize that they have no place with the GOTP. I believe that the end of the Republican Party as we know it has vanished weeks before the Mayan's earth destruction date.

    December 8, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  25. marie

    smart enough to get off the sinking ship of the gop.

    December 8, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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