Take two in Florida for Crist, now a Democrat
November 4th, 2013
02:13 PM ET
9 months ago

Take two in Florida for Crist, now a Democrat

(CNN) – Former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is running for the office he once held. But this time he's running as a Democrat.

In formally announcing his bid Monday at a rally in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Crist highlighted a Democratic style platform that included increased spending for education and infrastructure, and an increase in investment in renewable energy programs.

But the Republican-turned-Democrat also appeared to tout his GOP roots, saying that "I do believe in cutting taxes" and pledging a new cabinet level position to promote trade.

Crist spent a good part of his speech slamming first term Republican Gov. Rick Scott, saying "overnight he went from taking over Tallahassee to becoming the example of what's wrong with the place."

"The more I watched Rick Scott govern, the partisanship, the deals, always putting the special interests ahead of your interests. And the more I heard from you the people, I knew it was time to take Florida in a better direction. So today, I announce that I am running for governor of Florida," Crist said.

Poll: Florida's Crist at 50% in possible comeback

Crist, then a Republican, was elected governor of Florida in 2006, succeeding two term GOP Gov. Jeb Bush. In March of 2009, Crist announced he would run for an open U.S. Senate seat in 2010 rather than for a second term as governor.

While he started out as the overwhelming frontrunner to win the GOP Senate nomination, his hugging of President Barack Obama at a February 2009 event in Florida to promote federal stimulus spending came back to hurt him with conservatives.

After falling way behind former state lawmaker and one-time longshot candidate Marco Rubio in the race for the Republican nomination, Crist left the GOP in April 2010 and continued his Senate bid as an independent candidate. He ended up losing a three-way general election battle to Rubio, who's become a star among conservatives.

Last year Crist endorsed Obama's re-election campaign, and at the end of the year he formally became a Democrat.

Crist didn't share much about his party affiliation on Monday, other than to say "so yes, yeah, I'm running as a Democrat," adding that, "I am proud to do it."

He did say that his party affiliation would be an issue for the "far-right wing."

The Republican Governors Association was quick to criticize Crist's entry into the race.

"Charlie Crist was a failure as Governor and is a pure political opportunist who is out for himself," said RGA Chairman and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. "When the going got tough, Charlie dropped his rifle, abandoned his post, and ran away from the people of Florida."

While Scott has yet to announce his re-election bid, "Let's Get to Work," his political action committee announced it was going up with an ad Monday that highlights past quotes from leading Democratic politicians, including former Vice President Al Gore, that are critical of Crist. A source with knowledge of the spot said it was a "substantial" statewide ad buy.

Scott, a former health care executive, spent more than $75 million of his own money to narrowly capture the governor's office in 2010, in a close contest with Democrat Alex Sink, the state's former chief financial officer.

The 57-year old Crist isn't the only Democrat running for the party's nomination. Former state Sen. Nan Rich, 71, of Broward County, is also making a bid.


Filed under: 2014 • Charlie Crist • Florida
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    At least we know he can run the state, as opposed to Rick Scott and his skill at taking the Fifth.

    November 4, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    As with Charlie and centrist republicans, they didn't leave the republican party, the republican party left them.

    November 4, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Reggie53

    He was never a real republican. He was always a democrat under the disguise of being republican so he could get elected. Fool he is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Thomas

    A super bowl ring with the AFC and the NFC .

    Will Former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist carry the crazy Cuban Christian Teaparty Rightwing Obstructionist party is the big question ?

    November 4, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Hooper

    There is a twelve step process for getting off most degenerative things. Apparently his twelve steps involved becoming enlightened. Shame no one gave Bush access to a twelve stepper.

    November 4, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    "Charlie Crist was a failure as Governor and is a pure political opportunist who is out for himself," said RGA Chairman and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
    ----------------------
    It seems Crist is just to much of an honest guy to be a Republican now. His "failure" that Jindal refers to was nothing more than a polite "thank-you" to Pres. Obama for Stimulus money. It should be noted that there are dozens of photos on the internet of a beaming Gov. Jindal holding up a giant check of Stimulus money as he gives to people across Louisiana.

    November 4, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    Good for Florida–go democratic.

    November 4, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "When the going got tough, Charlie dropped his rifle, abandoned his post, and ran away from the people of Florida."
    ----------------------
    Textbook right wing hyperbole here. Charlie Crist was beaten in a primary by a Tea Party candidate, current Gov. Rick Scott.

    November 4, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. rs

    Crist's party switch offers up an interesting insight into what has happened to the core of the GOP center. Largely the moderates have stayed put, taking ever-Rightward social positions in an attempt to stave off attacts from the farther Right. So far, that tactic doesn't seem to be working inasmuch as mainstream Republicans got primaried by sometimes bizarre candidates who then lost (Akin, O'Donnel, etc.). Add to that the huge negatives racked up by the GOP between their ill-fated shutdown, and their ever more repugnant social positions, whether Crist's way out will resonate for those now facing TEA Party lunatics will be interesting to watch. Now that even "safe" Republicans like McConnell and others have to face down TP candidates will this be a trend or an anomally?

    November 4, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I wish Mr. Crist the very best of luck with his campaign.
    I find it personally offensive that conservatives/cnn would actually write that hugging President Obama put him on the outs with his Party.
    The GOP "outreach" to so-called minorities must take into account the anger and the hurt it produces to see the GOP shun a fellow Party member for hugging the President.
    I realize that the "hug" represented the embracing of the stimulus bill, a bill that saved tens of thousands of jobs in Florida by the way, but to phrase it in those terms is repulsive to me and to many of the so-called minorities that you're trying to lure.

    November 4, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. PaulCat

    Bobby need to keep his business in Louisiana.

    November 4, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Democrat Party - Bought and paid for by Socialist-Communist Billionaire George Soros

    Great! Run as a Democrat and have Obama go down so you can hug him again. I'm sure the people of Florida, millions of who you have lied to about their healthcare, and whose Medicare you cut to pay for free riders, are very, very eager to have a word with you. Of course, I'm sure they won't be allowed to get into the propaganda rallies the Democrats stage everywhere.

    November 4, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Ol' Yeller

    "Scott, a former health care executive, spent more than $75 million of his own money to narrowly capture the governor's office in 2010, in a close contest with Democrat Alex Sink, the state's former chief financial officer."

    Doesn't this really say everything you need to know? Spent 75 million of his own money... now what do you think he had to do to earn 75 million (this is just what he spent to buy the governship, I'm sure he had more)? How many of you have any chance whatsoever to earn even 10% of the amount? 5? 2? 1?
    Do you think he dilliegently ensured that his customers got the quality heatlh care they needed? Sure he did.
    Do you think he made sure even people with pre existing conditions had acces to afford quality health care? Sure he did.
    Do you think a person's need for a life saving operation took precedence over the shareholders? Sure it did.
    Not too mention what has happened to the State of Florida under his rule... what is his approval rating there now? 36%? 32? 12? Another failed loser from the party who almost bankrupted America.

    November 4, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Sorry, Charlie. Didn't work for Specter, not going to work for you.

    November 4, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. JimBob

    Not sure why my fellow Republicans are upset. We all accepted that being a liar and a turncoat interested only in self promotion was one of the requirements of being a Republican candidate. Now, somehow, people are surprised and outraged. JimBob is a product of the Florida school system, so he's not a smart man, but he did see this coming a mile away. Next up, Crist runs as a communist in Russia...

    November 4, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Tampa Tim

    Unlike Jindal, Charlie Crist was not a failure as governor. Jindal, Scott and Walker, all bought and paid for by the Kochs, care nothing about their voters, only themselves.

    November 4, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. CB FL

    Charlie did a good job as governor before. He cares about education and has the teachers back. He unlike Scott how cut a billion dollars from education so he could give the1% a tax deduction. Now that election time is coming around he want to give the teacher a $2500.00 bonus but the said no. It was reported that he said he will spend 10million dollars of his own money to be reelected.

    November 4, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Democrat Party - Bought and paid for by Socialist-Communist Billionaire George Soros

    This guy reminds me of Anthony Weiner.... Some people just have no life without being the center of attention in poliitcs. Narcisists that just can't get a life. Go away Charlie. You've already been rejected.

    November 4, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    "When the going got tough, Charlie dropped his rifle, abandoned his post, and ran away from the people of Florida."
    --------
    Textbook right wing hyperbole here. Charlie Crist was beaten in a primary by a Tea Party candidate, current Gov. Rick Scott.
    ------–
    Ummmmm... nope. He opted not to run for re-election for governor in favor of running for senator – as a republican. When it became apparent he would lose the primary (against Rubio, not Scott), he decided to run as an independent. Care to try again, or just take your lovely parting gifts now?

    November 4, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Crist against Rick Scott? No contest. Crist will win.

    November 4, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. Malory Archer

    Rudy NYC

    "When the going got tough, Charlie dropped his rifle, abandoned his post, and ran away from the people of Florida."
    --------
    Textbook right wing hyperbole here. Charlie Crist was beaten in a primary by a Tea Party candidate, current Gov. Rick Scott.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Actually, he didn't run for a second term, and instead chose to run for mel martinez's senate seat, but he lost to anchor baby teabag candidate marco rubio.

    November 4, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Tampa Tim

    You idiot right wing nuts do know that FL has 4.5 million uninsured people, Scott would not take Medicaid money which hurt almost another million, has attacked workers pensions, and bilked Medicaid for millions for his own personal gain? There is so much more, but you wouldn't read it. While Scott may be the dream of baggers, he has a favorable rating akin to republicans in congress.

    November 4, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Malory Archer

    Democrat Party – Bought and paid for by Socialist-Communist Billionaire George Soros

    Great! Run as a Democrat and have Obama go down so you can hug him again. I'm sure the people of Florida, millions of who you have lied to about their healthcare, and whose Medicare you cut to pay for free riders, are very, very eager to have a word with you. Of course, I'm sure they won't be allowed to get into the propaganda rallies the Democrats stage everywhere.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Actually, our illustrious lying felon of a governor and his merry band of sychophants in Tallahassee have decided that Florida won't be participating, so not so much. Care to try again or would you prefer to take your parting gifts and leave now?

    That being said, one thing the felon and his meery band of sychophants DID do about healthcare in Florida is pass legislstion that allows insurance companies to raise premiums on policies written after the passage of the ACA by as much as they want whenever they want, and they ADMIT they did so for the sole purpose of making Floridians HATE "Obamacare" DESPITE the fact Florida won't be participating.

    November 4, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Fair – For someone from the north, you are almost correct. However, most of us have had our fill of Scott and Rubio.

    November 4, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -Fair is Fair

    Sorry, Charlie. Didn't work for Specter, not going to work for you.
    ************
    Have to disagree with you on this one. the dynamics of the 2 states are vastly different, and Crist had a broad base of support as governor. While both are opportunists, Crist has a much better case of the party having changed, vs Spector's 1th hour conversion after it became apparent that he would lose to Toomey. Spector had a long history of being a prominant Senate Republican, and his conversion lacked any authenticity. Crist has been making the case, out of office, for almost 3 years, that he was crucified for taking Stim money and working to get things done. Scott is nothing more than a right-wing wish list rubber-stamper. His handling of voting last year sticks in the minds of many people who might be inclined to vote GOP.

    November 4, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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