(CNN) - Republican groups blasted former Florida governor - and current gubernatorial hopeful - Charlie Crist on Friday for switching his position on same-sex marriage.
Asked by CNN to respond Crist’s apology, Republican Governors Association spokesman Jon Thompson said Crist’s recent comments about same-sex marriage are “the latest example of his embracing every side of an issue in a desperate effort of political opportunism.”
The Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat recently acknowledged in an interview that he formerly opposed same-sex marriage for political reasons, adding he privately felt awkward about toeing the social conservative line as a Republican for a long time.
"I'm sorry I did that. It was a mistake. I was wrong. Please forgive me," the former governor told Watermark online, a publication in Florida that covers LGBT issues and events.
Crist is back in the political spotlight this year, trying to reclaim the governor's office he held from 2007 to 2011.
Instead of running for re-election as governor in 2010, Crist ran for a U.S. Senate seat. He dropped out as a Republican and ran as an independent after trailing behind then-tea party backed Marco Rubio in the GOP primary race.
In December 2012, he became a Democrat and announced his bid to reclaim the governor's office nearly a year later. He's now challenging incumbent GOP Gov. Rick Scott.
Susan Hepworth, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida, told CNN Crist will "say and do anything to move his political career forward."
"This is one in a long line of self-admitted politically expedient moves by Charlie, because Charlie does what's best for Charlie," she continued. "The most egregious example of political opportunism is when Charlie abandoned his job as governor to run for U.S. Senate while Florida's economy was tanking."
When he was running for governor in 2006, Crist signed a petition to get a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage on the ballot. Two years later, when the amendment was on the ballot, he again supported it. The measure passed with 62% of the vote.
As governor and Senate candidate in 2010, Crist said he supported civil unions and LGBT anti-discrimination laws. He also said he opposed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule in the military, which has since been repealed by Congress.
Crist first came out in support for same-sex marriage last year when it became legal in Delaware and Rhode Island.
"I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here," he wrote in a Facebook post in May.
In the interview with Watermark, which was published Tuesday, Crist acknowledged his original support for the same-sex marriage ban was for political purposes.
"And it was wrong. That's what I'm telling you. And I'm sorry," he said.
Explaining his eventual shift from the GOP to the Democratic Party, Crist said he was raised Republican and ran for office as one because he wanted to "be a good team player."
Responding to the Republican groups' criticism of Crist's comments, a spokesman for Crist said "Americans have been evolving on this question of equality for several years now."
"Politics would be a better place if more politicians just admitted they made mistakes and move on," Kevin Cate said.
Crist's interview with Watermark wasn't the first time he expressed remorse for his previous opposition to same-sex marriage. In December 2012-when he officially became a Democrat–he told reporters it was one of his regrets, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
"Would I do it today? No," Crist said.
- CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.