(CNN) – Charlie Crist, the Republican-turned-Democrat who is running for governor in Florida, echoed former Gov. Jeb Bush in describing what he characterizes as an extremist turn in the GOP.
"I think I'll quote Jeb Bush. He said it better than I ever could. Today's Republican Party, at least the leadership, is perceived as being anti-women, anti-minority, anti-immigrant, anti-education, anti-gay couples, anti-environment," Crist said Wednesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live."
"Pretty soon, there's nobody left in the room," he added.
A potential 2016 presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, who preceded Crist as governor of Florida, has said the GOP needs to alter a perception that it is the party of opposition.
"Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on," Bush said, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference last year. "I'm here to tell you there is no 'us' or 'them.' The face of the Republican Party needs to be the face of every American, and we need to be the party of inclusion and acceptance."
Crist, who was the governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican, announced in December of 2012 that he had become a registered Democrat. In 2010, Crist ran for an open U.S. Senate seat as an independent, losing to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Crist is battling incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott for his old job in a high-profile race that has drawn considerable national attention.
Recent polls show Crist leading Scott by single-digit margins. A survey conducted by the University of Florida released Wednesday showed Crist leading Scott 47% to 40%. The results are similar to a poll released last week showing Crist with an eight-point lead over Scott.
Sixty-three percent of respondents approved of Crist's time as governor, compared to the 45% who approved of Scott's tenure. Crist's advantage, however, has narrowed since last year, when he led Scott by double digits.
The former governor, whose party switch has prompted scrutiny of his evolving positions on issues, called the welcome he received from Democrats in Florida "remarkable.”
Crist also discussed his newly released memoir "The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat."
The University of Florida poll of 1,006 registered Florida voters was conducted from January 27 through February 1. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Crist/Jeb say it well. I was a Republican/conservative over 35+ years. The party is no longer conservative but dangerously reactionary. I am now an Independent. I will not vote Republican as even if a moderate comes along the leadership requires them to march in lockstep. The new GOP is dangerous.
Tell it like it is !
Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have destroyed the republican party .
I believe Crist has a significant chance of winning the governership election in Florida.
His problem is the aging nature of the demographics.
Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.
Invoking the bush name is one rung down from invoking the name of the screecher from AK.
Alter a perception, here's an idea, move into the middle,oh that's right you can't. Careful what you ask for, ha ha ha, your oh so screwed this November
They refuse to change, but desperately want you to vote for them. They'll tell you whatever you want to hear,.... pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...., you guys crack me up! Good bye gop .
This isn't rocket science, the polls show you what the vast majority want, you just won't do it, your bosses won't let you. This may be the most important election ever
Chrst is a shoe in for govenor of Florida . Time to get rid of Scott the madicare 400 million dallar crook and the rest of the incompetent GOP down here in Florida and get rid of their crooked old boy network, Rubio and yaho will follow and no republican is garrenteed a seat just because THEY say so!!!!
All the money in the world won't get Scott realected, look what happend to Romney and their whole agenda SUCKS!!!!!
Jeb Bush? USA is not that idiotic. No new Bush to mess.
Rick "The Scammer" Scott needs to go. On behalf of our bagger governor, the Koch brothers have spent millions so far, on negative ads against Crist, and it has narrowed the gap
Today's Republican Party, at least the leadership, is perceived as being anti-women, anti-minority, anti-immigrant, anti-education, anti-gay couples, anti-environment,"
They're not perceived that way. They are that way. Their minority outreach has been stellar. Yeah right!
I don't mind having a competent Democrat as governor...just as long as the state helps put a Republican in the White House.
"The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat."
While many of us have not become Democrats officially, you're echoing the sentiments of millions of Americans who have had to turn their backs on the Party of Cray-Cray in order to save the country.
Florida: Do the right thing and elect Crist to lead you into the 21st century.
I am Legend has Florida stuck on stupid.