(CNN) - Charlie Crist's bid to return to the Florida governor's office in Tallahassee may take him through Havana.
The former Republican governor of Florida, now running as a Democrat for his old office, is considering a trip to Cuba this summer, according to his campaign. Such a visit to the communist island nation, which is Florida's neighbor to the south, would have been unheard of by a statewide politician a few years ago.
Crist's campaign says the former governor wants to visit Cuba to learn more about the country. In February Crist announced his support for lifting the longtime U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, a policy shift indicative of how far the former Republican has moved since switching parties.
"The embargo has done nothing in fifty years to change the regime in Cuba or end the suffering of the Cuban people. Governor Crist is exploring every opportunity to help bring economic freedom and democracy to the people of Cuba," said Crist campaign spokesman Kevin Cate.
Recent polling in the Sunshine State indicates majority support for lifting the embargo, even among the state's sizable and influential Cuban-American community.
"I think it's smart for Crist to be exploring a trip to Cuba. Majorities of Floridians including Cuban Americans want to move towards normalizing ties with the island nation. Younger Cuban Americans who are outnumbering their older counterparts in voting, don't have the same visceral reaction their grandparents had to opening ties with their native country," said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, a CNN contributor.
But that opinion's not shared by Republican strategist Ana Navarro, who is very critical of Crist.
"Nothing surprises me from the silver-haired chameleon. Charlie Crist has run with three different party affiliations in the last four years in Florida," said the CNN contributor, who is a veteran of numerous campaigns in Florida. "Maybe he comes back from Cuba as a member of a fourth party, the Communists."
Crist, the all-but-certain Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is expected to face off this November against GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who faces a challenging re-election. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted late last month indicated Crist is leading Scott 48%-38% among registered voters. But a survey from Mason Dixon Polling and Research conducted in mid-April had the two candidates deadlocked at 42% among likely general election voters.
Republican to Democrat
Crist, then a Republican, was elected governor of Florida in 2006. 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 onetime 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 became a star among conservatives.
In 2012 Crist endorsed Obama's re-election campaign, and at the end of that year he formally became a Democrat.
Crist's possible trip to Cuba was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.