Crist's political hat trick: Former GOP governor, independent candidate announces switch to Dem
December 7th, 2012
11:44 PM ET
10 years 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. Frank Ch. Eigler

    Sounds like the Tea Party was right on.

    December 8, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  2. Nick

    I actually like Crist pretty well, even though I disagree with him a good amount (I'm very liberal). Too bad this will be ignored as a purely political move, and probably negatively affect the public's opinion of him. It is a political move, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a pretty good centrist.

    December 8, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  3. Gavin Ford

    Good for him! The GOP is dying out anyway.

    December 8, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  4. Jeff

    Came to his senses finally. Welcome to the party of progress!

    December 8, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  5. Linda

    Yeah! Another smart man coming forward just like our wonderful President!

    December 8, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  6. Bob

    It's beginning to look like rats leaving a sinking ship. In fact, I really like that analogy, because a lot of banana Republicans do exhibit the behavior traits of rodents and the Republican Party does appear to be foundering these days..

    December 8, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  7. Anne

    Glad that he has seen the GOP for what it really is.

    December 8, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  8. Blue Dog

    Not surprised. Charlie, what too you so long? Next is Christie.

    December 8, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  9. Hey

    The Republicans have gone so far to the right, you can look at some of the things that Regan said and make him out to be an independent.

    December 8, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  10. DL

    Just goes to show, when the chips are down, political parties mean nothing. It's all about keeping their butts in the chair.

    December 8, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  11. roadkilled

    Not a surprise. Christ was always liberal.

    December 8, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  12. Sean

    The Republicans are going to lose even more of the party members because of the GOP! Good for Christie. A man who knows what is right for our country!

    December 8, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  13. Adnan

    Congratulations former governor Crist.

    You did the right thing and I bet you most of the nation is proud of you.

    December 8, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  14. Evelyn Connaway

    I think he did the right thing. I wouldn't want to be affiliated with the GOP either. I know lots of democrats who switched to the GOP, as they thought it would hook them up with all the big shots in politics. Ronald Reagan was a democratic governor of CA. Wife, Nancy's GOP friends conned him into changing parties to further his career. Sometime it works. His acting ability helped him to con the world – he really wasn't a great president, but he acted the part. His acting career in the movies was over, so he used his acting ability for politics. Crist could make a good democrat – there are still lots of good democrats in the south – all the ones that weren't worth a damn switched to the GOP after the Civil Rights were passed in 1965 as they didn't want to be considered equal to our black americans.

    December 8, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  15. Bill in Florida

    Welcome, Charlie! And thank you.

    December 8, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  16. Nick

    I don't think the man knows what he wants. This is the guy who's supposed to be a contender for President????

    December 8, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  17. brit1066

    Good for Charlie Crist an honest man, this will probably the first of many.

    December 8, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  18. gar

    Democrats to Gov. Charlie Crist: Welcome!

    December 8, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  19. Canders

    How cool to see a man who has opened his mind and saw the light. You can't fault a man who has come to his senses.

    December 8, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  20. jasonn13

    Charlie Crist has always been an opportunist, but if you couldn't trust him as a Republican or an Independent then how can you possibly trust him as a Democrat?

    December 8, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  21. TruthandConsequence

    Now, here is a man who stands for nothing, but himself.

    December 8, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  22. BobbaFeyette

    Good riddance. Hope he enjoys his 15 minutes.

    December 8, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  23. ShiningEmber

    Great. Another 'Arlen Specter' turncoat. Fool me once – fool us twice? Just how desperate can these politicians get?

    December 8, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  24. Daniel

    Good example of a moderate Republican being pushed left by the fringe right taking over the GOP.

    December 8, 2012 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  25. Won

    Wolves in sheep's clothing, huh?

    December 8, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
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