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. ironmike

    Loser . Just like Arlen Spector. Try running again and see how far you get. Nowhere

    December 8, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  2. mattski

    Morgan and Morgan. For the people. Riiiiiight. Sorry Charlie, keep your day job with the law firm. I won't soon forget your senatorial debate with Rubio and Meek. You came in third.

    December 8, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  3. steve-0

    The GOP has become a joke. Fiscal conservatism has been replaced with destroying the middle class so the rich can get richer. It is filled with the worst people in this nation–how any decent person votes Republican for national office is a disgrace.

    December 8, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  4. Marc Florida

    This is a good move for Crist. Scott should find himself rated as one of Florida's worst Governors and could be easily defeated in 2015. I will be very curious to see if Scott is challenfged in the primary. If Crist is the Democratic candidate, the office should be his.

    December 8, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |

    Too bad the GOP doesn't have room for ADULTS! Welcome aboard Charlie!

    December 8, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  6. Cal carpenter

    Sounds alot like another Republican politician from Pennsylvannia who had his candy taken away (couldn't accept another Repub running against him in an election) and so he ( Republican Senator Specter) put on a new suit and changed his make-up but he still lost and then instead of bowing out gracefully, he thought he would get back with the repubs and join another party affiliation, but instead of leaving office with his head held high and with dignity, he went out a broken man, hardly even remembered today(even though he had some noteworthy achievements).....

    December 8, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  7. JD

    I don't care for any politician that jumps ship from one political party to the other. First off they are only doing it to benefit their selves not the people!

    December 8, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. talleytone

    The man would do whatever it takes to further his political career and make money

    December 8, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  9. Dale

    Good for you !! its about time.....

    December 8, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    Welcome to the fold, Governor!

    December 8, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  11. DrLainey

    As a Democrat, I welcome Charlie Christ's move to the Democratic Party. When he was the Republican governor of FL, the Republican Party was a much more moderate party that truly put the good of the country above partisian politics. Today's Republican Party is unrecognizable from that of 2006. So, Charlie, welcome; I know my brother and his family will be voting for you should you decide to run for Governor against Rick Scott.

    December 8, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  12. Shamrock

    That makes one less Republican–Thank God!

    December 8, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  13. ForGoodOfAll

    Republicans in the USA are slowly going the way of the dinosaurs... Good riddance!

    December 8, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  14. WillB

    He is simply following the crowd. Same crowd the kicked Allen West out of office along with a bunch of Republicans in the Florida Legislature.

    December 8, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    I wouldn't trust this guy, for anything. He has no principles.

    December 8, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. Stephen

    Welcome to your new home, Charlie. I'll vote for you and against the fool we have now in Florida.

    December 8, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  17. Michael

    Charlie was a good Governor of Florida and I was sad the extreme right turned on him here. I hope he returns to the limelight in politics again. We need more centrists from either party.

    December 8, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  18. hal

    He's just desperate....he wants a win. If the Republicans get control again....he'll flip-flop.

    December 8, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  19. Jimmyjam048

    It's been said that the rats are the first to leave s sinking ship.

    December 8, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  20. Sashatree

    Welcome to the party of sanity and logic, Mr. Crist.

    December 8, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  21. tony

    The smart ones see the handwriting on the wall: "GOP becoming extinct!" Good for him..people 1st is what the job is all about not greedy con men w/special interest!!

    December 8, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  22. CJPA

    Good job, Charlie! Welcome, and I hope to be voting for your some day as your again run for public office to help make a difference! You're a good man!

    December 8, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  23. You Can Have Him

    Well the truth is finally out.....Crist is a Dem

    Hope he is happy in that party.

    December 8, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  24. Many

    I sure hope he runs again so we can get rid of SCOTT. The man has done nothing for the people of Florida but allow hikes in insurance rates and other just as bad legeslation. All about HIS money.

    December 8, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  25. aurelius

    A man with good sense.

    December 8, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
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