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. Fred M.

    It's no surprise - decent, honorable, intelligent people of good conscience are not welcome in the GOP.

    December 8, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. John Wright

    Charlie Crist is a political ballerina! Turns on a political dime when it suits Charlie. This man is a fraud and will do and say anything to get elected. What about all the loyal Florida democrats who deserve the nomination to run for any office and here comes Charlie stating he's a democrat when he fought Marco Rubio by running as the conservative choice. Crist is a disgrace!

    December 8, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Natalie

    I knew I liked this guy! Welcome aboard, Gov. Christ!

    December 8, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Osilama Abu from Ontario,canada

    The most reasonable thing to do,since the Republican party has become a gathering banner for lunatics.

    December 8, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Jim

    such a shock! (I thought he was already a declared Democrat)

    December 8, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. mbaDad

    I voted for our Democratic president because his fiscal policy is more conservative than current Republican ideals. Attempt to reign in the deficit (Democrat), or vow to cut taxes and let the deficit go further out of control (Republican). Bring military spending that doubled during war time and is now about 20% of the national budget, or the same as medicare and social security (Democrat), or raise spending another 2% pushing the deficit even harder (Republican). It felt really odd voting Democratic for economic reasons. Even traditionally conservative rags like The Economist had to go Democrat this last election.

    December 8, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Joe

    He would probably sell his children if it could help his political career. Politicians! 90% or them are liars and cheaters. That's why Lawyers make great politicians.

    December 8, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Layne

    As a former Republican who still thinks the GOP has some good fiscal ideas, I really want to see the party come to its senses. But the purge of all things moderate and sensible just isn't slowing down. If centrists like Crist, Snowe, and Lugar aren't welcome in the GOP anymore, I'll be voting Democrat again in 2016.

    December 8, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. afnmvet

    Must be more lobbying money or insider stock deals currently on the democrat side then on the republican one.

    December 8, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Dan

    Smart move!
    Republicans are fast becoming an extinct species, and especially so in Florida

    December 8, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Dave in Indy

    ... this will continue – a flow of highly competent moderately progressive conservatives from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party – until the Republican Party reclaims this "difference maker" ground. Few signs yet of strong movement in that direction, but I remain hopeful.

    December 8, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. TDHawkes

    It seems to me the Republican Party is dead and the Tea Party has taken its place.

    December 8, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Welcome to the real world, Charlie!

    December 8, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. LCSWquilter

    Evolved thinkers become Democrats.

    December 8, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Karl Jonas

    About time. Kick Rick Scott's butt out of the governor's office Charlie!

    December 8, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Terry

    Yea, Gov. Crist! You have a record showing you to be a goodhearted, honest, sincere, moderate advocate for Floridians and clearly distressed by the extreme direction the Republican Party has taken and the nasty activities of Scott relative to a number of areas-most recently trying to illegally influence the election process by conspiring to suppress voter turnout.

    On Monday, I change my NPA (no party affiliation status) for voter registration in Florida to Democrat (I did vote for Sen. Nelson and the President) and will glady vote for you in '14 and donate to your campaign should you run again for Governor to try to fix the nasty things done by Scott.

    December 8, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Targar54

    welcome Crist you are in the right place

    December 8, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Fred M.

    This should come as no surprise. Decent, honorable, intelligent people of good conscience are unwelcome in the GOP.

    December 8, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. AbeLincoln123

    You can have him. Never really liked the guy.

    December 8, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. judy

    if he can win election who cares. it is pretty hard to be a repo these days. If you have a brain at all you have to switch. I don't see to many people running to join the repo party.

    December 8, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Fla native

    He was a good governor who appeared to have a heart, and care about people, not just $$. Good for him.

    December 8, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Mason

    I've born warning my daughter about this, but it's time I tell the country that we should be wary of all of them trying to come over and just incorporating themselves into the Democratic party. We need two sides. It creates the cyclic flux that allows all sides to be seen and get their turn. We live for the battle and the struggle. Without it we become Rome. One big fat governing body will certainly break up into many.
    In 2016 we might have the Green Party having a serious shot.

    December 8, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  23. B.

    This is great news for Democrats, Crist is a talented person that could well be a future potential as Presidential material.

    One of the few Politicians that actually has a brain!

    December 8, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. John N Florida

    What Terry said. I don't know what I said that got my comment blocked, but I heartily approve of your decision Charlie. We need a Governor. We don't currently have one.

    December 8, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. TheMovieFan

    Welcome to the good guys, Gov. Crist.

    December 8, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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