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Charlie Crist’s Evolution Is Complete. He’s a Democrat. Now What?

| December 8, 2012

Crist warms to his left.

After months of speculation — and a high-profile stint campaigning for President Obama — former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist signed up Friday night to become a Democrat.

Crist, who left the GOP to run as an independent for the U.S. Senate in 2010, signed a registration form during a reception at the White House. He sent out a Twitter message that said, “Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President @barackobama!”

Also, Crist posted a photo that showed him holding up the signed registration form, while his wife, Carole, smiled. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Obama celebrated the change with a fist bump.

But the Republican Party of Florida, which has long criticized Crist as a turncoat and an opportunist, quickly bashed the former governor Saturday morning.

“The truth is that this self-professed, Ronald-Reagan Republican only abandoned his pro-life, pro-gun, conservative principles in 2010 after he realized that Republicans didn’t want to send him to Washington D.C. as a senator, especially after he proved he couldn’t do the job as governor,” the party said in a prepared statement.

Crist’s move to the Democratic Party will add to widespread talk that he might try to return to the governor’s mansion by challenging Republican Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

So far, no clear Democratic front-runner has emerged for the race, though the party’s 2010 nominee, former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, could run again. Also, former Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, has opened a campaign account.

If Crist runs and captures the Democratic nomination, it likely would be one of the highest-profile — and fiercest — races in the country in 2014. Crist campaigned heavily for Obama this year, including giving a speech at the Democratic National Convention.

For years, Crist was a star in Republican politics. He first gained notoriety as a state senator from St. Petersburg and later was elected education commissioner, attorney general and governor. He parlayed an upbeat demeanor with popular positions on issues such as holding down taxes and insurance rates and fighting crime.

But Crist tangled with some major business interests, such as utilities and insurance companies, while governor. He then completely broke with the party by running unsuccessfully as an independent for the Senate seat after facing a primary fight from the eventual winner, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

During his speech at the Democratic National Convention in September, Crist said the GOP had left its roots and become too extreme. He said GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan couldn’t lead the country in a bipartisan fashion.

“When I look at the Republican ticket today, I see two candidates who would break the fundamental promise of Medicare and Social Security, and cut investments on our middle class that are so important to our economic recovery,” Crist said during the speech. “And when I look at President Obama, I see a leader with a cool head, a caring heart and an open mind, a president who has demonstrated through his demeanor, his grace and his deeds that he is uniquely qualified to heal our divisions, rebuild our nation and lead us to a brighter future.”

But Republicans on Saturday said it was Crist who had changed. The state GOP pointed to examples such as Crist’s support in 2008 for Republican president candidate John McCain over Obama.

“The Great Imposter … at it again,” national Republican consultant Mike Murphy wrote in a Twitter post that linked to a Tampa Bay Times story about Crist’s Democratic registration.

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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33 Responses for “Charlie Crist’s Evolution Is Complete. He’s a Democrat. Now What?”

  1. tulip says:

    I don’t care what Crist morphed into—-he was not a good governor for Florida and was only interested in furthering his own career at any cost, and seemed to spend more time out of Florida than in it.

  2. PCfriend says:

    that happened to me once. I thought maybe I could breathe through my ears or something but it never happened again. good luck with yours

  3. "My Daily Rant" says:

    Charlie Crist will be anything you want him to be in order to get his job back.
    Talk about a Flip Flopper, I would not trust him.

  4. Clint says:

    I was going to type something clever and humorous but then I slapped myself for actually thinking Charlie Crist was worth discussing !

  5. Nancy N. says:

    I would consider a vote for Charlie Crist as Democratic candidate for Governor in 2014.

    Well, let’s be honest…I’d vote for a squirrel running against Rick Scott. But I actually do like Crist. I am a longtime Democrat, and even liked him fairly well when he was a Republican.

  6. Robert Lewis says:

    Charlie Crist = State Level Opportunist
    Ray Stevens = County Level Opportunist

    My friends, wait until sometime in 2015-2016 when Ray Stevens becomes a Democrat and challenges Jim Manfre in the Primary.

    • Magnolia says:

      @Robert Lewis, do you think Mr. Stevens might change parties in an attempt to be elected to sheriff, like Mr. Pollinger did?

      Seems to be the name of the game here in PC. Welcome to Florida, land of opportunists.

    • Dudley Doright says:

      I would say your on to the truth about Stevens. Jim better watch his back because Ray is looking to find something he can use to get Manfrey impeached! Of course, I have to laugh hoe Ray played the RRRA as a true blood republican.

  7. NortonSmitty says:

    I thought he was a sensible and pragmatic Governor who did right by the working folks of Florida as much as he could in Tallahassee. So I always thought of him as a Closet Democrat.

    Congratulations Charlie. One down, one to go.

  8. Lonewolf says:

    New governor?

  9. PJ says:

    I’m not sure about this one?

    He did control taxes and spending, but gun control and the republican issue of abortion? How does he stand or how can he really portray himself on these issues as a DEM.

    I like Crist rather than Rick Scott who is the worst politician ever big liar a surplus of monies only because he refuses to pay for the state employee fund. That’s how Scott can balance a budget not by controling taxes or spending.

    I’d rather vote for an expired stack of phone books then Rick Scott anyway……………Good luck Crist

  10. Stevie says:

    “During his speech at the Democratic National Convention in September, Crist said the GOP had left its roots and become too extreme.”
    This is normal?
    So Charlie can help give out more now.

  11. Ben Blakely says:

    Charles Chrisie? You mean Charle Chameleon. He doesn’t even know who or what he is.

  12. whodat says:

    I hope Charlie runs against the felon, Rick Scott. If Hillary decides to run in 4 years along with Crist it would be a big plus for Floridians. Still can’t believe that Scott is not in jail. Stole your money folks to the tune of over one billion dollars. Yes, over one billion dolllars and then spent 300 million of that money to get elected as your Florida Governor. What an insult to all of us. Only in America. Just goes to show that money can distort a negative image.

    • Magnolia says:

      @whodat says, do you think a gubernatorial candidate working for an ambulance chasing firm biling people with lawsuits is any better?

    • Damon says:

      Amazing, sounds just like Obama only worse. 4.8 trillion in 4 years. Yep, democraps are such trust worthy people. NOT !!!!!!!!

  13. confidential says:

    Go Charlie run again for Governor and you will have it won!! You sure have our vote and also of all those teachers in Florida that you fought for. I am not a teacher…but as a Florida tax payer you are the best we all can seat back in Tallahassee. Then after 4 years, you can unseat Rubio. Imagine a Cuban that came here thru the Golden Gates lobbying against other Latinos rights and their students dream act.

  14. Ben Dover says:

    I don t know whats next , but he`s the idiot that made these damn red light camera`s legal in the state of Florida ,right before he left office to go chase ambulances with Morgan and Morgan. so as far as I`m concerned he`ll always be dirty republican , looking to screw the public out of their hard earned money.

  15. JoJo says:

    How is he going to overcome and defend himself the second time around with such a ripoff of taxpayers money. I guess he will have to spend another 300 million of his children’s inheritance to distort a felon image to Floridians that are stupid enough to vote for him. Pathetic individual who should be serving time.

    Over One Billion tax payer money ripoff.

  16. Sea dog says:

    He has good company I have not voted democratic since Jimmy Carter but I am also switching to the Democratic party, The republicas have sold out and the rest of us out to the rich and powerful.

    • Ben Blakely says:

      And how is that Sea Dog? All I see are marxist democrats like union tyrant Trumka swimming in a sea of stolen taxpayer dollars given him by the thief in chief obama as they sold out GM and bilked taxpayers with their “green” investments. Congress is full of multi millionaire democrats.

  17. Stevie says:

    Peter Schiff: The Majority Doesn’t “Have A Right To Steal My Money Just Because They Voted For It”

    OK Charlie lets see you FORCE this guy to work harder to pay more taxes for the people that are stealing from us.

  18. elaygee says:

    I would vote for a yellow dog running against Gov. Rick Skeletor so Charlie would get my vote.

  19. ddh says:

    Democrat, Repulican, Independent or a communist, Charlie has been and always will be WORTHLESS.
    You can dress up someone or something ugly and it’s still ugly..

  20. Outsider says:

    He might win against Scott; God knows Democrats abhor a balanced budget.

  21. Sea dog says:

    I allways thought the people of Flordia were insane to elect a governor that took the 5th 75 times when accused of medicare fraud.

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