Charlie Crist About To Ride Again?

Former Governor Charlie Crist has been in the news again lately. This Crist, now working at  mega lawyer John Morgan’s St Petersburg office is backing Senator Bill Nelson’s reelection effort. It appears Crist, who first sought office as a Republican in 1986 (he lost a GOP runoff to Bob Melby after leading the primary) cannot get the political bug out of his system.

Continued discussion and speculation about Crist’s plans and his presence in the Democratic Party fuels passion on all sides of the debate. But Crist himself will have to make a critical decision. For a man who has seemed to depend on likability and amicable relationships throughout his career, turning his back on  former allies seemed to be too much to ask of him.  However, if Crist’s decisions to oppose the likes of Connie Mack IV (Crist was a onetime staffer for Mack’s father)  are an effort to be truly accepted in the Democratic Party by most rank and file partisans, he’s doing a good job. Many Democrats who are desperate for any kind of success on the state level are ready to accept Crist with open arms, but they must be given sufficient cover by the former Governor himself.  Crist’s positions on gun issues and his consistent partisan attacks in the 1990s on Governor Lawton Chiles will need to be addressed if he is to become a Democratic standard bearer.

To doubt Charlie Crist was once a partisan Republican is foolhardy, and would involve a significant re-writing of history. In 1995, as State Senator he held up Governor Lawton Chiles most critical administrative appointments until the final day of session for strictly political reasons. The same year he initiated a Senate investigation of campaign calls made by the Chiles campaign, at great expense to the taxpayers. In the long history of political campaigns, dirty tricks have been conducted over and over again, and Chiles’ calls were not out of the ordinary. In the very same election GOP nominee Jeb Bush accused Governor Chiles of being soft on crime while shamelessly exploiting the family of a murder victim in a TV ad. But it was Chiles that was accused of dirty tricks by Crist in a politically motivated investigation which cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.

In 1996, he helped lead the Republican opposition to Governor Chiles landmark lawsuit against the Tobacco Industry and then a year later, Crist conducted another partisan witch hunt, this time against the attorneys who bravely represented the state in the Tobacco Lawsuit. In a twist of irony, some of those same lawyers have become political allies of the more moderate 2000s version of Crist.

By 1997, Crist was firmly viewed within the halls of the Legislature as a show horse and a partisan. But beginning with the 1998 US Senate race, Crist began a transformation from partisan Republican to political pragmatist who felt the pulse of Florida’s electorate. Crist’s advocacy on the environment and insurance reform have been in particular noteworthy for progressives.

For almost 15 years Crist has been for lack of a better term a populist. In this day and age populism can mean anything from Rick Santorum’s attacks on snobs and intellectuals, or Dennis Kucinch’s attacks on war mongers. But for Crist, populism is simply reacting to the nuances and anger of Florida voters, be it on gas prices, insurance rates or education cuts.

Perhaps Crist can help define an actual ideology (populism perhaps) for a Democratic Party that in Florida lacks any coherent message or policy vision other than attacking Republican officeholders and in some cases trying to distance themselves from National Democrats.  Simply put, many Florida Democrats do not understand the states’ voters and the need to formulate a positive policy agenda. In the period since 1998 when the GOP has won 13 of 14 statewide offices and approximately 65% of contested Legislative elections, the Democrats have held a significant statewide registration advantage. In recent years demographic shifts in the state have favored the Democrats, and made it more and more difficult for the Republicans  to keep their statewide juggernaut going.

But the GOP has been the beneficiary of constant self inflicted wounds from undisciplined Democratic candidates and an ineptly managed state party. Crist’s presence in the Democratic ranks could either further exacerbate the splinters within the currently dysfunctional party or bring some cohesion to efforts to finally realize the party’s potential.

43 thoughts on “Charlie Crist About To Ride Again?”

  1. You will see a rise of Independents if Charlie if the best the Democrats have is a R for 20 years with bad policies tied to Harry Sargeant(WAR PROFITS MAN FROM PALM BEACH) . Charlie is Romney. Both 1 term governors, both will say and do anything to get elected but I think Charlie is the only Governor who is involved to some type of investigation. Remember the chain gangs he pushed? Or his work as head of education? I may just take a second look at Romney then. They are the same person….Romney might be better.

  2. Seems you’ve outlined the behavior of a very skilled politician who senses the mood/needs of the public and responses by adjusting his positions. Might be a very good example to follow for Democrats who seem to be racked with dissension, bickering and stabbing each other in the back as your recent posting about Palm Beach county Democrats so perfectly illustrated.

    Charlie Christ could be a potentially strong statewide candidate as a Democrat in 2016……let’s not forget in the tea party dominated year of 2010, Marco Rubio received less than 50% of the vote in his U. S. Senate race. Christ ran strong in many heavily Democrat areas and yes he retains plenty of support from non-affiliated voters and the many open minded Republicans. After all name a Democrat with better statewide recognition?

  3. A Real Democrat


    Charlie is Romney? Where do you get such total illogical jargon?

    Actually Crist was a decent Education Commissioner and Attorney General. The GOP hierarchy never trusted him because he did not use those positions to push their agenda.

    If you are considering voting for Romney I could care less what you think of Crist being a Democrat.

    GET LOST!!!!

  4. Who is Harry Sargeant? Crist was involved in war profiteering????

    I don’t want him then! What is this investigation about? War profiteering?

  5. It shows you how BAD the party is…….Romney may pick him as his VP…lol oh yeah that was McCain. Both parties suck. Charlie and Sargeant BFF from college. He is not a Democrat. WE DON’T WANT CHARLIE!

  6. I think he can be a Democrat. Plenty of people have switched through the years. Look at the GOP. Bob Martinez was a Dem until 1983 and in 1986 they nominated him for Governor and he won. That is just one example. The Dems have plenty of former Rs also.

    But this Sargeant thing is worrying. Anything more on it Mike?

  7. There is no problem switching teams but the problem is that his policies suck and I read all those article too about Harry Sargeant. I am with you Mike. If the party backs him..yes the same guy who was going to McCain running mate…I am done. You would think they would have enough brains to wait until after the presidential but they are Dumbocrats. I am done too if they move forward with this guy.

  8. Crist’s policies against sugar that produces jobs in our area would cost jobs and do nothing to help the economy. The environmental nazis might like Crist but we won’t let him become governor.

    Buddy Dyer might run and he is much better. Regarding Harry Sargeant it is not a huge deal but Ted Deutch has been leading the charge ti have tried on war profiteering charges.

  9. Mark you are not kidding…..I did a google search…..WOW

    It goes on and on……I am up in the air with even going to vote at this point. If the Ds pick this guy that made money off the war (I am sure) with this Sargeant guy from PBC COUNTY. You might as well become a Republican. This is some serious sick shit. What in the world is Gelber thinking. That is why I love Dave Aronberg!!!!!!!

  10. Crist being against sugar and for the Everglades is one reason to like charLIE.

    Maybe I will give him another look if the kooks I mean crooks in Palm Beach are with Dyer.

  11. Greer/ Sargeant thing is overblown and has little connection to Crist. He approved additional salaries and that is it. Regarding war profiteering that is a loaded statement one which you have ZERO proof of.

    Most Dems want Crist. Most Independents want him too . He is popular across the state. The feelings of some idiotic politicos tied to other potential candidates, the insurance lobby or sugar companies should not matter. Besides Crist’s Everglades solution would have worked. Give Sugar above market value to buy land and convert then to green friendly business while restoring land to its natural state. It’s just that some Democrats down there in Palm Beach are sugar daddies or sugar WHORES.

  12. We as a party need to do everything we can to get Charlie over to our side. We could run him 14 against Scott or 16 against Rubio.

  13. Since the Republican party stabbed Charlie in the back, spit on his name and image and called him everything but a child of God, he should go to a party that is more accepting and supportive of him. He would LOCK UP THE DEMOCRAT AND INDEPENDENT VOTE (and a lot of the Republican vote) AGAINST RICK SCOTT!!!

  14. Charlie and Greer have everything to do with making profits with the war. I hope that is true with Deutch but I think it is doubtful since he was supporting him in 2010 and has been covering up everything with Wexler and company. We all love Dyer. He would be great. No right minded Democrat is in favor for Crist once everything comes out. Take a look reality at Sargeant and Crist…overblown. I think the only thing overblown is the smoke the Ds have been blowing your ass.

    I say we push for a Dyer/Rich ticket. No more Sink or Crist. We can push Smith/Siegal. Dumb and dumber. Damn the Ds are a joke.

  15. Look Paulie you make good points in some respects. This is why we call him CharLIE and I hate Wexler.

    But Dyer is bad news too. So is Sink. Crist the more I think about it isn’t any worse than those and he may bend over backwards to please now that he’s pretending to be a Dem. Pandering is better than absentee leadership I guess.

  16. Rod Smith is a rock star and this stupid website keeps shafting him, attacking the party and now promotes Crist! Shame on you guys!

  17. This should be a non debate. Our party is inept and broken. We are on a twenty year losing streak. When party types say we have this one or that one who could win statewide you cannot trust or believe them. They are always wrong. We pay an executive director of the party six figures to sit on his hands and make excuses. We have rallies and meetings so the chairman and DECs can sit on their hands, whine and make excuses. We have house and senate committees completely disinterested in fighting to retake the state.

    Crist will bring his own people and change our culture of losing and non accountability. I am all for him.

  18. Someone new…..Crist is not accountable for anything. Rod Smith would be better than Crist or Sink.

  19. If Crist comes over the best thing would be a change of the party leadership. Either Crist would assume the mantle or someone who is not tied to the current good ole boy network will assume power. Crist has beaten all the Tallahassee failures before and knows they cannot be trusted to run his campaign.

    Additionally, lots of NPA and moderate Republicans of the Rockefeller stripe will see this as an inidcation that it is “okay” to become a Democrat. I am all for this move!

  20. Rod Smith is not a new choice. He ran in 2006 and was defeated in the primary. Many of us who care about our coastal waters and the Everglades came together to defeat him. He is awful on the Environment.

    Here is a quick scorecard for you


    Environment F
    Guns F
    Insurance B


    Environment C
    Guns C
    Insurance F


    Environment A
    Guns D
    Insurance A

    Crist is no liberal but he’s actually better on key state issues than BOTH members of our 2010 ticket. I will take him any day over either one of them.

  21. Please offer some proof that Sargeant worked with Crist to be a war profiteer. Otherwise mere association with someone politically but not in business has no bearing on Sargeant’s potential problems.

    To say Crist is under investigation is a bald faced lie.

  22. Go Republicans! If this does not prove that the party is in trouble…I dont know what will.

  23. You should be ashamed posting some of these articles.

    Guilt by tenuous association = an unethical desperate lynch mob.

  24. Concerned Democrat

    I say welcome Charlie! Join the party. You guys who don’t want him do not seem to realize he pushed a partisan agenda to get ahead and then once in a position of power became a liberal republican working closely with D’s and appointing D’s all over the place.

    would you rather Scott or Crist? Rubio or Crist? Bush or Crist? Gallagher or Crist?

    In every case any real like real would pick Crist.

  25. Let him prove his love. He should of just ran for re-election in 2010 but he didn’t because he thought he would either be VP or Wexler was going to help him in the Senate race. This is what I say. Let him prove himself…but the Ds up his ass so guys are pathetic.

  26. They want him to run as a D so he doesn’t run as an I ..then split the vote again. The Ds are whimps and do not prepare their own real candidates so this time they are going to push Crist to superstar status.

  27. Lewis in Lauderdale

    GREAT! At least now we may have finally “developed” a statewide candidate of worth. But of course it was a convert. We need Charlie more than he needs us.

  28. The fact that Crist would even be mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate shows that our bench is pretty piss poor. Seiler and Dyer are the only two viable candidates for governor not named Wasserman Schultz. We know “moderate” (i.e., boring) candidates from the I-4 corridor can’t really win statewide so why not doing something unorthodox? We don’t have anything to lose.

  29. I really hope he comes into the party and runs!

    Anyone see Dan Gelber’s Florida Current piece?

  30. If Crist was smart he would stay an I and run as Governor. He would show both parties leadership at least for show. Dont come to the Ds. They need to wake up and the Rs have been sleeping. Screw your boy Bobby and do your own thing Crist. We will have your back!