In what could be considered the biggest and boldest move of former Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s political transformation, the Republican turned Independent endorsed President Barack Obama hours before the his ex-party was set to kick off their biggest event near his home turf.
Crist wrote an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times that said “I’m confident that President Barack Obama is the right leader for our state and the nation.” This was just a couple of weeks after Crist endorsed Democrat Senator Bill Nelson in his race over GOP nominee Connie Mack IV.
A couple of years ago, Crist took heat from Florida Republicans for embracing Obama during one of the President’s visit to the state. In 2010 Crist was projected to face defeat from GOP rising star and current Senator Marco Rubio. Crist turned independent enjoyed a temporarily lead before being overtaken a second time by Rubio. He has since been labeled a traitor by the GOP.
Today’s announcement won’t help those accusations.
Still, Crist has been whispered as a favorite for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2014. Should Governor Crist decided to change parties, polling would favor him in a showdown with current Governor Rick Scott. But, there would be questions of loyalty and he would face stiff competition in the primary from those rumored to be considering a run of their own. Some of those names are Florida State Senator Nan Rich, 2010 candidate and former CFO Alex Sink, and our very own Mayor of Orlando Buddy Dyer.
There is still plenty of time for Crist to wade into those waters. He’s laying the foundation for a switch and his wife Carole has already joined the state party. He’s also got ties to big political donors that would fill a warchest should Ol’ Charlie decide to go after his old job.