It must feel good to be Charlie Crist. Four short years after flaming out in the GOP US Senate primary (he lost to Marco Rubio, as it happens) the former Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat finds himself once again nominated (albeit from a different party) to be Florida’s next governor. (He previously served in that official capacity from 2007 to 2011).
In any case, he secured the Democratic nomination without a sweat last night, and offered these words of wisdom while marveling in his victory:
Crist said the strong showing is a sign that Democrats believe in him. “Frankly, I think I was on their side when I was in the other party,” he said as he prepared a victory speech. He said a friend once told him, “Charlie, you’ve been a Democrat your whole life, you just didn’t know it.’ Well, now I know it.”
Good Lord. Meanwhile, the Associated Press gently reminds us that only a few shorts years ago (an eternity in politics, I suppose) he aligned himself with such progressive juggernauts as Ronald Reagan and Jeb Bush:
Crist, 58, previously won three statewide races as a GOP candidate, and it wasn’t that long ago that he called himself a Ronald Reagan/Jeb Bush Republican. He was once considered a potential running mate for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain and had the backing of GOP leaders in a 2010 bid for Senate — until Rubio used an image of Crist hugging Obama to chase Crist from the primary. Crist then ran as an independent, but he ended up a distant second. In 2012, he endorsed Obama for a second term.
So he went from being a possible Republican veep choice in 2008...to endorsing Barack Obama in 2012. That should pretty much tell you everything you need to know about him.
Nonetheless, a freshly-released SurveyUSA poll out this month indicates that the race is very much a dead heat:
In this 10th tracking poll for WFLA-TV in Tampa, SurveyUSA adds the name of Libertarian Adrian Wyllie to the "who would you vote for" question, and finds the results largely consistent with previous releases, where survey respondents could select an option for "some other candidate" to express support for Wyllie.
Today, it's incumbent Republican Rick Scott 44%, Democratic challenger Charlie Crist 41%, Wyllie 4%. Wyllie appears to take ever-so-slightly more votes from Scott than from Crist, an analysis of the results reveals. That's because in 8 out of the 9 previous WFLA-TV tracking polls, Scott has led among independent voters, but today, with Wyllie siphoning off 12% of the independents, Crist leads among independents 37% to 30%.
Well, Crist used to be an independent, so it only make sense that he would eventually capture some of this crucial voting bloc, especially with a third party candidate in the mix. Also, guess what? If he wins, he will be the first politician in American history to occupy the state’s top executive job as both a Democrat and a Republican.
Can't you just feel the excitement in the air?