Almost as soon as former Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced Monday what everyone had known for months – that he’ll run for governor in 2014 – Republicans ramped up their campaign painting Crist as a flip-flopper who can’t be trusted.
Monday, the Republican Party of Florida released this ad, bashing Crist:
In a conference call with reporter's Monday, Crist's former Chief of Staff and political advisor George LeMieux blasted the man who appointed him to a U.S. Senate seat. While calling his former boss his, "friend" LeMieux said, "anyone who wants to be in high political office has to have a guiding set of principles upon which they can make decisions and those principles are certainly in question here."
Other top Florida Republicans are bopping Crist's decision to jump into the 2014 gubernatorial race as a Democrat.
"If Charlie Crist wants to be Governor so bad again, why did he leave Florida in our time of great need, when we had over an 11 percent unemployment rate with 832,000 people out of work?" said House Speaker Will Weatherford in a statement. "Florida really needed a leader then, but he turned his back on our state. If we couldn't count on him then, how can we count on him now?"
At a meeting of the Economics Club of Florida, Senate President Don Gaetz joked, "He's been a Republican, he's been an independent, he's been a Democrat. Whig Party, you're on deck. They've got to be next, right?"
Gaetz went on to say of Crist, "I’ve known him ever since, or at least thought I knew him. I actually believed the things he said about himself. Turns out, I didn’t have the most recent iteration of what he believes.”
Crist, a former self-described Ronald Reagan Republican, ran for the U.S. Senate as an independent in 2010, losing to former House Speaker Marco Rubio.
And while current Governor Rick Scott remains relatively unpopular in the polls, defeating him won't be easy. Crist has to win over Democrats, who remain skeptical of him. He also has to get them to the polls. Dormer Democratic state Senator Nan Rich is also in the race, and that means a primary challenge. Crist also has to raise the cash; The 2014 gubernatorial race is expected to cost more than $100 million.
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