Charlie Crist Comes Out as a Democrat
Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced that he has officially switched to the Democratic Party via Twitter on Friday.
The one-time Republican governor, who later ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate as an independent, tweeted, “Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President @BarackObama!” His tweet included a photo of himself with his wife Carole and a Florida voter registration application.
Crist signed papers during a Christmas reception at the White House, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which reported that, “President Barack Obama greeted the news with a fist bump.”
The newspaper reported that Crist said, “I’ve had friends for years tell me, ‘You know Charlie, you’re a Democrat and you don’t know it.”
Crist, 56, has been an ally of the Obama administration. He endorsed the President for reelection and spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this past September. His latest move ramps up the speculation that he will seek the Democratic nomination in 2014 to challenge Governor Rick Scott, who succeeded him as governor, according to the Associated Press. Crist lost the three-way Senate contest in 2010 to Marco Rubio.
As governor, Crist signed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and expressed support for civil unions. During the Senate race, he released a position paper endorsing the end of his state’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples. He also endorsed legislation to allow gay Americans to sponsor their same-sex spouses for citizenship, repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and other LGBT priorities.
Crist has yet to announce whether he supports the Democratic Party’s endorsement of marriage equality. According to the Miami Herald, some gay and lesbian advocates attempted to arrange a meeting with him during the first days of the Democratic convention, but it never happened.