It may not come as a surprise to many who have been following politics over the last few years, but the former GOP Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, stole the limelight at a White House Christmas reception when he signed the papers changing his voter registration to “Democrat.”
From the Associated Press:
Crist sent out a Tweet that said, “Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President (at)Barack Obama!”
The Tweet included a photo of a smiling Crist and an unidentified woman as he held up a Florida voter registration application. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Crist signed the papers changing his affiliation from independent to Democrat at a Christmas reception at The White House. President Barack Obama greeted the news with a fist bump.
“I’ve had friends for years tell me, ‘You know Charlie, you’re a Democrat and you don’t know it,’” Crist told the newspaper Friday night.
He cited the Republican Party’s shift to the right on a range of issues, including immigration, education and the environment.
The Miami Herald also reports that the news was met with a fist bump by President Obama.
There has been much speculation. Crist left the Republican party in 2010, while still Governor and after losing a Senatorial primary race to Marco Rubio.
Crist has been critical of the current incarnation of his former party. He was particularly scathing toward the current Florida Governor, Rick Scott (R) and his attempts at voter suppression; calling it “shameless.” He was also supportive of President Obama’s economic policies and even spoke at the 2012 Democratic Convention. His wife, Carole, became a Democrat earlier this year.
It’s being rumored that Crist will be challenging Governor Scott in 2014.
Despite his change of party, Crist is not a liberal. He appears to be pro-choice, but he’s also pro-gun rights and pro-capital punishment. He has opposed marriage equality and adoption rights for LGBT people. He is pro-environment.
The Republican party’s reaction was not so positive. One consultant, Rick Wilson, predicted that Crist will have a lot of explaining to do to prove that the move wasn’t just political.