Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Charlie Crist hoping to make Florida a little bluer the second time around

Charlie Crist
The hat of Charlie Crist got tossed into the political ring on Friday, November 1st as he announced his intention to run as a Democrat for Florida Governor.

This will not be the first time Mr. Crist has run for the office, having won the 2006 election and served as Florida governor from 2007-2010 as a Republican.

Mr. Crist has come full circle in the last couple of years as he has changed parties from Republican Governor of Florida to Independent in a failed run against Marco Rubio for Senator and then to a Democrat in his most recent appearance on the political scene.

Mr. Crist announced his support for President Obama during the 2012 elections and gave one of the presentations during the Democratic National Convention.  During that appearance, Mr. Crist announced that he "had not left the Republican party...the Republican party left him."  He emphasized that the changing ideology of the party no longer corresponded with his ideas of Republicanism.  He said that although there were differences in some of their political ideas, many of his matched many of President Obama's.

For example, he wants to focus on creating middle class jobs.  He believes it is important to our society and economy to build the infrastructure, improve roads and schools.  He does not want to revamp medicare or social security as most Republicans do, but instead wants to preserve and save medicare and social security.  He believes that the diversity of Florida's growing population is the future of America and must not be ignored.  He supports and will implement all aspects of the Affordable Care Act, giving some in Florida hope that expanded medicaid may have a chance of being implemented if he wins the governorship.  Mr. Crist describes himself as a fiscal conservative but a social moderate.

Some of the positions he took as a Republican have changed in recent months which one could say is to get more in line with the Democratic platform.  For example, as a Republican he opposed the Affordable Care Act but as a Democrat he now supports it.  He said he was pro-life as a Republican but is now pro-choice as a Democrat.  He was against same sex marriage as a Republican, but as a Democrat he now supports it.  This is not to criticize Mr. Crist.  People's ideas can change.

Does Charlie Crist have any chance of winning the Florida governorship from the incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott?  You bet.  Mr. Scott had a very close race in 2010 with the Democrat Alex Sink.  Scott won over Sink by only 1 percentage point.  If Christ does only a little better than Sink did in 2010, he may win the 2014 election.  But Crist's advantage doesn't stop there.

Without even considering the fact that Mr. Crist was once already elected to the position and is a widely known and popular political figure, Mr Scott's popularity may be dwindling.  When polled during 2013, people in the PPP poll favor Crist over Scott.  Most recently the advantage to Crist was  50% to 38%.  Independents favored Crist by 57% to 33% for Scott.  Scott's approval rating in Florida is only 33% while his disapproval rating is 55%.  Most of the major polls favor Crist for Florida Governor by anywhere from 14% to 25% over Scott.

As a state, Florida has shown it can vote for Democrats in the national election and recently more and more voters here are starting to see the Tea Party Republicans as a bit too radical to get re-elected.  The Republican obstruction in the federal government and the radical nature of the new Republican party may be a big advantage to Democratic candidates in upcoming elections.

There's a very good possibility that Democrat Charlie Crist may be Florida's next Governor.

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