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Crist on running as an independent: ‘Things change.’

by Dara Kam | April 20th, 2010

After repeatedly insisting that he’s not going to jump the Republican Party ship, Gov. Charlie Crist had a simple response to what he would say to Floridians if he does now that he’s considering running for U.S. Senate as an independent.

“Things change,” Crist said.

Those things might include GOP leaders demanding that Crist drop out of the race altogether if he decides to run as a no-party candidate.

Yesterday, the executive director of the National Republican Senate Committee said he believes there’s “zero chance” Crist will remain in the GOP primary against former House Speaker Marco Rubio, once an underdog in the race but who now holds a double-digit lead over Crist in the polls.

“It is our view that if Gov. Crist believes he cannot win a primary then the proper course of action is he drop out of the race and wait for another day,” NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer wrote in a memo.

Crist dismissed the suggestion in his typical populist style.

“I think I’ll take the advice of people in Florida instead of the advice of people in Washington. They’re telling us a lot,” he said.

Numerous GOP leaders in and outside of Florida are distancing themselves from Crist since he vetoed two bills important to Republicans in the legislature: a bill measure that would have allowed “leadership funds” and a teacher merit-pay bill pushed by Sen. John Thrasher, who is also the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

He said he’s “getting a lot of calls and a lot of text messages” offering him advice on what to do.

Crist acknowledged the almost surreal shift in the race in which he was once the hands-down leader and GOP officials virtually pretended that Rubio was not even in the race.

“These are unusual times. Arent’ they?” he said.

Thrasher, who said Crist reneged after telling him he would sign the controversial teacher bill into law, offered some lukewarm encouragement to Crist.

“In spite of policy differences that we’ve had, we have a big tent and I just hope he stays Republican,” the chairman said.

Republicans who once backed Crist may abandon him if he runs as an independent, which could hurt the Republican nominee. Or, he could take their support with him, something Republicans fear.

“I don’t know that they do. That’s the dilemma he probably has now. Again, you’d have to go follower-by-follower to find that out,” said Thrasher, R-Jacksonville.

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15 Responses to “Crist on running as an independent: ‘Things change.’”

  1. tsr Says:

    I hope Gov. Crist runs as an Independent. I am a moderate and will vote for him.

    Rubio is too conservative and Meek too liberal.

  2. lpb Says:

    Come on Charlie, run Independent. Our state needs you….

  3. rusty Says:

    anyone who pisses off these crazy, uninformed tea baggers gets my vote

  4. JR Says:

    My fellow countryman Rubio is a rabid dog that has align himself with the extreme right just to get the tea bagger’s support. Great! Let’s keep in mind that FL voted majority Democrat on the last election. We are a middle of the road, independent thinking state. Crist has my vote for Senate whether he runs Republican (barf!) or not.

  5. Michael Says:

    We need more moderates, not more extremists. Run as an independent, this is what the GOP deserves for embracing the tea-bag party.

  6. alice Says:

    Charlie is nothing but an empty suit with a tan and it shows.

  7. GM Says:

    I am a registered Republican and a moderate. Neither extreme left nor extreme right. Crist run Independent and you get my vote.

  8. bob roberts Says:

    I hope Crist runs as an independent and wins.
    It’s GREAT to see a fellow republican that has not went ‘right of wacko’ like the majority of my party has.

    And what’s next for the tea party? Making Palin their nominee for the president of the “Confederate States of America”

    The under current of racism in our country in 2010 is, pathetic!

    At the core, thats REALLY what this is all about.

  9. Robert Says:

    How can anyone get excited about this?

    This is no great epiphany. This is nothing more than checking a different box when he is asked what his party affiliation is. Is that all it takes for your vote?

    He is not going to run as an independent for the people of Florida. This change of affiliation is only for Charlie Crist to win.

    Aren’t you tired of people running for one office while presently serving in another? How about he stops campaigning for another office and works on helping Florida’s economy?

  10. David Says:

    Frankly, as a life-long conservative Democrat, there is no one running for the Senate or Governorship for whom I wish to vote.

    Rubio is too far right, Meek is too far left and Crist is just a weather vane, pointing in the direction of the current breeze.

    Not one of them makes an ounce of good sense to me.

  11. Charles Says:

    I am a R who feels the party has been taken over by wackos, extremeist and crooks. I am sickened by the way this new party treats and eats its own. This Governor has been a loyal Republican who has won many races and has held many high offices. He has many times made the R party look very good by his actions. The party could stand anyone and anything that makes it look good right now. From the sex scandals, adultery and same sex solicitations, to the corruption scandals, this party needs help. This Governor has the seniority and the respect of most people, but the crooks who need to get rid of him have done their best to attack him and make him look like he is the devil himself. Some of the very same people who used to praise our “Chain Gang Charlie” have fallen for this BS. This is just too disgusting and I see right through it.

    The Thrashers and Rubios, Sansoms, the Mendelshon money schemes and the many issues that have made bad press for the R party are all indicative of the party takeover by crooks, not Republicans. Disgusting.

    We need to take this party back and if it means that the Governor leaves this corrupt party to make it happen, then so be it. I think many people stick with him. I think this is the best damn chance ever of putting a lid on the two party corruption.

    Governor just keep doing the right thing!

    Something must be done. Just look at the back stabbing that has occurred. The new Rs have treated many good Republicans like trash. They need to disparage them and spread their vile propaganda so they can take over. They are the money makers. They have to have control and fater they totally ruin the party, they will have their pockets full and move on leaving the party in shambles.

  12. PoliticalBeach Says:

    I strongly feel Crist was a Democrat from the get-go several years ago and merely ran on the R-ticket to win at an appropriate time. My friends, both R and D, dislike him. So, maybe he can wrap his line of BS aroud the IND’s but they are far smarter to know that game. Just wait and run another race. Sorry, Charlie. You had your time. No one wants incumbants except for the Boca people.

  13. Chris Says:

    Anyone who uses the term “teabagger” is an idiot and your opinion is therefore void. Crist has been an awful Governor. Doesn’t matter what he runs as, he will not win.

  14. Marge Says:

    Republicans need to do a Joe Sestak.

    Offer him a job or deal he can’t resist.

  15. s. tring Says:

    Governor Crist LISTENED to the people and spoke for those who could not VOTE…the children of Florida…SB6 was not education reform and he recognized that. Governor Crist did what he knew was right without regard for financial or political gain.
    Do we know WHO would have profitted from the 900 million dollars of taxpayer dollars that would have been spent on new end of course tests??? Find that out and we will know why this bill was being pushed through the legislature…full disclosure please!

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