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Crist wouldn’t be where he is today without RPOF, former chairman says

by Dara Kam | April 23rd, 2010

Gov. Charlie Crist wouldn’t be the political superstar he is today without the state GOP’s support, former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Al Cardenas said.

Cardenas took over as the head of the RPOF shortly after Crist made his first U.S. Senate bid in 1998. Incumbent U.S. Bob Graham trounced Crist in that race. Two years later, Crist ran for education commissioner and won with 54 percent of the vote.

“When he was given an opportunity to rebuild his political career, the party almost single-handedly funded his campaign for commissioner of education and revived his career,” Cardenas said. “He’s done very well on his own efforts but never independent of what the party’s been able to do for him.”

Based on the RPOF’s assistance to Crist in each of his campaigns, Cardenas said, Crist ought to “either stay in the process and try to win the primary or do what Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan and George Bush and everybody else has done who didn’t win the nomination and support the ticket.”

Florida candidates owe fealty to their parties, Cardenas said.

“There are some states where elected officials do their own thing and the party is not very active and there are others where a majority status has been built on the shoulders of thousands of donors and contributors,” he explained. “We happen to be the type of state where the party literally jump-starts people’s careers. When you live in that environment, you have to have a different loyalty approach to the party.”

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8 Responses to “Crist wouldn’t be where he is today without RPOF, former chairman says”

  1. Hmmm Says:

    “Crist wouldn’t be where he is today (kicked to the curb and backstabbed) without RPOF, former chairman says” lol lol

  2. REC Member Says:

    Cardenas must be forgetting that the only reason Charlie took on Graham in 1998 was because the RPOF needed to field a candidate, i.e. a sacrificial lamb. Crist gave up a safe state senate seat to do the RPOF a favor by running. That’s why they supported Charlie later. In turn, Charlie raised the lion’s share of RPOF money during his governorship. I’m not a Charlie kool aid drinker; just reporting the real facts.

  3. Alex Says:

    Are you kidding me? Crist ran against Bob Graham because of his ego. Chain Gang Charlie believed he should be a statewide candidate. He does owe the party a lot. After he lost in 98 who gave him a job? Jeb Bush made him a deputy secretary allowing him back in Tallahassee to build his run for office again in 2000.

  4. lpb Says:

    Alex -
    You obviously have never had the pleasure of working with Governor Crist and seeing first hand just how much he puts into making decisions based on the people effected and not solely on some ridiculous party expectations. This isn’t a sports event where you pick a team and support them no matter how bad they play; this is real life where real people suffer at the hands of strict party ideals.
    The Governor does NOT owe anything to any party; he owes everything to the people of the state of Florida, no matter their party affiliation.

  5. No more elected office, Charlie Says:

    5:52 — I worked along side this mental midget in Tallahassee. Though I once supported him, I was shocked, disappointed and eventually angry at what is his lack of curiosity toward anything related to policy. There are no issues that burn hot for Charlie Crist. He will jump on issues that seem to have broad appeal, but will not even learn enough about them to parrot the right words to explain them. Crist’s only response, when cornered, “I’m for the people. Whatever the people say. I listen to the people.” While those are admirable goals, and should be the basis for approach from all elected officials, they cannot be the only thoughts one has.

    Leadership involves two things: understand what the people want (in this case, better educated boys and girls), and make good, sometimes tough, decisions about how to get to the best resolution. He has NO IDEA how to do step two and he’s useless because of it. This whole education issue was the hardest to watch. Desperate adults, fearing an end to guarantees for life, could only look at Crist because he stopped something they wanted stopped. What happened to the real goal of better educated boys and girls? How soon they forget. It’s only about them — mediocre burnout teachers. Short view of life. What will you do for me today? With no regard for the consequences of action or inaction.

    From my vantage point, that mentality is what has gotten our country into the mess we are in. We want, what we want, when we want it. How’s that working for us? Not so well. The teacher’s union is just like the police union and is just like the auto worker’s union. Just so happens that today, for this short time, teachers still have that shine on them. Wait for the shine to come off. But in the meantime, our kids fall further and further behind. Shame on the adults who are sitting back and letting this happen.

  6. Where Will He Be Next Year Says:

    Yea, Ole CharLIE wouldn’t be where he is today without the RPOF. And, likewise the RPOF wouldn’t be where it is today without CharLIE. That is the subject of FBI & IRS investigations. Without CharLIE and his crooked friends at the RPOF and all the way down to Palm Beach county the real Republicans of Florida would be getting ready to assure a true comeback with honest candidates in all elections local to national. As it was under the corrupt control of Crist, McCollum, Greer, Delmer Johnson,Sargent, Thrasher, Cretul and all the other qualified crooks ever step towards empowering honest candidated has been a battle.
    Like Termie said soon our jobs will be over and these crooks will be in orange jumps suits. What always ticks me off is the crookedest ones always rat out the ones they taught to be crooks and get shorter terms. I would be willing to bet Crist and McCollum will be the first to rat out all the guys at the RPOF that was spending the money on them. Cat fight starts very soon now!

  7. Shari Says:

    Comments were off target as this is today not yesterday!

    The Republican party needs an individual who understands the word ethics and character.

    Long term Republican!

  8. Crist Corruption Says:

    2:54 – Well let it be known that the Republican party needs a lot of individuals who understand ethics and character not just Charlie and a few others. Before Charlie was elected he was promising jobs to everyone. From the time he was elected to the present the corruption has escalted to beyond control because the fox is guarding the henhouse. FDLE agesnts are moonlighting in their own businesses and folks like McCollum who is supposed to be the states premier law enforcement officer is thumbing their noses at known corruption scandals throughtout the state. Problem is they are all to dumb to know it is coming to an end.

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