Charlie Crist makes it official, announces candidacy for Florida Governor

9:09 AM, Nov 5, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, FL -- Charlie Crist made it official on Monday, announcing his bid to once again become Florida's Governor.

He outlined a five-point plan big on education, environmental preservation, green energy, tourism and re-building Florida's infrastructure.

"I announce that I am running for governor of Florida," Crist said to applause from a mostly-friendly crowd in his hometown of St. Petersburg.

Crist also took several shots at Florida's current Governor Rick Scott.

"Rick Scott cut education spending by billions, and made it harder for middle class families to send their kids to college. He said no to high-speed rail, increased pollution in the Everglades, and even signed a law that made it harder to vote," said Crist.

Crist is running for Governor again, but this time as a Democrat.

He left the Governor's mansion as a Republican to run for the U.S. Senate, but became an independent when faced with a loss to Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio.

Crist switched his affiliation to the Democratic Party late last year.

Supporters seemed to have no problem with the political metamorphosis.

"It's just politics. It happens every day," said Crist supporter Norma Lazarus, "People in politics do what's advantageous."

"I don't care what party he's been with," added Crist supporter Barbara Jordan, "He's represented the people and he's a people's person."

But critics from both parties are already seizing on it.

"He's an opportunist," says a newly-released advertisement from Governor Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida. The party is spending half a million dollars on a two-week campaign using well-known Democrats in their own words describing Crist as a flip-flopper and political opportunist.

"No matter what they say, it is not a sin to reach across the aisle. It is your obligation to work together. So yes. Yeah, I'm running as a Democrat and I am proud to do it," said Crist.

State Senator Nan Rich, also running for governor as a Democrat, questioned Crist's shift on major issues, and feels she has a good chance against Crist.

Within hours of Crist's announcement, Rich congratulated Crist... and promptly challenged him to a series of televised debates.

"I would not be in it if I didn't feel I had a real shot," Rich told 10 News.

But for now, the man who once was governor and wants to be governor again, seemed pretty comfortable his Democratic skin, bolstered, perhaps by several polls that show him ahead of a still unpopular Rick Scott.

"We simply deserve a governor who will stand up for the people," said Crist, "I always have. And I always will."

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