Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor who was crushed in a 2010 Senate race by Marco Rubio after he left the GOP to run as an independent, is running for his old job as a Democrat. But not before he tries to make some money by writing a book about his ideological conversion.
Crist, a man who gives rank opportunism a bad name, campaigned as a conservative when he ran for governor as a Republican in 2006. But his frequent policy zig-zags as governor wore out the patience of most voters and led to his winning only 30 percent of the vote in his 2010 three-way race for the Senate. Within months of leaving the governorship, he was doing commercials as a television pitchman for Florida trial lawyer John Morgan. Shortly thereafter, he announced he was becoming a Democrat.
But his winning the Democratic nomination for governor isn’t a sure thing as polls show many Democrats are as leery of Crist’s sincerity as Republicans are. That’s where Crist’s new book, to be published early next year by an imprint of Penguin Random House, comes in. Entitled The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat, the book is designed to enhance Crist’s stature with his new party comrades by dishing what is promised to be his “very frank” opinions of Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio.
Given the anemic approval ratings of incumbent GOP governor Rick Scott, Crist certainly shouldn’t be counted out if he wins the Democratic primary. But he has collected a great many adversaries who will work overtime to block a Crist comeback. “I strongly support Rick Scott, but I am working extra hard so Charlie Crist doesn’t get a chance to roll back our reforms in Florida,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush told me at a New York political dinner last month.