Rod Smith comes out in support of Jim Davis - and conservatives come out for Crist by Mitch E. Perry

09/08/06

3 days after their increasingly bitter campaign ended, Florida State Senator Rod Smith came out today to officially endorse Jim Davis for Governor.

In a press release, Smith said that Davis will be a governor who Floridians can count on to stand on the side of Florida’s families and stand up for Florida’s values. He said he was urging all of his supporters to join him ‘enthusiastically’ backing Davis’s campaign for governor.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Tom Gallagher buried the hatchet with Charlie Crist earlier this week, and has already been out on the campaign trail for the Republican nominee.

But WMNF wondered – what about Christian conservative supporters of Gallagher, who were unsparing in their criticism of Crist during the campaign?

John Stemberger is president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council. In an article for Human Events Magazine, he blasted Crist as being a conservative imposter. But today he says he sees indication that he might be able to support him in November (roll tape#1 o.q.�the unborn child�)

That is a slightly different tune than Stemberger said in a conference call to reporters last month (roll tape#2 o.q.�intellectually dishonest�)

Florida House member Dennis Baxley is another Gallagher supporter who was critical of Attorney General Christ during the campaign. He dismissed Crist during the summer by saying he wasn’t interested in hearing ‘from folks who have studied the latest poll, but wanted someone who shares his convictions.

He also said Crist lacked the credentials, principles, and life experience to lead Florida on these crucial issues. But now that he’s the GOP candidate against Jim Davis, Baxley said, that’s all in the past (roll tape#3 o.q.�define what that means�)

But Baxley wasn’t in the forgiving mood last month. He was particularly upset that Charlie Crist hadn’t filled out a Christian Coalition questionnaire regarding abortion (roll tape#4 o.q�on value issues�)

Charlie Crist blew out Tom Gallagher in Tuesday’s Primary Election for Governor, winning by over 30 percentage points. But the Republican Party has rallied quickly behind their candidate – whereas it’s the Democrats – and Jim Davis’ lack of support in amongst some BlackVoters – that is the dominant story right now.

Ocala House Republican Dennis Baxley says that the votes that Tom Gallagher DID receive should be respected, and he hopes to have some influence with Christ in that respect (roll tape#5 o.q.�that we’ve been able to do�)

Orlando Attorney John Stemberger, who is leading the campaign to get a Constitutional Amendment to ban same sex marriage before voters in 2008, says he believes – for now – that Charlie Crist has given indications he is leaning towards a more pro-life approach regarding abortion, and that’s good enough for him right now (roll tape#6o.q. “word on it�)

Throughout the campaign, Crist denied that he wasn’t a true conservative. In the first statewide televised debate against Gallagher, he even called himself a “compassionate conservative�, a phrase not heard since the first days of the George W. Bush administration.

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