Charlie Crist book signing doubles as St. Pete campaign event
Newbie Democrat Charlie Crist is taking advantage of his new book to drum up support for his gubernatorial bid against Republican Rick Scott. During a stop at locally-owned Haslams Book store in St. Pete this weekend, Crist defended his transition from Republican to Democrat.
Its great to be in the peoples party and Ive never felt more at home politically than I do right now.
Crists book, The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat, talks about Crists many perceived frustrations with his old party. It also includes numerous criticisms of his successor in Tallahassee, Rick Scott. The book tour gives Crist an opportunity to draw voters and media attention without necessarily having to use campaign funds. Critics are accusing Crist of using the signings as cleverly cloaked campaign events.
Well, I think some people interpret it as both, but for me its a book tour. But I happen to be running for governor too, so there is that.
Critics of Crist have come out in full force to protest his bid for governor at the book signings events. On Friday at a Fort Lauderdale book store, one protester reportedly shouted at Crist as he left that he looked like an AIDS victim and called him a "commie whore." In St. Pete, there were a handful of anti-Crist sign wavers outside, but they mostly kept to themselves. Republican State Senator Jack Latvala, who offered what a press release called a GOP response, bought one of Crists books, noting that he enjoys fiction.
You dont go from being the conservative Republican in the Senate to endorsing the most liberal, Democrat president in our lifetime. If you had any core beliefs at all and, you know, thats my problem. Are you going to portray the Republican Party? Yeah, I dont like everything the Republican Party does, but Ive chosen to stay and try to change it.
The GOP campaign against Crist has accused him of being an opportunist for going from Republican to independent and then Democrat.
The Rick Scott Lets Get to Work campaigns first official attack ad that aired in November as Crist officially announced his candidacy quoted high profile Democrats. Since then, the tone has been much the same and Latvala agrees.
With Charlie, its more about being something, its not about serving. He wants to be elected.
Crists political flip-flop has been criticized by some Democrats too. Former State Senator Nan Rich who is opposing Crist in the primary has used it in her campaign, but not all Democrats are put off by the party-swapping. Crist was joined at the book signing by Florida Rep. Dwight Dudley.
Ive never voted for Charlie before, but I will this time.
More than 100 people lined up at Haslams to get the former Governors signature. Some came armed with books they had already purchased; others grabbed a copy from Haslams before jumping in line. Crist, who got to the Central Avenue bookstore a half-hour late on Saturday, looked around in awe at the crowd of supporters.
Weve had good turnouts where ever weve been so Im overjoyed. I cant even believe theres a book at all.
While new book tour stops havent been officially announced, Crist and his wife Carol both said the show wasnt over.
No, its not the last. No, were just going to keep right on going I dont know, probably Tampa and Bradenton and Lake County and, I dont know, where ever we go.
According to the Florida Division of Elections website, there are 29 candidates running for Governor including Crist, incumbent Rick Scott, Nan Rich and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie.