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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Did Charlie Crist vote for Rick Scott or Alex Sink? He won't say



It seemed a fairly basic question for a fellow considering running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination: Back in 2010, when Charlie Crist was running for the U.S. Senate without party affiliation, did he vote for Democratic nominee Alex Sink for governor or for Rick Scott, of the GOP's tea party wing?

Crist won't say.

"It's a secret ballot, and I think that's an important thing in our country," Crist, now a registered Democrat, said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9.

He did volunteer that he voted for Barack Obama in 2012, though not in 2008. And he said that even if he had remained a Republican and won a seat in the U.S. Senate, he probably would have endorsed Obama last year.

"(My) last two years as governor were President Obama's first two years as president and I really got to know the man during that period of time, both with the stimulus money that he was kind enough to present in Fort Myers and also with the BP spill, the oil spill — I mean a lot of time with this, in my opinion, great president," Crist said in the interview airing at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. "It's because of the way he comports himself, and the policies and the openness that he has about him, I came to admire it more and more."

Crist has no timetable for making a decision or announcement about running for governor, and it's fair to assume he is in no rush to put a big target on himself. The Florida GOP already is hammering him as a phony, and Gov. Scott has pointedly noted that Florida has gained jobs under his leadership and lost jobs under Crist's.

"Well, I think we had a global economic meltdown right after I got elected," Crist said. "I don't think anybody really thinks a governor of one of the 50 states caused the global economic meltdown. Let's be serious."

Democrats in Florida have performed fairly well in presidential elections, but Republicans have usually crushed them in non-presidential election years. What does the party need in Florida?

"Just energy, excitement, enthusiasm — a little juice is what it takes," said Crist.

[Last modified: Sunday, January 20, 2013 9:11am]


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