The Fla Insider poll: Charlie Crist running for governor?
Crazy as it may sound, many of the savviest political minds in Florida think Charlie Crist will run for governor in 2014.
Yep, Charlie Crist, the fellow who walked away from the governorship in 2010 only to see his political prospects implode. Remember, this is Florida politics, where anything can happen.
The St. Petersburg Times' latest Insider Poll surveyed 98 people immersed in Florida politics - consultants, lobbyists, fundraisers, activists - and 49 percent predicted Crist would run, including 56 percent of the Democratic insider and 45 percent of the Republicans.
No, it's not a majority, but it's nonetheless astounding so many people see Crist trying for a comeback run against Rick Scott.
"Charlie the narcissist is desperate to get back to the limelight....He's running - for something. Governor would be most likely. Represents his best shot at some self-fabricated notion of redemption,'' said one Republican not especially fond of The People's Governor.
Others thought his best shot would be Congress.
Would he run as an independent again or a Democrat or Republican? An overwhelming majority, 74 said Crist would be strongest as a Democrat, while 20 said strongest as an independent and three as a Republican.
Given the choice of Crist, former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, state Sen. Jeremy Ring, former gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink and state Democratic chairman Rod Smith, 45 (including 43 percent of the Democrats surveyed and 49 percent of the Republicans) said Crist would be the strongest Democratic nominee. Rod Smith followed with 21 votes (13 from Republicans), Iorio received 16 (nine from Republicans), Sink 11 (two from Republicans)
"Charlie will have a tough time getting through a Democratic primary. Therefore the field will need to be cleared for him. But, at this point, he is our best shot,'' said a Democrat.
A couple people suggested a couple other Democrats belonged on the list - Dan Gelber, Jack Seiler.
"I'll be darned," said Crist, who works at Morgan and Morgan law firm and serves on the board of St. Joe Co. "I'm enjoying the freedom of the private sector - very much...And I get to spend more time with my beautiful wife."
Then there's the question about Rick Scott. His lousy early approval ratings would seem to make him look like an early target for a primary challenge, but his ability to stroke a $70-million check would have to give any serious candidate real pause.
our insiders were pretty divided: 40 said it's possible Scott draws a credible primary challenger, 35 said it is highly unlikely, and 22 said it is likely.
Hopefully we don't need to remind Buzz readers that there is nothing scientific about this poll, which included 51 Republicans, 39 Democrats, and 8 people registered NPA/other.
Participants included: Dave Aronberg, former state sen. - D; Steve Schale, consultant-D; Robin Rorapaugh, consultant-D; Robert Coker, lobbyist -R; Dave Beattie, pollster, D; Christian Ulvert, consultant, D; Marion Hammer, lobbyist-D; Gus Corbella, lobbyist-R, Tom Eldon, pollster, D; Cory Tilley, consultant R; Ron Greenstein, lobbyist-D; Sally Bradshaw, consultant, R; Derek Newton, consultant-D; Arlene DiBegnino, consultant-R; Tyler Hudson, former consultant-D;Scott Peelen, fundraiser, R; Carlos Curbelo, consultant-R;Lucy Morgan, journalist-D; Erin VanSickle, consultant-R; Brett Doster, consultant-R; Peter Schorsch, consultant-NPA; Marc Reichelderfer, consultant-R; Nancy McGowan, fundraiser-R; Kirk Fordham, consultant-R; Kirk Pepper, consultant-R;Mitchell Berger, fundraiser-D; Dave Karvelas, congressional staffer-R; Todd Wilder, consultant-D; Dylan Sumner, consultant-D; Eric Johnson, consultant-D; Jackie Lee, consultant-D; Jamie Miller, consultant-R; Screven Watson, consultant-D; Eric Jotkoff, consultant-D; Jim Kitchens, pollster-D; Dan McLaughlin, congressional staffer-NPA; David Bishop, consultant-R; David Rancourt, lobbyist-R;Jill Chamberlin, consultant-NPA; Kirk Wagar, consultant-D; Stephanie Kunkel, Planned Parenthood-D; Richard Swann, fundraiser-D; Darryl Paulson, political scientist-R; Jamie Wilson, lobbyist-R; Andrew Gillum, People for the American Way-D; Frank Tsamoutales, lobbyist-R; Paul Bradshaw, lobbyist-R; Andrew Weinstein, fundraiser-D; Aubrey Jewitt, political scientist-NPA;Kathleen Shanahan, fundraiser-R; John Wehrung, consultant-R; Ron Sachs, consultant-D; Ellen Freidin, FairDistrictsFlorida-D; Greg Truax, consultant-R; Jeff Garcia, consultant-D; John French,lobbyist-R; Jim Davis, former gubernatorial candidate-D; Bill McBride, former gubernatorial candidate; John Dowless, consultant-R; Roger stone, consultant-R; David Custin, consultant-NPA; Karen Unger, consultant-R; James Harris, consultant-D; Ana Cruz, consultant-D; Daniel Smith, political scientist-NPA; Amber Stoner, consultant-R; Brian Crowley, consultant-NPA; Michelle Todd, consultant-R; Tom Lee, former senate president-R; Stephanie Grutman, consultant-D; Kathy Mears, consultant-R; Randy Enwright, consultant-R; Mike Hanna, consultant-R; Susannah Randolph, consultant-D; Alberto Martinez, consultant-R; Ashley Walker, consultant-D; Jim Rimes, consultant-R; Joe Perry, consultant-D; Jordan Raynor, consultant-R; Ann Herberger, fundraiser-R; David Johnson, consultant-R; John Stemberger,Florida Family Policy Council-R; Christina Johnson, consultant-R; Mike Hamby, consultant-D; Greg Turbeville, lobbyisy-R; Chris Ingram, consultant-R; Alex Heckler, fundraiser, D; Rockie Pennington, consultant-R; Apryl Marie Fogel, consultant-R; Cindy Graves, activist-R; Tom Slade, former party chairman-R; Tony Welch, consultant-D; Rodney Barreto, fundraiser-R.