Reaction to Crist announcement swift
Gov. Charlie Crist made his long-awaited announcement Thursday that he will run for the U.S. Senate as an independent.
RPOF Chairman Sen. John Thrasher said, "For years Charlie Crist has claimed to be 'for the people,' but today's announcement was not about 'the people' or about policy, it was about Charlie Crist and his political aspirations."
House Majority Leader Adam Hasner said, "Charlie Crist left the Republican Party a long time ago- today he finally had the courage to make it official."
Former Gov. Jeb Bush said, "I am not surprised. This decision is not about policy or principles. It is about what he believes is in his political self-interest."
Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum said, "It is a short-sighted maneuver that directly contradicts his previous pledges to remain in the primary race... Unlike the Governor, I believe we in the Republican Party can provide the leadership needed to ensure Florida’s best and most prosperous days are before us. I’m proud to be a member of the one party guided by the core principles of limited government, more individual freedom and personal responsibility. I’m confident November will yield decisive victories for Republican candidates.”
RNC chief Michael Steele said, "Now more than ever, Floridians need leadership in Washington. With unemployment at an all-time high in Florida, they want a Senator to exercise strong fiscal discipline and be a catalyst for job creation. Without question, the Republican nominee this fall will offer those qualities. Governor Charlie Crist, however, will not be that candidate. Over the years, he has served this party well, which is why his decision to run as an Independent is so disappointing. To be sure, he left this party. This party did not leave him. His decision will in no way impede our path to victory in Florida. The challenges
that Floridians face are many. And this November, we will have a nominee in place that will listen to them and put forth solutions to get Floridians back to work."
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said, “Charlie Crist’s announcement today that he will run as an Independent is the latest example of the corrosive civil war waging among Republicans. Over the past year, the GOP has been purging members who fail to embrace the far right-wing extremist views of the Tea Party and it has made clear that it will no longer accept officials who attempt to work across the aisle or even consider putting their country before their party’s ideology. It’s ironic that just two years ago, before Republicans turned their back on Charlie Crist, the party was proud to say he was their rising star, and John McCain had considered him for the Republican Party’s vice presidential nomination. But only two years after being the party’s standard bearer, John McCain himself, like Crist, finds himself in a bitter primary with a Tea Party candidate. There is now no question that the Tea Party has taken hold of the Republican Party and that its ideological litmus tests trump any efforts to serve the best interests of all Americans."
Former RPOF chair Jim Greer said, "Today Governor Charlie Crist made a difficult but understandable decision to run as an Independent for the United States Senate. After facing political threats and intimidation by Republican leaders, Charlie Crist once again put the people of Florida First over partisan politics and the mean spirited, vindictive demands of the current Florida GOP leadership."
Marco Rubio supporter Mitt Romney said, “Today's decision by Governor Crist is deeply disappointing and reaffirms for me why it is critical we elect Marco Rubio to the U.S. Senate. What we need right now are leaders in Washington that we can trust to stand up for limited government, decreased spending, lower taxes and individual liberties. Governor Crist's decision means we must all work harder to elect Marco Rubio to the U.S. Senate.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman said: "This is a great day for Florida Democrats and for our candidate Kendrick Meek. We need a fighter in the U.S. Senate, a hands-on leader who will work hard everyday to bring home new, long-term jobs that can help our economy rebound. Kendrick has remained focused on the people of this state, never getting distracted by the petty bickering and political backbiting consuming Governor Crist, Speaker Rubio, and the Republican Party of Florida. Everyday through hard work, Kendrick is earning the respect and admiration of Floridians for his commitment to turning our state around. Kendrick Meek working alongside Bill Nelson makes for an unbeatable combination and Floridians will be represented by two of the best in the U.S. Senate."
Republican candidate for Florida Attorney General Holly Benson said, "At a time when people are demanding a return to conservative values Charlie Crist headed the opposite direction. Now, he has abandoned not just our values but also the party faithful – the leaders, the volunteers and the voters – who helped him every step of the way.”