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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sorry, Charlie Crist, Obama staying neutral in primary and Mayor Rick Kriseman backing rival



Charlie Crist was the only prominent Republican to embrace vocally Barack Obama's economic stimulus package in 2009. In 2012 the Republican-turned independent former governor did more than any other elected official in Florida to help Obama win the state again. Crist even addressed the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

But as grateful as President Obama may be to Crist for his support, Obama won't take sides Crist's Democratic primary for south Pinellas' open congressional seat. Crist, who formally jumped in the race Tuesday, faces Eric Lynn, who served as a senior adviser in Obama's State Department and Pentagon, and worked as a liaison with Jewish voters during Obama's 2008 campaign. Helping Lynn's campaign are a couple top former Obama advisers, Communications director Anita Dunn and Press Secretary Bill Burton.

"The President is not going to get involved in this primary," the White House said in a statement to The Buzz. "Eric was a trusted advisor on national security issues during the first campaign and at the Pentagon, and while he has respect for both Charlie Crist and Eric Lynn, he is going to leave the choice between the two up to Florida voters."

And more bad news for Crist: St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced today he prefers Lynn over Crist. 

“Today, I am so proud to endorse and support my good friend, Eric Lynn, for Congress. This is a man who cares about his community, who will take that passion with him to Congress.”

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[Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 9:27am]


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