Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Conservative activists question Charlie Crist's commitment to core GOP values

WASHINGTON — National Republican leaders and Charlie Crist's would-be colleagues at the Capitol were beaming over the governor's announcement that he'll run for the Senate.

But many conservative leaders weren't feeling so sunny.

As Republicans in the Senate lined up to endorse Crist, who they see as a good chance to keep an open seat red, many conservative activists questioned Crist's commitment to the party's core values of fiscal and social conservatism.

They also said Crist faces a tougher-than-expected race against former state House Speaker Marco Rubio in the GOP primary, as disaffected conservatives turn out to express their disapproval for Crist.

"This really does make the primary a real battle for where the soul of the party is," said Dennis Baxley, a former state legislator and executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida.

Many conservatives cheered moderate Sen. Arlen Specter's recent switch from R-Pa., to D-Pa., and say that Crist, also a moderate, would only hamper their party's rebirth.

"At best he would help the Republicans maintain the status quo, which is not good," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Activists point to several of Crist's decisions to make their point: his strong support for President Barack Obama's nearly $800-billion stimulus package; his appointment in March of Judge James E.C. Perry to the state Supreme Court, despite opposition from the National Rifle Association and antiabortion groups; and his lack of support for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Wes Allison can be reached at or (202) 463-0577.

Conservative activists question Charlie Crist's commitment to core GOP values 05/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:46am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  2. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  3. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  4. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  5. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette


    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.