Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Politics

Charlie Crist's political memoir to explain why he left GOP

ST. PETERSBURG — Charlie Crist is taking his message of political redemption and evolution from the Democratic club circuit to your local bookstore.

The former Republican governor turned independent U.S. Senate candidate turned potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate has a book coming out this winter. The title: The Party's Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.

Published by Dutton, the book promises to be "a no-holds-barred memoir of his journey from Republican to Democrat. He will name names and offer a frank indictment of the failings of the Republican Party," according to the publisher.

Crist, 56, is widely expected to run for governor as a Democrat in 2014. It's a remarkable journey for a man who in 2008 described himself as a "Ronald Reagan Republican" and was a serious contender to be John McCain's running mate. Last year, Crist spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and campaigned for Barack Obama in Florida harder than any other politician.

"I have now seen both these parties at the highest levels from the inside," Crist said in a statement Dutton prepared. "In the book, I'll share my very strong feelings about what's happened to the Republicans, how the party I grew up in has been hijacked by extremists, losing its compassion and common sense. I'll describe exactly what I saw and what it made me realize. I have been a Democrat for seven months now. I have found a wonderful new home."

Crist declined to say what he's being paid for the book.

Helping Crist write the book is Newsday columnist Ellis Henican, whose other books include accounts of the New Orleans Saints' post-Katrina Super Bowl championship and the death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhart.

Crist tends to be civil when talking about anybody else, but the book's publicity material hints at juicier offerings in store from the ever-sunny former governor:

"Among other things, The Party's Over will reveal: the inside story of Crist's 2010 Senate primary campaign against Marco Rubio; his journey from inner circle to persona non grata, thanks to his literal embrace of President Obama; his very frank opinions on Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and other top-tier Republicans; why he announced his party switch at the White House Christmas party; what he's learned as a member of both parties; and why he remains convinced that the two-party system can still work — with the right leadership."

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