Crist Leaves Republicans, Republicans Leave Crist

charlie-crist-leaving-republicansFlorida Governor Charlie Crist, bowing to the fact that he was going to get crushed in the Republican primaries, yesterday bowed to the inevitable and withdrew from the contest.  He also, as widely expected, simultaneously launched an independent bid for the Senate seat vacated by Republican Mel Martinez’ retirement.

Several of his staffers promptly quit:

Crist’s campaign attorney Benjamin Ginsberg, a veteran GOP legal player who advised both Bush-Cheney presidential campaigns and later Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign, sent Crist his resignation letter moments after Thursday’s announcement.

Communications Director Andrea Saul and Press Secretary Amanda Hennenberg — the campaign’s main conduit to the media — also resigned their positions. Both Republicans moved to Tallahassee from Washington, D.C. to work for Crist’s Senate campaign.

My wife’s company instantly resigned as his pollster, as they did when Arlen Specter switched parties:

The Republican polling firm of Public Opinion Strategies announced today that it is resigning from Governor Charlie Crist’s campaign team.

“Governor Crist’s decision has been ceaselessly speculated on in recent weeks. Despite his difficulties in the Republican primary, we were loyally working for him as long as he was a Republican. With his announcement that he is not running as a Republican, we will no longer be involved,” said Glen Bolger, a Partner in the firm who worked with the Crist campaign.

Such is the business: Anyone who wants to work for a Republican candidate or officeholder in the future will need to abandon ship.  Regardless of personal affection people may have for Crist, he’s now not only going to be running against the Republican nominee but making it much easier for the Democrat to win.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Idiot says:

    Nice slogan – “People above politics.” It’s still not going to wash with this interview:

    Crist will need to explain this convincingly and he really can’t. The Florida NEA may appreciate his veto of education reform, but in the end they will support and fund the Dem.

  2. Bill Jempty says:

    The likely Florida democratic nominee for the Senate, Kendrick Meek, is best known for probably two things.

    His mother retiring only days before the 2002 filing deadline. Essentially handing the house seat to him.

    Meek seeking funds for a biotech project that was paying his mother consulting fees.

    Politically Meek is too far to the left to have a chance of election in FL.(Both Rubio and Crist had 20 point leads in polls taken) Till Crist announced he was running as an independent. Now it is anyone’s race.

    Crist won’t get elected but may well get Meek elected instead. I think Florida GOP voters(I’m a registered Democrat in Florida) are smart enough to see that but I could be wrong.

    There is a Florida precedent for a independent John Grady splitting the GOP vote resulting in a Democratic win. That was 1974 when Dick Stone narrowly beat Jack Eckerd(founder of the drugstore chain and 3-time failed candidate for office in Florida). Grady was a George Wallace Democrat. Stone was Jewish. How many of the 280,000 plus voters who cast for Grady would have voted for Stone? A good question but I don’t have the answer.

  3. Steve Plunk says:

    Crist’s decision to run as an independent exposes his number one campaign issue, himself. It’s all about staying in power and staying well off.

    It’s bad enough he doesn’t concede like a gentleman but he also likely dooms Rubio. What a tool.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    Crist’s decision to run as an independent exposes his number one campaign issue, himself. It’s all about staying in power and staying well off.

    It’s so nice to see Republicans get their very own Joe Lieberman…

  5. Rick Almeida says:

    Plunk on Crist:

    Crist’s decision to run as an independent exposes his number one campaign issue, himself. It’s all about staying in power and staying well off.

    Plunk on Lieberman:

    His honor comes not from party loyalty but from loyalty to those who elected him.


  6. Steve Plunk says:

    Rick A.,

    There’s some context missing. My statement concerning Lieberman was regarding Dr. Joyner’s claim he should resign his seat and run as a Republican. Lieberman had already won as an independent and was stripped of his power by the Democratic party. He wasn’t being a sore loser.

    The question of honor was also about his reserving the option to endorse whoever he wanted for president even if they were not a Democrat. People called that dishonorable and I defended his position. Like I said, context is missing.

    Crist has not won election form the people and will not likely win. He knows that and chooses to subvert Rubio’s chances. I stand by my statements.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    He wasn’t being a sore loser.

    Nonsense….of course he was, having previously lost in the primary to Ned Lamont…the difference in this current situation is that Crist is skipping the primary he knows he would lose…

  8. Leo says:

    Hmm, Crist isn’t running for reelection, is he? I thought he was running for the senate seat. Typo, I’m sure.

    Yes! Fixed. Thanks. – jhj