(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Ex-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was once known for being a staunch Republican, but these days he’s better known for jumping between party lines.
Earlier this week, the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat posted a Facebook update in support of Delaware’s marriage equality legislation.
“Some great news: On Tuesday, Delaware became the 11th state to allow marriage equality. And just a few days ago, Rhode Island adopted a similar measure, which followed victories last fall in Maine, Maryland and Washington. I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here,” he wrote.
Despite his support for the issue, Crist’s comments are being met with suspicion rather than applause.
In the span of his extensive political career, Crist spread himself across the full gamut of political parties, confusing the public’s understanding of his true policy alignments.
Crist’s party switching is particularly notable regarding same-sex marriage. In 2006, he opposed same-sex legislation while serving as Florida’s attorney general and even petitioned to add a same-sex ban to the Florida constitution. Six years later, in December 2012, Crist publicly stated his regret for the petition and registered as a Democrat.
“Would I do it today? No,” Crist was quoted as saying in the Miami Herald. “I think the best way to judge where my heart is, is to look at the deeds that I have done…restoration of rights, civil rights cases, things of that nature, that I think show a compassionate heart and hopefully someone who cares and knows who the boss is — and the boss is the people of Florida.”
Crist’s reflections about his constituents and party affiliation are coming at an interesting time. Now that he is a registered Democrat, Crist is widely believed to be the frontrunner in the 2014 gubernatorial election against Florida’s incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
The change of political heart is not new to Crist. As a Republican, he announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2009, and quickly garnered support from a number of conservative heavy-hitters, including the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain. Crist appeared to fall behind Marco Rubio after supporting the Obama-sponsored Recovery Act, and dropped out of the Republican primary to run as an independent. His campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and Crist returned to the private sector.
Crist will be a keynote speaker at the Democratic-sponsored “Kennedy-King Dinner” this Saturday in Tampa.
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