Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who was elected as a Republican before dropping his party affiliation in 2010, will have a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, a party official said.
Crist, a St. Petersburg lawyer who lost his independent bid for the Senate two years ago to Republican Marco Rubio, endorsed President Barack Obama in a newspaper column yesterday. Crist’s speaking time at the Democratic gathering, which starts next week in Charlotte, North Carolina, wasn’t set yet, said the Democratic official, who didn’t have authority to speak on the record.
The speaking role upset some Florida Democrats, including state Senator Nan Rich, a candidate for governor in 2014, who said in an interview that she had appealed to former President Bill Clinton. Crist didn’t return a phone call for comment today.
Crist is seen as a potential Democratic candidate for Florida governor in two years to run against Republican Governor Rick Scott. Scott’s 41 percent approval rating in an Aug. 23 Quinnipiac University poll was the highest he’d received in a survey from the Hamden, Connecticut-based institution since taking office last year.
In a June 8 poll by Public Policy Polling, 14 percent of Florida voters said they’d heard of Rich. Still, she led Scott by 12 points in a hypothetical matchup.