Former GOP Governor in Florida Slated For Democratic Convention

Photograph by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times via Redux

President Barack Obama speaks with Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida on Casino Beach in Pensacola, Fl. in this June 15, 2010 file photo.

Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who was elected as a Republican before dropping his party affiliation in 2010, has received 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 Senator 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, N.C., 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, candidate for governor in 2014, who said in an interview that she had appealed to former President Bill Clinton. Crist did not return a phone call for comment today.

Crist is viewed as a potential Democratic candidate for governor in two years to take on Republican Governor Rick Scott, whose 41 percent approval rating in an Aug. 23 poll from Quinnipiac University poll was the highest he’d received in a survey from the Hamden, Connecticut-based college since taking office last year. In a June 8 poll from Public Policy Polling, 14 percent of Florida voters said they’d heard of Rich, yet she led Scott by 12 points in a hypothetical matchup.

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