Crist Checks Reid’s Box with Cash

Photograph by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announces that he will run for Governor as a Democrat on Nov. 4, 2013 at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Charlie Crist has been busy lately.

He’s running to unseat Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott and promoting a just-released book chronicling his odyssey from lifelong Republican to independent to Democrat.

He’s also been cutting a lot of campaign checks to members of his adopted party.

One recent beneficiary of Crist’s largesse is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who got the maximum $5,200 donation on Oct. 22, according to a filing that Reid’s campaign made with the Senate public records office. Reid, who’s led the Senate since 2007, has said he plans to run for re-election in 2016.

Crist’s donation came right around the time that John Morgan, the founder of the Tampa-based law firm that employs Crist, hosted a fundraiser for Reid. Morgan is bankrolling a statewide referendum on medical marijuana that Scott’s supporters “say threatens to tilt the race against him,” as Bloomberg’s Toluse Olorunnipa reported last month.

Crist talked with Reid during the 2010 Senate campaign after he became an independent, the Wall Street Journal reported that July. Reid was interested in knowing if Crist would caucus with the Democrats if he won the November general election. It became a moot point after Crist lost to Marco Rubio, the Republican whose political rise prompted Crist to bolt the Republican Party in April 2010 and avoid a primary he surely would have lost.

“I had to leave this poisonous Republican primary” because the Republican Party “had grown so intolerant, at least in a primary campaign” that there was “no place for a message like mine,” Crist wrote in his book, “The Party’s Over: How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.”

Crist officially became a Democrat in December 2012, and he sent political donations to Florida Democrats before and after then. He donated to the campaigns of Florida’s Sen. Bill Nelson and Florida Reps. Patrick Murphy, Kathy Castor and Lois Frankel. He gave to the Florida Democratic Party and to 2014 congressional candidate Gwen Graham, daughter of a former Democratic governor and senator.


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