The one thing both parties seem to be obsessed about at their conventions is party switchers, elected officials that were once members of one party endorsing the candidate of the other party. In this vein Democrats have managed to secure former Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, for their convention. Crist will probably end up with a decent speaking slot to highlight Mr. Obama’s willingness to work across the aisle and how the GOP has made a hard turn to the right. From ABC News:
A Democratic official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Crist’s appearance in Charlotte, N.C., would be a testament to a spirit of openness and bipartisanship at the convention.
“The Democratic convention will be about bringing people together to continue the progress we’ve made in rebuilding our economy from the middle out, not the top down,” the official said.
For the most part I don’t understand this obsession. Why any undecided voter would really care what some former politician has to say about the race is beyond me. But as party switchers go, this is probably as good as it gets. Crist is still decently popular and very well known in Florida, which is the biggest swing state this year. If Crist not only endorses Obama but actually does some outreach for the campaign, it is possible he could make a tiny impact in the state.
Long term, this is probably another step in Crist’s slow transition after effectively getting kicked out of the Republican party in the 2010 senate primary for not being conservative enough. It won’t be surprising if in a few years Crist again tries to run for office in Florida but as a Democrat.