It’s not surprising, just official. Florida’s former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist announced on Friday that he’s now a Democrat.
Crist made the announcement on his Twitter page, tweeting a picture of himself holding a Florida voter registration form.
“Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President,” his tweet read.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Crist signed papers during a Christmas reception at the White House, and President Barack Obama greeted the news by giving him a fist bump.
“I’ve had friends for years tell me, ‘You know Charlie, you’re a Democrat and you don’t know it,’” Crist told the local paper.
So why did the 56-year-old make it official? He said it’s because of the Republican Party’s move to the right on issues such as immigration and education, to name a few. He also supports raising teachers' pay and civil rights, which are traditional parts of the Democratic Party's platform.
Crist, a one-term Republican governor, has been an independent since 2010. He changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent that year to run for U.S. Senate in a three-way race that Republican Marco Rubio eventually won. After the loss, Crist began a steady shift toward the Democrats. His wife, Carole, made the first move as the former governor worked on the president’s re-election campaign, including giving a speech at the Democratic Convention in North Carolina.
News of the party change has fueled speculations that Crist may be getting ready for another governor run, this time against the state’s current governor, Rick Scott.
Of course, critics said Crist is only looking for a way to return to public office.
Representatives from Florida’s Republican Party told the Associated Press that "Charlie Crist's first official act as a Democrat was to tell a lie about why he is now pretending to be one. The truth is that this self-professed, Ronald-Reagan Republican only abandoned his pro-life, pro-gun, conservative principles in 2010 after he realized that Republicans didn't want to send him to Washington, D.C., as a senator, especially after he proved he couldn't do the job as governor.”
Despite what critics say, Crist is adamant that he feels "at home now.”
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...