If state Democrats have doubts about Charlie Crist's break with the GOP, he'll be giving them more proof on Wednesday.
Crist will be testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Voting Rights on the impact of Florida's 2011 election law. He will be joined by a Democratic state representative from South Carolina and a liberal advocacy group, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Crist will likely be expanding on what he told The Palm Beach Post about the intent of state Republicans in reducing early voting hours. The Palm Beach Post writes:
Crist said party leaders approached him during his 2007-2011 gubernatorial term about changing early voting, in an effort to suppress Democrat turnout....
Crist said in a telephone interview this month that he did not recall conversations about early voting specifically targeting black voters “but it looked to me like that was what was being suggested. And I didn’t want them to go there at all.”
The former governor seems to be making moves to run for his old job. The other week Crist changed his party affiliation to join the Democratic party. But the Tampa Bay Times thinks a Crist gubernatorial run is a bad idea. Why?
- Too much explaining to do: Crist will have to distance himself from his once-close relationship with former GOP chairman Jim Greer, who awaits charges of defrauding the party of about $200,000.
- Not a real Democrat: Candidate Crist will be spending most of his time convincing Democrats that the fact that he voted to ban gay marriage, identified himself as pro-life and supported chain gangs for prisoners doesn't mean he's a not a Democrat.
- Revs up Republicans: In addition to the party switch and Obama hugging, given that Crist abandoned the Republicans in 2010 to run as an Independent for U.S. Senate against GOP star Marco Rubio, the state Republican leadership will be highly motivated to take him down.
- Walked away before: Crist left the governor's house before completing his term to run for U.S. Senate, how do we know he really wants it now?
- It's not a sure thing: Early polls do not show Crist leading on Alex Sink in a primary or Rick Scott in a general election.
And in any case, what's the rush, young Crist? The paper notes that the Congressman for Crist's hometown, 81-year old C.W. Bill Young, might be close to retirement.