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Jilted GOP Reserves Special Anger For Crist

Former Gov. Charlie Crist is taking fire from the Republican press release machine now that speculation is growing that he'll challenge Gov. Rick Scott as a Democrat in 2014.

The AP and Sarasota Herald-Tribune suggestthere's an angry personal element to this that transcends ordinary politics, probably because Crist was once a Republican governor and the darling of his party. But now he's a cheating rat.

Now that Crist, an independent, is getting cozy with Democrats, the state GOP is shouting to anyone who will listen that Democrats would make a big mistake to be spouse No. 2. When Crist says something nice about President Barack Obama, the state GOP immediately shoots out a press release with something not so nice Crist said about Obama when he was a Republican. If Crist endorses a Democratic candidate, the party reminds people Crist used to say he was a Ronald Reagan Republican.

"We don’t want to see Charlie Crist back in office, particularly in a position of leadership," says state Republican chairman Lenny Curry. "It wouldn’t be good for Florida, regardless of your ideology.”

Crist spoke at the Democratic National Convention, campaigned with  President Obama and endorsed several Democratic candidates. He's seen to be observing a decent interval as an independent, the flag he has flown since his disastrous  run for the Senate in 2010, before completing  the metamorphosis and becoming a Democrat in time to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott for his office in 2014.

By then, if the Republican barrage continues, strategists believe Democrats may think there's a reason that Republicans are so opposed to Crist and that could boost his standing as a Democratic candidate. There's no sign yet of a primary challenge to Scott, but several other Democrats are considered likely to run for the office. 

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