The Democratic National Convention is a huge political stage and longtime Republican Charlie Crist is getting ready to audition for a new leading role in Charlotte.
He will speak Thursday night in support of President Obama and raise the buzz on talk that he might have new ambitions to be a Democratic candidate for Florida governor in 2014.
Terrie Rizzo is a Florida delegate from Palm Beach County. She said, "We welcome Charlie Crist to the party. I think it says a lot about where he has been and what he's seen."
Crist, though, is not officially a Democrat as far as we know. Yes, as a Republican governor he embraced the Obama stimulus plan in 2009 and the Tea Party rejected him.
Yes, he tried to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 but got swamped by Marco Rubio. And, yes, all signs point to a seismic change for his political future. Nothing is certain but the talk is underway.
Cedric Thomas is a Florida delegate from Riviera Beach. He told me, "I think Charlie Crist is a wonderful man. Right now, can I say I would support him? I don't know, but I would love to hear his views.
So would Alex Sink, a confirmed Democrat who lost to Rick Scott but has not ruled out a second try. She says she would welcome Crist into the "big tent" of the Democratic Party with a dose of skepticism. Sink said, "I think he's going to have a lot of explaining to do. I served with him for four years and heard him say man times he was a conservative Republican."
But Crist has a statewide name and two years is a long time. Longtime political analyst Susan MacManus said, "The rumor on the street is that if he can win they (Democrats) will back him because the Democrats really, really want to win back the governor's office."
Let the political rumor mill begin, one that will only get louder the minute Crist exits the stage tomorrow night.
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