Charlie Crist

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Charlie Crist
Governor of Florida
Former officeholder
In office
January 2, 2007 – January 4, 2011
High schoolSt. Petersburg High School (1974)
Bachelor'sFlorida State University
J.D.Cumberland School of Law-Alabama
Date of birthJuly 24, 1956
Personal website
Charles Joseph "Charlie" Crist, Jr. (b. July 24 1956), is a politician and the former Governor of Florida. Crist served as state attorney general from 2003 to 2007.[1] Crist had long been affiliated with the Republican Party until becoming an Independent in 2010. He most recently became a Democrat in Dec. 2012.[2]


Crist was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania. to Charlie Crist Sr., a Greek Cypriot, and Nancy Lee, who is Scots-Irish. Crist later moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he attended Riviera Middle School[3] [4] and graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1974. He attended Wake Forest University, where he played quarterback for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team. Crist received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University where he was the Vice President of the student body. He is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. While at FSU, Crist was named Mr. Seminole. He received his Juris Doctor|law degree from the Cumberland School of Law in Alabama.


  • St. Petersburg High School (1974)
  • Wake Forest University
  • Bachelor's degree, Florida State University
  • Juris Doctorate, Cumberland School of Law

Political career

Governor of Florida (2007-2011)

Crist was elected the 44th Governor of Florida in November 2006. He served one term and was succeeded by Jeb Bush.

Emission controls

In July 2007, Crist announced plans to sign executive orders that would impose strict air-pollution standards in the state, with aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. Crist's orders would set new emissions targets for power companies, automobiles and trucks, toughen conservation goals for state agencies, and require state-owned vehicles to use alternative fuels.[5]

Creation of Research Flagship Universities

During Florida's 2007 Legislative Session, Governor Charlie Crist signed into law SB-1710 which allowed the Board of Governors to allow Tuition Differential only for the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida (determined by law as the Research Flagships of the State University System). This legislation ultimately created a Tier System for Higher Education in Florida's State University System.[6]

Disputes with Insurance Companies

In 2007, Governor Crist has been embroiled in public disputes with property insurers over homeowners' insurance rates. Governor Crist had expected insurers to lower their rates with new reinsurance coverage available from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. However, insurers have found that although the FHCF will offer them complete coverage, there are significant doubts in the marketplace as to whether the FHCF will be able to make good on those claims. Ratings agencies (such as Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and A. M. Best) have warned insurers that if they accept too much reinsurance from FHCF, they risk being downgraded. With such a warning in hand, insurers have instead gone to the private reinsurance market for much of their reinsurance, and have found significantly higher rates.

On race relations

Democratic Representative Terry Fields of Jacksonville, Florida referred to Crist as the state's "first black governor." saying, "Charlie Crist has been a friend to the African-American community even before he became governor."

He is the first Republican governor to accept the state's NAACP invitation to a convention and endorsed legislation requiring paper records of all ballots cast during an election, stemming from criticisms in black communities that believed they were being undercounted by computerized voting machines.[7]

Attorney General of Florida (2003-2007)

During his time in office, Crist has been applauded by civil rights and consumer groups for expanding the powers of the Attorney General to prosecute civil rights and fraud cases. He has also received acclaim for his work to combat spam emails, freeze utility rates, end telecom deception, and protect the environment. Supporters of Crist's candidacy included America's Most Wanted host John Walsh, who publicly filed Crist's gubernatorial candidacy paperwork, citing his work with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. John Walsh also appears in Crist's "anti-murder" campaign advertisements.

Crist's tenure as attorney general has been criticized by some. Some activists who had pushed for government intervention in the Terri Schiavo right-to-life case strongly criticized Crist when he did not attempt further legal action to keep Schiavo on life support. As Attorney General, he was also criticized for not using his powers to investigate Schiavo's missing Department of Children and Families file.

Canadian anti-consumer-fraud activist and author Les Henderson also criticized Crist's handling of the Lou Pearlman Wilhelmina Scouting Network affair in his September 2006 book Under Investigation. Henderson's book presents documentary evidence that Assistant Attorney General Jacqueline Dowd was forced to resign by Crist's office when she refused to stop investigating the scam, and intended to file charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.[8][9]

A lawsuit stemming from the alleged Lou Pearlman Ponzi Scheme and investment scandal alleges that Crist delayed or interfered with investigations into Pearlman in return for campaign donations, use of private jets, home, and skyboxes.[10]

State Education Commissioner (2001-2003)

In 2001, Crist was elected to the office of Education Commissioner of Florida in November 2000, and he served in this capacity until 2003. When the office was eliminated in accordance with a 1998 constitutional amendment, all responsibilities turned over to the appointed Secretary of Education. Crist had by that time already won his position as Attorney General of Florida.

Deputy Secretary of Business and Professional Regulation (1999-2001)

In 1999, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Crist to the position of Deputy Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

State Senate (1993-1999)

Crist entered state politics representing parts of St. Petersburg in the Florida Senate, where he became best known for his support of chain gangs for state prison inmates, earning him the nickname "Chain Gang Charlie."[11] Crist became well-known in state politics in 1998, when after nearly six years in the Senate he challenged popular Democratic incumbent Bob Graham for his U.S. Senate seat but lost by 26 percent.

Elections & Appointments


See also: Florida gubernatorial election, 2014

Crist is reportedly exploring a run for Governor of Florida in 2014, when incumbent Rick Scott (R) will be up for re-election. Although he has yet to declare, his decision to change his party registration to Democrat on December 7, 2012 and subsequent hobnobbing with the Democratic Governors Association strongly suggest he is preparing for a return bid.[12] Crist was a Republican until 2010 when he re-registered as an Independent in order to stay in the race after Republican voters chose Marco Rubio over him in the primary, and his latest party makeover is widely interpreted as a strategic maneuver aimed at helping him unseat Scott in 2014.[13]

Governor Florida Hypothetical Match-Up Poll
Poll Charlie Crist (D) Rick Scott (R)Don't Know/RefusedOtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
Florida Opinion Research
May 23–25, 2012
Quinnipiac University Poll
(June 11-16, 2013)
AVERAGES 47.55% 35.55% 12.4% 4.5% +/-3.18 989
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Crist ran unsuccessfully for an open seat on the United States Senate in 2010. He lost two times to Republican Marco Rubio during the election- first in the primary, and later, after he re-entered the race as an independent candidate, in the general election.


Crist was elected Governor of Florida in November 2006. He consistently led Democratic opponent Jim Davis in statewide opinion polling during the fall of 2006, and so opted to skip a politically-risky appearance with President Bush. Crist had reasoned that the Pensacola area was already firmly in his camp, and instead decided to appear in a more closely-contested area with Arizona Senator John McCain. Davis accused Crist of trying to avoid being associated with the unpopular President, whose job-approval rating stood at 34 percent nationally and merely 29 percent within Florida.[14]

Crist also led his opponents in fundraising throughout the campaign, but his activities were occasionally controversial. One of Crist's backers was real estate mogul Donald Trump, whose guests at a Crist fundraiser included a former Ukrainian official in the country illegally, as well as the owner of a company under investigation by Crist's office. Crist later returned the donations from the companies under investigation, while the Ukrainian official's fee was paid by another guest. Further controversy set in, however, when ethics complaints were filed against Crist and his chief of staff for failing to investigate a major donor, personnel firm Convergys, that has been plagued by lawsuits and prison sentences for its role in the inadequate protection of state employees' social security numbers.

The Rev. O'Neal Dozier, a member of Crist's team and the Worldwide Christian Church, also generated controversy after being dismissed from his position on the Broward Judicial Nominating Commission for calling Islam a "cult" and a "dangerous religion", and opposing the construction of a Mosque on the grounds that "we don't want our area to be a breeding ground for terrorists".[15] When questioned about Dozier, Crist initially declined to take action on Dozier and said that he was "happy" with the help he got.[16] However, Crist later told his staff to remove Dozier from all campaign committees, saying "While Charlie Crist respects Rev. Dozier's right to express his political and religious beliefs, he does not agree with Rev. Dozier's recent statements and writings concerning Islam".[17][18]

Issue positions

2006 Campaign themes

According to his campaign website and public pronouncements, Crist would take the following positions as governor:

  • Abortion: Is "pro-life and pro-family," however, he has no plans to change abortion law in the state of Florida, stating in the August 21, 2006 issue of The Tampa Tribune that "I'd rather change people's hearts than change the law." However, Crist also said months earlier that he would, if elected governor, sign a ban on abortion similar to the one in South Dakota.
  • Adoption: Provide a $3000 subsidy to adoptive families. Crist has not yet decided if he would repeal the ban on adoption by same-sex couples.
  • Death Penalty: Defends the current law allowing non-unanimous juries to recommend the death penalty. He will be reviewing how the penalty is carried out after it took 34 minutes for Ángel Nieves Díaz to die from lethal injection December 13, 2006. "You wonder about the dosage and if there may have been some better medical diagnosis done prior to that" Crist said.
  • Education: Continue to be an advocate for parent choice in education, including stringent testing and vouchers. Crist encourages standardized testing "to guarantee that each student receives a year's worth of learning in a year's worth of time."
  • Eminent Domain: Strengthen current legal protections. Crist has stated that he believes the Kelo decision could have negative ramifications for Floridians.
  • Environment: Supports ban on oil drilling near Florida's coastline. Continue the net "ban" (limits on allowable size) aimed at protecting aquatic wildlife.
  • Foster Care: Provide a $5000 subsidy to those providing foster care to families who adopt foster children.
  • Gay Rights: Crist's website says Crist strongly supports Florida's Defense of Marriage Act which is generally opposed by gays and lesbians. Crist's primary opponent Tom Gallagher claimed Crist supports gay civil unions and Crist was a signatory to the gay marriage amendment petition in Florida.
  • Gun Rights: Balance gun owner rights with private property rights of employers. Crist was endorsed by the NRA as an "A+" candidate on gun rights. A+ is the highest endorsement given out by the NRA.
  • Hate Crimes: Stop the "clear pattern of growth" in crimes motivated by sexual orientation.
  • Health Care: Require prescription drugs to be tracked from the manufacturer to the pharmacy to ensure drug safety. Endorsed by the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Nurses Association.
  • Homeowners Insurance: Provide affordable reinsurance. Report Card for Insurance Companies. Stop the Cherry Picking by Insurance Companies for the type of coverage they will provide. Abolition of Citizens insurance
  • Immigration: Support closing borders for illegals and policies that promote legal immigration. Supports Senator Mel Martinez's immigration bill giving amnesty to illegals.
  • Legalized Gambling: Oppose any expansion of gambling, but not support the repeal of the Broward County slot machine amendment.
  • Lawsuit Reform: Support elimination of joint and several liability.
  • Property Tax: Allow homeowners to move within the same county and between different counties while maintaining their previous property tax level.
  • Right to Die: Promote the availability of end of life choices, including living wills and coordination with hospice care.


In 1999, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Crist to the position of Deputy Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.


Second change in political affiliation

On December 7, 2012, the ex-Republican governor and attorney general announced on Twitter that he had switched his party registration to the Democratic Party after two years as an Independent. His message said, “Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President Barack Obama!”[2]

Crist is reportedly exploring a run for Governor of Florida in 2014, when incumbent Rick Scott (R) will be up for re-election. He has not confirmed his bid as of December 2012, however his decision to change his party registration to Democrat reinforced previous speculation that he planned to seek a return to his former office. Crist was a Republican until 2010 when he re-registered as an Independent in order to stay in the race after Republican voters chose Marco Rubio over him in the primary, and his latest party makeover is widely interpreted as a strategic maneuver aimed at helping him unseat Scott in 2014.[19]

First change in political affiliation

In late April 2010 Charlie Crist announced that he was separating from the Republican party and would run as an Independent in the 2010 Senate race. "For me, it's never been about doing what's easy. It's been about doing what's right for the people first," he said. Since entering public office Crist has been affiliated with the Republican party.[20]

According to reports, the governor's change in affiliation was widely anticipated because he was falling behind rival Republican Marc Rubio for the Republican nomination in the 2010 Senate race. Crist had also found himself abandoned by several members of the Republican party, according to reports. The announcement also followed an opinion poll that showed the governor could win an three-way race.[21]

In May 2010, following his change in affiliation, Crist said his independence now allows him to offer a candid view and describes himself as "liberated."[22]


Crist is a member of the First Methodist Church of St. Petersburg. In July of 1979 he married Amanda Marrow. The couple had no children and divorced on January 2, 1980.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Charlie + Crist + Florida + Governor

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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See also

External links


  • [1] Morgan, Lucy (May 9, 2005). "Crist Will Enter Governor's Race." St. Petersburg Times, pp. 1A.
  • [2] 1998 U.S. Senate race results.
  • [3] Bousquet, Steve (February 18, 2006) "Crist's landlord reportedly takes illegal tax exemption" "St. Petersburg Times"
  • [4] March, William (January 8, 2006) Tampa Tribune
  • [5] (February 13, 2006) "Candidate's Fundraiser Uncovers Questionable Supporters" "Miami Herald"
  • [6]Tisch, Chris (January 17, 2005) "The Woman Who Asked Charlie That Question" "St. Petersburg Times"
  • [7]Capital Bureau
  • [8] Attorney seeks to block steroid questions in corrections lawsuit
  • [9] (October 3, 2006) "Book: Crist tried to 'whitewash' probe" "The Gainsville Sun"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


  1. Florida Attorneys General (1845 - Present)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Charlie Crist Twitter Account, "Party Registration," December 7, 2012
  3. PUBLIC EDUCATION: Like herding FCATs, Crist's challenge is elusive: Make accountability appealing. St. Petersburg Times (Florida), February 25, 2007
  4. Crist's politics getting greener; Not all support focus on global warming. Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida), April 22, 2007
  5. Florida To Introduce Tough Greenhouse Gas Targets
  6. Orlando Sentinel
  7. Gov. Crist lauded by African-Americans, called 'first black governor' South Florida Sun-Sentinel, October 11, 2007
  8. Dowd leaves attorney general's office
  9. Book: Crist tried to 'whitewash' probe
  10. Lawsuit faults Crist in giant Ponzi scheme St. Petersburg Times, March 6, 2007
  11. Crist Will Enter Governor's Race by Lucy Morgan, St. Petersburg Times, May 9, 2007
  12. The Daily Caller, "Charlie Crist briefly visits with Democratic Governors Association," January 9, 2013
  13. The Hill, "Charlie Crist joins Democratic party ahead of gubernatorial election," December 8, 2012
  14. Fla. GOP Candidate Snubs BushAssociated Press, Nov. 6, 2006
  15. Anything but straight Falls Church News-Press, July 13, 2006
  16. Religious Tolerance is Booed loudly The Miami Herald, July 13, 2006
  17. Crist dumps preacher who ranted on Islam The Miami Herald, September 23, 2006.
  18. Pastor appointed by Bush won't apologize for remarks on Islam The Bradenton Herald, Associated Press], July 11, 2006
  19. The Hill, "Charlie Crist joins Democratic party ahead of gubernatorial election," December 8, 2012
  20. Washington Post,"Charlie Crist leaves Republican Party to run as independent in Fla. Senate race," April 30, 2010
  21. The Telegraph,"Republican governor of Florida Charlie Crist to run as independent for US senate," April 29, 2010
  22. St. Petersburg Times,"Crist backs Fair Districts reform and bashes legislature's 'rigid adherence'," May 19, 2010