Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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Crist backs Nelson v. Mack
Posted Aug 1, 2012 by William March
Updated Aug 1, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Former Gov. Charlie Crist has taken one more step away from the Republican Party and toward Democrats, confirming he’ll support Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s re-election bid against Republican Rep. Connie Mack IV.
Crist said Wednesday he’ll attend a fundraiser for Nelson, featuring former President Bill Clinton, Thursday at the home of Crist’s current boss, personal injury lawyer John Morgan of the Morgan & Morgan firm in Orlando.
The development will only add to speculation about whether Crist eventually will seek office as a Democrat, speculation centering on the 2014 governor’s race.
It also carries some irony—Crist began his political career as an acolyte of former Sen. Connie Mack III, the father of the current Senate candidate.
Crist said he’s backing two other Democrats in this year’s election – Patrick Murphy, running against U.S. Rep. Allen West, and Ken Welch, “a long-time family friend,” running for Pinellas County commissioner. He said he’s not publicly supporting any Republicans.
Asked whether he may become a Democrat and whether he’ll consider running for office again, he said pretty much what he’s been saying: “I don’t know … Who knows what the future holds. Right now I’m enjoying being indie and working hard in the private sector, and only time can tell.”