When “Independent Charlie” decided he would run for governor of Florida as “Democratic Charlie,” one of his biggest challenges was going to be avoiding “Republican Charlie.”
Just as the “Ghost from Christmas Past” haunted Ebenezer Scrooge, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, now running as a Democrat, is being stalked by his own nemesis, in the form of a robo-call that touts his conservative bona fides to Democratic primary voters.
It’s a closely guarded secret that Crist has a primary opponent. Pesky Nan Rich, a true “progressive” candidate who excites the base, has struggled to garner the attention or finances to compete with Crist, but is still in the race.
And this is where a robo-call of Charlie Crist smearing Charlie Crist enters the fray. The call features a voice from campaigns past that is confusing some low information Democratic voters who have little grasp of history.
The voice states:
“Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I’m prolife. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program. It’s sad that in his fourth try for governor my opponent has resorted to distortions and untruths. … Floridians need a consistent, conservative governor that they can trust. I would appreciate your vote on election day. Thank you so much and God bless you, and God bless Florida.”
The positions stated on the call contrast everything “Democratic Charlie” now stands for, but are positions Crist boasted about when he was a Republican.
Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith, a man who has become such a thorn in the Crist campaign’s side that he’s now persona non grata with them, reported that it is indeed Crist’s voice on the calls.
And it’s bewildering poor Democratic voters.
“It had someone who sounded like Charlie Crist, saying, ‘… I stand for traditional marriage, I’m prolife, I’m against amnesty for illegal immigrants,'” a reader said in a voicemail to the Times. “That seemed clearly like fraud.”
Another reader tried to pin the attempt to make Crist “appear conservative” on his Republican opponent, incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.
But as Smith uncovered, the voice really is Charlie Crist — during his 2006 gubernatorial campaign against a fellow Republican — and appears to be the work of “a Republican operative… who enjoys making mischief in Democratic primaries.”