Report: Florida Dixiecrats Less Impressed With Charlie Crist

Image: Report: Florida Dixiecrats Less Impressed With Charlie Crist Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist at his victory party after winning the Florida Democratic primary. (Robert Duyos/Sun Sentinel/MCT/Landov)

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 10:41 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist handily won Florida's Democratic primary Tuesday against Nan Rich, but conservative Dixiecrats in north Florida weren't part of the wave.

The Miami Herald reports that Crist's 74-26 percent statewide win would have been even bigger without rural counties.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott spent at least $10 million attacking Crist, the Herald reports, along with two outside political committees and Rich herself.

The Herald reports that negative campaigning could be a contributing factor in the low Democratic turnout. Of nearly 4.6 million registered Democrats, only 838,000 ballots were cast.

More than 925,000 Republicans cast ballots, of the 4.1 million registered Republicans, perhaps because of congressional races in Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys and a state House race in the Jacksonville area.

"People vote if an election is interesting," Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida, told the Herald.

Counties where Crist's support exceeded his statewide victory margin of 48 percentage points included Sarasota, Miami-Dade, Flagler, Broward and St. Lucie.

Counties where his margin was a tepid 10 percentage points or less included Putnam, Holmes, Calhoun, Washington, Suwannee, Bradford, Lafayette, Baker, Gilchrist, Okaloosa, Gulf , Santa Rosa and Hardee.

Meanwhile, even before Crist's primary win, the fight had turned dirty, the Broward/Palm Beach New Times reports.

A conservative group allegedly sent out Charlie Crist robocalls to potential voters telling them he's all about conservative values – but the recordings were from back when Crist was a Republican.

"We learned that these robocalls were sent out by a political action committee run by state Sen. Tom Lee," Florida Democratic Party press secretary Max Steele told New Times.

"We filed a complaint with the Election Commission because the calls clearly mislead voters into thinking they represented Charlie Crist as a spokesperson for the conservatives. That, as you know, is illegal in Florida."

Steele told the newspaper the complaint had been filed by primary election day.

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