Obama's Florida Team Flocks to Crist

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 01:48 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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President Barack Obama's top Florida campaign workers have jumped aboard the bandwagon of former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who's running for the Sunshine State's top post again, this time as a Democrat.

The Miami Herald reports that at least seven political operatives involved in either one or both of Obama's Florida campaigns were recruited by Crist, who joined the Democratic Party last December after having endorsed Obama for a second term.

They include Obama's Florida senior campaign adviser Steve Schale, his media consultant Jim Margolis, mail consultant Dylan Sumner, pollster John Anzalone, regional spokesman Kevin Cate, campaign field organizer Franco Ripple, and finance director Jessica Clark.

Obama carried Florida in both his presidential elections, but Republican Rick Scott took the governor's mansion in Tallahassee in 2010.

"The Obama world has an interest in Crist — they had him speak at the Democratic National Convention," lawyer Ralph Patino, who helped the Obama campaign's Futuro Fund raise $30 million last year for Hispanic outreach, told the Herald.

"That showed me, even back then, that they had an interest in Charlie Crist."

Crist’s top competition for the Democratic nomination is former state Sen. Nan Rich, who told the newspaper: "Barack Obama is not running for governor. Nan Rich and Charlie Crist are."

Crist was governor from 2007 to 2011. Instead of running for another term, he opted to try for the U.S. Senate seat of departing Republican Mel Martinez. But he was overtaken in the polls by Marco Rubio and later left the Republican Party to become an independent and then a Democrat.

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