The most inspiring politician in America is running for office again. Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida, has not won office since 2006 despite running on three different teams in six years. While he has yet to earn a majority of the state’s voters, he has changed a majority of his positions, reaching well-timed epiphanies on Obamacare, gay marriage, and climate change.
An orange, moderate Republican before that was cool, Crist has always been looking for the next gig, usually unsuccessfully. He toiled part-time as governor before setting his sights on a Florida U.S. Senate seat. The establishment favorite with name ID and fundraising strength, he was favored to win with no problem until upstart Marco Rubio entered the race.
Rubio pounded Crist’s enthusiasm about Obama’s stimulus and his embrace of the president, in both a physical and policy sense, riding Tea Party excitement to a competitive position. Crist saw his numbers falling to the newcomer and became a proud Independent. Until he lost, at which point Democrats needed him to run in 2014, so he became a proud Democrat running for the position he’d vacated as a Republican four years earlier.
In 2016, Crist is again favored in a race for the Thirteenth Congressional District of Florida, which was redistricted to favor his new party. But Rubio is here to blow up his spot again. Rubio had said he would not run for reelection to his Senate seat after declaring for president, but changed his mind under party pressure a couple months after losing to Donald Trump in his home-state GOP primary by double digits and dropping out of the race for president.
In the days before Rubio announced his re-entry, Rep. David Jolly dropped out of the Senate race to go back and run for his former House seat— in the Thirteenth Congressional District— citing “unfinished business.” Crist, seemingly stalked by Rubio’s political ambitions, can’t even find refuge in a congressional race. He’ll be running for school board someday when Rubio decides on a whim he wants to run for superintendent.
That week, President Obama endorsed Crist in the congressional race.
“Governor Crist has always put people above politics and we need more of that in Washington,” the president said. “I know he’ll bring the people’s voice to Congress and I’ve got his back.”
Although Crist is favored to win at the moment, he has a tendency to lose such leads. The governor’s race in 2014 was once called “Crist’s to lose,” as was the Senate race when Rubio entered it.
But hey, if his numbers start to tank, Crist can reinvent himself once again. He has a Florida pedigree, an unnatural tan, no discernible principles, and an antipathy for Rubio. Sounds like veep material to me.