Morning Report: Charlie Crist's not-so-surprising announcement

The former GOP guv's special day.

click to enlarge Crist in May, 2013 at the Kennedy/King Dinner in Tampa. - Photo by Chip Weiner
Photo by Chip Weiner
Crist in May, 2013 at the Kennedy/King Dinner in Tampa.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist will make his political intentions formally known today to Florida voters.

He is expected to his announce that he will run for governor again — this time as a Democrat.

Crist was scheduled to hold a press conference at 10 this morning at Albert Whitted Airport Park. 480 Bayshore Dr., in St. Petersburg.

On Friday, he made an official filing with the state Division of Elections. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the filing was disclosed by members of the state Republican Party, which observed him handing in the documents.

Crist, 57, is well known and well liked throughout Florida, making him a formidable opponent against Republican Rick Scott.

Crist, who lives in St. Petersburg, is a former state senator, attorney general and Republican governor. He switched parties in December, after throwing his support behind President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. He accused the GOP of abandoning him and his moderate stances.

Out of politics for now: Former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker also is making his political ambitions clear: He will not run for the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young's seat.

While thanking supporters, Baker said that he decided against running for Congress — at this time. The popular former mayor was considered a strong potential contender in the upcoming special election to fill Young’s seat.

After Baker’s announcement Saturday, David Jolly — who was Young’s former legal counsel — said he planned to run for the office. Beverly Young, Bill’s widow, endorsed his candidacy, saying that it was what her husband would have wanted. Young died on Oct. 18.

Jolly is a lobbyist from Dunedin who previously ran Young’s office in Pinellas County.

New home for Winter the Dolphin? Whether Winter the Dolphin will get a palatial new home will soon be in the hands of voters.

On Tuesday, Clearwater voters will decide whether to allow the city to grant Clearwater Marine Aquarium a 60-year lease to build a complex at the site of City Hall. The new aquarium will cost $160 million.

The proposed 200,000-square-foot facility is planned for the waterfront, with supporters saying it will bring a new level of economic activity to the city. Opponents argue that the plan is too risky and a “waterfront giveaway.”

Those against the proposal say that the city is banking on the continued popularity of the aquarium’s super-star movie dolphin. A sequel to “Dolphin Tale” is currently in the works.

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