Republican Party of Florida seizes on Buckhorn's comments about Charlie Crist

  • Mayor Buckhorn with Adam Smith and Al Reuschel on Bay News 9's Political Connections

On Bay News 9's Political Connections program this past Sunday, co-host Adam Smith asked Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn what he thinks about former Republican Governor Charlie Crist possibly becoming the democratic party's 2014 nominee.

"We could conceivably end up with a candidate who one or two years ago was saying something entirely different than where he is today," Buckhorn said. He added that he thinks potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink "reflects more my position and the majority of Democrats."

Today those comments were featured in the Republican Party of Florida's daily email that takes political potshots at Crist. The headline, in bold red letters, said, "THEY SAID IT! ACTIVIST, DEMS DON'T TRUST CHARLIE" (The activist referred to is blogger Kartik Krishnaiyer, who has frequently written about how Democrats may not be able to trust the former lifelong Republican.)

In East Tampa today, CL showed a copy of the e-mail to Buckhorn, who was surprised to see it.

"I think what I was referring to was bemoaning the lack of depth on the Democratic bench," he said. "Charlie is a friend of mine. I've known Charlie for a long time."

On Sunday's Political Connections, Buckhorn continued, "But it's frustrating for me to know at a time when we have a governor who's clearly vulnerable, that we don't have a Democratic candidate that is building an organization, building an operation, who is prepared to run."

Buckhorn's comments reflect those made by many other Democrats who are anxiously waiting for a major contender to join the race. The Democratic primary race for governor is less than a year away, yet Nan Rich is the only candidate of note raising money and campaigning around the state, something that clearly troubles Buckhorn.

When asked if he would support Crist if he runs and becomes the party's nominee, the mayor hedged his bets.

"I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I'm a mayor, and I've got to work with both sides," he said.

But, I reminded the mayor that he is a lifelong Democrat.

"I am a Democrat," he repeated. "I think there are some changes that could be made at the state level. And so if Charlie is the nominee, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

Yesterday, Crist told the Palm Beach Post that he's still "looking toward the fall" to make a decision on whether to run for governor as a Democrat in 2014.

Sink told the Tampa Bay Times two weeks ago that her decision would be forthcoming in "a matter of weeks."


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