He has been arguably the nicest, most seasoned political operative and consummate candidate in Florida politics for the past 20 years, but Rep. Charlie Crist is human and like everyone else, tends to lose his temper or show a bit of “emotion” whenever the chips, or public opinion polls, are down for him. This past weekend at the LGBTQ Democratic Caucus meeting in Broward County, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried beat Rep. Crist in a poll by a vote margin of 25-13.
“Nikki Fried has no momentum and her campaign is failing at every step of the way to reach Floridians,” said Samantha Ramirez, the communications director for Crist’s campaign.
Fried’s campaign team fired back, referencing Crist as “Angry Charlie,” as they relished in the straw poll results.
Earlier this month, the independent polling firm, Kaplan Strategies, conducted a survey that showed Crist and Fried in a dead heat (39-39), with Fried garnering the bulk of the 18-29-year-old voters, while Crist showed that he was being backed by the majority of Florida’s Democratic seasoned citizen voter.
“Charlie is panicking. He's been here before, as he has many times, and he's flailing. It's 2010 for Charlie — Groundhog's Day. Charlie can try out a negative campaign if he likes. Nikki is going to keep talking about the issues that matter to everyday Floridians," stated Carolina Korba, Fried's press secretary.
Like Korba stated, this is not the first time Crist and his campaign appear to go negative when the going gets tough.
During the historic 2010 U.S. Senate race between then Republican-turned-independent Crist, Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meeks, and now-Senator Marco Rubio, Crist all but ignored Rubio until polling showed that Rubio was gaining on him.
Crist took the gloves off against Rubio and pivoted his campaign from being Mr. “For the People” to an angry Charlie who took every opportunity to take a political jab at Rubio.
Crist lost the election to Rubio.
Fast forward to 2014 when Crist decided to run for governor against then-Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Again, Crist started off being Mr. Nice guy and shook every hand, kissed every baby, and ignored any criticism or political jab that Republicans threw at him.
This was vintage Charlie Crist.
But on a hot May day in Miami, and across the street from Crist’s Calle Ocho gubernatorial headquarters, a group of Miami Dade Republicans showed up to heckle and disrupt a pre-planned sidewalk rally.
Charlie was taken off message, again.
As Crist addressed the crowd, the chant “Shame on You, Shame on You” drowned out his cheering supporters, causing Crist to take notice and go off script to address his detractors.
“We have the right to speak to, God bless you,” said Crist to the heckler before orchestrating an impromptu, “We Love You” chant of his own.
Crist lost his gubernatorial race to Gov. Scott.
Could Crist's new negative pivot against Fried be a sign that Crist is worried about his chances of becoming the Democratic gubernatorial nominee?
The August 23 primary election is just around the corner and it appears as if this race between Fried and Crist could go down to the wire.
All bets are off in this race.
The winner will face off with Gov. Ron DeSantis in the general election that will take place on November 8.