Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With a poll showing he would defeat Rick Scott in 2014, Charlie Crist is not ruling out the possibility that he may run for governor as a Democrat. Speaking by phone from overseas, Crist tells 10 News, "Never say never."
A poll released earlier this week by Florida Opinion Research shows Crist besting Scott 48.1 percent to 34.1 percent.
"Without question Charlie Crist will be back in politics," said University of South Florida Professor of Political Science Dr. Susan MacManus when asked about the former governor's political future.
"Whether it's running for governor or whatever else, we don't know, but he is such a political servant. (Such a) politically oriented person...most people that are in political certainly expect that he's not going to sit on the sideline forever."
Since losing as a No Party Affiliate candidate in the 2012 U.S. Senate race to Republican Marco Rubio, Crist, who served as Florida governor from Jan. 2007 to Jan. 2011, has been working for the law firm of Morgan and Morgan.
"I'm enjoying the private sector very much," Crist said of his current job.
MacManus says signs do point to Crist eventually becoming a registered Democrat. "His wife has changed her registration (from Republican to Democrat), he's been appearing at democratic events and actually endorsing candidates by being there in a way, so (there's) a lot of intrigue," she said.
However, a spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party was not quick to embrace a Crist 2014 candidacy. "The Florida Democratic Party remains squarely focused on 2012 and re-electing President Obama, Senator Nelson, and our strong Democratic candidates up and down the ballot," Brannon Jordan said in a statement to 10 News.
But if Crist continues to poll well, the executive editor of the political website SaintPetersBlog.com, Peter Schorsch, believes democrats will quickly flock to a Crist campaign. "I think one of the things is the democrats want is a winner in 2014, and if Charlie Crist is their best shot at winning, they're going to get behind him," Schorsch said.
The Florida Opinion Research poll, which was taken between May 23-25, has a margin of error of 3.46 percent.