What's next for Charlie Crist?

8:27 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida --  For months, former Governor Charlie Crist has been setting the stage for Barack Obama, and now that the president has won re-election it may be Crist who, again, seeks the political spotlight.

"There's no one that thinks Charlie Crist is out of politics," said USF Political Science professor Susan Macmanus.

Crist, widely criticized by the GOP as a political opportunist for endorsing Obama, may have earned himself some serious political capital for helping to deliver a key win in the Bay area.

His reward? Perhaps an ambassador's spot, said MacManus, or "maybe he'll get a high profile position in the Obama cabinet, because we'll definitely see some changing out of cabinet posts."

Crist declined to comment about his own future but he did say he was glad President Obama won.

When Crist literally embraced Obama while Florida's governor, some say it cost Crist in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

So will figuratively embracing the president this time around change voters' perceptions? We asked people what they thought and got mixed opinions.

"Whether he can turn his personal support into a position for himself I'm not really sure," said Stephen Liverpool.

"I think his viability as a candidate has passed," said Travis Puterbaugh.

But Joy Vongsyprasom, who works in downtown Tampa, wasn't so sure about that.

"There's a lot of Democrats here," she said, "so he's bettered his chances for the next time."

Some speculate Crist would like another shot at the Senate. He could take a position with the Obama administration for four years, and set up another shot at the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Marco Rubio if Rubio seeks higher office.

Or, Crist may run for a House of Representatives seat, hang on to that for a few years, and then try to replace Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson if Nelson chooses to retire in six years.

Maybe Crist stays in the Obama administration for a couple of years and then tries to return to Florida's Governor's mansion against Rick Scott.

Monday on WTSP 10 News, Crist blasted Gov. Scott for declining to expand early voting hours, and then sharpened that criticism election night on MSNBC.

"You're not the governor of the Republicans of Florida. You're the governor of the people of Florida," said Crist.

At the end of that interview, even political pundit Chris Matthews couldn't help but suggest Crist might be jockeying for a another shot at politics.

As Matthew's thanked Crist for appearing ont he program he let slip: "Perhaps future governor of Florida - Charlie Crist."

MacManus said, in her opinion, some sort of political run is all but certain for Crist.

"There is absolutely no way that you could ever describe Gov. Charlie Crist as a wallflower and somebody who's just going to fade from politics," said MacManus. "It's just not happening."

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