TAMPA — Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who plans a “major announcement” Monday about his political future, let slip a pretty big clue today about what it is — he’s filed paperwork to run for governor.
Crist filed at 3:50 p.m. today, appointing a campaign treasurer and designating a campaign bank account to run for governor as a Democrat.
The treasurer is Sanford Horwitz, CEO of the Coral Gables-based Goldstein-Schechter-Koch accounting firm, and Crist’s campaign headquarters will be at 1 Beach Drive in St. Petersburg, the address of the Bayfront Tower condo building.
Crist has long been expected to run for governor. He has been saying for about a week that he would announce his plans Monday, and put out a news release today about a rally including a “major announcement” at 10 a.m. Monday at Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Dr. SE.
The public is invited to the rally, and attendees are asked to arrive by 9:30 a.m.
“See you Monday,” Crist tweeted Friday afternoon.
Under Florida law, Crist technically is required to have a campaign bank account and treasurer before making any expenditure for a campaign, even paying the costs of a rally to announce a campaign, said elections law expert Mark Herron.
Ironically, the Florida Republican Party was the first to publicly announce Crist’s filing of papers.
After the former governor’s switch from Republican to no-party for his 2010 race for the U.S. Senate, and his subsequent switch to the Democratic Party and strong support for the re-election of President Barack Obama, Crist has become probably the top target of the Florida GOP.
“Charlie Crist has now officially filed to run for the position he once abandoned,” said state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry, in a news release about Crist’s filing, a reference to Crist’s decision in 2010 to run for the Senate instead of running for re-election as governor.
“When Florida needed Charlie Crist the most during difficult economic times, he ran away. If he really wants to be governor now, why did he quit the first time?”
As governor, Crist had tangled with the Republican Party over a number of issues including abortion, Obama’s economic stimulus plan, the environment and teacher pay and evaluations. He said he thought he could do more good in Washington than Tallahassee.
He later said the Republican Party had become too intolerant and too dominated by the tea party and the right wing, using the same phrase former Democrats often used in the 1980s when they became Republicans—“The party left me.”