For Charlie Crist, parties and offices change but the fan and ‘the people’ are constant

With "the people" at his back and his ubiquitous electric fan at his feet, Charlie Crist launches another campaign.
With “the people” at his back and his ubiquitous electric fan at his feet, Charlie Crist launches another campaign.

Charlie Crist has been a Republican, an independent and a Democrat.

He’s won races for state Senate, education commissioner and attorney general, lost two races for U.S. Senate and won and lost races for governor. He’s been conservative-talking “Chain Gang Charlie” and a Barack Obama-embracing cheerleader for the Democratic stimulus and health care bills.

The fan beneath Crist's lectern led to a 2014 debate fracas with Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
The fan beneath Crist’s lectern led to a 2014 debate fracas with Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

But some things about Crist never change.

For one thing, there’s that electric fan. Crist brought the cooling device with him in his Republican days (“What’s the deal with the fan?” primary rival Tom Gallagher demanded before a 2006 Republican gubernatorial debate) and, most famously, as a Democrat to last fall’s debate with Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Not surprisingly, the fan was present Tuesday when Crist made an outdoor announcement that he’s running for a U.S. House seat as a Democrat in his home town of St. Petersburg.

Flanked by running mate Annette Taddeo (left) and wife Carole, "People's Governor" Charlie Crist concedes last year's election.
Flanked by running mate Annette Taddeo (left) and wife Carole, “People’s Governor” Charlie Crist concedes last year’s election.

There’s also “the people.”

Crist called himself “the people’s governor” when he took office as a Republican in 2007. As a Democrat, he ran unsuccessfully last year as “the people’s governor” against Scott. Crist regularly refers to “the people” in his speeches, and Tuesday was no exception.

“The real problem with Washington is that they fail to listen. They fail to listen to the people. I have always tried to listen to the people,” Crist said Tuesday.

He added: “I think it’s important to always listen to the people. That will be a hallmark of my campaign. Hopefully it’s been a hallmark of my career…The people’s will must be done.”

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