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Ex-Fla. Gov. Crist Becomes Democrat

Posted at: 12/08/2012 3:25 PM

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has announced on Twitter that he's joining the Democratic Party.

Crist sent out a Tweet on Friday night that said, "Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President @Barack Obama!"

The Tweet included a photo of a smiling Crist holding up a Florida voter registration application. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the former Republican governor signed the papers changing his affiliation from independent to Democrat at a Christmas reception at The White House.

Crist was elected Florida governor while in the GOP. He left the party and ran as an independent for the U.S. Senate, losing a three-way contest to Republican Marco Rubio. Crist is viewed as potential Democratic candidate against Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Fla. GOP to Crist: Bring it on

Florida Republican Party leaders have a message for former Gov. Charlie Crist: Bring it on.

The state GOP was holding a quarterly meeting Saturday when news spread about Crist finally becoming a Democrat after more than two years as an independent. Crist left the Republican Party during his 2010 Senate run.

The conversion from Republican to Democrat was widely expected as Crist has become increasingly cozy with Democrats, including appearing with President Barack Obama during his re-election campaign.

Most anticipate Crist will now seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. If so, party leaders say there will be that much more motivation to re-elect Scott.

Scott refused to discuss Crist after speaking to party leaders Saturday, saying he's focused on doing his job.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)