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Charlie Crist addresses Broward REC

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Last night, Governor Charlie Crist visited the Broward Republican Executive Committee meeting in Ft. Lauderdale. He was there to give a speech intended to end his losing streak in REC straw polls. The governor’s 0-15 record in straw polls must be of concern to a politician that’s used to winning on his popularity with voters, regardless of political affiliation. These loses must be especially troubling, since the governor is losing among his party’s grassroots. If Crist loses the August primary it could potentially spell the end of his political aspirations, since it will signify that he’s lost the rank-and-file of the Florida GOP.

Crist was greeted by many supporters and it took him about 20 minutes to make his way to the dais, as it seemed there was no hand he wouldn’t shake. BREC Chairman Chip LaMarca gave Governor Crist an enthusiastic and thorough introduction. Crist then took approximately 20 minutes to address the crowd which must have numbered about 350 people. Charlie attempted to be forward-looking, while still pointing to his “accomplishments” as governor. He touted the State’s balanced budget, which is constitutionally mandated and which the legislature is responsible for. He also praised his appointee, Senator George Lemieux’s vote against cloture on the healthcare bill, as though his placeholder would dare to cast a vote that the governor might have to explain on the campaign trail.

While Governor Crist received a larger audience, many of whom were guests and not BREC members, and received a more enthusiastic introduction, my impression was that former-Speaker Marco Rubio’s address to BREC in October was better received. I don’t claim to be an expert on the politics of BREC, but it is my impression that Governor Crist should brace himself for yet another defeat when Broward’s REC conducts it’s straw poll.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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