Charlie Crist casts ballot in St. Pete, pushes early voting

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As early voting began in about 35 Florida counties, including Pinellas, Charlie Crist cast his ballot today in downtown St. Petersburg.

Supporters greeted the Democratic candidate and his wife Carole, reports the Tampa Bay Times, by singing happy birthday to the former (and possibly future) first lady for her 45th birthday.

“We’re voting for education today,” Crist said to the crowd of nearly 50 people.

He was happy to be voting, Crist told reporters, “That’s what today is all about — early voting.”

As for a possible GOP lead in mail-in ballots, the former Republican governor noted, “three of the biggest Democratic counties didn’t send theirs out as early as some of the others did, so I’m encouraged.

“I think it’s going to be fine,” he added. “And I know it’s a lot better than it was in 2010.”

Crist refuses to be intimidated by incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, who recently spent an additional $22 million of his own money for the final two weeks of his campaign.

“Scott talked about spending $100 million,” Crist said. “We decided to run again anyway because people deserve a choice and it isn’t all about the money.

“Maybe it is to them, but not to me.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.