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Charlie Crist asks teachers to switch party affiliation, asks ‘Who is running the asylum?’ in Tallahassee

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From the Palm Beach Post: Gov. Charlie Crist came out swinging at his fellow Republicans in the Legislature on Saturday in his first public campaign event since vetoing the contentious teacher tenure bill.

Crist told about 100 teachers, parents and educators who gathered at Florida State College at Jacksonville that he supported the bill until it got “loaded up” and educators got “locked out.”

“You have to kind of scratch your head and think, ‘Who is running the asylum?'” said Crist, who is running for U.S. Senate.

Many of the teachers who attended the event said they were Democrats, but would vote for Crist if he ran as an independent — a decision Crist is weighing.

At least six Democrats filled out papers at the event to switch their party registration in order to vote for Crist in his Republican primary against former House Speaker Marco Rubio.

“I never thought in my wildest dreams,” long-time Democrat Sharon Jones, a teacher, said after switching. “If I was dead I’d roll over in my grave.”

Crist’s campaign said it received more than 725 phone calls and 150 small-dollar donations since Thursday, when he vetoed the bill, which would have made it easier to fire teachers, among other things.

Campaign manager Eric Eikenberg said he “will not be bashful” in asking teachers to switch parties. Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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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