Dispatch #3 from the Crist Express: Charlie works a phone bank

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Charlie Crist’s Restore the Cuts bus tour took a detour to a Jacksonville wine shop and delighted Marie Fitzsimmons. Surprised by the gubernatorial candidate, she let out a gasp, reached for Crist with both hands and said, “You’re the answer to our prayers.”

Fitzsimmons was one of 15 volunteers working a Crist campaign phone bank in a Totally Wine shop backroom. She said she calls voters on behalf of Crist because her grandchildren are big Crist fans.

“My grandchildren have been praying for a year for our leaders to do the right thing,” said Fitzsimmons. “He said he would bring a solar energy project to Florida and wants Florida to be a leader. We’re the Sunshine State, we should lead the way.”

Unfortunately for Crist, her grandchildren live in New Jersey and their parents are Tea Partiers but he has Fitzsimmons’ support.

Her comments fit neatly into the campaign’s message of the day and the bus tour’s theme, Scott has the wrong priorities. The three-day swing focus is on education spending but Fitzsimmons called to mind another flash point in the campaign, climate change. Crist declared it a significant policy problem when he was governor in 2008 while Scott has declined to address the issue.

Crist made a half-hour stop at the phone bank to thank the volunteers and make some phone calls. One caller told him she planned to vote for him tomorrow by mail.

“Would you like to volunteer for our campaign,” Crist quickly asked. The nursing student declined citing a need to study.

Jawana Derricks was among the group calling voters for the Crist campaign.

“I have lived under Charlie Crist as governor and under Rick Scott as governor and my family has benefited far more under Charlie Crist,” said Derricks.