La Gaceta’s Patrick Manteiga gets it very wrong about Charlie Crist

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La Gaceta publisher Patrick Manteiga is one of the most consistent, respected voices on Florida’s progressive left. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see Manteiga get it so very wrong about Charlie Crist’s metamorphosis from Republican to Independent to possible Democrat.

On Friday, Manteiga, in a column expressing his disappointment that Crist was given a speaking role at the Democratic National Convention, attempts to paint Crist as a limousine liberal.

“All of the sightings of Charlie Crist rubbing elbows with Democrats have been through closed windows of mansions, where high-dollar, exclusive fundraisers for Nelson and Obama are being held,” writes Manteiga.  “Crist has yet to visit a a local DEC , endorse a Democrat for county commission, school board or mayor or buy a ticket to a Jefferson-Jackson Dinner…”

Quite honestly, Manteiga has rarely been as incorrect on the facts as he is in that last statement.

First of all, Crist has specifically endorsed a Democrat for county commission and school board; he endorsed Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch in May and Leon County Superintendent of Schools Jackie Pons in August of 2011.

Crist has also contributed to and endorsed Democratic congressional candidates Al Lawson and Patrick Murphy and Palm Beach State Attorney candidate Dave Aronberg.

For the record, Crist attended very accessible events for each of these candidates.  None of these fundraisers or receptions were held at “mansions.”

About the only part of Manteiga’s statement that’s true is that Crist has not endorsed a Democrat for Mayor. Not yet, at least.

Of course, it is also correct that Crist has yet to buy a ticket to a Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. But if you’ve been unfortunate enough to attend more than one JJ Dinner, you will agree Crist is wise to have skipped them.

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.