Charlie’s heart, Charlie’s stomach

The following column was submitted by a Democratic staffer working in South Florida who wishes to remain anonymous. 
Everything That’s Wrong With the Gubernatorial Primary in One Picture

Is this seat taken? | Photo: Susan Stocker, Sun-Sentinel

It’s been two weeks since I heard U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings address this picture at a meeting of the Pompano Beach Democratic Club, and yet I can still hear his words ringing in my ears.

“Whether or not you like Nan Rich is not the issue. The issue is that Mack King Carter was a hero of the Civil Rights Movement, and she, not Charlie Crist, should have sitting front and center at his funeral.”

The Sun-Sentinel’s caption for this image lists Congressman Alcee Hastings, State Senator Chris Smith and former Governor Charlie Crist.  Yet, also visible is former State House Minority Leader (and current candidate for Attorney General) Perry Thurston and Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner (and current candidate for State House) Bobby Dubose.  This was the VIP seating for South Florida’s Black political leaders… and Charlie Crist.

Congressman Hastings explained that both he and Senator Smith were taken unaware by the arrival of Charlie Crist.  “You all don’t understand, we were both sitting there when Charlie walked up and sat down between us… knowing full well the photographer was going to take that picture.  What you don’t see is both me and Senator Smith trying to get away before that could happen.”

The line got a laugh from the audience, but it’s worth noting that neither Congressman Hastings, nor Senator Smith felt so strongly about appearing with Crist that they asked the Sun Sentinel to do anything about it.

Hastings later lamented in that same speech to the Pompano Democrats, “We need candidates in the Democratic Party that are willing to walk into danger, to talk to people who may never agree with them, and to take unpopular stances while their constituents are still evolving on the issues.”

Though Hastings’ speech was clearly a call to action for Nan Rich and her allies to step up their game, it was hard to ignore the subliminal praise that the Congressman was directing towards Crist.

Right now, the African-American community of Democratic primary voters is completely up for grabs in 2014.  On the issues, and based on their records, Nan Rich should be crushing Charlie Crist in that department.  Yet Nan Rich has no real ground game to capture these likely voters.

After all, Crist walked into that funeral, and took his seat directly in front of the press photographer.  So even if Charlie Crist will never be a “real Democrat,” he is undeniably a real candidate.  Next year, that may make all the difference.


  1. Dems in Action · ·

    It also shows how rude and inconsiderate he is. Nan Rich would not go where she wasn’t invited. She is a class act. Charlie….he’s just a bad act.


  2. I read Congressman Hastings remarks five(5) times and I didn’t see any subliminal message of support, on the contrary, I read annoyance in his remarks. He was clear in his remarks that Crist was not invited to sit in that seat. They may have been holding it for another dignitary they were waiting for. It was a photo op for Crist and he knew it.


  3. Seems like you were so busy writing tripe, you missed Sen. Rich campaigning earlier this month in the streets of Liberty City. (Has the former Republican governor best known as Chain Gang Charlie ever been to Liberty City?) You should pay attention before you start writing nonsense like tgis: “Nan Rich has no real ground game to capture these likely voters.


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