Anti-Crist mailer sent by mysterious group

photo(14)A mysterious group referring to itself as “Progressive Choice” has created a stir among Democrats both in Tallahassee and other parts of the state the past two weeks. The group who have a Facebook page which vaguely shows support for various ideas on the left of the ideological spectrum has mailed a nasty piece about Governor Charlie Crist’s record to Democrats throughout the state. The piece which hits Crist for his past positions on issues (yet has no citations  or attribution whatsoever when they refer to Crist as “pro-life” or responsible for “implementing Jeb Bush’s A+ plan”) contrasts this with the “True-Blue Democrats” position.

For several days we have been speaking to folks around the state who have personal suspicions as to who is responsible for funding this group. Many actual progressive leaders of note in  the state of Florida have been asking questions among one another about this organization.

We would love to believe that “Progressive Choice” is a grassroots group of liberal activists as they claim. The Facebook page for the groups states that,

Progressive Choice Florida is a diverse coalition of fair-minded, forward-thinking individuals and organizations advocating for Florida leadership that stands firm on progressive principles and genuinely represent the interests of women and working families.

However, for me personally as a veteran of many election cycles, I have seen many organizations funded by Republicans or GOP leaning business interests try and play in Democratic Primaries. Sometimes these types of groups are successful. In 2002, Republican oriented business groups essentially won a Democratic Primary for statewide office with heavy spending in the Agriculture Commissioner race. This mail piece looks very similar to those pieces that were run against Everglades activist Mary Barley, a  recent party switcher who would have been far and away the most formidable Democratic nominee in that race.

In fairness, this is not only a Republican trick. Democrats have played at times a similar game forming groups which often have the term “conservative” in them and dumping money and sometimes misleading information into a media oriented campaign. Republican primaries throughout the country have been impacted by the game playing of Democratic funded organizations.

Of course it is possible that “Progressive Choice” is in fact a grassroots organization that has raised money for a statewide mailer which provides key information for Democratic voters to ponder about Governor Crist’s record. The other positions the group are advocating such as public school choice and more education funding are non-controversial among Democratic voters. Still, as has been speculated about in political circles for about a week now, the group appears to simply be an anti-Crist front.



  1. Crist in 14' · ·

    Well we knew this was coming didn’t we?

    I got this piece as well in my mailbox today. It is offensive and as you say double K it has no attribution or citations in it.

    Once this group is revealed to be a Republican front by Peter Scorsch or this website or by one of the major papers I wonder what all those whiny Progressives backing Nan Rich will say. How will they rationalize the amount of Republican money being used to prop her up? How will they justify continuing to support a candidate backed by Republicans? After all the upset about having a pure progressive in the race.

    Some Democrats may not like Charlie Crist but they better get used to him being the nominee. He’s moderate enough to win middle-of-the-road voters and speaking progressively enough especially about health care to keep the base fired up.

    These sorts of things can only hurt the party come November.


    1. With all the corrupt money being raised in the Governor’s race I have to laugh when a progressive group with a facebook page tries to fight against the Crist and Scott operative machines and upsets the masters of spin.


      1. Crist in 14' · ·

        Joe you cannot possibly be that dense. You do not think the Republicans would come in and play in a Democratic primary in order to get the weaker candidate out? You do not think special interest groups would not come into the Democratic primary in order to get the guy that will really take them on out of the way?


    2. Patti Lynn · ·

      Not only do you not use your name, (so, you’re obviously a Crist campaign staffer), but your condescending attitude towards those of us who are supporting a TRUE Democrat, is disgusting. Perhaps YOU should get used to the fact that this is a race…with a primary…and the PEOPLE will speak. NAN RICH for governor: Standing on Democratic principles yesterday, today, and tomorrow.


  2. Floridian · ·

    Is anyone surprised by this?

    My suspicion would be that it is the insurance companies.


    1. Yeah, that’s the ticket. The Insurance companies are in cahoots with Nan to bring single payer to the people. LMAO


  3. Blue Dog Dem · ·

    We call him CharLIE.


  4. Yuck…this is awful. Not a Crist fan
    But I saw the mailer earlier and it is disgusting.

    This group should come clean as to who they are and who funds them.

    Otherwise they should not be viewed as credible.


  5. Concerned · ·

    If you believe that this is truly a group of anonymous progressives…then I have some land to sell you…in the Everglades!

    As a veteran of 4 decades of campaigning myself…this has Republican operatives written all over it! (Cause all the “progressive” Democrats i know are all talk….and no money! (Cause if they had the money and then actually spent it on Democratic candidates we wouldn’t be in such a sorry state of affairs that we are in in this state…being outspent 3 to 1 on every race in this state. And if you don’t believe me…just check online…it’s all public record…how much has the Republican Party of Florida raised and spent vs the Democratic Party….and then go to the various party candidates…and you’ll see what I mean.),

    And if the Democrats are dumb and stupid enough to believe it…then that (swamp) land I was telling you about is readily available to move into…


    1. To Crist in 14 not & Concerned, I guess you were as wrong about Progressive Choice Florida as you are about thinking Charlie will fool true Democrats.


  6. Of course it is a Republican front. First off they’re scared to face Charlie. Second we know the Democrats are too dumb to create something this clever.


    1. They are about as credible as all the alias’s that post on this blog.

      Somehow I believe Putin is behind this.


  7. Sugar companies, of course. That’s why it looks so similar to the anti Mary Barley piece.


  8. […] week has also seen some confusion about the group  ”Progressive Choice” and its advocacy for Public School Choice in the capitol. Public School Choice which is already on […]


  9. Crist in 14' · ·

    Sheesh. Do not give Kartik any ideas. Everything is the fault of Putin with him or Obama weakness on foreign-policy.

    I love his views on domestic and Florida issues but the author of this site is really out there on foreign-policy. Would be a perfect McCain Republican. Actually he is far from the only Democrat in Florida that has the really hawkish views on foreign-policy which they mix with liberalism on domestic issues.


    1. Which McCain are we talking about, the circa 1999 McCain or the late 2000s one? I’ll take the late 90s McCain!

      Seriously, this is inaccurate about me though…

      I opposed the Iraq War actively, going to protests (including a few with our current Minority Leader Designee Rep. Mark Pafford) wanted troops withdrawn from Afghanistan once the Karzai Government was put in place, have urged engagement with Iran and reached out to the several Republican leaders to urge them to impose the War Power Act to prevent President Obama and NATO’s unnecessary bombing of Libya that allowed a radical government to come to power and eventually the Benghazi tragedy to happen. I am not a “hawk.”

      What I am is a foreign policy realist and while that today does align me more with Republicans on foreign policy it was traditionally where the Democrats were. The menace and threat created by Russian aggression under Putin rises to a level that non of the middle eastern wars or interventions of choice do. It is from my vantage point far more serious than anything else going on geo-politically and yes I do believe that initially the Republicans were more serious and better positioned to help us solve these problems. But the President is learning and doing some good things the last few weeks.


  10. Lee Sharpe · ·

    Well I would like to know more about this group for sure. But it is possible that it is actually a progressive group but a progressive group from out-of-state. A group that doesn’t have a face in Florida but is affiliated with people outside of Florida to try impact the race. What their motivation would be is beyond me. But maybe they are true Progressives who do not want to see Charlie Crist nominated. I bet in time we will find out.


  11. Florida Democrat · ·

    I get how organizations like this pop up. They generally will stick one or two “legitimate” people out front be they a prominent activist they have bought or a county commissioner or state legislator sympathetic to Nan Rich. Then they will use GOP money to weaken Crist and ensure a Scott victory.

    We cannot let this sort of shady organization win. Whether you support Nan Rich or Charlie Crist say no to these tactics.


  12. Larry J · ·

    I heard about this group. Do we think its bad? Why is it bad? I read the flyer….its all true.


    1. We don’t know if it is bad or good. I’d like to get to the bottom of who is behind it. Certainly we all have concerns and questions about Governor Crist at this point, but we need to know these are true progressives raising them. But a few quick things Larry J. The mail piece did not cite or reference specific votes or statements to call Crist “pro-life” or responsible for “implementing Jeb Bush’s A+ plan.” I sat in the Senate gallery the last day of the 1997 session. Two anti-reproductive rights went through the chamber that day…one Crist voted for, the other he voted against. So while we can call him “pro-life,” (by the way a term those of us who support reproductive rights should NEVER use) others may consider him “pro-choice.” He certainly cast more pro-choice votes than some other legislators and Republican members of congress who claimed to be pro-choice but voted a straight anti-choice line.

      On education. Crist’s tenure as Commissioner of Education was short. Within 6 months of his inauguration, power had already been transferred under a new Governance bill the legislature passed during the 2001 session to other people. Crist essentially lost all his power July 1, 2001…he had been sworn in January 4, 2001.

      This is why I would like to see citations on the piece. I know Crist claimed to be anti-choice in speeches when running for Governor in 2006 and I know he later supported vouchers/FCAT and now has a murky position on the them. But the mailer itself does not refer to why they attribute these views to him.

      Of course with a record as complicated and contradictory as Crist’s it is pretty easy to do this sort of mailer. Heck a pro-Crist group could send a mailer about him being pro-choice, anti-voucher, pro-environment and for vetoing teacher tenure.

      Our Crist Files series goes through the contradictions in Crist’s record if you want a reference point.


      1. One interesting point is that Matt Moon is the 2nd person ever to follow the Twitter account for this organization, but it seems as if they never followed him.


  13. A new “shadow” group? Let me take a crack at this!


  14. […] As Krishnaiyer notes, it is possible that Progressive Choice is in fact a grassroots organization that has raised money for a statewide mailer which provides key information for Democratic voters to ponder about Governor Crist’s record. The other positions the group are advocating such as public school choice and more education funding are non-controversial among Democratic voters. Still, as has been speculated about in political circles for about a week now, the group appears to simply be an anti-Crist front. […]


  15. My wife got that mailing last week. I was reading through various websites today, both conservative and liberal. For some reason this group’s banner appeared on National Review’s Website just five minutes ago. A strange place for the progressivechoice to appear.


  16. Democrat · ·





    Look at the Scott committee reports. That’ll give you the road map to uncovering the truth this group!

    Follow the money trail…


  17. […] mysterious group Progressive Choice which we discussed on Friday has been  busy trying to make inroads with Florida liberals. In the interest of full disclosure, […]


  18. I have heard it rumored that this group is actually funded by the KOCH brothers to divide Florida democrats and make it easier for a Scott win. Can anyone direct me to a site that will either confirm this rumor or disprove it please?


  19. […] behind some serious questions about the effectiveness of her tactics. In many ways, this confirms our suspicions all along.   Tony Fabrizio, one of Rick Scott’s advisers, even hinted that something like this in […]


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