Crist’s Campaign Chair Bolts After Governor Vetoes Republican-Backed Education Bill

If Charlie Crist isn’t running for senate as an independent, he’s sure making some stupid moves as a Republican candidate.

First, there was news this morning that he was getting support for his Senate bid from an unlikely source:

Teachers offer Crist quid pro quo on killing SB 6

Gov. Charlie Crist got some new supporters this week in his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

The question is whether he can keep them.

On Wednesday, teachers from Hillsborough County began canvassing neighborhoods on behalf of the Republican governor, urging voters to support him — as long as he vetoes the bill that would overhaul teacher tenure in Florida.

A few hours later, what did the governor do? You guessed it:

Gov. Crist vetoes teacher tenure bill

TALLAHASSEE — After weeks of protest and a deluge of messages, Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday vetoed a bill that would link teacher pay to student test scores and wipe out tenure for new teachers.

His decision, announced shortly after noon in a Capitol news conference, came as little surprise. Although Crist initially voiced support for the bill, he had distanced himself over the past week as protests mounted.


Among the thousands of calls and letters to Crist was a voice mail left Monday – by none other than Jeb Bush. “He encouraged me to sign the bill,” Crist said. “Shocking. God bless him.”

I’m not sure what tone Crist used when talking about Bush, but that sentence screams ‘snark’ to me. That’s another really good way to alienate GOP voters, by the way. Disrespecting Jeb Bush. As Ed Morrissey noted earlier:

Bush’s approval ratings at the end of his term were in the mid-to-high 60s, pushed upward by plenty of support from independent voters. If Bush starts campaigning against Crist, then any hope Crist has of winning independents for a three-way race in November will evaporate faster than Crist’s support of education reform.

If this statement is any indication, it sure looks like Jeb Bush will do just that:

“I am disappointed by the veto of Senate Bill 6. By taking this action, Governor Crist has jeopardized the ability of Florida to build on the progress of the last decade, which includes raising student achievement across the board, narrowing the achievement gap for poor and minority students, and improving graduation rates. Florida’s sustained improvement is the result of bold reforms that were challenging, controversial and sometimes even unpopular. Reform is hard work but without a commitment to change, Florida would not be 8th in the nation today.”

And to round out Crist’s day, this just happened:

Former Sen. Mack withdraws as Crist campaign chair

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Charlie Crist’s political mentor, former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack, resigned Thursday as Crist’s campaign chairman in his race for the U.S. Senate.

Mack wrote a terse, two-paragraph letter to his one-time protege that said Crist was wrong to veto a bill (SB 6) that would have made it easier to fire teachers and tie their pay to student test scores.

“As you know, I strongly disagree with your veto,” Mack wrote his fellow Republican. “Your veto I believe undermines our education system in Florida and the principles for which I have always stood.”

Mack went on to say that Crist’s decision to veto the bill was “unsupportable and wrong.”

“As you can understand, I can no longer serve as chairman for your campaign for the United States Senate,” Mack wrote.


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