With former Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson as his chauffeur, former Gov. Charlie Crist toured some of southern Palm Beach County’s Democratic strongholds last week as he continues to mull a run for governor in 2014.
Crist’s long history as a Republican didn’t seem to be a problem with many of the Dems on hand for Crist’s visit to a United South County Democratic Club meeting Wednesday night and a Thursday luncheon with 60 or more Democratic elected officials, club presidents and activists at Gleneagles Country Club in suburban Delray Beach, where Aaronson picked up the tab. Aaronson used his Lexus to drive Crist to the events as well as to an appearance at a Dori Slosberg Foundation traffic safety event.
“I think Democrats would like to see Charlie announce,” said state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, who said Crist was warmly received at the United South County powwow and the Gleneagles lunch. Crist spoke at both events, but Rader said, “I think it was more of a listening tour. I don’t think he’s decided. I don’t think he’s come to 100 percent of a decision.”
Marvin Manning, longtime president of the Democratic club at Century Village of Boca Raton, said: “I think that Charlie Crist is the strongest candidate that the Democratic Party can field, and we should have no problem calling him a good Democrat.”
Crist left the GOP in 2010, losing a no-party bid for Senate to Republican Marco Rubio but finishing ahead of Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek. With such local Democrats as Aaronson and state Sen. Maria Sachs endorsing him, Crist won Democrat-tilted Palm Beach County with 40.3 percent to 39.5 percent for Rubio and 19.4 percent for Meek. After campaigning for President Barack Obama and other Democrats last year, Crist switched his registration to Democratic in December. He’s been pondering a 2014 Democratic campaign for governor.
— Former Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West told his more than 316,000 Facebook followers last week that he has finished work 80 days ahead of schedule on the manuscript of a book that “will present my thoughts as a man, a warrior, my political philosophy, being a black conservative, and my vision for the Republic as an American statesman.”
West wouldn’t reveal other details, telling the Politics column only that he’s signed with “a highly reputable global publishing house.” On Facebook, West got in a dig at Obama’s “Dreams Of My Father,” posting: “The prankster in me thought about naming the book, ‘Dreams from my American Father’ … but you all will just have to wait for official release from our publisher.”
— U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., is known for shouting “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during a 2009 presidential address, and freshman Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, has her own blunt-spoken history as a state lawmaker and mayor.
The two traveled to Afghanistan recently as part of a congressional delegation and got along well, Frankel said.
“I had never met him before,” Frankel said of Wilson. “He was lovely, actually. It’s interesting you know, when it comes to certain subject matters, people think we’re always fighting on everything, but there’s so many things that we actually agree on and people actually do get along.”
Frankel and Wilson share a bond as military parents. Wilson’s four sons have served, including one whom the congressional delegation visited in Afghanistan. Frankel’s son, Ben Lubin, served in Afghanistan with the Marines in 2004-05.
— South Bay City Commissioner Shirley Walker-Turner’s trial on charges she violated Florida’s open-meetings law has been pushed back to Sept. 18 because of her attorney’s health.
If convicted of the misdemeanor offense, Walker-Turner would likely be removed from office by Gov. Rick Scott. Scott suspended Walker-Turner and two other South Bay elected officials in December when they were charged with violating the Sunshine Law. After Walker-Turner won a special election last month, Scott reinstated her pending the outcome of the Sunshine Law case.
— Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Wayne Richards says he’s staying put and will not run next year for the seat of term-limited Palm Beach County Commissioner Jess Santamaria. Richards, a Democrat, considered entering what could be a crowded Democratic field. Former Wellington mayor Kathy Foster launched a Democratic campaign last week and Royal Palm Beach Councilman Fred Pinto, who’s also an aide in Santamaria’s office, said he plans to run as well. Indian Trail Improvement District Supervisor Michelle Damone and former Royal Palm Beach Councilwoman Martha Webster are considering the race.