Crist crosses for Convention. Who else has done this?
Charlie Crist, former Republican Governor of Florida 2007–11, will speak at the Democratic National Convention in Charlottesville Florida next week. He lost in the Senate Republican primary in 2010 to Marco Rubio, and in the general that year when contesting as an Independent. Crist endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election in the Tampa Bay Times over the weekend,
Pundits looking to reduce something as big as a statewide election to a single photograph have blamed the result of my 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate on my greeting of President Obama. I didn’t stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation’s leader because it was right for my state.
President Obama has a strong record of doing what is best for America and Florida, and he built it by spending more time worrying about what his decisions would mean for the people than for his political fortunes. That’s what makes him the right leader for our times, and that’s why I’m proud to stand with him today.
He joins the ranks of a number of representatives of both parties in recent years who have marked their shift from their party base by speaking at the opposite party convention, who for obvious reasons are prominently promoted by their new hosts.
This year will also see Artur Davis, a Democratic Congressman from Alabama between 2003 and 2011, speak on behalf of Mitt Romney at the Republican Convention. Davis sought in 2010 to become the state’s first black Governor, but lost in the Democratic primary. He was an early supporter of Barack Obama, the first Congressman outside of Illinois to endorse his presidential bid, but then proceeded to vote against the Affordable Care Act, one of President Obama’s key pieces of legislation. In the past year, he joined the Republican Party, and has written that were he to re-enter politics, it would be as a Republican,
if I were to leave the sidelines, it would be as a member of the Republican Party that is fighting the drift in this country in a way that comes closest to my way of thinking: wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities.
2008 saw Sen. Joe Lieberman speak at the Republican Convention, endorsing his good friend Sen. John McCain. Lieberman has been a Senator for Connecticut since 1989 and was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. He was a strong supporter of the Iraq war, and lost a primary challenge in 2006. He went on to be elected in the general as an Independent Democrat and continues to caucus with the Democrats, and so was crucial in giving them their majority between 2007 and 2009 and their supermajority between 2009 and 2011. He is retiring this year and is not issuing an endorsement in this election.
The same year saw Jim Leach speak at the Democratic Convention to endorse Sen. Barack Obama. Leach was a Republican Congressman from Iowa from 1977 to 2007. He is most well known for the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999, which repealed the Glass–Steagal Act 1933, and allowed investment banks, commercial banks and insurance companies to merge. His distance from the Republican Party was marked by his opposition to the Iraq war and to the tax cuts in 2003. In the 2006 election, he lost the support of his Republican base by refusing to distribute anti-gay material.
In 2004, Sen. Zell Miller gave the keynote address at the Republican Convention, having previously given the keynote address at the Democratic Convention in 1992 that nominated Bill Clinton. Miller had been a Democratic Governor of Georgia from 1991 to 1999, and a US Senator from 2000 to 2005. Over the course of his political career, he shifted to a more conservative position as his party was moving in a more liberal and progressive direction. He was a cosponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have prohibited same-sex marriage across the US, and was a critic of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry for his voting record on the military.