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Former Gov. Charlie Crist likely a big factor in state primaries

Republican opponents slammed for ties to Crist

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Former Gov. Charlie Crist isn’t on the ballot until November in his effort to become a congressman in his hometown of St. Petersburg, but the former Republican turned Democrat could be a factor in multiple primary races next week.

While the former governor would not respond to News4Jax, his media advisor, Kevin Cate, said in an email that Crist wouldn’t touch this story "with a 10-foot pole.”

As governor, Crist had sky-high approval ratings, but now, from one end of the state to the other, Crist has become the boogeyman for conservative Republicans. In the GOP primary for the second congressional district, opponents are slamming each other for their ties to Crist.

Crist is also the ogre in Jacksonville’s fourth congressional district race.

In Ft. Myers, he’s the object of shame in a heated state Senate race, and he’s even being compared to Marco Rubio, even though the two have never gotten along.

So why is Charlie Crist such a big target? News4Jax asked professor of political science Carol Weissert.

“You are talking about mainstream Republicans here, and I think they were offended by his (decision to become a Democrat) -- what they might call being a turncoat,” Weissert said.

News4Jax reached out to the former governor more than a week ago for a comment. He didn’t return our text.

But like it or not, the former governor could be a factor this coming Tuesday, and he’s not even on the ballot.