Big-Time Democrats (Including Bob Graham) Warming Up To Idea of Charlie Crist Running for Governor as Dem

Are Democrats warming up to the idea of Charlie Crist becoming their 2014 nominee for governor? Over the weekend, two high profile Florida Democrats took the airwaves and seemed to have nothing but nice things to say about Crist, including Bob Graham, who even after years out of office remains one of the most high profile Democratic voices in the state.

Graham, the incredibly popular two-term governor and three-term senator, faced Crist back in 1998 when he was the Republican nominee to try and unseat the incumbent Democrat (a suicide mission at the time, but one that played out in the long run for Crist).

"Charlie and I, even when we were running against each other in '98, have had a close and cordial personal relationship," Graham told Bay News 9's Political Connections.

"I don't think it's a bad idea," Graham said when asked about the possibility of Crist running for governor as a Democrat. "We spent a couple of decades with Democrats registering as Republicans. It would be kind of nice to have a period where Republicans were coming home to the Democratic Party."

Former Miami Beach Senator Dan Gelber, who himself is still at least on the long list of potential Democratic nominees, also had nothing but nice things to say about Crist while being interviewed by CBS4's Jim DeFede on Facing South Florida this weekend. He too pointed out that he always had a cordial personal relationship with Crist.

Considering that the Democrats could run a stick with googley eyes attached and it could still beat the deeply unpopular Rick Scott, it surprising so many Dems seem open to the idea of running a former Republican as their nominee. Considering Democrats have been virtually powerless in Tallahassee for more than a decade, wouldn't they want their best shot at retaking the governor's mansion in years to be with an actual Democrat?

Graham's comments seem telling, though. Perhaps some Democrats see the chance of nominating a moderate former-Republican as a way to repaint the state party as the natural home for moderates and independents as a stark contrast to the increasingly conservative and ideologue-heavy Republican Party of Florida.

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Kyle Munzenrieder