by Javier Manjarres
The 2012 Republican primary season could possibly yield a new crop of nominees, as incumbency in politics is arguably more of a liability than an advantage to a political campaign. As far as contested Republican primary races go, the Mica vs. Adams congressional primary will be the “hottest” race to watch as well as the Stearns vs. Jett vs. Oelrich primary race in the newly drawn 3rd congressional district.
But as most of the focus will be on federal contests in this presidential election cycle, some important state legislative races could go largely unnoticed. One of which that may have gone unnoticed now will not if it weren’t for our ol’ friend former Governor Charlie ‘Chameleon’ Crist, as he is still very much influencing races in advance of his likely Democratic Gubernatorial run in 2014.
There are two races in particular that Crist is directly or indirectly influencing with help from his longtime friends and supporters.
Eagle is a ‘close friend,’ former volunteer, Travel Aide, Deputy Chief of Staff and campaign finance director to Crist, and he’s running in Rep. Gary Aubuchon’s vacated State House seat in the Cape Coral. Currently and unexplicably, Eagle is running unopposed as a Republican candidate. Recently Eagle discussed his relationship with Governor Crist, telling the St. Pete Times that ,”I was a young guy with an opportunity, and nobody’s going to say no to that,” he said. “It’s unfortunate how it turned out.”
Yes, how unfortunate was it for Crist to stab numerous Republicans in the back and refuse to refund their donations after he jumped ship to run against Senator Marco Rubio as an Independent. Eagle stayed on as Crist’s finance director even after Crist left the GOP. So is it fair to say the Eagle is just as culpable as Charlie? Remember, Eagle did say that “it’s unfortunate how it turned out.” So unfortunate for him that he decided to stay on and receive a percentage of the donations received from those Republicans that Charlie duped. How sooooo unfortunate for him.
Interestingly, while Eagle proudly hailed his achievements while working under Crist on his campaign website, Eagle fails to mention any ties to Crist, as Crist is the only reason he is in the position that he is in right now. Here’s a snippet from Eagle’s website:
After attending Florida Gulf Coast University and then earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Florida in 2005, he moved to Tallahassee to work in politics and government. Through his leadership and hard work, Dane quickly caught the eye of state leaders and was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor at age 24 – the youngest in Florida’s history.-Dane Eagle
Notice how Eagle words that last sentence in referencing his political acumen- “Dane quickly caught the eye of state leaders (Crist) and was appointed (by Crist) Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor.”
Rep. Peter Nehr
Nehr is another staunch supporter of Charlie Crist. I have to say this much- I respect this guy for not waivering on his support and allegiance to Charlie. Nehr is currently running for reelection to his current state house seat, but is being challenged by a few other Republicans, most notably by Army National Guard Officer Tory Perfetti.
But like Dane Eagle, Nehr does not mention Charlie Crist or any ties he has with Crist on his website. One would find that very odd, since the two men were just about tied at the hip.
Rep. Nehr, literally stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Crist as he announced his Independent run for Senate and also stood behind Crist during his 2010 Independent HQ opening (Video). Nehr was also joined by another one of Crist’s ‘close’ friends, State Senator Mike Fasano.
But the fun with Nehr doesn’t end their. In 2010, Nehr sent out a campaign mailer asking voters to vote for him on November 2 and stated that he is “An Independent voice in the Florida legislature,” along with boasting of an endorsement from “Independent” Charlie Crist.
On the mailer, Nehr posts three pictures of him looking pretty exuberant as he poses with Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Democratic Guberntorial nominee Alex Sink, and with his ol’ buddy, former Republican, turned Independent, and soon to be Democrat, Charlie Crist. Take a looksy here: