12/08/2012 Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist has officially joined the Democratic Party, he announced on Friday evening. Crist, who served as governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, left the Republican Party after losing a Senate primary battle to Marco Rubio in 2010 -- switching his party affiliation to independent in order to run against now-Senator Rubio in the general election. (Crist lost that race by 19 points.) The newly christened Democrat tweeted the big announcement Friday evening: Proud and honored to join the Democratic Party in the home of President @BarackObama! The change became official at a White House Christmas reception, the Tampa Bay Times reports, where "President Obama greeted the news with a fist bump." Crist was a high-profile campaign surrogate for Obama this past election cycle, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September in support of the president. "I didn't leave the Republican party," Crist said in his speech. "It left me." According to the Times, the move foreshadows Crist's next big political undertaking: The widely expected move positions Crist, 56, for another highly anticipated next step: announcing his candidacy for governor, taking on Republican incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and an untold number of Democrats who would challenge him for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
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