For a guy who hasn't held any public office in nearly two years, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist sure does generate a lot of attention, especially from his former party. The Tampa Bay Times reported recently that Republican Party of Florida "seems to be mighty worried" about Crist.
Indeed, state GOP officials have furiously sent out press releases about Crist for months, attacking his every move, even running televised attack ads, even though he isn't currently a candidate for any office.
Friday night, the rationale behind the fury became clearer: Crist attended an event at the White House, and announced he's now officially a Democrat.
He did so during a Christmas reception at the White House, where President Barack Obama greeted the news with a fist bump for the man who had a higher profile campaigning for Obama's re-election this year than any Florida Democrat.
The widely expected move positions Crist, 56, for another highly anticipated 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.
"What changed is the leadership of the Republican Party," Crist told the Tampa Bay Times. "As I said at the convention, I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me. Whether the issue was immigration, or education, or you name it -- the environment. I feel at home now."
The news hardly comes as a surprise. In 2010, as part of the Republicans' purge of moderates from the party's ranks, Crist became an independent. Over the summer, he endorsed President Obama's re-election soon, and soon after spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
The next question, of course, is what Crist plans do to next. Given his recent moves, that's not too hard to figure out, either.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has struggled badly in his post, and has a very low approval rating statewide. Democrats see him as vulnerable in 2014, but do not yet have a high-profile candidate who's well known, has proven himself or herself capable of winning statewide, and can raise a lot of money.
And along comes Charlie Crist, who probably wouldn't mind having his old job back.
Would Democrats accept him, given his past? If the initial reaction from the Democratic Governors Association is any indication, the answer is yes.
[W]hile the DGA is formally keeping its powder dry, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin -- the group's new chairman -- had good things to say about Crist. In an interview on C-SPAN's Newsmakers program on Sunday morning, Shumlin said Crist is "high on the list" of likely Democratic candidates.
"He's an incredibly capable leader. Now, I want to be clear, as DGA chair, we don't take sides before we know that we have one single candidate as opposed to a primary. But having said that, everybody knows he was a great governor. He led Florida with tremendous vision," Shumlin said. "If he's a candidate, we would welcome him to the club."
Pretty close to a Democratic endorsement of a guy who used to call himself a Reagan Republican.
For more on what Crist has been up to, take a look at his recent interview with Rachel, which aired two weeks ago.