Crist Making Headway Among Black Voters in Governor’s Race

New poll results appear to show an unusual trend; the Republican candidate for governor could get a substantial number of votes from African-American voters.

Charlie Crist’s favorable rating among black voters who responded to the Quinnipiac University poll is more than twice that of his Democratic opponent, Jim Davis. But some are questioning methods used by the Crist campaign to boost his support among African-Americans.

Crist made headlines when he reopened the unsolved murders of black civil rights leader Harry T. Moore and his wife, but when Crist named four long-dead Ku Klux Klansmen as the murders, it infuriated Moore’s biographer, Ben Green.

Green studied the case for years, insists there’s no evidence the men committed the crime, and suggests Crist announced he solved the case purely to appeal to African-American voters.

“I think they had to know that this would help with the black vote and I think that they thought nobody would ever question their conclusions, so they put out a report that’s full of ludicrous claims and mistakes.”

Crist stands by his investigation, and his campaign does seem to be making inroads among African-American voters. A new poll found 35 percent of African-Americans who responded give Crist a favorable rating, versus only 15 percent for his Democratic rival Jim Davis, in spite of Davis’s choice of Daryl Jones, the first-ever black running mate.

But Davis supporters predict issues like Jeb Bush’s One Florida plan that abolished affirmative action and sparked a march on the Capitol will change the equation.

Davis’s honorary campaign chair, Curtis Richardson, says black Floridians are still angry about One Florida, and they blame Republicans.

“No question about it, absolutely, and I think we will see that in this election. That has not gone away.”

The key will be whether those Democrats are motivated enough to go to the polls in November.


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