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Who's Really Pulling the Strings in Charlie Crist's Campaign?

November 17, 2013 - 6:00pm

Most people in Florida are familiar with John Morgans advertisements -- Morgans For the People slogan is plastered over billboards, buses, and radio ads all over the state. So it seemed like a scene out of the Twilight Zone when Charlie Crist made the announcement that he was running for governor, becauseCrist, like Morgan, said he was For the People, too.

Not even a minute into his speech, Crist dropped Morgans familiar slogan.

Tallahassee is out of control, began Crist. Governing for the people has been replaced with cronyism and government on the fringes.

It seemed coincidental, maybe even just a slight nod toward Morgan, who currently employs the former governor at his Orlando-based law firm. Crist joined Morgan & Morgan in 2011 after he hadnt practiced law for nearly two decades.

Yet as it progressed, Crists speech felt oddly reminiscent of a John Morgan ad. When Crist started to talk about getting Floridas economy back in shape for the middle class, in came John Morgans famous slogan.

We will get this economy working again for the people, for the middle class people, he said.

When Crist slammed Gov. Rick Scott for siding with allies, those with fat checkbooks, and for putting special interests in Washington over the interests of Florida, the slogan made another appearance.

We simply deserve a governor who will stand up for the people, said Crist. I always have, and I always will.

The idea that the overuse of the phrase was sheer coincidence crumbled.

One of Morgans most recent ads aims to get signatures on a petition for medical marijuana in the state of Florida. In the ad, Morgan describes the pain of those suffering debilitating illnesses who are only able to receive relief by using marijuana. Morgan then pleads with listeners to sign their names on a petition to get a constitutional amendment supporting medical marijuana put on the ballot for 2014.

If youre willing to join this Army of Angels, email me at for information on how you can help us get this on the ballot in 2014, says Morgan in the ad.

Funnily enough, Crist seems to have an army of angels working on his campaign, too. Yet instead of working on getting medical marijuana on the ballot for 2014, Crists army of angels would be helping him take back his old job.

Rick Scott can spend a billion dollars on dishonest ads and it wont matter, said the former governor at his announcement speech. You know why? Because we will have an Army of Angels every day on our side to support us through this.

The familiar Morgan & Morgan slogan was heard once again.

One year from today we will come back here that night and we will celebrate a great victory, said Crist to the crowd. A victory for the people, because you deserve it.

Like that, Crists speech was over, and while Morgan wasnt actually at Crists announcement, it seemed like he was right there telling Crist what to say with his familiar catchphrase.

Morgan is bound to be a driving force in Crists campaign and is expected to help the former governor raise money from attorneys across the country. Only 12 days into his campaign, Crist had raised $484,000 from attorneys and law firms alone.

But Crists speech and his early numbers leave lots of questions unanswered. Just how many strings is John Morgan pulling in Crists campaign? And while the initial numbers sound impressive, will an Army of Angels composed primarily of trial attorneys really be enough to lift Crist off the ground?

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen atAllison@sunshinestatenews.comor follow her on Twitter at@AllisonNielsen.

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