Florida's GOP Governor Outed in Explosive Documentary
The Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, who is strongly considering a run for Senate, was outed in a independent film released on Friday.
The film, Outrage, tracks the outings of prominent gay political figures, such as Crist and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. It's being produced by Magnolia Pictures and will appear in Landmark Theaters across the country.
"Using some firsthand accounts of former sexual partners, old campaign footage (to occasionally humorous effect) and commentary from gay political media watchdogs, the film makes the case for each man's homosexuality, and presents his lifetime gay rights voting record," according to one reviewer. "In each instance, the disconnect is staggering.
"The usual suspects are all there: Craig, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, former New York mayor Ed Koch, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, former Rep. Ed Schrock, even dusty McCarthy relic Roy Cohn."
A top Republican leader signaled Wednesday that Crist will likely enter the Senate race for the seat being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), who is quitting.
"All the signals I've been getting is that he probably will [get into the race], but I don't want to make any announcements for him, because he's the one who will ultimately decide whether to pull the trigger or not," Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senator John Cornyn told Politico for Thursday editions.
Cornyn told the site that if another conservative ran, he wouldn't pick sides — also eyeing the post is former Florida House Speaker Mario Rubio, who announced his candidacy Tuesday.
But Crist's only contender wouldn't be Rubio. It would also be himself.
Crist was "first" outed in a 2006 Palm Beach Post article by Bob Norman, prior to his election as governor.
A young rising star in the Republican Party has boasted to witnesses of his sexual relationship with Charlie Crist, the frontrunner in the Florida governor's race who has repeatedly denied that he is gay.
The GOP staffer, 21-year-old Jason Wetherington, told friends at separate social functions in August that he had sex with Crist, according to two credible and independent sources who heard Wetherington make the claim first-hand.
Wetherington, who recently worked as a field director for U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris and currently works for state representative Ellyn Bodganoff's reelection campaign, also named a man whom he said is Crist's long-term partner, a convicted thief named Bruce Carlton Jordan who also recently worked for Harris in her long-shot Senate bid.
Salon notes that Crist is the biggest fish in the film for critics.
"The person most reviewers have been focusing on is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was recently married -- his engagement was announced right around the time when speculation was mounting that he could be chosen as John McCain's running mate," Salon's Alex Koppelman writes. "He was actually first outed back in 2006, by Bob Norman, a reporter for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, who was also the first reporter to the story of former Rep. Mark Foley's sexuality, in 2003.
"And, in cases like Crist's, it means that the media knows something its audience doesn't, and is holding back information about people who are running for public office," Koppelman added. "When his engagement was announced, there was largely no discussion of what most every national political reporter was probably thinking. What there was instead was a sort of inside joke, which was easy to catch if you were in on the secret, but not obvious to most readers and viewers. MSNBC's Chris Matthews, for example, could barely suppress an impish smile when talking about the news. It's time to move past that in some form or another, and if the movie helps in that respect, then that's a good thing -- even if it's not actually outing anyone itself."
Crist was recently engaged, and then married -- quietly.
"A Republican operative close to Crist" told Politico "he expects the governor to announce his future political plans ‘very soon,' perhaps as early as Monday. Crist has said he will decide after the state legislature wraps up its session, which ends on Friday."
Full disclosure: I appear in the film, speaking in favor of outing hypocritical gay politicians. Raw Story has "outed" closeted politicians before, including Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) and the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman.