Broward News

Crist Leaves Floridians Feeling Dumped Sounds like a website for national Democrats who don't want a certain copper-toned Republican leaving Florida for Washington D.C. as a senator. But last week it was a popular stopping ground for Floridians anxious about the chorus of rumors surrounding Crist's next move. They wanted to keep Crist as Florida governor.

"He's made his decision," sighs John Bertran, the Melbourne man who co-founded the website where a petition contained 68,303 signatures before it was taken down. "I'm not happy, but what can we do now?"

Crist himself has an idea: If you liked him as governor, you'll love him as senator. So go to the polls in 18 months! But Bertran isn't very excited about that prospect. "I don't know," he says to the question of whether he'll vote for Crist. "I know I don't want a liberal in there."

The site was an outgrowth of the Florida Conservative Reform Caucus, which is based on Melbourne but doesn't appear to have a website. Bertran's group ran web ads in nearly every major daily Florida newspaper and even got a plug from a story in last week's New York Times. What looked like a "groundswell" -- Bertran's word of choice -- vanished as quickly as it appeared.

"It's disheartening," says Bertran. "Because I think about taxes. Crist was going to keep property taxes low. I'm scared to death. We're the only state that doesn't have a state tax. I'm afraid that might change."

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Thomas Francis