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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Crist will enter governor's race
The attorney general says he plans to file papers today to succeed Jeb Bush. Polls call him the front-runner.
By LUCY MORGAN
Published May 9, 2005
TALLAHASSEE - State Attorney General Charlie Crist said Sunday that he will file the paperwork today to run for governor in 2006.
Crist, 48, of St. Petersburg would be the first of several prominent Republicans to seek the job held by Gov. Jeb Bush, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
Crist enters the race as the apparent front-runner. In most recent polls, Crist was substantially ahead of Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, who are considered likely contenders for the Republican nomination. Crist also polls several points ahead of the likely Democratic candidates.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa and state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua already have their hats in the ring, and former state Democratic Party chairman Scott Maddox is expected to enter the race soon.
As attorney general, Crist has worked hard to establish himself as a consumer-friendly, tough-on-crime leader.
He has also displayed good political instincts, deftly staying out of the battle over Terri Schiavo's right to die, a cause that drew other Republicans into the fray despite numerous polls indicating that most Floridians thought the state and federal governments should let families make those decisions.
Last year, Crist took the unusual step of endorsing Mel Martinez for the U.S. Senate and young Connie Mack for the U.S. House of Representatives in Republican primaries, a step most state officials avoid. Martinez and Mack won their races and are likely to support Crist in 2006.
The grandson of immigrants, Crist was born in Altoona, Pa., on July 24, 1956, and moved to St. Petersburg when he was 4 years old. He was president of his senior class at St. Petersburg High School and attended Wake Forest University.
He graduated from Florida State University and obtained a law degree from Cumberland School of Law in 1981. His father, Charles J. Crist Sr., served on the Pinellas County School Board.
Crist entered politics as an aide to former Sen. Connie Mack and was elected to the Florida Senate in 1992 from the Tampa Bay area. He left the state Senate in 1998 and made an unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate against former Sen. Bob Graham.
Crist was appointed deputy secretary at the State Department of Business and Professional Regulation by Bush in 1999 and left the job to run for education commissioner in 2000. He served a two-year term in the education post before his election in 2002 as attorney general.
In the state Senate, Crist quickly developed a reputation as a law and order candidate by sponsoring a bill that required prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences as well as a bill to re-establish chain gangs. The latter bill caused editorial writers to dub him "Chain Gang Charlie."
As chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, Crist took on then-Gov. Lawton Chiles in an investigation of thousands of scare calls made to senior citizens just days before the 1994 election, in which Chiles defeated Jeb Bush.
After a year of investigation, Chiles admitted his campaign made them and apologized to Floridians. Chiles also appeared before Crist's committee to answer questions about the calls, denying advance knowledge of them.