Campaign 2006: Black Voters and Florida's Governor's Race

Republican Charlie Crist has a favorable rating among black voters, more than double his Democratic opponent, Jim Davis. But some are questioning methods used by the Crist Campaign to boost his support among African Americans.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie 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."

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’ 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.

"That has not gone away, and I think we will see that in this election."

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