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Charlie Crist endorses Democrat Keith Fitzgerald

Former Gov. Charlie Crist endorsed Democrat Keith Fitzgerald in Sarasota Tuesday over Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan.

It's unclear whether the endorsement will provide the boost Fitzgerald needs to unseat Buchanan on Nov. 6. Buchanan is leading in the polls despite his connection to several ethics scandals.

Crist, who ran for U.S. Congress as an Independent in 2010 and has all but officially switched to the Democratic Party, called Fitzgerald "a rare public servant who understands you have to work together in order to improve things for the people you're supposed to serve."

He said he also supports Fitzgerald because both want to stop oil drilling off the Florida coast, according to a shaky video provided by Fitzgerald's campaign.

The Republican Party of Florida used the occassion to take yet another shot at Crist, who may be positioning himself to run as a Democrat against Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

"Another day, another friend betrayed by Charlie Crist and his blind ambition," RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry said in the prepared statement.

Between 2005 and 2008, Crist stumped for Buchanan, donated money to him, and attended his fundraisers.

In the past three election cycles, Buchanan has personally donated to only three candidates--one of them was Crist, according to

In response to a reporter question about his change of allegience, Crist said his intent wasn't to run down Buchanan but to support Fitzgerald, whom he called a friend.

"A lot of things have changed over the years, particularly with my former party," Crist said.