MANHUNT Charlie Crist
It's a bad time to be a semi-closeted gay Republican in the sunshine state. Having blown the chance to take down Mark Foley, the Florida press is making up for it by delving into rumors—some fresh, some stale—about attorney general Charlie Crist, the GOP's candidate to succeed Jeb Bush as governor.
Crist, who has been single except for a seven-month marriage in 1979, has long been dogged by speculation that he is gay. Though he has denied it several times (unlike Foley, who never publicly commented on his sexuality until after he resigned from Congress), the whispers have grown louder as election day approaches.
Last week, they broke through to the national media when, in an appearance on Tucker Carlson's MSNBC talkshow, Pat Campbell, an Orlando-based conservative radio host, accused Democratic operatives of floating the gay rumor to help Crist's opponent, Jim Davis, who is behind in the polls. "What are they playing right now? Charlie Crist is gay," Campell complained. "This is the party that supposedly deplores the personal destruction, yet they're experts in it."