Jumping ship

Florida Agriculture Secretary Bob Crawford, a Democrat, endorsed Republican Jeb Bush for governor last week, shocking members of his own party and, let's face it, sealing his place as an incumbent. "I think he made a deal," Democratic contender and Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay said. Other Democrats hinted that Crawford colluded with Republicans in order to guarantee weak opposition in his own race -- Rick Faircloth of Orlando.

Crawford had other levers, too. As Agriculture Secretary, he has ultimate authority to investigate non-profit "think tanks" like Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future, which MacKay says Bush used to circumvent campaign finance laws and pedal influence to contributors. MacKay keeps asking for a list of contributors and amounts; Bush refuses to provide it. Crawford says nothing, except that Bush is "a man of honesty and integrity who has a strong work ethic and a commitment to diversity."

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