MIAMI – There's one thing guaranteed Tuesday in the Republican primary for governor: For the first time since 1990, the winner won't be Jeb Bush.
Voters heading to the polls have a clear choice in their candidates. Attorney General Charlie Crist ran as someone who champions consumer causes and Bush's policies — at least when it came to crime, taxes and education.
Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher positioned himself to come across almost exactly the same as Bush all the way down the line, abandoning a more moderate stance on social issues he had the last time he ran for governor for far-right positions opposing all abortions, gay marriage and adoption and stem cell research. He also promised to outlaw billboards for adult businesses like strip clubs.
Crist, the candidate who was the favorite going into primary day, wasn't afraid to step out of line with the governor on some issues, criticizing Bush's decision to intervene in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case and saying that he wouldn't try to change the class size limits that the governor tried and failed to put back on the ballot.
Crist and Gallagher were both familiar to voters.
Gallagher was first elected to the state House in 1974 and served for 12 years. He was also elected as education commissioner and won three treasurer/insurance commissioner races before becoming the state's first elected CEO in 2002. He was also in the Republican primary for governor in 1994 and 1986.
Crist served in the Senate from 1992 to 1998, before challenging then Sen. Bob Graham. Crist lost badly, but built a statewide base. He used that support to win elections for education commissioner in 2000 and attorney general in 2002.
The campaign started out on friendly terms, both candidates largely heaping praise on Bush's education and economic policies and vowing to continue in his tradition.
It wasn't until late in the race, when Gallagher started slipping in the polls, that the primary got tense. Gallagher attacked Crist for not committing to supporting a ban on abortion and compared him to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean because Crist said he had a "live and let live" attitude toward civil unions for same sex couples.
Gallagher also criticized Crist for saying he wouldn't try to put the class size limits voters approved in 2002 back on the ballot, and for not campaigning with him and Bush against South Florida referendums that eventually led to slot machines being approved in Broward County pari-mutuels.
Gallagher also tried to show he was stronger on policy than Crist, rolling out proposals on issues like public safety and education months before most people were paying attention to the race.
Crist took a different approach. He used his personal appeal while campaigning. He approached nearly everyone he could — often interrupting conversations with white collar supporters to greet waitresses, doormen, security guards and kitchen help.
He would lock eyes, keep an extended grip on his handshake while placing his left hand on a shoulder or forearm and literal ask for a vote. He constantly handed out bumper stickers and often asked if he could "Crist-en" cars by personally applying one. Many car owners agreed.
But he, too, eventually acknowledged Gallagher's criticism and fought back, calling Gallagher "Taxing Tom" for supporting a one-cent increase in the state sales tax in 1994. He also pointed out that Gallagher attacked Bush when running against him that year, particularly noting a television ad in which Gallagher made the case that Bush's position on foreign trade benefited Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Bush won the Republican nomination for governor in 1994, before narrowly losing to incumbent Gov. Lawton Chiles. He then earned the governor's seat in 1998 and easily defeated Bill McBride to become the state's first Republican governor to win re-election.