Sporting a blue Tampa Bay Rays shirt, former Gov. Charlie Crist continued Saturday to court Florida Democratic activists, while his chief rival distributed fans to the delegates attending the party’s political conference.

“It has been overwhelming,” Crist said about his reception, after speaking to party caucuses representing African-American and Hispanic Democrats on Saturday. “The kindness and grace that the Democrats have embraced both Carole (his wife) and me has been simply amazing.”

Crist said the party activists have not challenged him about his Republican past, including his time as a GOP governor, a former state Cabinet member and a state lawmaker. Crist joined the Democratic Party last year, after losing the 2010 U.S Senate race as an independent.

“I think they see my heart and understand,” Crist said. “They see what the leadership of the (Republican) Party has become. . . . I’m where my heart is and I feel very at home, and I think they have welcomed the convert and I’m grateful.”

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