(THE BLAZE) — Former Florida governor and ex-Republican Charlie Crist endorsed President Barack Obama on Sunday, calling him “the right leader for our times.”

“I applaud and share his vision of a future built by a strong and confident middle class in an economy that gives us the opportunity to reap prosperity through hard work and personal responsibility,” Crist wrote in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

Crist, elected governor as a Republican in 2006, left the GOP in 2010 after polls showed him significantly trailing Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate primary. He turned independent and ultimately lost to Rubio in November.

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