The Corner

Crist Begins to Outline Independent Strategy

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gov. Charlie Crist (R., Fla.) is already plotting out a strategy for an independent run. At least two Florida GOP leaders are on board:

But two of Mr. Crist’s closest GOP allies in Florida said in interviews that they would stand with him even if he abandoned the Republican primary. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and state Sen. Mike Fasano said they would stick with Mr. Crist, no matter which path he takes in the election.

“The hope is that new people will come in to make up for the shortfall” of those who would walk away from the governor as an independent candidate, said Scott Peelen, an Orlando-area financial planner and longtime Crist friend, who has discussed the situation with the governor.

Advisers say Mr. Crist is banking on a “ground army” emerging from the state’s more than 150,000 teachers after his decision last week to veto the teacher bill that was opposed by the powerful teachers’ union.

Evidence arose Tuesday that the teachers’ group could swing to Mr. Crist. The union is launching a statewide “Thank you, Gov. Crist” television advertising campaign this week, featuring teachers, students and parents in two spots, said Andy Ford, the union’s president.

Other potential backers, according to Crist advisers, would be trial lawyers—a traditionally Democratic constituency—and the National Rifle Association, the Republican-leaning gun rights group that has long awarded Mr. Crist high marks. An NRA spokesman said the group is still evaluating the race.


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