The Corner

No Disappearing Act from Crist

Don’t expect Charlie Crist to go away. That’s the message from a Florida Republican politico I was chatting with this morning: “He’s in the fight of his political life, and the Senate is where he wants to serve.” Addressing rumors that Crist might drop out of the race now or eventually, this insider says that Governor Crist is “absolutely not considering it. His dream is to serve in the Senate, and the governor’s office is a political dead end — term limited to only four more years, and no easy place to run for afterwards. No term limits in Senate.”

(Time to bring back as term-limits campaign? But I digress . . .)

But the same politico, who has been extremely skeptical about Marco Rubio in the past, responds to the Rasmussen polls this week with a “wow.” The Floridian says: “The Rasmussen poll really surprised me.  Not sure how that gap closed as the [in-state] coverage of the race hasn’t been extremely significant.” This GOPer previously didn’t think Rubio had a chance. “I think he has a chance now, but it is still an uphill battle. His fundraising last quarter helped his momentum big time, in addition to some unforced errors on Crist’s part.”

He adds that the whole fight — that will be on through the primary in August — is unfortunate in his mind.  “I’m just not big on intra-party fighting right now given our party’s poor standing with the electorate. Would much rather we focused our ire on the D’s, and were more strategic with electoral decisions.” This politico says that he “would have loved to see Rubio run for governor of Florida this year. That would have energized folks, and a Crist-Rubio ticket (Senate and governor) would have been great for the party and our candidates. That could have happened, but now we will have a contested, expensive, brutal GOP primary for Senate — both candidates will be bloodied severely, and we are going to have a really competitive governor’s race that we may lose to the Democrat.”

Of course current polls suggest either can beat Democrat Kendrick Meek — and Rubio moreso, in the latest Rasmussen. So why so defeatist? Can’t the best man win and beat Meek? “Absolutely,” this politico says. “I think either of them can beat Meek, but ask me again on August 23 (day before Florida primary election day) after all the blood has been spilled.”

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