FL-Sen: Better To Support The Stimulus From Outside The Senate
In one of the few bright spots for Republican recruiting thus far, Florida Governor Charlie Crist will announce a run for Senate today. Crist enjoys a high approval rating in the state because of many moderate stances, including a high-profile support of the federal stimulus package. That's EXACTLY the same vote that drummed Arlen Specter out of the GOP. The question is whether the Florida primary electorate will make Crist pay for that. Marco Rubio, the former Speaker of the Florida House, will also run in the primary from the right. And Florida has a closed Republican primary.
Senate Guru reports:
Nationally, the conservative Weekly Standard is promoting Crist's primary challenger, former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, as the Republican Obama; also, the conservative Club for Growth has already started a cheering section for Rubio against Crist:
But Rubio could also pick up some powerful supporters in the primary. Following his announcement Tuesday, the anti-tax Club for Growth, which is known for its ability to drive fundraising for candidates it supports, released a statement praising Rubio's entry into the race.
Rubio's "fiscally responsible, pro-growth approach in the State Capitol stands in stark contrast with other elements of the state government, led by Charlie Crist," club President Chris Chocola said.
Meanwhile, within the state borders of Florida, conservatives are downright displeased with what they see as Crist being not conservative enough:
Florida Republican Party circles are hearing increasing talk of conservative dissatisfaction with Gov. Charlie Crist and a possible primary challenge if he runs for the U.S. Senate next year. ...
Some conservatives, never happy with Crist's emphasis on racial diversity, environmental regulation and populist willingness to take on big business, are now saying it openly.
Rubio is already fomenting this sentiment with direct shots at Crist:
"If you agree with Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe on some of these issues, you might as well become a Democrat,'' said former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a Republican who is likely to run for the Senate, whether or not Crist does.
Rubio, the son of anti-Castro Cubans, offers maybe the only conservative profile that could beat Crist in the state. We're seeing one of those "battles for the soul of the party" play out. And then there's the persistent closet talk about Crist, who suddenly married last year when it was rumored that he could get the VP slot next to John McCain.
Simply put, if Charlie Crist can't get elected by Florida Republicans, then their party truly has crawled into a spider hole of denial. Rep. Kendrick Meek and progressive state lawmaker Dan Gelber have jumped in this race on the Democratic side.
The NRSC is taking sides in this race by endorsing Crist immediately. A cold-blooded move based in political reality. What will Rush say?