FL-Sen: A Toehold For Dead-Enders?
I don't want to concern-troll the GOP, but the primary race in Florida between popular Governor Charlie Crist and right-wing former House Speaker Marco Rubio could be a defining moment for their party. Rubio starts out way behind the more well-known Crist, who has high approval ratings in the Sunshine State. But Crist's support for the stimulus package has led to a revolt among the hard right, with some GOP leaders, like Jim DeMint and Mike Huckabee, breaking for Rubio, straw polls among Republican activists trending his way, and the Club For Growth threatening to play in the primary:
"We recently interviewed Marco Rubio and were impressed," said Club president David Keating. "We are very concerned about the two major tax increases Charlie Crist recently signed and believe there's no excuse for his active support of the Obama big-government 'stimulus' spending bill. We are actively considering the race."
The Club had previously been planning on a different major project for the 2010 Senate primary season: former Rep. Pat Toomey's challenge to then-GOP Sen. Arlen Specter in the Republican primary. But now that Specter has become a Democrat in order to avoid that very same primary, Florida might now be the new Pennsylvania.
The latest poll from the race has Crist well in front, but among those who know both Crist and Rubio (who has a comparatively low name ID), it's a virtual tie. The Club for Growth could easily pull this one off. And while Rubio could win statewide, Florida Democrats have a far better chance beating him than Charlie Crist, who has bipartisan appeal. There's a reason the NRSC already endorsed Crist; they know they'd have to spend millions to keep the seat if he gets bumped in the primary.