Seriously, When is Crist Going to Leave the GOP?

For more than four months I have been wondering when Florida's Republican Governor Charlie Crist, a candidate for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate in the state in a contested primary, would leave the GOP for greener pastures, running as an Independent candidate for Senate rather than under the Republican banner. Indeed, in recent weeks Crist has bucked his party, reaffirming his support for last year's stimulus bill and generally sounding more like a moderate than an angry conservative -- which puts him at odds with his party's primary base. Public Policy Polling has just released numbers showing the extent to which Florida Republicans have become alienated by Crist, who not all that long ago was the party's golden boy.

Here's a little preview: among Republican primary voters 19% would like to see him as Governor a year from now, 14% want him in the Senate, and 56% want him out of elected office.

If there is any path to his winning office in Florida again- and there may not be- it's as something other than a Republican.

There hasn't been a great deal of polling on a potential three-way Senate race between a hypothetically Indepedent Crist, Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek -- but the available data suggests that all three candidates would be competitive. The same cannot be said of a GOP primary between Crist and Rubio, where the latter now leads by a margin of about 15 points, and growing.

So I ask again, ask I have been asking for months, how long until Crist leaves the GOP?

Tags: FL-Sen, Senate 2010, Florida, Charlie Crist (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

This fascination with Charlie Crist

I think the more pressing question is... why the fascination with Charlie Crist?

If he's such damaged goods that he can't - after months of campaigning - do anything but fail against Marco Rubio... why do we want him anywhere near the Democratic party? He was an okay, but not great, Governor; we have seom very nice people already in Florida who are, you know, actually Democrats. A Charlie Crist who switches parties - much like Arlen Specter - is doing it just to put his own success ahead of anythign else.  That, it seems to me, is not the kind of thing that should be rewarded, or encouraged.

And, if Crist going independent, or D, for the Senate race, can really up-end the calculus, I think that says more about just what a mess Florida is than much else. A Charlie Crist D-Senator (or I), will, I'm pretty sure, wind up more trouble than he's worth. To anyone.

This is the kind of thing that tells me that suggestions of Democratic disarray are more real than most of us want to admit. There's a flailing, desperate quality to the political maneuvering all over - whether it's the strange unraveling of California politics around Barbara Boxer's seat (admittedly mostly a Republican mess, but the world in which Jerry Brown is a serious Gubenatorial pick - again - is a decidedly odd one), the meltdown in New York at every level, or Florida, just for starters - and no distinct sense of sticking to a set of core principles, or values, or standards. And I'm not clear why. I have my suspicions... but I'm no more prepared at this point, to give up on the party leadership in some absolute way. Still... at some point, it seems to me, it seems like we should begin connecting dots, not just marveling at the individual dramas.

I get that Crist's fall from Florida darling to pariah has been swift, sudden and unexpected... in a sense... but to me. it seems like that's how Republicans roll these days: you're aces and awesome until, you know, you're just totally not. And it's capricious and weird and all the rest.  But why we'd want to sample some of that... beats me.

by nycweboy1 2010-03-08 07:48PM | 1 recs
RE: This fascination with Charlie Crist

The Florida Republican Party is simply not representative of the full Florida electorate, and neither is Crist representative of the Florida Republican Party.  I don't think he's great and I don't think he's emotionally capable of leaving his Party but he could definitely succeed as a Republican's Lieberman.

by Endymion 2010-03-08 10:31PM | 0 recs
Best guess

He'll pull a Lieberman and become an independent when he loses the GOP primary.  Given the considerable amount of progressive support for Crist as a viable candidate against Meeks, I suspect most Florida Democrats will vote for Christ in the same way most Connecticut Republicans voted for Lieberman against their own nominee in 2006.

by West of the Fields 2010-03-08 11:33PM | 0 recs
RE: Best guess

Problem is in Connecticut the GOP fielded only a token candidate, or rather they refused to field a candidate at all and got some default guy. And the Dem primary was fairly close so a full third of state Democrats sided with Lieberman. Meanwhile in Florida we have a pretty good candidate in Kendrick Meeks. So the odds of Crist pulling off a Lieberman and winning are pretty slim.

by vecky 2010-03-08 11:57PM | 0 recs
RE: Best guess

I disagree -I don't think Meeks is a good candidate for Democrats in Florida, which is why so many progressives are pushing for Crist to get out of the GOP primary.  There are differences with Connecticut -I think the GOP will push for Rubio in ways that the Dems never did for Lamont in the primary.  But I also think Crist is way more mallable that Lieberman.

by West of the Fields 2010-03-09 12:48AM | 0 recs
RE: Best guess

What's wrong with Meeks?

Yes, Crist will be more malleable that Lieberman - mainly because if he wins as an (I) it will be because of Democratic votes. But I doubt he will win the FL race as it is not being framed in the same manner as the CT race in 2006. Lamont was famously called the "Al-Qaeda candidate" and the race was nationalized. That's not happening in FL.

by vecky 2010-03-09 01:04AM | 0 recs
What's wrong with Meeks?

For one thing, he's such an exciting candidate that no one can properly remember his name....

 

by MacGumaraid 2010-03-09 05:12AM | 0 recs
RE: What's wrong with Meeks?

Well... problem is Crist would probably loose a Dem primary to Meeks at this point. And I see Meeks pulling in enough Dem support during the election to make Crists chance of winning as an (I) impossible.

I also don't think Crist is a very good campaigner to be honest. I mean if he's given up a 60-30 lead in the GOP primary who's to say he won't blow a similar sort of lead in the General?

by vecky 2010-03-09 07:12PM | 0 recs
Here's to hpoing Crist doesn't come skulking over to the Democratic Party.

We don't need any more GOP refugee opportunists slinking over to the Democratic Party to claim the highest offices. And we sure as hell don't need any more blue dogs to obstruct progress from within the Dem caucus.

Now, if Crist wants to start at the bottom and work his way up like everybody else, while demonstrating his support for Democratic core principles, welcome aboard.

The tent is big, but don't expect to slip in under it and claim a front row seat to see the circus. Pay your admission, Charlie.

(There must a real Democrat for progress somewhere in FL -- Bob Graham can't have been the only one.)

by masswaster 2010-03-09 09:36PM | 1 recs

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