FL-Sen: Race blown wide open
by desmoinesdem, Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 10:44:45 PM EDT
Florida Governor Charlie Crist finally announced today that he will run for U.S. Senate as an independent candidate, saying the political system is "broken." He declined to say whether he would caucus with Democrats or Republicans if elected in November. Jonathan Martin noted,
The governor made no mention of his two rivals, but he indicated in unambiguous terms that he will now race from the right to the political center. After months of touting what he described as the conservative record of a Reagan Republican, Crist made no mention of cutting taxes and spending.
Instead, he touted his opposition to off-shore drilling, his recent veto of an education reform bill that has won him support among teachers and recalled his controversial decision to expand voting hours in 2008.
Although some polls have shown Crist narrowly leading a three-way contest against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek, my hunch is that this race will become quite difficult for Crist. His key campaign staff have quit, his pollster has severed ties, and he will lose many of his donors. Both major parties will nominate serious candidates against him. Joe Lieberman faced none of those obstacles when he decided to run for for re-election as an independent after losing the 2006 Democratic primary in Connecticut.
Swing State Project and the Cook Political Report changed their rating on this race to "tossup" today. Meek has trailed in polls to date, but against two opponents he may have a decent shot if he can consolidate his support among Democrats. He said today that donations are pouring in now that Crist has decided to run as an independent. Not long ago Mark Blumenthal made the case against writing off Meek.
I'm much less encouraged to read that a self-funding billionaire, Jeff Greene, will announce tomorrow that he's running for Senate as a Florida Democrat too. Marc Ambinder writes, "It's been previously reported that Net pioneer/ex-Dean manager Joe Trippi and Bloomberg and pollster Doug Schoen have been informally advising Greene." I hope Trippi and Schoen will come to their senses, because another Democrat in the Florida race is frankly the last thing we need.
What do you think, MyDD readers?