9:43 AM, Apr 29, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Cornyn said this morning that the Florida Republican primary between Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist has been "a learning experience" for him.
Cornyn told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor that he first tried to recruit Jeb Bush to run for Senate. When Bush declined, Cornyn looked for the next most popular Republican (Crist) in the state to run. The lesson he's learned from the NRSC's endorsement of Crist?
"In this political environment," Cornyn said, "it's not necessarily helpful for candidates running in the states to have the national party chairman" endorse them.
Hmmmmm.10:12 PM, Apr 28, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Marc Ambinder reports:
Charlie Crist, soon to be independent Senate candidate from Florida, tried to reach White House chief of staff Emanuel through intermediates. WH refuses to take the call. Dems plan big talent/money blitz for Kendrick Meek.
What's Crist up to? Might he be interested in cutting a deal to caucus with the Democrats if they chase Meek from the field?
1:01 PM, Apr 28, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
One year to the day after Arlen Specter became a Democrat, Fox News reports:
Fox News has learned that Charlie Crist has decided and plans to announce that he is running as an Independent for the U.S. Senate. The official announcement is scheduled at 5pm in St. Petersburg, Florida tomorrow.
12:58 PM, Apr 27, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Marco Rubio says he has "concerns" about the Arizona immigration law:
From what I have read in news reports, I do have concerns about this legislation. While I don’t believe Arizona’s policy was based on anything other than trying to get a handle on our broken borders, I think aspects of the law, especially that dealing with ‘reasonable suspicion,’ are going to put our law enforcement officers in an incredibly difficult position. It could also unreasonably single out people who are here legally, including many American citizens. Throughout American history and throughout this administration we have seen that when government is given an inch it takes a mile.
10:16 AM, Apr 22, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The former veep backs Rubio and bashes Crist:
“Charlie Crist has shown time and again that he cannot be trusted in Washington to take on the Obama agenda because on issue after issue he actually supports that agenda. Lately it seems Charlie Crist cannot be trusted even to remain a Republican. I strongly urge him to either stay in the Republican Primary or drop out of the race. The only winners from an independent bid by Crist would be Barack Obama and Harry Reid.
4:03 PM, Apr 20, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Yesterday, Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio was asked if he would support a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities by Israel. Rubio responded:
Israel has to do whatever Israel needs to do for their own national security. You would hope the United States, by taking a stronger role, would prevent that from needing to happen. But ultimately, I don’t think any of us are going to blame Israel if they take it upon themselves to ensure that the security and well being of their people is safeguarded.
Today, in a statement celebrating Israel's independence, Rubio expresses "grave concerns about the direction of current U.S. policy towards Israel."
The growing alienation of Israel has adverse consequences for the U.S., Israel and the world, as our mutual enemies are emboldened by any signs that Israel does not have our full support.
This is especially the case with the Iranian regime, which poses the most serious threats to global security today. In addition to being led by a maniacal tyrant who denies the Holocaust, Iran’s leaders continue pursuing nuclear capabilities in defiance of the international community. This threatens the very existence of Israel and threatens the security of the United States. Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense indicated that by 2015 Iran may have the ability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile that reaches the United States. In addition, Iran continues to support terrorism targeting the people of Israel and our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. For example, the Hamas terrorist organization, with Iranian support, uses Gaza as a base to wage its campaign of terror against Israel.
1:51 PM, Apr 20, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The St. Petersburg Times reports:
Dodging raindrops outside the historic Old Capitol, Gov. Charlie Crist also deftly dodged the daily round of questions about whether he would seek a U.S. Senate seat as an unaffiliated candidate. "Things change," Crist said when asked how he'd explain a no-party bid after repeatedly saying he would not do so.
10:49 AM, Apr 19, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The St. Pete Times reports:
The Marco Rubio campaign says Charlie Crist has halted all its TV advertising in the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets where the anti-Rubio spots were airing.
10:15 AM, Apr 15, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
If Crist were to file as an independent for the general election, he would get 32 percent of the vote, compared to Rubio's 30 percent and Meek's 24 percent.
This may be enough to convince Charlie Crist to break his pledge to run in the GOP primary, but Rasmussen showed a much tougher race for Crist as an independent. In a March three-way match-up, Rubio led Crist 42% to 22%, with Democrat Meek garnering 25% of the vote.
So why the big disparity between Rasmussen and Quinnipiac? Did Crist's negative advertising move Rubio's numbers among the general electorate in the past month?
An implausible defense.4:39 PM, Apr 14, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
From the Wall Street Journal, Crist's advisers lay out how the governor could run as an independent:
–The governor would retain his personal Republican Party registration, thus fulfilling the promise that he would be “running as a Republican.” He could describe himself as a “Republican independent” while appearing on the November ballot as “no party affiliation.”
–He would note that the strong denial came from his campaign manager, not him.
But in the Fox News Sunday debate, Crist himself said he would back Rubio if he lost the primary:
WALLACE: Will you support the winner of the GOP primary, whether it's you or Marco Rubio?
CRIST: Of course I will. Of course I will. ...
WALLACE: I just want to say, though, you are saying you are going to run in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. You will not run on the no party affiliation line.
CRIST: That's right. That's right. That's what I'm saying.
10:48 AM, Apr 14, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Florida law doesn't give Mr. Crist the flexibility that enabled Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to win election in 2006 as a third-party candidate after losing the Democratic primary. Mr. Crist must decide by April 30 whether to seek the Republican nomination or to appear instead on the general-election ballot with no party affiliation.
An important sign of Mr. Crist's aims could come this week: He must decide by Friday whether to veto a teacher merit-pay bill supported by prominent conservatives in the party.
"If you were to put a gun to my head, I'd say he's running as an independent," said a GOP strategist who serves as an informal adviser to the governor.
Charlie Crist is losing the Republican primary by 30 points. He is losing a three-way race by 20 points. Does he really want to make a career-ending run as an independent?
As I wrote the other day, Crist's third option would be to pull out of the race and live to run as a Republican another day. A reader emailed to point out that although Crist can't beat Rubio by spending the massive $7.5 million war chest he's built up--or even twice that much--he can keep almost all of it if he opts for a 2012 run:
5:41 PM, Apr 9, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
A Friday night news dump, brought to you by a floundering Senate campaign: Florida governor Charlie Crist raised $1.1 million last quarter. In an email, campaign manager Erik Eikenberg attributes the paltry figure to a "limited fundraising program this quarter due to the Governor’s busy work schedule during session."
Marco Rubio raised $3.6 million during that same period. Compare the fundraising trajectories of Crist and Rubio: