Crist advisers begin talking up independent run

posted at 12:50 pm on April 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

NoNo, no, noNoReally, no.

OK, maybe:

Hounded by conservative activists as too liberal, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is being advised by some close supporters to abandon his lagging Republican primary bid for a U.S. Senate seat and run instead as an independent.

Mr. Crist’s campaign issued a statement last week saying the governor would run in the Republican primary and describing the talk of an independent bid as “baseless rumors.”

Still, some advisers see room for him to take another course. Mr. Crist is trailing badly in public-opinion surveys against state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who has become a darling of conservative activists nationally. …

One longtime adviser to the governor said vetoing the education bill—which would eliminate the possibility of tenure for new teachers and create a new pay scale linked to student performance—would allow Mr. Crist essentially to kick off an independent candidacy with a bang. Rejecting the measure could draw support from one of the state’s most potent Democratic Party interest groups, Florida’s 140,000-member teachers union, which opposes the legislation.

For a candidate who’s insisting that he’s going to stay a Republican, his advisers seem intent on floating that independent bid. Looking at the polls for the primary, it comes as no surprise. Marco Rubio’s clobbering Crist in every poll, and their informal head-to-head debate only made matters worse for the incumbent governor.  Unfortunately for Crist, running as an independent doesn’t help much, either.  Rubio beats both Crist and presumed Democratic nominee Kendrick Meeks by 20 points in a three-way race.

The Wall Street Journal paints this as the conservative wing of the party against the mainstream GOP, but the polls show that the mainstream GOP has aligned itself with Rubio, too.  One doesn’t get a 57%/28% lead in a primary by being out of the mainstream of a party.  The 28% showing by Crist makes it pretty clear who’s wound up in the fringe.

As for getting an endorsement from the teacher’s union, that might be true in the Republican primary if Crist sticks around.  If Crist expects the union to support him against Kendrick Meeks, he’s delusional.

If Crist leaps — and I’d give it even odds at this point — his political career would be over, especially after a humiliating defeat in the general election.  It would also mean that the NRSC would wind up with even more egg on its face over its endorsement of Crist than ever before.  Perhaps that will serve as a lesson to national party committees to stay out of contested primaries in the future.


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Your lips say “No,” but your guys say “Maybe.”

And the voters say “hell no.”

Abby Adams on April 14, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Apparently, turning orange isn’t the only side effect of whatever he’s smoking.

Doorgunner on April 14, 2010 at 12:53 PM

As I said a long time ago, if Crist jumps ship – instead of supporting Rubio in the primary – you’ll never get conservatives to support a moderate again.

The perception already is that conservatives are expected to support moderates but not moderates never support conservatives.

This will only solidify it.

lorien1973 on April 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Obama has his teleprompter – Crist has his electric fan….

jake-the-goose on April 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Where is the thread covering the rumor that Crist is on the short list for the SCOTUS?

/wink wink

mankai on April 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I don’t want the NRSC to learn a lesson if Christ switches to Indie.That “lesson” could cost us a Senate seat,and the lost opportunity for a great Senator like Rubio.

sandee on April 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Unfortunately for Crist, running as an independent doesn’t help much, either

spot on…he’s toast either way….
the NRSC should be truly embarassed, agree with you about waiting to endorse until after the primaries

cmsinaz on April 14, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Does this guy really believe the Republic needs him that badly? Cut the ego and go home, Tan-boy.

brak on April 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Orange trash.

mankai on April 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

One gets the distinct feeling that Cornyn has been bought. Graham and McLane have paperwork to Soros, so that is a fact.

It is as if they have set us up again. Cornyn and his gay supreme court pick, his admonishing Rush and his hide in a hole except to lay the groundwork for amnesty is quite creepy.

His lockstep with Crist got us in to this mess.

nondhimmie on April 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Does this guy really believe the Republic needs him that badly? Cut the ego and go home, Tan-boy.

brak on April 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

My thoughts exactly.

Pasalubong on April 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Wait! I thought it was going to be those pesky conservative tea party types that were going to go third party and split the GOP vote and hand the elections to the Democrats.

DFCtomm on April 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM

He can’t beat Rubio without 90% of the black vote, and that isn’t happening with Meeks as the Dem nominee. And I don’t think the unions like Crist enough to support him over Meeks, even if that was the smart thing to do.

BuzzCrutcher on April 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Agent Orange could spin this for good. He could opt out saying that it is clear he cannot win and does not want to further waste GOP money. He could support Rubio and exit stage left to some lobbyist firm. What political future did he have anyway? Unless he decided to really do something and pull a Specter. Now there is a way for him to have a political future. LMAO!

freeus on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I will bet anything…anything…that Crist will not run as an independent. Or anything other than GOP. Not gonna happen.

The election isn’t for a while. Crist started off way ahead of Rubio, Rubio ahead now, and soon Crist could regain his lead. You never know.

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Hmm …

So let me get this straight …

The GOP establishment tells the Tea Party … “DO NOT run as a third party – you’ll cause the Democrats to WIN!”

But when the Tea Party gets it’s candidate on the GOP ticket in Florida – the established Republican might dive out of it and go third party?

If Charlie Crist does this – there BETTER BE A REIGN OF FIRE from the GOP down on his head. I’m talking about political crucifixion here. And the centurian hanging him on the cross better by Ayatollah John Cornyn.

HondaV65 on April 14, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Agent Orange could spin this for good. He could opt out saying that it is clear he cannot win and does not want to further waste GOP money. He could support Rubio and exit stage left to some lobbyist firm. What political future did he have anyway? Unless he decided to really do something and pull a Specter. Now there is a way for him to have a political future. LMAO!

freeus on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

There was a story up yesterday or the day before showing that Crist’s numbers are still strong, just not against Rubio in this race. He has a political future unless he does something stupid.

DFCtomm on April 14, 2010 at 1:05 PM

I will bet anything…anything…that Crist will not run as an independent. Or anything other than GOP. Not gonna happen.

The election isn’t for a while. Crist started off way ahead of Rubio, Rubio ahead now, and soon Crist could regain his lead. You never know.

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Say hi to all the magical unicorns in the land you live in for me.

Pasalubong on April 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

The election isn’t for a while. Crist started off way ahead of Rubio, Rubio ahead now, and soon Crist could regain his lead. You never know.

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

You just keep up that positive thinking , JB. ;-)

Abby Adams on April 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

It’s over Orangie, now go figure out something else to do with all that spare time you’ll have very soon.

WordsMatter on April 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Say hi to all the magical unicorns in the land you live in for me.

Pasalubong on April 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

he sees the world through orange-tinted glasses.

weewilly on April 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

The election isn’t for a while. Crist started off way ahead of Rubio, Rubio ahead now, and soon Crist could regain his lead. You never know.

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Yeah, I can see that…

Wait a sec… who put this LSD in my tea?

mankai on April 14, 2010 at 1:08 PM

The 28% showing by Crist makes it pretty clear who’s wound up in the fringe.

The big lie is that the 28% the make up of the RINO wing of the party. Reagan showed the lie for what it was.

the GOP is made up of 70% conservatives it is amazing that the base has acceptted the lie that is was the fringe of the party for so long. It’s time that the true minority wing of the GOP party the moderates get in passagner seat and let the majority base drive the car.

unseen on April 14, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Do it. I need a good laugh.

Red Cloud on April 14, 2010 at 1:08 PM

You just keep up that positive thinking , JB. ;-)

Abby Adams on April 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Better yet JB give him all your money to fight back against Rubio.

unseen on April 14, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Even the Oompa Loompa party knows this guy is a bum. Just let it go, Crist. No matter what letter is placed after your name on the ballot, the end result will still be a crushing and humiliating loss.

search4truth on April 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Crist has to ask himself, “Do I feel lucky?” … well, do ya punk!?

cartooner on April 14, 2010 at 1:14 PM

ha!

Well, IF Crist runs as anything other than Republican…and that’s a huge IF…I will lose all my respect for the guy, and I’ll actively support Rubio. I’ll even donate to his campaign.

But that just won’t happen.

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Crist has until Friday to decide on passing or vetoing the teacher tenure vs performance bill, so we should know by then what his plans are. A veto means he goes independent, a signature means he stays as an R.

In either case, buh-bye Charlie

Just my opinion, YMMV

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:16 PM

This Conservative from North FL is voting for RUBIO!

Repubtallygirl on April 14, 2010 at 1:20 PM

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:16 PM

I think you’ve summed it up well.

lorien1973 on April 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Charlie, maybe you should go spend more time with your family…oh wait, I forgot you don’t have one.

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:21 PM

1. The check is in the mail.

2. I love you honey.

3. I won’t run as an independent.

I think we all knew that he would.

jukin on April 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Bad word.

ElectricPhase on April 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Someone please introduce Charlie to Eric Massa… STAT

phreshone on April 14, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Crist, being the spineless weenie that he is, will veto this education bill and cement his legacy as a stooge for the teacher’s union. His only hope in winning anything now is to change is party affiliation to democrat and run as mayor of West Palm Beach. He fits right in down here–tanned and liberal.

Redneck Woman on April 14, 2010 at 1:24 PM

No matter what party he runs on,he’s a failure!

ohiobabe on April 14, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Agent Orange could spin this for good. He could opt out saying that it is clear he cannot win and does not want to further waste GOP money. He could support Rubio and exit stage left to some lobbyist firm.
freeus on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Nah. Maybe a month or two ago. But the only reason he could possibly have for doing what he’s already done so far is to damage Rubio and the Republican Party.

Since he found out he couldn’t win, that has been the only thought on his mind. If he thinks he can do more damage by running as an Independant, you can bet your ass that’s what he’ll do. If there’s another route that causes more damage, that’s the only “option” he’ll consider.

logis on April 14, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Question:

Would Crist benefit maybe if he quit now, endorsed Rubio, and ran against the massively unpopular Bill Nelson in 2012?

I mean, Nelson is B.O.’s lapdog, and the last poll taken here in FL had Nelson’s approval rating at 38%. In 2012, B.O. won’t carry FL like he did last time (barely, and with a RINO on the ticket), so the state GOP will be out to the polls in full force.

Does anyone think this may be a better option for him?

crushliberalism on April 14, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Does anyone think this may be a better option for him?

crushliberalism on April 14, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Crist is reactionary – not strategic.

He got married after rumors he was gay started flooding the news. Action – Reaction.

He’s losing to Rubio, so he’ll dump the party to try and win anyways. Action – Reaction.

Yes, I’d support Crist over Nelson in a heartbeat. But he can’t see 3 years ahead and is only looking at now.

Which is why he’ll veto that teacher bill. Because it benefits him now; not the state in the future.

lorien1973 on April 14, 2010 at 1:39 PM

It’s worth mentioning that both Jeb Bush and Governor Palin support Rubio, and I expect them to be more public about that support as the primary draws closer.

And come 2012, Rubio will repay the favor to Palin.

/from O_I in red Sarasota County, Rep Vern Buchanan country :)

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I AM SHOCKED I TELL YA!!!

Is Jetboy Egyptian ?

abobo on April 14, 2010 at 1:47 PM

The St Pete Times sez Crist has problems w/ the teachers bill, and is leaning towards a veto:

Crist lists more problems with SB 6 put still won’t say whether he’ll veto it

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Is Jetboy Egyptian ?

abobo on April 14, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Huh?

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 1:50 PM

And come 2012, Rubio will repay the favor to Palin.

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:43 PM

I meant to say….

And come 2012, Senator Rubio will repay the favor to Governor Palin.

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:51 PM

The election isn’t for a while. Crist started off way ahead of Rubio, Rubio ahead now, and soon Crist could regain his lead. You never know.

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

JB, he’s down 57 to 28. That’s not “trailing”, that’s implosion. But I still believe that this is all just blather by his impotent aides and marketing by his nitwit advisors looking for jobs with other polls.

He can’t get votes from teachers unless he’s a Dem — they already have an actual puppet at their disposal on the Democrat side. So he can only run as a true third party independent, and that’s a joke.

He’ll back off and save his career for another race, and hopefully lean a little further right and stop hugging O’Bozo.

Jaibones on April 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM

The perception already is that conservatives are expected to support moderates but not moderates never support conservatives.

This will only solidify it.

lorien1973 on April 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM

This has been going on since Goldwater in 64.

chemman on April 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Crist is reactionary – not strategic.

….

lorien1973 on April 14, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Astute observation, and if I may add one…

Obama appeared massively popular a while back, so Crist supported Porkulus and gave B-HO a public hug. Action – Reaction

How’d that work out for him?

ornery_independent on April 14, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Charlie can run under any banner he wants, but it won’t get him elected. However, I do agree he could beat Nelson, and hope he is willing to wait.

GFW on April 14, 2010 at 1:58 PM

He can’t get votes from teachers unless he’s a Dem…

Jaibones on April 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM

I dunno…Crist did use much of that stimulus cash to save a lot of teaching jobs. That’s got to get him in good with the teachers union.

JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 2:08 PM

If Crist leaps — and I’d give it even odds at this point — his political career would be over, especially after a humiliating defeat in the general election. It would also mean that the NRSC would wind up with even more egg on its face over its endorsement of Crist than ever before. Perhaps that will serve as a lesson to national party committees to stay out of contested primaries in the future.

So why would he? Ego? Is there some faction behind the scenes that wants Crist in? Because it’s not Florida Voters.
Who contributes the most to his campaign? They might have the most to lose by a Rubio win…..

Dr Evil on April 14, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Will somebody please threaten to primary Cornyn? He’s gotta go.

either orr on April 14, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Crist is Arlen Specter with a Florida tan.

When Specter saw he would get crushed by Toomey in the 2010 GOP primary, he voted for Porkulus and became a Democrat.

When Crist thought that Obama was popular, he literally embraced Obama for Porkulus, now he is getting crushed in the GOP primary, and may soon be a man without a party.

Although Florida voted for Obama in 2008, and only gave George W. Bush a very narrow victory in 2000, conservatives CAN win big in Florida if they explain themselves well–Jeb Bush won the Governorship by landslides in 1998 and 2002.

Rubio is obviously the darling of the conservative “base”, but he’s also an excellent speaker who can win moderates by simply and clearly explaining his positions calmly, and there’s a certain Reaganesque “charm” in what he says. He has also been endorsed by Rudy Giuliani, who could sway a lot of New York “snowbirds” now living on the Gold Coast to Rubio.

What does Crist hope to accomplish with a third-party run? Rubio has the Republican “base” locked up, and can Crist actually put together enough Indies and Democrats to get to even 34% needed to win a 3-way race? Probably not, and the only thing he could possibly do would hand the Senate seat to the Democrat. Why doesn’t he just drop out already?

Steve Z on April 14, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Will somebody please threaten to primary Cornyn? He’s gotta go.

either orr on April 14, 2010 at 2:17 PM

He isn’t up for re election this election cycle, he got re elected back in November 2008.

But it’s not too early to start planning for his replacement.

Dr Evil on April 14, 2010 at 2:29 PM

He can’t get votes from teachers unless he’s a Dem…
Jaibones on April 14, 2010 at 1:55 PM

I dunno…Crist did use much of that stimulus cash to save a lot of teaching jobs. That’s got to get him in good with the teachers union.
JetBoy on April 14, 2010 at 2:08 PM

In terms of crossover votes to win the Republican Primary, sure.

But in a general election? No effen way the Teachers Union is going to oppose the Democrat.

Crist wrote off any possible hope of winning a long time ago. His ONLY goal now is to harm Rubio and the Republican Party.

logis on April 14, 2010 at 2:33 PM

logis on April 14, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Agent Orange does seem to be rather spiteful. You could be correct on the hanging around hoping to damage Rubio.

DFCtomm on April 14, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Normally I would agree with you, but these are not average political times. The Crist love fest with the Obama Regime has left a mark. The longer this nation is in this death spiral, the more the citizenry is going to despise anyone who snuggled up to President Me.

Selling out Rudy G. is even going to leave a mark with some in Florida.

freeus on April 14, 2010 at 2:42 PM

if he goes (I), then none of his advisors better get another gig in a GOP campaign, ever

phreshone on April 14, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Apparently the NRSC still hasn’t learned to stay out of the states primaries. At this point I only see Rubio getting better polling numbers as the primaries get closer.

PS: as a registered Republican voter in Florida I am with Rubio and have been since he announced his decision to run against the Liberal Crist.

Nascar70 on April 14, 2010 at 3:40 PM

To quote a very wise woman: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should!” S.P. 4/14/10

Dan Pet on April 14, 2010 at 3:40 PM

This might be a set up for Crist to say, “Although advisors and members of the public are recommending that I run as an independent and I appreciate their support, I am support the Republican Party too much to endanger this senate seat. Therefore, I am throwing my full support to Marco Rubio. I hope you will all do the same.”

Then, hang out, get some CONSERVATIVE CRED, until 2012 and shoot for the Senate again. There Charlie: Advice – 10 cents, You bowing out gracefully – PRICELESS.

Dan Pet on April 14, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Does anyone think this may be a better option for him?

crushliberalism

Crush I agree!! I just posted the same idea…then saw your post. IT IS A PERFECT idea. Hope he takes our advice.

Dan Pet on April 14, 2010 at 3:49 PM

If Charlie isn’t a good conservative candidate now, why would he be against Nelson? I know FL has better candidates who are conservatives and could beat Nelson. If Charlie wins we just have another RINO.

hip shot on April 14, 2010 at 4:14 PM

My power! My pretty, pretty POWER! NOOOOOOOO!

ronsfi on April 14, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Charlie, Charlie… you are not Joe Lieberman. This will not work. Trust me.

obladioblada on April 14, 2010 at 5:27 PM

If Charlie isn’t a good conservative candidate now, why would he be against Nelson?

Two answers:

1) ANY Republican, even Crist, would be welcome over Nelson.

2) Two years is enough time to, as mentioned above, “build conservative street cred”. The FL GOP will forgive him if he actually acts like a conservative for the next couple of years.

crushliberalism on April 14, 2010 at 7:48 PM