Wipeout: Crist raises less than a third of Rubio's total in March

Money was the last advantage he had, although of course everyone expected that to change soon too given the reversal in the polls. Well, here’s the change. From the Orlando Sentinel, a brutal Friday night news dump courtesy of Team Charlie:

Gov. Charlie Crist’s status as the golden boy of Florida political fund-raising is officially over: the governor’s U.S. Senate campaign just announced he raised $1.1 million for the three-month fundraising period that just ended.

While nothing to sneeze at, it pales in comparison to Marco Rubio’s $3.6 million gross for the same period. overall, Crist still has a mountain of cash — $10 million raised — but a lot of that is money raised for a general election looking much fuzzier today.

“We are so thankful for the broad support we continue to receive from Florida voters,” Crist campaign manager Eric Eikenberg said in a statement.

Uh huh. Take a gander at the trends in fundraising between the two campaigns over the last five quarters. Ed noted this morning that there’s still time for him to go independent, but even that would probably mean defeat. If I were Crist, here’s what I’d do. First, I’d dial up Jeb Bush and ask him whether there’s any chance whatsoever that he’ll endorse me. If he says no (which seems likely), either because he’s backing Rubio or staying out of the race, then I’d dial up Rubio and offer him a deal. In return for me dropping out right now, endorsing him, and helping him fundraise, I’d ask for a commitment that he’ll help me beat Bill Nelson in 2012. That’s really the only way at this point that Crist can regain his standing among the base, whom he’ll need to have onboard for any shot at the Senate. Kendrick Meek’s evidently going to try to make the election a referendum on the tea-party movement, which wouldn’t be a half-bad idea for an underdog in most cases — “Floridians, you don’t want to empower this neo-Klan, do you?” — but seems a bit of a tougher sell when the “neo-Klan” opponent in question is of Cuban descent. If it does become that sort of referendum and Crist ends up on the right side of it, he’ll win back plenty of goodwill among grassroots conservatives. That’s his only shot left at viability, I think.

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