Republican Florida Governor Charlie Crist is definitely ending his
governorship in January, and now it looks like he'll be ending his
affiliation with the GOP too. The possibility that Crist, who is facing a
tough conservative challenger in the Republican primary for Florida's
Senate seat, would run instead as an independent
has long been discussed
reports say that Crist will announce
Thursday at 5 p.m. that he is
dropping out of the GOP primary to run for the Senate as an independent.
Here's what that means for Crist, for the GOP, and for the Florida
- Shows Growing GOP Hard-Right Liberal blogger
Matthew Yglesias sees "another sign of the striking moves to the right
the Republican Party has taken since Barack Obama's inauguration. Crist
was always on the less-conservative half of the GOP spectrum, but his
main sins have been things that would have been considered banal a few
- End of Moderate Republicans The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan sighs, "the
message from the GOP couldn't be clearer: all moderate Republican
politicians should leave now - before it gets even uglier. As for the
gay ones: run, don't walk."
- Would He Caucus With Dems or GOP?
Kornacki asks, "Which party will he caucus with if he wins in
November?" He reports, "the Republican senators who were willing to talk
about the possbility of a Crist victory said they'd welcome him into
their ranks." That includes at least Senator Lindsey Graham.
On to Donors for Dear Life The Wall Street Journal's Peter Wallsten
and Valerie Bauerlein report Crist is already "planning a major
fund-raiser for Sunday in Miami to try to keep most of his big donors
from fleeing the campaign."
- Not a Done Deal The
Washington Post's Chris Cillizza warns, based
on conversations with sources close to the Governor, "Crist has shown a
propensity to change his mind on things abruptly in the past (see Giuliani,
Rudy) and that until he officially announces his independent
candidacy it won't be a done deal."
- Implies Rubio's Credit
Card Scandal Isn't Much The Atlantic's Chris Good points out that
Crist's campaign has been playing up an alleged credit card scandal
possibly involving Crist's conservative challenger, Marco Rubio. But,
"If Crist thinks anything damaging will come out on Rubio, that would
form an incentive for him to wait it out and keep running in the GOP
primary." Crist isn't waiting it out.
- The Folly of Basing
Decisions on Polls National Journal's John Mercurio reminds us
that polls change. "Crist's decision on whether to bolt the GOP and run
for Senate as an independent is driven in part by polls suggesting that
his prospects brighten dramatically in a three-way vote. But the
election is still more than six months away. And six months ago, similar
polls showed Crist sporting supposedly "insurmountable" leads in the
GOP primary over some nobody named Marco Rubio."
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