Florida Governor and Senatorial candidate Charlie Crist (I) enjoyed a brief lead atop the polls after his abandonment of the Republican Party last month when it became evident he was going to suffer a resounding primary defeat to conservative Marco Rubio. Crist immediately began to elbow Democrat candidate Kendrick Meek for votes on the left as many conservative and moderate voters were shocked to see Crist blatantly break his promise not to run as an independent:
Crist’s brief lead atop to polls in the 3-way race was spurred by support from top Democrat strategists who immediately bolted from Meek. SKDKnickerbocker, a leading Democrat political strategy and communications firm agreed to work for Crist immediately following his turn to the left. Interestingly, SKDKnickerbocker is led by former White House Communicatiions Director Anita Dunn, who resigned after being mercilessly Becked over her praise for Chairman Mao. This development likely signals the end for Meek as an avalanche of Democrat leaders have publicly declared their support for Crist.
Despite the Democrat efforts to rally around Crist, he began to sink in the polls, falling behind Rubio by 8 points in the last Rasmussen poll released May 17th. Last Wednesday, former GOP chairman and longtime political ally Jim Greer was arrested on six felony charges connected to a money-laundering scheme. Greer’s attorney, Damon Chase, complicated matters on Saturday, contending Crist knew about the crimes and personally signed off on the confidential fundraising role. “You guys work hard. You deserve it,” Chase said Greer was told by the governor as they played pool in February 2009 at a Palm Beach golf tournament. Crist denies these accounts.
To his credit, Rubio has focused primarily on economic issues throughout his campaign, attacking Crist relentlessly on spending issues, particularly for his support for Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package last year. He was forced to defend himself against allegations regarding personal use of a GOP credit card, but this matter pales in comparison to the mess Crist now faces.
Even without the scandals plaguing the Crist campaign, Rubio’s principled conservatism would likely carry him to victory in a state suffering from 12.2 percent unemployment and populated with an inordinate number of senior citizens terrified of ObamaCare. The looming corruption issues along with Crist’s broken promise about not running as an independent portend that Marco Rubio may end up winning this election rather easily.