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Crist just might resurrect his Senate campaign

Since Florida Gov. Charlie Crist dumped the Republican Party to become an independent yesterday in his sinking candidacy for U.S. Senate, I've heard two intriguing things that make me think that Crist is not the dead man walking the Republicans want you to believe he is.

Today Show co-host Meredith Vieira asked Crist whether he deserted the GOP or whether the party has become so intolerant that there's no room for a tolerant voice. "This is a desertion by nobody," he said. "This is an embracing of all the people."

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He went on to say -- as he said over and over and over again in that interview -- that all of the people of Florida should have a say in who represents them in the Senate. Translation: Crist may have left the Republican Party, but he still needs the votes of some party faithful if his independent bid is to be successful. Only 22 percent of Florida voters are registered without party affiliation.

According to a Quinnipiac poll released April 15, Crist got 30 percent of the Republicans, 27 percent of the Democrats and 38 percent of the Independents. He will need to peel off moderates in the Republican and Democratic Parties and hang onto as many Independents as possible to turn that positive poll into electoral reality in November. Disparaging Republicans -- even though we all know Tea Party types who have taken over the GOP drove Crist out -- wouldn't be smart or prudent.

And then there was this nugget from the Rasmussen Reports poll released on April 22. "Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters now approve of the way Crist is handling his job, up 11 points from a month ago." With a job approval rating like that, no wonder Crist wants to listen to the people. Yes, he'll have to build his independent campaign plane as he flies it toward the general election. But he'll do so with this comforting thought (comforting at this moment in time, of course): The activist wing of the GOP that will dole out the party's nomination might not like Crist, but a sizable majority of Floridians who will actually send someone to Washington love the guy.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 30, 2010; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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The FL senate race has some strong implications for the Republican party. If Rubio continues to trail Crist in statewide polling it is going to make it abundantly clear that the hard right turn was wrong. I look for a moderate resurgence in the Republican party. It was a colossal mistake to to turn their party over to Fox and Limbaugh.

Posted by: chucko2 | April 30, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I very much agree with this article. I think Crist is a moderate who did the correct thing when he supported Obama, which demonstrates more intelligence than shown by most "party of NO" Republicans and Tea Party advocates. I hope he wins and I think he will.

Posted by: mmcmanus0121 | April 30, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Crist elected Senator Crist is a done deal. The GOP shot themselves with their abaddonment of a sitting governor for the tea party candidate and I'm shaking my head at low the dems were to see the opurtunity provided by a three way race and not getting a stronger slate of candidates for their primary.

Posted by: snake_taylor | April 30, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Crist has done a fair job as governor but his career is toast now. All of these polls were taken right after Crist looked into the camera and said he was a republican, would run as a republican and would back the winner of the republican primary. Yesterday he showed he was lying to the voters of Florida when he said that.

Voters don't like liars.

Posted by: robtr | April 30, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

It is rather interesting how a very liberal opinion writer can be an expert on Republican politics. If Rubio was the governor being Cuban and Hispanic, would Mr Capehart have the same point of view if the Florida Republicans were rejecting a hispanic in favor or a white person?

Posted by: sales7 | April 30, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

As a "moderate" Independent from Florida....I will be voting for Crist.....

ANYBODY BUT RUBIO.....We need "less" extremists in D.C not more.

Posted by: StayinCivil | April 30, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

As a "moderate" Independent from Florida....I will be voting for Crist.....

ANYBODY BUT RUBIO.....We need "less" extremists in D.C not more.

Posted by: StayinCivil | April 30, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

As a "moderate" Independent from Florida....I will be voting for Crist.....

ANYBODY BUT RUBIO.....We need "less" extremists in D.C not more.

Posted by: StayinCivil | April 30, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

**Sniff, sniff**

I smell trolls.

Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts....Florida....America.

Marco Rubio will win this election.

Those of you who think he won't are kidding yourselves.

Maybe then you'll come to the realization that America is tilting conservative, and strongly so.

And you have only your unholy trio of Obama, Reid and Pelosi to thank for it.

Posted by: etpietro | April 30, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

This is one Floridian who will be casting a vote for Charlie Christ - his defection from the party of "no" may be the smartest move he ever made!

Posted by: Plm124 | April 30, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Even though I am a democrat I hope Crist runs and wins. He sounds like a resonable human being. The republician party has gone too far by alignining themselves with the teabaggers and pro-gun white militia groups. Talk about scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

Posted by: chowdown1 | April 30, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I love to see that all the demoncrats are voting for "moderate republican". I guess that at least assuages your guilt for voting for Obama.

Posted by: bobilly2 | April 30, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

lol I love the title of this post. I see what you did there, Capehart.

Posted by: dkp01 | April 30, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

A democrat, a republican, and an independent. Let the people of Florida vote for who they really want. Wouldn't it be nice if all elections were like this.

Posted by: barferio | April 30, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

If Crist ends up winning this race it will be the "Scott Brown" moment in reverse. And of course, even the Scott Brown moment wasn't real: just look at his voting record so far. If the Baggers weren't so busy claiming his election proved their point they would be busy drawing swastikas on his photograph and lynching him in effigy (or for real). As a Dem I hope Crist wins because he is the kind of politician we actually need: a moderate who can work sincerely with both sides. His election would bode well for the next few years. If Rubio gets the seat instead then we are in for a rough ride.

Posted by: gposner | April 30, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I am a republican from Florida who is still thilled with our hard working President Obama....and I will vote for Crist for Senator. My party got railroaded by a bunch of white racist (yes I believe this is the root of the tea party's problem) middle aged men and their incredibly stupid wives. CRIST FOR SENATE!!

Posted by: lynnie1960 | April 30, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Senator Christ is a done deal.

Say what one wants to but the fact is being stamped as Republican or Democrat is not going to cut it. Both of them are doing a poor job.

His move has set him free and they both will beg him to go along when voting on some critical bills is presented in the Senate.

Posted by: swavde | April 30, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Every political junkie and talking head owes Crist a big "thank you!"

Posted by: Garak | April 30, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

If he is elected, the learning curve will be shorter. He already knows how to lie.

Posted by: lbvanhoy | April 30, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"It is rather interesting how a very liberal opinion writer can be an expert on Republican politics."

I see. So therefore, the very conservative Republicans on FOX should not be taken seriously when opining on Democratic politics. Which, by extension, means Republicans on FOX shouldn't be taken seriously at all.

Posted by: menaman | April 30, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Is Crist's situation really much different than Lieberman's last election? Both parties have been held hostage by extremists. We see it virtually every election cycle - especially at the Presidential level - bow to the extremists in the primaries and then go towards the center in the general election. Maybe, just maybe Crist pulls it out and maybe the message will be clear - an extremist on either side is just a fringe element and do not represent most people. Crist has a point - bag the primaries and just have a free for all general election.

Posted by: notamullethead | April 30, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

And so goes Mr. Crist good to know you and fare thee well.

Posted by: almorganiv | April 30, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I don wonder why 'moderate = evil'. While this is almost totally the case in the Republican party these days, it is not unfamiliar territory for Democrats.

Perhaps we do seriously need a centrist 3rd party -- populate it with folks like Lieberman, Collins, Crist, virtually any Republican from the northeast (there are still some), plus a fair number of centrist Democrats, plus a large number of independents.

With a real centrist 3rd party, perhaps, just perhaps, this country will be governed instead of being sound bitten.

Posted by: Barry8 | April 30, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

**Sniff, sniff**

I smell trolls.

Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts....Florida....America.

Marco Rubio will win this election.

Those of you who think he won't are kidding yourselves.

Maybe then you'll come to the realization that America is tilting conservative, and strongly so.

And you have only your unholy trio of Obama, Reid and Pelosi to thank for it.

Only an idiot would predict a winner. It is way too early to predict.

I remember all the tea baggers saying the same thing about Doug Hoffman being a shoo in in the NY 23rd District. How did that turn out for ya (wink). LOL.

I think the GOP has made a mistake abandoning the moderates and intellectual Republicans and embraced the shouting, ignorant mob, tea baggers... I guess we will see.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | April 30, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

robtr...I guess you don't know any politician that ever said one thing and did another. How about a President that repeated over and over and over again, if you make LESS than 250,000 a year you will pay no new taxes. Instead we are paying NEW taxes on many things already and there is plenty more to come. That's just one thing I will mention. Believe me I don't even have time to type all the other lies.

Posted by: cgetsee | April 30, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Charlie is done..put a fork in him.

Posted by: economy48 | April 30, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Odd as it has all turned out to be, Charlie Crist, of all people, turns out to be the ONE moderate Republican who has any chance to reclaim any kind of political influence for all moderate Republicans anywhere.
Moderate Republicans have been chased out of the Republican Party for years now.
I truly hope that the people of Florida see to it that he is elected to the Senate because this country is NOT well served by having one of the two major political parties taken over by radicals.

Posted by: cms1 | April 30, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Here's one liberal Democrtic Floridian who will vote for Crist in the general election. I was sick and tired of the hold the Democrats had on Florida a few years ago and now I have the same feeling for the Republicans.

Posted by: yarcan228 | April 30, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Admit it.You wanted to say ; I Wish Crist Could Resurect His Senate Campaign.

Posted by: Imarkex | April 30, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Admit it.You wanted to say ; I Wish Crist Could Resurrect His Senate Campaign.

Posted by: Imarkex | April 30, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

To say that last year's races prove a conservative tsunami is a bit premature. The Democrat won in NY-23, and NJ's new GOP governor, in office only 3 months, is already at 63% disapproval. Never mind the McDonnel confederate history and other racist gaffes. People are starting to see how these conservative GOP/Tea Party people will govern, and I bet they are not liking it. Rubio will prove a flash in the pan once the senior FLoridians understand what he wants to do with their Social Security and Medicare.

Posted by: pb185 | April 30, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Rubio will win the seat this fall.

Posted by: jlbliemeister | April 30, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Crist will be resurrected? Hail Lord Crist!

Posted by: johng1 | April 30, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

To be honest, I don't know much about Crist. But this article makes me want to learn more. A truly moderate "Republican." Is there such a thing today? If there is, then I want to see what one looks like. Even in the guise of an Independent.

Posted by: Sofie230 | April 30, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Carl Rowe & Jeb Bush support Rubio. Isn't that enough reason not to vote for him ? Oh yea, Rubio is a thief, he used the Republican parties credit card for personal items ... I'm sick of Foreign Imports, I like Crist.

Posted by: wasaUFO | May 1, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

YOU WISH! You east coat libs still don't get it even after Scott Brown! There is going to be an earthquake in November and the bought and paid for media can't dispense enough propaganda to stop it. People are fed up with this corrupt congress and administration. The only votes dems will get are from trial lawyers, wall street bankers and the non productive segment of society including some of the union workforce, but not all.

Posted by: kj07241958 | May 1, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Sales7 wrote:"It is rather interesting how a very liberal opinion writer can be an expert on Republican politics."
Um, hey goober it's not exactly rocket science to be an expert on Republican politics. It's also not rocket science to know that republican office holders know what most goobers don't, i.e. that they are completely understood by the rest of America (you know, the 80% that aren't republicans) to be the party that votes with the wealthy, with big business and against the middle class. They know that 2012 is not going to be the year that they "get back in power" but the year that republicans are completely voted out of office, everywhere. Republicans=NO to anything except the interests of the wealthiest 1% and the biggest businesses (GE, Exxon, Haliburton, Carlyle, Monsanto, etc, etc, etc.)

Posted by: Watcher1 | May 1, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
01 May 2010

Charlie Crist is--or was--a Republican who was not a prisoner of ultra-conservative Republican partisan ideology, and one who therefore was able to work on a cooperative and collaborative basis with Democrats as governor Florida.

That was how Governor Crist was able to get things done for the state and people of Florida.

Obviously, Charlie Crist has ceased to be attractive to the Republican machine of Florida. And so the Republican machie is supporting Mario Rubio in his bid to get elected to the U.S. Senate. Mr. Rubio happens to be a dye-hard conservative Republican, in the mold of Mitch McConnel, John Cornyn, Richard Shelby, John Kyl and others whose constant refrain in the U.S. Senate these critical days is "No!" to the Democrats' major initiatives for America.

But Florida voters are no dumb fools. They may yet spring a surprise by preferring Crist to Rubio. They went for Crist before, and they may go for him again this time around.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | May 1, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Congressman Kendrick Meek is already at 25% without spending a dime on ads. He is a smart telegenic New Jack Politician. -A former state tropper, with a hard motivated base, and a national constituency. He has learned from President Obama the power of grass root organizing.
Now he has a very convienent primary rival, which will give him a good tune up and an opportunity to build his ties and recognition with state and national Democrats and claim a victory before the general. In the meantime Crist and Rubio will be snipping and gripping with each other over Republican party theory and practice.

Plus, I don't buy the conventional wisdom about an (R)comeback or surge in the Mid Terms.

Republicans benifitted from (D) dumbness over health e reform and the newness to power,
Newbies like Ed Shultz had folk like Dennis Kucinish running their mouth and grand standing, depressing the base. They were new to power.
But with the passasge of HCR Obama the candidate is back and on attack.

Republicans got lucky in Va, NJ and paricularly Mass. In each case the Democratic Candidate was flawed. - Terry McC would have probably won, in VA.
In NJ Corzine was tired, Christie was a tribal favorite and got some pity. And, in Mass Coakley not only choked but was unloved by the Boston machine, - that did not want to be stuck with her forever. Brown will go down in 12', unless he moves to the middle or switches parties.
Which brings us to Crist. For sure, he is a victim of Tea-Partyism.
The Republican establishment is weak because of its loss to PrezO and failures in governing. The country was attacked the markets cracked and world image sunk.
Now "Drill baby drill" has become"Spill baby spill." With the States Rights Repubicans crying for Federal help. Its pitiful.
Now, cong Kendrick Meek is being handicapped by by MSM's old thinking, 'He can't win', it is 'the same old song.'
'Its Charlie and Rubio that we have to watch and cover.'
But Meek will rise in the polls, win the three way and then be a favorite for a spot on the national ticket in 12', as PrezO's heir apparent.
JC, get on top of this!

Posted by: empireport | May 1, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Please put NY-23 in perspective. If the local Republicans had not trotted DeDe Suckafender, a tarted up progressive democrat, to run as a Republican and had run Doug Hoffman from the start Doug Hoffman would now be in office.

Republicans need to get rid of rinos like Collins, Snowne, McCain and start putting up fiscally responsible candidates.

The NY-23 was due to the lack of a primary election, and a stupid Republican selection of a miserable candidate.

Crist is done stick a fork in him. Senator Rubio will join many fiscally responsible reprentatives after the November elections. Obama is already a lame duck and hopefully the Republicans will run someone like Mitch Daniels.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | May 1, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The polls showed that Crist might have lost the Republican primary for the Senate, so he quit. Mr. Capehart assesses that "we all know Tea Party types who have taken over the GOP drove Crist out." I must have missed Mr. Capehart's column about the sad case of Obama and his core constituency - the media - driving Hillary Clinton out of the Democratic party in 2008. Indeed, there would not have been enough ink or newspaper to contain the outrage had she run as an independent.

Posted by: JiminVaBch | May 1, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Governor Charlie Crist said something that resonates with a growing (and significant) number of American voters - "Our political system is broken."

After listening to his announcement of an independent run for the Florida senate seat, I now think there's reason to hope for a third major political party - call it the Independence Party - to emerge from growing voter disdain for our two-party political system. (It is ironic that it comes at a time when Britain's parliamentarian system has taken an "American turn" with televised national debates between the three candidates for prime minister - and the third party candidate has a slim chance to win.)

Republicans and Democrats in Florida need to consider the messages coming out of the Republican and Democratic campaigns.

Marco Rubio, who has yet to answer for alleged illegal use a Republican state party credit card, issued a vague statement about "party or non-party" affiliation being "less consequential than principles and policies that will define American for decades to come." Was he talking about his own party being split by fractions and suffering from a lack of unifying principles? We all would like to know what principles and policies will define American for decades to come.

Congressman Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate who will fight to overcome strong public distrust of Congress, also committed a gaffe when he said Crist's independent run would "confuse" voters in Florida. Why would people in Florida be confused about their sitting governor running as an Independent?

Posted by: LiveFree | May 2, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

With more than six months until November the Florida recount is a long way from over. Charlie Crist is a man who understands that governing his state involves listening to all the people and serving them all as he leads. He broke with the party whenever it meant doing the wrong thing for Florida. The Republican Party did not like that. He is and has been the moderate voice of reason this country needs. Someone Republicans, Democrats and Independants can trust to do what is right. No, he is not always right, but he is always got the people at the center of his decisions. He has proven that with his veto of a bad bill which would have punished teachers and students instead of properly rewarding and supporting them. He fought against insurance companies that would have destroyed businesses and families. He has controlled the greedy energy companies efforts to raise rates outlandishly. He has fought against offshore drilling and spoke up for NASA. He forged a deal to capture revenue from Seminole tribe casinos. He has brought the budget under control with unprecedented falling revenues, while keeping schools afloat. The other two cannot begin to match his record. So, I am glad to see him continue to fight for the state. This independant voter will gladly vote for you for Senator. I hope you win. It is very noteworthy to see how his choice has already softened Mr. Rubio attacks on Washington, as we now really have an unencumbered candidate who is pledged to improving it. The people have come to count on you. I hope now you will be able count on them.

Posted by: MagicKey | May 2, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Charlie Crist sees the problem and he leiminates it. His problem was republican party lying agendas, so he eliminate it.
I think that is exactly what people are looking in senators today.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | May 2, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Crist said "This is an embracing of all the people."

Charlie is good at hugging but not governing.

He drove all the reputable property insurance companies out of Florida because he was saving the residents from rate increases.

Now the choices are new companies without financial reserves or self insure thru the state.
This is a serious mess for all Fl home owners.

He doesn't want to be Governor any more because he doesn't want to deal with the consequences of his stupid actions.

His whole political career has been a series of changing jobs and running for a new office every 2 yrs. He gets bored easily.

Fla Democrats call him a lightweight.

Why would he be any better as a Senator?

Home owners won't be voting for Charlie.

Posted by: mlemac | May 3, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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