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Crist jumps; Senate Republicans condemn him

The National Republican Senatorial Committee greeted Gov. Charlie Crist's (R-Fla.) decision to run as an independent with a blistering statement from its top five leaders, from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on down, accusing Crist of lying to them and demanding thta he return Republican donations.

"More than a year ago," say the GOP leaders, "Governor Crist asked for our endorsement with a commitment that he would proudly represent Floridians and our party with principled conservative leadership. Quite simply, he did not keep his word."

The statement was released moments after Crist uttered the words "without party affiliation" at his candidate declaration rally in Florida. "Unfortunately," said Crist, "our political system is broken." His speech notably honed in on issues that attract Democrats -- teacher pay, banning offshore drilling, and voting hours.

The NRSC statement follows:

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), U.S. Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senate Republican Conference Chairman U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Republican Policy Committee Chairman U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) released the following joint statement in response to Governor Charlie Crist’s (R-FL) announcement today.

"We can no longer support the candidacy of Governor Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate. More than a year ago, Governor Crist asked for our endorsement with a commitment that he would proudly represent Floridians and our party with principled conservative leadership. Quite simply, he did not keep his word.

"The question for Floridians is whether he will keep his word about all of the new promises he makes. Elections are about trust and frankly, it is unclear whether Governor Crist deserves any.

"The Governor said he has been ‘listening to the people.’ We hope he will listen to the thousands of Republican donors who will no doubt ask Governor Crist to return their donations. We will request full refunds ourselves and we plan to put our resources and support behind Marco Rubio.

"Marco is an emerging star who represents limited government, lower taxes, and free markets, and we are confident he will be the next United States Senator from Florida."

By David Weigel  |  April 29, 2010; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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