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Crist Nears a Senate Decision

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is nearing a decision on the Senate race. AP Photo by Phil Coale

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to announce his decision on the 2010 Senate race by May 5 with several informed sources suggesting to the Fix that he is a near-lock to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez (R).

A Crist adviser said that the governor will not make any announcement before the legislative session ends this Friday. An impasse over how to close the state's budget gap could extend the session, however, or even force a special session. It's not immediately clear how that sort of delay would effect Crist's time line.

In recent days, Crist has been on the receiving end of a fair amount of negative media coverage -- from criticism of his relatively light public schedule and questions about his efficacy in the first three years of his term, to a debate about whether he really is a shoe-in shoo-in to be the next senator from Florida.

Whether due to those criticisms or some other unknown factor, one Florida party insider suggested that Crist wants to speed up his timetable for announcing for the Senate. "Crist may want to announce his bid sooner rather than later so he can started fundraising," said the source. "Buzz around the Capitol is that he's excited to get the campaign going and wants to hit the ground running."

Crist's decision will reverberate not only in Florida but across the country.

Crist would immediately emerge as the favorite to win the Republican primary although informed observers seem to believe that former state House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is close to former Gov. Jeb Bush, would remain in the primary.

Crist's candidacy also could have an impact on the Democratic field, with Rep. Ron Klein and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio potentially passing on the Senate race and taking a look at other statewide openings caused by the domino effect set of by Crist's departure. Rep. Kendrick Meek and state Sen. Dan Gelber are already in the race on the Democratic side.

On the national level, a Crist candidacy would likely be used in the short term as a talking point for Republican recruiters seeking to convince potential candidates that the disasters of the 2006 and 2008 elections are in the past and that things are starting to look up for the party.

In the long term, Crist's candidacy could have far-reaching financial implications for both national parties. Assuming Crist can deliver on the early polling that shows him as a strong general election favorite (not an insignificant assumption) then national Republicans may well be able to spend the millions of dollars that would have gone into defending the Florida Senate seat elsewhere -- namely New Hampshire, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Much rides on what Crist decides. Stay tuned.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 27, 2009; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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If Crist lets offshore drilling happen in Florida he won't have any democratic votes and he will lose his bid. His promises don't hold water and he goes whichever way the wind blows his skirt.
People here remember the oil spills in the 70s and in 1993 even if he doesn't.
He's no Bill Nelson.

Posted by: seemstome | April 28, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse


While I hate to beat a dead horse, there was another, very common (although not by you) error that slipped past you, in addition to the one noted by 'stpaulsage'. Namely, '...that sort of delay would effect Crist's time line'. Affect is the verb in this case while effect is actually part of a noun phrase such as, '...thas sort of delay would HAVE AN EFFECT on Christ's time line'. This distinction applys on both sides of the Pond. I expect it's a big news day and I'm being (overly?) pedantic, but your overall excellent writing (and, of course, speech--unlike Chris Matthews, despite my fondness for him) is so good that these things stand out. You mustn't let us dine on classical allusions (Homer, not The Police--although Sting used to be a teacher back in the year dot) such as '...stuck between a political Scylla and Charybdis' in one post, and then feed us on oil-soaked corn dogs in the following one!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | April 28, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Fist thing is first we need to keep charlie as gov. he has made all of these promises to us and still not yet delivered. i am still waiting for the lower property tax. that he promised and i refuse to let him off the hook. there is a petition i have found online and i believe every on should sign it
dont let him leave before the job is done...

Posted by: ajkuehner | April 28, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

as a floridian i'd rather have another moderate Rep in the US Senate...especially if Arlen Specter doesn't win re-election. Crist so far hasn't dissappointed me too much, heck he is a politicial after all. I still need to look at this Kendrick Meek fellow but Crist has my vote...for now.

Posted by: poppett | April 28, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

There's been a lot of speculation that Crist is moving to the Senate as a prelude to a presidential run in 2012, but I can't see that, for a number of reasons: first, because he'd have to announce he was running for president basically right after taking his seat, which wouldn't look very good (remember all the flak Obama got for his announcement after he'd been in the job for two years); second, I just really can't see him thinking he's got much of a chance at the Republican nomination. He's more moderate than McCain, who had huge problems because of that, and there are all the closet gay rumours, which, true or not, won't endear him to social conservatives. If he moves to the Senate, which is looking likely, it's because he wants a job where he'll never have to worry about term limits.

All in all, this is probably a decent deal for Democrats; while the Republicans save money in Florida, the Democrats too won't spend nearly as much there, and it gives them a 50/50 shot at the Governor's race, which, if they won it, would give them influence over 2012 redistricting in Florida.

Posted by: SeanC1 | April 27, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, I believe Charlie Crist will run & win the US Senate seat. The Dems. will likely still build up Kendrick Meeks, but if Crist runs for the Senate in Fl. some moderate dems. will likely register Republican to vote for him over Rubio in the primary. A Rubio vs. Crist primary will be great for the Republican party in Fl! Crist will likely win. Then, the big race goes from senate to governor's race. CFO Alex Sink will almost assuredly run for governor. Atty. General McCollum will run, but will be challenged by Ag. Comm. Charlie Bronson. It will turn into 2 big primary fights on the R side, McCollum vs. Bronson & Crist vs. Rubio. So many moderates will register R, it will be a great year in Florida for Republican's if this happens.

Posted by: reason5 | April 27, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Fine. then why deny it?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 27, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey KOZ, I spent many years in the Far East, and enough time in Japan to learn that the least offensive way of greeting someone who's preferred method of greet and respond (like shaking hands) is the Japanese bow, which, for the initiates, can be both polite and insulting at the very same time. A slight bow, or an unnecessarily profound bow, can say both, "I know the rules, you know the rules, and how are you going to interpret this bow?" and "I don't feel like accidentally insulting you and this level is something you HAVE to accept as polite, EVEN IF WE BOTH KNOW IT ISN'T). I learned much of it observing Japanese yard workers board our ship when we returned to port, giving a "Civilian Salute" to the ensign and the colors. Some of us picked up on it, bowing when boarding or leaving the ship, since you properly only salute when in uniform and covered.

Perhaps it is one more indication the current President has a great deal more understanding of subtlety and body language than our former struttin' stutterer.

Subtlety, Finesse, Panache. Some of us have it and some of us don't.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 27, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Its funny, I can start recognizing one a deranged milbrooks posting just from the first few words now. Nice, makes it easier to ignore.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 27, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

If Crist can't find a better public image then the photo attached to this thread, he is toast, since it makes him look like a cross between George Voinovitch and Elliot Spitzer.

He really looks like he is about to tell teens, "The Pill is a No NO." (Thereby I show my age.)

Posted by: ceflynline | April 27, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Rich393 | April 27, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"populist"! The magic word. We elected a populist this last time around, but he's turned out to be more of a Wall Street insider and a corporate hack. While all of the idiots on the benches, rooting for "their" side are ignoring the slide of this country into third world oblivion, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse visited over the weekend. Plague. The Swine Flu, in particular, come visiting from the Mexico City slums. That is a consequence of our negligent policy of closing down our border and the widespread news in Mexico of Janet Napolitano's issuing work permits to illegal immigrants swept up in an ICE raid in Washington state two weeks ago. It has resulted in a new avalanche of illegals swarming across the border, searching for medical care, now. I realize that this was done for purely political reasons, to win hispanic votes, but if this influenza outbreak is anywhere near as dangerous as the experts are telling us, that policy will likely result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of U.S. citizens.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 27, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

if he runs, do you think that Alex Sink will start running for Gov.?

Posted by: HoosierBorn | April 27, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

crist appears, at least so far, to be sane. therefore he stands no chance with the republican base,

Posted by: drindl | April 27, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Crist = repugnican = a-hole

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | April 27, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse




• Apparent prime offenders: Fusion centers in Southeastern PA

Can't seem to access, or post to, certain web sites -- especially, political sites?

Do cookie "blocks" show up in your "preferences" list, even though you didn't request a block, thus preventing you from access?

Are the functions of your computer "hijacked" by third-party remote computing software?

Are you prevented from fully viewing government public documents downloaded from the internet?

Are you blocked from making posts to certain web sites -- seemingly based on the content of your post, receiving messages like "you must be logged on to leave a comment" when the screen shows you've already logged on?

When you post, do typos, spelling errors and other anomalies appear in your comments -- even though you carefully proofread the submission?

You could be the unwitting victim of government "fusion centers" that apparently are using internet "filtering" and realtime remote computing surveillance to censor and maliciously interfere with the telecommunications of American citizens.

Please see this running account of an apparently "targeted" journalist and his quest to exercise his First Amendment right of free speech, and his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of telecommunications.

Then demand that American Civil Liberties Union renew its fight against warrantless government spying by filing a class-action suit against unconstitutional surveillance and malicious interference with personal and business telecommunications.

Recently, while reading the ACLU blog, this reporter learned of the Bush-Cheney "doctrine" of "ideological exclusion" -- apparently used to bar political "activists" from abroad from visiting the United States.

Could authoritarian bureaucrats be using this doctrine as a justification to censor political speech in this country?

If you suspect the answer is "yes," please add your account to the free speech thread cited above!

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 27, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"...the disasters of the 2006 and 2008 elections are in the past and that things are starting to look up for the party."

Ha, ha ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, not so fast.

This is a party whose many, many criminals won't be forgotten for years, especially not by 2010, when 1, the economy will be on the mend (even "Dr. Doom" says so) and 2, the mistakes the Democrats are making won't yet have consequences (worthless dollar and inflation).

Posted by: shrink2 | April 27, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

One thing I must say for Obama is that he has become very adept at bowing. First there was that memorable kowtow to King Abdullah, and he quickly followed that up by taking numerous bows for the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips. We are all delighted that, thanks to the U.S. military, the captain was saved, but the only people who deserve congratulations are Commander Frank Castellano, the Navy SEALs and the fantastic marksmen who hit their three targets. The only thing the Commander in Chief did was to prolong the nightmare for Capt. Phillips and his family by saying that no action should be taken unless the hostage’s life appeared to be in imminent danger.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 27, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

As a Floridian, I would vote for him.. I'm not sure if I would give him money. He's got a lot of the things I don't like about current politicians (glittering generalities, candy coating, gaffeless speeches.. this behavior pattern sort of reminds me of the Democratic way of doing things).

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 27, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, we mention the "negative media coverage" and then coyly write "[w]hether due to those criticisms or some other unknown factor." It's interesting the way the media tiptoes around this sort of thing. Of course, Chris is referring to the recent documentary film that asserts Crist is gay (see Salon 4/24: I don't mind you saying it, or not saying it, Chris -- but don't say it in code. :)

Posted by: inonit | April 27, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse


I love your work, Chris, but you made a mistake I can't stand on horse-race blogs. Shoo-in is spelled "shoo-in" (as in shoo-fly pie, shooing someone in is waving them in easily) not "shoe-in" which doesn't make any sense as a metaphor (is one hitting him with a shoe as he goes in?, buying him shoes?, shoehorning him in? - as one would have to get his libreal views to fit GOP primary voters:)

Posted by: stpaulsage | April 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

i would rather have crist run for gov, and marco rubio for senate. i agree with you chris if crist can be the favorite in fl in the general, then the nrsc can use its money elsewhere.

Posted by: dee150586 | April 27, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Crist still has his eye on a future White House bid. Something about a populist moderate draw...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 27, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

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