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Crist's Bombshell



Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's fundraising take makes him clear frontrunner in Senate race. AP Photo by Alan Diaz

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) collected more than $4 million in his first quarter of active fundraising for the state's open Senate seat race, an eye-popping total that may well effectively end his primary fight against former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.

Crist announced earlier today that he had collected $4.3 million in just 50 days of active fundraising between his formal entry into the race on May 12 and the end of the period on June 30.

He proclaimed himself "humbled" by the amount of support in a release touting the numbers. "I take their support seriously and continue to work every day to honor the trust and confidence they have placed in me," Crist added.

In a vacuum, Crist's number -- while very impressive -- isn't all that surprising. Crist proved his fundraising ability during his 2006 run for governor when he collected $14 million in the primary and another $20 million in the general election to financially overwhelm his opponents in each race.

But, the import of Crist's fundraising is made clearer when compared to the paltry $340,000 raised by Rubio during the same time frame.

Rubio and his team have cast the race as a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party but given the fundraising totals for the two candidates it's shaping up more like a walkover.

(The Fix was in only one legitimate fight in our entire life. Lucas Anderson was the combatant's name; the entire sixth grade of our elementary school agreed it was a tie.)

The Rubio team -- doing the best they can without much to work with -- stuck to their basic argument that this is a race about ideology, not money.

"Charlie Crist will need to spend every last cent trying to convince voters that his support for wasteful stimulus spending, cap-and-trade schemes, tax increases and liberal judges are acceptable Republican practices," said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos.

Here's the problem with that logic. If Crist raises and spends $15 million on the primary and Rubio raises and spends $2 million (or less), then primary voters will hear the Crist case (a common sense conservative who is right on social issues) a whole heck of a lot more than they will hear Rubio's case against him.

Add to that the fact that Crist begins the primary far better known statewide than Rubio and you begin to get the sense that this race is over before it ever really started -- unless, of course, Rubio can find a way to make a major bounce-back in the next fundraising quarter.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 9, 2009; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

I THINK THE BEST JOB IN POLITICS IS US SENATOR. WHY ELSE ARE THERE SO MANY OLD ONES? A 6 YR, TERM IS AN ETERNITY IN POLITICS. RE-ELECTED ONCE AND YOU HAVE A 12 YEAR CAREER IN THE EXCLUSIVE CLUB.

Posted by: mkaplan1220 | July 15, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Take it easy on Charlie he just got married.
RINO? What's that? Relationship In Name Only?

Posted by: seemstome | July 10, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

@mnteng - ROFL!!!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 9, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

It's good to see some moderate Republicans gaining ground but that just gives the yahoos who make up most of the party more clout. The entire party needs to be out of power until the entire party walks away from the nuttiness. A few outliers like Crist do not define a moderate GOP.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 9, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

Cornyn's just taking a play out of the Ds playbook. Plus, he got lucky with Cooper not running in NC and Herseth Sandlin not running in SD. Even Sink in FL might have given Crist a run for his money -- and at least made the NRSC play a bit of defense.

He's still got a Bunning problem though. And he has to at least think about KBH's successor.

Posted by: mnteng | July 9, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

m_i_a: is the GOP calling him a RINO?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 9, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm four, bsimon. But because I like Crist I was relieved to read the post.

ChrisFox8, bsimon1, bb, drindl, mnteng, sverigegrabb and reason5, if Cornyn is going to do well with his Senate campaign it really does look as if he is steering a course back toward the right-center. Is it possible that my undistinguished [neither a star nor a fool] junior senator is on to something that most of the R establishment is missing?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 9, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

drindl, what I will say about the Crist photo is that its an unfortunate selection, given the positive nature of the story for Crist. In the photo he looks more like he just stepped off a plane from buenos aries than like a guy who raised over $4 million in 50 days.

==

It's an old photo, I think it was up there a few weeks ago too.

He looks to me like a guy whose dog just died

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 9, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:

I thought he was dropping out too -- because someone was going to out him.

As long as we're here, I'll have a "Sex on the Beach", barkeep.

Posted by: mnteng | July 9, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

drindl, what I will say about the Crist photo is that its an unfortunate selection, given the positive nature of the story for Crist. In the photo he looks more like he just stepped off a plane from buenos aries than like a guy who raised over $4 million in 50 days.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 9, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Still, we are hanging out at the political geek bar

==

You owe me a new keyboard!

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 9, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@mnteng - My thought was, he's withdrawing? Still, we are hanging out at the political geek bar, so definitions of bombshell may vary.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 9, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Really, bsimon. But look at the last two photos. It's like the entire R party is really white guys with really white hair.

But they all sure do know how to nasty.

Posted by: drindl | July 9, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Poor guy, he has a positive bombshell to grab the attention for a while, and Ensign comes out with a mistress payoff.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 9, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Whew, unless Kendrick Meeks wants to end his political career...he'd better back out now and run for reelection in his house seat. Barring the thought that Jeb Bush decides to run for the open senate seat, Crist takes this one in a cake walk. Rubio & Meeks are both done for in this race. Charlie Crist will make Florida an easy Republican hold. This is great news for John Cornyn & the Republican party. 2 of 5 potential retirement disasters have became 2 very easy Republican holds: Florida & Kansas.

Posted by: reason5 | July 9, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Me three. After the Ensign, Sanford & Palin 'bombshells' I did not expect to see positive news for Crist.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I thought the same thing, mteng.. 'oh, he's finally come out." But I guess not.

"Rubio and his team have cast the race as a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party '

If the republican party HAD a heart, soul or brain... but no.

Rubio's fate is a good indication of the fate of the whole party in future -- dead as a trotskyite.

Posted by: drindl | July 9, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Crist is a sane moderate man, Rubio is a far-right nutbar. This is good news for Florida but I doubt it will make much of an impression on the GOP.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Hope the fact that you remember your sixth-grade (what age is that?) tormentor's name isn't a testament to your wishing it had been a KO! Retrospectively, I'm bucking for you!

The great Crist story is intriguing on many levels:

Is it the momentum of Crist being better-known ('way better', as you would say) than Rubio the decisive factor?

Is this (FINALLY) a sign to the Republican powers that be to move away from the sharp Right-wing/evangelical stance which has turned off so many of the national/local electorate?

Is it 'just' money? Is FL changing (i.e., are state Republicans moving towards the centre?)? All of the above? None of the above? Other?

I'd love some insight into the factors behind the numbers.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 9, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. I wonder what kind of reflection it is on me and/or the MSM that when I saw "Bombshell", I immediately assumed "scandal". Maybe my ambivalence is also due to the fact that these numbers are not all that unexpected, given Crist's previously-displayed fund-raising prowess. And Rubio's numbers came out 2 days ago.

Posted by: mnteng | July 9, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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