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Rubio's Running in Florida Senate



Former Florida State House Speaker Marco Rubio is running for the Senate. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R) will run for the open seat being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez (R), setting up a near-certain primary fight with popular Gov. Charlie Crist next year.

"I want to serve in the United States Senate because I believe that our country is at the proverbial crossroads and that our future will depend on which path we choose," Rubio says in a video announcing his intentions set to be formally released at 10 am. "This campaign isn't going to be a campaign against anyone, nor will it be a campaign against anything."

Rubio, a protege of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has been contemplating a bid for months -- a calculation complicated by Crist whose interest in the race has grown considerably since Martinez announced his retirement.

As we reported this morning in the White House Cheat Sheet, Brian Seitchik, who served as political director to California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner's gubernatorial bid until recently, has moved to Florida and will manage Rubio's race. Look for a number of Bush loyalists to also work on Rubio's behalf -- either publicly or, more likely, behind the scenes.

Crist is expected to run and make his decision public once the state legislative session formally ends. Rubio's announcement could speed up the Crist timetable, however.

The governor starts the primary with a clear edge over Rubio thanks to his name identification statewide. But, Crist is not the favored candidate of many Florida conservatives and Rubio is likely to paint the race as an ideological fight.

"We see this race shaping up as the Pennsylvania Senate primary that never was," said one adviser to Rubio's campaign granted anonymity to speak candidly about strategy. "Like [Sen. Arlen] Specter, Charlie Crist is outside of the mainstream of the Republican Party."

The Democratic field is led by Rep. Kendrick Meek although state Sen. Dan Gelber also gets favorable reviews from Florida politicos.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 5, 2009; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Just what we need, a Bush protege. That in and of itself is enough to vote against the guy.

Are the nearly extinct Moderate Republicans coming alive in Charlie Crist?

Posted by: chucky-el | May 5, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Florida's primaries are closed, giving Rubio a big advantage over Crist.

This year's Republican legislative session might as well have been in Mississippi.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 5, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Fla does not have open primaries. Crist is very popular and would win a general election against anybody. If Rubio should win the GOP primary the Democrats will gain a Senate seat. If Crist runs and leaves the governors office vacant watch the real battle of the Governorship. JEB and his cronies totally gerrymandered the legislature so the GOP has 65% of seats in both houses. A Democratic governor could get a fair reapportionment after the 2010 census.

The GOP has turned Fla into a backroom, big interest cesspool - they just voted to remove all development regulations so the real estate business can grow. This is how Fla got into this mess in the firest place - and they cut funds for schools which rank 49th in funding already. Bush and his buddies destroyed Florida.

Posted by: Wahoobear | May 5, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The Florida primaries are open, right? That is, regardless of your party registration you can pick and choose candidates of either party. If the primaries are closed as they are in Pennsylvania, then Rubio might have a chance! Why so many GOPs want to "purge" people like Crist just baffles me...or maybe they feel better losing than winning. When you're out of power, it's even more easy to blame the "liberals" for all the problems!

Posted by: taylorb1 | May 5, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Rubio is a Bushy that's for sure he has the same my way or the highway attitude as Jeb. He and the republican party here in Florida have shown there caring ways by turning down 444 million for unemployment insurance because it doesnt fit with there ideology . I Will be voting against Rubio and any republican for that matter they have ruined our state just as they ruined the national economy . With our state budget wayy in the red they still found a way to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy who buy yachts and expensive airplanes while they raise every fee and license you can imagine and then claim look we did not raise taxes just everything else. No thanks Rubio our state and country can not afford any more of your type of leadership if you want to call it that.

Posted by: doug12342 | May 5, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

How ugly can this get?

Will Rubio's Schiavo/Bush involvement (plus his general right-wing views) hurt him?

Will the rumours about Crist's being gay (well, bi- I expect, as he did get married) be dragged up?

What is the mood of the Florida Republican primary electorate? How 'popular' is Jeb nowadays since his brother befouled the pool? How much might Crist's 'Specteresque' views help or hurt him in the primary when balanced against the invariable disenchantment ('sorry, folks, Superman's cape is at the cleaners') with him as Governor?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | May 5, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

This Cuban right wing nut will not win state wide office here in Florida. Hialeah with the old Cubans is his stumping ground.

Posted by: truth1 | May 5, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse


how old is crist?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 5, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think Crist is too far ahead for Rubio to really win a primary against him. Crist is a popular governor, a great fundraiser, a charasmatic campaigner & a proven winner. I realize Crist isn't popular with social conservatives, supports climate change initiavives and that he supported the economic stimulus package. This gives Rubio grounds to make a real primary of this. However, Crist is the heavy favorite. In a R survey going head-to-head that included Crist vs. Rubio vs. Mack vs. Buchanan, Rubio only gathered 7% of the vote. Crist had about 53%. With Crists, fundraising abilities, free publicity as governor, campaign charisma & "unbeatable" reputation for the general election: Charlie Crist has about been named the next US Senator from Florida.

Posted by: reason5 | May 5, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"Rubio is likely to paint the race as an ideological fight."

Great!!! Conservative republicans must become more pure.

Posted by: knjincvc | May 5, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"Like [Sen. Arlen] Specter, Charlie Crist is outside of the mainstream of the Republican Party."


The Republican Party is more like an oxbow lake, stagnant & cut off from the main flow.


Posted by: bsimon1 | May 5, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse


oh god...a protege of Jeb Bush.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 5, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"So how do the two party fields stack up? Seems like the Republicans have a better go of things right now. Any opinions?"

Crist, if he gets the nomination, is a tactical nuke. Nothing can beat him. If the nominee is Rubio, the Dems' most likely candidates (Meek and Pam Iorio) have a shot.

From a Democratic perspective, it'd be great if Rubio could pull a Toomey and defeat the far more electable Crist, but I can't see that happening.

Posted by: SeanC1 | May 5, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

So how do the two party fields stack up? Seems like the Republicans have a better go of things right now. Any opinions?

Posted by: DDAWD | May 5, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Rubio is a self-serving climber who will add nothing of value to the senate. He is typical of the gang that has infiltrated Florida politics. The fact that he is a protege of Jeb Bush doesn't add to his image.

Posted by: monbac07 | May 5, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Rubio is not only a Bushie (primarily for Jeb, and that is dangerous), but please don't forget that HE and JEB and MEL kept that poor tragedy of Terry Shiavo going on forever! The Republicans, who expose that government should not get involved in people's lives and believe in smaller government, seem to always want to get involved in people's lives, particularly making a spectical of that poor woman. What were they thinking....obviously not of Terri Shiavo, but for their own political gain. Discusting, but typical of these people. Please remember these dispictable acts when Rubio and Jeb starts campaining!

Posted by: anon38 | May 5, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous said:

"Like [Sen. Arlen] Specter, Charlie Crist is outside of the mainstream of the Republican Party."

Vbhoomes, I assume Crist is not your vision for the Rs, but I know that the pragmatist in you must shudder at the purging of moderate Rs. I am not suggesting from the remark quoted that FL Rs will actually purge their popular governor, but the quote reminded me of the unfortunate tendency. Someone here, could have been you, pointed out that senators represent states, not parties, and in the end, party is an artificial construct, not in the Constitution, while state and regional representation are.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 5, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

rubio is a bushie.
not smart, not ethical, not kind. one of those fake christians who give Christians a bad name

Posted by: newagent99 | May 5, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

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