With Gov. Charlie Crist facing a brutal Republican U.S. Senate primary or a full-blown party mutiny if he runs as an independent, prominent supporters are urging him to consider a third option: quitting altogether.
The toughest assessment came from the arm of the national Republican party that had clamored to endorse Crist and shove aside rival Republican Marco Rubio nearly one year ago, when their positions in the polls were reversed.
“We believe there is zero chance Gov. Crist continues running in the Republican primary,” said Rob Jesmer, executive director of the National Republican Senate Committee, in a memo. “It is our view that if Gov. Crist believes he cannot win a primary then the proper course of action is he drop out of the race and wait for another day.”
The governor confirmed his party’s fears when he acknowledged for the first time Monday — after weeks of denying it — that he’s considering an independent bid.
Romney campaigns with, endorses Rubio for Senate
TAMPA — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney endorsed Marco Rubio’s campaign for the U.S. Senate at a rally Monday, saying Rubio’s message of a less-intrusive government is what Americans need to hear.
Romney, a 2008 presidential candidate who many believe will run again in 2012, said Rubio is prepared to stand up to a group Romney termed “neo-monarchists” — people who supported the government bailout of the U.S. financial institutions and auto industry.
“We’re saying no to that,” Romney told a group of 250 Rubio supporters near the University of South Florida campus. “We’re saying we want to let Americans pursue their own dreams.”
McCollum edges Sink in new poll on governor’s race
TALLAHASSEE — The race for governor has narrowed slightly with Republican State Attorney General Bill McCollum ahead of Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrats’ nominee, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
The poll showed McCollum with 40 percent of support and Sink with 36 percent.
Most voters say they approve of the job McCollum is doing as attorney general, 51-25 percent, and 38 percent have a favorable opinion about him, while 18 percent do not. But 41 percent of those polled said they who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
Sink is less well-known and less well-liked by those who know her. She gets a 39-26 percent approval rating for her job as CFO, with 22 percent of those surveyed saying that have a favorable opinion of her and 15 percent saying they do not. Sixty-one percent don’t know enough about her to form an opinion, according to the poll.
— Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau