For much of the summer, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent, was looking like the candidate to beat in state's Senate race. A longtime moderate Republican, Crist was pulling away centrist conservatives turned off by Marco Rubio's Tea Party-backed campaign. And many Democrats were threatening to vote for Crist if political newcomer Jeff Greene, a controversial billionaire real-estate investor, had won their party's primary. But now that Rubio and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek have emerged as the nominees, will Republicans and Democrats unite behind their respective candidates, and leave Crist in the cold? (Watch Rubio's attack ad on Crist)
Crist is doomed: Charlie Crist may still do well with fence-sitters, says blogger Lexington Concord at RedState, but conservatives "likely to get out and vote" are increasingly rallying behind Rubio. And now that Kendrick Meek, an establishment Democrat "in good standing," is representing his party, there's little chance any Democrats with any influence will back Crist, especially if he continues to be coy and refuse to promise he'll caucus with the Democrats.
"Marco Rubio is solidly ahead in Florida"
Don't count out Crist just yet: True, Rubio has a lock on Tea Partiers, say the editors of the Palm Beach, Fla., Post. And he and Meek "have party machinery behind them." But Charlie Crist is still governor, and that means "he has free media from now until Nov. 2." Crist "is famous for being all things to all people," so he may still manage to lure away enough voters from both his rivals to pull this off.
"Who wins the Senate race?"
Trying to please everyone could backfire: Charlie Crist has "to walk an increasingly fine line" to woo disgruntled voters from both parties, says Jesse Zwick at the Washington Independent. After flirting with support for the Democratic health-care bill, he recently "clarified" his position by saying he'd like a chance to "fix" Obamacare. That will only "roil" the Democratic faithful. And his reiteration of his support for President Obama's economic stimulus package won't win him many GOP friends.
"Crist's fine line keeps getting finer"