Charlie Crist courting Pinellas, Hillsborough Republicans
The Pinellas Republican party plans to postpone its "straw poll" on the Charlie Crist/Marco Rubio race until January. In December Crist is scheduled to address the Republican Executive Committee. Obviously the governor wants to avoid the symbolic damage of his home county snubbing him by signalling their preference for Rubio, who is expected to address the group in November.
Pinellas GOP Chairman J.J. Beyrouti says it's only fair to give all the candidates an opportunity to talk to the group and that the straw poll will include all statewide candidates, not just the senate race.
Hillsborough County Republican Chairwoman Deborah Cox-Roush said she also has no plans for a straw poll this year, and if they do one next year it will be for all candidates, not just Rubio and Crist. Crist is set to address Hillsborough's Reagan Day dinner Friday.
Adam Smith, Times Political Editor