'I won't vote for Marco because I know Marco,' Hillsborough Republican commissioner says of Rubio
TAMPA — Republicans across Florida overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to nominate Sen. Marco Rubio to another six-year term in Washington.
Don’t count Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist among them.
Crist, a Republican who served in the Florida Legislature during Rubio’s fast ascension to power in Tallahassee, said he voted for developer Carlos Beruff in Tuesday’s primary.
And he’s not voting for Rubio in the general election either, he said Wednesday.
“I will not vote for Marco because I know Marco,” Crist said. “Most of the people I know that know him will not vote for him either.”
Crist was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1992 and moved to the Senate in 2000, around the same time Rubio won a special election to a Miami-area House seat. They both left Tallahassee in 2010 — Crist for the county commission and Rubio for the U.S. Senate.
During that time, Crist said he observed Rubio’s character — “or lack thereof,” he said — and questioned the former House Speaker’s ethics, though in vague terms that he wouldn’t elaborate on.
“The reporters may not have been able to get their hands around any of it but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” Crist said. “Those of us that were there, saw it and I’ve got zero tolerance for that.”
Rubio's campaign brushed off the criticism from Crist as sour grapes from a former political ally of former Gov. Charlie Crist (no relation), who Rubio beat in the 2010 race for U.S. Senate.
"He's still upset about his friend Charlie's loss in 2010," said Rubio spokesman Michael Ahrens. "Marco has always been there for Florida and is working hard to earn his re-election."
Crist, a backer of Jeb Bush in the presidential race, said he doesn’t plan on voting for the Democratic nominee, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, either.
Though, for at least this race it means his household will be a net positive for Democrats. His wife is a reliable Democratic voter who will cast a ballot for Murphy, he said.
“I just won’t cancel her out on this one,” Crist said.