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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist unleashed: Can this guy win?

Admit it, Florida political junkies, whether you like or loath Charlie Crist: Your mind tells you the math just Crist_unleashed_121626a doesn't work for a non-partisan, statewide candidate in Florida. But in your gut, isn't there that nagging tug that makes you think this guy could actually pull it off?

Today's story: Something peculiar is going on with Charlie Crist.

He's on the cusp of losing public office, his lifelong party is attacking him mercilessly, and some of his closest friends are yanking their support now that he's running for Senate as a nonpartisan candidate instead of a Republican. And yet even by the relentlessly cheerful standards of Gov. Crist, he seems even more upbeat and relaxed than ever.

"I'm very happy. I really am. Listen, I don't know if I've ever enjoyed being a public servant as much as I have the past few weeks because I feel really in touch with where the people are," the governor said in a wide-ranging talk with the St. Petersburg Times editorial board Thursday.

The decision to drop out of the Republican U.S. Senate primary was about political survival as much as anything, considering the polls showed him trailing Marco Rubio by more than 20 points. But Crist is now talking like a man liberated from the constraints of partisan orthodoxy.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:37am]

    

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