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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Could Crist run for re-election, rather than Senate?



It's a scenario that we hear raised surprisingly often now that Gov. Crist is in a tougher-than-expected Senate race against Marco Rubio. So today we asked Crist about the chances of that happening: "Zero. There may be hope on the part of some that that would occur - opponents perhaps, or maybe people who do business in Tallahassee - but no, that's not going to happen,'' Gov. Crist said in a wide-ranging talk with the St. Petersburg Times editorial board.

Crist Sounding engaged and no longer a bit dismissive of the Rubio threat, Crist suggested the Miami Republican has escaped significant scrutiny and has been able to campaign in a vacuum. But not for long.

"What is said sometimes on the campaign trail isn't necessarily consistent with the record...I mean, he's voted for tax increases several times as speaker and as representative,'' Crist said of Rubio. "Campaigns thank God are an educational opportunity. During the course of the next nine months or so we will strive to lay out a very good education...I believe in Reagan's 11th Commandment- thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican - but I also think you need to be honest and truthful and make sure that before people go to the ballot box they have a good opportunity to be well-informed."

Crist also downplayed the likelihood of a low-turnout prmary electorate of ardent conservatives who would kick him to the curb. For one thing, several statewide Republican primaries should increase turnout, he noted, and for another, he's plenty conservative.

"It's hard to be more concervative than I am on issues - though there are different ways stylistically to communicate that - I'm pro-life, I'm pro-gun, I'm pro-family, and I''m anti tax. (Critics will note he voted against abortion restrictions as a legislator and used to call himself "pro-choice," that he supported higher cigarette taxes) I don't know what else you're supposed to be, except maybe angry too,'' Crist said, noting a Daily Kos poll that found Rubio leading among Florida Republicans who doubt President Obama was born in America.

"There are a lot of Republicans that don't have the inclination to go to executive committee meetings,'' he said. "There is wide swath of republican voters out there that don't necessarily listen to cable tv all the time."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:07pm]


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