On the day he turned 50, Charlie Crist got a birthday present you won't find at Dillard's: a Mason-Dixon Florida poll that showed him breaking the magic 50-percent barrier in his Republican primary battle with Tom Gallagher. The poll has Crist 55, Gallagher 24 and 21 percent undecided.
Crist capped a day of campaigning Monday with a birthday party fund-raiser at the Sirata Beach Resort on the Gulf in St. Pete Beach. More than 200 people turned out at the event, which featured a table of "Crist wear," T-shirts and ball caps for sale featuring the candidate's name and campaign logo. Similar "Jeb wear" items featuring the "Jeb!" logo were big sellers on the trail four years ago.
The Mason-Dixon numbers helped to give the Crist event an air of inevitability, that there's no stopping Crist now in his quest to win the Republican nomination. In fact, there are real concerns that such lopsided poll figures could cause some in Crist's camp to conclude the race is in the bag. As Crist announced his 31-point lead, he cautioned: "Now, forget that you ever heard that. Put it out of your mind. We're running like we're 20 points behind."
"I love you all. I love Florida," Crist told the crowd. "And we're gonna win for Florida."