How many Republicans can Charlie Crist hold while veering left?
Charlie Crist is threading a needle — successfully so far — in trying to build a coalition of enough Democratic, Republican and independent supporters to pull off an unprecedented nonpartisan statewide victory. But as Gov. Crist reaches out more and more to Democratic voters, he's in danger of alienating Republicans he still needs to win the U.S. Senate race.
The man who for years touted his conservatism has in recent weeks vetoed an antiabortion bill; applauded the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, after opposing Sonia Sotomayor when he was a Republican; reversed course and said he supports repealing "don't ask, don't tell"; consistently praised President Barack Obama's response to the BP oil catastrophe; and endorsed a redistricting reform proposal reviled by most Republican leaders in Florida."I was certainly hoping to support my hometown Republican, but I was expecting that he would still hew to core Republican principles. Most of the positions that he's taken since he became independent have been too left for me,'' said St. Petersburg lawyer Rob Eschenfelder, who plans to vote "with very little enthusiasm" for Republican Marco Rubio.
"I don't want that Senate seat to be handed over to the Democrats — be that an open Democrat or someone who acts like one."