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Crist could become his own worst enemy

The GOP is cheerfully lining up attacks against Charlie Crist using his own words from before his political defection.

Associated Press

The GOP is cheerfully lining up attacks against Charlie Crist using his own words from before his political defection.

Charlie Crist is the front-runner in Florida's U.S. Senate race for now, but nobody should underestimate how difficult it will be to pull off an unprecedented statewide victory as a nonpartisan candidate.

He needs a big chunk of the Democratic vote and 20 percent of the Republican vote to make the math work, and he'll have both the Democratic and Republican parties spending millions of dollars to make sure that doesn't happen. There is loads of ammunition to raise Democratic doubts about the former lifelong Republican.

Pictures and video of Crist cheering alongside George W. Bush? Check. Alongside Sarah Palin? Check.

Now, the Marco Rubio campaign is cheerfully talking about sending thousands of Democratic households across Florida an automated call from the 2006 gubernatorial primary featuring Crist's own voice touting his conservative bona fides:

"Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I'm pro-life. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program. … Floridians need a consistent conservative."

Ouch. To say the least, that would confuse a lot of ardent Democrats in South Florida.

Dems see pay dirt in GOP's dirty laundry

While Democrats across the country are fearing midterm elections thanks to the poor approval ratings of Congress and the White House, Florida Democrats continue to argue optimistically that in the Sunshine State November will really be a referendum on the Republican leadership in Tallahassee.

"Over the last six months, it has only gotten worse for the GOP. Republican Party chairman Jim Greer was finally taken away in handcuffs, and his trial date has been set for October. The Greer indictment has exposed a wash of Republican corruption and the secret backroom deals surrounding him have implicated the entire Republican leadership, from Bill McCollum to Dean Cannon to new Republican chairman John Thrasher. Floridians are forced to wonder which Republican politician or party boss will be indicted next while they listen to wiretaps of Republican officials airing their dirty laundry,'' said a strategy memo from state Democratic executive director Scott Arceneaux.

For the first time ever in a nonpresidential election year, the state and national party are planning a full "coordinated campaign," a potentially expensive program to mobilize voters to elect Democrats up and down the ticket.

Democrats put some big bets on Florida

For all the attention on the Senate race, the fact remains that far and away the biggest Florida priority for the White House is winning the governor's mansion — which would provide a crucial leg up in 2012. The bloody GOP primary between Rick Scott and McCollum has Democrat Alex Sink looking especially strong.

So we shouldn't be especially surprised that the Democratic National Committee recently transferred $400,000 to the Florida Democratic Party to help elect Sink and other Florida Democrats. That was on top of $333,000 transferred to the state party earlier in July.

Libertarian on 'Political Connections'

Check out Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Alex Snitker on Political Connections today at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Adam Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

Loser

of the week

Bill McCollum. Poor McCollum. First his expectations for an effortless primary were dashed when megarich businessman Rick Scott came out of nowhere and started spending tens of millions of dollars on his outsider gubernatorial campaign. Now an appeals court has knocked out McCollum's best — and perhaps last — hope for overtaking Scott by tossing out the Florida public financing system that was poised to deliver McCollum roughly $2 million. Runnerup: Bud Chiles. The independent gubernatorial candidate also loses badly from the public financing ruling, and last week yet another poll showed the former governor's son drawing equally from Republicans and Democrats. At this rate, he's not even relevant as a potential spoiler for Alex Sink.

Loser

of the week II

Rick Scott. By all rights the Republican gubernatorial front-runner should be the obvious winner of the week. But how can we call him a winner when he seems afraid to hold even one statewide televised debate with McCollum?

Crist could become his own worst enemy 07/31/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 31, 2010 10:12pm]

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