When Mr. Crist threw his hat into the race for retiring Sen. Mel Martinez’s seat, the economic populist was instantly embraced by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Mr. Crist had a great brand name, great approval ratings as Florida’s governor, and a lot of money. But that was then. Unemployment has surged in Florida. The shine is coming off Mr. Crist’s stellar ratings — a recent survey showed only 42% of likely voters thought he was doing an excellent or good job. Meanwhile, Mr. Rubio has been climbing in the polls and has won nearly a dozen county GOP straw polls, which means he has juice with the people who actually vote in Florida’s closed Republican primary.
All this may sound vaguely similar to what happened in New York State…
No matter what the final outcome, the NY-23 race has changed the game for Republican primaries. Conservatives across the country are now in a search for the next Dede Scozzafava, the establishment GOP nominee Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman was able to defeat by convincing rank-and-file Republicans to leave the candidate their party’s leaders had chosen.
In Florida, Marco Rubio’s campaign says conservatives have found their new Dede in Gov. Charlie Crist.