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FL-Sen: Diaz-Balarts abandon Crist

December 23rd, 2009, 12:12 am admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Pull a Specter, Charlie.

U.S. Reps Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami have pulled their endorsement of Gov. Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate.

Lincoln offered few details as to why, just that Crist had “left us no alternative and he knows why.”

He said the withdrawal has nothing to do with Crist’s slumping poll numbers, and in fact, the decision was made weeks ago. But their names were only recently pulled off Crist’s webpage. He said the two Miami Republicans are unlikely to endorse anyone else in the race.

The surprising decision is the latest bit of bad news to sack Crist, whose poll numbers have dropped as opponent Marco Rubio surged. The withdrawn endorsement is doubly surprising, considering the closeness between Crist and Mario Diaz-Balart. The two served together in the Florida Senate and were always chummy.

So much for Crist’s institutional support. With this decision, Crist has lost the south Florida Cuban America machine. They’ll be happy to work for fellow Cuban American Rubio. County party committees in the rest of the state are all abandoning Crist as well. What machine support he has left will crumble and wither away long before he has a chance to use it in the primary.

Crist still seems to think that his dominant fundraising will help him carry the race. It won’t. Crist is apparently also banking on a barrage of negative media coverage that Rubio is supposedly about to get from Florida news outlets — probably fueled by Crist oppo researchers. Yet that won’t make a dent on Rubio. All he has to do is rail against the “liberal media” attacking him to parlay such attacks into big bucks. Being an anti-establishment candidate allows one to ju jitsu such attacks fairly effortlessly. Crist is screwed.

I’ve been told that Crist values political survival above all else. If that’s true, then the path forward is clear — he either switches parties, or he perishes. He’ll dominate a general election, but there’s no way he gets there as a Republican.

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