Florida: Crist Senate Candidacy Appears Imminent

Posted May 6, 2009 at 5:33pm

Former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R) officially threw his hat into Florida’s open-seat Senate race this week, but news of his entry was overshadowed Wednesday by talk that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) could join the race as soon as next week.

“My understanding is that [Crist] plans to— run, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. “All the signals I’ve been getting is he probably will.—

The NRSC has met with both Crist and Rubio, and party officials have talked up both candidates in the wake of Sen. Mel Martinez’s (R) decision to retire. And while Cornyn said Wednesday that he doesn’t think it’s the job of the NRSC to tell Floridians how to vote, one top GOP aide said that in a primary battle, Crist would probably earn the active support of the national party.

But Rubio could also pick up some powerful supporters in the primary. Following his announcement Tuesday, the anti-tax Club for Growth, which is known for its ability to drive fundraising for candidates it supports, released a statement praising Rubio’s entry into the race.

Rubio’s “fiscally responsible, pro-growth approach in the State Capitol stands in stark contrast with other elements of the state government, led by Charlie Crist,— club President Chris Chocola said.