The GOP Senate primary in Florida may be the most interesting race next Summer.
We have the squishy Governor, Charlie Crist, with ridiculously high approval ratings versus the young and talented conservative former Florida Speaker of the House in Marco Rubio.
In a time when the GOP is desperate to figure out its direction, it’s a battle for the Party’s soul.
Do we want to squash the youthful, up and coming conservative in favor of a moderate who will assuredly win the race?
And it sucks.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Marco Rubio. He is right on the issues and has a magnetic personality. And while it would cost one helluva lot, he’d have a decent shot at winning the seat. But sometimes we have to sacrifice the ideal candidate in order to protect the greater good. And that greater good is about increasing the likelihood that Democrats will not have an absolute Majority in the U.S. Senate.
We’ve already seen how dangerous our President can be without 60 Democrats in the Senate – now imagine what policies will be passed if that comes to be.
Sen. Cornyn, Chairman of the NRSC, endorsed Charlie Crist several weeks ago to the sound of conservative activists booing. Today he posted his reasoning on Red State:
While Rubio is certainly an up-and-comer in Florida, a recent Mason Dixon poll showed that he only has a 44 percent name ID among Republicans, which will ultimately force him to spend a lot more money introducing himself to Floridians. Govenor Crist, in contrast, has a 100 percent name ID among Republicans, according to the same poll. In a general election match-up with Democrat Congressman Kendrick Meek, Charlie Crist wins handily 55 percent to 24 percent.
We have a chance to field competitive candidates in Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, California, Arkansas, and Colorado in 2010.
Now, while I disagree with the NRSC officially endorsing Crist, the reasoning is sound from a political perspective. There is a finite amount of resources able to be spent on campaigns in 2010. And even less money available in this time of recession. It isn’t sound politics to spend money unnecessarily when you can prevent a Democrat from taking the seat at a drastically lower cost.
Will Crist be the kinda Republican we want in the Senate? No. But his election may enable Republicans to win elsewhere.
And unfortunately, some of the fault may lie with Rubio. He had the opportunity to avoid a primary with Crist, thereby risking his political career, and run for Governor instead. This would have enabled him to serve as the executive for 1-2 terms, gain more experience in a vital state in national politics and set himself up for a run for President. Now, Bill McCollum has announced his candidacy for Governor and Rubio has thrown all his chits on the table to the point where if he backed out of the Senate primary he’d lose credibility.
It’s a tough and unfortunate situation. One that I hoped we could avoid. But it’s all moot if Rubio is able to pull off the upset against Crist and raise much of his own cash.
And that’s why the NRSC should have stayed out of it.