Crist Heads Into Indie Senate Bid With No Staff, Party Apparatus
The Wall Street Journal writes on Charlie Crist’s expected announcement of making an independent bid for the US Senate in Florida. The key point here is that nobody seems to know who would work for him:
According to his advisers, Mr. Crist would remain a registered Republican while qualifying for the ballot with “no party affiliation.” That would signal his intent to continue wooing, at least, the one-third of GOP voters who, according to polls, planned to side with him in the primary.
He will hope for help from the state teachers union, which has been airing ads thanking Mr. Crist for vetoing a teacher-tenure bill this month. Aid might also come from the National Rifle Association, which has awarded Mr. Crist high grades. The NRA has said it is still evaluating the race.
At the same time, one Crist adviser said the governor expected to lose all his professional campaign staff, and it isn’t clear who might replace them. GOP officials have told party political operatives not to work against the Republican nominee, and Democratic campaign workers are unlikely to oppose Mr. Meek, who is 43 years old.
The NRA won’t depart the Republican candidate, Marco Rubio. They have no reason to do so. I don’t think Kendrick Meek has done anything to lose the support of the teacher’s union, either.
Which means that, unless he imports staff from the Connecticut for Lieberman Party or somewhere else, Crist will have virtually nobody running his campaign. Furthermore, he’s going to be asked for a refund on practically every campaign donation he’s received, so he starts basically at zero dollars. Maybe his big donors will stick with him and maybe they won’t. His ground operation in a large state will be non-existent; Joe Lieberman could get away with this in Connecticut by importing some Bloomberg goons, but Florida?
It’s funny that I’m more pessimistic about Crist than Michael Steele, who says Crist has a “real possibility” at victory in a three-man race. Given the realities of campaigning in the modern age, I don’t really see it. But I haven’t determined if Marco Rubio or Kendrick Meek benefits from this; the polls show a bit of a split.